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by banishing money is an old contrivance of those who did not consider that the quarrels and mischiefs which arise from money, as the sign or ticket of riches, must, if money were to cease, arise immediately from riches themselves, and could never be at an end till every man was contented with his own share of the goods of life. JOHNSON.
Line 280. They use to write it on the top of letters;] i. e. Of letters missive, and such like publick acts. See Mabillon's Diplomata. WARBURTON.
not;] I pay them no regard.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 400. If we mean to thrive and do good, &c.] I think it should be read thus: If we mean to thrive, do good; break open the gaols, &c. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
Line 411. to the rebel's supplication?] "And to the entent that the cause of this glorious capitaynes comyng thither might be shadowed from the king and his counsayll, he sent to him an humble supplication,-affirmyng his commyng not to be against him, but against divers of his counsayl," &c. Hall, Henry VI. fol. 77. MALONE.
Line 421. Rul'd, like a wandering planet ;] Predominated irresistibly over my passions, as the planets over the lives of those that are born under their influence. JOHNSON.
The old play led Shakspeare into this strange exhibition; a queen with the head of her murdered paramour on her bosom, in the presence of her husband! MALONE.
ACT IV. SCENE VI.
Line 508. -set London-bridge on fire;] At that time London-bridge was made of wood. "After that, (says Hall,) he entered London and cut the ropes of the draw-bridge." The houses on London-bridge were in this rebellion burnt, and many of the inhabitants perished. MALONE.
-Matthew Gough-] "A man of great wit and much experience in feats of chivalrie, the which in continuall warres had spent his time in serving of the king and his father." Holin shed, p. 635. STEEVENS
-one and twenty fifteens,] "This capteine (Cade) assured them-if either by force or policie they might get the king and queene into their hands, he would cause them to be honourably used, and take such order for the punishing and reforming of the misdemeanours of their bad councellours, that neither fifteens should hereafter be demanded, nor anie impositions or taxes be spoken of." Holinshed, Vol. II. p. 632. A fifteen was the fifteenth part of all the moveables or personal property of each subject. MALONE.
Line 536. —thou say, thou serge, nay, thou buckram lord!] Say was the old word for silk; on this depends the series of degradation, from say to serge, from serge to buckram. JOHNSON.
Line 540. -monsieur Basimecu,] Shakspeare probably wrote Baisermycu, or, by a designed corruption, Basemycu, in imitation of his original, where also we find a word half French, half English," Monsier Bussminecu.” MALONE.
Line 548. printing to be used;] Shakspeare is a little too early with this accusation. JOHNSON,
Line 557. —because they could not read, thou hast hanged them:] That is, they were hanged because they could not claim the benefit of clergy. JOHNSON.
Line 559. Thou dost ride on a foot-cloth,] A foot-cloth was a kind of housing which covered the body of the horse, and almost reached the ground. It was sometimes made of velvet, and bordered with gold lace. MALONE. Line 562. -to let thy horse wear a cloak,] This is a reproach truly characteristical. Nothing gives so much offence to the lower ranks of mankind, as the sight of superfluities merely ostentatious. JOHNSON.
Line 609. and the help of a hatchet.] I suppose, to cut him down after he has been hanged, or perhaps to cut off his head.
Line 555. Let them kiss one another,] This is from The Mirrour for Magistrates, in the legend of Jack Cade:
"With these two heads I made a pretty play,
Line 717. Henry hath money,] Dr. Warburton reads-Henry hath mercy; but he does not seem to have attended to the speaker's drift, which is to lure them from their present design by the hope of French plunder. He bids them spare England, and go to France, and encourages them by telling them that all is ready for their expedition; that they have strength, and the king has money. JOHNSON.
Line 725. my sword make way for me,] In the original play Cade employs a more vulgar weapon: "My staff shall make way through the midst of you, and so a pox take you all."
ACT IV. SCENE IX.
Line 769. Of Gallowglasses, and stout Kernes,] Two orders of Irish infantry.
Line 807. but for a sallet, my brain-pan, &c.] A sallet by corruption from cælata, a helmet, (says Skinner,) quia galea cælatæ fuerunt. POPE.
Line 819. Or gather wealth, I care not with what envy;] Or accumulate riches, without regarding the odium I may incur in the acquisition, however great that odium may be. Envy is often used in this sense by our author and his contemporaries. MALONE. Line 853. As for more words, whose greatness answers words, Let this my sword report what speech forbears.] Sir Thomas Hanmer, and after him, Dr. Warburton, read; As for more words, let this my sword report
(Whose greatess answers words) what speech forbears. It seems to be a poor praise of a sword, that its greatness answers words, whatever be the meaning of the expression. The old reading, though somewhat obscure, seems to me more capable of explanation. For more words, whose pomp and tumour may
answer words, and only words, I shall forbear them, and refer the rest to my sword.
Line 879. How much thou wrong'st me,] That is, in supposing that I am proud of my victory. JOHNSON.
Line 884. So wish I, I might thrust thy soul to hell. &c.] Not to dwell upon the wickedness of this horrid wish, with which Iden debases his character, the whole speech is wild and confused. To draw a man by the heels, headlong, is somewhat difficult; nor can I discover how the dunghill would be his grave, if his trunk were left to be fed upon by crows. These I conceive not to be the faults of corruption but negligence, and therefore do not attempt correction. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE I.
-balance it.] That is, balance my hand.
13. A scepter shall it have, have I a soul;] I read:
York observes that his hand must be employed with a sword or scepter; he then naturally observes, that he has a sword, and resolves that, if he has a sword, he will have a scepter.
JOHNSON. Line 101. May Iden live, &c.] Shakspeare makes Iden rail at those enjoyments which he supposes to be out of his reach; but no sooner are they offered to him but he readily accepts them. ANONYMOUS.
Line 147. Shall be their father's bail; and bane to those-] Considering how our author loves to play on words similar in their sound, but opposite in their signification, I make no doubt but the author wrote bail and bale. Bale (from whence our common adjective, baleful) signifies detriment, ruin, misfortune, &c. THEOBALD. Either word may serve. JOHNSON. Line 178. Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,— Bid Salisbury, and Warwick, come-] The Nevils, earls of Warwick, had a bear and ragged staff for their cognizance. Sir J. HAWKINS. burgonet,] Is a helmet. JOHNSON 261. Foul stigmatick,] A stigmatick originally and pro
Bale signifies sorrow.
perly signified a person who has been branded with a hot iron. for some crime. See Bullokar's English Expositor, 1616.
ACT V. SCENE II.
Line 297. A dreadful lay!] A dreadful wager; a tremendous stake. JOHNSON.
Line 313. And the premised flames-] Premised, for sent before their time. The sense is, let the flames reserved for the last day be sent now. WARBURTON.
Line 319. The silver livery of advised age;] Advised is wise, experienced. MALONE. Line 320. And, in thy reverence,] In that period of life which is entitled to the reverence of others. MALONE.
Line 331. As wild Medea &c.] When Medea fled with Jason from Colchos, she murdered her brother Absyrtus, and cut his body into several pieces, that her father might be prevented for some time from pursuing her. MALONE.
So, lie thou there;
For, underneath an alehouse' paltry sign,
The castle in Saint Albans, Somerset
Hath made the wizard famous in his death.] The death of Somerset here accomplishes that equivocal prediction given by Jourdain, the witch, concerning this duke; which we met with at the close of the first Act of this play:
"Let him shun castles:
"Safer shall be upon the sandy plains,
i. e. the representation of a castle, mounted for a sign.
ACT V. SCENE III.
Line 370. gallant in the brow of youth,] The brow of youth is an expression not very easily explained. I read the blow of youth; the blossom, the spring. JOHNSON.
Line 376. Three times bestrid him,] That is, three times I saw bim fallen, and, striding over him, defended him till he recovered.