« PreviousContinue »
BAR. You Banbury cheese! 6
Of this circumstance, as the play is exhibited in the folio, Sir John could have no knowledge. MALONE.
We might suppose that Falstaff was already acquainted with this robbery, and had received his share of it, as in the case of the handle of mistress Bridget's fan, Act II. sc. ii. His question, therefore, may be said to arise at once from conscious guilt and pretended ignorance. I have, however, adopted Mr. Malone's restoration. STEEVENS.
6 You Banbury cheese!] This is said in allusion to the thin carcase of Slender. The same thought occurs in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601 : “ Put off your cloaths, and you are like a Banbury cheese, -nothing but paring." So Heywood, in his collection of epigrams :
“ I never saw Banbury cheese thick enough,
STEEVENS. • How now, Mephoftophilus ?] This is the name of a spirit or familiar, in the old story book of Sir John Fauftus, or John Fauft: to whom our author afterwards alludes, Act II. sc ii. That it was a cant phrase of abuse, appears from the old comedy cited above, called A pleasant Comedy of the Gentle Craft, Signat. H 3. “ Away you Islington whitepot; hence you hopper-arse, you barley-pudding full of maggots, you broiled carbonado: avaunt, avaunt, Mephoftophilus." In the fame vein, Bardolph here also calls Slender, “ You Banbury cheese.” T. WARTON.
Pistol means to call Slender a very ugly fellow. So, in Nosce te, (Humors) 'by Richard Turner, 1607 :
• O face, no face hath our Theophilus,
“ To playe the Devil i'the vault without a vizard." Again, in The Muses Looking Glass, 1638: “ We want not you to play Mephoftophilus. A pretty natural vizard!" STEVENS.
8 Slice, I say! pauca, pauca ;] Dr. Farmer (see a former note, P: 306, n. 8.) would transfer the Latin words to Evans. But the
Slen. Where's Simple, my man?--can you tell, cousin ?
Eva. Peace: I pray you! Now let us understand: There is three umpires in this matter, as I understand: that is—master Page, fidelicet, master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet, myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.
PAGE. We three, to hear it, and end it between them.
Eva. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my hote-book; and we will afterwards 'ork upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can.
Eva. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, He bears with ear? Why, it is affectations.
FAL. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse?
SLEN. Ay, by these gloves, did he, (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else,) of seven groats in mill-fixpences,' and
old copy, I think, is right. Piftol, in K. Henry V. uses the same language:
I will hold the quondam Quickly " For the only The; and pauca, there's enough.” In the same scene Nym twice uses the word folus. MALONE.
ту humour.] So, in an ancient Mf. play, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy:
“ - I love not to disquiet ghosts, fir,
“ Of any people living ; that's my humour, fir." See a following note, Act II. sc. i. Steevens.
- what phrase is this, &c.] Sir Hugh is justified in his censure of this passage by Pecham, who in his Garden of Eloquence, 1577, places this very mode of expression under the article Pleonajmus.
HENDERSON 3 mill-fixpences,] It appears from a passage in Sir William
two Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.
Davenant's Newes from Plimouth, that these mill'd-fixpences were used by way of counters to caft up money:
A few mill'd fixpences, with which “ My purser casts accompt." Steevens. 4 Edward shovel-boards,] One of these pieces of metal is mentioned in Middleton's comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611: away Nid I my man, like a foovel-board Billing," &c.
STEEVENS. “ Edward Shovel-boards,” were the broad shillings of Edw. VI.
Taylor, the water-poet, in his Trævel of Twelve-pence, makes him complain :
the unthrift every day
They had worne it off, as they have done my nose." And in a note he tells
us : “ Edw. shillings for the most part are used at have-board." FARMER.
In the Second Part of K. Henry IV. Falstaff says, Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat shilling.” This confirins Farmer's opinion, that pieces of coin were used for that purpose.
M. Mason. The following extract, for the notice of which I am indebted to Dr. Farmer, will ascertain the species of coin mentioned in the text. “ I must here take notice before I entirely quit the subject of these laft-mentioned shillings, that I have also seen some other pieces of good silver, greatly resembling the same, and of the same date 1547, that have been so much thicker as to weigh about half an ounce, together with some others that have weighed an ounce.” Folkes's Table of English filver Coins, p. 32. The former of these were probably what coft Master Slender two fhillings and two-pence a-piece. “Reed.
It appears, that the game of sovel-board was played with the shillings of Edward VI. in Shadwell's time; for in his Miser, A& IlI. sc. i. Cheatly says, “ She persuaded him to play with hazard at backgammon, and he has already loft his Edward shillings that he kept for Shovel-board, and was pulling our broad pieces (that have not seen the fun these many years) when I came away.""
In Shadwell's Lancashire Witches, Vol. III. p. 232. the game is called Shuffle-board. It is still played; and I lately heard a man alk another to go into an alebouse in the Broad Sanctuary, Weftminster, to play at it. Douce.
and master mine,
That Slender means the broad foilling of one of our kings, appears from comparing these words with the corresponding paffage in the old quarto: " Ay by this handkerchief did he ;-iwo faire Phovel-board shillings, besides seven groats in mill fixpences.”
How twenty eight pence could be lott in mill-fexpences, Slender, however, has not explained to us. Malone.
s I combat challenge of this latten bilbo :] Piftol, seeing Slender such a flim, puny wight, would intimate, that he is as thin as a plate of that compound metal, which is called latten: and which. was, as we are told, the old orichalc. THEOBALD. Latten is a mixed metal, made of copper
MALONE. The farcasm intended is, that Slender had neither courage nor trength, as a latten fword has neither edge nor substance.
Heath. Latten may fignify no more than as thin as a lath. The word in fome counties is still pronounced as if there was no b in it: and Ray, in his Dictionary
of North Country Words, affirms it to be spelt lat in the north of England.
Falstaff threatens, in another play, to drive prince Henry out, of his kingdom, with a dagger of lath. A latten bilboe means therefore, I believe, no more than a blade as thin as a lath-a vice's dagger.
Theobald, however, is right in his assertion that latten was a metal. So Turbervile, in his Book of Falconry, 1575: - you muft set her a latten bafon, or a vessel of stone or earth." Again, in Old Fortunatus, 1600: “ Whether it were lead or latten that hafp'd down those winking cafements, I know not.” Again, in she old metrical Romance of Syr Bevis of Hampton, bl. 1. no date :
• Windowes of latin were set with glaffe." Latten is till a common word for tin in the North,
STEEVENS. I believe Theobald has given the true sense of latten, though he is wrong in fuppofing, that the allusion is to Slender's thinness. It is rather to his softness or weakness. TYRWHITT.
6 Word of denial in thy labras here;] I suppose it should rather
be read :
Word of denial : froth and scum, thou liest.
Slen. By these gloves, then 'twas he.
Nym. Be avis'd, fir, and pass good humours: I will say, marry trap, with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on me; that is the very note of it.
Slen. By this hat, then he in the red face had it : for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether
Fal. What say you, Scarlet and John?'
Bard. Why, fir, for my part, I say, the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five fentences.
Eva. It is his five senses: fie, what the igno
“ Word of denial in my labras hear;" that is, hear the word of denial in my lips. Thou l'A. Johnson.
We often talk of giving the lie in a man's teeth, or in his threat. Pistol chooses to throw the word of denial in the lips of his adversary, and is supposed to point to them as he speaks.
STEEVENS. There are few words in the old copies more frequently misprinted than the word bear. Thy lips,” however, is certainly right, as appears from the old quarto : " I do retort the lie even in the gorge, thy gorge, thy gorge." MALONE.
- marry trap,] When a man was caught in his own ftrata. gem, I suppose the exclamation of insult was marry, trap!
JOHNSON. nuthook’s humour -] Nuthook is the reading of the folio. The quarto reads, base humour.
If you run the Nuthook's humour on me, is in plain English, if you say I am a Thief. Enough is said on the subject of booking moveables out at windows, in a note on K. Henry IV. STEEVENS.
Scarlet and John?] The names of two of Robin Hood's companions; but the humour consists in the allusion to Bardolph's red face; concerning which, see The Second Part of Henry IV.