soon from one image to another. To bid the French rush upon the English as the torrents formed from melted snow stream from the Alps, was at once vehement and proper, but its force is destroyed by the grossness of the thought in the next line. ACT III. SCENE Vü. (III. vi. 114-15.)

FLUELLEN. His nose is executed, and bis fire's out. This is the last time that any sport can be made with the red face of Bardolph, which, to confess the truth, seems to have taken more hold on Shakespeare's imagination than on any other. The conception is very cold to the solitary reader, though it may be somewhat invigorated by the exhibition on the stage. This poet is always more careful about the present than the future, about his audience than his readers. Act III. SCENE Vüi. (mi. vi. 133-4.) Now speak we on our cue.

In our turn. This phrase the authour learned among players, and has imparted it to kings. Act IV. SCENE i. (iv. CHORUS 2–3.)

The poring dark Fills the wide vessel of the universe. We are not to think Shakespear so ignorant as to imagine it was night over the whole globe at once.—WARBURTON.

There is a better proof that Shakespeare knew the order of night and day in Macbeth.

Now o’er one half the world

Nature seems dead. But there was no great need of any justification. The universe, in its original sense, no more means this globe singly than the circuit of the horizon; but, however large in its philosophical sense, it may be poetically used for as much of the world as falls under observation. Let me remark further, that ignorance cannot be certainly inferred from inaccuracy. Knowledge is not always present. Act IV. SCENE iv. (iv. i. 189-90.)

Every subject's duty is the King's, but every subject's soul is his own.

This is a very just distinction, and the whole argument is well followed, and properly concluded. Act IV. SCENE V. (iv. i. 250 foll.)

KING HENRY. Upon the King! &c. There is something very striking and solemn in this soliloquy, into which the king breaks immediately as soon as he is left alone. Something like this, on less occasions, every breast has felt. Reflection and seriousness rush upon the mind upon the separation of a gay company, and especially after forced and unwilling merriment. Act IV. SCENE Vüïi. (iv. iii. 24.)

KING HENRY. By Jove, I am not covetous of gold. The king prays like a christian, and swears like a heathen. Act IV. SCENE viü. (iv. iii. 50-1.)

They'll remember, with advantages,

W bat feats they did that day. Old men, notwithstanding the natural forgetfulness of age, shall remember their feats of this day, and remember to tell them with advantage. Age is commonly boastful, and inclined to magnify past acts and past times. Act IV. SCENE viï. (iv. ii. 57-9.)

Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of ibe world,

But we in it shall be remembered.
It may be observed that we are apt to promise to

ourselves a more lasting memory than the changing state of human things admits. This prediction is not verified; the feast of Crispin passes by without any mention of Agincourt. Late events obliterate the former : the civil wars have left in this nation scarcely any tradition of more ancient history. Act IV. SCENE IX. (iv. iii. 104.)

Mark then abounding valour in our English. The valour of a putrid body, that destroys by the stench, is one of the thoughts that do no great honour to the poet. Perhaps from this putrid valour Dryden might borrow the posthumous empire of Don Sebastian, who was to reign wheresoever his atoms should be scattered.

Act IV. SCENE xiv. (iv. vii. 51-2.)

The fat Knight with the great belly-double. This is the last time that Falstaff can make sport. The poet was loath to part with him, and has continued his memory as long as he could. Act V. SCENE Ïi. (v. i. 94.) Exit Pistol.

The comick scenes of the history of Henry the fourth and fifth are now at an end, and all the comick personages are now dismissed. Falstafi and Mrs. Quickly are dead; Nym and Bardolph are hanged ; Gadshill was lost immediately after the .robbery ; Poins and Peto have vanished since, one knows not how; and Pistol is now beaten into obscurity. I believe every reader regrets their departure. Act V. SCENE iv. (v. ii. 125 foll.)

KING HENRY. I'faith, Kate, thou wouldst find me such a plain King, &c.

I know not why Shakespeare now gives the king nearly such a character as he made him formerly ridicule in Percy. This military grossness and unskilfulness in all the softer arts, does not suit very well with the gaieties of his youth, with the general knowledge ascribed to him at his accession, or with the contemptuous message sent him by the Dauphin, who represents him as fitter for the ball room than the field, and tells him that he is not to revel into dutchies, or win provinces with a nimble galliard. The truth is, that the poet's matter failed him in the fifth act, and he was glad to fill it up with whatever he could get; and not even Shakespeare can write well without a proper subject. It is a vain endeavour for the most skilful hand to cultivate barrenness, or to paint upon vacuity. Act V. SCENE V. (v. č. 305-402.)

We have here but a mean dialogue for princes; the merriment is very gross, and the sentiments are very worthless.

This play has many scenes of high dignity, and many of easy merriment. The character of the King is well supported, except in his courtship, where he has neither the vivacity of Hal, nor the grandeur of Henry. The humour of Pistol is very happily continued ; his character has perhaps been the model of all the bullies that have yet appeared on the English stage.

The lines given to the chorus have many admirers; but the truth is, that in them a little may be praised, and much must be forgiven; nor can it be easily discovered why the intelligence given by the chorus is more necessary in this play than in many others where it is omitted. The great defect of this play is the emptiness and narrowness of the last act, which a very little diligence might have easily avoided.



Act I. SCENE i. (1. i. 25, 27.)

The subtle-witted French By magick verse bave thus contriv'd bis end. There was a notion prevalent a long time, that life might be taken away by metrical charms. As superstition grew weaker these charms were imagined only to have power on irrational animals. In our authour's time it was supposed that the Irish could kill rats by a song.

Act II. SCENE vi. (11. V. 1-2.)
MORTIMER. Kind keepers of my weak decaying age

Let dying Mortimer bere rest himself.
I know not whether Milton did not take from this
hint the lines with which he opens his tragedy.

[ocr errors]

ACT III. SCENE ix. (111. iii. 85.)

Done like a Frenchman : turn, and turn again ! The inconstancy of the French was always the subject of satire. I have read a dissertation written to prove that the index of the wind upon our steeples was made in form of a cock, to ridicule the French for their frequent changes. Act IV. SCENE VI. (iv. v.) Enter Talbot and his son.

For what reason this scene is written in rhyme I cannot guess. If Shakespeare had not in other plays mingled his rhymes and blank verses in the same manner, I should have suspected that this dialogue had been a part of some other poem which was never finished, and that being loath to throw his labour away, he inserted it here.

« 前へ次へ »