Imatges de pÓgina


and not to deliberate, not to remember, not to have patience to shift me; as if there were nothing else to be done but to see him: hark! hark! the trumpets and

drums ;-he comes, master Shallow, he comes ! Here king Henry the Fifth and his train approach ; the lord chief justice being among the number of his attendants: Falstaff continues :

Heaven save thy grace, king Hal! my royal Hal!

Heaven save thee, my sweet boy! [K. Henry V.] My lord chief justice, speak to that vain man.

[speak? [Ch. Justice.] Have you your wits ? know you what 'tis you

] [Falstaff:] My king! my Jove! I speak to thee, my heart ! [K. Hen. V.] I know thee not, old man :

- fall to thy prayers.
How ill white hairs become a fool and jester!
I have long dream'd of such a kind of man,
So surfeit-swell’d, so old and so profane ;
But being awake, I do despise my dream.-
Reply not to me with a fool-born jest ;
Presume not that I am the thing I was ;
For heaven doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn'd away my former self :
When thou dost hear I am as I have been,
Approach me, and thou shalt be as thou wast,
The tutor and the feeder of my riots :
Till then, I limit you, on pain of death,
As I have done the rest of


Not to come near our person by ten miles.
For competence of life I do allow you,
That lack of means enforce you not to evil :
And, as we hear you do reform yourselves,
We will, according to your strength and qualities,

advancement: You—my lord chief justice, Be it your charge, to see our will perform’d. As Falstaff moves onward, he thus speaks to his friend : [Falstaff.] Master Shallow, I owe vou a thousand pounds. [Shallow.) Ay, marry, Sir John; which I beseech you to

let me have home with me.




[Falstaff:] That can hardly be, master Shallow.

Do not you grieve at this; I shall be sent for in private to him : he must seem thus to the world. Fear not your advancement: I shall be the man yet that will make

you great. [Shallow.] I cannot perceive how, unless you give me your doublet, and stuff me out with straw. I beseech

you, let me have five hundred of


thousand. [Falstaff.] I will be as good as my word: this that you heard was but a colour: come; come with me to din

I shall be sent for soon at night :--come! The king, observing much surprise, mingled with doubt, among the members of his train, again addresses the lord chief justice : [K. Hen. V.] Still all look strangely; and you most, my lord:

You are, I think, assur'd, I love you not. [Ch. Justice.] I am assur’d, if I be measur'd rightly,

Your majesty hath no just cause to hate me. [K. Hen. V.) No ? Might a prince of my great hopes forget

So great indignity you laid upon me? ?
What! rate, rebuke, and roughly send to prison
The immediate heir of England! - was this easy?

May this be wash'd in Lethe, and forgotten?
[Ch. Justice.] I then did use the person of your father ;

The image of his power lay then in me:
And in the administration of his law,
While I was busy for the commonwealth,
Your highness pleased to forget my place,
The majesty and power of law and justice,
The image of the king whom I presented,
And struck me in my very seat of judgement;
Whereon, as an offender to your father,
I gave bold way to my authority,
And did commit you. If the deed were ill,
Be you contented, wearing now the garland,
To have a son set your decrees at nought,
To pluck down justice from your awful bench,


To trip the course of law, and blunt the sword
That guards the peace and safety of your personi
Nay more, to spurn at your most royal image,
And mock your working in a second body;
Question your royal thoughts; make the case yours :
Be now the father, and propose a son;
Hear your own dignity so much profan'd;
See your most dreadful laws so loosely slighted;
Behold yourself so by a son disdain'd;
And then imagine me taking your part,
And in your power so silencing your son.
After this cold considérance, sentence me';
And, as you are a king, speak in your state,
What I have done that misbecame my place,

My person, or my liege's sovereignty. [K. Hen. V.] You are right, justice, and you weigh this well :

Therefore, still bear the balance and the sword :
And I do wish


may increase

do live to see a son of mine
Offend you and obey you, as I did.
I now, my lord, commit unto your hand
The unstain'd sword that you are us’d to bear,
With this remembrance,-that you use the same
With a like bold, just, and impartial spirit,
As you have done 'gainst me.

hand :
You shall be as a father to my youth;
And I will stoop and humble my intents
To your well-practis'd wise directions; so that
Nor prince, nor peer, shall have just cause to say

Heaven shorten Harry's happy life one day.
In company with King Henry, we have taken leave of
Falstaff : but some reniarks concluding his history, will
perhaps be permitted :

“ We wish to know,” says the author of the Essay on Falstaff formerly referred to, “ what course the knight is afterwards to take: for he lives by detection, and thrives by disgrace. Nor is a period put to our curiosity by the conclusion of the play, as with other characters, since he is not, like them, involved in the fortune of the play: he was en

There is my

gaged in no action which, as to him, was to be completed, but he passes through each play as a lawless meteor. He must therefore have man's natural ending—an historicol, and not a mere dramatic finish. Shakspeare, accordingly, in an epilogue to the scenes just terminated, threatened that, in another play, he would perhaps make Falstaff die of a sweat, which” says the essayist,“ would have been no unsuitable catastrophe. But we have reason to be satisfied as it is :-his death is worthy of his birth, and of his life.”'. It will be remembered, that Falstaff answers the lord chief justice's allegation of age, by saying, “ He was born about three o'clock in the afternoon, with a white head and something a round belly.If he came into the world in the evening with these marks of age, he departs out of it in the morning, in all the vanities and follies of youth. As we learn in a following play from Hostess Quickly, and other his illiterate companions, " He was shaked with a burning quotidian tertian ;-the young king had run bad humours on the knight ; his heart was fracted and corroborate; and a' parted just between twelve and one, even at the turning of the tide, yielding the crow a pudding, and passing into Arthur's bosom" (the landlady thinks she quotes Scripture),

if ever man went into Arthur's bosom.And this is Falstaff's end; the end of one who scruples no means to use the world, and whom, in return, the world uses, caresses, humours, indulges,—and then casts aside.

We only hear of Falstaff, as above, in the next historical play, but he appears in a third : and there is a tradition, that Shakspeare wrote this third play, namely, the Merry Wives of Windsor, at the request of Queen Elizabeth. Appearances are in favour of this report. There is no room for the events of the Merry Wives of Windsor in Falstaff's life, if we adhere to the thread of the story as furnished in the two parts of Henry IV. The renewal of his acquaintance with Shallow, on coming for recruits, evidently supposes there had been no intercourse between them since the days of their youth: and if the king's death is imagined to take place on receiving the news from Yorkshire of the nination of the rebellion, and Falstaff is with Justice Shallow at that time, there is no opportunity at which he and the

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justice could be at Windsor, but after his dismissal from the king's favour. The fact is, that the character and the life of Falstaff were complete in the poet's mind, before the Merry Wives was written. In point of historical truth, however, king Henry the Fourth lived more than six years after the time that Falstaff is supposed to return from Gaultree forest, through Gloucestershire: and we may, if we like, assign the events of the Merry Wives of Windsor to some part of that interval, though the poet, whose creature Falstaff is, certainly leaves no room for them, except between his dismissal from court, and his death at the Boar's-head Tavern.








In the sixth of the previous reign (Shakspeare makes it the eleventh) the lords rejected a bill, which the lower house had prepared, for appropriating a certain proportion of the revenues of the church; and the same measure was pressed upon the King early in this reign. To divert the blow, Chichely, the archbishop of Canterbury, by way of giving occupation to the King, persuaded him to the war in France for the recovery of his

lost rights; among which was reckoned, the claim to the crown of France itself on the plea first set up by Edward III., whose mother Isabella was daughter of Philip the Fair of France. Led by these persuasions, and still more by his own ambitious spirit, the King determined to invade France, and in 1415 his armament was ready at Southampton. Here, before he sailed, he discovered a conspiracy in favour of the earl of Marche, which had been formed by the earl of Cambridge, who had married the sister of that nobleman, and had persuaded Lord Scrope and Sir Thomas Grey to join with him.

We are to imagine, in an ante-chamber at the English court, the archbishop of Canterbury in converse with the bishop of Ely.

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