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King Henry IV, Part II

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ACT I SCENE II London. A street. 
[ Enter FALSTAFF, with his Page bearing his sword and buckler ]
FALSTAFFSirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water?
PageHe said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy
water; but, for the party that owed it, he might
have more diseases than he knew for.
FALSTAFFMen of all sorts take a pride to gird at me: the
brain of this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not
able to invent anything that tends to laughter, more
than I invent or is invented on me: I am not only
witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other
men. I do here walk before thee like a sow that
hath overwhelmed all her litter but one. If the
prince put thee into my service for any other reason
than to set me off, why then I have no judgment.
Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to be worn
in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never
manned with an agate till now: but I will inset you10
neither in gold nor silver, but in vile apparel, and
send you back again to your master, for a jewel,--
the juvenal, the prince your master, whose chin is
not yet fledged. I will sooner have a beard grow in
the palm of my hand than he shall get one on his
cheek; and yet he will not stick to say his face is
a face-royal: God may finish it when he will, 'tis
not a hair amiss yet: he may keep it still at a
face-royal, for a barber shall never earn sixpence
out of it; and yet he'll be crowing as if he had
writ man ever since his father was a bachelor. He
may keep his own grace, but he's almost out of mine,
I can assure him. What said Master Dombledon about
the satin for my short cloak and my slops?23
PageHe said, sir, you should procure him better
assurance than Bardolph: he would not take his
band and yours; he liked not the security.
FALSTAFFLet him be damned, like the glutton! pray God his
tongue be hotter! A whoreson Achitophel! a rascally
yea-forsooth knave! to bear a gentleman in hand,
and then stand upon security! The whoreson
smooth-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes, and
bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is
through with them in honest taking up, then they
must stand upon security. I had as lief they would
put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to stop it with
security. I looked a' should have sent me two and
twenty yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and he
sends me security. Well, he may sleep in security;
for he hath the horn of abundance, and the lightness
of his wife shines through it: and yet cannot he
see, though he have his own lanthorn to light him.
Where's Bardolph?
PageHe's gone into Smithfield to buy your worship a horse.
FALSTAFFI bought him in Paul's, and he'll buy me a horse in
Smithfield: an I could get me but a wife in the
stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived.41
[Enter the Lord Chief-Justice and Servant]
PageSir, here comes the nobleman that committed the
Prince for striking him about Bardolph.
FALSTAFFWait, close; I will not see him.
Lord Chief-JusticeWhat's he that goes there?
ServantFalstaff, an't please your lordship.
Lord Chief-JusticeHe that was in question for the robbery?
ServantHe, my lord: but he hath since done good service at
Shrewsbury; and, as I hear, is now going with some
charge to the Lord John of Lancaster.50
Lord Chief-JusticeWhat, to York? Call him back again.
ServantSir John Falstaff!
FALSTAFFBoy, tell him I am deaf.
PageYou must speak louder; my master is deaf.
Lord Chief-JusticeI am sure he is, to the hearing of any thing good.
Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him.
ServantSir John!
FALSTAFFWhat! a young knave, and begging! Is there not
wars? is there not employment? doth not the king
lack subjects? do not the rebels need soldiers?
Though it be a shame to be on any side but one, it
is worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side,

were it worse than the name of rebellion can tell
how to make it.63
ServantYou mistake me, sir.
FALSTAFFWhy, sir, did I say you were an honest man? setting
my knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied
in my throat, if I had said so.
ServantI pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and our
soldiership aside; and give me leave to tell you,
you lie in your throat, if you say I am any other
than an honest man.
FALSTAFFI give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that
which grows to me! if thou gettest any leave of me,
hang me; if thou takest leave, thou wert better be
hanged. You hunt counter: hence! avaunt!74
ServantSir, my lord would speak with you.
Lord Chief-JusticeSir John Falstaff, a word with you.
FALSTAFFMy good lord! God give your lordship good time of
day. I am glad to see your lordship abroad: I heard
say your lordship was sick: I hope your lordship
goes abroad by advice. Your lordship, though not
clean past your youth, hath yet some smack of age in
you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I must
humbly beseech your lordship to have a reverent care
of your health.83
Lord Chief-JusticeSir John, I sent for you before your expedition to
FALSTAFFAn't please your lordship, I hear his majesty is
returned with some discomfort from Wales.
Lord Chief-JusticeI talk not of his majesty: you would not come when
I sent for you.
FALSTAFFAnd I hear, moreover, his highness is fallen into
this same whoreson apoplexy.91
Lord Chief-JusticeWell, God mend him! I pray you, let me speak with
FALSTAFFThis apoplexy is, as I take it, a kind of lethargy,
an't please your lordship; a kind of sleeping in the
blood, a whoreson tingling.
Lord Chief-JusticeWhat tell you me of it? be it as it is.
FALSTAFFIt hath its original from much grief, from study and
perturbation of the brain: I have read the cause of
his effects in Galen: it is a kind of deafness.100
Lord Chief-JusticeI think you are fallen into the disease; for you
hear not what I say to you.
FALSTAFFVery well, my lord, very well: rather, an't please
you, it is the disease of not listening, the malady
of not marking, that I am troubled withal.
Lord Chief-JusticeTo punish you by the heels would amend the
attention of your ears; and I care not if I do
become your physician.
FALSTAFFI am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient:
your lordship may minister the potion of
imprisonment to me in respect of poverty; but how
should I be your patient to follow your
prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a
scruple, or indeed a scruple itself.
Lord Chief-JusticeI sent for you, when there were matters against you114
for your life, to come speak with me.
FALSTAFFAs I was then advised by my learned counsel in the
laws of this land-service, I did not come.
Lord Chief-JusticeWell, the truth is, Sir John, you live in great infamy.
FALSTAFFHe that buckles him in my belt cannot live in less.
Lord Chief-JusticeYour means are very slender, and your waste is great.
FALSTAFFI would it were otherwise; I would my means were
greater, and my waist slenderer.
Lord Chief-JusticeYou have misled the youthful prince.
FALSTAFFThe young prince hath misled me: I am the fellow
with the great belly, and he my dog.
Lord Chief-JusticeWell, I am loath to gall a new-healed wound: your
day's service at Shrewsbury hath a little gilded
over your night's exploit on Gad's-hill: you may
thank the unquiet time for your quiet o'er-posting131
that action.
Lord Chief-JusticeBut since all is well, keep it so: wake not a
sleeping wolf.
FALSTAFFTo wake a wolf is as bad as to smell a fox.
Lord Chief-JusticeWhat! you are as a candle, the better part burnt
FALSTAFFA wassail candle, my lord, all tallow: if I did say
of wax, my growth would approve the truth.
Lord Chief-JusticeThere is not a white hair on your face but should
have his effect of gravity.
FALSTAFFHis effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.
Lord Chief-JusticeYou follow the young prince up and down, like his
ill angel.
FALSTAFFNot so, my lord; your ill angel is light; but I hope
he that looks upon me will take me without weighing:
and yet, in some respects, I grant, I cannot go: I
cannot tell. Virtue is of so little regard in these
costermonger times that true valour is turned
bear-herd: pregnancy is made a tapster, and hath
his quick wit wasted in giving reckonings: all the
other gifts appertinent to man, as the malice of
this age shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry.
You that are old consider not the capacities of us
that are young; you do measure the heat of our
livers with the bitterness of your galls: and we
that are in the vaward of our youth, I must confess,
are wags too.156
Lord Chief-JusticeDo you set down your name in the scroll of youth,
that are written down old with all the characters of
age? Have you not a moist eye? a dry hand? a
yellow cheek? a white beard? a decreasing leg? an
increasing belly? is not your voice broken? your
wind short? your chin double? your wit single? and
every part about you blasted with antiquity? and
will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John!164
FALSTAFFMy lord, I was born about three of the clock in the
afternoon, with a white head and something a round
belly. For my voice, I have lost it with halloing
and singing of anthems. To approve my youth
further, I will not: the truth is, I am only old in
judgment and understanding; and he that will caper
with me for a thousand marks, let him lend me the
money, and have at him! For the box of the ear that
the prince gave you, he gave it like a rude prince,
and you took it like a sensible lord. I have
chequed him for it, and the young lion repents;
marry, not in ashes and sackcloth, but in new silk
and old sack.
Lord Chief-JusticeWell, God send the prince a better companion!176
FALSTAFFGod send the companion a better prince! I cannot
rid my hands of him.
Lord Chief-JusticeWell, the king hath severed you and Prince Harry: I
hear you are going with Lord John of Lancaster
against the Archbishop and the Earl of
FALSTAFFYea; I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look
you pray, all you that kiss my lady Peace at home,
that our armies join not in a hot day; for, by the
Lord, I take but two shirts out with me, and I mean
not to sweat extraordinarily: if it be a hot day,
and I brandish any thing but a bottle, I would I
might never spit white again. There is not a
dangerous action can peep out his head but I am
thrust upon it: well, I cannot last ever: but it
was alway yet the trick of our English nation, if
they have a good thing, to make it too common. If
ye will needs say I am an old man, you should give
me rest. I would to God my name were not so
terrible to the enemy as it is: I were better to be
eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to
nothing with perpetual motion.
Lord Chief-JusticeWell, be honest, be honest; and God bless your
FALSTAFFWill your lordship lend me a thousand pound to
furnish me forth?200
Lord Chief-JusticeNot a penny, not a penny; you are too impatient to
bear crosses. Fare you well: commend me to my
cousin Westmoreland.
[Exeunt Chief-Justice and Servant]
FALSTAFFIf I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A man
can no more separate age and covetousness than a'
can part young limbs and lechery: but the gout
galls the one, and the pox pinches the other; and
so both the degrees prevent my curses. Boy!
FALSTAFFWhat money is in my purse?
PageSeven groats and two pence.207
FALSTAFFI can get no remedy against this consumption of the
purse: borrowing only lingers and lingers it out,
but the disease is incurable. Go bear this letter
to my Lord of Lancaster; this to the prince; this
to the Earl of Westmoreland; and this to old
Mistress Ursula, whom I have weekly sworn to marry
since I perceived the first white hair on my chin.
About it: you know where to find me.
[Exit Page]
A pox of this gout! or, a gout of this pox! for
the one or the other plays the rogue with my great
toe. 'Tis no matter if I do halt; I have the wars
for my colour, and my pension shall seem the more
reasonable. A good wit will make use of any thing:
I will turn diseases to commodity.

Continue to 2 Henry IV, Act 1, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 2
From King Henry the Fourth, second part. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.

1. take ... me, think it a fine thing to gibe at me, turn me into ridicule; cp. Cor. i. 1. 260, "he will not spare to gird the gods." The literal sense of to gird or gride is to strike, pierce, cut through.

2. foolish-compounded, made up of follies.

4. is invented on me, as though Falstaff was the block or framework upon which the witticism was shaped.

5. that wit ... men, of the existence or generation of wit in other men.

5, 6. I do here ... one, having no other attendant but you, I look like a sow that has over-lain and crushed to death her whole farrow of young ones.

8. to set me off, to make me a mark for ridicule in the comparison between my enormous bulk and your diminutiveness.

9. mandrake, the plant mandragora, the root of which was thought to resemble the human figure: to be worn in my cap, as brooches were worn for ornament.

10. manned with an agate, had an attendant no bigger than an agate stone; agate stones, worn in rings, etc., often had little figures engraved upon them, but whether the reference is to this or merely to the size of the stone is disputed. In M. A. iii. 1. 65, Hero says that Beatrice would compare a tall man to "a lance ill-headed," a short man to "an agate very vilely cut."

13. the Juvenal, the youth; but always used by Shakespeare with a comical sense, as in L. L. L. i. 2. 8, M. N. D. iii. 1. 97.

14. I will sooner ... hand, there is much more likelihood of my getting a beard to grow in the palm of my hand. Abbott, § 319, remarks, "there is a slight meaning of purpose, as though it were, 'I will sooner make a beard grow,' derived from the similarity in sound of the common phrase 'I will sooner die, starve, than, etc.'"

16. stick to say, hesitate to say: a face-royal, a pun upon a kingly face and the face or head on the coin called a "royal," worth ten shillings.

17. finish it, make it complete by adding a beard: not a hair amiss, not disfigured by so much as a single hair.

17-9. he may keep ... of it, he may maintain it at its full value, need not have to deduct anything from its full price, for he will never need to spend so much as a sixpence upon it by having it shaved. This is virtually Mason's explanation, and undoubtedly, I think, the right one. Johnson, reading "as a face-royal," explains, "that is, a face exempt from the touch of vulgar hands. So, a stag-royal is not to be hunted, a mine-royal is not to be dug." The reading "as" is that of the later folios, and seems to me a very inferior one, though modern editors almost without exception adopt it; the quarto and the first folio give "at," and this reading is in accordance with ordinary phraseology: he'll be crowing, you will constantly be hearing him boasting, priding himself upon it.

19, 20. had writ man, had had the right to style himself a man; cp. Lear, v. 3. 35, "About it; and write happy when thou hast done"; A. W. ii. 3. 67, "I'ld give bay Curtal and his furniture, My mouth no more were broken than these boys', And writ as little beard," i.e. showed no greater proof of age.

20, 1. He may ... grace, he may stand as high in his own favour, estimation; with a pun upon the word 'grace' as a title. br />
23. slops, breeches of a large, loose, fashion.

24. assurance, security, surety: band, an old spelling of bond in its various senses.

27, 8. like the glutton ... hotter, like the rich man in hell, who in his torture cried out for a drop to cool his tongue; see Luke xvi. 24: a rascally ... knave, an oily-tongued, cringing, villain; one ready enough with his expressions of compliance. Cp. Hotspur's scorn of such milk-and-water protestations, Pt. I. iii. l. 252-61.

28, 9. to bear ... hand, to think that he should deceive me by he appearance of readiness to take my orders; to "bear in hand" was to encourage with specious promises without the intention of fulfilling them; cp. M. M. i. 4. 51, Macb. iii. 1. 81, and the similar phrase in Marlowe's Jew of Malta, iii. 3. 3, "Both held in hand, and flatly both beguiled": stand upon, to insist upon, make a difficulty about.

30. smooth-pates, sleek-headed fellows, i.e. as bland and subservient in manner as they are sleek in appearance.

30, 1. wear nothing ... girdles, are mere self-important, pretentious, upstarts, betraying their self-importance by their high-heeled shoes and the big bunches of keys they wear at their waists as though they had vast wealth to lock up: through, i.q. thorough (which Pope substituted), downright, not standing upon petty economies: taking up, obtaining goods on trust.

33. I had as lief, I would as gladly. The idiom represents an earlier impersonal idiom "Me were lief," i.e. it would be pleasant to me; from A.S. leof, dear: ratsbane, poison; but originally a generic term for anything injurious to rats, not a specific poison.

34. as offer ... security, as endeavour to silence me by using the word "security": looked, expected: a', he; a and ha occur in Old English for he, she, it, they.

38. I bought him in Paul's. "The body of old St. Paul's church in London was a constant place of resort for business and amusement. Advertisements were fixed up there, bargains made, servants hired, politics discussed, &c. &c." (Nares, Gloss.).

40, 1. an I could ... wived, an allusion to a proverbial saying, "Who goes to Westminster for a wife, to St. Paul's for a man, and to Smithfield for a horse, may meet with a quean, a knave, and a jade."

Stage Direction. Enter the Lord Chief-Justice. This was Sir William Gascoigne, appointed Chief-Justice in 1401; the date of his death is uncertain.

44. Wait close, keep close to me, do not give them an opportunity of speaking to you.

45. What's he, rather more indefinite than "who's he?"

47. He that was in question ... robbery, he who was suspected of the robbery, and regarding whom inquiry was made.

49. some charge, some commission entrusted to him; here of a military character.

58. What! ... begging! Falstaff pretends to misunderstand the servant's action in plucking him by his coat sleeve, and says, "What! have you, a sturdy young fellow like you, taken to begging as your profession?" knave is used in its older sense of - 'boy,' 'youth'.

58, 9. Is there not wars? "When the subject is as yet future and, as it were, unsettled, the third person singular might be regarded as the normal inflection" (Abb. § 335).

61. but one, except the king's side.

62, 3. were it worse ... it, even if a worse name than rbellion could be given to it: can tell, knows how, is able.

65. Why ... man? how have I mistaken you? I never called you an honest man.

65, 7. setting ... aside ... so, if for the moment I may lay aside my knighthood and my dignity as a soldier, I should accuse myself of lying grossly if I had said that you were an honest man. To "lie in the throat" was worse than to lie from the lips. Staunton quotes from a curious old Italian treatise on War and the Duello a passage in which the different gradations of giving the lie are enumerated, as the simple "Thou liest"; then "Thou liest in the throat"; "Thou liest in the throat like a rogue"; "Thou liest in the throat like a rogue as thou art," the last being an insult which could not be passed over without a challenge to combat. Cp. Webster, The Devil's Law Case, iv. 2, "I'll give the lie in the stomach, - That's somewhat deeper than the throat."

71, 2. that which grows to me, that which is part and parcel of me, as much so as the very flesh and skin of my body: hang me, may I be hanged, i.e. assuredly you will not get such leave from me.

73, 4. You hunt counter, you are on the wrong scent, you are making a gross blunder; to " hunt counter" was to mistake the course of the game, to trace the scent backwards; cp. Haml. iv. 5. 110, "How cheerfully on the false trail they cry! O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!" Some editors see in the word counter an allusion to two prisons of that name in London, the one in the Poultry, the other in Wood Street, but this is straining the language too far: avaunt! away out of my path! an expression shortened from the F. en avant, forward! march! from Lat. ab ante, from before.

77, 8. God give ... day, a common form of courteous salutation; so after-noon, the salutation "God gi' god-den," "God ye godden," "God dig-you den," all corruptions of "God give you good evening."

78-80. goes ... advice, are acting upon your physician's advice in thus venturing into the open air.

81. some smack, some taste, savour; cp. M. M. ii. 2. 5, "All sects, all ages, smack of this vice"; so Cor. iv. 7. 46, "As he hath spices of them all."

81, 2. some relish ... time, some indications that you are no longer quite in first freshness of youth and robust health.

87. with some discomfort, not altogether so much at ease as he might be in mind. The discomfort was due to the proceedings of Glendower and the Earl of March.

90, 1. this same apoplexy, this abominable apoplexy that you know of so well; in the phrase this same there is almost always a sense of contempt, disgust, depreciation. According to some authorities, Henry in his later days had seizures of apoplexy, according to others, of epilepsy.

97. What ... it? why do you talk to me of this apoplexy? Abb. § 253, gives other instances of this adverbial use of what in Cymb. iii. 4. 34, J. C. ii. 1. 123, A. C. v. 2. 317.

98. it original, the old provincial form of the possessive is found in several other passages in Shakespeare, but more generally in 'baby-talk' or where contempt is indicated; most modern editors follow the later folios in reading its.

99, 100. his effects, its effects; his formerly representing the possessive of the neuter as well as of the masculine gender.

105. marking, paying heed.

106, 7. To punish ... ears, if I were to punish you by imprisonment it would cure this disease of wilful deafness; to "lay by the heels" was the technical phrase for committing to prison, and there is perhaps, as Knight suggests, a further allusion to the baffling of a knight by hanging him or his likeness up head downwards.

107, 8. and I care ... physician, and I should not object to curing you in this way.

110, 1. may minister ... poverty, may order me to be imprisoned as being one who has no means of livelihood; in potion Falstaff is carrying on the Chief-Justice's figure of being his physician.

111, 2. but how I ... prescriptions, as to my bearing patiently your lordship's method of cure; with a pun on the word patient in the sense of one under medical treatment.

112, 3. the wise ... itself, wise men maybe inclined to doubt; again introducing a pun by reference to the weights used in compounding prescriptions and to scruple in its figurative sense.

115. for your life, in which your life was at stake.

116, 7. my learned ... land-service, my counsel, advocate, learned as to the laws that bear upon land-service of this kind; Falstaff is punning on military service on land, his own exploit in the matter of the robbery, and the serving of writs or summonses. Schmidt, Lex., says that Falstaff uses the term land-service "improperly," but it is humorously rather than "improperly" used.

120. He that ... less. As Delius points out, Falstaff pretends to take infamy as though it were some kind of material for clothing.

124. my waist slenderer. Falstaff makes the same pun in M. W. i. 3. 45-7, "Indeed, I am in the waist two yards about; but I am now about no waste; I am about thrift."

126, 7. I am the fellow ... dog, supposed to be an allusion to a well-known beggar who was fat and blind, and had to be led about by a dog.

128. to fall ... wound, to punish you for an offence which has in some measure been condoned by your recent good service in the war.

129. gilded over, given it a fairer appearance than it would naturally have; the base metal being overlaid by a coating of purer metal; cp. PT. I. v. 4. 162, "I'll gild it [sc. Falstaff's lie) with the happiest terms I have."

130, 1. you may thank ... action, if it had not been that the land is so disturbed by war, you would not have got so easily over your exploit, the consequences of it would have been made more serious to you, so you have good reason to be thankful to that war.

133, 4. wake not ... wolf, another form of the proverb "Let sleeping dogs lie"; here meaning do not risk any change for the worse by returning to your evil ways.

138. A wassail candle, a candle such as is burnt at feasts; wassail, wes hal, a salutation used at drinking-bouts equivalent to "be of good health"; from A.S. wes, be thou, and hal, health: all tallow, and therefore quickly burning out.

138, 9. if I did say ... truth, Falstaff puns on the verb to "wax," i.e. to grow big: approve, prove; as frequently.

141. should have ... gravity, should teach you to behave with the gravity befitting old age.

144. ill angel, evil genius; human beings were supposed to be accompanied through life by two angels, the one good and the other evil who contended for the mastery over his actions.

145. your ill ... light. A pun on the word angel, meaning a gold coin, which varied in value from 6s. 8d. when first coined by Edward IV, in 1465 to 7s. 6d. and 8s. in the reign of Henry VIII., and 10s. in that of Edward VI. It was so called from having on the obverse the figure of the archangel St. Michael piercing the dragon. A light angel was one below its proper weight, and so below its proper value; your is used colloquially, that angel which you and everybody else know so well; cp. A. C. 7. 29, 30, "Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation of your sun: so is your crocodile"; Haml. iv. 24, 5, "Your worm is your only emperor for diet; your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two dishes, but one table."

146. take ... weighing, will have no doubt of my being full eight.

147. I cannot go. An equivoque upon 'I cannot walk (with ease),' and 'I cannot pass current': I cannot tell, another equivoque upon 'I do not know what to say,' and 'I cannot be used in a reckoning.'

148. costermonger times, huckstering times, times in which nothing is thought of except making money by petty traffic; a 'costermonger' is a seller of costards, a kind of apple, hence any petty dealer.

148, 9. that true valour ... bear-herd, that men of real valour can find no better occupation than that of bear-leader in exhibitions: pregnancy, men of ready, quick, wit; the adjective in this sense is frequent in Shakespeare.

150. in giving reckonings, in making out tavern bills.

151, 2. as the malice ... them, owing to the direction given to them by the present times which are too envious to value them duly.

153-5. you do measure ... galls, old age has turned everything with you to bitterness, and you apply the light with which you consequently see all things to judge of the hot passions of us who are still in the vigour and freshness of youth: in the vaward, in the fore-front, the van; another spelling of van-ward, or van- guard, the front of an army.

156. are wags too, are not only young, but full of the waggishness, frolicsome characteristics, of that period of life.

158. written down, plainly marked as.

161. wind, breath, sc. when any exertion has to be made.

162. your wit single, your intellect feeble, silly; cp. Cor. iii. 1. 40, "your helps are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous single."

163. will you yet call, are you still determined to call, do you still persist in calling yourself young?

166. something ... belly, a somewhat round belly.

167. For my voice, as regards my voice, which you say is broken.

168. anthems, sacred songs, generally portions of the Bible set to music and sung in churches, cathedrals, etc, Cp. Jonson, The Silent Woman, iii. 2, "He got this cold with sitting up late and singing catches with the cloth -workers": To approve ... not, as for any further proof of my youth, I will not attempt it; To approve, the indefinite infinitive.

170. caper with me, make a match with me at capering: marks, a coin originally worth 13s. 4d.

171. and have at him, and I am ready enough to engage in the contest with him. This elliptical use of have, with the sense of "I will have" or "let us have" is common in Shakespeare with "after," "at," "to," "through," "with": For the box, as regards the blow; from Danish bask, a slap, thwack.

173. checked, rebuked, chidden.

174. marry, a corruption of (by) Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ; a petty oath employed in avoidance of the statutes against profane swearing.

174, 5. ashes and sackcloth, an oriental fashion of contrition or mourning for the loss of those dear, frequently mentioned in the Bible: sack, a Spanish wine generally of a dry character, though there were also sweet varieties. "They (i.e. the different kinds of Sack) probably first came into favour in consequence of their possessing greater strength and durability, and being more free from acidity, than the white wines of France and Germany: and owed their distinctive appellation to that peculiar subastringent taste which characterizes all wines prepared with gypsum " (Henderson, History of Ancient and Modern Wines, quoted by Dyce, Gloss.).

183. I thank ... it. "Falstaff ascribes this unwelcome employment on military service to the influence of the Chief Justice " (Delius): look, see, take care.

184. you that kiss ... home, you who stay at home calmly enjoying the blessings of peace which we warriors labour to secure you.

184, 5. that our armies ... day. With the inference that if it is too hot for him to exert himself, there will be little hope of a continuance of those blessings of peace.

187. and I brandish, i.e. an, if, I, etc.

188. I would ... again, "may I never again have wine enough to produce this effect; or rather, perhaps, may I never have a debauch over-night, to make me thirsty in the morning ... Spungius says, in Massinger, The Virgin Martyr, iii. 3, 'Had I been a pagan still, I should not have spit white for want of drink.' That is, for want of more drink to remedy the effect of what he had taken before. It was noticed also as a consequence of habitual intemperance. The unlucky pages in Lyly's Mother Bombie say that their masters had sodden their livers in sack for forty years, and 'That makes them spit white broath, as they do,' Act iii. sc. 1" (Nares, Gloss. ). Rabelais, bk. ii. ch. 7, writes, "every man found himself so a-dry with drinking these flat wines, that they did nothing but spit, and that as white as Maltha cotton, saying 'We have got the Pantagruel, and our very throats are salted."

189. 90. but I ... it, without my being set to deal with it: always yet, ever up to the present day; on alway and always, Skeat says, "The usual A.S. form is ealne weg, where both words are in the accusative singular; ... In Hali Meidenhad, ... we find alles weis, where both words are in the genitive singular. This occasional use of the genitive singular, and the common habit of using the genitive singular suffix -es as an adverbial suffix, have produced the second form always. Both forms are thus accounted for."

192. If ye will needs say, if you must say, as you have just now said; needs, like always, having the genitival suffix in an adverbial sense.

194. I were better, an ungrammatical remnant of ancient usage, the more correct form of the phrase being '(to) me (it) were better.'

195. a rust. Most modern editors follow Steevens in omitting the indefinite article, though without any sufficient reason: scoured to nothing, worn to nothing, like a weapon from which the rust is being constantly scoured.

202. to bear crosses, with a play upon crosses in the sense (1) of misfortunes, (2) of money stamped with a cross; the same pun occurs in A. Y. L. ii. 4. 12, L. L. L. i. 2. 36: commend me, give my commendations, compliments.

204. fillip me ... beetle. "A diversion is common with boys in "Warwickshire and the adjoining counties, on finding a toad, to lay a board about two or three feet long, at right angles, over a stick about two or three inches in diameter ... Then placing the toad at A [the point at one end of the board shown in the sketch given], the other end is struck by a bat or large stick, which throws the creature forty or fifty feet perpendicular from the earth, and its return in general kills it. This is called Filliping the Toad. A three-man beetle is an implement used for driving piles; it is made of a log of wood about eighteen or twenty inches diameter, and fourteen or fifteen inches thick, with one short and two long handles ... A man at each of the long handles manages the fall of the beetle, and a third man, by the short handle, assists in raising it to strike the blow. Such an implement was, without doubt, very suitable for filliping so corpulent a being as Falstaff" (Steevens). A somewhat similar implement, though worked by two men only, may still be seen in use by paviours in ramming down stones in a roadway.

207. groats, a coin worth fourpence.

208. consumption. With a play on the word as meaning the disease phthisis.

214. About it, make haste about the business.

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. King Henry IV, second part. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1911. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

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