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thing, which the poet has given us, cruelty which follows the perfidy : "Strike up our drums, pursue the scatter'd stray."
To our minds, after this dramatic picture, we can well dispense with any didactic explanaThe simple question of Mowbray (which is evaded)
the | self, and what remains is bestial.-My reputation, Iago, my reputation.” "As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some bodily wound; there is more offence in that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition." This is perfectly equivalent to Falstaff's "Can honour set to a leg? . . . Honour is a mere scutcheon." Falstaff's assault, too, upon the dead Percy is exactly in the same spirit, and so are the lie and the boast which follow the exploit: "I'll take it upon my death, I gave him this wound in the thigh: if the man were alive, and would deny it, I would make him eat a piece of my sword." Shakspere has drawn a liar, a braggart, and a coward in Parolles*. He has also in the play before us, and in
"Is this proceeding just and honourable?"
is quite enough to show the dullest that the poet did "take the side of virtue."
The scene, in the first act of the Second Part, between Falstaff and the Lord Chief Justice, takes us back to the field of Shrewsbury :"Attendant. Falstaff, an 't please your lord- 'Henry V.,' given us Pistol, a braggart and
a coward. But how essentially different are
Ch. Justice. He that was in question for the both these characters from Falstaff. And robbery?
Attendant. He, 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."
We have seen Falstaff, in his progress to that battle-field, an unscrupulous extortioner, degrading his public authority by making it the instrument for his private purposes: “I have misused the king's press damnably. I have got, in exchange of a hundred and fifty soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds.' We have seen his deportment in the battle: I have led my ragamuffins where they are peppered ;"—this is not cowardice. We have seen him in the heat of the fight jesting and dallying with his bottle of sack :-this is not cowardice. Himself is his best expositor: "I like not such grinning honour as Sir Walter hath: Give me life: which if I can save, so: if not, honour comes unlooked for, and there's an end." Again: "The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part, I have saved my life." What is this but the absence of that higher quality of the mind, be it a principle or a feeling, which constitutes the heroic characterthe poetry of action? We find the absence of this quality in Iago, as well as in Falstaff. Look at his reply to Cassio's lament: "I have lost the immortal part, sir, of my
yet Johnson, with a singular want of discrimination in one who relished Falstaff so highly, says, "Parolles has many of the lineaments of Falstaff." Helena, in 'All's Well that Ends Well,' thus truly describes Parolles :
"I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward." Parolles is a braggadocio who puts himself into a difficulty by undertaking an adventure for which he has not the requisite courage, and then in his double cowardice endeavours to lie himself out of the scrape. How entirely different is this from Falstaff! He volunteers no prodigious feat from which he shrinks. He exercises his accustomed sagacity to make the most of his situation by the side of the dead Percy: "Nothing confutes me but eyes, and nobody sees me;" and when the lie is told,-"We rose both at an instant, and fought a long hour by Shrewsbury clock, "-it is precisely of the same character as the "incomprehensible lies" about the men in buckram ;—something that the utterer and the hearers cannot exactly distinguish for jest or earnest. The Prince thus receives the story :— "This is the strangest fellow, brother John."
*All's Well that Ends Well.'
Again, look at Pistol swallowing the leek, in 'Henry V.,' and Pistol kicked down stairs by Falstaff, in this play,-and note the difference between "a counterfeit cowardly knave" and Falstaff. The truth is, all these generalities about Falstaff, and false comparisons arising out of the generalities, are popular mistakes too hastily received into There is infinitely more truth in Mackenzie's parallel between Falstaff and Richard III. than in Johnson's comparison of Falstaff with Parolles. "Both," says Mackenzie, "are men of the world; both possess that sagacity and understanding which is fitted for its purposes; both despise those refined feelings, those motives of delicacy, those restraints of virtue, which might obstruct the course they have marked out for themselves. . . . . . Both use the weaknesses of others, as skilful players at a game do the ignorance of their opponents; they enjoy the advantage, not only without selfreproach, but with the pride of superiority. Indeed, so much does Richard in the higher walk of villainy resemble Falstaff in the lower region of roguery and dissipation, that it were not difficult to show, in the dialogue of the two characters, however dissimilar in situation, many passages and expressions in a style of remarkable resemblance.” ""* Mackenzie has given us no example of the remarkable resemblance of passages and expressions; and, indeed, after a careful comparison, we doubt whether such resemblances of "expression" do exist. But what is more to the purpose, and more in confirmation of Mackenzie's theory, Falstaff and Richard, throughout their career, display the same "alacrity of spirit," the same "cheer of mind," the same readiness in meeting difficulties, the same determination to surmount them. One parallel, and that a very remarkable one, will sufficiently illustrate this. The first scene between the Lord Chief Justice and Falstaff, that scene of matchless impudence and self-reliance,—and the scene where Richard evades Buckingham's claim to the earldom of Hereford, are as similar as the difference of circumstances will allow them to be. We give the parallel passages :*Lounger,' No. 69.
"Ch. Just. Sir John Falstaff, a word with you. Fal. My good lord !--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 most humbly beseech your lordship to have a reverend care of your health. Ch. Just. Sir John, I sent for you before your expedition to Shrewsbury.
Fal. If it please your lordship, I hear his majesty is returned with some discomfort from Wales.
Ch. Just. I talk not of his majesty:-You would not come when I sent for you.
Fal. And I hear, moreover, his highness is fallen into this same whoreson apoplexy. Ch. Just. Well, heaven mend him! I pray, let me speak with you.
Fal. This apoplexy is, as I take it, a kind of lethargy; a sleeping of the blood, a whoreson tingling.
Ch. Just. What tell you me of it? be it as it is. Fal. It hath its original from much grief; have read the cause of his effects in Galen; it is from study, and perturbation of the brain: I
a kind of deafness.
Ch. Just. I think you are fallen into the disease; for you hear not what I say to you."
"Buck. My lord, I claim the gift, my due
For which your honour and your faith is pawn'd;
The earldom of Hereford, and the moveables, Which you have promised I shall possess.
K. Rich. Stanley, look to your wife; if she convey
Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it. Buck. What says your highness to my just request?
K. Rich. I do remember me,-Henry the
Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
Buck. My lord
K. Rich. How chance, the prophet could not at that time
Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him? Buck. My lord, your promise for the earldom,
K. Rich. Richmond !-When last I was at Justice is half moved to laugh at him and
The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle, And called it-Rouge-mont: at which name I started;
Because a bard of Ireland told me once,
I should not live long after I saw Richmond. Buck. My lord,
K. Rich. Ay, what's o'clock?
Buck. I am thus bold to put your grace in mind
Of what you promised me.
Well, but what's o'clock? Buck. Upon the stroke of ten. K. Rich. Well, let it strike." Falstaff again not unfrequently reminds us of Iago. We have already noticed this resemblance in one particular. The humorous rogue and the sarcastic villain are equally unscrupulous in their attacks upon property of others. Falstaff making the Hostess withdraw the action and lend him more money, and Iago's advice to Roderigo, "Put money in thy purse," supply an obvious example. Falstaff, in his schemes upon Justice Shallow, hugs himself in the very philosophy of roguery; "If the young dace be a bait for the old pike, I see no reason, in the law of nature, but I may snap at him." Iago thinks it would be a disgrace to his own intellectual superiority if he did not plunder his dupe :
"Thus do I ever make my fool my purse:
For I mine own gain'd knowledge should pro-
If I would time expend with such a snipe,
Falstaff, however, is not all knave, as Richard and Iago are each all villain. Richard and Iago are creatures of antipathies; Falstaff is a creature of sympathies. There is something genial even in his knavery. With Dame Quickly and Doll, with Bardolph and the Page, his good humour is irresistible: his followers evidently love him. The Hostess speaks their thoughts:-" Well, fare thee well: I have known thee these twentynine years come peascod-time; but an honester and truer-hearted man-Well, fare thee well." He extracts Shallow's money from his purse as much by his sociality as his cunning. Even the grave Lord Chief
with him. We have already spoken of the fascination which he exercised over the mind of the prince; and even when Harry is in many respects a changed man-when he has shown us the heroical side of his characterwe still learn that he has been "so much engraffed to Falstaff." The dominion which he exercised over all his associates he exercises over every reader of Shakspere. We are never weary of him; we can never hate him; we doubt if we can despise him; we are half angry with the prince for casting him off; we are quite sure that there was no occasion to send him to the Fleet; when we hear in 'Henry V,' that the "king has killed his heart," we are certain that, with all his selfishness, there were many kind and loving feelings about that heart, which neglect and desertion would deeply touch; and when at last we see him, in poor Dame Quickly's description of his deathbed, "fumble with the sheets, and play with flowers, and smile upon his fingers' ends," we involuntarily exclaim, "Poor Jack, farewell."
We must now recall the attention of our readers to the principle with which we set out,—that the great dramatic action of these plays is the change of character in the Prince of Wales. In the first part we have seen his levities cast away, when his ambition called upon him to answer the reproofs of his father by heroic actions :—
'And, in the closing of some glorious day, Be bold to tell you that I am your son." Years pass on after the battle of Shrewsbury; and the Prince has not entirely cast aside his habits. The duty of meeting the insurrection under Scroop is not committed to him. We find him in London, playing the fool with the time, but yet "sad," looking forward to higher things; "let the end try the man.” His sense of duty is, however, roused into instant action at the news from the north :— "By Heaven, Poins, I feel me much to blame, So idly to profane the precious time;
When tempest of commotion, like the south,
"How now! rain within doors, and none abroad! How doth the king?"
But his gaiety is presently subdued :—
"I will sit and watch here by the king." The French critic (a very unfit representative of the present state of opinion in France as to the merits of Shakspere) gives us the following most egregious description of the scene which follows:-"The King wakes. He calls out-misses his crown-commands
The Prince and Falstaff never again meet in | We are approaching that final scene when fellowship. Falstaff goes to the wars; and the reformation of the Prince is to be fully he throws a spirit into those scenes of accomplished in the spectacle of his father's treachery and bloodshed which we look for deathbed. The King has swooned. The in vain amidst the policy of Westmoreland prince enters gaily :— and the solemnity of John of Lancaster. In Falstaff and his recruits we see the undercurrent of all warfare-the things of common life that are mixed up with great and fearful events-the ludicrous by the side of the tragic. The scene of Falstaff choosing his recruits—the corruption of Bardolphthe defence of that corruption by his most impudent captain-the amazement of the justices-the different tempers with which the recruits meet their lot-furnish altogether one of the richest realities of this unequalled drama. We here see how war, and especially civil war, presses upon the comforts even of the lowliest: "My old dame will be undone now for one to do her husbandry." Is he who won the crown by civil tumult, and who wears it uneasily as the consequence of his usurpation—is he happier than the peasant who is dragged from his hut to fight in a cause which he neither cares for nor understands? Beautifully has Shakspere shown us what happiness Bolingbroke gained by the deposition of
"How many thousand of my poorest subjects Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?"
the Prince to come to him-and overwhelms him with reproaches for that impatience to seize upon his inheritance which will not wait even till his father's body is cold. Henry, with an hypocrisy worse than the action which he would defend, pretends only to have taken away the crown through indignation that it had shortened the days of his father!" This is to read poetry in a literal spirit. We commend the fourth scene of the fourth act (Part II.) to our readers, without another remark that may weaken the force of M. Paul Duport's objections.
Through that great trial which has for awhile softened and purified the hearts of most men-the death of a father-has Henry passed. But he has also put on the state of a king. He has done so amidst the remembrances and fears of his brothers and advisers :
"You all look strangely on me."
Henry is a politic and wise king; but he is The scene with the Lord Chief Justice en
a melancholy man. The conduct of the Prince still lies heavy at his heart, and his grief
"Stretches itself beyond the hour of death,"
in dread of the "rotten times" that would ensue when the Prince's riot hath no curb. The King too is "much ill;"
sues, written with all Shakspere's rhetorical power. Henry has solemnly taken up his position:
"The tide of blood in me Hath proudly flow'd in vanity, till now: Now doth it turn, and ebb back to the sea." It is in this solemn assurance, publicly made upon the first occasion of meeting his subjects, that we must rest the absolute and inevitable necessity of Henry's harshness to So thin, that life looks through, and will Falstaff. The poet has most skilfully conbreak out." trived to bring out the worst parts of Fal
"The incessant care and labour of his mind Hath wrought the mure, that should confine it in,
staff's character when he learns the death of Henry IV.-his presumption-his rapacity -his evil determinations: "Let us take any man's horses ;—the laws of England are at my commandment. Happy are they which have been my friends; and woe to my lord chief justice." When he plants himself in the way of the coronation procession to "leer" upon the King-when he exclaims "God save thy grace, king Hal,”-Henry was compelled to assert his consistency by his severity. Warburton has truly observed that, in his homily to Falstaff, Henry makes a trip, and is sliding into his old habit of laughing at Falstaff's bulk :
The very struggle, in this moment of trial,
"He hath intent, his wonted followers
The dramatic action is complete. Henry of Monmouth has passed through the dangerous trial of learning the great lessons of humanity amidst men with whom his follies "know, the grave doth gape made him an equal. The stains of this contact were on the surface. His heart was
For thee thrice wider than for other men."
He saw the rising smile, and the smothered retort, upon Falstaff's lip,—and he checks him with
"Reply not to me with a fool-born jest; Presume not that I am the thing I was.”
first elevated by ambition-then purified by
"Consideration like an angel came,
And whipp'd th' offending Adam out of him."
KING HENRY V.
'HENRY V.' was first printed in 1600, under the following title :- The Chronicle History of Henry the Fift, with his battell fought at Agin Court in France. Together with auntient Pistoll.' This copy, which differs most materially from the text of the folio, was reprinted in 1602, and again in 1608. The quarto of 1600 runs only to 1800 lines; whilst the lines in the folio edition amount to 3500. Not only is the play thus augmented by the additions of the choruses and new scenes, but there is scarcely a speech, from the first scene to the last, which is not elaborated. In this elaboration the old materials are very carefully used up; but they are so thoroughly refitted and dovetailed with what is new, that the operation can only be compared to the work of a skilful architect, who, having an ancient mansion to enlarge and beautify, with a strict regard to its original character, preserves every
feature of the structure, under other combi-