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“Yet there is one the most delightfull kind,
A loftie iumping or a leaping round,
Orchestra, by Sir John Davies, 1622. Stanza 70. The Coranto has been already spoken of as a dance characterised by the spirit and rapidity of its movements. See note (6), p. 258. It is thus described in Davies' “Orchestra:”.
“What shall I name those currant travases,
Stanza 69. (2) SCENE VI.
Fortune is Bardolph's foe, and frowns on him ;
For he hath stoľn a pax.] It was customary, in the early Church, for Christians, in conformity with the words of St. Paul, to “salute one another with a holy kiss." This ceremony appears to have obtained until about the twelfth or thirteenth century, when, for some reason not clearly defined, the laity (for the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church still practise it at High Mass,) were required to kiss, instead, an instrument called indifferently a pax, a tabula pacis, or an osculatorium. This was a small plate of metal, precious or otherwise, according to circumstances, having a religious subject engraved upon its surface, generally a representation of the crucifixion; and the proper time for using it was at that part of the mass just before the communion, where the priest recites the prayer for peace.
The pax itself became disused in its turn, owing, it is said, to certain jealousies about precedence, an irregularity rebuked by Chaucer's “Persone:”—“And yit is ther a prive spice of pride, that wayteth first to be saluet er he saliewe, al be he lasse worth than that other is, paradventure; and eek wayteth or desireth to sitte above him, or to go above him in the way, or kisse the par, or ben encensed, or gon to the offringe biforn his neighebore.”. Nevertheless, the use of the pas was not at first abrogated at the Reformation in England, but, on the contrary, enforced by the Royal Ecclesiastical Commissioners of Edward' VI.
The act of sacrilege which Shakespeare has fathered upon Bardolph agrees in the main with Holinshed's statement:-“That a folish soldiour stale a pixe out of a churche, for which cause he was apprehended, and the king would not once remove till the box was restored, and the offender strangled.”
The elder commentators thought it necessary to reconcile Shakespeare's text with Holinshed, by reading pix instead of par; but without reason, as the alteration was most likely deliberate on the part of the poet. The pix was a sacred vessel, made sometimes of precious metal, but more usually of copper gilt, and intended to receive the consecrated host for conveyance to the sick. Shakespeare might well shrink from bringing anything of this nature in contact with Falstaff's worthless old retainer. We may add that the first line of Pistol's speech
“Fortune is Bardolph's foe, and frowns on him”conveys an allusion to the famous old ballad, “Fortune my Foe,”
“Fortune my Foe, why dost thou frown on me?" See note (3), p. 160.
(3) SCENE VI.-4beard of the general's cut.] Not the least odd among the fantastic fashions of our forefathers, was the custom of distinguishing certain professions and classes by the cut of the beard: thus we hear, inter alia, of the bishop's-beard, the judge's-beard, the soldier's-beard, the citizen' s-beard, and even the clown's-beard. The peculiar shape appropriated to the Bench we have failed to discover: but Randle Holme tells us," the oroad or cathedral beard (is) so called because bishops and gown-men of the church anciently did wear such beards.". By the military man, the cut adopted was known as the stiletio or the spade :—"he (the barber] descends as low as his beard, and
asketh whether he please to be shaven or no? whether he will have his peak cut short and sharp, amiable, like an inamorato, or broade pendante, like a spade, to be terrible, like a warrior and soldado ?”-GREENE's Quip for an Upstart Courtier, 1592.
The beard of the citizen was usually worn round, as Mrs. Quickly describes it,'" like a glover's paring-knife;" and that of the clown was left bushy or untrimmed :
“Next the clown doth out-rush,
entitled, “ Le Prince d'Amour,” 1660. For additional particulars on the subject of beards, consult F. W. Fairholt's “ Costume in England." Lond. 1846.
(4) SCENE VI.
There's for thy labour, Montjoy.
Discolour: and so, Montjoy, fare you well.] The embassy here referred to, and even the words of Henry on that occasion, are taken from the following passage in Holinshed. Thirty of the French King's council “ agreed that the Englishmen should not depart unfought withall, and five were of a contrary opinion; but the greater number ruled the matter : and so Montjoy, King at Armes, was sent to the King of England, to defie him as the enemie of France, and to tell him that he should shortlie have battell. King Henrie advisedlie answered, Mine intent is to doo as it pleaseth God. I will not seeke your maister at this time, but if he or his seeke me I will meete with them God willing. If anie of your nation attempt once to stop me in my journie now towards Callis, at their jeopardie be it: and yet wish I not anie of you so unadvised as to be the occasion that I dye your tawnie ground with your red blood. When he had thus answered the herald, he gave him a princelie reward and monie to depart."
It has been supposed that many of the English nobility retained heralds in their households, who bore their names, and proclaimed their titles, even before the reign of Edward III. when Heraldry and officers of arms began to rise into the greatest eminence. Both the private heralds and the royal heralds received regular stipends, and wore surcoats or tabards embroidered with the armorial ensigns of their patrons; and considerable gratuities or largesses were at one period given to them at all ceremonials in which they performed any duty, either for the king or the nobility. These consisted of coronations,
creations of peers and knights, embassies, displaying of banners in the field or at tournaments, processions and progresses, great banquets, baptisms, and funerals; the annual festivals of the Church, and the enthronisation of prelates. Some notion of the amount of these fees is supplied by a record of the reign of Richard II. of the dues and largesses anciently accustomed to be paid to the Kings of Arms and Heralds on such occasions, printed in the Rev. James Dallaway's Inquiries into the Origin and Progress of Heraldry in England, p. 142–148.
Give dreadful note of preparation.]
“ Ther fomen steedes, on the golden bridel
The Knightes Tale, 1. 2508. To both descriptions some poetical licence must be accorded ; and it is difficult to repress a smile at the gravity with which the commentators assume they are to be construed literally. Doubtless, in actual warfare, armour frequently wanted repair; but surely the poor knight had enough to endure in his cumbrous equipment without being made a blacksmith's anvil. No such necessity is recognised in any of the instructions " how to arme a man,” still extant. From these we learn, that about Henry the Fifth's time, when plate armour had superseded chain mail, the “accomplishing” a knight consisted in first encasing him in garments of leather or fuștian, fitting tight to the person and padded. The arming then began at the feet, and was continued gradually upward, each piece being fastened by “points," i.e. laces with tags at the end, or buckles and leather straps. The last thing fixed was the bascinet, or steel skull cap, which was “ pynned upon two grete staples before the breste,” and rendered firm by " a double bocle," or two buckles and straps“ behynde upon the back.”
Thus it is apparent that arming a knight for battle or tourney, although a tedious business, was yet one simply and easily performed, and necessarily so, or the wounded man might die before he could be unharnessed. When Arcite is injured by a fall from his steed, Chaucer tells us that,
- he was y-born out of the place With herte sore, to Theseus paleys, Tho was he corven out of his harneys."
The Knightes Tale, l. 2696. i.e. cut out of his armour, meaning that the laces which held it together were cut, for greater expedition.
(1) SCENE II.
Why do you stay so long, my lords of France ?
IU-farour'dly become the morning field.] The miserable condition of the English army previous to the battle is feelingly depicted by Holinshed :
“ The Englishemen were brought into great misery in this iorney, their victuall was in maner spent, and nowe coulde they get none; for their enimies had destroied all the corne before they came: Reste coulde they none take, for their enimies were ever at hande to give them alarmes : daily it rained, and nightly it freesed: of fewell there was great scarsitie, but of fluxes greate plenty : money they hadde ynoughe, but wares to bestowe it uppon, for their reliefe or comforte, hadde they little or none."
(2) SCENE III.- The feast of Crispian.] of the martyrs Crispin and Crispinian, whose festival was formerly kept with especial honour in France on the 25th of October, the “Golden Legende" says,
“In the tyme whan the furyous persecucyon of crysten men was vnder Dyoclesyan and Maxymyan toogydre regnynge, Cryspyn and Cryspynyan borne at Rome of noble lygnage came with the blessyd sayntes Quyntyn, Faustyan, and Victoryn ynto Parys in Fraunce; and they there chese dyverse places for to preche the fayth of Cryste. Cryspyn and Cryspynyan came to the cyte of Suessyon [Soissons) and chosen that cyte for the place of theyr pylgrymage where they folowed the steppes of saynt Poule the appostle, that is to saye, To laboure with theyr hondes for to provyde to them necessaryly to lyve, and exercysed the craft of makynge of shoes. In whiche craft they passed other and toke by constraynt no reward of no body, wherefore the gentyles and paynems overcome by love of them, not only for nede of the craft, but also for the love of God came oft to them and left the error of the ydollys and byleuyd in very God."
After a series of persecutions and torments, borne with great constancy, these saints "receyved the crowne of martyrdome on the x kalendes of Novembre," about the year 287.
(3) SCENE IV.- This roaring deril i' the old play, that every one may pare his nails with a wooden dagger.] In the ancient religious dramas, called “ Mysteries,” the Devil was usually a very prominent personage. He was hideously apparelled; wore a mask with goggle eyes, wide mouth, and huge nose; had a red beard, horned head,
cloven feet, and hooked nails to his fingers. He was generally armed with a massive club, stuffed with wool, which he laid about him, during the performance, on all within his reach. To frighten others, he was wont to bellow out, “Ho, ho, ho !” and when himself alarmed, he roared, “ Out haro, out!” As these popular representations assumed a more secular tone, an addition was made to the dramatis persone, in the
* Archeologia, xx. 505.
shape of a character called the “ Vice,”, (see note (5) p. 83), whose chief humour consisted in belabouring the evil-one with a wooden lath or dagger similar to that employed by the modern Harlequin, in skipping on to his back, and, as a crowning affront, in pretending to pare his nails
. Shakespeare again alludes to this last exploit in “Twelfth Night," Act IV. Sc. 2:
I'll be with you again
(4) SCENE VI.— Then every soldier kill his prisoners.) “In the meane season, while the battaile thus continued, and that the englishemen had taken a greate number of prisoners, certayne frenchemen on horse back, whereof were capteines Robinet of Bornevill, Rifflart of Clamas, Isambert of Agincourt, and other men of armes, to the number of six hundred horssemen, which were the first that fled,-hearing that the english tents and pavilions were a good way distant from the army, without any sufficient gard to defend the same, either upon a covetous meaning to gaine by the spoile, or upon a desire to be revenged, entred upon the kings camp, and there spoiled the bales, robbed the tents, brake up chests, and carried away caskets, and slew suche servants as they founde to make any resistance. For the which acte they were after committed to prison, and had loste their lives, if the Dolphin had longer lived : for when the outcrye of the lackies and boys which ran away for feare of the frenchmen thus spoiling the campe, came to the kings eares, he doubting least his enemies should gather togither againe and begin a newe fielde; and mistrusting further that the prisoners would either be an aide to his enimies, or verie enimies to their takers in deed if they were suffred to live, contrary to his accustomed gentlenes, commanded by sound of trumpet, that every man (upon paine of death) should incontinently slaie his prisoner."--HOLINSHED.
(5) SCENE VIII.—Let there be sung “Non nobis,” and “ Te Deum.”] The incidents referred to in the preceding passage appear to be the last for which Shakespeare was indebted to Holinshed in this play, as well as the last of the more serious parts of the noble dramatic history of the French wars of Henry V.“ Aboutе foure of the clocke in the after noone,” says the old chronicler, deriving his information from the contemporaneous historian known by the name of Titus Livius,—“the king, when he saw no appearance of enemies, caused the retreit to be blowen; and, gathering his armie together, gave thanks to Almightie God for so happie a victorie : causing his prelates and chapleins to sing this psalm, ‘In Exitu Israel de Ægypto,' and commanded everie man to kneele downe on the ground at this verse, Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini Tuo da gloriam:' which done, he caused Te Deum,' with certaine anthems to be sung, giving laud and praise to God, without boasting of his owne force, or anie humane power.” In the English version Psalm cxiii. commences, “When Israel came out of Egypt,” and the verse “Non nobis” forms the beginning of that following ; answering to Psalms cxiv. cxv. of the ordinary Vulgate; though in the older psalters they are united into one. It will be remembered that Shakespeare has given to Henry a very fine paraphrase of the “ Non nobis” in his speech on receiving the account of the loss sustained by both armies :--
O God, thy arm was here,
Ascribe we all!”
“ And be it death proclaimed through our host,
To boast of this, or take that praise from God,
Which is his only,”— would appear to have been derived from the following very curious passage in Holinshed, though it really refers to Henry's
entry into London. "The king, like a grave and sober personage, and as one remembering from whom all victories are sent, seemed little to regard such vaine pompe and shewes as were in triumphant sort devised for his welcom
ing home from so prosperous a journie ; insomuch that he would not suffer his helmet to be carried before him, whereby might have appeared to the people the blowes and dints that were to be seene in the same: neither would he suffer any ditties to be made and sung by minstrels of his glorious victorie, for that he would have the praise and thanks altogether given to God.”
In our Illustrative Comments on Act V. of " Richard II.” we referred to this play our notice of the removal of the deposed king's body from Abbot's Langley to Westminster, in A.D. 1414. That ceremony appears to have been one of the earliest acts of Henry V. and he refers to it as an act of penitential restitution, in his speech immediately before the battle of Agincourt, Act IV. Sc. 1:
Not to-day, O Lord,
Imploring pardon.” Shakespeare derived the materials of this speech partly from Holinshed, and partly from the contemporaneous chronicler Fabyan. The former historian says that “when the king had settled things much to his purpose, he caused the bodie of King Richard to be removed, with all funerall dignities convenient to his estate, from Langley to Westminster, where he was honourablie interred, with Queen Anne, his first wife, in a solemne toome, made and set up at the charges of this king. Polychronicon saith that after the bodie of the dead king was taken up out of the earth, this new king, happily tendering the magnificence of a prince, and abhorring obscure buriall, caused the same to be conveied to Westminster in a roiall seat or chaire of estate, covered all over with black velvet, and adorned with banners of divers armes round about.” Fabyan adds that after a solemne terrement there holden, he provided that fower tapers should bren day and night about his grave while the world endureth; and one day in the weeke a solempne Dirige, and upon the morowe a masse of Requiem-song by note: after which masse ended to be geven wekely unto the poore people an xis. and vii. pense, in pense. And upon the daye of his anniversary, after the saide masse of Requiem-song, to be yerely distributed for his soule, xx pounde in pense." But notwithstanding Holinshed's praise of the princely disposition which Henry V. exhibited towards the remains of Richard II. it seems to be almost certain that, so far as related to the translation of his body to Westminster, it was only restoring to him the occupation of his own sepulchre. His will proves that the tomb had been actually erected during his own life; and there are in Rymer's Fædera two indentures made for its erection, between Richard and Henry Yevell and Stephen Lote, Citizens and Masons of London, and Nicholas Broker and Godfrey Prest, Citizens and Coppersmiths.
There is but one other point requiring illustration, which refers to the meaning of Henry in saying "More will I do," in the way of satisfaction for the death of Richard II.: and a passage in the Chronicles of Monstrelet shews that, like his father, he designed another crusade. When Henry was informed that he could not live more than two hours, he “sent for his confessor, some of his household, and his chaplains, whom he ordered to chaunt the Seven Penitential Psalms. When they came to · Benedic fac Domine,' where mention is made of the ‘Muri Hierusalem,' (Psalm li. 18,) he stopped them, and said aloud that he had fully intended, after he had wholly subdued the realm of France to his obedience and restored it to peace, to have gone to conquer the kingdom of Jerusalem, if it had pleased his Creator to have granted him longer life.” In the play also, in his courtship of the Princess Katharine, Act V. Sc. 2, Henry makes the following humorous reference to the same intention :-“Shall not thou and I, between St. Denis and St. George, compound a boy, half French, half English, that shall go to Constantinople and take the Turk by the beard? Shall we not? What sayest thou , my fair flower-de-luce?"