William Shakespeare: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 6

By Brian Vickers | Go to book overview

278.

Unsigned article, notes on Shakespeare

1785

From ‘Remarks upon some Passages of Shakespeare’, in the Edinburgh Magazine, i (January 1785), pp. 34-7, 104-6, and May 1785, pp. 396-8.

[1] [On 1 Henry IV, dramatis personae]

It is singular that Shakespeare should have picked out the names of old English barons, and given them to the graceless companions of the Prince of Wales. Falstaff, Poins, Peto, and Bardolph, are all of this sort. It seems that he took them from the first book that lay at hand, from some of the English Chronicles. (34)

[2] [Ibid., 3.3.24ff.]

‘Do thou amend thy face,’ &c. Bardolph had ventured to jest a little on Sir John’s bulk. Sir John, fretted at his assuming such liberties, pours out a torrent of wit on the wretched retainer. It is wonderful to see the different lights in which he places the single circumstance of Bardolph’s red nose! (35)

[3] [On 2 Henry IV, 3.2.23f.]

‘We knew where the Bonaroba’s were.’ Remark the simplicity of Shakespeare’s times. Shallow brags that he and his wild companions knew where women of the town were to be found. (35)

[4] [Ibid., 3.2]

The humour of the two justices, Shallow and Silence, is excellent, above the common excellence of Shakespeare. Shallow is exceedingly silly; but the author has so underwritten the part of Silence, that he appears much sillier than Shallow. This will be more particularly illustrated in the sequel. (35)

[5] [Ibid., 3.2.243]

Bardolph says, ‘I have three pounds to free Mouldy and Bullcalf.’ It

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