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FAL. I would, you had but the wit; 'twere better than your dukedom 9.-Good faith, this same young sober-blooded boy doth not love me; nor a man cannot make him laugh';-but that's no marvel, he drinks no wine. There's never any of these demure boys come to any proof2: for thin drink doth so over-cool their blood, and making many fish-meals, that they fall into a kind of male greensickness; and then, when they marry, they get wenches they are generally fools and cowards ;— which some of us should be too, but for inflammation. A good sherris-sack hath a two-fold opera


the same with temper of mind: I shall, in my good nature, speak better of you than you merit. JOHNSON.

I believe it means, "I, in my condition," i. e. in my place as commanding officer, who ought to represent things merely as they are, shall speak of you better than you deserve.

So, in The Tempest, Ferdinand says:


I am, in my condition,

"A prince, Miranda."

Dr. Johnson's explanation, however, seems to be countenanced by Gower's address to Pistol, in King Henry V. Act V. Sc. I. : let a Welsh correction teach you a good English condition,"


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your DUKEDOM.]

p. 178. RITSON.



He had no dukedom. See vol. xvi.

- this same young sober-blooded boy doth not love me; nor a man cannot make him laugh;] Falstaff here speaks like a veteran in life. The young prince did not love him, and he despaired to gain his affection, for he could not make him laugh. Men only become friends by community of pleasures. He who cannot be softened into gaiety, cannot easily be melted into kindJOHNSON.



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to any PROOF:] i. e. any confirmed state of manhood, The allusion is to armour hardened till it abides a certain trial, So, in King Richard II.:



Add proof unto my armour with thy prayers."


sherris-sack-] This liquor is mentioned in The Captain, by Beaumont and Fletcher. STEEVENS.

The epithet sherry or sherris, when added to sack, merely denoted the particular part of Spain from whence it came.


tion in it. It ascends me into the brain; dries me there all the foolish, and dull, and crudy vapours


"Xêres, or Xerès, opCadiz, unde nomen vini Sherris-Sack was there

Minsheu's Spanish Dictionary, 1617: pidum Boticæ, i. e. Andalusiæ, prope de Xeres. A. [Anglice] Xeres sacke." fore what we now denominate Sherry. The sack to which this epithet was not annexed, came chiefly from Malaga. Cole, who in 1679 renders sack, vinum Hispanicum, renders Sherry-Sack, by Vinum Eseritanum; and Ainsworth, by Vinum Andalusianum. See a former note, vol. xvi. p. 200, n. 2. MALOne.

What is ludicrously advanced by Falstaff, was the serious doctrine of the School of Salernum: "Heere observe that the witte of a man hath a strong braine, is clarified and sharpened more, if hee drinke good wine, than if he dranke none, as Auicen sayth. And the cause why, is by reason that of good wine (more than of any other drinkes) are engendered and multiplyed subtile spirits, cleane and pure. And this is the cause also why the divines, that imagine and study upon high and subtile matters, love to drinke good wines and after the opinion of Auicen, These wines are good for men of cold and flegmaticke complexion; for such wines redresse and amend the coldnesse of complexion, and they open the opilations and stoppings that are wont to be ingendred in such persons, and they digest phlegme, and they help nature to convert and turne them into blood, they lightly digest, and convert quickly, they increase and greatly quicken the spirits." The School of Salernes' Regiment of Health, p. 33, 1634.


Of this work there were several earlier translations, &c. one of these was printed by Berthelet, in 1541. STEEVENS.

We have equally strong testimonies in favour of good wine from some of our learned countrymen. I have two treatises on this subject, one, The Tree of Humane Life, or The Bloud of the Grape, &c. by Thomas Whitaker, Doctor in Physick of London, 1638. He observes that Noah lived twenty years beyond Adam, which he attributes to his having "tasted Nectar from that plant from which Adam was excluded, I mean an inferiour species of that tree of life.” The other is entitled ΠΕΡΙ ΨΥΧΡΟΠΟΣΙΑΣ, of drinking water, against our novellists that prescribed it in England, by Richard Short, of Bury, Doctor of Physick, 1656. He is not a little angry at the water drinkers, and asks if we may not as well feed upon acorns. BOSWELL.

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4 It ascends ME into the brain; dries ME there all the crudy vapours ] This use of the pronoun is a familiar redundancy among our old writers. So Latimer, p. 91: "Here cometh me "There was one now these holy fathers from their counsels."

which environ it: makes it apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, firy, and delectable shapes; which delivered o'er to the voice, (the tongue,) which is the birth, becomes excellent wit. The second property of your excellent sherris is,the warming of the blood; which, before cold and settled, left the liver white and pale, which is the badge of pusillanimity and cowardice: but the sherris warms it, and makes it course from the inwards to the parts extreme. It illumineth the face; which, as a beacon, gives warning to all the rest of this little kingdom, man, to arm: and then the vital commoners, and inland petty spirits, muster me all to their captain, the heart; who, great, and puffed up with this retinue*, doth any deed of courage; and this valour comes of sherris: So that skill in the weapon is nothing, without sack; for that sets it a-work and learning, a mere hoard of gold kept by a devil'; till sack commences it, and sets it in

* Folio, his retinue.

wiser than the rest, and he comes me to the bishop." Edit. 1575, p. 75. Bowle.


– apprehensive,] i. e. quick to understand. So, in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1608:

"Thou'rt a mad apprehensive knave." Again, in Every Man out of his Humour: "You are too quick, too apprehensive." In this sense it is now almost disused.



forgetive,] Forgetive from forge; inventive, imaginative. JOHNSON.

7-kept by a devil;] It was anciently supposed that all the mines of gold, &c. were guarded by evil spirits. So, in Certaine Secrete Wonders of Nature, &c. bl. 1. by Edward Fenton, 1569: "There appeare at this day many strange visions and wicked spirites in the metal-mines of the Greate Turke." "In the mine at Anneburg was a mettal sprite which killed twelve workemen; the same causing the rest to forsake the myne, albeit it was very riche." P. 91. STEEVENS.

8 till sack COMMENCES it,] I believe, till sack gives it a beginning, brings it into action. Mr. Heath would read commerces


act and use. Hereof comes it, that prince Harry is valiant: for the cold blood he did naturally inherit of his father, he hath, like lean, steril, and bare land, manured, husbanded, and tilled, with excellent endeavour of drinking good, and good store of fertile sherris; that he is become very hot, and valiant. If I had a thousand sons, the first human principle I would teach them, should be,— to forswear thin potations, and addict themselves to sack.

It seems probable to me, that Shakspeare, in these words, alludes to the Cambridge Commencement; and in what follows to the Oxford Act: for by those different names our two universities have long distinguished the season, at which each of them gives to her respective students a complete authority to use those hoards of learning which have entitled them to their several degrees in arts, law, physick, and divinity. TYRWHITT.

So, in The Roaring Girl, 1611:

"Then he is held a freshman and a sot,

"And never shall commence."

Again, in Pasquil's Jests, or Mother Bunch's Merriment, 1604: "A doctor that was newly commenst at Cambridge," &c.

Again, in Have With You to Saffron Walden, or Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is Up, 1596: “ Commence, commence, I admonish thee; thy merits are ripe for it, and there have been doctors of thy facultie." STEEVENS.

9to forswear thin potations,] In the preference given by Falstaff to sack, our author seems to have spoken the sentiments of his own time. In the Ordinances of the Household of King James I. dated in 1604, (the second year of his reign,) is the following article: "And whereas in times past Spanish wines called sacke, were little or no whit used in our court, and that in late yeares, though not of ordinary allowance, &c.—we understanding that it is used as comon drinke and served at meales, as an ordinary to every meane officer, contrary to all order, using it rather for wantonesse and surfeiting, than for necessity, to a great wastefull expence," &c.

Till the above mentioned period, the "thin potations" complained of by Falstaff, had been the common beverage. See the Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Royal Household, &c. published by the Antiquary Society, 4to. 1790.

The ancient and genuine Sherry was a dry wine, and therefore fit to be drank with sugar. What we now use is in some degree

Enter BARDolph.

How now, Bardolph ?

BARD. The army is discharged all, and gone. FAL. Let them go. I'll through Glostershire; and there will I visit master Robert Shallow, esquire: I have him already tempering between my finger and my thumb1, and shortly will I seal with him. Come away. [Exeunt.


Westminster. A Room in the Palace.

Enter King HENRY, CLARENCE, Prince HUMPHREY, WARWICK, and Others.

K. HEN. Now, lords, if heaven doth give successful end

To this debate that bleedeth at our doors,

We will our youth lead on to higher fields,
And draw no swords but what are sanctified.

sweetened by art, and therefore affords no adequate idea of the liquor that was Falstaff's favourite. STEEVENS.

I have him already TEMPERING, &c.] A very pleasant allusion to the old use of sealing with soft wax. WARBURTON. This custom is likewise alluded to in Any Thing for a quiet Life, 1662, a comedy, by Middleton:


"You must temper him like wax, or he'll not seal." Again, in Your Five Gallants, by Middleton, no date: Fetch a pennyworth of soft wax to seal letters." Again, in Chaucer's Marchante's Tale, v. 9304: Right as men may warm wax with handes plie." STEEVENS.


In our poet's Venus and Adonis, there is an allusion to the same custom :

"What wax so frozen but dissolves with tempering,
"And yields at last to every light impression?"


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