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Henry the Fifth

the piece of wood or metal, engraved with the picture of Christ, which was given to the laity to be kissed during the celebration of the Mass.

III. vi. 62. The fig of Spain. Pistol merely repeats and elaborates the exclamation of line 59. 'Figo' was the Spanish word for 'fig.'

III. vii. 14. as if his entrails were hairs. The tennis balls of the day were stuffed with hair. Cf. Much Ado About Nothing, III. ii. 46, 47.

III. vii. 19. pipe of Hermes. Hermes, by playing on his pipe, charmed the hundred-eyed Argus to sleep.

III. vii. 71, 72. 'The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.' (2 Peter 2. 22.)

III. vii. 98. go to hazard. Shakespeare adopts this incident from Holinshed. 'The Frenchmen in the meanewhile, as though they had beene sure of victorie, made great triumphe, for the capteins had determined before how to diuide the spoile, and the soldiers the night before had plaid the Englishmen at dice.'

III. vii. 126. 'tis a hooded valour. This is a metaphor drawn from falconry. The hawk was kept hooded till it was released to fly at the game. 'To bate' was to flap the wings, as the hawk invariably did, after being unhooded, preparatory to flight. Probably the Constable uses this word punningly with a play upon another meaning of 'bate': to dwindle, to diminish.


IV. i. 55. Saint Davy's day. It was an old Welsh custom to wear a leek upon Saint David's day to commemorate the victory said to have been won by King Arthur over the Saxons on Saint David's day in the year 540 A. D. It is the tradition that the battle was fought in a garden where leeks were growing and that Saint David ordered Arthur's soldiers to wear the leek in honour of the victory. Shakespeare