who were martyred for their faith at Soissons early in the fourth century.
IV. iv. S. d. Excursions. This stage direction indicates that small groups of armed men hurry across the stage as if in the heat of battle.
IV. iv. 4. Qualtitie calmie custure me. This is the reading of the Folio. The passage is usually emended to read, 'Quality? Calen O custure me!' The last four words in this amended reading form the refrain of a popular Irish song of Shakespeare's day and are a corruption of the Irish phrase, 'Colleen, oge asture,' i.e., 'young girl, my treasure.' According to this conjecture, Pistol repeats the only word he has understood in the French gentleman's speech and follows it by quoting, with characteristic irrelevancy, the burden of this popular song. The present editor has restored the Folio reading because the resemblance between Pistol's words and the burden of the song is not close enough to be altogether convincing; but the theory represents the most satisfactory explanation that has been offered. C. D. Stewart (Some Textual Difficulties in Shakespeare, Yale University Press, 1914, pp. 71-74) argues that Pistol is trying to talk French: 'Quel titre comme accoster me.'
IV. iv. 14. moys. Probably the French 'muys' or 'muids,' a measure of corn, equal to five quarters English measure. It has also been suggested that 'moys' were some sort of coin.
IV. iv. 76. devil i' the old play. This refers not to any particular play, but to the old Morality plays, in which the Devil was frequently the butt of the Vice or clown, who, armed with a wooden dagger, subjected him to all manner of physical indignities. The 'roaring devil' in these plays presented just such a combination of braggadocio and cowardice as Pistol.
IV. vii. 104. in a garden. This is another reference to the traditional Arthurian battle in the leek-garden. Cf. IV. i. 55 and note.