One of Falstaff's inferior officers. Falstaff calls him “the
knight of the burning lamp,” because his nose was so red, and his face
so “full of meteors.” He is a low-bred, drunken swaggerer, without
principle, and poor as a church mouse. (Merry Wives; Henry IV ,
“We must have better assurance for Sir John than Bardolf's. We like
not the security.” —Lord Macaulay.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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