Page images

The clock gives me my cue, and ny assurance bids me search; there I shall find Falít:ff: I Mall be rather praised for this, than mocked; for it is as positive as the earth is firm, that Falstaff is there : I will go. Enter Page, SHALLOW, SLENDER, Hoft, Sir Hugh

EVANS, CAIUS and RUGBY. Shal. Page, &c. Well met, master Ford.

Ford. Trust me, a good knot : I have good cheer at home; and, I pray you, all go with me.

Shal. I mult excuse myself, master Ford. Slen. And fo muft I, fir; we have appointed to dine with ristress Anne, and I would not break with her for more money than I'll fpeak of.

Shal. We have linger'd 4 about a match between Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our anfwer.

Slen. I hope, I have your good will, father Page.

Page. You have, master Slender ; I stand wholly for you: - but my wife, master doctor, is for you altogether.

Caius. Ay, by gar; and de maid is love-a me; my nursh-a Quickly tell me so mulh.

Hoft. What fay you to young master Fenton ? he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holiday," he smells April and May: he will carry't, he will carry't ; 'tis in his buttons ;t he will carry't.

Pagea 9. They have not linger’d very long. The match was proposed by Sir Hugh but the day before. JOHNSON.

Shallow reprefents the affair as having been long in hand, that he may better excufe himself and Slender from accepting Ford's invitation on the day when it was to be concluded. STEEVENS.

2 i. e. in an high-down, fustian ftile, It was called a koly-day file, from the old custom of acting their farces of the mysteries and moralities, which were turgid and bombast, on holy-days. So, in Much Ado about Nothing:-" I cannot woo in festival terms." And again, in Tbe Mercbant of Venice :

“ Thou spend't such bigb-day wit in praising him." WARBURTON. I suspect that Dr. Warburton's supposition that this phrafe is derived fri m the season of acting the old mysteries, is but an boliday hypothesis ; and have preserved his note only for the sake of the ages he quotes. Finton is not represented as a talker of bombast.

Page. Not hy my confent, I promise you. The gentle. man is of no having: she kept company with the wild prince and Poins; he is of too high a region, he knows too much. No, he shall not kıit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance; if he take her, let him take her fimply; the wealth I have waits on my consent, and my consent goes not that way.

Ford. I beseech you, heartily, some of you go home with me to dinner : besides your cheer, you shall have sport ; I will show you a monster.

Malter Doctor, you shall

go; - ro Mall you, master Page ;--and you, Sir Hugh. Shal. Well, fare


well : :- we shall have the freer woo. ing at master Page's. Exeunt Shallow and SLENDER. Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.

[Exit RUGBY. Hoft. Farewell, my hearts : I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.

[Exit Host. Ford. [-4fidea] I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with him; I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles ? All. Have with you, to see this monster, [Exeunt.

SCENE He speaks boliday, I believe, means only, his language is more curious and affectedly cbusen than that used by ordinary me..

MALONE So, in King Henry IV. P. I:

«. With many boliday and lady terms." STEEVINS. To speak balida, muit mean to speak out of the common road, superior to the vulgar; alluding to the better dress worn on such days. RITSON.

3 'This was the phraseology of the time; not“ he smells of April," &c. So, in Measure for Meufure " he would mouth with a beggar of fiftys though the smelt brown bread and Garlick." MALONE.

4 Alluding to an ancient custom among the country fellows, of trying whether they should succeed with their mistreffes, by carrying the bachelor's buttons (a plant of the Lycbnis kind, whose flowers resemble a coat button in form) in their pockets. And they judged of their good or bad success by their growing, or their not growing there. SMITH. ŞHaving is the same as cftate or fortune. JOHNSON,

Hoft. Farewell, my bearts: I will to my bones knight Fa'faff, and drink canary wirb bim.

Ford. [Alide.] I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with him; I'll make bim dance.) To drink in pipe-wine is a phrase which I cannot under: ftand. May we not suppose that Shakspeare rather wrote, I ibink I shall drink HORN-PIPE wine first with bim: I'll make bim dances

Canary is the name a dance, as well as of a wine. Ford lays hold of both senses; but for an obvious reafun, makes the dance a korn-pipes


A Room in Ford's House.

Enter Mrs. Ford and Mrs. PAGE.
Mrs. Ford. What, John! what, Robert !
Mrs. Page. Quickly, quickly : Is the buck basket-
Mrs. Ford. I warrant :- What, Robin, I say.

Enter Servants with a Basket.
Mrs. Page. Come, come, come.
Mrs. Ford, Here, set it down.
Mrs. Page. Give your men the charge; we muft be brief.

Mrs. Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John, and Robert, be ready here hard by in the brewhouse; and when I suddenly call you, come forth, and (without any pau'e, or ftag. gering,) take this basket on your shoulders: that done, trudge with it in all haste, and carry it among the whitfters? in Dalchet mead, and there empty is in the muddy ditch, close by the 'Thames' side.

Mrs. Page. You will do it?

Mrs. Ford. I have told them over and over; they lack no direction : Be gone, and come when you are callesi.

[Exeunt Servants, Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin. It has been already remarked, that Shakspeare has frequent allusions to a cuckold's borns. TYRWHITT.

Pipe is known to be a veffel of wine, now containing two hogsheads. Pipe-wine is therefore wine, not from the bottle, but the pipe; and the jest consists in the ambiguity of the word, which fignifies both a calk of wine, and a musical instrument. JOHNSON.

The jest here lies in a mere play of words. " I'll give him pife-wine which shall make him dance." Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786.

STEEVENS. The phrase," To drink in pipe wine"-always seemed to me a very strange one, till I met with the following passage in King James's first speech to his parliament, in 1604; by which it appears that “ to drink in" was the phraseology of the time : « -who either, being old, have retained their first drunken-in liquor," &c. MALONI,

7 i. e, the blanchers of linen. DOUCI.


Enter Robin Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket ? 8 what news with you? Rob. My master fir John is come in at your

back-door, mistress Ford; and requests our company.

Mrs. Page. You little Jack-a-lent, have you been true to us?

Rob. Av, I'll be sworn: My master knows not of your being here; and hath threaren'd to put me into everlalting liberty, if I tell you of it ; for, he swears, he'll turn me away.

Mrs. Page. Thou'rt a good boy; this secrecy of thine shall be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hofe. I'll go hide me.

Mrs. Ford. Do so:--Go tell thy master, I am alone. Miftress Page, remember you your cue.

[Exit Robin. Mrs. Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me.

[Exit Mrs. Pace. Mrs. Ford. Go to then ; we'll use this unwholsome humi. dity, this gross watry pumpion; - we'll teach hiin to know turtles from jays.

Enter FALSTAFF. Fal. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel?? Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough; this is the period of my ambition: this blessed hour!

Mrs, Ford,


Eyas is a young unfledg'd hawk; I suppose from the Italian Niafo, which originally signified any young bird taken from the nest unfledg’d, afterwards a young hawk. The French, from hence, took their niais, and used it in both those significations; to which they added a third, metaphorically, a filly fellow; un garçon fort niais, un niais. Musket fignifies a Sparrow bawk, or the smallest species of hawks. This too is from the Italian Musobetto, a small hawk, as appears from the original signification of the word, namely, a troublesome flinging fly. So that the humour of calling the little page an cyas-musket is very intelligible. WARBURTON. 9 A Jack o' lent was a puppet thrown at in Lent, like throve-cocks.

STEEVENS. ? Have I caught my heavenly jewel?] This is the first line of the second Tong in Sidary's Astrophel and Stella. "TOLLET.

3 This sentiment, which is of sacred origin, is here indecently intro. duced. It appears again with somewhat less of profane css, in Tbe Il'inica's Tale, Ac IV, and in Oibello, Act II. STEEVENS.

Mrs. Ford. O sweet fir John!

Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford. Now shall I fin in my with : I would thy hutband were dead; I'll speak it before the best lord, I would make thee my lady.

Mrs. Ford, I your lady, fir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady.

Fal. Let the court of France show me such another; I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond : Thou haft the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the thip-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian adınittance, 4

Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, Gr John: my brows become nothing else; nor that well neither.

Fal. Thou art a traitor Sto say fo: thou would't make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gait, in a semi.circled

farthingale. 4 The speaker tells his mistress, the had a face that would become all the head dresses in fashion. The ship-tire was an open head dress, with a kind of scarf depending from behind. Its name of frip.cire was, I presume, from its giving the wearer some resemblance of a ship (as Shakspeare says) in all ber ti im: with all her pennants out, and Aags and streamers figing.

This was an image familiar with the poets of that time. Thus Beau. mont and Fletcher, in their play of Wit without Money :-“She Spreads sattens as the king's ships do canvas every where the may space her misen," &c. This will direct us to reform the following word of tire. valiant, which I suspect to be corrupt, valiant being a very incongruous epithet for a woman's head-dress: I suppose Shakspeare wrote tire-vailani. As the ship-tire was an open head-dress, so che tire-vailant was a close one, in which the head and breat were covered as with a veil. And these were, in fact, the two different head-dresses then in fashion, as we may fee by the pictures of that time. One of which was fo open, that the whole neck, breasts, and shoulders, were opened to view: the other, so securely inclosed in kerchiefs, &c. that nothing could be feen above the eyes, or below the chin. WARBURTON.

- i. e. of a fashion received or admitted from Venice. Dr. Farmer propofes to read+6 of Venetian remittance." STELVINS.

In how much request the Venetian tyre formerly was held, appears from Burton's Anatomy of Melancboly, 1624: "-et her have the Spanish gate (gait), the Venetian tire, Italian complements and endowments."

MALONI. May not the tire-valiant be so called from the air of boldness and con. fidence which it might give the wearer? RIED,

S i, e. to thy own merit. STIEVENS.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »