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of Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money ; which must be paid to master Brook ; $ his horses are arrested for it, master Brook.
Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never meet. I will never take
my love again, but I will always count you my deer.
Fal. I do begin to perceive, that I am made an ass.
Fal. And there are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies : and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprize of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a receiv'd belief, in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now, how wit may be made a Jack-a-lent, when 'tis upon ill employment !
Eva. Sir John Falstaff, ferve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
Ford. Well faid, 'fairy Hugh.
Ford, I will never miftfuit my wife again, till thou art able to woo her in good English.
Fal. Have I lay'd my brain in the sun, and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent fo gross o'er reaching as this? Am I ridden with a Welch goat too? Shall I have a coxcomb of frize ? 7 'tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.
Eva, Seese is not good to give putter; your pelly is all putter.
s We ought rather to read with the old quarto," which must be paid to master Ford;" for as Ford, to mortify Falstaff, addresses him throughout his specch by the name of Brook, the describing himself by the fame name creates a confusion.
A modern editor plausibly enough reads" which must be paid too, Master Brookz;" but the firit sketch fhows that to is right; for the sentence, as it stands in the quarto, will not admit too,
MALONE. 6 A Jack oʻLent appears to have been some puppet which was thrown at in Lent, like Shrove-tide cocks. STEEVENS.
7 i. e. a fool's cap made out of Welch materials. Wales was famous for this cloth. So, in K. Edward I. 1599 : « Enter Lluelin, alias prince of Wales, &c. with swords and bucklers, and freize jerkins. Again : ". Enter Suffex, &c. with a mantle of freize."
---my boy shall we are a mantle of this country's weaving, to keep him warm.' STEEVENS. Vou.. I.
and the om the les but ne yndy
than a adoped
thinki crves # Till what gh,
Fal. Seese and putter! Have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This is enough to be the decay of luft and late-walking, through the realm.
Mrs. Page. Why, fir John, do you think, though we hould have thruft virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to hell, that ever the devilcould have made you our delight?
Ford. What, a hodge-pudding a bag of flax?
Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and fack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings, and starings, pribbles and prabbles ?
Fal. Well, I am your theme; you have the start of me ; I am dejected ; I am not able to answer the Welch flannel ;8 ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me:9 use me as you will.
8 The very word is derived from a Welch one, so that it is almost unne. cessary to add that flannel was originally the manufacture of Wales. In the old play of K. Edward I. 1599 : “ Enter Hugh ap David, Guenthian his wench in flannel and Jack his novice.”. STEEVENS.
9 Though this be perhaps not unintelligible, yet it is an odd way of confefsing his dejection. I thould wish to read:
“-ignorance it felf has a plume o' me." That is, I am so deprefied, that ignorance itself plucks me, and decks. itself with the spoils of my weakness. Of the present reading, which is probably right, the meaning may be, I am so enfeebled, that ignorance itself weighs me down and oppresles me. JOHNSON.
« Ignorance itself, says Falstaff, is a plummet o'er me." If any alteration be necessary, I think, “ Ignorance itself is a planet o’er me," would have a chance to be right. Thus Bobadil excuses his cowardise : « Sure I was struck with a planet, for I had no power to touch my weapon."
FARMER. As Mr. M. Mason observes, there is a passage in this very play which tends to support Dr. Farmer's amendment.
“ I will awe him with my cudgel; it hall hang like a meteor o'er the cuckold's horns: Master Brook, thou shalt know, I will predominate over the peasant."
Dr. Farmer might also have countenanced his conjecture by a passage in K. Henry VI. wbere queen Margaret says, that Suffolk's face: "ruld like a wandring planet over me." STEEVENS.
Ford. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windfor, to one mafter Brook, that you have cozened of money, to whom you should have been a pandar : over and above that you
have suffered, I think, to repay that money will be a biting affliction.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, 2 let that go to make amends ; Forgive that sum, and so we'll all be friends.
Ford. Well, here's my hand; all's forgiven at last.
Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou thalt eat a poffet tonight at my house ; where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife,3 that now laughs at thee : Tell her, master Slender hath married her daughter.
Mrs. Page. Doctors doubt that : If Anne Page be my daughter, the is, by this, doctor Caius' wife. [ Aside
Page. Son! how now ? how now, fon? have you despatch'd ?
Slen. Despatch'd !-- I'll make the best in Glocestershire know on't ; would I were hanged, la, else.
Page. Of what, fon?
Perhaps Falstaff's meaning may be this: “ Ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me : i. e. above me ;" ignorance itself is not so low as I am, by the length of a plummet line. TYRWHITT.
Ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me-i. e. serves to point out my ob. liquities. This is said in consequence of Evans's last speech. The allufion is to the examination of a carpenter's work by the plummet held over it; of which line Sir Hugh is here represented as the lead. HENLEY.
I am satisfied with the old reading. MALONE.
Which Dr. Johnson's note renders perfectly intelligible; all those which follow it serving only to shew how agreeably learned critics can blunder. NICHOLS.
2 This and the following little speech I have inserted from the old quartos, The retrenchment, I presume, was by the players. Sir John Falstaff is sufficiently punished, in being disappointed and exposed. The expectation of his being prosecuted for the twenty pounds, gives the conclufion too tragical a turn. Besides, it is poetical justice that Ford should sustain this loss, as a fine or his unreasonable jealousy. THEOBALD.
3 The two plots are excellently connected, and the transition very artfully made in this speech. JOHNSON.
took the wrong.
and she's a great lubberly boy: If it had not been i' the church, I would have swinged him, or he should have swinged
If I did not think it had been Anne Page, would I might never ftir, and 'tis a post-master's boy. Page. Upon my life then
you Slen. What need you tell me that ? I think so, when I took a boy for a girl : If I had been married to him, for all he was in woman's apparel, I would not have had him.
Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you, how you should know my daughter by her garments ?
Slen. I went to her in white, and cry'd, mum; and the cry'd budget, as Anne and I had appointed ; and yet it was not Anne, but a post-master's hoy.
Era. Jeshu! Master Slender, cannot you see but marry boys?
Page. O, I am vex'd at heart : What shall I do?
Mrs. Page. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose; turned my daughter into green ; and, indeed, she is now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.
Enter CAIUS. Caius. Vere is mistress Page ? By gar, I am cozened ; I ha' married un garçon, a boy ; un paisan, by gar, a boy; it is not Anne Page : by gar, I am cozened.
Mrs. Page. Why, did you take her in green? Caius. Ay, be gar, and 'tis a boy :- be gar, I'll raise all Windfor.
Exit CAJUS. Ford. This is strange : Who hath got the right Anne? Page. My heart misgives me : Here comes master Fenton.
Enter Fenton and Anne Page. How now, mafter Fenton ?
Anne. Pardon, good father! good my mother, pardon!
Page. Now, mistress ? how chance you went not with master Slender?
Mrs. Page. Why went you not with master doctor, maid?
Fent. You do amaze her; } Hear the truth of it. You would have married her most shamefully, Where there was no proportion held in love. ,
The 3 i. e, confound her by your questions. STELVENS.
The truth is, She and I, long since contracted,
Ford. Stand not amaz'd: here is no remedy:
Fal. I am glad, though you have ta’en a special stand to
Page. Well, what remedy? Fenton,+ hoaven give thee
What cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac'ił.
Fal. When night dogs run, all sorts of deer are chas'd.s
Mrs. 4 In the first sketch of this play, which, as Mr. Pope observes, is much inferior to the latter performance, the only sentiment of which I regret the omission, occurs at this critical time, When Fenton brings in his wife, there is this dialogue.
Mrs. Ford. Come, Mrs. Page, I must be bold with you.
love that is so true.
-Here Fenton, take ber.
you see your wife is pleasid.
5 Young and old, dues as well as backs. He alludes to Fenton's har. ing just run down Anne Page, MALONE,
I will dance and ect plums at your wedding;) I have no doubt but
What cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac'd.