« PreviousContinue »
.. Hoff. What say you to young Mr. Fenton ? he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, 8 he writes verses, he speaks holy-day, he smells April and May: he will carry't, he will carry't ; 9 'tis in his buttons ; he will carry't.
Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman is ' of no having : he kept company with the wild prince and Poins. He is of too high a region, he knows too much. No, he shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance.
8 -- he writes verses, he speaks holy-day, i.e. in a highflown, fuftian stile. It was called a holy-day stile, 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 The Merchant of Venice " thou spend'st such high-day wit in “ praising him." WARBURTON.
9 - 'tis in his buttons ;-) Alluding to an ancient custom among the country fellows, of trying whether they shall fucceed with their mistresses, by carrying the batchelor's buttons (a plant of the Lychnis 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. Greene mentions these batchelor's buttons, in his Quip for an upstart Courtier- " I saw the batchelor's buttons, whose virtue “ is, to make wanton maidens weep, when they have worne " them forty weeks under their aprons,” &c.
The same expresion occurs in Heywood's Fair Maid of the Wejt, 1631.
“ He wears batchelor's buttons, does he not?” Again, in The Constant Maid, by Shirley, 1640.
“ I am a batchelor, · "I pray let me be one of your buttons fill then.” Again, in A Fair Quarrel, by Middleton and Rowley, 1617.
“ I'll wear my batchelor's buttons ftill.”
is he's my husband, he has no batchelor's buttons at
« his doubler." Again, in A H’oman never lex’d, com. by Rowley, 1632.
“ Go, go and rett on Venus' violets ; shew her
“ A dozen of batchelor's buttons, boy." STEEVENS. 1- of no having :- ] Having is the same as eftate or foriune. JOHNSON.
If he take her, let him take her simply; 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 shew you a monster. Master Doctor, you shall go; so shall you, master Page ; and you, Sir Hugh.
Shal. Well, fare you well: we shall have the freer wooing at Mr. Page's.
Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.
Hoft. 2 Farewell, my hearts : I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.
Ford. Afide.] 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.
Hoft. ? Farewell, my hearts : I will to my honeft knight Falftaff, and drink canary with him.
Ford. [Aside.] I think, I fall drink IN PIPE-wine firit with him : I'll make him dance.-] To drink in pipe-wine, is a phrase which I cannot understand. May we not suppose that Shakespeare rather wrote ? I think I shall drink HORN-PIPE wine first with him: I'll make him dance.
Canary is the name of a dance, as well as of a wine. Ford lays hold of both senses; but, for an obvious reason, makes the dance a horn-pipe. It has been already remarked, that Shakespeare has frequent allusions to a cuckold's horns. Obfer-, vations and Conjectures, &c. printed at Oxford 1766.
Pipe is known to be a veíTel of wine, now containing two hogsheads. Pipe wine is therefore wine, not from the bottle, but the pipe; and the text consists in the ambiguity of the word, which fignifies both a calk of wine, and a musical instrument. Horn-pipe wine has no meaning. Johnson.
S'C E N E III.
Ford's house. Enter Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Page, and servants with a
basket. Mrs. Ford, What, John! what, Robert ! Mrs. Page. Quickly, quickly: is the buck-basketMrs. Ford. I warrant. What, Robin, I say. Mrs. Page. Come, come, come. Mrs. Ford. Here, set it down.
Mrs. Page. Give your men the charge ; we must be brief.
Mrs. Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John and Robert, be ready here hard by in the brew-house ; and when I suddenly call on you, come forth, and (without any pause or staggering) take this basket on your shoulders : that done, trudge with it in all haste, and carry it among the whitsters in Datchet mead, and there empty it 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 call’d.
Exeunt Servants. Mrs. Pege. Here comes little Robin.
Enter Robin. Mrs. Ford. 3 How now, my eyas-musket, what news with you?
3 How now, my eyas-mufkct,-) Eyas is a young unfledg'd hawk. I suppose from the Italian Niaso, which originally tignised any young bird taken from the neft 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 ninis. Niujet fignifies a f;arrow hawk, or the imallett species
Rob. My master Sir John is come in at your backdoor, mistress Ford; and requests your company.
Mrs. Page. You little Jack-a-lent, have you been
true to Page. You litend requests you at your back
Rob. Ay, I'll be sworn : my master knows not of your being here: and hath threaten'd to put me into everlasting 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 hose. I'll go hide me.
Mrs. Ford. Do so: go tell thy master, I am alone. Mistress Page, remember you your cue. [Exit Robin.
Mrs. Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me.
[Exit Mrs. Page. Mrs. Ford. Go to then ;-we'll use this unwholsome humidity, this gross watry pumpion ;- we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.
Enter Falstaf. Fal. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel ? Why, now let die ; for I have liv'd long enough : this is the period of my ambition : O this blessed hour!
Mrs. Ford. O sweet Sir John !
Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog; I cannot prate, mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my wish: I would thy husband were dead; I'll speak it before the best lord, I would make thee my lady.
Mrs. Ford. I your lady, Sir John ! alas, I should be a pitiful lady.
Fal. Let the court of France shew nie such another; I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond : thou
of hawks. This too is from the Italian Muschetto, a small hawk, as appears from the original signification of the word, namely, a troublesome singing fly. So that the humour of calling the little page an eyas-musket is very intelligible.
hast the right arched bent of the brow, 4 that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.
4- that becomes the pip-tire, the tire-VALIANT, or any Venetian attire.] The old quarto reads, tire-vellet, and the old folio reads, or any tire of Venetian admittance. So that the true reading of the whole is this, that becomes the ship-tire, the tireVAILANT, or any tire of Venetian admittance. The speaker tells his misress, she had a face that would become all the headdresses in faihion. The ship-tire was an open head-dress, with a kind of scarf depending from behind. Its name of ship-tire was, I presume, from its giving the wearer some resemblance of a fhip (as Shakespeare Tays) in all her trim : with all her pennants out, and fags and itreamers flying. Thus Milton, in Samson Agonistes, paints Dalila:
" But who is this, what thing of sea or land?
“ Courted by all the winds that hold them play.” This was an image familiar with the poets of that time. Thus Beaumont and Fletcher, in their play of Wit without Money“ She spreads fattens as the king's fhips 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 Shakespeare wrote tire-voilant. As the
ship-tire was an open head-dress, so the tire-voilant was a close one; in which the head and breast were covered as with a vail, And these were, in fact, the two different head-dresses then in famion, as we may see by the pictures of that time. One of which was so open, that the whole neck, breasts, and shoulders, were opened to view: the oiher, to securely inclosed in kerchiefs, &c. that nothing could be seen above the eyes, or below the chin.
or any Venetian attire.] This is a wrong reading, as appears from the impropriety of the word attire here used for a woman's head-dress : whereas it fignifies the dress of any part. We should read therefore, or any 'tire of Venetian admitiance. For the word attire, reduced by the aphæresis, to 'tire, takes