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this is the period of my ambition : O this blessed hour!
Mrs. Ford. O sweet fir 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, 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 hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.9
sentiment, which is of sacred origin, is here indecently introduced. It appears again, with somewhat less of profaneness, in The Winter's Tale, Aa IV. and in Othello, Act II. *STEEVENS.
8 arched bent -] Thus the quartos 1602, and 1619. The folio reads—arched beauty. Steevens.
The reading of the quarto is supported by a passage in Antony and Cleopatra :
Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.] Instead of—Venetian admittance, the old quarto reads" or any Venetian attire.” Steevens.
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 tire-VALIANT, or any tire of Venetian admittance. The speaker tells his miftress, The had a face that would become all the head dresses in fashion. The pipe 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 fome resemblance of a ship (as Shakspeare says) in all ber trim: with all her pennants out, and flags and streamers flying.
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 ships do canvas every where; the
Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, fir John: my brows become nothing else; nor that well neither.
may space her misen,” &c. This will direct us to reform the fol-
“ With ribbons pendant flaring 'bout her head.”
the tire valiant,] I would read-tire volant. Stubbes, who describes most minutely every article of female dress, has mentioned none of these terms, but speaks of vails depending from the top of the head, and flying behind in loose folds. The word volant was in use before the age of Shakspeare. I find it in Wilfride Holme's Fall and evil Succelle of Rebellion, 1537:
high volant in any thing divine." Tire vellet, which is the realing of the old quarto, may be printed, as Mr. Tollet obferves, by mistake, for tire-velvet. We know that velvet-hoods were worn in the age of Shakspeare. STEVENS.
Among the presents sent by the Queen of Spain to the Queen of England, in April 1606, was a velvet cap with gold buttons. Catharine's
cap, in The Taming of the Shrew, is likewise of velvet. Tire-rolant, however, I believe with Mr. Steevens, was the poet's word.
“ Their heads (says Nashe in 1594) with their top and top-gallant lawne baby caps, and snow-resembled silver curlings, they make a plain puppet-stage of. Their breasts they embuske up on hie, and their round roseate buds they immodestly lay forth, to Thew, at their hands there is fruit to be hoped.” Christ's Tears over Jerufalem, 4to. 1594. MALONE.
of Venetian admittance.] i. e. of a fashion received or admitted from Venice. So, in Woftward Hoe, 1606, by Decker and Webster :-“ now she's in that Italian head-tire you fent her.” Dr. Farmer proposes to read" of Venetian remittance.” STEEVENS.
In how much request the Venetian tyre formerly was held, appears from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 1624: let her have the Spanish gate, (gait] the l'enetian tire, Italian complements and endowments," MALONE, VOL. III.
FAL. Thou art a traitor’ to say so: thou would'st make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gait, in a semi-circled farthingale. I see what thou wert, if fortune thy foe’ were not; nature is thy friend :- Come, thou canst not hide it.
May not the tire valiant be so called from the air of boldness and confidence which it might give the weater? A certain court divine (who can hardly be called a courtly one) in a fermon preached before King James the First, thus speaks of the ladies' head dresses : “ Oh what a wonder it is to see a ship under faile with her tacklings and her mafts, and her tops and top gallants, with her upper decks and her nether decks, and so bedeckt with her streames, ilags and enfigns, and I know not what; yea but a world of wonders it is to see a woman created in God's image, so‘miscreate oft times and deformed with her French her Spanish and her foolish fashions, that he that made her, when he looks upon her, shall hardly know her, with her plumes, her fans, and a silken vizard, with a ruffe, like a faile; yea, a ruffe like a rainbow, with a feather in ber cap, like a flag in her top, to tell (I thinke) which way the wind will blow."
The MERCHANT ROYALL, a fermon preached at Whitehall be. fore the King's Majestie, at the nuptialls of Lord Hay and his Lady, Twelfth-day, 1607, 460. 1615: Again, it—" is proverbially said, that far fetcht and deare bought is fittest for ladies; as nov. a-daies what groweth at home is base and homely; and what every one eates is meate for dogs; and wee must have bread from one countrie, and drinke from another; and wee must have meate from Spaine, and sauce out of Italy; and if wee weare any thing, it mult be pure Venetian, Roman, or barbarian; but the fashion of all muft be French,” Ibid. Reed.
-a traitor -] i. e. to thy own merit. Steevens. The folio reads—thou art a tyrant, &c. but the reading of the quarto appears to me far better. Malone.
3 —fortune thy foe -] " was the beginning of an old ballad, in which were enumerated all the misfortunes that fall upon mankind, through the caprice of fortune." See note on The Custom of the Country, Act I. fc. i. by Mr. Theobald ; who observes, that this ballad is mentioned again in a comedy by John Tatham, printed in 1660, called The Rump, or Mirror of the Times, wherein a Frenchman is introduced at the bonfire made for the burning of the rumps, and, catching hold of Priscilla, will oblige her to dance, and orders the musick to play Fortune my Foe. See also, Lingua, Vol. V. Dodfley's collection, p. 188; and Tom Efence, 1677, p. 37. Mr.
Mrs. FORD. Believe me, there's no such thing
FAL. What made me love thee? let that persuade thee,there's something extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like worden in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklers-burys in simple-time; I cannot: but I love thee; none but thee; and thou deserveft it.
Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, fir; I fear, you love mistress Page.
Fal. Thou might'st as well say, I love to walk by the Counter-gate; which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.?
Ritson observes, that “ the tune is the identical air now known
“ Fortune, my foe, why doft thou frown on me?
“ And wilt thou not restore my joys again?" MALONE.
- nature is thy friend :] Is, which is not in the old copy, was introduced by Mr. Pope. MALONE.
5. like Buckler’s-bury, &c.] Buckler’s-bury, in the time of Shakspeare, was chiefly inhabited by druggists, who fold all kinds of herbs, green as well as dry. STEEVENS.
- I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping hawthorn-tuds, I cannnt: but I love thee;] So, in Wily Beguild, 1606:
“ I cannot play the dissembler,
-as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.] Our poet has a fimilar image in Corislanus :
whose breath I hate,
Mrs. Ford. Well, heaven knows, how I love you; and you shall one day find it.
Fal. Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.
so you do; or else I could not be in that mind.
Rob. [within.] Mistress Ford, mistress Ford ! here's mistress Page at the door, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you presently.
FAL. She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras.?
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling woman.
[Falstaff bides himself.
Enter Mistress Page and ROBIN.
What's the matter? how now?
Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed, you are overthrown, you are undone • for ever.
Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page ?
Mrs. Page. O well-a-day, mistress Ford! having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion !
Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion?
Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion?-Out upon you! how am I mistook in you?
Mrs. Ford. Why, alas! what's the matter?
behind the arras.] The spaces left between the walls and the wooden frames on which arras was hung, were not more commodious to our ancestors than to the authors of their ancient dramatic pieces. Borachio in Much ado about Nothing, and Polonius in Hamlet, also avail themselves of this convenient recess. . STEEVENS.