« PreviousContinue »
Nan Page my daughter, and my little son,
, And three or four more of their growth, we'll dress Like urchins, ouphes,' and fairies, green and white, With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads, And rattles in their hands; upon a sudden, As Falstaff, she, and I, are newly met, Let them from forth a saw-pit rush at once With some diffused song ; * upon their sight, We two in great amazedness will ny : Then let them all encircle him about, And, fairy-like, to-pinch the unclean knight ;s
s- urchins, cuphes,] The primitive fignification of urchin is a hedge-hog. In this sense it is used in The Tempest. Hence it comes to fignify any thing little and dwarfish. Ouph is the Teutonick word for a fairy or goblin. STEEVENS,
* With some diffused fong :) A diffused fong signifies a song that ftrikes out into wild sentiments beyond the bounds of nature, such as those whose subject is fairy land. WARBURTON.
Diffused may mean confused. So, in Stowe's Chronicle, p. 553 : “ Rice quoth he, (i. e. Cardinal Wolsey,) speak you Welch to him: I doubt not but thy speech shall be more diffuse to him, than his French shall be to thee.” Tollet.
By diffufed fong, Shakspeare may mean fuch unconnected ditties as mad people sing. Kent, in K. Lear, when he has determined to assume an appearance foreign to his own, declares his resolution to diffuse his speech, i. e. to give it a wild and irregular turn.
STEEVENS. With some diffused fong :] i. e. wild, irregular, discordant. That this was the meaning of the word, I have hown in a note on another play by a passage from one of Greene's pamphlets, in which he calls a dress of which the different parts were made after the fashions of different countries, " a diffused attire.” MALONE.
s And, fairy-like, to-pinch the unclean knight;] This use of to in composition with verbs, is very common in Gower and Chaucer, but must have been rather antiquated in the time of Shakspeare. See, Gower, De Confeffione Amantis, B. IV. fol. 7:
“ All to-tore is myn araie.” And Chaucer, Reeve's Tale, 1169:
“ mouth and nose to-broke." The construction will otherwise be very hard. TYRWHITT,
And ask him, why, that hour of fairy revel,
Mrs. Ford. And till he tell the truth,
The truth being known,
The children must Be practis'd well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.
Ev a. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will be like a jack-an-apes also,' to burn the knight with my taber.
I add a few more instances, to show that this use of the prepofition 10 was not entirely antiquated in the time of our author. So, in Spenser's Faery Queen, B.IV. c. 7:
“ With briers and bushes all to-rent and scratched." Again, B. V. c. 8:
“ With locks all loose, and raiment all to-tore." Again, B. V. c.9:
“ Made of strange stuffe, but all to-worne and ragged,
“ And underneath the breech was all 10-torne and jagged." Again, in The Three Lords of London, 1590:
“ The post at which he runs, and all to-burns it.” Again, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:
“ Watchet sattin doublet, all to-torn.” Steevens. The editor of Gawin Douglas's Translation of the Æneid, fol. Edinb. 1710, observes in his General Rules for the Understanding the Language, that to prefixed, in antient writers, has little or no significancy, but with all put before it, fignifies altogether. Since, Milton has “ were all to-suffled.” See Comus, v. 380. Warton's edit. It is not likely that this practice was become antiquated in the time of Shakspeare, as Mr. Tyrwhitt supposes. Holt White.
6-pinch him found,] i. e. soundly. The adjective used as an adverb. The modern editors read--round. STEEVENS.
7 I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will be like a jack-an-apes also,] The idea of this stratagem, &c. might have been adopted from part of the entertainment prepared by Thomas
Ford. That will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards. Mrs. Page. My Nan shall be the queen of all
the fairies, Finely attired in a robe of white.
Page. That filk will I go buy ;-and in that times Shall master Slender steal my Nan away, [Aside. And marry her at Eton. — Go, send to Falstaff
straight. Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in name of Brook: He'll tell me all his purpose : Sure, he'll come. Mrs. Page. Fear not you that: Go, get us pro
perties, And tricking for our fairies.”
Eva. Let us about it: It is admirable pleasures, and fery honest knaveries.
[Exeunt Page, FORD, and Evans.
Churchyard for Queen Elizabeth at Norwich: “ And these boyes, &c. were to play by a deuife and degrees the Phayries, and to daunce (as neere as could be ymagined) like the Phayries. Their attire, and comming so strangely out,
I know made the Queenes highnesse smyle and laugh withall, &c. I ledde the yong foolifbe Phayries a daunce, &c. and as I heard faid, it was well taken.” SteeveNS.
8 That folk will I go buy ;—and in that time -] Mr. Theobald, referring that time to the time of buying the filk, alters it to tire. But there is no need of any change; that time evidently relating to the time of the mask with which Falstaff was to be entertained, and which makes the whole subject of this dialogue. Therefore the common reading is right. WARBURTON.
9 properties,] Properties are little incidental neceffaries to a theatre, exclusive of scenes and dresses. So, in The Taming of a Shrew: « -a shoulder of mutton for a property.” See A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I. sc. ii. STEEVENS.
tricking for our fairies.] To trick, is to dress out. So, , in Milton :
« Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont,
Mrs. Page. Go, mistress Ford,
[Exit Mrs. FORD.
S CE N E V.
A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter Hoft and SIMPLE.
Host. What would'st thou have, boor? what, thick-lkin?? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
Sim. Marry, sir, I come to speak with fir John Falstaff from master Slender.
Host. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-bed, and truckle-bed ; * 'tis painted
what, thick-skin?] I meet with this term of abuse in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, Book VI. chap: 30: " That he, fo foul a thick-skin, should so fair a lady catch."
STEEVENS. ftanding-bed, and truckle-bed] The usual furniture of chambers in that time was a standing-bed, under which was a trochle, truckle, or ruining bed. In the standing-bed lay the mafter, and in the truckle bed the servant. So, in Hall's Account of a Servile Tutor :
• He lieth in the truckle-bed,
“ While his young matter lieth o'er his head." JOHNSON. So, in The Return from Parnaffus, 1606:
“ When I lay in a trundle-bed under my tutor.”
about with the story of the prodigal, fresh and new: Go, knock and call; he'll speak like an Anthropophaginian' unto thee : Knock, I say.
Simp. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber; I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down: I come to speak with her, indeed.
Host. Ha! a fat woman! the knight may be robbed : I'll call. — Bully knight! Bully fir John! speak from thy lungs military : Art thou there? it is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls.
Fal. (above.] How now, mine host?
Host. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar" tarries the coming down of thy fat woman : Let her descend, bully, let her defcend; my chambers are honourable: Fie! privacy? fie!
And here the tutor has the upper bed. Again, in Heywood's Royal King, &c. 1637: fhew these gentlemen into a close room with a standing-bed in't, and a truckle too.” Steevens.
S-Anthropophaginian--] i. e. a cannibal. See Othello, Act I. sc. iii. It is here used as a sounding word to astonish Simple. Ephefian, which follows, has no other meaning. STEVENS.
thine Ephesian,] This was a cant term of the time. So, in K. Henry IV. P. II. AA II. sc. ii. “ P. Henry. What company? Page. Ephesians, my lord, of the old church." See the note there. MALONE.
1 — Bohemian-Tartar-] The French call a Bohemian what we call a Gypsey; but I believe the Hoft means nothing more than, by a wild appellation, to infinuate that Simple makes a strange appearance. Johnson.
In Germany there were several companies of vagabonds, &c. called Tartars and Zigens. “ These were the same in my opinion,' says Mezeray, " as those the French call Bohemians, and the English Gypsies." "Bulteel's Translation of Mezeray's Hiftory of France, under the year 1417. TOLLIT.