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FORD. And as wicked as his wife?
Ev A. 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 ; ignorance itself is a plummet o’er me: 8 use me as you will.
7 — the Welch flannel ;] The very word is derived from a Welch one, so that it is almost unnecessary 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.” Again :
." Here's a wholesome Welch Wench,
Lapt in her flannel, as warm as wool." STEEVENS.
ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me:] Though this be perhaps not unintelligible, yet it is an odd way of confefsing his dejection. I should wish to read:
- ignorance itself has a plume o' me." That is, I am so depressed, 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 oppresses 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 cowardice: “ 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 shall hang like a meteor o'er the cuckold's horns: Master Brook, thou shalt know, I will prdominate over the peasant.”.
Dr. Farmer might also have countenanced his conjecture by a passage in K. Henry VI. where queen Margaret says, that Suffolk's face.
ruld like a wandring planet over me.” STEEVENI. Perhaps Falstaff's meaning may be this: “Ignorance itself is a plurimet o'er me : i. e. above me;" ignorance itself is not fo low as I am, by the length of a plummet line. Tyrwhitt.
· Ford. Marry, fir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one master 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 thật money will be a biting affliction. Mas. Ford. Nay, husband, 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 shalt eat a posset to-night at my house; where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife,” that now laughs at thee: Tell her, master Slender hath married her daughter.
Mrs. Page. Doctors doubt that: If Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this, doctor Caius' wife.
Slen. Whoo, ho! ho! father Page!
Ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me- i. e. ferves to point out my obliquities. This is said in consequence of Evans's last speech. The allusion 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.
9 Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband,] This and the following little speech I have inserted from the old quartos. The retrenchment, I prefume, 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 lofs, as a fine for his unreasonable jealousy. . THEOBALD.
- laugh at my wife,] The two plots are excellently connected, and the transition very artfully made in this speech.
JOHNSON Vol. III.
Page. Son! how now ? how now, son? 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, son?
Slen. I came yonder at Eton to marry mistress Anne Page, 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 me. If I did not think it had been Anne Page, would I might never stir, and 'tis a post-master's boy.
Page. Upon my life then you took the wrong.
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 she cry'd budget, as Anne and I had appointed; and yet it was not Anne, but a post-master's boy.
Eva. Jefhu! Master Slender, cannot you see but marry boys ? +
PAGE. O, I am vex'd at heart: What shall I do?
3-in white,] The old copy, by the inadvertence of either the author or transcriber, reads—in green; and in the two subsequent speeches of Mrs. Page, instead of green we find white. The corrections, which are fully justified by what has preceded, (fee p. 473,) were made by Mr. Pope. MALONE.
- marry boys ?] This and the next speech are likewise ree storations from the old quarto. STEEVENS.
of your purpose; turned my daughter into green; and, indeed, she is now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.
Enter Caius. Carus. 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 Windsor.
[Exit Caius. 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, master Fenton ?
pardon ! Page. Now, mistress? how chance you went not with master Slender ? Mrs. Page. Why went you not with master doc
tor, maid? Fent. You do amaze her;s Hear the truth of it. You would have married her most shamefully, Where there was no proportion held in love. The truth is, She and I, long since contracted, Are now so sure, that nothing can dissolve us. The offence is holy, that she hath committed :
amaze her;] i. e, confound her by your questions, So, in Cymbeline, A& IV. sc. iii: “ I am amaz'd with matter." STEVENS,
And this deceit loses the name of craft,
FAL. I am glad, though you have ta'en a special stand to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanced. Page. Well, what remedy? Fenton,' heaven give
thee joy! What cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac’d. Fal. When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are
chas'd. Eva. I will dance and eat plums at your wed
5 Page. Well, what remedy?] In the first sketch of this play, which, as Mr. Pope observes, is much inferior to the latter perfornance, 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. 'Tis pity to part love that is so true.
Mrs. Page. [Aside.] Although that I have mifs'd in my intent,
Here Fenton, take her.
your wife is pleas'd.
all sorts of deer are chas’d.] Young and old, does as well as bucks. He allades to Fenton's having just run down Anne Page.
MALONE. ? I will dance and eat plums at your wedding.) I have no doubt but this line, fupposed to be spoken by Evans, is misplaced, and Thould come in after that spoken by Falstaff, which being intended