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And Chaucer, Reeve's Tale, 1169.
-mouth and nose to-broke." The construction will otherwise be
hard. TYRWHITT. Line 408. That silk will I go buy ;--and in that time) Mr. Theobald referring that time to the time of buying the silk, 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, Line 416. -tricking for our fairies.] To trick is to decorate.
ACT IV. SCENE V. Line 435. standing-bed, and trucklc-bed;] The usual furniture in chambers in that time was a standing-bed, under which was a trochle, truckle, or running bed. In the standingbed lay the master, 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 master lieth o'er his head." JOHNS. Line 437.-Anthropophaginian] i.e. Man-eater.
448. Bohemian-Tartar- -] 'The French call a Bohemian what we call a Gypsey; but I believe the Host means nothing more than, by a wild appellation, to insinuate that Simple makes a strange appearance.
JOHNSON. Line 456. -muscle-shell ;] He calls poor Simple muscleshell, because he stands with his mouth
JOHNSON. clerkly,] See note on the same word in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Line 489.but was paid for my learning.] To pay, here means to beat.
-] A game at cards. JOHNSON. 548. uction of an old woman, -] What! was it any dexterity of wit in Sir John Falstaff to counterfeit the action of an old woman, in order to escape being apprehended for a witch? Surely, one would imagine, this was the readiest means to bring him into such a scrape: for none but old women have ever been suspected of being witches.
Falstaff, by counterfeiting such weakness and infirmity as would naturally be pitied in an old woman, averted the punishment to which he would otherwise have been subjected, on the supposition that he was a witch.
STEEVENS. Line 556. Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, &c.] The great fault of this play is the frequency of expressions so profane, that no necessity of preserving character can justify them. There are laws of higher authority than those of criticism.
ACT IV. SCENE VI.
Line 575. -image-] i.e. Representation. -599. — quaint in green,-] i.e. Whimsically drest
ACT V. SCENE I.
-hold up your head and mince.) To mince, is to walk with affected short steps.
ACT V. SCENE II.
-u nay-word,] i. e. A watch-word.
ACT V. SCENE III.
Line 59. and the Welch devil, Hugh?] The former impressions read the Welch devil Herne ? But Falstaff was to repre-sent Herne, and he was no Welchman. Where was the attention or sagacity of our editors, not to observe that Mr. Ford is enquiring for Sir Hugh Evans by the name of the Welch devil ? Dr. Thirlby likewise discovered the blunder of this passage.
ACT V. SCENE V.
--kissing-comhts, — Confections to sweeten the breath.
Line 103. Divide me like a bribe-buck,] Probably means, a buck sent as a fee, or present.
Line 105. -fellow of this walk,] Who the fellow is, or why he keeps his shoulders for him, I do not understand. Johns. To the keeper the shoulders and humbles belong as a perquisite.
Grey, Line 119. You ORPHAN-heirs of fixed destiny,] But why or. phan-heirs ? Destiny, whom they succeeded, was yet in being. Doubtless the poet wrote,
You Oudhen heirs of fixed destiny, i. e. you elves, who minister, and succeed in some of the works of destiny. They are called, in this play, both before and afterterwards, ouphes ; here ouphen; en being the plural termination of Saxon nouns.
WARBURTON. Dr. Warburton corrects orphan and ouphen; and not without plausibility, as the word ouphes occurs both before and afterward. But, I fancy, in acquiescence to the vulgar doctrine, the address in this line is to a part of the troop, as mortals by birth, but adopted by the fairies : orphans in respect of their real parents, and now only dependent on destiny herself.
FARMER, Line 131. -Go
and where you find a maid, Raise
the organs of her fantasy;] The sense of this speech is—that she, who had performed her religious duties, should be secure against the illusion of fancy; and have her sleep, like that of infancy, undisturbed by disordered dreams. This was then the popular opinion, that evil spirits had a power over the fancy; and, by that means, could inspire wicked dreams into those who, on their going to sleep, had not recommended themselves to the protection of heaven. So Shakspeare makes one, on his lying down, say,
From fairies, and the tempters of the night,
WARBURTON. Line 143. In state as wholsome,] Wholsome here signifies integer. He wishes the castle may stand in its present state of perfection, which the following words plainly shew. - as in state 'tis fit.
WARBURTON. Line 144. Worthy the owner, AND the owner it.] And cannot be the true reading. The context will not allow it; and his court to queen Elizabeth directs us to another,
As the owner it.
For, sure he had more address than to content himself with wish. ing a thing to be, which his complaisance must suppose actually was, namely, the worth of the owner."
WARBURTON, Line 154. In emerald-tufts, flowers, PURPLE, blue, and white;
Like saphire, pearl, AND rich embroidery,] The lines were wrote thus by the poet:
In emrald-tuffs, flowers PURPLED, blue, and white;
Like saphire, pearl, in rich embroidery, i. e. Let there be blue and white flowers worked on the greensword, like saphire and pearl in rich embroidery. To purfle, is to over-lay with tinsel, gold thread, &c.; so our ancestors called a certain lace of this kind of work a purfling-lace, WARBURTON.,
Line 157. —charactery.] For the matter with which they make letters.
JOHNSON. Line 165 ---of middle earth.] Spirits are supposed to inhabit the ethereal regions, and fairies to dwell under ground; men therefore are in a middle station.
JOHNSON. Line 170. With trial-fire, &c.] So Beaumont and Fletcher, in. The Faithful Shepherdess :
“In this flame his finger thrust,
“ As loth unspotted flesh to burn. STEEVENS. Line 180. Evans. It is right, indeed, &c.] This short speech, which is very much in character for Sir Hugh, I have inserted from the old quartos.
THEOBALD. Line 183. -and lurury!) Luxury here means, enslaved to pleasure.
Line 184. Lust is but a bloody fire,] A bloody fire, means a fire in the blood. In The Second Part of Henry IV. Act 4. the same expression occurs :
" Led on by bloody youth," &c. i.e. sanguine youth,
STEEVENS. Line 199. Sce you these, husband ? do not these fair yokes
Become the forest better than the town?] Mrs. Page's meaning is this. She speaks to her own, and Mrs. Ford's husband, and asks them, if they see the horns in Falstaff's hand; and then, alluding to them as the types of cuckoldom, puts the
question, whether those yokes are not more proper in the forest than in the town, i. e. than in their families, as a reproach to them?
-on an Ash-wednesday,
Steevens. Line 256. -ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me :- -] Though this be perhaps not unintelligible, yet it is an odd way of confessing 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. Line 263. Mrs. Ford: Nay, husband,—] 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 conclusion too tragical a turn. Besides, it is poetical justice that Ford should sustain this loss, as a fine for his unreasonable jealousy.
THEOBALD. Line 269.
-laugh at my wife,] The two plots are excellently connected, and the transition very artfully made in this speech.
JOHNSON. Line 321.
-] i.e. Confuse with terror. 337. Page. Well, what remedy?] 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, mistress Page, I must be bold with you,