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i Rob. My master fir John is comc in at your backdoor, mistress Ford; and requests your company. " • Mrs. Page. You little Jack-a-lent, have you been
true to us : • 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 fecrecy of thine shall be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hose.—I'll go hide nie.. · Mrs. Ford. Do fo:-Go tell thy master, I am alone. Mistress Page, remenaber you your cue. [Exit Robin.
young hawk. The French, om hence, took their niais, and used it in both those fignifications; to which they added a third, metaphorically a filly fellow ; un garçon fort niais, un niais. Mufket signifies a sparrow hawk, or the smallest species of hawks. This too is from the Italian Muschetto, a small hawk, as appears from the original fignification of the word, namely, a troublesome flingo *ing fly. So that the humour of calling the little page an eyas-mufkot is very intelligible. WARBURTON.
So, in Greene's Card of Fancy, 1608 : "--no hawk so hag'gard but will stoop to the lure : no niesie so ramage but will be reclaimed to the lunes.” Eyas-musket is the same as infant Lilliputian. Again, in Spenser's Faery Queen, b. i. c.
" youthful gay
“ Like eyas-bauke, up mounts into the skies, . . 2 " His newly budded pinions to eflay.” In the Booke of Haukyng, &c. commonly called the Book of St. Albans, bl. l. no date, is the following derivation of the word ; but whether true or erroneous, is not for ine to determine : " An hauke is called an evelle from her eye. For an hauke that is brought up under a butlarde or puttock, as many bén, have watry even, &c." STEEVENS.
8Jack-a-lent,-) A Jack o' lent was a puppet thrown at in Lent, like shrove-cocks. So, in Tbe M'enkejt goes to the Wall, 1618:
* A mere anatomy, a fack of Lent." Again, in the Four Prentices of London, 1632 :
“ Now you old Jack of Lent, fix weeks and upwards." Again, in Greene's Tu Qu0.216, 1599 : “ for it a boy that is throwing at his Jack o' Lent, chance to hit me on the thins, &c." See a note on the last scene of this comedy. STEEVENS. X 2
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 unwhol. some humidity, this gross watry pumpion ;-we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.
. Enter Falsaff. Fal. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel'? Why, now let me die, for I have liv'd long enough”; this is the period of my ambition : O this bletled hour!
Mrs. Ford. O sweet fir John !
Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford. Now shall I fin in my wish : I would thy husband were dead; I'll speak it before the best lord, I would make thee my lady.
Mis. Ford. I your lady, fir John ! alas, I should be a pitiful lady.
Fal. Let the court of France shew mesuch another; I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond: Thou hast the right arched bent 3 of the brow, 4 that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.
Mrs. 9 from jays.] So, in Cymbeline : "
fome jay of Italy, " Whose mother was her painting, &c." STEEVENS. * Have I caught my heavenly jesvel?] This is the first line of the second song in Sidney's Astrophel and Stclla. TOLLET.
2-Wły, now let me die; for I have lived long enough;- ) This sentiment, which is of sacred origin, is here indecently introduced. It appears again, with somewhat less of profaneness, in the Winter's Tale, act IV. and in Othello, act II. STEEYENS.
3-arched bentow] Thus the quartos 1602, and 1019. The folio reads--arched beauty. STEEVENS.
+ that becomes the Thip tire, the tire-VALIANT, or any Venetian attire. The old quarto reads, tire-rellct, and the old folio reads, or any tire of Venetian admittance. So that the true reading of the whole is this, that becomes the hip-tire, ibe tire-VALIANT, or any tire of Venetian admittance. The speaker tells his mistress, she had a face that would become all the head dresses in fashion. The Jbip-tire was an open head-dress, with a kind of scart depending from behind. Its name of Ship-tire was, I prefume, from its giv
Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, fir John : my brows become nothing else ; nor that well neither.'
on · Fal,
ing the wearer some resemblance of a ship (as Shakefpeare fays) in all her trim: with all her pennants out, and flags and streamers fying. · Thus Milton, in Samson Agonistes, paints Dalila :
6. But who is this, what thing of sea or land
6c Of Javan or Gadier,
“ 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 ships do canvas every where, he may space her mifen, &c.” This will direct us to reform the following word of tire-valiant, which I suspect to be corrupt, vaTiant being a very incongruous epithet for a woman's head-dress. I fuppofe Shakespeare wrote tire-voilant. As the thip-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 veil. And these were, in fact, the two different head-dresses then in fashion, 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 other, so 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 ap. pears from the impropriety of the word attire here used for a woman's brad-dress: whereas it signifies the dress of any part. We should read therefore, or any 'tire of Venetian admittance. For the word attire, reduced by the aphæresis, to 'tire, takes a new figni. fication, and means only the head dress. Hence tire-woman, for a dresser of the head. As to the meaning of the latter part of the sentence, this may be seen by a paraphrase of the whole speech.Your face is so good, says the speaker, that it would become any head-dress worn at court, either the open or the close, or indeed any rich and fashionable one worth adorning with Venetian point, or which will admit to be adorned. [Of Venetian admittance.) The fashionable lace, at that time, was V cnetian point.
WAR BURTON. This note is plausible, except in the explanation of Vinerian
mhou canst not hii, not; nature is on thou wert, if the
Fal. Thou art a traitors to say so ; thou would'ft 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.
Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in me.
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 women in men's apparel, and smelllike Bucklers-bury in fimple-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. E ur
admittance: but I am afraid this whole fyftem of dress is unsup. ported by evidence. JOHNSON.
of Venetian admittance.] i. c. of a fashion received from Venice. So, in Wuftward Hoe, 1606, by Decket and Webiter :
n ow she's in that Italian head-tire you sent her.” Dr. Warburton might have found the same reading in the quarto, 1630. Instead of tire-valiant, I would read tire-volant.' Stubbs, 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 colant was in use before the age of Shakespeare. I find it in Wil. fride Holme's Fall and evil Succelle af Rebellion, 1537 :
“ high volant in any thing divine." Tire vellet, in the old 4to, may be printed, as Mr. Tollet obferves, by mistake, for tire velvet. We know that velvet-boods were worn in the age of Shakespeare. STEEVENS. 5 a traitor ]i. e. to thy own merit. STEEVENS.
6 - like Bucklers-bury, &c.] Bucklers-bury, in the time of Shakespeare, was chiefly inhabited by druggists, who fold all kind of herbs, green as well as dry. STEEVENS.
· 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.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I inuft tell you, so you do; or else I could not be in that mind. · Rob. [Within. 7 Mistress Ford, mistress Ford! here's mistress Page at the door, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you pre sently,
Fal. She shall not see me; I will ensconce me bea hind the arras.
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling woman.
[Falstaff hides bimself.
Enter Miftress Page. What's the matter? how now?
Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you done? you're sham’d, you are overthrown, you are undone for ever. : Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page?
Mrs. Pagte. 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 ?
Mis. Page. What cause of sufpicion ?-Out upon you!-how am I mistook in you? ..
Mrs. Ford. Why, alas! what's the matter? : Mrs. Page. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman, that, he says, is here now in the house, by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence: You are undone, .
Mrs. Ford. Speak louder 7.-Aide. 7 'Tis not fo, I
o Speak louder - ] i.e. that Falstaff who is retired may hear. This passage is only found in the two elder quartos. STEEYENS. X 4.