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What shall be done with him ? what is your plot? Mrs. Page. That likewise we have thought upon,
and thus :
Then let them all encircle him about,
And said one word to ascertain it. This makes it more than suspicious, the defect in this point must be owing to some wise retrenchment. The two intermediate lines, which I have restored from the old quarto, are absolutely necessary, and clear up the matter
THEOBALD. ? urchins, ouphes, ---] The priinitive fignification of urcbin is a hedge-hog. In this sense it is used in the Tempeft. Hence it comes to signify any thing little and dwarfish. Ouph is the Teutonic word for a fairy oi goblin. STEEVENS,
8 With fome dif used fong :enen ] A diffufed long signifies a song that strikes out into wild sentiments beyond the bounds of nature, such as those whose subject is fairy land. WARBURTON,
Diffused may mçan confused. So in Stowe's Chronicle, p. 553: " Rice, quoth he, (i. e. Cardinal Wolsey,) speak you Welch to them: I doubt not but thy speech shall be inore diffuse to him, than his French shall be to thee.” Tollet.
By diffufed fong, Shakespeare may mean such irregular songs as mad people fing. Edgar, in K. Lear, when he has determined to allone the appearance of a travelling lunatic, declares his resolution to diffuse his speech, i. e. to give it the turn peculiar to madness. STEEVENS.
9 And, fairy-like, to pinch the unclean knight;] The grammar requires us to read:
And, fairy-like too, pinch the unclean knight. WARB. This should perhaps be written to-pinch, as one word. 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 Shakespeare. See, Gower, De Confeffione Amantis, B. iv, fol. 7: " All to-tore is myn araie.”
And ask him, why, that hour of fairy revel,
Mrs. Ford. And till he tell the truth,
Mrs. Page. The truth being known,
Ford. The children must
Eva. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my taber.
Ford. This will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards. Mis. 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 time
And Chaucer, Reeve's Tale, 1169:
66 mouth and nose to-broke.” The construction will otherwise be very hard. Tyrwhitt.
I add a few more instances to shew that this use of the preposition to was not entirely antiquated. Spenser's F. 2. b. iv. c.7:
" With briers and bushes all to-rent and scratched.” Again, b. v. c. 8:
6. With locks all loose, and raiment all to-tore." Again, b. v.c. 9:
66 Made of strange stuffe, but all to-worne and ragyed,
66 And underneath the breech was all to-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:
" A watchet fattin doublet, all to-torn." STEEVENS. ' pinch him sound,] i. e. foundly. The adjective used as an adverb. The modern editors read round. STEEVENS.
? That filk 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
Shall master Slender steal my Nan away, [Afide. And marry her at Eaton. - Go, send to Falstaff
straight. Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in the name of Brook; He'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he'll come.
Mrs. Page. Fear not you that: Go, get us properties? And 4 tricking for our fairies.
Eva. Let us about it: It is admirable pleasures, and fery honest knaveries. [Ex. Page, Ford, and Evans.
Mrs. Page, Go, mistress Ford,
[Exit Mrs. Ford.
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.
3 properties - ] Properties are little incidental necessaries to a theatre, exclusive of scenes and dresses. So, in the Taming the Shrew: “ a shoulder of mutton for a property.”
STEEVENS. 4 — tricking for our fairies.] To trick, is to dress out. So, in Milton:
“ Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont,
S CE NE V.
The Garter inn,
* Enter Hoft and simple. Hoft. What would'st thou have, boor? what, thickskin s? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
Simp. Marry, fir, I come to speak with fir John Falstaff from master Slender.
Hoft. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-bed, and truckle-bed; 'tis painted 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, fir, 'till the come down : I come to speak with her, indeed.
Hoft. Ha! a fat woman! the knight may be robb’d: I'll call.- Bully knight! Bully fir John! speak
s-what, thick-skin?) I meet with this term of abuse in Warner's Albions England, 1602, book vi. chap. 30 : “ That he so foul a thick-skin should so fair a lady catch."
STEEVENS. o l anding-bod, and truckle-bed ;- ] The usual furniture of chambers in that time was a standing-bed, under which was a trochle, truckle, or running 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 master lieth o'er his head.” JOHNSON. So, in the Return from Parnasus, 1606:
" When I lay in a trundle-bed under my tutor.” And here the tutor has the upper bed. Again, in Heywood's Royal King, &c. 1637 : “ --- shew these gentlemen into a close room with a standing-bed in't, and a truckle too." STEEVENS.
? Antbropophaginian----] i. e, a canibal. See Othello, act I. sc. iii. It is here used as a founding word to astonish Simple. Ephesian, which follows, has no more meaning. STEEVENS.
from thy lungs military: Art thou there? it is thinc host, thine Ephesian, calls..
Falstaff above. Fal. How now, mine host?
Hoft. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman: Let her descend, bully, let her descend; my chambers are honourable: Fie! privacy? fie!
Enter Falstaff Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with me; but she's gone.
Simp. Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman of Brentford ?
Fal. Ay, marry was it, ' muffel-fhell; What would you with her ?
Simp. My master, fir, master Slender sent to her, seeing her go through the street, to know, sir, whether one Nym, fir, that beguild him of a chain, had the chain, or no.
Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.
Fal. Marry, she says, that the very same man, that beguild master Slender of his chain, cozen'd him of it.
Simp. I would I could have spoken with the wa
8- Bohemian-Tartar- ] The French call a Bohemian what we call a Gypley; but I believe the Host means nothing more than, by a wild appellation, to insinuate 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 Bobemians, and the English Gypsies.” Bulteel's Transation of Mezeray's History of France, under the year 1417. TOLLET.
la mussel-Shell; — ] He calls poor Simple muffel-fell, because he stands with his mouth open. Johnson.