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To take her by the hand, and bid her go,
Hoft. Well, husband your device; I'll to the vicar: Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
Fent. So shall I evermore be bound to thee; Besides, I'll make a present recompence. [Exeunt.
4 — to devote ] We might read-denote. So afterwards : 66 the white will decipher her well enough." STEEVEŃS. s q uaint in green, may mean fantastically drest in green. So, in Milton's Masque at Ludlow Castle:
66 left the place,
And this quaint habit, breed astonishment." Quaintness, however, was anciently used to signify gracefulness. So, in Greene's Dialogue between a He and She Coney-catcher, 1592 : " I began to think what a handsome man he was, and wished that he would come and take a night's lodging with me, fitting in a dump to think of the quaintness of his personage:" In the Two Gentlemen of Verona, act III. sc.i. quaintly is used for ingeniously :
" ladder quaintly made of cords.” STEEYENS.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Enter Falstaff and Mrs. Quickly.
Fal. Prythee, no more pratling;—go.--I'll hold: This is the third time; I hope, good luck lies in odd numbers. Away, go; they say, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death. Away.
Quic. I'll provide you a chain; and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns. [Exit Mrs. Quickly.
Fal. Away, I say; time wears: hold up your head, and mince
Enter Ford. How now; master Brook? Master Brook, the matter will be known to-night, or never. Be you in the Park about midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall fee wonders.
Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, sir, as you told me you had appointed ?
Fal. I went to her, master Brook, as you see, like 7 poor old man: but I came froin her, master Brook, like a poor old woman. That same knave; Ford her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, inafter Brook, that ever govern'd frenzy. I will tell you. He beat me grievously, in the shape of a woman; for in the shape of man, master Brook, I fear not Goliah with a weaver's beam; because I know also, life is a shuttle. I am in haste; go along with me; I'll tell you all, master Brook. Since I pluck'd
0 - hold up your head, and mince.) To mince is to walk with affected delicacy. So, in the Merchant of Venice :
turn two mincing steps “ Into a manly stride. STEEVENS. Vol. I.
geese, play'd truant, and whipp'd top, I knew not what 'twas to be beaten, till lately. Follow me: I'll tell you strange things of this knave Ford ; on whoin to-night I will be reveng'd, and I will deliver his wife into your hand. Follow : Strange things in hand, master Brook! follow.—
SC E N E II.
Enter Page, Shallow, and Slender. · Page. Come, come; we'll couch i' the castle-ditch, till we see the light of our fairies.-Remember, son Slender, my daughter.
Slen. Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word ? how to know one another. I come to her in white, and cry, mum ; she cries, budget; and by that we know one another. . Shal. That's good too; But what needs either your mum, or her budget ? the white will decipher her well enough.-It hath struck ten o'clock.
Page. The night is dark; light and spirits will beconie it well. Heaven profper our sport! : No man means evil but the devil, and we shall know him by his horns. · Let's away; follow me. (Exeunt.
7 a nav-qvord ].i. e. a watch-word. Mrs. Quickly has already used it in this sense. STEEVENS.
8 NO MAN means evil but the devil, ] This is a double blunder; for some, of whom this was spoke, were women. We Thould read them, No ONE means. WARBURTON.
There is no blunder. In the ancient interludesand moralities, the beings of supreme power, excellence, or depravity, are occasionally styled men. So, in Much Ado about Nothing, Dogberry fays: có God's a good man." Again, in an Epitaph, part of which has been borrowed as an absurd one, by Mr. Pope and his allociates, who were not very well acquainted with ancient phraseology:
S CE NÉ III. ..
Mrs. Page. Master doctor, my daughter is in green: when you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the deanery, and dispatch it quickly: Go before into the park; we two must go together.
Caius. I know vat I have to do; Adieu. [Exit.
Mrs. Page. Fare you well, fir. My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff, as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter : but ’tis no matter; betrer a little chiding, than a great deal of heart-break. :
Mrs. Ford. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies ? 9 and the Welch devil Evans ?
Mrs. Page. They are all couch'd in a pit hard by Herne's oak', with obscur'd lights; which, at the very instant of Falftaif's and our meeting, they will at once display to the night. i
66 Do all we can,
" That never spareth none." Again, in Jeronimo, or the First Part of the Spanish Tragedy, 1605 : " You're the last man I thought on, save the devil.”
STEEVENS. 9- and the Welch devil Evans?] The former impresion, and the Welch devil Herne? But Falstaff was to represent Herne, and he was no Welchman. Where was the attention or sagacity of our editors, not to observe that Mrs. Ford is enquiring for Evans by the name of the Welch devil? Dr. Thiriby likewile discover'd the blunder of this passage. THEOBALD.
I suppose only the letter H. was fet down in the MS; and therefore, initcad of Hugh (which seems to be the true reading) the editors subítituted Herne. STEEVENS.
1-in a pit hard by Herne's oak, ] An oak, which may be that alluded to by Shakespeare, is still standing close to a pit in Windsor forest. It is yet shewn as the oak of Herne.
STEEVENS. À a 2
Mrs. Ford. That cannot chuse but amaze him.
Mrs. Page. If he be not amaz’d, he will be mock'd; if he be amaz’d, he will every way be mock’d.
Mrs. Ford. We'll betray him finely. Mrs. Page. Against such lewdfters, and their lechery, Those that betray them do no treachery.
Mrs. Ford. The hour draws on; To the oak, to the oak!
S CE N E IV.
Enter Sir Hugh Evaris, and Fairies. Eva. Trib, trib, fairies; come; and remember your parts : be pold, I pray you; follow me into the pit; and when I give the watch-'ords, do as I pid you; Come, come ; trib, trib.
Enter Falstaff with a buck's head on. Fal. The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute draws on : Now, the hot-blooded gods affist me!-Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa; love set on thy horns.-Oh powerful love! that, in fome respects, makes a beast a man ; in some other, a man a beast.--You were also, Jupiter, a swan, for the love of Leda ;-Oh, omnipotent love! how near the god drew to the complexion of a goose? -A fault done first in the form of a beast; O Jove, a beastly fault!-and then another fault in the semblance of a fowl ;-think on't, Jove; a foul fault.When gods have hot backs, what shall poor men do *?
2 II ben gods have hot backs, what shall poor men do? ] Shakespeare had perhaps in his thoughts, the argument which Cherea employed in a similar situation. Ter. Eun. act III. fo v: