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The several chairs of order look you scour With juice of balın, and every precious flower : Each fair instalment coat, and several crest, With loyal blazon, evermore be blest ! And nightly, meadow-fairies, look, you fing, Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring : The expressure that it bears, green let it be, More fertile-fresh than all the field to see; And, Hony Soit Qui Mal y Pensê, write, • In cmerald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white;
other. Queen Elizabeth's worth was not devolvable, as we have seen by the conduct of her foolish fucceffor. The prayer of the fairy is therefore fufficiently reafonable and intelligible, without alteration. STEEVENS.
s The several chairs of order, look you fcour With juice of balm, &c.] It was an article of our ancient luxury, to rub tables, &c. with aromatic herbs. Pliny informs us, that the Romans did the fame, to drive away evil spirits. STEEVENS. 6 In emerald-iufts, flowers PURPLE, blue, and white;
Like faphiré, pearl, and rich embroidery,] These lines are most miferably corrupted. In the words--Flovers purple, blue, and white--the purple is left uncompared. To remedy this, the editors, who seem to have been sensible of the imperfection of the comparison, read, AND rich embroidery; that is, according to them, as the blue and white flowers are compared to saphire and pearl, the purple is compared to rich embroidery. Thus, inftead of mending one false step, they have made two, by bringing fabire, pearl, and rich embroidery, under one predicament. The lines were wrote thus by the poet :
In emerald-tufts, flowers PURFLYD, blue, and white;
Like fapbire, pearl, In rich embroidery'. i.e. let there be blue and white flowers crorked on the greensward, like faphire 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 parfing-luce. 'Tis from the French pourfilcr. So Spenser :
she was yclad,
" PURFLED upon, with many a folded plight." The change of and into in, in the second verse, is necessary. For flowers worked, or purfed in the grass, were not like faphire and pearl fimply, but faphire and pearl in embroidery: How the corrupt reading and was introduced into the text, we have shewn above. WARBURTON.
Like saphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
order fet :
- Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welch fairy! Left he transform me to a piece of cheese! Eva. Vile worm, thou wast o’er-look'd even in thy birth.
Quic. Whoever is convinced by Dr. Warburton's note, will shew he has very little Itudied the manner of his author, whose splendid incorrectness in this instance, as in many others, is surely preferabie to the.infipid regularity proposed in its room.
STEEVENS. charactery.] For the matter with which they make letters. JOHNSON. So, in another of our author's plays:
“ All the charactery of my fad brows." i, e. all that seems to be written on them. STEEVENS,
-of middle earth.] Spirits are fupposed to inhabit the ethereal regions, and fairies to dwell under ground, men therefore are in a middle station. Johnson.
So, in the ancient metrical romance of Syr Guy of Warcvick, bl. l. no date :
“ Thou mayst them flea with dint of swearde,
“ And win the fayreft mayde of middle erde." Again :
-the best knight " That ever was in middle earde.”. Again, in Gower, De Confeffione Amantis, fol. 26:
“ Adam, for pride lost his price
" In myddell erth." Again, in an ancient alliterative ode, quoted by Mr. Warton, in his Hiftory of English Poetry:
" Middel-erd for mon was made." STEEVENS.
Vile worm, thou wast o'er-look'd even in thy birth.] The old copy reads-vild. That vild, which to often occurs in these
Quic. 'With trial-fire touch me his finger-cnd; If he be chaste, the flame will back descend, And turn him to no pain ; but if he start, It is the flesh of a corrupted heart. Eva. A trial, come.
[They burn him with their tapers, and pinch him, Come, will this wood take fire ?
Fal. Oh, oh, oh! Quic. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in defire! About him, fairies; fing a scornful rhime : And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
Eva. ? It is right; indeed, he is full of leacheries and iniquity.
The SON G.
Fie on sinful phantasy!
plays, was not an error of the press, but the pronunciation of the time, appears from these lines of Heywood, in his Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas, 1637 :
* EARTH. What goddess, or how ftyld?
“ EARTH. Hence false virago vild.” MALONE.
With trial-fire, &c.] So Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Faithful Shepherdefs :
66 In this flame his finger thrust,
" As loth unspotted flesh to burn.” STEEVENS.
Eva. It is right, indeed, -] This short speech, which is very much in character for fir Hugh, I have inserted from the old quarto, 1619. THEOBALD.
- and luxury!) Luxury is here used for incontinenco. So, in King Lear: “To't luxury, peli-mell, for I lack foldiers."
STEEVENS, 4 Lust is but a bloody fire,] So the old copies. I once thought it Mould be read : Lult is but a cloudy fire,
Fed in heart; whose flames aspire,
Pinch him for his villainy ; Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about, 'Till candles, and star-light, and moon-Shine be out. During this song, they pinch kimó. Door Caius comes one way, and steals are ay a fairy in green ; Slender another way, and he takes away a fairy in white; and Fenton comes, and steals away Mrs. Anne Page. A noise of hunting is made within. All the fairies run away. FalStuff pulls off his buck's head, and rises.
Enter Page, Ford, &c. They lay hold on him. Page. Nay, do not fly : I think, we have watch'd
you now; Will none but Herne the hunter, serve your turn ? Mrs. Page. I pray you, come; hold up the jest no
higher :Now, good fir John, how like you Windsor wives? See you these, husband ? do not these fair yoaks Become the forest better than the town?
Ford. but fir T. Hanmer reads with less violence:
Luft is but i' the blood a fire. JOHNSON. Either emendation is unnecessary. A bloody fire, means a fire in the blood. In The Second Part of Hen. IV. act iv. the same expression occurs :
“ Led on by bloody youth,” &c. i. e. fanguine youth. STEEVENS.
s During this song, ~) This direction I thought proper to insert from the old quartos. THEOBALD.
they pinch him.] So, in Lylly's Endymion, 1591 : “ The fairies dance, and, with a song pinch him.” And, in his Maid's Metamorphosis, 1600, they threaten the same punishment.
STEEVENS. ? See you these, husband? do not these fair oaks
Become the forest better than the town?] What oaks, in the name of nonsense, do our fagacious editors make Mrs. Page talk of? The oaks in the park? But there was no intention of transplanting them into the town. —Talis infcitia me quidem pudet, pigetque. The first folio reads, as the poet intended, yoaks: and
Ford. Now, fir, who's a cuckold now ? _Mafier Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns, master Brook: And, master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money; which must be paid to master Brook; his horses are arrested for it, master Brook.
Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never meet. I will never take you for my love again, but I will always count you my deer.
Fal. I do begin to perceive, that I am made an ass.
Fal. And there are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies : and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprize of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a receiv'd belief, in despight of the teeth of all rhime and reason, that they were fairies. See now, how wit may be made a Jack-a-lento, when 'tis upon ill employment !
Mrs. Page's meaning is this. She speaks to her own, and Mrs. Ford's husband, and alks 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 yoaks are not more proper in the forest than in the town, i.e. than in their families, as a reproach to them?
THEOBALD. Shakespeare may use oaks for branches. Branching is an epithet as commonly bestowed on horns as on trees. STEEVENS.
8---bo v zit may be made a Jack-a-lent, —-] A Jack o' Lent appears to have been some puppet which was thrown at in Lent, like Shrove-tide cocks, So, in the old comedy of Lady Alimony, 1659 :
-throwing cudgels “At Jack-a-lents, or Shrove-cocks." Again, in The Wild Goose Chace of Beaumont and Fletcher :
" I would be married sooner to a monkey,
46 Or to a Jack of Straw.”
if I forfeit,