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- The several chairs of order look you scour -
The expressure that it bears, green let it be,
other. Queen Elizabeth's worth was not devolvable, as we have seen by the conduct of her foolish successor. The prayer of the fairy is therefore sufficiently reasonable 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 diâ the fame, to drive away evil spirits. STELVENS. 6 Ir emerald-tufts, flowers PURPLE, blue, and white;
Like saphire, pearl, AND rich embroidery,] These lines are moít miserably corrupted. In the words--Florvers purple, blue, and white-the purple is left uncompared. To remedy this, the edi. tors, 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 jabire, pearl, and rich embroidery under one predicament. The lines were wrote thus by the poet :
In emerald-tufts, flowers PURFLYD, blue, and white;
Like saphire, pearl, in rich embroidery. i. e. let there be blue and white flowers quorked on the greensward, 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-luce. 'Tis from the French pour filer. 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,
· Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welch fairy !
Quic. Whoever is convinced by Dr. Warburton's note, will shew he has very little studied the manner of his author, whose splendid incorrectness in this instance, as in many others, is surely prefer. able to the insipid regularity proposed in its room.
STEEVENS. 7 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, 8 n f middle earth.] Spirits are fupposed to inhabit the ethereal regions, and fairies to dwell under ground, men therefore are in a middle itation. JOHNSON
So, in the ancient metrical romance of Syr Guy of Warwick, bl. l. no date :
“ Thou mayst them flea with dint of swearde,
" And win the fayreít mayde of middle erde.''' Again :
the best knight 46 That ever was in middle earde.”. Again, in Gower, De Confisione Amantis, fol. 26:
“ Adam, for pride loit his price
" In middell erth,”? Again, in an ancient alliterative ode, quoted by Mr. Warton, in his History of English Poetry:
" Middel-erd for mon was made." STEEVENS. 9 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
plays, Quic. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end; 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!
Eva. 2 It is right; indeed, he is full of leacheries and iniquity.
The SON G.
Fie on finful 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 Dranlas, 1637 :
" EARTH. What yoddess, or how ftyld?
“ EARTH. Hence false virago vild." Malone. · With trial-fire, &c.] So Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Faithful Sbepherdefs :
66 In this flame his finger thrust,
" As loth unspotted flesh to burn." STEEVENS. 2 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.
3 and luxury!] Luxury is here used for incontinence. So, in King Lear: “ To't luxury, pell-mell, for I lack soldiers."
STEEVENS. .4 Lust is but a bloody fire,] So the old copies. I once thought it should be read : Luít is but a cloud; fire,
Fed in heart; whole flames aspire,
Pinch him for his villainy; Pinch kim, and burn him, and turn him about, 'Till candles, and star-light, and moon-fhine be out. 5 During this song, they pinch him. Door Caius comes
One way, and steals away 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. Falstaff pulls off his buck's head, and rises.
Enter Page, Ford, &c. They lay hold on him.
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 bloodIn The Second Part of Hen. IV. act iv. the same expression occurs :
“ Led on by bloody youth,” &c. i. e. fanguine youth. STEVENS.
s During this song, ] This direction I thought proper to insert from the old quartos. THEOBALD. O t hey pinch him.] So, in Lylly's Endymion, 1591 : “ The fairies dance, and, with a fong 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 sagacious 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, yoaksi and
Ford. Now, fir, who's a cuckold now ?-Master 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. Ford. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs are extant.
Fal. And these 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 grofsness 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-lent”, when 'tis upon ill employment!..
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 voaks 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- hot wit 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: h
t hrowing cudgels. " At Fack-a-lents, or Shrove-cocks." Again, in The Wild Goose Chace of Beaumont and Fletcher :
" I would be married sooner to a monkey,
" Or to a Jack of Straw.”
" - - if I forfeit,