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is my husband had him of.—What do you call your knight's name, sirrah?
Rob. Sir John Falstaff.
Mrs. Page. He, he; I can never hit on's name.There is such a league between my good man and he! Is your wife at home, indeed ?
Ford. Indeed, she is.
Mrs. Page. By your leave, sir: I am sick, till I see her.
[Exeunt Mrs. PagE and ROBIN. Ford. Has Page any brains ? hath he any eyes? hath he any thinking? Sure, they sleep; he hath no use of them. Why, this boy will carry a letter twenty miles, as easy as a cannon will shoot point-blank twelve score. He pieces-out his wife's inclination; he gives her folly motion, and advantage: and now she's going to my wife, and Falstaff's boy with her. A man may hear this shower sing in the wind :—and Falstaff's boy with her!—Good plots !-they are laid; and our revolted wives share damnation together. Well; I will take him, then torture my wife, pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so-seeming mistress Page, divulge Page himself for a secure and wilful Actæon; and to these violent proceedings all my neighbours shall cry aim'. [Clock strikes.] The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me search; there I shall find Falstaff. I shall be rather praised for this, than mocked; for it is as positive as the earth is firm, that Falstaff is there: I will go.
Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, SLENDER, Host, Sir Hugh
Evans, Caius, and RUGBY.
Page, Shal. &c. Well met, master Ford.
all my neighbours shall CRY AIM.] To“ cry aim” is to encourage. See Vol. vi. p. 361, for the distinction between to cry aim and to give aim. “ To give aim” has occurred in this Vol. p. 167.
Ford. Trust me, a good knot. I have good cheer at home, and I pray you
Slen. And so must I, sir: we have appointed to dine with mistress Anne, and I would not break with her for more money than I'll speak of.
Shal. We have lingered about a match between Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our answer.
Slen. I hope, I have your good will, father Page.
Page. You have, master Slender; I stand wholly for you :—but my wife, master doctor, is for you altogether.
Caius. Ay, by gar; and de maid is love-a me: my nursh-a Quickly tell me so mush.
Host. What say you to young master Fenton? he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holyday, he smells April and May: he will carry't, he will carry't; 'tis in his buttons; he will carry't.
Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman is of no having: he kept company with the wild Prince and Poins; he is of too high a region; he knows too much. No, he shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance: if he take her, let him take her simply: the wealth I have waits on my consent, and my consent goes not that way.
Ford. I beseech you, heartily, some of you go home with me to dinner: besides your cheer, you shall have sport; I will show you a monster.—Master doctor, you shall go :50 shall you, master Page ;-and you, sir Hugh.
Shal. Well, fare you well.—We shall have the freer wooing at master Page’s.
[Exeunt SHALLOW and SLENDER. Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.
Host. Farewell, my hearts. I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.
[Erit Host. Ford. [Aside.] I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with him; I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles?
Al. Have with you, to see this monster. [Exeunt.
A Room in FORD's House.
Enter Mrs. FORD and Mrs. PAGE.
Mrs. Ford. What, John! what, Robert!
Enter Servants with a large Basket.
Mrs. Page. Give your men the charge: we must be brief.
Mrs. Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John, and Robert, be ready here hard by in the brew-house; and when I suddenly call you, come forth, and (without any pause, or staggering) take this basket on your shoulders: that done, trudge with it in all haste, and carry it among the whitsters in Datchet mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch, close by the Thames side.
Mrs. Page. You will do it?
lack no direction. Be gone, and come when you are called.
[Exeunt Servants. Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin.
Enter ROBIN. Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket'! what news with you?
Rob. My master, sir John, is come 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 threatened 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 secrecy of thine shall be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hose.—I'll go hide me.
. Mrs. Ford. Do so.—Go tell thy master, I am alone. Mistress Page, remember you your cue. [Exit ROBIN. Mrs. Page. I warrant thee: if I do not act it, hiss
[Exit Mrs. PAGE. Mrs. Ford. Go to, then: we'll use this unwholesome humidity, this gross watery pumpion ;-we'll teach bim to know turtles from jays.
Enter FalSTAFF. Fal. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel ? Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough: this is the period of my ambition. O this blessed hour!
- How now, my EYAS-MUSK ET !] An “eyas” is a young hawk, (see Vol. vii. p. 247) and, as Warburton explained, a “musket” is a small hawk from the Italian muschetto, so that "
means young little hawk. Augustine Saker, in his “ Narbonus,” 1580, says, “ You know the eyas hauke is soone reclaymed, but if he be not fedde, he will quickly away."
- Jack-a-lent] Jack a' lent was a puppet thrown at in Lent, like shrove-cocks, by way of amusement.
6 Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewell] The second song in Sidney's Astrophel and Stella” begins thus :
“ Have I caught my heavenly jewel
Teaching sleep most fair to be ?” These poems were first printed in 1591, under the editorship of Thomas Nash.
Mrs. Ford. O, sweet sir John!
Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my wish: I would thy husband were dead, I'll speak it before the best lord, I would make thee my lady.
Mrs. Ford. I your lady, sir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady.
Fal. Let the court of France show me such another. I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond: thou hast the right arched beauty of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire', the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.
Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, sir John: my brows become nothing else; nor that well neither.
Fal. By the Lord, thou art a tyrant to say so: thou wouldst 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 thy friendø: come, thou canst not hide it.
Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in
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 smell like Bucklersbury in simple-time': I cannot; but I love thee, none but thee, and thou deservest it.
that becomes the ship-tire,] Alluding to a species of head-dress, probably like a ship with streamers, then in fashion. The quartos just above have bent for “ beauty,” and, below, traitor for“ tyrant," of the folios.
8 if fortune thy foe were not, nature thy friend :) So the old copies, which seem to require no change : we must understand being after “nature.”
9 – and smell like Bucklersbury in simple-time ;] “Simples” were herbs, which were sold at the many apothecaries' shops in Bucklersbury.