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More fertile-fresh than all the field to see ;
Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welch fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese! Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'er-look'd', even in thy
Pist. A trial! come.
Come, will this wood take fire ?
They burn him with their tapers. Fal. Oh, oh, oh!
Queen. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire !
11 - I smell a man of MIDDLE EARTH.] The globe was of old frequently called “ middle earth.”
1- thou wast o’ER-LOOK'D-] Steevens here incautiously informs us that “o'er-look'd is slighted ;” but see Vol. ii. p. 519, where it is shown that it means enchanted or bewitched.
? – still pinch him to your time.] After this line Malone, and others before him, added the following, assigned to Evans in the quartos. “ It is right, indeed, he is full of lecheries and iniquity.” It is to be observed that in the quartos the Welch dialect of Sir Hugh is preserved, and perhaps, from what Falstaff says, it ought to have been so in the folios. The whole scene varies considerably in the quartos.
During this song, the fairies pinch FALSTAFF: Doctor
Caius comes one way, and steals away a fairy in green; SLENDER another way, and takes off a fairy in white; and FENTON comes, and steals away 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, Mrs. Page, and Mrs. FORD. 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
* Fie on sinful fantasy!) Robert Greene, in his “Groatsworth of Wit," 1592, has a song beginning, “ Fie, fie on blind fancy.”
•-Falstaff pulls off his buck's head, and rises.] Theobald states that he inserted this stage-direction from the quartos: he ought to have added that he corrected and varied it: in the quarto, 1602, it runs in these words—" Here they pinch him and sing about him, and the Doctor comes one way, and steals away a boy in red; and Slender another way, he takes a boy in green; and Fenton steals Mistress Anne, being in white. And a noise of hunting is made within, and all the fairies run away. Falstaff pulls off his buck's head, and rises up."
Ford. Now, sir, 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 surprise of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief, irr despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now, how wit may be made a Jack-a-lent, when 'tis upon ill employment !
Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.
Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able to woo her in good English.
Fal. Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross o'er-reaching as this? Am I ridden with a Welch goat too? shall I have a coxcomb of frizes? 'Tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.
Eva. Seese is not good to give putter: your pelly is all putter.
Fal. Seese and putter! have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This
6 — a coxcomb of FRIZE?] i.e. a fool's cap (says Steevens) made out of Welch materials : Wales was famous for frize. In the “Promptorium” frize is called pannus villatus.
is enough to be the decay of lust, and late-walking, through the realm.
Mrs. Page. Why, sir John, do you think, though we would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and bave given ourselves without scruple to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?
Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax?
Era. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings, and starings, pribbles and prabbles ?
Fal. Well, I am your theme: you have the start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welch flannel. Ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me: use me as you will.
Ford. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one master Brook, that you have cozened of money, to whom you should have been a pander: over and above that you have suffered, I think, to repay that money will be a biting affliction.
Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt eat a posset to-night at my house; where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee. Tell her, master Slender hath married her daughter.
Mrs. Page. Doctors doubt that: if Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this, doctor Caius' wife. [Aside.
6 – to repay that money will be a biting affliction.] Here the quartos add what may be worth giving in a note.
“ Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, let that go to make amends : Forgive that sum, and so we'll all be friends.
Ford. Well, here's my hand: all's forgiven at last.
Slen. Whoo, ho! ho! father Page!
Page. Son, how now! how now, son ! have you despatched ?
Slen. Despatched !—I'll make the best in Gloucestershire know on't; would I were hanged, la, else.
Page. Of what, son?
Slen. I came yonder at Eton to marry mistress Anne Page, and she's a great lubberly boy: if it had not been i’ the church, I would bave swinged him, or he should have swinged me. If I did not think it had been Anne Page, would I might never stir, and ’tis a post-master's boy.
Page. Upon my life, then, you took the wrong.
Slen. What need you tell me that? I think so, when I took a boy for a girl : if I had been married to him, for all he was in woman's apparel, I would not have had him.
Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you, how you should know my daughter by her garments ?
Slen. I went to her in white?, and cried, “mum," and she cried “budget,” as Anne and I had appointed ; and yet it was not Anne, but a post-master's boy.
Mrs. Page. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose; turned my daughter into green; and, indeed, she is now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.
Enter Doctor Caius. Caius. Vere is mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened ; I ha' married un garçon, a boy; un paisan, by
? – in WHITE,] The folios read, in green; and in the two subsequent speeches of Mrs. Page, instead of green we find white. The corrections, which are fully justified by what has preceded, were made by Pope.