Sivut kuvina

Enter ROBIN.

Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket?! what news with

you ?

Rob. My master, sir John, is come in at your back-door, 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 me.

[Exit Mrs. PAGE. Mrs. Ford. Go to, then : we'll use this unwholesome humidity, this gross watery pumpion ;-we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.


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. Oh this blessed hour!

Mrs. Ford. Oh, 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

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| How now, my EYAS-MUSKET!] An“ eyas is a young hawk (see Vol. v. p. 520), and, as Warburton explained, a “musket” is a small hawk, from the Italian muschetto, so that “ eyas-musket means young little hawk. Augustine Saker, in his “ Narbonus," 1580, says, “ You know the eyas hawke is soone reclaymed, but if he be not fedde, he will quickly away.”

- JACK-A-LENT,] A “Jack-a-lent” was a puppet thrown at in Lent, like shrove-cocks, by way of amusement.

we'll teach him to know TURTLES from Jays.] i. e. Modest, faithful wives from prostitutes. Florio, in his Dictionary, tells us that putta is Italian not only for a lass, and a maiden, but for a trull, a harlot, a jay, a piot, a magpie.

4 Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel ?] 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.


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 friend ® : come, thou canst not hide it.

Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in me.

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.

Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, sir. I fear, you love mistress Page.

Fal. Thou mightst as well say, I love to walk by the Counter-gate, which is as hateful to me as the reek of a limekiln.

Mrs. Ford. Well, heaven knows, how I love you; and you shall one day find it.

Fal. Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, I must tell you, so you do, or else I could not be in that mind.

Rob. [Within.] Mistress Ford ! mistress Ford! here's mistress Page at the door, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you presently.



that becomes the SHIP-TIRE,] Alluding to a species of head-dress, probably like a ship with streamers, then in fashion. The 4tos, just above, have bent for “ beauty,” and below, traitor for “ tyrant,” of the folios.

- 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.”

and smell like Bucklersbury in SIMPLE-time:] “Simples” were herbs, which were sold at the apothecaries' shops in Bucklersbury.

SWEATING, and blowing,] Misprinted “ swearing and blowing" in the


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Fal. She shall not see me. I will ensconce me behind the arras'. Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so: she's a very tattling woman.

[FALSTAFF hides himself.

Enter Mistress PAGE and ROBIN. What's the matter? how now !

Mrs. Page. Oh mistress Ford! what have you done? You're shamed, you are overthrown, you're undone for ever.

Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page ?

Mrs. Page. Oh well-a-day, mistress Ford ! having an honest man to your husband to give him such cause of suspicion !

Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion ?

Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion ?-Out upon you ! how am I mistook in you !

Mrs. Ford. Why, alas ! what's the matter?

Mrs. Page. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman, that, he says, is here now in the house, by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence. You are undone.

Mrs. Ford. 'Tis not so, I hope.
Mrs. Page. Pray heaven it be not so, that you have such a

, man here; but 'tis most certain


husband's coming, with half Windsor at his heels, to search for such a one: I come before to tell you. If you know yourself clear, why I am glad of it; but if you have a friend here, convey, convey him out. Be not amazed; call all your senses to you: defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.

Mrs. Ford. What shall I do?-There is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear not mine own shame, so much as his peril: I had rather than a thousand pound, he were out of the house.

Mrs. Page. For shame! never stand "you had rather,” and "you had rather:" your husband's here at hand; bethink you

of some conveyance: in the house you cannot hide him.Oh, how have you deceived me!-Look, here is a basket : if

folio, 1632, but the true word was restored by the old annotator on that impression : r for t was a common misprint.

9 I will ensconce me behind the ARRAS.] i. e. Behind the hangings of the apartment. So Polonius says in “ Hamlet,” A. iii. sc. 4 (Vol. v. p. 553), “ I'll sconce me even here,” which has been hitherto misprinted “I'll silence me e'en here." A sconce properly is a fortification.

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he be of any reasonable stature, he may creep in here; and throw foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking : or, it is whiting-time, send him by your two men to Datchet mead.

Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there.—What shall I do?


Re-enter FALSTAFF. Fal. Let me see't, let me see't! Oh, let me see't! I'll in, I'll in. Follow your friend's counsel.-I'll in.

Mrs. Page. What! sir John Falstaff? Are these your letters, knight?

Fal. I love thee 'o : help me away ; let me creep in here; I'll never

[He gets into the basket': they cover him with foul linen. Mrs. Page. Help to cover your master, boy.--Call your men, mistress Ford.—You dissembling knight!

Mrs. Ford. What, John! Robert! John! [Exit ROBIN. Re-enter Servants.] Go, take up these clothes here, quickly ; where's the cowl-staff? look, how you drumble?: carry them to the laundress in Datchet mead; quickly, come.

Enter FORD, PAGE, Caius, and Sir Hugh EVANS. Ford. Pray you, come near: if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jest; I deserve it.-How now! whither bear you this?

Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.

Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle with buck-washing.

Ford. Buck! I would I could wash myself of the buck! Buck, buck, buck ? Ay, buck; I warrant you, buck, and of the season too, it shall appear. [Exeunt Servants with the basket.] Gentlemen, I have dreamed to-night: I'll tell you

10 I love thee:) After these words “and none but thee” have usually been added from the 4tos; but, as we have before remarked, if they are to be included in the text, there is no reason for not inserting many other passages from the same editions. The words are not at all a necessary part of the dialogue.

| He gets into the basket :) And falls over, adds the corr. fo. 1632, giving us to know that such was the old business of the scene by the actor of the part of Falstaff, in order to increase the confusion on the stage, and the laughter off it.

how you DRUMBLE:] The use of the word “ drumble," as a verb, seems peculiar to Shakespeare: the meaning is evident. A “ drumble,” in some parts of England, means a humble, or humming bee; and, in the north, “ drumbled ale” is thick, disturbed ale. For an explanation of “cowl-staff,” see Mr. Way's edition of the Prompt. Parvul. for the Camden Society, p. 97.


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my dream. Here, here, here be my keys : ascend my chambers, search, seek, find out: I'll warrant, we'll unkennel the fox.—Let me stop this way first :-so, now uncaper.

Page. Good master Ford, be contented: you wrong yourself too much.

Ford. True, master Page.-Up, gentlemen ; you shall see sport anon: follow me, gentlemen.

[Exit. Eva. This is very fantastical humours, and jealousies.

Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France : it is not jealous in France.

Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen : see the issue of his search.

[Exeunt PAGE, Evans, and Caius. Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this ?

Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceived, or sir John.

Mrs. Page. What a taking was he in, when your husband asked who was in the basket !

Mrs. Ford. I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so, throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.

Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would all of the same strain were in the same distress.

Mrs. Ford. I think, my husband hath some special suspicion of Falstaff's being here, for I never saw him so gross in his jealousy till now.

Mrs. Page. I will lay a plot to try that; and we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff: his dissolute disease will scarce obey this medicine.

Mrs. Ford. Shall we send that foolish carrion, mistress Quickly, to him, and excuse this throwing into the water; and give him another hope, to betray him to another punishment?

Mrs. Page. We'll do it: let him be sent for to-morrow eight o'clock, to have amends.

Re-enter FORD, PAGE, Caius, and Sir Hugh EVANS. Ford. I cannot find him: may be, the knave bragged of that he could not compass. Mrs. Page. Heard you that?

. Mrs. Ford. You use me well, master Ford, do you? Ford. Ay, I do so.


so, now UNCAPE.] To “uncape" a fox seems, in the old language of the chase, to have meant to unearth a fox.

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