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intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable.—Pluck me out all the linen.
Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death.
[All clothes thrown out'. Page. Here's no man.
Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford; this wrongs you.
Eva. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies.
Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.
Ford. Help to search my house this one time: if I find not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity, let me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of me, “ As jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow walnut for his wife's leman.” Satisfy me once more; once more search with me.
Mrs. Ford. What hoa! mistress Page ! come you, and the old woman, down; my husband will come into the chamber.
Ford. Old woman !- What old woman's that?
Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have I not forbid her my house ? She comes of errands, does she ? We are simple men; we do not know what's brought to pass under the profession of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by the figure, and such daubery as this is; beyond our element: we know nothing.–Come down, you witch, you hag you'; come down I say.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, good, sweet husband.—Good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman'.
? All clothes thrown out.] A stage-direction from the corr. fo. 1632, making it clear that the actor of Ford, in his jealous rage, examined the basket to the very bottom, as if Falstaff could have been hidden in a napkin.
- for his wife's LEMAN.”] i. e. Lover: it was applied to women as well as to men--more frequently to the former. See Vol. ii. p. 665; and Mr. Way's edition of the Prompt. Parvul. p. 295.
9 Come down, you witch, you hag you ;) Mr. Singer informs us that the first folio here, and in Ford's next speech, has "ragge” misprinted for hagge: he must have looked at the folio, 1623, rather cursorily, or he would have seen that it has “ hagge" in the first instance, and “ragge" in the second ; probably an intended variation of abuse: we therefore preserve the difference. We have never seen a copy of the folio, 1623, where ragge occurs in the first instance: it is always hagge" there.
1- let him not strike the old woman. “ Not" is from the folio, 1632; it is wanting in the folio, 1623. Like many other words, it must have dropped out in
Enter FALSTAFF in women's clothes, led by Mrs. PAGE.
Mrs. Page. Come, mother Prat; come, give me your hand.
Ford. I'll prat her.—Out of my door, you witch ! [beats him] you rag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon?! out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you. [Exit FALSTAFF.
Mrs. Page. Are you not ashamed ? I think, you have killed the
poor woman. Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it.—'Tis a goodly credit for you.
Ford. Hang her, witch !
Eva. By yea and no, I think, the 'oman is a witch indeed : I like not when a 'oman has a great peard; I spy a great peard under her muffler.
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen ? I beseech you, follow: see but the issue of my jealousy. If I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust me when I open again.
Page. Let's obey his humour a little farther. Come, gentlemen. [Exeunt FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, and Evans.
Mrs. Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought.
Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallowed, and hung o'er the altar: it hath done meritorious service.
Mrs. Ford. What think you? May we, with the warrant of womanhood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any farther revenge?
Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of him: if the devil have him not in fee simple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the
of waste, attempt us again.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him ?
Mrs. Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband's brains. If they can find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any farther afflicted, we two will still be the ministers.
Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publicly shamed,
you RONYON !] From the Fr. royne, scurf: in Vol. v. p. 389, “ ronyon is applied to a witch. See also “ roynish,” Vol. ii. p. 372.
and, methinks, there would be no period to the jest. Should he not be publicly shamed ?
Mrs. Page. Come to the forge with it, then shape it: I would not have things cool.
A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter Host and BARDOLPH.
Bard. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your horses: the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him.
Host. What duke should that be comes so secretly? I hear not of him in the court. Let me speak with the gentlemen; they speak English ?
Bard. Ay, sir; I'll call them to you.
Host. They shall have my horses, but I'll make them pay; I'll sauce them: they have had my house * a week at command ; I have turned away my other guests: they must come off ; I'll sauce them. Come.
A Room in Ford's House.
Enter PAGE, FORD, Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. FORD, and Sir HUGH
Eva. 'Tis one of the pest discretions of a 'oman as ever I
did look upon.
Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant ?
3 Sir, the GERMANS DESIRE] In the folio, 1623, it is Germane desires, the letter s having been added to the wrong word. Just afterwards the error is continued by the printing of him for “them ” in Bardolph's answer, “Ay, sir ; I'll call him to you.” The second error was corrected in the folio, 1664, but the first was not corrected at all in the old editions.
they have had my HOUSE] The compositor seems to have caught the plural from “horses," in the line above, and, therefore, here printed houses instead of "house :" it is rather surprising that he did not repeat “horses."
Mrs. Page. Within a quarter of an hour.
Ford. Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou wilt ;
Page. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more,
Ford. There is no better way than that they spoke of.
Page. How? to send him word they'll meet him in the park at midnight ? fie, fie! he'll never come.
Eva. You see, he has been thrown into the rivers, and has been grievously peaten, as an old 'oman: methinks, there should be terrors in him, that he should not come: methinks, his flesh is punished, he shall have no desires.
Page. So think I too.
Mrs. Ford. Devise but how you'll use him when he comes, And let us two devise to bring him thither.
Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne the hunter, Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest, Doth all the winter time, at still midnight, Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns ; And there he blasts the trees, and takes the cattle ?, And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain In a most hideous and dreadful manner. You have heard of such a spirit; and well you know, The superstitious idle-headed eld Received, and did deliver to our age,
5 I rather will suspect the sun with cold,] The four folios, without exception, have gold for “cold,” which was Rowe's judicious substitution, and is borne out by the corr. fo. 1632.
6 You SEE, he has been thrown into the rivers,] So the corr. fo. 1632; but the printed text has always been, “You say, he has been thrown,” &c. : nobody has said so, and all that Sir Hugh means is, to call attention to the fact that Falstaff, having been so ill used already, is not likely again to fall into the trap set for him. Lower down, in Mrs. Page's speech, tree of the old copies is amended to “ trees in the corr. fo. 1632.
and takes the cattle,] “Take" was often used synonymously with blast. See Vol. v. pp. 479. 665. 678.
This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth.
Page. Why, yet there want not many, that do fear
Mrs. Ford. Marry, this is our device;
Page. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come,
Mrs. Page. That likewise have we thought upon, and thus.
Mrs. Ford. And till he tell the truth, Let the supposed fairies pinch him soundly",
8 Disguis'd like HERNE, with huge horns on his head.] This line is necessarily taken from the 4tos, and either that, or some line of the same import, must have been accidentally omitted in the folio, 1623. The answer of Page, “in this shape,” shows that he knew Falstaff was to be disguised, the manner of it having been mentioned by one of the party. In the 4tos. “Herne" is called Horne.
9 Like urchins, OUPHES,] Ouphe" and elf would seem to have the same origin, the Teutonic alf, a fairy or goblin. It is variously spelt in our old writers, ofe, auf, and ophe, as well as ouphe. The modern orthography is oaf, and it now generally means a dolt or blockhead.
1 With some DIFFUSED song :) i. e. Irregular, confused, strange, or, perhaps, scattered song.
See Vol. v. p. 634. 2 And, fairy-like, to-Pinch the unclean knight;] Boswell showed that the use of “to,” in composition with verbs, was not discontinued even in the time of Milton : it was certainly an ancient practice, and many instances may be found in Chaucer, Gower, and Lydgate. We can only guess at Mr. Singer's meaning, when he says “ to has here an augmentative sense, like be has since had.” If we understand him, we agree with him.
3 Let the supposed fairies pinch bim SoundLY,] “ Pinch him sound" in the folios, but the fairies were not to pinch Falstaff sound, but “soundly," and the