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63 he speaks holiday,] i. e. in a high-flown, fustian stile. It was called a holy-day stile, from the old custom of acting their farces of the Mysteries and Moralities, which were turgid and bombast, on holydays.
WARBURTON. 64 'tis in his buttons ;] Alluding to an ancient custom among the country fellows, of trying whether they shall succeed with their mistresses, by carrying the batchelor's buttons (a plant of the Lychnis kind, whose flowers resemble a coat-button in form) in their pockets. And they judged of their good or bad success, by their growing or their not growing there.
-of no having :) Having is the same as estate or fortune.
JOHNSON. 66 - the whitsters] i. e. of linen. Blancher in French is to whiten. We say now the bleachers from this French root.
eyas-musket ?] Eyas is a young unfledged hawk: French, niais; metaphorically, a silly fellow. Musket signifies a sparrow hawk, or the smallest species of hawks : Italian muschetto; originally, a troublesome stinging fly. So that the humour of calling the little page an eyas-musket, is very intelligible.
WARBURTON. 68 -Jack-a-lent,] A Jack-a-lent was a puppet thrown at in Lent, as the cock was at Shrove-tide.
69 Have I caught my heavenly jewel?] See the second song of Sydney's Astrophel und Stella, which begins with this line.
70 -the ship-tire, the tire-valiant,] The ship-tire was an open head-dress, with a kind of scarf depending from behind. Tire-valiant I suppose Shakspeare wrote tire-voilant : as the ship-tire was an open headdress, so the tire-voilant was a close one, in which the head and breast were covered as with a vail.
WARBURTON. -a traitor-] In the folio it is tyrant. 72 –drumble:) If I was certain that there was no such word as drumble, I should propose to read fumble.
T. T. 73 thy father's wealth] Some light may be given to those who shall endeavour to calculate the increase of English wealth, by observing, that Latymer, in the time of Edward VI. mentions it as a proof of his father's prosperity, That though but a yeoman, he gave his daughters five pounds each for her portion. At the latter end of Elizabeth, seven hundred pounds were such a temptation to courtship, as made all other motives suspected. Congreve makes twelve thousand pounds more than a counterbalance to the affection of Belinda. No poet would now fly his favourite character at less than fifty thousand.
JOHNSON. 74 cut and long-tail,] According to the forest laws, a man who had no right to the privilege of chace, was obliged to cut, or law his dog, amongst other modes of disabling bim, by depriving him of his tail. A dog so cut was called a cut, or curt-tail, and by contraction cur. Cut and long-tail therefore signify the dog of a clown, and the dog of a gentleman.
-a fool, and a physician?] I should read fool or a physician, meaning Slender and Caius.
JOHNSON -a bitch's blind puppies,] Old copies a blind bitch's puppies. The transposition made by Theobald.
77 — bilbo,] A bilbo is a Spanish blade, of which the excellence is flexibleness and elasticity.
JOHNSON. 78 This is a very trifling scene, of no use to the plot, and I should think of no great delight to the audience; but Shakspeare best knew what would please.
JOHNSON. -sprag—] Ray interprets this word by apt to learn.
80 -lunes-] for lunacy.
81 — takes on-] To iake on, which is now used for to grieve, seems to be used by our author for to rage. Perhaps it was applied to any passion.
JOHNSON. ** Peer-out !] That is, Appear, horns ! Shakspeare is at his old lunes.
JOHNSON. 89 he hath an abstract] Mrs. Ford could not speak in stronger terms of the jealousy of her husband. He hath an abstract [inventory], says she, of every place in the house where a man could be concealed. It is somewhat wonderful that such a temper should not have suspected the old woman of Brentford.
a ging,] in some editions gang. Formerly both words had the same signification.
85 leman.] Leman means gallant, paramour. $6 beyond our element : we know nothing.] Weak as
Ford's suspicions and jealousies make him appear, . when the lunacy of horns' is upon him, yet the poet has given him a strong reflective mind in other respects. He is above the superstition of the times.
87 if I cry out thus upon no trail,] The expression is taken from the hunters. Trail is the scent left by the passage of the game. To cry out is to open or bark.
JOHNSOX. 88 –in the way of waste, attempt us again.] Waste here must have the signification of destruction. The verbs are still synonimous, to waste is to destroy.
89 — and takes the cattle ;] To take, in Shakspeare, signifies to seize or strike with a disease, to blast. So in Hamlet:
“No planet takes." In Lear:
“ Strike her young bones,
JOHNSON 90-idle-headed eld] El signifies old age in Chaucer: it was the charge against old persons we see,
in Shakspeare's days, as well as in our own, that they let the foolish belief in ghosts and goblins grow upon them with their years.
91 - in that time-] Mr. Theobald, referring that time to the time of buying the silk, alters it to tire. But there is no need of any change: that time evidently relating to the time of the mask with which Falstaff was to be entertained, and which makes the whole subject of this dialogue. Therefore the common reading is right.
WARBURTON. VOL. I.
92 -tricking for our fairies.] Tricking means dress or habiliments.
98 -his standing-bed, and truckle-bed ;] The usual furniture of chambers in that time was a standing-bed, under which was a trochle, truckle, or running-bed. In the standing-bed lay the master, and in the trucklebed the servant. So in Hall's Account of a Servile Tutor:
“ He lieth in the truckle-bed,
JOHNSON. 94 - Anthropophaginian] Mr. Steevens has endeavoured to affix some meaning to the different words of mine host. I believe Shakspeare intended only, by the use of them, to make him appear a blustering fellow; for his Catuian, and Ephesian, and Bohemian, seem to be applied by him promiscuously.
95 –three Doctor Faustuses.] This is said in reference to the famous John Faustus; who was not only a German, but also supposed to have dealings with the devil.
96 Primero.] A game at cards. JOHNSON
97 Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well,] The great fault of this play is the frequency of expressions so profane, that no necessity of preserving character can justify them. There are laws of higher authority than those of criticism.
JOHNSON. 93 while other jests are somewhat rank on foot,] To each person was assigned a part in the common jest of punishing Falstaff. Fenton means here, by other jests being rank on foot,“ when all are so busily employed,