Page images
PDF
EPUB

SCENE II.-The same.

Enter Sir Hugh Evans and SIMPLE.

Eva. Go your ways, and ask of a Doctor Caius' house,—which is the way: and

there dwells one mistress Quickly, which is in the manner of his nurse, or

his dry nurse, or his cook, or his laundry b, his washer, and his wringer. SIM. Well, sir. Eva. Nay, it is petter yet:-give her this letter; for it is a 'oman that altoge

ther 's acquaintance with mistress Anne Page: and the letter is, to desire and require her to solicit your master's desires to mistress Anne Page : I pray you, begone; I will make an end of my dinner; there's pippins and cheese to come.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.-A Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter FALSTAFF, Host, BARDOLPH, Nym, Pistol, and Robin. Fal. Mine host of the Garter,Host. What says my bully-rook? Speak scholarly and wisely, Fal. Truly, mine host, I must turn away some of my followers. Host. Discard, bully Hercules ; cashier : let them wag; trot, trot. Fal. I sit at ten pounds a week. Host. Thou 'rt an emperor, Cæsar, Keisar, and Pheezar. I will entertain Bar

dolph; he shall draw, he shall tap: said I well, bully Hector? Fal. Do so, good mine host. Host. I have spoke ; let him follow : Let me see thee froth, and lived: I am at a word ; follow,

[Exit HOST Fal. Bardolph, follow him: a tapster is a good trade : an old cloak makes a

new jerkin; a withered servingman a fresh tapster: Go; adieu. BARD. It is a life that I have desired; I will thrive.

[Exit BARD. Pist. O base Hungarian e wight! wilt thou the spigot wield?

a Of Dr. Caius' house-ask for Dr. Caius' house—ask which is the way. • Laundry. Sir Hugh means to say launder, or laundress.

• Douce says that bully-rook is not derived from the rook of chess, but that it means a hectoring cheating sharper. We scarcely think that the Host would have applied such offensive terms to Falstaff, who sat “at ten pounds a-week,” and in his expense was an emperor."

« Froth, and live. So the folio. The reading of the quarto is " froth and lime," which is interpreted to fruth the beer, and lime the sack. But surely the Host would not so unblushingly avow the frauds of his calling. Steevens says the beer was frothed by putting soap in the tankard, and the sack made sparkling by lime in the glass. He does not give us his authority for these retail mysteries of the drawer's craft. The passage in the folio requires no such learned interpretation.

Hungarian. So the folio. The quarto, which has supplied the ordinary reading, gives us Gongarian. The editors have retained “Gongarian,” because they find a similar epithet in one

Nim. He was gotten in drink: Is not the humour conceited ? [His mind is

not heroic, and there's the humour of it.a FAL. I am glad I am so acquit of this tinder box; his thefts were too open ;

his filching was like an unskilful singer,-he kept not time. Nym. The good humour is to steal at a minute’s restb. Pist. Convey, the wise it call: Steal! foh; a fico for the phrase. FAL. Well, sirs, I am almost out at heels. Pist. Why, then let kibes ensue. Fal. There is no remedy; I must coney-catch; I must shift. Pist. Young ravens must have food. Fal. Which of you know Ford of this town? Pist. I ken the wight; he is of substance good. Fal. My honest lads, I will tell you what I am about. Pist. Two yards, and more. Fal. No quips now, Pistol: Indeed I am in the waist two yards about; but I

am now about no waste; I am about thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make love to Ford's wife; I spy entertainment in her ; she discourses, she carves, she gives the leer of invitation: I can construe the action of her familiar style; and the hardest voice of her behaviour, to be Englished rightly, is, I

am sir John Falstaff's. Pist. He hath studied her will, and translated her will<, out of honesty into

English. Nym. The anchor is deep a: Will that humour pass ? Fal. Now, the report goes she has all the rule of her husband's purse; he hath

a legion of angels. Pist. As many devils entertain ; and, “To her, boy," say I. Nym. The humour rises; it is good: humour me the angels. FAL. I have writ me here a letter to her: and here another to Page's wife ; who

even now gave me good eyes too; examined my parts with most judicious eyliads ; sometimes the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes my portly belly.

of the old bombast plays. Hungarian means a gipsy—and is equivalent to the Bohemian of

Quentin Durward.' In this play the Host calls Simple a “Bohemian Tartar.” Bishop Hall, in his · Satires,' has a punning couplet,

“ So sharp and meagre, that who should them see

Would swear they lately came from Hungary,"and therefore Malone says that “ a Hungarian signified a hungry starved fellow."

• The passage in brackets is not in the folio. The expression appears to us uncharacteristic, and was probably omitted for that reason; “ he was gotten in drink" being substituted.

* Some would read " at a minim's rest." This seems to us a crotchet.

• The ordinary reading is, “ he hath studied her well, and translated her well.” The folio gives will in the two instances; and we cannot understand why Malone calls this a corruption.

The commentators give us a page of notes to explain the phrase " the anchor is deep;" and Johnson would read, "the author is deep,” receiving Pistol's translated in a literary sense. Surely the phrase of the original requires neither change nor explanation.

• So the folio. The quarto reads, “ she hath legions of angels." But Mrs. Ford has only the rule of the purse not the possession of it.

Pist. Then did the sun on dunghill shine.
Nym. I thank thee for that humour.
Fal. O, she did so course o'er my exteriors with such a greedy intention, that

the appetite of her eye did seem to scorch me up like a burning-glass ! Here's another letter to her: she bears the purse too; she is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty. I will be cheater a to them both, and they shall be exchequers to me b; they shall be my East and West Indies, and I will trade to them both. Go, bear thou this letter to mistress Page; and

thou this to mistress Ford : we will thrive, lads, we will thrive. Pist. Shall I sir Pandarus of Troy become,

And by my side wear steel ? then, Lucifer take all ! Nym. I will run no base humour: here, take the humour letter ; I will keep

the 'haviour of reputation.
Fal. Hold, sirrah (to RoB.], bear you these letters tightly";

Sail like my pinnaced to these golden shores.-
Rogues, hence, avaunt! vanish like hailstones, go;
Trudge, plod away i' the hoof; seek shelter, pack!
Falstaff will learn the honour of the age ,
French thrift, you rogues; myself, and skirted page.

[Exeunt FALSTAFF and ROBIN. Pist. Let vultures gripe thy guts ! for gourd and fullam holds,

And high and low beguile the rich and poorf;
Tester I 'll have in pouch, when thou shalt lack,

Base Phrygian Turk !
Nym. I have operations 8, which be humours of revenge.
Pist. Wilt thou revenge?
Nym. By welkin, and her star!
Pist. With wit, or steel ?
Nym. With both the humours, I:

I will discuss the humour of this love to Ford h.

[ocr errors]

a Cheater. The folio has cheaters.

See note to · Henry IV., Part II.,' Act II., Scene 4. The escheators, officers of the exchequer, were popularly called cheaters. Tightly-briskly, cleverly.

Pinnace—a small vessel attached to, or in company with, a larger. • So the folio. The quarto," the humour of this age.”

Gourd, fullam, high, and low, were cant terms for false dice. Pistol will have his tester in pouch by cheating at play. 6 The quarto reads, “ I have operations in my head.

The editors have altered “ Ford” to “ Page,” and “ Page” to “Ford,” because " the very reverse of this happens.” Steevens says, “ Shakspere is frequently guilty of these little forgetfulnesses.” And yet the quarto gives us the reading which the editors adopt. But had Shakspere, who was not quite so forgetful as they represent, no reason for making the change? Nym suggests the scheme of betraying Falstaff; and it was natural that, Ford being first mentioned by Sir John, and Ford's wife being most the subject of conversation, Nyın should first propose to “discuss the humour of this love" to Ford. How the worthies arranged their plans afterwards has little to do with the matter: and it is to be observed that they are together when the disclosure takes place to both husbands.

h

Pist. And I to Page shall eke unfold,

How Falstaff, varlet vile,
His dove will prove, his gold will hold,

And his soft couch defile.
Nym. My humour shall not cool: I will incense Ford to deal with poison; I

will possess him with yellowness, for the revolt of miena is dangerous: that

is my true humour. Pist. Thou art the Mars of malcontents : I second thee; troop on. [Exeunt.

SCENE IV.-A Room in Dr. Caius's House.

Enter Mrs. QUICKLY, SIMPLE, and RUGBY. Quick. What: John Rugby !-I pray thee, go to the casement, and see if you

can see my master, master Doctor Caius, coming: if he do, i' faith, and find anybody in the house, here will be an old abusing of God's patience and the

king's English. Rug. I 'll go watch.

[Exit Rugby. QUICK. Go; and we ll have a posset for 't soon at night, in faith, at the latter

end of a sea-coal fire. An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant shall come in house withal; and, I warrant you, no tell-tale, nor no breed-bateb: his worst fault is that he is given to prayer; he is something peevish that way; but nobody but has his fault;—but let that pass. Peter Simple you

say your name is ? SIM. Ay, for fault of a better. QUICK. And master Slender 's your master ? Sim. Ay, forsooth. Quick. Does he not wear a great round beard, like a glover's paring knife ? Sim. No, forsooth: he hath but a little wee face, with a little yellow beard; a

cane-coloured beard. QUICK. A softly-sprighted man, is he not? Sim. Ay, forsooth : but he is as tall a man of his hands as any is between this

and his head; he hath fought with a warrener. QUICK. How say you?-0, I should remember him: Does he not hold

up

his head, as it were ? and strut in his gait ? a Mien. This is mine in the folio; but mien was thus spelt. By “the revolt of mien” Nym may intend the change of complexion—the yellowness of jealousy. Or he may intend by “the revolt of mine" my revolt. The matter is not worth discussing.

Bate is strife. It is “ debate."

• The ordinary reading is “a Cain-coloured beard.” Cain and Judas, according to Theobald, were represented in the old tapestries with yellow beards. But surely the representation was not so general as to become the popular designation of a colour; whereas the colour of cane is intelligible to all. The quarto confirms this:

“ Quick. He has as it were a whay-coloured beard.

Sim. Indeed my master's beard is kane-coloured.” The spelling of the folio is, however, “ Caine-coloured.”

Sim. Yes, indeed, does he.
Quick. Well, heaven send Anne Page no worse fortune! Tell master parson

Evans I will do what I can for your master: Anne is a good girl, and I wish

Re-enter RUGBY. Rug. Out, alas ! here comes my master. Quick. We shall all be shenta: Run in here, good young man; go into this

closet. (Shuts SIMPLE in the closet.] He will not stay long.-What, John Rugby! John, what John, I say! Go, John, go inquire for thy master; I doubt he be not well, that he comes not home:- And down, down, adown-a, &c.

[Sings. Enter Doctor Caius. Caius. Vat is you sing? I do not like dese toys; Pray you, go and vetch me

in my closet un boitier verd; a box, a green-a box; Do intend vat I speak?

a green-a box. QUICK. Ay, forsooth, I'll fetch it you. I am glad he went not in himself: if he had found the young man, he would have been horn-mad.

[Aside. Caius. Fe, fe, fe, fe! ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je m'en vais à la cour,-la

grande affaire. QUICK. Is it this, sir? Caius. Ouy; mette le au mon pocket; Depêche, quickly :-Vere is dat knave

Rugby? Quick. What, John Rugby! John ! Rug. Here, sir. Caius. You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby: Come take-a your

rapier, and come after my heel to de court. Rug. 'T is ready, sir, here in the porch. Caius. By my trot, I tarry too long; Od's me! Qu'ay j'oublié? dere is some

simples in my closet dat I vill not for the varld I shall leave behind. QUICK. Ah me! he 'll find the young man there, and be mad ! Caius. O diable, diable! vat is in my closet?-Villainy! larron! [Pulling

SIMPLE out.] Rugby, my rapier. Quick. Good master, be content. Caius. Verefore shall I be content-a? Quick. The young man is an honest man. Caius. Vat shall de honest man do in my closet? dere is no honest man dat shall come in

my

closet. Quick. I beseech you, be not so flegmatick; hear the truth of it: He came of

an errand to me from parson Hugh. Caius. Vell. Sim. Ay, forsooth, to desire her to Quick. Peace, I pray you. Caius. Peace-a your tongue:-Speak-a your tale.

a Shent-roughly handled.

« PreviousContinue »