Mrs. Ford. But is my husband coming?

Mrs. Page. Ay, in good sadness, is he; and talks of the basket too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.

Mrs. Ford. We'll try that; for I'll appoint my men to carry the basket again, to meet him at the door with it, as they did last time.

Mrs. Page. Nay, but he 'll be here presently: let's go dress him like the witch of Brentford.

Mrs. Ford. I'll first direct my men, what they shall do with the basket. Go up, I'll bring linen for him straight.

[Exit. Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot misuse him enough.

We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
Wives may be merry, and yet honest too:
We do not act, that often jest and laugh;
'Tis old but true, Still swine eat all the draf.' [Exit.

Re-enter Mrs. Ford with two Servants. Mrs. Ford. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders; your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him; quickly, despatch. [Exit.

1. Serv. Come, come, take it up. 2. Serv. Pray heaven, it be not full of the knight?again. 1. Serv. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead. Enter FORD, Page, SHALLOW, Caius, and

Sir Hugh EVANS. Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again?-Set down the basket, villain ;-Somebody call my wife :-You youth in a basket, come out here!—0, you panderly rascals! there's a knot, a ging,2 a pack, a conspiracy against


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Still swine, &c.] This is a proverbial sentence. See Ray's Collection. Malone. of the knight -] The

only authentic copy, the first folio, reads "full of knight.The editor of the second-of the knight; I think unnecessarily. We have just had“hard at door." Malone.

At door,] is a frequent provincial ellipsis. Full of knight is a phrase without example; and the present speaker (one of Ford's drudges) was not meant for a dealer in grotesque language. I therefore read with the second folio. Steevens.

a ging,] Old copy-gin. Ging was the word intende

me: Now shall the devil be shamed. What! wife, I say; come, come forth; behold what honest clothes you send forth to bleaching.

Page. Why this passes !3 Master Ford, you are not to go loose any longer; you must be pinioned.

Eva. Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as a mad dog! Shal. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well; indeed.

Enter Mrs. FORD. Ford. So say I too, sir.—Come hither, mistress Ford; mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband! I suspect without cause, mistress, do I?

Mrs. Ford. Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty.

Ford. Well said, brazen-face; hold it out. -Come forth, sirrah. [Pulls the clothes out of the basket.

Page. This passes!

Mrs. Ford. Are you not ashamed? let the clothes alone.

Ford. I shall find you anon.

Eva. 'Tis unreasonable! Will you take up your wife's clothes? Come away.


by the poet, and was anciently used for gang. So, in Ben Jon. son's New Inn, 1631:

“ The secret is, I would not willingly
“ See or be seen to any of this ging,

Especially the lady.”
Again, in The Alchemist, 1810:

Sure he has got
“Some baudy picture to call all this ging ;
“ The friar and the boy, or the new motion,” &c.

Malone. this passes !] The force of the phrase I did not understand, when a former impression of Shakspeare was prepared ; and therefore gave these two words as part of an imperfect sentence. One of the obsolete senses of the verb, to pass, is to go beyond bounds. So, in Sir Clyomon, &c. Knight of the golden Shield, 1599: “ I have such a deal of substance here when Brian's men

are slaine, “ That it passeth. O that I had while to stay!" Again, in the translation of the Menachmi, 1595: “ This passeth? that I meet with none, but thus they vexe me with strange speeches.” Steevens.

Hord. Empty the basket, I say.
Mrs. Ford. Why, man, why,

Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed out of my house yesterday in this basket: Why may not he be there again? In my house I am sure he is: my 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.

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.
Page. No, nor no where else, but in


brain. Ford. Help to search my house this one time: if I find not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity, let me forever be your table-sport; let them say of me, As jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow walnut for his wife's leman.5 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?
Mrs. Ford. Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brentford.

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

this wrongs you.] This is below your character, unworthy of your understanding, injurious to your honour. So, in The Taming of the Shrew, Bianca, being ill treated by her rugged sister, says: “ You wrong me much, indeed you wrong yourself.”.

Fohnson. - his wife's leman.] Leman, i. e. lover, is derived from leef, Dutch, beloved, and man. Sieevens.

6 She works by charms, &c.] Concerning some old woman of Brentford, there are several ballads; among the rest, Julian of Brentford's last Will and Testament, 1599. Steevens.

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. 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, 8 you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon!! out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.

[Exit. FAL. Mrs. Page, Are you not ashamed? I think, you have killed the poor woman.


This without doubt was the person here alluded to; for in the early quarto Mrs. Ford says-" my maid's aunt, Gillian of Brentford, hath a gown above.” So also, in Westward Hoe, a comedy, 1607: “I doubt that old hag, Gillian of Brentford, has bewitched me. Malone.

Mr. Steevens, perhaps has been misled by the vague expression of the Stationers' book. Iyl of Breyntford's Testament, to which he seems to allude, was written by Robert, and printed by William Copland, long before 1599. But this, the only publication, it is believed, concerning the above lady, at present known, is certainly no ballad. Ritson.

Fulian of Brainford's Testament is mentioned by Laneham in his letter from Killingwoorth Castle, 1575, among many other of established notoriety. Henley.

such daubery-] Dauberies are counterfeits ; disguises. So, in King Lear, Edgar says: “I cannot daub it further.”

Again, in K. Richard III; “ So smooth he daub'd his vice with shew of virtue.” Steevens.

Perhaps rather-such gross falshood, and imposition. In our author's time a dauber and á plasterer were synonymous. See Minsheu's Dict. in v.“ To lay it on with a trowelwas a phrase of that time, applied to one who uttered a gross lie. Malone.

- you rag, ] This opprobrious term is again used in Timon of Athens:

thy father, that poor rag —.” Mr. Rowe unne. cessarily dismissed this word, and introduced hag in its place.

Malone. - ronyon!] Ronyon, applied to a woman, means, as far as can be traced, much the same with scall or scab spoken of a man.

Johnson. From Rogneux, Fr. So, in Macbeth :

“ Aroint thee, witch, the rump-fed ronyon cries.” Again, in As you like it : “ the roynish clown.” Steevens.



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 in. deed: I like not when a ’oman has a great peard; I spy a great peard under her mufiler. 1

Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, fol. low; 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 further: Come, gentlemen. [Exeunt Page, Ford, SHAL. and Eva.

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 hallow'd, and hung o'er the altar; it hath done meritorious service.

Mrs. Ford. What think you? May we, with the warrant of woman-hood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any further revenge?

Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared

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1- I spy a great peard unler her mumer. ] One of the marks of a supposed witch was a beard. So, in The Duke's Mistress, 1638;

a chin, without all controversy, good “To go a fishing with ; a witches beard on ’t.” See also Macbeth, Act 1, sc. ii. The muffier (as I have learnt since our last sheet was worked off) was a thin piece of linen that covered the lips and chin. See the figures of two market-women, at the bottom of G. Hoefnagle's curious plate of Nonsuch, in Braunii Civitates Orbis Terrarum; Part V, Plate I. See likewise the bottom of the view of Shrewsbury, &c. ibid. Part VI, Plate II, where the female pea. sant seems to wear the same article of dress. See also a country. woman at the corner of Speed's map of England. Steevens.

As the second stratagem, by which Falstaff escapes, is much the

grosser of the two, I wish it had been practised first. It is very unlikely that Ford, having been so deceived before, and knowing that he had been deceived, would suller him to escape in so slight a disguise. Johnson.

cry out thus upon no trail,] The expression taken from the hunters. Trail is the scent left by the passage of the game. To cry out, is to open or bark. Fohnson. So, in Hamlet:

“How cheerfully on the false trail they cry:
“Oh! this is counter, ye false Danish dogs.!Steevens.




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