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Fal. Well, sirs, I am almost out at heels.
Fal. There is no remedy; I must coney-catch; I must shift.
Pist. Young ravens must haye food. 9
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,2 she gives the leer of invitation: I can construe the action of her familiar style; and the hardest voice of her behaviour, to be English'd rightly, is, I am Sir John Falstaff's.
Pist. He hath studied her well, and translated her well;3
9 Young Ravens must have food.] An adage. See Ray's Proverbs. Steevens.
about no waste ;] I find the same play on words in Heywood's Epigrams, 1562:
“ Where am I least husband ? quoth he, in the waist;
“For all is waste in you, as far as I see."
“ He's a great man indeed ;
“ Something given to the waste, for he lives within no reasonable compass.” Steevens.
- she carves,] It should be remembered, that anciently the
young of both sexes were instructed in carving, as a necessary accomplishment. In 1508, Wynkyn de Worde published “A Boke of Kerving.” So, in Love's Labour's Lost, Biron says of Boyet, the French courtier : " —He can carve too, and lisp."
Steevens. studied her well, and translated her well ;] Thus the first quarto. The folio, 1623, reads " studied her will, and translated her will.” Mr. Malone observes, that there is a similar corruption in the folio copy of King Lear. In the quarto, 1608, signat. B, we find—" since what I well intend;" instead of which the folio exhibits—“ since what I will intend,” &c.
Translation is not used in its common acceptation, but means to explain, as one language is explained by another. So, in Hamlet :
out of honesty into English.
Nym. The anchor is deep: 4 Will that humour pass?
Fal. Now, the report goes, she has all the rule of her husband's purse; she hath legions of angels.5
Pist. As many devils entertain; 6 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
these profound heaves “ You must translate; 'tis fit we understand them.” Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
“ Did in great Ilion thus translate bim to me.” Steevens. 4* The anchor is deep:] I see not what relation the anchor has to translation. Perhaps we may read the author is deep; or perhaps the line is out of its place, and should be inserted lower, after Falstafl' has said:
“Sail like my pinnace to those golden shores.” It may be observed, that in the hands of that time anchor and author could hardly be distinguished. Johnson.
“ The anchor is deep,” may mean-his hopes are well founded. So, in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
Now my latest hope,
“ And let it hold!" Again, as Mr. M. Mason observes, in Fletcher's Woman Huter :
“ Farewel, my hopes; my anchor now is broken.” In the year 1558 a ballad, entitled “ Hold the ancer fast,” is entered on the books of the Stationers' Company. Steevens.
Dr. Johnson very acutely proposes “ the author is deep.” He reads with the first copy," he hath studied her well.”—And from this equivocal word, Nym catches the idea of ceepness. But it is almost impossible to ascertain the diction of this whimsical character: and I meet with a phrase in Fenner's Comptor's Commonwealth, 1617, which may perhaps support the old reading : “ Master Decker's Bellman of London, bath set forth the vices of the time so lively, that it is impossible the anchor of any other man's braine could sound the sea of a more deepe and dreadful mischeefe.” Farmer.
Nym, I believe, only means to say, the scheme for debauching Ford's wife is deep ;-well laid. Malone.
she hath legions of angels.] Thus the old quarto. The folio reads—" he hath a legend of angels.” Steevens.
6 As many devils entertain;] i. e. do you retain in your service as many devils as she has angels. So, in The two Gentlemen of Verona:
another to Page’s wife; who even now gave me good eyes too, examin'd my parts with most judicious eyliads:? sometimes the beam of her view gilded my foot, some. times my portly belly. 8
Pist. Then did the sun on dung-hill shine.9
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.3 I will be cheater to them
“ Sweet lady, entertain him for your servant.” This is the reading of the folio. Malone. The old quarto reads :
“ As many devils attend her .!” &c. Steevens.
eyliads :) This word is differently pelt in all the copies. It occurs again, in King Lear, Act IV, sc. v;
“She gave strange æiliads, and most speaking looks,
“ To noble Edmund.” I suppose we should write oëillades, French. Steevens.
sometimes the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes my portly belly.] So, in our author's 20th Sonnet:
“ An eye more bright than their's, less false rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth.” 'Malone. 9 Then did the sun on dung-hill shine.] So, in Lyly's Euphues, 1581:
“ The sun shineth upon the dunghill.” Holt White. 1—that humour.] What distinguishes the language of Nym from that of the other attendants on Falstaff, is the constant repetition of this phrase. In the time of Shakspeare such an affec. tation seems to have been sufficient to mark a character. In Sir Giles Goosecap, a play of which I have no earlier edition than that of 1606, the same peculiarity is mentioned in the hero of the piece: his only reason for every thing is, that we are all mortal; then hath he another pretty phrase too, and that is, he will tickle the vanity of every thing.” Steevens.
intention,] i. e. eagerness of desire. So, in Chapman's translation of Homer's Address to the Sun:
· Even to horror bright,
- she is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty. ] If the tradi. tion be true (as I doubt not but it is) of this play being wrote at Queen Elizabeth's command, this passage, perhaps, may furnish a probable conjecture that it could not appear till after the year
both, and they shall be exchequers to me;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,
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;5 Sail like my pinnace6 to these golden shores.
1598. The mention of Guiana, then so lately discovered to the English, was a very happy compliment to Sir Walter Raleigh, who did not begin his expedition for South America till 1595, and returned from it in 1596, with an advantageous account of the great wealth of Guiana. Such an address of the poet was likely, I imagine, to have a proper impression on the people, when the intelligence of such a golden country was fresh in their minds, and gave them expectations of immense gain. Theobald.
4 I will be cheater to them both, and they shall be exchequers to me;] The same joke is intended here, as in The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, Act II:
I will bar no honest man my house, nor no cheater.”By which is meant Escheatour, an officer in the Exchequer, in no good repute with the common people. Warburton,
- bear you these letters tightly;] i. e. cleverly, adroitly. So, in Antony aud Cleopatra, Antony, putting on his armour, says:
My queen's a squire
“ More tight at this, than thou.” Malone. No phrase is so common in the eastern counties of this kingdom, and particularly in Suffolk, as good tightly, for briskly and effectually. Henley.
It is used in this sense in Don Sebastian, by Dryden, Act II, sc. ii,-" tightly, I say, go tightly to your business.” Reed.
my pinnace-] A pinnace seems anciently to have signified a small vessel, or sloop, attending on a larger. So, in Rowley's When you see me you know me, 1613:
- was lately sent
“Our life is but a sailing to our death
“Shipp'd in a pinnace, or an argosy.”
Rogues, hence, avaunt! vanish like hail-stones, go;
[Exeunt Fal, and Rob. Pist. Let vultures gripe thy guts! 8 for gourd, and
A passage similar to this of Shakspeare occurs in The Humourous Lieutenant, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
this small pinnace “ Shall sail for gold.” Steevens. A pinnace is a small vessel with a square stern, having sails and oars, and carrying three masts; chiefly used (says Rolt, in his Dictionary of Commerce,) as a scout for intelligence, and for landing of men. Malone.
the humour of this age,] Thus the 4to. 1619: The folio reads—the honour of the age. Steevens.
8 Let vultures gripe thy guts?] This hemistich is a burlesque on a passage in Tamburlaine, or The Scythian Shepherd, of which play a more particular account is given in one of the notes to Henry IV, P. II, Act II, sc.iv. Steevens I suppose the following is the passage intended to be ridiculed :
and now doth ghastly death “ With greedy talents [talons] gripe my bleeding heart,
“ And like a harper (harpy) tyers on my life.” Again, ibid:
Griping our bowels with retorted thoughts." Malone.
-. for gourd, and fullam holils, And high and low beguile the rich anil poor :) Fullam is a cant term for false dice, high and low. Torriano, in his Italian Dictionary, interprets Pise by false dice, high and low men, high fullams and low fullams.. Jonson, in his Every Man out of his Humour, quibbles upon this cant term: “Who, he serve? He keeps high men and low men, he has a fair living at Fullam.”-As for gourd, or rather gord, it was another instrument of gaming, as appears from Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady:.“ And thy dry bones can reach at nothing now, but GORDS or nine-pins.”
Warburton. In The London Prodigal I find the following enumeration of false dice: “ I bequeath two bale of false dice, videlicit, high men and low men, fulloms, stop cater-traies, and other bones of function."
Green, in his Art of Juggling, &c. 1612, says, “ What should I say more of false dice, of fulloms, high men, lowe men, gourds, and