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Nym. I have operations in my head, which be humours of revenge.
Pist. Wilt thou revenge?
Nym. With both the humours, I:
How Falstaff, varlet vile,
And his soft couch defile.
brizled dice, graviers, demies, and contraries?”
Again, in The Bellman of London, by Decker, 5th edit. 1640; among the false dice are enumerated, “ a bale of fullams."-"A bale of gordes, with as many high-men as low-men for passage.”
Steevens. Gourds were probably dice, in which a secret cavity had been made; fullams, those which had been loaded with a small bit of lead. High men and low men, which were likewise cant terms, explain themselves. High numbers on the dice, at hazard, are from five to twelve, inclusive; low, from aces to four. Malone.
High and low men were false dice, which, being chiefly made at Fulham, were thence called “high and low Fulhams. The high Fulhams were the numbers, 4, 5, and 6. See the manner in which these dice were made, in The complete Gamester, p. 12, edit. 1676, 12mo. Douce.
in my head,] These words, which are omitted in the folio, were recovered by Mr. Pope from the early quarto.
Malone. 2 I will discuss the humour of this love to Page.] The folio reads:
to Ford;" but the very reverse of this happens. See Act II, where Nym makes the discovery to Page, and not to Ford, as here promised; and Pistol, on the other hand, to Ford, and not to Page. Shakspeare is frequently guilty of these little forgetfulnesses. Steevens.
The folio reads--to Ford; and in the next line--and I to Page, &c. But the reverse of this (as Mr. Steevens has observed) happens in Act II, where Nym makes the discovery to Page, and Pistol to Ford. I have therefore corrected the text from the old quarto, where Nym declares he will make the discovery to Page; and Pistol says,
" And I to Ford will likewise tell" Malone. 3 I will incense Page &c.] So, in K. Henry VIII:
to deal with poison; I will possess him with yellowness, for the revolt of miens is dangerous: that is my true humour.
Pist. Thou art the Mars of malecontents: I second thee; troop on.
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 any body in the house, here will be an old abusing of God's patience, and the king's English. Rug. I 'll go watch.
[Exit Rug. Quick. Go; and we 'll have a posset for 't soon at night, in faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal fire.6 An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant shall come
In both passages, to incense has the same meaning as to instigate.
Steevens. yellowness,] Yellowness is jealousy. Fohnson. So, in Law Tricks, &c. 1608 :
“ If you have me you must not put on yellows.” Again, in The Arraignment of Paris, 1584:
Flora well, perdie,
the revolt of mien -] The revolt of mine is the old reading. Revolt of mien, is change of countenance, one of the effects he has just been ascribing to jealousy. Steevens.
This Mr. Steevens truly observes to be the old reading, and it is authority enough for the revolt of mien in modern orthography. “Know you that fellow that walketh there?-says Eliot, 1593 he is an alchymist by his mine, and hath multiplied all to moonshine.” Farmer.
Nym means, I think, to say, that kind of change in the complexion, which is caused by jealousy, renders the person possessed by such a passion dangerous; consequently Ford will be likely to revenge himself on Falstaff, and I shall be gratified. I believe our author wrote that revolt, &c. though I have not disturbed the text-ye and yt in the MSS. of his time were easily confounded.
Malone. at the latter end &c.] That is, when my master is in bed.
in house withal; and, I warrant you, no tell-tale, nor no breed-bate:7 his worst fault is, that he is given to prayer: he is something peevish that way:8 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. 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 Cain-coloured beard. 1
no breed-bate:) Bate is an obsolete word, signifying strife, contention. $o, in the Countess of Pembroke's Antonius, 1595.
“ Shall ever civil bate
“Gnaw and devour our state ?" Again, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540:
“ We shall not fall at bate, or stryve for this matter." Stanyhurst, in his translation of Virgil, 1582, calls Erinnys a make-bate. Steevens.
- he is something peevish that way: ] Peevish is foolish. So, in Cymbeline, Act II: - he's strange and peevish.”
Steevens. a little wee face,] Wee, in the northern dialect, signifies very little. Thus, in the Scotish proverb that apologizes for a little woman's marriage with a big man:-“ A wee mouse will creep under a mickle cornstack.” Collins.
So, in Heywood's Fuir Maid of the West, a comedy, 1631 : “He was nothing so tall as I; but a little wee man, and somewhat hunch-back'd." Again, in The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll, 1600 :
“ Some two miles, and a wee bit, sir." Wee is derived from weenig, Dutch. On the authority of the 4to, 1619, we might be led to read whey-face: “ _Somewhat of a weakly man, and has as it were a whey-coloured beard.” Macbeth calls one of the messengers whey-face. Steevens.
Little wee is certainly the right reading; it implies something extremely diminutive, and is a very common vulgar idiom in the North. Wee alone, has only the signification of little. Thus Cleveland:
“ A Yorkshire wee bit, longer than a mile.” The proverb is a mile and a wee bit; i e. about a league and a half. Ritson. 11-a Cain-colour' beard.] Cain and Judas, in the tapestries and pictures of old, were represented with yellow beards. Theobald.
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.
Theobald's conjecture may be countenanced by a parallel er. pression in an old play called Blurt Master Constable, or, The Spaniard's Night Walk, 1602:
over all, “A goodly, long, thick, Abraham-colour'd beard.” Again, in Soliman and Perseda, 1599, Basilisco says:
where is the eldest son of Priam, “ That Abraham-colourd Trojan ?” I am not, however, certain, but that Abraham may be a corruption of auburn.
So, in Reynolds's God's Revenge against Murder, Book IV, Hist. 16, “ Harcourt had a light auburn beard, which (like a country gentleman) he wore negligently after the oval cut.” Again, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1603 :
“ And let their beards be of Judas his own colour." Again, in A Christian turn’d Turk, 1612:
“ That’s he in the Judas beard.” Again, in The Insatiate Countess, 1613:
“I ever thought by his red beard he would prove a Judas." In an age, when but a small part of the nation could read, ideas were frequently borrowed from representations in painting or tapestry. A cane-colour'd beard, however, (the reading of the quartoj might signify a beard of the colour of cane, i. e. a sickly yellow; for straw-colour'd beards are mentioned in A Midsunmer Night's Dream. Steevens.
The new edition of Leland's Collectanea, Vol. V.p. 295, asserts, that painters constantly represented
Judas the traitor with a red head. Dr. Plot's Oxfordshire, p. 153, says the same. This conceit is thought to have arisen in England, from our ancient grudge lo the red-haired Danes. Tollet. See my quotation in King Henry VIII, Act V, sc. ü. Steevens.
tall a man of his hands,] Perhaps this is an allusion to the jockey measure, so many hands high, used by grooms when speak. ing of horses. Tall, in our author's time, signified not only height of stature, but stoutness of body. The ambiguity of the phrase seems intended. Percy.
Whatever be the origin of this phrase, it is very ancient, being used by Gower:
'“ A worthie knight was of his honde,
De Confessione Amantis, lib. v, fol. 118, b. Steevens. The tall man of the old dramatic writers, was a man of a bold, intrepid disposition, and inclined to quarrel; such as is described by Steevens in the second scene of the third act of this play.
M. Mason. VOL. III.
Quick. How say you?-0, I should remember him; Does he not hold up his head, as it were? and strut in his gait?
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
Quick. We shall all be shent:3 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 my master; I doubt, he be not well, that he comes not home: and down, down, adown-a,* &c.
[Sings. Enter Doctor Caius.5 Caius. Vat is you sing? I do not like dese toys;
“ A tall man of his hands” sometimes meant quick-handed, active; and as Simple is here commending his master for his gymnastic abilities, perhaps the phrase is here used in that See Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598, in v.
“ Manesco. Nimble or quick-handed; a tall man of his hands.” Malone.
3 We shall all be shent:] i. e. Scolded, roughly treated. So, in the old Interlude of Nature, bl. 1. no date :
- I can tell thee one thyng, “ In fayth you wyll be shent." Again, in Chapman's version of the twenty-third book of Homer's Odyssey :
such acts still were shent,
and down, down, adown-a, &c.] To deceive her master, she sings as if at her work. Sir John Hawkins.
This appears to have been the burden of some song then well known. In Every Woman in her Humour, 1609, sign. E 1, one of the characters says, “Hey good boies! i' faith now a three man's song or the old downe adowne : well, things must be as they may; fil's the other quart: muscadine with an egg is fine; there's a time for all things, bonos nochios.” Reed.
5 Enter Doctor Caius.] It has been thought strange that ours: author should take the name of Caius [an eminent physician who flourished in the reign of Elizabeth, and founder of Caius College in our university) for his Frenchman in this comedy; but Shakspeare was little acquainted with literary history; and without doubt, from this unusual name, supposed him to have been a foreign quack. Add to this, that the doctor was handed down as a kind of Rosicrucian: Mr. Ames had in MS. one of the “ Secret Writings of Dr. Gaius." Farmer.