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What a Herod of Jewry is this?-0 wicked, wicked, world !-one that is well nigh worn to pieces with age, to show himself a young gallant! What an unweighed behaviour5 hath this Flemish drunkarde picked (with the devil's name) out of my conversation, that he dares in this manner assay me? Why, he hath not been thrice in my company —What should I say to him?-I was then frugal of my mirth:1-heaven forgive me!-Why, I 'll exhibit a bill in the parliament for the putting down of men. 8 How shall I be revenged on him? for revenge
by Falstaff, is of Greek extraction, and means, at all times. So, in the twenty-second Iliad, 433:
NUKTAE TE KAI HMAP
“My Hector! night and day thy mother's joy." So likewise, in the third book of Gower, De Confessione Amantis:
“ The sonne cleped was Machayre,
“ By daie bothe and eke by night." Loud and still was another phrase of similar meaning. Steevens.
What an unweighed behaviour &c.] Thus the folio, 1623. It has been suggested to me, that we should read-one. Steevens.
Flemish drunkard - ] It is not without reason that this term of reproach is here used. Sir John Smythe in Certain Discourses, &c. 4to. 1590, says, that the habit of drinking to excess was introduced into England from the Low Countries “ by some of our such men of warre within these very few years; whereof it is come to passe that now-a-dayes there are very fewe feastes where our said men of warre are present, but that they do invite and procure all the companie, of what calling soever they be, to carowsing and quaffing; and, because they will not be denied their challenges, they, with many new conges, ceremonies, and reverences, drinke to the health and prosperitie of princes; to the health of counsellors, and unto the health of their greatest friends both at home and abroad: in which exercise they never cease till they be deade drunke, or, as the Flemings say, Doot dronken.". He adds, “ And this aforesaid detestable vice hath within these six or seven yeares taken wonderful roote amongest our English nation, that in times past was wont to be of all other nations of Christendome one of the soberest." Reed.
- I was then frugal of my mirth:] By breaking this speech imto exclamations, the text may stand; but I once thought it must be read, If I was not then frugal of my mirth, &c. Johnson.
for the putting down of men.] The word which seems to have been inadvertently omitted in the folio, was restored by Mr.
ed I will be, as sure as his guts are made of puddings,
Enter Mistress FORD. Mrs. Ford. Mistress Page! trust me, I was going to your house.
Mrs. Page. And, trust me, I was coming to you. You look
ill. Mrs. Ford. Nay, I 'll ne'er believe that; I have to
Theobald from the quarto, where the corresponding speech runs thus: “Well, I shall trust fat men the worse, while I live, for his sake. O God; that I knew how to be revenged of him!”—Dr. Johnson, however, thinks that the insertion is unnecessary, as “ Mrs. Page might naturally enough, in the first heat of her anger, rail at the sex for the fault of one.” But the authority of the original sketch in quarto, and Mrs. Page's frequent mention of the size of her lover in the play as it now stands, in my opinion fully warrant the correction that has been made. Our author well knew that bills are brou into parliament for some purpose that at least appears practicable. Mrs. Page therefore in her passion might exhibit a bill for the putting down or destroying men of a particular description; but Shakspeare would never have made her threaten to introduce a bill to effect an impossibility, viz. the extermination of the whole species.
There is no error more frequent at the press than the omission of words. In a sheet of this work now before me (Mr. Malone means his own edition] there was an out, (as it is termed in the printing-house) that is, a passage omitted, of no less than ten lines. In every sheet some words are at first omitted.
The expression, putting down, is a common phrase of our municipal law.
Malone. I believe this passage has hitherto heen misunderstood, and therefore continue to read with the folio, which omits the epithet -fat.
The putting down of men, may only signify the humiliation of them, the bringing them to shame. So, in Twelfth Night, Mal. volio says of the Clown—" I saw him, the other day, put down by an ordinary fool;" i. e. confounded. Again, in Love's Labour's Lost—" How the ladies and I have put him down !” Again, in Much Ado about Nothing—“ You have put him down, lady, you have put him down." Again, in Burton's Anatomy of Malancholy, edit. 1632, p. 482—“ Lucullus' wardrobe is put down by our ordinary citizens.”
I cannot help thinking that the extermination of all men would be as practicable a design of parliament, as the putting down of those whose only offence was einbonpoint.
I persist in this opinion, even though I have before me (in support of Mr. Malone's argument) the famous print from P. Brueghel, representing the Lean Cooks expelling the Fat ones.
show to the contrary.
Mrs. Page. 'Faith, but you do, in my mind. • Mrs. Ford. Well, I do then; yet, I say, I could show you to the contrary: O, mistress Page, give me some counsel!
Mrs. Page. What 's the matter, woman?
Mrs. Ford. O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I could come to such honour!
Mrs. Page. Hang the trifle, woman; take the honour: What is it?-dispense with trifles;-what is it?
Mrs. Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment, or so, I could be knighted.
Mrs. Page. What?--thou liest!-Sir Alice Ford! These knights will hack; and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.
9 What?--thou liest !--Sir Alice Ford !--These knights will hack; and 30 thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.] I read thusThese knights we 'll hack, and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry. The punishment of a recreant, or undeserving knight, was to hack off his spurs: the meaning, therefore is; it is not worth the while of a gentlewoman to be made a knight, for we 'll degrade all these knights in a little time, by the usual form of hacking off their spurs, and thou if thou art knighted, shalt be hacked with the rest. Fohnson.
Sir T. Hanmer says, to hack, means to turn hackney; or prosti. tute. I suppose he means-These knights will degrade themselves, so that she will acquire no honour by being connected with them.
It is not, however, impossible that Shakspeare meant by these knights will hack-these knights will soon become hackneyed characters.-So many knights were made about the time this play was amplified (for the passage is neither in the copy 1602, nor 1619) that such a stroke of satire might not have been unjustly, thrown in. In Hans Beer Pot's Invisible Comedy, 1618, is a long piece of ridicule on the same occurrence:
“ 'Twas strange to see what knighthood once would do:
“ That some refuse it who are counted wise.” Steevens. These knights will hack (that is, become cheap or vulgar,) and therefore she advises her friend not to sully her gentry by becoming one. The whole of this discourse about knighthood is added since the first edition of this play (in 1602]: and therefore I suspect this is an oblique reflection on the prodigality of James I, in bestowing these honours, and erecting in 1611 a new order of knighthood, called Baronets; which few of the ancient gentry
Mrs. Ford. Weburn day-light:1-here, read, read ;perceive how I might be knighted.--I shall think the worse of fat men, as long as I have an eye to make difference of men's liking:2 And yet he would not swear; praised women's modesty: and gave such orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words: but they do no more adhere and keep place together than the hundredth psalm to the tune of Green sleeves. 3 What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with so many tons of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor? How shall I be revenged on him ? I think, the best way were to entertain him with hope, till the wicked fire of lust have melted him in his own grease. Did you ever hear the like?
Mrs. Page. Letter for letter; but that the name of Page and Ford differs !—To thy great comfort in this
would condescend to accept. Blackstone.
Between the time of King James's arrival at Berwick in April 1603, and the 2d of May, he made two hundred and thirty-seven knights; and in the july following between three and four hundred. It is probable that the play before us was enlarged in that or the subsequent year, when this stroke of satire must have been highly relished by the audience. Malone.
1 We burn day-light:] i. e. we have more proof than we want. The same proverbial phrase occurs in The Spanish Tragedy:
“ Hier. Light me your torches."
“ Pedro. Then we burn day-light." Again, in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio uses the same expres. sion, and then explains it:
“We waste our lights in vain like lamps by day.” Steevens. I think, the meaning rather is, we are wasting time in idle talk, when we ought to read the letter; resembling those who waste candles by burning them in the day-time. Malone.
men's liking:) i. e. men's condition of body. Thus in the Book of Job: “ Their young ones are in good liking;” Fal.. staff also, in King Henry IV, says—" I 'll repent while I am in some liking.” Steevens.
Green sleeves.] This song was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company in September, 1580: “ Licensed unto Richard Jones, a newe northerne dittye of the Lady Greer Sleeves." Again, “Licensed unto Edward White, a ballad, beinge the Lady Green Sleeves, answered to Jenkyn hir friend." Again, in the same month and year: “Green Sleeves moralized to the Scripture,” &c. Steevens.
mystery of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy letter: but let thine inherit first; for, I protest, mine. never shall. I warrant, he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for different names, (sure more) and these are of the second edition: He will print them out of doubt; for he cares not what he puts into the press, when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion.5 Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles, ere one chaste man.
Mrs. Ford. Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the very words: What doth he think of us?
Mrs. Page. Nay, I know not: It makes me almost ready to wrangle with mine own honesty. I 'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal; for, sure, unless he know some strain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.
Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call you it? I 'll be sure to keep him above deck.
Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never to sea again. Let's be revenged on him: let 's appoint him a meeting; give him a show of comfort in his suit; and lead him on with a fine-baited delay, till he hath pawn'd his horses to mine Host of the Garter.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him, that may not sully the chariness of our
press,] Press is used ambiguously, for a press to print, and a press to squeeze. Johnson.
5 I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion.] Mr. Warton judiciously observes, that in consequence of English versions from Greek and Roman authors, an inundation of classical pedantry very soon infected our poetry, and that perpetual allusions to ancient fable were introduced, as in the present instance, without the least regard to propriety; for Mrs. Page was not intended, in any degree, to be a learned or an affected lady.
Steevens. —some strain in me,] Thus the old copies. The modern editors read—“some stain in me,” but, I think, unnecessarily. A similar expression occurs in The Winter's Tale:
“ With what encounter so uncurrent have I
“ Strain'd to appear thus?" And again, in Timon:
a noble nature