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story from “Le tredici piacevoli notti del S. Gio. Fr. Straparola,” Vineg. 1569, vol. i. fol. 129. V. A tale from Tarlton's “Newes out of Purgatorie,” 4to. London, 1590, taken from the preceding novel of “Straparola." Dr. Farmer was of opinion that Falstaff's mishaps with the Merry Wives were taken from this story. And, VI. a tale extracted from a rare work, called “Westward for Smelts,” 4to. Lond. 1620, which Malone thought led Shakespeare to lay the scene of Falstaff's love adventures at Windsor,
SLEN. In the county of Gloster, justice of peace, and coram.
SLEN. Ay, and ratolorum too ; and a gentleman born, master parson ; who writes himself armigero in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation; armigero.
SHAL. Ay, that I do; and have done any time these three hundred years.
SLEN. All his successors, gone before him, hath done't; and all his ancestors, that come after him, may: they may give the dozen white luces in their coat.
SHAL. It is an old coat.
Eva. The dozen white louses do pecome an old coat well; it agrees well, passant: it is a familiar peast to man, and signifies-love.
SHAL. The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat.(3)
Eva. Yes, per-lady; if he has a quarter of your coat, there is put three skirts for yourself, in my simple conjectures: but that is all one: if sir John Falstaff have committed disparagements unto you, I am of the church, and will be glad to do my penevolence, to make atonements and compromises petween you.
SHAL. The Council shall hear it; it is a riot.
Eva. It is not meet the Council hear a riot; there is no fear of Got in a riot: the Council, look you, shall desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your vizaments in that.
SHAL. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the sword should end it.
Eva. It is petter that.friends is the sword, and end it: and there is also another device in my prain, which, peradventure, prings goot discretions with it. There is Anne Page, which is daughter to master George* Page, which is pretty virginity.
(*) Old text, Thomas.
nas. a Cust-alorum.] The provincial abbreviation, probably, of Custos Rotulorum. Correctly, Shallow's designation was, “Justice of the Peace, and of the Quorum and Custos Rotulorum."
SLEN. Mistressa Anne Page? she has brown hair, and speaks small like a woman.
Eva. It is that fery person for all the 'orld, as just as you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of monies, and gold, and silver, is her grandsire, upon his death's-ped, (Got deliver to a joyful resurrections !) give, when she is aple to overtake seventeen years old: it were a goot motion, if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage petween master Abraham and mistress Anne Page.
SHAL. Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound ? b.
Eva. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar, as I do despise one that is false; or, as I despise one that is not true. The knight, sir John, is there; and, I peseech you, pe ruled by your well-willers. I will peat the door [Knocks.] for master Page. What, hoa! Got pless your house here!
Enter PAGE. PAGE. Who's there?
Eva. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and justice Shallow : and here young master Slender ; that, peradventures, shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.
PAGE. I am glad to see your worships well : I thank you for my venison, master Shallow.
SHAL. Master Page, I am glad to see you ; much good do it your good heart! I wished your venison better; it was ill killed.—How doth good mistress Page ?—and I thank you always with my heart, la ; with my heart.
PAGE. Sir, I thank you.
SLEN. How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say, he was out-run on Cotsale.(4)
PAGE. It could not be judged, sir.
SHAL. That he will not ;-tis your fault, 'tis your fault:d—'tis a good dog.
Mistress Anne Page ?] So late as to the beginning of the last century an unmarried lady was styled Mistress.
6°Did her grandsire, &c.] The folio gives this and a succeeding speech, “I know the young gentlewoman,” &c. to Slender. From the context it is evident they belong to Shallow.
c Petter penny.] Better penny was proverbial, but its precise meaning has not come down to us.
d Your fault:) That is, your misfortune. This meaning of the word is illustrated by a passage in “Pericles," Act IV. Sc. 3:
“Bawd. You are lit into my hands, where you are like to live.
MARINA. The more my fault,
To 'scape his hands, where I was like to die.”
FORD. 'Tis my fault, Master Page ; I suffer for it.”
PAGE. A cur, sir.
PAGE. Sir, he is within ; and I would I could do a good office between you.
Eva. It is spoke as a Christians ought to speak.
PAGE. Sir, he doth in some sort confess it.
SHAL. If it be confessed, it is not redressed: is not that so, master Page ? He hath wronged me; indeed, he hath ; at a word, he hath ; believe me; Robert Shallow, esquire, saith, he is wronged.
PAGE. Here comes sir John.
Enter SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYM, and PISTOL. FAL. Now, master Shallow ; you'll complain of me to the king ?
SHAL. Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and broke open my lodge.
FAL. But not kissed your keeper's daughter !
FAL. I will answer it straight: I have done all this: that is now answered.
SHAL. The Council shall know this.
FAL. 'T were better for you, if it were known in counsel :: you'll be laughed at.
Eva. Pauca verba, sir John, good worts.
Fal. Good worts! good cabbage. 6—Slender, I broke your head; what matter have you against me?
SLEN. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your coney-catching“ rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. They carried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and afterwards picked my pocket.d
BARD. You Banbury cheese! e
Eva. Peace, I pray you! Now let us understand: there is three umpires in this matter, as I understand: that is—master Page,
• Counsel :) Falstaff quibbles on the words council and counsel; the latter signifying secrecy. "'Twere better for you it were known only to those who will not talk of it, or you will become ridiculous." ob Good worts! good cabbage.] Worts meant coleworts, cabbages, and any kind of potherbs, formerly.
c Your coney-catching rascals,–] A coney-catcher, by metaphor from those that rob warrens or coney-grounds, was a sharper, a trickster.
d They carried me to the tavern, &c.] These words, which seem to introduce Falstaff's subsequent question, (“Pistol,' did you pick Master Slender's purse ?") are restored from the quarto, 1602
* You Banbury cheese!) A soft, thin cream-cheese. “Put off your cloathes, and you are like a Banbery cheese, nothing but paring.”—JACK DRUM'S ENTERTAINMENT, 1601.
It was also a cant word for a gaunt-faced, lanthorn-jawed fellow.
fidelicet, master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet, myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine Host of the Garter.
PAGE. We three, to hear it, and end it between them.
Eva, Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-book; and we will afterwards ’ork upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can.
FAL. Pistol, -
Eva. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, He hears with ear? Why, it is affectations.
Fal. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse ?
SLEN. Ay, by these gloves, did he, (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else,) of seven groats in millsixpences,a and two Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.
FAL. Is this true, Pistol ?
Pist. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner !—Sir John and master mine,
SLEN. By these gloves, then 't was he.
Nym. Be avised, sir, and pass good humours: I will say, marry trap, with you, if you run the nuthook'sd humour on me; that is the very note of it.
ŠLEN. By this hat, then he in the red face had it; for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.
FAL. What say you, Scarlet and John?
BARD. Why, sir, for my part, I say, the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences.
Eva. It is his five senses : fie, what the ignorance is !
BARD. And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashiered ;e and so conclusions passed the careires.
SLEN. Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 't is no matter: I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again, but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick: if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.
Eva. So Got ’udge me, that is a virtuous mind.
2 Mill-sixpences,–] The mill-sixpences used in 1561 and 1562, were the first milled money used in England.
b Latten bilbo :) Bilboa, in Spain, was once famous for its fine-tempered sword-blades, and hence a sword was often called a Bilbo. A latten bilbo (Latten being a mixed metal akin to brass) means a sword wanting both edge and temper. c In thy labras here;] In thy lips. The old quarto reads :
_"I do retort the lie
Even in thy gorge, thy gorge, thy gorge.” d The nuthook's humour- Nuthook was the slang title of a catchpole. Nym threatens poor Slender with the marry trap if he comes the constable over him, by charging him with theft.
. And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashiered ;] Equipollent to, being drunk, was cleaned out.