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in form) in their pockets. And they judged of their good or bad success, by their growing or their not growing there. SMITH.
Greene mentions these batchelor's buttons, in his Quip for an upstart Courtier" I saw the batchelor's buttons, whose virtue is, "to make wanton maidens weep, when they have worne them "forty weeks under their aprons," &c. STEEVENS. -of no having:] Having is the same as estate or JOHNSON.
See also in Macbeth,
"Of noble having, and of royal hope."
Line 207. Host. Farewell, my hearts: I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.
Ford. [Aside.] I think, I shall drink IN PIPE-wine first with him: I'll make him dance.] To drink in pipe-wine, is a phrase which I cannot understand. May we not suppose that Shakspeare rather wrote, I think I shall drink HORN-PIPE wine first with him: I'll make him dance.
Canary is the name of a dance, as well as of a wine. Ford lays hold of both senses; but, for an obvious reason, makes the dance a horn-pipe. It has been already remarked, that Shakspeare has frequent allusions to a cuckhold's horns. TYRWHITT.
Pipe is known to be a vessel of wine, now containing two hogsheads. Pipe wine is therefore wine, not from the bottle, but the pipe; and the text consists in the ambiguity of the word, which signifies both a cask of wine, and a musical instrument. Hornpipe wine has no meaning. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE III.
Line 227. -the whitsters- -] i. e. The whiteners of linen. -234. How now, my eyas-musket,] Eyas is a young unfledg'd hawk. I suppose from the Italian Niaso, which originally signified any young bird taken from the nest unfledg'd, afterwards a young hawk. The French, from hence, took their niais, and used it in both those significations; to which they added a third, metaphorically a silly fellow; un garçon fort niais, un niais. Musket signifies a sparrow hawk, or the smallest species of hawks. This too is from the Italian Muschetto, a small hawk, as appears from the original signification of the word, namely, a troublesome sting
ing fly. So that the humour of calling the little page an eyasmusket is very intelligible. WARBURTON. Line 255. Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough:- -] This sentiment may be easily traced from the scriptures; our author has introduced it likewise in Othello, and The Winter's Tale.
Line 267. that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-VALIANT, or any tire of Venetian admittance.] The old quarto reads, tire-vellet, and the old folio reads, or any tire of Venetian admittance. So that the true reading of the whole is this, that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-VALIANT, or any tire of Venetian admittance. The speaker tells his mistress, she had a face that would become all the headdresses in fashion. The ship-tire was an open head-dress, with a kind of scarf depending from behind. Its name of ship-tire was, I presume, from its giving the wearer some resemblance of a ship (as Shakspeare says) in all her trim: with all her pennants out, and flags and streamers flying.
Tire-valiant I suspect to be corrupt, valiant being a very incongruous epithet for a woman's head-dress. I suppose Shakspeare wrote tire-voilant. As the ship-tire was an open head-dress, so the tire-valiant was a close one; in which the head and breast were covered as with a vail. And these were, in fact, the two different head-dresses then in fashion, as we may see by the pictures of that time. One of which was so open, that the whole neck, breasts, and shoulders, were open to view: the other, so securely inclosed in kerchiefs, &c. that nothing could be seen above the eyes, or below the chin. WARBURTON.
-of Venetian admittance.] i. e. of a fashion received from Venice. Dr. Warburton might have found the same reading in the quarto, 1630. Instead of tire-valiant, I would read tire-volant. Stubbs, who describes most minutely every article of female dress, has mentioned none of these terms, but speaks of vails depending from the top of the head, and flying behind the loose folds. The word volunt was in use before the age of Shakspeare.
Line 275. -fortune thy foe- -] This was part of an aucient popular ballad, alluded to by Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy.
Line 359. Where's the cowl-stuff?—] i. c. The pole for fastening the cowl or tub to.
how you drumble:] That is, how sluggish you
Line 360. the laundress in Datchet mead;] i. e. The Thames.
Line 377. -So, now unscape.] So. the folio of 1623 reads, and rightly. It is a term in fox-hunting, which signifies to dig out the fox when earth'd. WARBURTON.
ACT III. SCENE IV.
Line 472. -father's wealth-] Some light may be given to those who shall endeavour to calculate the increase of English wealth, by observing, that Latymer, in the time of Edward VI. mentions it as a proof of his father's prosperity, That though but a yeoman, he gave his daughters five pounds each for her portion. At the latter end of Elizabeth, seven hundred pounds were such a temptation to courtship, as made all other motives suspected. Congreve makes twelve thousand pounds more than a counterbalance to the affectation of Belinda. No poet would now fly his favourite character at less than fifty thousand. JOHNSON.
-come cut and long-tail,-] According to the forest laws, the dog of a man, who had no right to the privilege of chace, was obliged to cut or law his dog, amongst other modes of disabling him, by depriving him of his tail. A dog so cut was called a cut, or cur-tail, and by contraction cur. Cut and long-tail therefore signify the dog of a clown, and the dog of a gentleman.
STEEVENS. Line 555. bowl'd to death with turnips.] An old proverb. See Ray.
Line 565. —fool and a physician ?] I should read fool or a physician, meaning Slender and Caius. JOHNSON.
-to slack it?] i. e. To neglect it.
ACT III. SCENE V.
-a bitch's blind puppies,] In the old copies,
a blind bitch's puppies.
—as they would have drown'd a blind bitch's puppies,-] I have
ventured to transpose the adjective here, against the authority of the printed copies. I know, in horses, a colt from a blind stallion loses much of the value it might otherwise have; but are puppies ever drowned the sooner, for coming from a blind bitch? The author certainly wrote, as they would have drown'd the bitch's blind puppies. THEOBALD.
Line 687. —several deaths:] Thus the folio and the most correct of the quartos. The first quarto reads-egregious deaths. STEEVENS.
bilbo,-] A bilbo is a Spanish blade, of which JOHNSON.
the excellence is flexibleness and elasticity.
kidney,] Kidney in this phrase now signifies kind or qualities, but Falstaff means a man whose kidneys are as fat as mine. JOHNSON. Line 712. address me— -] Address here means, to make ready. - 731. -I'll be horn-mad.] There is no image which our author appears so fond of as that of cuckold's horns. Scarcely a light character is introduced that does not endeavour to produce merriment by some allusion to horned husbands. As he wrote his plays for the stage rather than the press, he perhaps reviewed them seldom, and did not observe this repetition, or finding the jest, however frequent, still successful, did not think correction necessary. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 1. This is a very trifling scene, of no use to the plot, and I should think of no great delight to the audience; but Shakspeare best knew what would please. JOHNSON.
Sir William Blackstone, Mr. Steevens, Mr. Malone, and Mr. Reed, have endeavoured to illustrate this scene of ribaldry; but, I think, quite in vain.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 85. obsequious] This word refers in the present, and some other instances, to that sadness which the solem
nity of funeral rites inspires.
-lunes- -] i. e. Lunatic.
-he so takes on- -] To take on, which is now
used for to grieve, seems to be used by our author for to rage. Perhaps it was applied to any passion. JOHNSON.
Line 107. is at his old lunes.
peer-out,] That is, appear horns. Shakspeare JOHNSON.
Line 142. --an abstract- -] See Hamlet:
"The abstract, and brief chronicle of the times."
-237. -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."
Line 247. - 260.
-his wife's leman.] i. e. Sweetheart.
-such daubery,] i. e. Such imposition under
Line 269. ronyon!] Ronyon, applied to a woman, means, as far as can be traced, much the same with scall or scab spoken JOHNSON,
of a man.
Line 278. -I spy a great peard under her muffler.] 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 suffer him to escape in so slight a disguise.
Line 281. cry out thus upon no trail,] The expression is taken from the hunters. Trail is the scent left by the passage of the game. To cry out, is to open or bark.
Line 320.they must come off;] To come off, signifies in our author, sometimes to be uttered with spirit and volubility. In this place it seems to mean what is in our time expressed by to come down, to pay liberally and readily. These accidental and colloquial senses are the disgrace of language, and the plague of
To come off, is to pay. In this sense it is used by Massinger, in The Unnatural Combat, Act 4. Sc. 2. where a wench, demand