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Like faphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
Buckled below fair Knight-hood's bending knee;
Fairies ufe flow'rs for their charactery 4.
Away, disperse; but, 'till 'tis one o'clock,
Our dance of cuftom round about the Oak
Of Herne, the hunter, let us not forget.
Eva. Pray you, lock hand in hand, yourselves in
order fet:

And twenty glow-worms fhall our lanthorns be,
To guide our measure round about the tree.
But ftay, I fmell a man of middle earth .

Fal. Heav'ns defend me from that Welch fairy, left he transform me to a piece of cheese!

Eva. Vild worm, thou waft o'er-look'd ev'n in thy birth.

PLE, blue and white, Like saphire, pearl, AND rich embroidery,] Thefe lines are most miferably corrupted. In the words,-Flowers purple, blue and white,the purple is left uncompared. To remedy this, the Editors, who feem to have been fenfible of the imperfection of the comparison, read, AND rich embroidery; that is, according to them, as the blue and white flowers are compared to faphire and pearl, the purple is compared to rich embroidery. Thus inftead of mending one falfe fep they have made two, by bringing Saphire, pearl and rich embroidery under one predi


The lines were wrote
thus by the Poet,

In emrold-tuffs, flow'rs PUR-
FLED, blue and white,
Like faphire, pearl, IN rich em-

rich embroidery. To purfle is to
over-lay with tinfel, gold thread,
&c. fo our ancestors called a cer-
tain lace of this kind of work a
purfling-lace. 'Tis from the
French, pourfiler. So Spencer,
She was yclad
All in a filken Camus, lilly-white,
PURFLED upon, with many a

folded plight.

i. e. let there be blue and white flow'rs worked on the greenfword, like faphire and pearl in



The change of and into in, in the fecond verfe, is necessary. For flow'rs worked, or purfled in the grafs, were not like faphire and pearl fimply, but faphire and pearl in embroidery. How the corrupt reading and was introduced into the text, we have fhewn above. WARBURT. charactery.) For the matter with which they make letters.


of middle earth.] Spirits are fuppofed to inhabit the ethereal regions, and fairies to dwell under ground; men therefore are in a middle station.


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Quic. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end;
If he be chafte, the flame will back defcend,
And turn him to no pain; but if he start,
It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.

Eva. A trial, come.

[They burn him with their tapers, and pinch him. Come, will this wood take fire?

Fal. Oh, oh, oh!

Quic. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in defire;
About him, fairies, fing a fcornful rhime:
And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
Eva. It is right, indeed; he is full of leacheries
and iniquity.


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The SON G.

Fie on finful phantafy,
Fie on luft and luxury!
Luft is but a bloodish fire",
Kindled with unchafte defire,
Fed in heart, whofe flames afpire,

As thoughts do blow them, higher and higher.
Pinch him fairies, mutually;

Pinch him for his villainy:

Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
'Till candles, and star-light, and moon-fhine be out.

During this Song, they pinch him. Doctor Caius
comes one way, and steals away a boy in green;
der another way, and he takes away a boy in white;


Eva. It is right, indeed,-] This fhort Speech, which, is very much in Character for Sir Hugh, I have inferted from the old Quarto's.

Luft is but a cloudy fire,

but Sir T. Hanmer reads with lefs

Luft is but i'th' blood a fire.
3 During this Song,] This Di-
rection I thought proper to infert
from the old Quarto's.


Nn 4

7 Luft is but a bloody fire,] So the old copies. I once thought it fhould be read,


and Fenton comes, and steals way Mrs. Ann Page. A noife of hunting is made within. All the Fairies run away. Falstaff pulls off his Buck's head, and rifes.


Enter Page, Ford, &c.

They lay hold on him.

Page. Nay, do not fly; I think, we've watcht you


Will none but Herne the hunter ferve your turn? Mrs. Page. I pray you, come; hold up the jeft no higher.

Now, good Sir John, how like you Windfor wives?
See you thefe, hufbands? do not thefe fair Yoaks
Become the Foreft better than the Town?

Ford. Now, Sir, who's a cuckold now? mafter Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave, here are his horns, mafter Brook; and, master Brook, he hath enjoy'd nothing of Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of mony, which must be paid to mafter Brook; his horfes are arrefted for it, mafter Brook.

Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never meet. I will never take you for my love again, but I will always count you my deer.

Fal. I do begin to perceive, that I am made an ass.

See you thefe bufbands? Do not thefe fair Oaks Become the Foreft better than the Town] What Oaks, in the Name of Nonfenfe, do our fagacious Editors make Mrs. Page talk of? The Oaks in the Park? But there was no Intention of tranfplanting them into the Town.

Talis infcitia me quidem pudet, pigetque. The firft Folio reads, as the Poet intended, Yoaks: and

Mrs. Page's Meaning is this. She fpeaks it to her own, and Mrs. Ford's Husband, and asks them, if they fee the Horns in Falftaff's Hand; and then, alluding to them as the Types of Cuckoldom, puts the Queftion, whether thofe Yeaks are not more proper in the Forefts than in the Town, i. e. than in their Families, as a Reproach to them. THEOBALD.


Ford. Ay, and an ox too: both the proofs are ex


Fal. And thefe are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies; and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the fudden furprize of my powers, drove the grofsnefs of the foppery into a receiv'd belief, in defpight of the teeth of all rhime and reason, that they were fairies. See now, how wit may be made a jack-a-lent, when 'tis upon ill imploy


Eva. Sir John Falstaff, ferve Got, and leave your defires, and fairies will not pinfe you,

Ford. Well faid, fairy Hugh.

Eva. And leave you your jealoufies too, I pray you. Ford. I will never mistruft my wife again, 'till thou art able to woo her in good English.

Fal. Have I laid my brain in the fun and dry'd it, that it wants matter to prevent fo grofs o'er-reaching as this? am I ridden with a Welch goat too? fhall I have a coxcomb of frize? 'tis time, I were choak'd with a piece of toasted cheese.

Eva. Seefe is not good to give putter; your pelly is all putter.

Fal. Seefe and putter? have I liv'd to stand in the taunt of one, that makes fritters of English? this is enough to be the decay of luft and late-walking, through the Realm.

Mrs. Page. Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would have thruft virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without fcruple to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?

Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax?
Mrs. Page. A puft man?

Page. Old, cold, wither'd, and of intolerable entrails?

Ford. And one that is as flanderous as Satan?
Page. And as poor as Job?


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Ford. And as wicked as his wife?

Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and facks, and wines, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and fwearings, and starings, pribbles and prabbles?

Fal. Well, I am your theme; you have the start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welch flannel; 'ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me; ufe me as you will.

Ford. Marry, Sir, we'll bring you to Windfor to one Mr. Brook, that you have cozen'd of mony, to whom you should have been a pander: over and above that you have fuffer'd, I think, to repay that mony will be a biting affliction.


Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, let That go to make amends:

Forgive that Sum, and fo we'll all be Friends.

Ford. Well, here's my hand; all's forgiven at last. Page. Yet be cheerful, Knight; thou shalt eat a poffet to night at my houfe, where I will defire thee to laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee. Tell her, Mr. Slender hath marry'd her daughter.


Mrs. Page. Doctors doubt that; if Anne Page be my daughter, the is, by this, Doctor Caius' wife. [Afide.


- ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me;] Though this be perhaps not intelligible, yet it is an odd way of confeffing his dejection. I should wish to read, ·ignorance itself has a plume

o' me.

That is, I am fo depreffed that ignorance itself plucks me, and decks itself with the fpoils of my weakness.

2 Mrs. Ford. May, Hufband,] This and the following little Speech I have inferted from the old Quarto's. The Retrench

ment, I prefumfe, was by the Players. Sir John Falstaff is fufficiently punish'd, in being disappointed and expofed. The Expectation of his being profe cuted for the twenty Pounds, gives the Conclufion too tragical a Turn. Befides, it is poetical Justice that Ford fhould fuftain this Lofs, as a Fine for his unreasonable Jealousy. THEOBALD.

3 The two plots are excellently connected, and the transition very artfully made in this speech.


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