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with so many tuns 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 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.' Well, I will find twenty lascivious turtles, ere one chaste man.


"And set our credits to the tune of Greene Sleeves." But whatever the ballad was, it seems to have been very popular. August, 1581, was entered at Stationers' Hall, "A new ballad, entitled:

"Greene Sleeves is worn away,

"Yellow sleeves come to decaie,
"Black sleeves I hold in despite,
"But white sleeves is my delight."

Mention of the same tune is made again in the fourth act of this play. STEevens.

melted him in his own grease.] So Chaucer, in his Wif of Bathes Prologue, 6069:

"That in his owen grese I made him frie." STEEVENS. 9press,] Press is used ambiguously, for a press to print, and a press to squeeze. JOHNSON.

1 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 in



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 lainy against him, that may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O, that my husband saw this letter! it would give eternal food to his jealousy.

stance, 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

"May catch a wrench."


the chariness of our honesty.] i. e. the caution which ought to attend on it. STEEVens.

* O, that my husband saw this letter!] Surely Mrs. Ford does not wish to excite the jealousy of which she complains.

MRS. PAGE. Why, look, where he comes; and my good man too: he's as far from jealousy, as I am from giving him cause; and that, I hope, is an unmeasurable distance.

MRS. FORD. You are the happier woman.

MRS. PAGE. Let's consult together against this greasy knight: Come hither. [They retire.

Enter FORD, PISTOL, PAGE, and NYм.

FORD. Well, I hope, it be not so.

PIST. Hope is a curtail dog in some affairs:

Sir John affects thy wife.

FORD. Why, sir, my wife is not young.

PIST. He wooes both high and low, both rich

and poor, Both young and old, one with another, Ford 1; He loves thy gally-mawfry; Ford, perpend."


I think we should read-O, if my husband, &c. and thus the copy, 1619: "O Lord, if my husband should see the letter! i'faith, this would even give edge to his jealousie." STEEVENS.


curtail dog-] That is, a dog that misses his game. The tail is counted necessary to the agility of a greyhound.


curtail dog-] That is, a dog of small value;—what we now call a cur. MALONE.


gally-mawfry;] i. e. a medley. So, in The Winter's Tale: "They have a dance, which the wenches say is a gallimaufry of gambols." Pistol ludicrously uses it for a woman. Thus, in A Woman never vex'd, 1632:

"Let us show ourselves gallants or galli-maufries."


The first folio has the gallymaufry. Thy was introduced by the editor of the second. The gallymawfry may be right: He loves a medley; all sorts of women, high and low, &c. Ford's reply, "Love my wife!" may refer to what Pistol had said before: "Sir John affects thy wife." Thy gallymawfry sounds,

FORD. Love my wife?

PIST. With liver burning hot: Prevent, or go


Like sir Actæon he, with Ring-wood at thy heels:O, odious is the name!

FORD. What name, sir?

PIST. The horn, I say: Farewel.

Take heed; have open eye; for thieves do foot by


Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo birds do sing.

Away, sir corporal Nym.——

Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.' [Exit PISTOL.

however, more like Pistol's language than the other; and therefore I have followed the modern editors in preferring it.



Ford, perpend.] This is perhaps a ridicule on a pompous word too often used in the old play of Cambyses: "My sapient words I say perpend."


"My queen perpend what I pronounce." Shakspeare has put the same word into the mouth of Polonius. STEEVENS.

Pistol again uses it in K. Henry V.; so does the Clown in Twelfth Night: I do not believe, therefore, that any ridicule was here aimed at Preston, the author of Cambyses. MALONE.

With liver burning hot:] So, in Much Ado about Nothing: "If ever love had interest in his liver."

The liver was anciently supposed to be the inspirer of amorous passions. Thus, in an old Latin distich:


"Cor ardet, pulmo loquitur, fel commovet iras;


Splen ridere facit, cogit amare jecur. STEEVENS. cuckoo-birds do sing.] Such is the reading of the folio. The quartos, 1602, and 1619, read-when cuckoo-birds appear. The modern editors-when cuckoo-birds affright. For this last reading I find no authority. STEEvens.

1 Away, sir corporal Nym.

Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.] Nym, I believe, is out of place, and we should read thus:

FORD. I will be patient; I will find out this.

NYм. And this is true; [to PAGE.] I like not the humour of lying. He hath wronged me in some humours: I should have borne the humoured letter to her; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your wife; there's the short and the long. My name is corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch. 'Tis true :-my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife.-Adieu! I love not the humour of bread and cheese; and there's the humour of it. Adieu. [Exit NYM.

Away, sir corporal.

Nym. Believe it, Page; he speaks sense. JOHNSON.

Perhaps Dr. Johnson is mistaken in his conjecture. He seems not to have been aware of the manner in which the author meant this scene should be represented. Ford and Pistol, Page and Nym, enter in pairs, each pair in separate conversation; and while Pistol is informing Ford of Falstaff's design upon his wife, Nym is, during that time, talking aside to Page, and giving information of the like plot against him.-When Pistol has finished, he calls out to Nym to come away; but seeing that he and Page are still in close debate, he goes off alone, first assuring Page, he may depend on the truth of Nym's story. Believe it, Page, &c. Nym then proceeds to tell the remainder of his tale out aloud. And this is true, &c. A little further on in this scene, Ford says to Page, You heard what this knave (i. e. Pistol) told me, &c. Page replies, Yes; And you heard what the other (i. e. Nym) told me. STEEVENS.

Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.] Thus has the passage been hitherto printed, says Dr. Farmer; but surely we should read— Believe it, Page, he speaks; which means no more than -Page, believe what he says. This sense is expressed not only in the manner peculiar to Pistol, but to the grammar of the times.



I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your wife; &c.] Nym, to gain credit, says, that he is above the mean office of carrying love-letters; he has nobler means of living; he has a sword, and upon his necessity, that is, when his need drives him to unlawful expedients, his sword shall bite.


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