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fhew you to the contrary: O miftrefs Page, give me fome counfel.
Mrs. Page. What's the matter, woman?
Mrs. Ford. O woman! if it were not for one trifling refpect, I could come to fuch honour.
Mrs. Page. Hang the trifle, woman, take the honour; what is it? difpenfe with trifles; what is it? Mrs. Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment, or fo, I could be knighted.
Mrs. Page. What?-thou lieft!-Sir Alice Ford!thefe Knights will hack, and fo thou shouldft not alter the article of thy gentry
Mrs. Ford. We burn day-light-here, read-read -perceive how I might be knighted-I fhall think the worfe of fat men, as long as I have an eye to make difference of men's liking; and yet he would not fwear; prais'd women's modefty; and give fuch orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I would have fworn his difpofition would have
8 What, thou lieft! Sir Alice Ford! thefe Knights will HACK, and fo thou should not alter the article of thy gentry.] The unintelligible nonfenfe of this fpeech is hardly to be matched. The change of a fingle letter has occafioned it, which is thus eafily removed. Read and point,Thefe Knights will LACK, and fo thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry. The other had faid, I could be knighted, meaning, I could have a Knight for my lover; her companion took it in the other fenfe, of conferring the title, and fays, What, thou lieft! Sir Alice Ford!
thefe Knights will lack a title, [i. e. rifk the punishment of degradation] rather than not make a whore of thee. For we are to obferve that and f
I read thus Thefe knights we'll back, and fo thou shouldest not alter the article of thy gentry. The punishment of a recreant or undeferving knight, was to back off his fpurs: the meaning therefore is; it is not worth the while of a gentlewoman to be made a Knight, for we'll degrade all thefe Knights in a little time, by the ufual form of hacking off their fpurs, and thou, if thou art knighted, fhalt be hacked with the rest.
gone to the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere, and keep place together, than the hundredth Pfalm to the tune of Green Sleeves. What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with fo many ton of oil in his belly, a'fhore at Windfor? how fhall I be reveng'd on him? I think, the best way were to entertain him with hope, 'till the wicked fire of luft have melted him in his own greafe-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 proteft, mine never fhall. I warrant he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank-fpace for different names; nay, more; and these are of the fecond edition; he will print them out of doubt, for he cares not what he puts into the prefs, when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantefs, and lye under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lafcivious turtles, ere one chafte man.
Mrs. Ford. Why, this is the very fame, 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 honefty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted witha! ; for, fure, unless he knew fome Stain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.
Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call it you? I'll be fure to keep him above deck,
Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never to fea again. Let's be reveng'd on him; let's appoint him a meeting, give him a fhow of comfort in his fuit, and lead him on with a fine baited delay, till he hath pawn'd his horfes to mine Host of the
* Press is used ambiguously, for a prefs to print, and a prefs to fqueeze.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will confent to act any villainy against him, that may not fully the charinefs of our honefty. Oh, that my husband faw this letter! it would give him eternal food to his jealoufy.
Mrs. Page. Why, look, where he comes, and my good man too; he's as far from jealoufy, as I am from giving him cause; and that, I hope, is an unmeasurăble distance.
Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman. Mrs. Page. Let's confult together against this greasy Knight. Come hither. [They retire.
Enter Ford with Piftol, Page with Nym.
Ford. Well, I hope, it be not fo.
Pift. Hope is a curtail-dog in fome affairs.
Sir John affects thy wife.
Ford. Why, Sir, my wife is not young.
Pift. He wooes both high and low, both rich and
Both young and old, one with another, Ford;
Ford. Love my wife?
Pift. With liver burning hot: prevent, or go thou, like Sir Acteon, he, with Ring-wood at thy heelsO, odious is the name.
Ford. What name, Sir?
Pift. The horn, I fay: farewel.
Take heed, have open eye; for thieves do foot by night.
Take heed ere fummer comes, or cuckoo-birds affright. Away, Sir corporal Nym.— Be cut his tail, or make him a curtail.
9 Away, Sir corporal Nym. Believe it, Page, he speaks fenfe.] Nym, I believe, is out of place, and we should read thus : Away,
curtail-dog] That is, a dog that miffes his game. The tail is counted neceffary to the agility of a greyhound, and one method of qualifying a dog according to the foreft laws, is to
Believe it, Page, he speaks fenfe.
Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this. Nym. And this is true: I like not the humour of lying; he hath wrong'd me in fome humours: I fhould have born the humour'd letter to her; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my neceffity He loves your wife; there's the fhort and the long.My name is Corporal Nym; I fpeak, and I avouch; 'tis true-my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your Wife.— Adieu; I love not the humour of bread and cheese: adieu. [Exit Nym.
Page. The humour of it, quoth a'! here's a fellow, frights humour out of its wits.
Ford. I will feek out Falstaff.
Page. I never heard fuch a drawling, affecting
Ford. If I do find it: well.
Page. I will not believe fuch a Cataian, tho' the priest o' th' town commended him for a true man. Ford. 'Twas a good fenfible fellow-well.
Away, Sir corporal.
BY ON THE
1 I have a fword, and it fall bite upon my necefity. He loves your wife; &c.] This abfurd paffage may be pointed into fenie. I have a fword, and it Shall bite upon my neceffity, he loves your wife, &c.] Having laid his word fhould bite, he ftops fhort, as was fitting: For he meant that it should bite upon the high-away. And then turns to the fubject of his conference, and swears, by his neceffity, that Falstaff loved his wife.
WARBURTON. I do not fee the difficulty of this paffage: no phrafe is more com
mon than you may, upon a need, thus. Nym, to gain credit, fays, that he is above the mean office of carrying love-letters; he has nobler means of living; he has a fword, and upon his neceffity, that is, when his need drives him to unlawful expedients, his fword shall bite.
2 I will not believe fuch a Cataian.] Mr. Theobald has here a pleasant note, as ufual. This is a piece of fatire that did not want its force at the time of this play's appearing; tho' the hiftory on which it is grounded is become obfolete. And then tells a long ftory of Martin Frobisher attempting the north-weft paffage, and bringing home a black-ftone,
Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford come forwards.
Page. How now, Meg?
Mrs. Page. Whither go you, George ?-hark you. Mrs. Ford. How now, fweet Frank, why art thou melancholy?.
Ford. I melancholy! I am not melancholy.-Get you home, go.
Mrs. Ford. Faith, thou haft fome crotchets in thy head now-Will you go, miftrefs Page? Mrs. Page. Have with you. You'll come to din
as he thought, full of gold-ore: that it proved not fo, and that therefore Cataians and Frobishers became by-words for vain boaft-The whole is an idle dream. All the mystery of the term Cataian, for a liar, is only this. China was anciently called Cataia or Cathay, by the firit adventurers that travelled thither; fuch as M. Paulo, and our Mandeville, who told fuch incredible wonders of this new difcovered empire, (in which they have not been outdone even by the Jefuits themselves, who followed them) that a notorious liar was ufually called a Cataian. WARBURTON.
Mr. Theobald and Dr. Warburton have both told their ftories with confidence, I am afraid, very difproportionate to any evidence that can be produced. That Cataian was a word of hatred or contempt is plain, but that it fignified a boafter or a liar has not been proved. Sir Toby
in Twelfth-Night says of the Lady Olivia to her maid thy Lady's a Cataian; but there is no reason to think he means to call her liar. Befides, Page intends to give Ford a reason why Pistol fhould not be credited. He therefore does not fay, I would not believe fuch a liar: for that he is a liar is yet to be made probable: but he fays, I would not believe fuch a Catalan on any tefiimony of his veracity. That is: This fellow has fuch an odd apfearance; is fo unlike a man ĉi-vilized, and taught the duties of life, that I cannot credit him. To be a foreigner was always in England, and I fuppofe every where effe, a reafon of diflike. So Piftol calls Slender in the first act, a mountain foreigner; that is, a fellow uneducated and of grofs behaviour; and again in his anger calls Bardolph, › Hungarian wight.