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farthingale. I fee what thou wert, if fortune thy foe6 were not; nature is thy friend : Come, thou can not hide it.
Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in me.
Fal. What made me love thee? let that persuade thee, there's soinething extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog, and lay, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklers-bury ? in fimple-time; I can. not: but I love thee ; none but thee; and thou deserveft it.
Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, fir; I fear, you love mistress Page.
Fal. Thou might'st as well say, I love to walk by the Counter-gate ; which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.
Mrs. Ford. Well, heaven knows, how I love you; and you shall one day find it.
Fah Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could not be in that mind.
Reb. [within) Mistress Ford, mistress Ford ! here's mistress Page at the door, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you presently.
Fal. She fhall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do lo; The's a very tattling woman.
[FALSTAFF hides bimfelf.
- fortune t by for-] “ was the beginning of an old ballad, in which were enumerated all the misfortunes that fall upon mankind, through the caprice of fortune.” See
note on Tbe custom of tbe Country, Act I. fc. i. by Mr. Theobald. Mr. Ritson obferves, that “the tune is the identical air now known by the song of Death and the Lady, to which the netrical lamentations of extraordinary criminals have been usually chanted for upwards of these two hundred years." REED.
7 Buckler's-lury, in the time of Shakspeare, was chiefly inhabited by druggifts, who sold all kinds of herbs, green as well as dry. STELVENS.
The spaces left between the walls and the wooden frames on which arras was hung, were not more commodious to our ancestors than to the authors of their ancient dramatic, pieces. Borachio in Mucb ado about Nothing: and. Potonius in Hamlet, also avail themselves of this convenient sesert STEIYENS.
Enter Mistress PAGE and Robin.
done? You're shamed, you are overthrown, you are undone for ever.
Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page?
Mrs. Page. O well-a-day, mistress Ford! having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion !
Mrs. Ford. What cause of fufpicion ?
Mrs. Page. What cause of lafpicion ?-Out upon you! how am I miftook in you ?
Mrs. Ford. Why, alas! what's the matter?
Mrs. Page. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman, that, he says, is here now in the house, by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence : You are andone.
Mrs. Ford. Speak louder. -- [ Afide.)—'Tis not fo, I hope.
Mrs. Page. Pray heaven it be not so, that you have such a man here ; but 'tis most certain your husband's coming with half Windsor at his heels, to search for such a one. I come before to tell you : If you know yourself clear, why I am glad of it: but if you have a friend here, convey, convey him out. Be not amazed; call all your senses to you; defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for
Mrs. Ford. What shall I do?--There is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear not mine own shame, fo much as his peril: I had rather than a thousand pound, he were out of the house.
Mrs. Page. For shame, never stand you had rather, and you had ratter; your husband's here at hand, bethink you of some conveyance : in the house you cannot hide him.-0, how have you deceived me!-Look, here is a basket; if he be of any reasonable ftature, he may creep in here; and throw foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking : Or, it is whiting-time,? send him by your two men to Datchet mead.
Mri. 9 i. e. that Falstaff who is retired may hear. STEEVENS.
2 Bleaching time ; spring. The season when « maideas bleach their Summer fmccks," HOLT WHITE,
Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there : What Mall I do?
Re-enter FALSTAFF. Fal. Let me see't, let me see't! O let me fee't! I'll in, I'll in ;--follow your friend's counsel ;-I'll in.
Mrs. Pagr. What ! fir John Falitaff! Are these your letters knight?
Fal. I love thee, and none but thee; help me away : let me creep in here ; I'll never
[He goes into the basket; they cover him with foul linen.] Mrs. Page. Help to cover your master, boy; Call your men, mistress Ford :-You diffembling knight!
Mrs. ford. What, John, Robert, John? [Exit Robin. Re-enter Servants.] Go take up these clothes here, quickly; Where's the cowl-staff ? 3 look, how
carry them to the laundress in Datchet méad ; s quickly, come.
Ester FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and Sir HUGH EVANS. Ford. Pray you, come near : if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jest ; I deserve it.-How now? whither bear you this?
Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.
3 Is a staff used for carrying a large tub or basket with two handles. In Eflex the word cowl is yet used for a tub. MALONE.
4 The reverend Mr. Lambe, the editor of the ancient metrical history of the Battle of Floddon, observes, that---look how you drumble, means bow confused you are; and that in the North, drumbled ale is muddy, disturbed ale. STEEVENS.
To drumble, in Devonshire, signifies to mutter in a sullen and inarticulate voice. No other sense of the word will either explain this interrogation, or the passages adduced in Mr. Steevens's note. To drumbie and drone are often used in connection. HENLEY.
A drumble drone, in the western dialect, signifies a drone or humble-bee. Mrs. Page may therefore mean- How lazy and stupid you are! be more alert. MALONE.
s Mr. Dennis objects, with some degree of reason, to the probability of the circumstance of Falstaff's being carried to Datchet mead, and thrown into the Thames. “ It is not likely (he observes) that Falstaff would suffer himself to be carried in the basket as far as Datchet mead, which is half a mile from Windsor, and it is piain that they could not carry him, if he made any refiftance." MALONE, VOL). M
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were belt meddle with buck-washing,
Ford. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the buck! Buck, buck, buck ? Ay, buck; I warrant you, buck; and of the season too, it shall appear. (Exetint Servants with the basket.] Gentlemen, I have dream'd to-night ; I'll tell you my dream. Here, here, here be my keys ; ascend my chambers, search, feek, find cut: I'll warrant, we'll unkennel the fox:-Let me stop this way first :—So, now uncape.?
Page. Good matter Ford, be contented : you wrong yourfelf too much.
Ford. True, master Page.-Up, gentlemen; you shall see fport anon : follow me, gentlemen.
[Exit. Eva. This is fery fantastical humours, and jealousies.
Caius, By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France: it is not jealous in France.
Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen ; see the issue of his. search.
[Excunt EVANS, Page, and Caius, Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this ?
Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceived, or fir John.
Mrs, 6 Ford seems to allude to the cuckold's horns. So afterwards : 16 and so buffers himself on the forehead, crying, peer out, peer out." Of ibe season is a phrase of the foreft. Malone.
7 A term in fox-hunting, which signifies to dig out the fox when orth'd. And here is as much as to say, take out the foul linen under which the adulterer lies hid. The Oxford editor reads uncouple, out of pure love to an emendation. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton seems to have forgot that the linen was already carried away. The allusion in the foregoing sentence is to the stopping every hole at which a fox could enter, before they uncafe or turn him out of the bag in which he was brought. I suppose every one has heard of a bag-fox.
STEEVENS. Warburton, in his note on this passage, not only forgets that the foul linen had been carried away, but he also forgets that Ford did not at that time know that Falstaff had been hid under it; and Steevens forgets that they had not Falstaff in their poffeffion, as hunters have a bag-fox, buc were to find out where he was hid. They were not to chase him, but to roufe him. I therefore believe that Hanmer's amendment is right, and that we ought to read_uncouple.--Ford, like a good sportsman, first stops the earths, and then uncouples the hounds. M. Mason.
Mr. M. Mason also seems to forget that Ford at least thought he had Falstaff secure in his house, as in a bag, and therefore speaks of him in teims applicable to a bag fox. STEEVENS.
Mrs. Page. What a taking was he in, when your husband alk'd who was in the basket ? 8
Mrs. Ford. I am half afraid he will have need of washing ; so throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would, all of the same strain were in the fame distress.
Mrs. Ford. I think, my husband hath fome special sur. picion of Falstaff's being here; for I never saw him so gross in his jealousy till now.
Mrs. Page. I will lay a plot to try that: And we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff; his diffolute disease will scarce obey this medicine,
Mrs. Ford. Shall we send that foolish carrion, mistress Quickly, to him, and excuse his throwing into the water ; and give him another hope, to betray him to another punish, ment ?
Mrs. Page. We'll do it ; let him be sent for to-morrow eight o'clock, to have amends.
Re-enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and Sir Hugh EVANS.
Ford. I cannot find him : may be the knave bragg'd of that he could not compass.
Mrs. Page. Heard you that?
Mis. Ford. Ay, ay, peace :—You use me well, master Ford, do you?
Ford. Ay, I do so.
Eva. If there be any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the prefies, heaven forgive my fins at the day of judgement !
Caius. By gar, nor I too; dere is no bodies. Page. Fie, fie, master Ford! are you not ashamed? What fpirit, what devil suggests this imagination ? I would not
have 8 We should read, what was in the basket: for though in fact Ford his aked no such question, he could never suspect there was either man or woman in it. The propriety of this emendation is manifest from a subfe. quent passage, where Falstaff tells Maiter Brook---the jealous knave asked them once or twice wbat they had in their buket.” Ritson.