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Eva. It is not meet the council hear of a riot ; there is no fear of Got in a riot : the council, look you, shall desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot ; take your viza-ments in that.
Shal. Ha! o'my life, if I were young again, the sword should end it.
Eva. It is petter that friends is the sword, and end it: and there is also another device in my prain, which, peradventure, prings goot discretions with it: there is Ann Page, 7 which is daughter to master George Page, which is pretty virginity.
Slen. Mrs. Ann Page ? she has brown hair, and 8 speaks small like a woman.
Eva. It is that very person for all the ’orld, as just as you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of monies, and gold, and silver, is her grandfire, upon his death’s-bed (Got deliver to a joyful resurrections !) give, when she is able to overtake seventeen years old: it were a goot motion, if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage between master Abrahram and mistress Ann Page.
Slen. Did her grandfire leave her seven hundred pounds ?
Eva. Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny;
Slen. I know the young gentlewoman ; she has good gifts. to fentment of twelve : upon which certificate the trespassers “ and offenders shall be put to answer, and they which be “ found guilty shall be punished, according the discretion of “ the kinge and counselle.” Dr. GRAY.
which is daughter to master Thomas Page,] The whole set of editions have negligently blundered one after another in Page's Christian, name in this place; though Mrs. Page calls hini George afterwards in at leait fix several passages. THEOB.
s speaks small like a woman.) This is from the folio of 1623, and is the true reading. He admires her for the sweetness of her voice. But the expression is highly humourous, as making her speaking small like a woman one of her marks of distinction ; and the ambiguity of small, which fignifies little as well as low, makes the expression still more pleasant.
Shal. Seven hundred pounds, and possibilities, is good gifts.
Shal. Well, let us see honest Mr. Page: is Falstaff there?
Eva. Shall I tell you a lie ? I do despise a liar, as I do despise one that is false ; or, as I deipife one that is not true. The knight, Sir John is there; and, I beseech you, be ruled by your well-willers. I will peat the door [Knocks] for master Page. What, hoa ? Got pless your house here !
Enter Page. Page. Who's there?
Eva. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and Justice Shallow : and here is young master Slender ; that, peradventures, shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.
Page. I am glad to see your worships well. I thank you for my venison, master Shallow.
Shal. Master Page, I am glad to see you ; much good do it your good heart ! I wish'd your venison better ; it was ill kill'd. How doth good mistress Page ? and I thank you always with my heart, la ; with my
heart. Page. Sir, I thank you. Shal. Sir, I thank you ; by yea and no, I do. Page. I am glad to see you, good master Slender.
Slen. 9 How does your fallow greyhound, Sir ? I heard say, he was out-run on Cotsale.
Page. It could not be judg’d, Sir.
9 How does your fallow greyhound? &c.] Cotswold, a village in Worcestershire, or Warwickshire, was famous for rural exercises, and sports of all sorts. Shallow, in another place, talks of a stout fellow, a Cotswold man, i. e. “ one who was “ a native of this very place, so famous for trials of strength, “ activity, &c. and confequently a robuft athletic person.” I have seen a poem, or rather a collection of poems, which I think is called The Cotswold Mufe, containing a defcription of these games, WARTON.
Slen. You'll not confess, you'll not confess.
Shel. That he will not ;-—'tis your fault, 'tis your fault:—'tis a good dog.
Page. A cur, Sir.
Shal. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog; can there be more said ? he is good and fair.— Is Sir John Falstaff here?
Page. Sir, he is within ; and I would I could do
Shal. If it be confess’d, it is not redress’d; is not that so, master Page? He hath wrong'd me ;--indeed, he hath ;-at a word, he hath ;-believe me :-Robert Shallow, Esquire, faith, he is wrong'd,
Page. Here comes Sir John.
Enter Sir John Falstaff, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol.
Fal. Now, master Shallow, you'll complain of me to the king ?
Shal. Knight, you have beaten my men, killd my deer, ' and broke open my lodge.
Fal. But not kisséd your keeper's daughter ?
Fol. I will answer it strait : I have done all this :that is now answer'd.
Shal. The council shall know this.
Fal. 2 'Twere better for you, if 'twere not known in council ; you'll be laugh'd at.
Eva. Pauca verba, Sir John; good worts.
-and broke open my lodge. This probably alludes to some real incident, at that time well known. JOHNSON.
· The old copies read, 'Twere better for you, if 'twere knows in council. Perhaps it is an abrupt speech, and must be read thus : 'Twere better for you--if 'iwere known in council, you'll be laugh’d at. 'I were better for you, is, I believe, a menace.
Fal. Good worts ! good cabbage. Slender, I broke your head; what matter have you against me?
Slen. Marry, Sir, I have matter in my head against you, and against your · coney-catching rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol.
Bar. 4 You Banbury cheese!
Nym. Slice, I say? pauca, pauca : Nice! that's my humour.
Slen. Where's Simple, my man ? can you tell, cousin ?
Eva. Peace: I pray you! Now let us understand: there is three umpires in this matter, as I understand; that is, master Page, fidelicet, master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet, myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine Hoft of the Garter.
Page. We three, to hear it, and end it between them.
Eva. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-book; and we will afterwards ’ork upon the cause with as great discreetly as we can.
coney-catching rascals,-) A coney-catcher was, in the time of Elizabeth, a common name for a cheat or sharper, Green, one of the first among us who made a trade of writing pamphlets, published A Detection of the Frauds and Tricks of Coney-catchers and Couzeners. JOHNSON.
You Banbury cheejë ! ] This is said in allusion to the thin carcase of Slender. The same thought occurs in Jack Drums Entertainment, 1601.-" You are like a Banbury cheese " nothing but paring." So Heywood, in his collection of epigrams:
“ I never saw Banbury cheese thick enough,
STEEVENS. 5 How now, Mephoftophilus ?] This is the name of a spirit or familiar in the old story book of Sir John Fauftus, or John Fauft. WABTON,
Eva. The tevil and his tam ! what phrase is this, He hears with ear? Why, it is affectations.
Fal. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse?
Slen. Ay, by these gloves, did he (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else) of seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves,
Fal. Is this true, Pistol ?
-Sir John, and master mine, 7 I combat challenge of this latten bilboe :
6 — Edward shovel-boards,-) By this term, I believe, are meant brass castors, such as are shoveled on a board, with king Edward's face ftamped upon them. Johnson.
One of these pieces of metal is mentioned in Middleton's comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611.-" away flid I my man, " like a shovel-board shilling," &c. STEVENS.
? I combat challenge of this Latin bilboe :] Our modern editors have distinguished this word Latin in Italic characters, as if it was addressed to Sir Hugh, and meant to call him pedantie blade, on account of his being a schoolmaster, and teaching Latin. But I'll be bold to say, in this they do not take the poet's conceit. Piftol barely calls Sir Hugh mountain-foreigner, because he had interposed in the dispute ; but then immediately demands the combat of Slender, for having charged him with picking his pocket. The old quartos write it latten, as it should be, in the common characters : and as a proof that the author designed this should be addressed to Slender, Sir Hugh does not there interpose one word in the quarrel, But what then fignifies—latten tilboe? Why, Pistol seeing Slender such a flim, puny wight, would intimate, that he is as thin as a plate of that compound metal, which is called latten: and which was, as we are told, the old orichalc. Monsieur Dacier, upon this verse in Horace's epiftle de Arte Poetica,
“ Tibia non ut nunc orichalco vincta,” &c. says, C'est une espece de cuivre de montagne, comme fon nom mefm:e le temoigne ; c'est ce que nous appellons aujourd' buy du leton. - it “ is a fort of mountain-copper, as its very name imports, and *f which we at this time of day call latten.” THEOBALD.
After all this display of learning in Mr. Theobald's note, I believe our poet had a much more obvious meaning. Latten