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Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy o-yes.
toys. Cricket, to Windsor chimnies shalt thou leap : Where fires thou find'st unrak’d, and hearths un
swept, There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry:} Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery. Fal. They are fairies ; he, that speaks to them,
shall die: I'll wink and couch: no man their works must eye.
[Lies down upon his face. Eva. Where's Pede? --Go you, and where
you find a maid, That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said, Raise
of her fantasy,"
That it may stand till the perpetual doom,
The several chairs of order look you scour
as bilberry:) The bilberry is the whortleberry.
Go you, and where you find a maid, Raise up the organs of her fantasy,] Mr. Malone supposes the sense of the passage, collectively taken, to be as follows :you,
and wherever you find a maid asleep, that hath thrice prayed to the Deity, though, in consequence of her innocence, she sleep as soundly as an infant, elevate her fancy, and amuse her tranquil mind with some delightful vision; but those whom you find asleep without having previously thought on their sins, and prayed to heaven for forgiveness, pinch, &c.” VOL. I.
Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest,
in order set:
Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welch fairy ! lest he transforın me to a piece of cheese! Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even in thy
Pist. A trial, come.
[They burn him with their tapers. Fal. Oh, oh, oh!
5 charactery.] For the matter with which they make letters.
of middle earth.] Earth, or world, from its imaginary situation in the midst, or middle of the Ptolemaic system.
o'er-look'd even in thy birth.] i. e. slighted as soon as born.
Quick. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire ! About him, fairies ; sing a scornful rhyme; And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
Eva. It is right; indeed he is full of lecheries and iniquity.
Song. Fye on sinful fantasy !
F'ye on lust and luxury!
Pinch him for his villainy ;
During this song, the fairies pinch Falstaff. Doctor
Caius comes one way, and steals away a fairy in green; Slender another way,
and takes off a fairy in white; and Fenton comes, and steals away Mrs. Anne Page. A noise of hunting is made within. All the fairies run away. Falstaff pulls off his buck's head, and rises.
Enter Page, FORD, Mrs. Page, and Mrs. FORD.
They lay hold on him.
Page. Nay, do not fly; I think, we have watch'd
you now; Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn ? Mrs. Page. I pray you, come ;
up no higher :Now, good sir John, how like you Windsor wives ?
See you these, husband ? do not these fair yokes
Ford. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now?-Master Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns, master Brook: And, master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buckbasket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money ; which must be paid to master Brook; his horses are arrested for it, master 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
Ford. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs are extant.
Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies : and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprize of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now, how wit may be made a Jack-a-lent, when 'tis upon ill employment. Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave
your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.
Eva. And leave you your jealousies too, I pray you.
Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able to woo her in good English.
8 See you these, husband? do not these fair yokes
Become the forest better than the town?] Mrs. Page's meaning is this. Seeing the horns (the types of cuckoldom) in Falstaff's hands, she asks her husband, whether those yokes are not more proper in the forest than in the town; i. e. than in his own family.
Fal. Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross o'erreaching as this ? Am I ridden with a Welch goat too? Shall I have a coxcomb of frize 9 "Tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.
Eva. Seese is not good to give putter; your pelly
is all putter.
Fal. Seese and putter! have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This is enough to be the decay of lust and latewalking, through the realm.
Mrs. Page. Why, sir John, do you think, though we would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?
Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax? Mrs. Page. A puffed man ?
Page. Old, cold, withered, and of intolerable entrails ?
Ford. And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings, 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 ;' use me as you will.
- a concomb of frize?] i. e. a fool's cap made out of Welch materials. Wales was famous for this cloth.
* Ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me:) i. e. serves to point out my obliquities. This is said in consequence of Evans's last speech. The allusion is to the examination of a carpenter's work by the plummet held over it ; of which line Sir Hugh is here represented as the lead. HENLEY.