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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 fir 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, kill'd my deer, and broke open my lodge.'
Fal. But not kiss’d your keeper's daughter?
Fal. I will answer it straight ;-I have done all this:- That is now answer'd.
SHAL. The Council shall know this.
Fal. 'Twere better for you, if it were known in counsel : 2 you'll be laugh'd at.
and broke open my lodge.] This probably alludes to Tome real incident, at that time well known. JOHNSON,
So probably Falstaff's answer. Farmer.
a 'Twere better for you, if it were known in counsel:] The old copies read—'Twere better for you, if 'twere known in council. Perhaps it is an abrupt speech, and must be read thus :-'Twere better
- if it were known in council, you'll be laugh'd at. 'T were better for you, is, I believe, a menace. JOHNSON.
Some of the modern editors arbitrarily read—if'twere not known in council :-but I believe Falstaff quibbles between council and counsel. The latter signifies secrecy. So, in Hamlet :
“ The players cannot keep counsel, they'll tell all.” Falstaff's meaning seems to be=twere better for you if it were known only in secrecy, i. e. among your friends. A more publick complaint would subject you to ridicule.
Thus, in Chaucer's Prologue to the Squires Tale, v. 10305, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit:
“ But wete ye what? in conseil be it seyde,
Eva. Pauca verba, fir John; good worts.
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. They carried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and afterwards pick'd my pocket.
Again, in Gammer Gurton's Needle, last edit. p. 29; “ But firft for you in council, I have a word or twaine."
Steevens. Mr. Ritson supposes the present reading to be juft, and quite in Falstaff's insolent ineering manner. “ It would be much better, indeed, to have it known in the council, where you would only be laughed at." Reed.
The spelling of the old quarto (counsel,) as well as the general purport of the passage, fully confirms Mr. Steevens's interpretation. -"Shal. Well, the Council fhall know it. Fal. 'Twere better for you 'twere known in counsell. You'll be laugh't at.”.
In an office-book of Sir Heneage Finch, Trealurer of the Chambers to Queen Elizabeth, (a Mf. in the British Museum,) I observe that whenever the Privy Council is mentioned, the word is always spelt Counsel; so that the equivoque was less strained then than it appears now.
" Mum is Counsell, viz. folence," is among Howel's Proverbial Sentences. See his Dict. folio, 1660. MALONE.
3 Good worts! good cabbage.] Worts was the ancient name of all the cabbage kind. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Valentinian:
“ Planting of worts and onions, any thing.” Steevens.
- 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. . So, in Decker's Satiromaftix : 'Thou shalt not coney-catch me for five pounds."
STEEVENS. They carried me, &c.] These words, which are necessary to introduce what Falstaff says afterwards, [“ Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse?"] I have restored from the early quarto.
BAR. You Banbury cheese! 6
Nrm. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca ; ' sice! that's my humour.
Of this circumstance, as the play is exhibited in the folio, Sir John could have no knowledge. MALONE.
We might suppose that Falstaff was already acquainted with this robbery, and had received his share of it, as in the case of the handle of mistress Bridget's fan, Act II. sc. ii. His question, therefore, may be said to arise at once from conscious guilt and pretended ignorance. I have, however, adopted Mr. Malone's restoration. STEEVENS.
6 You Banbury cheese!] This is said in allusion to the thin carcase of Slender. The same thought occurs in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601 : “ Put off your cloaths, and you are like a Banbury cheese, -nothing but paring." So Heywood, in his collection of epigrams:
“ I never saw Banbury cheese thick enough,
STEEVENS. ? How now, Mephoftophilus ?] This is the name of a spirit or familiar, in the old story book of Sir John Fauftus, or John Fauft : to whom our author afterwards alludes, Act II. sc ii. That it was a cant phrase of abuse, appears from the old comedy cited above, called A pleasant Comedy of the Gentle Craft, Signat. H 3. “ Away you Islington whitepot; hence you hopper-arse,
you barley-pudding full of maggots, you broiled carbonado: avaunt, avaunt, Mephoftophilus." In the fame vein, Bardolph here also calls Slender, “ You Banbury cheese.” T. WARTON.
Pistol means to call Slender a very ugly fellow. So, in Nosce te, (Humors) by Richard Turner, 1607 :
• O face, no face hath our Theophilus,
“ To playe the Devil i'the vault without a vizard." Again, in The Muses Looking Glass, 1638: “ We want not you to play Mephoftophilus. A pretty natural vizard !” Steevens.
8 Slice, I fay! pauca, pauca ;] Dr. Farmer (see a former note, P: 306, n. 8.) would transfer the Latin words to Evans. But the
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 host 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 hote-book; and we will afterwards 'ork upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can.
Eva. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, He bears 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-fixpences,' and
old copy, I think, is right. Piftol, in K. Henry V. uses the same
I will hold the quondam Quickly " For the only The; and pauca, there's enough.” In the same scene Nym twice uses the word folus. MALONE.
ту humour.] So, in an ancient Mf. play, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy:
“ - I love not to disquiet ghosts, fir,
“ Of any people living ; that's my humour, fir." See a following note, Act II. sc. i. Steevens.
- what phrase is this, &c.] Sir Hugh is justified in his censure of this passage by Pecham, who in his Garden of Eloquence, 1577, places this very mode of expression under the article Pleonajmus.
HENDERSON 3 mill-fixpences,] It appears from a passage in Sir William two Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.
Davenant's Newes from Plimouth, that these mill'd-fixpences were used by way of counters to caft up money:
A few mill'd fixpences, with which “ My purser casts accompt." Steevens. 4 Edward shovel-boards,] One of these pieces of metal is mentioned in Middleton's comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611: away Nid I my man, like a foovel-board Billing," &c.
STEEVENS. “ Edward Shovel-boards,” were the broad shillings of Edw. VI.
Taylor, the water-poet, in his Trævel of Twelve-pence, makes him complain :
the unthrift every day
They had worne it off, as they have done my nose." And in a note he tells
us : “ Edw. shillings for the most part are used at have-board." FARMER.
In the Second Part of K. Henry IV. Falstaff says, Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat shilling.” This confirins Farmer's opinion, that pieces of coin were used for that purpose.
M. Mason. The following extract, for the notice of which I am indebted to Dr. Farmer, will ascertain the species of coin mentioned in the text. “ I must here take notice before I entirely quit the subject of these laft-mentioned shillings, that I have also seen some other pieces of good silver, greatly resembling the same, and of the same date 1547, that have been so much thicker as to weigh about half an ounce, together with some others that have weighed an ounce.” Folkes's Table of English filver Coins, p. 32. The former of these were probably what coft Master Slender two fhillings and two-pence a-piece. “Reed.
It appears, that the game of sovel-board was played with the shillings of Edward VI. in Shadwell's time; for in his Miser, A& IlI. sc. i. Cheatly says, “ She persuaded him to play with hazard at backgammon, and he has already loft his Edward shillings that he kept for Shovel-board, and was pulling our broad pieces (that have not seen the fun these many years) when I came away.""
In Shadwell's Lancashire Witches, Vol. III. p. 232. the game is called Shuffle-board. It is still played; and I lately heard a man alk another to go into an alebouse in the Broad Sanctuary, Weftminster, to play at it. Douce.