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venged I will be, as sure as his guts are made of puddings.

Enter Mistress FORD. Mrs. Ford. Mistress Page ! trust me, I was going to your house.

Mrs. Page. And, trust me, I was coming to you. You look very ill.


as " Mrs. Page might naturally enough, in the first heat of her anger, rail at the sex for the fault of one.” But the authority of the original sketch in quarto, and Mrs. Page's frequent mention of the size of her lover in the play as it now stands, in my opinion fully warrant the correction that has been made. Our author well knew that bills are brought into parliament for some purpose that at least appears practicable. Mrs. Page therefore in her paffion might exhibit a bill for the putting down or destroying men of a particular description ; but Shakspeare would never have made her threaten to introduce a bill to effect an impossibility; viz. the extermination of the whole species.

There is no error more frequent at the press than the omission of words. In a sheet of this work now before me, (Mr. Malone means in his own edition) there was an out, (as it is termed in the printing-house,) that is, a passage omitted, of no less than ten lines. In every sheet some words are at first omitted.

The expression, putting down, is a common phrase of our municipal law. MALONE.

I believe this pairage has hitherto been misunderstood, and therefore continue to read with the folio, which omits the epithet -fat.

The putting dowz of men, may only fignify the humiliation of them, the bringing them to shame. So, in Twelfth Night, Malvolio fays of the clown—" I saw him, the other day, put down by an ordinary fool;" i. e. confounded. Again, in Love's Labour's Loft“ How the ladies and I have put him down !" Again, in Much ado about Nothing—" You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.

I cannot help thinking that the extermination of all men would be as practicable a design of parliament, as the putting down of those whose only offence was embonpoint.

I persist in this opinion, even though I have before me (in fupport of Mr. Malone's argument) the famous print from P. Brueghel, representing the Lean Cooks expelling the Fat one. STEEVENS.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, I'll ne'er believe that; I have to show to the contrary. Mrs. Page. 'Faith, but you do, in my

mind. Mrs. Ford. Well, I do then; yet, I say, I could show you to the contrary: O, mistress Page, give me some counsel !

Mrs. Page. What's the matter, woman?

Mrs. Ford. O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I could come to such honour !

Mrs. Page. Hang the trifle, woman; take the honour: What is it? -dispense with trifles ;what is it?

Mrs. Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment, or so, I could be knighted.

Mrs. Page. What? —thou liest!' - Sir Alice Ford! These knights will hack; and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry. 8

8 What ? -thou lieft!-Sir Alice Ford !--Thefe knights will hack; and so thou should not alter the article of thy gentry.) I read thusThese knights we'll hack, and so thou shoulds not alter the article of thy gentry. The punishment of a recreant, or undeserving 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 these knights in a little time, by the usual form of backing off their {purs, and thou, if thou art knighted, shalt be hacked with the rest.

JOHNSON. Sir T. Hanmer says, to hack, means to turn hackney, or prostitute. I suppose he means—These knights will degrade themselves, so that she will acquire no honour by being connected with them.

It is not, however, impossible that Shakspeare meant by-these knights will hack-these knights will soon become hackney'd characters.--So many knights were made about the time this play was amplified (for the pastage is neither in the copy 1602, nor 1619) that such a stroke of satire might not have been unjustly thrown in. In Hans Beer Pot's Invisible Comedy, 1618, is a long piece of ridicule on the same occurrence:

Twas strange to see what knighthood once would do:
“ Stir great men up to lead a martial life


Mrs. Ford. We burn day-light:_here, read, rcad ;—perceive how I might be knighted.--I shall think the worse of fat men, as long as I have an

“ To gain this honour and this dignity.-
“ But now, alas! 'tis grown ridiculous, ,
“ Since bought with money, sold for baseft prize,

« That some refuse it who are counted wise." STEEVENS. These knights will hack (that is, become cheap or vulgar,) and therefore she advises her friend not to fully her gentry by becoming one. The whole of this discourse about knighthood is added fince the first edition of this play [in 1602]; and therefore I suspect this is an oblique reflection on the prodigality of James I. in beftowing these honours, and erecting in 1611 a new order of knighthood, called Baronets; which few of the ancient gentry would condescend to accept. See Sir Hugh Spelman's epigram on them, Glof. p. 76, which ends thus :

dum cauponare recufant
“ Ex vera geniti nobilitate viri;
“ Interea e caulis hic prorepit, ille tabernis,

“ Et modo fit dominus, qui modo fervus erat.' See another stroke at them in Othello, Act III. fc. iv.

BLACKSTONE. Sir W. Blackstone supposes that the order of Baronets (created in 1611) was likewife alluded to. But it appears to me highly probable that our author amplified the play before us at an earlier period. See An Attempt to ascertain the order of Shakspeare's plays, Vol. I. Article, Merry Wives of Windfor.

Between the time of King James's arrival at Berwick in April 1603, and the ad of May, he made two hundred and thirty-feven knights ; and in the July following between three and four hundred. It is probable that the play before us was enlarged in that or the fubsequent year, when this stroke of satire must have been highly relished by the audience. MALONE.

9 We burn day-light:) i. e. we have more proof than we wanto The same proverbial phrase occurs in The Spanish Tragedy :

Hier. Light me your torches."

Pedro. Then we burn day-light." Again, in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio uses the same epicífion, and then explains it: We waste our lights in vain like lamps by day."

STEEVENS. I think, the meaning rather is, we are wasting time in idle talk, when we ought to read the letter; resembling those who waste candles by burning them in the day-time. MALONE.

eye to make difference of men's liking: . And yet he would not swear; prais'd women's modesty : and gave such orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words: but they do no more adhere, and keep place together, than the hundredth psalm to the tune of Green Neeves. What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor? How shall I be revenged on him? I think, the best way were to entertain him with hope, till the wicked fire of luft have melted him


-men's liking :) i. e. men's condition of body. Thus in the Book of Job. « Their young ones are in good liking." FalAtaff also, in King Henry IV. says" I'll repent while I am in some liking." Steevens.

Green Neeves.] This song was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company in September 1580: “ Licensed unto Richard Jones, a newe northerne dittye of the lady, Green Sleeves." Again, " Licensed unto Edward White, a ballad, beinge the Lady Greene Sleeves, answered to Jenkyn hir friend." Again, in the fame month and year: “ Green Sleeves moralized to the Scripture,” &c. Again, to Edward White:

" Green Sleeves and countenaunce.

In countenaunce is Green Sleeves."
Again, “ A new Northern Song of Green Sleeves, beginning,

The bonnieft lass in all the land.”
Again, in February 1580: " A reprehension against Greene
Sleeves, by W. Elderton." From a passage in The Loyal Subječt,
by Beaumont and Fletcher, it should seem that the original was a
wanton ditty :

" And fet our credits to the tune of Greene Sleeves,"
But whatever the ballad was, it seems to have been very popular,
Auguft 1581, was entered at Stationers' Hall, “ A new ballad,
entitled :

« Greene Sleeves is worn away,
« Yellow fleeves come to decaie,
« Black sleeves I hold in despite,

« But white sleeves is my delight.”.
Mention of the same tune is made again in the fourth act of this
play. Steevens,

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in his own grease.:-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 twinbrother of thy letter: but let thine inherit first; for, I protest, mine never shall. I warrant, he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for different names, (sure more,) and these are of the second edition : He will print them out of doubt; for he cares not what he puts into the press," when he would put us two.

I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles, ere onc chaste 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 honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal; for, sure, unless he knew some strain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.


- melted him in his own grease.] So Chaucer, in his Wif of Bathes Prologue, 6069:

That in his owen grese I made him frie.” SteeveNS. 4 — press,] Press is used ambiguously, for a press to print, and a press to squeeze. Johnson.

3 I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion.] Mr. Warton judiciously observes, that in confequence of English versions from Greek and Roman authors, an inundation of classical pedantry very soon infected our poetry, and that perpetual allusions to ancient fable were introduced, as in the present inftance, without the least regard to propriety; for Mrs. Page was not intended, in any degree, to be a learned or an affected lady. STEEVENS.

6 — some strain in me,] Thus the old copies. The modern editors read—“ some stain in me,” but, I think, unnecessarily. A similar expression occurs in The Winter's Tale:

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