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Ford. Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me: if you will help me to bear it, fir John, take all, or half, for easing me of the carriage.
Fal. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter.
Ford. I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing.
Fal. Speak, good master Brook; I shall be glad to be your servant.
Ford. Sir, I hear you are a scholar, I will be brief with you;- and you have been a man long known to me, though I had never so good means, as desire, to make myself acquainted with you. I shall discover a thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine own imperfection: but, good fir John, as you have one eye upon my follies, as you hear them unfolded, turn another into the register of your own; that I may pass with a reproof the easier, sitho you yourself know, how easy it is to be such an offender.
Fal. Very well, fir ; proceed.
Ford. There is a gentlewoman in this town, her husband's name is Ford.
FAL. Well, fir.
Ford. I have long loved her, and, I protest to you, bestow'd much on her; follow'd her with a doting observance; engross’d opportunities to meet her; fee'd every sight occasion, that could but niggardly give me sight of her ; not only bought many presents to give her, but have given largely to many, to know what she would have given : briefly, I have pursued her, as love hath pursued me; which hath been, on the wing of all occasions. But whatsoever
9-fish-] i. e. fince. STEEVENS.
I have merited, either in my mind, or in my means, meed, I am sure, I have received none; unless experience be a jewel : that I have purchased at an infinite rate; and that hath taught me to say this: Love like a shadow flies, when
substance love pursues ; Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.'
Fal. Have you received no promise of satisfaccion at her hands?
Ford. Like a fair house, built upon another man's ground; fo that I have lost my edifice, by mistaking the place where I erected it.
Pal. To what purpose have you unfolded this to me?
Ford. When I have told you that, I have told you
- meed,] i. e. reward. So Spenser :
“ A rosy garland was the victor's meed.” Again, in our author's Two Gentlemen of Verona :
“ Vouchsafe me for my meed but one fair look.” STEEVENS, 3 Love like a shadow flies, when substance love pursues;
Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.] These lines have much the air of a quotation, but I know not whether they belong to any contemporary writer. In Florio’s Second Fruites, 1591, I find the following verses:
“ Di donne e, et sempre fu natura,
“ Odiar chi l'ama, e chi non l'ama cura.” Again:
Sono simili a crocodilli “ Chi per prender l'huomo, piangono, e preso la devorano,
“ Chi le fugge sequono, e chi le seque fuggono.” Thus translated by Florio:
they are like crocodiles,
“ Follow men flying, and men following fly.” MALONE. Vol. III.
all. Some say, that, though she appear honest to me, yet, in other places, she enlargeth her mirth so far, that there is shrewd construction made of her. Now, fir John, here is the heart of my purpose: You are a gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable discourse, of great admittance,4 authentick in your place and person, generally alloweds for your many war-like, court-like, and learned preparations.
FAL. O, fir !
Ford. Believe it, for you know it :--There is money; spend it, spend it; spend more ; spend all I have; only give me so much of your time in exchange of it, as to lay an amiable liege to the honesty of this Ford's wife: use your art of wooing, win her to consent to you; if any man may, you may as soon as any.
FAL. Would it apply well to the vehemency of your affection, that I should win what you would enjoy ? Methinks, you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.
Ford. O, understand my drift! she dwells so fecurely on the excellency of her honour, that the folly of my soul dares not present itself; she is too bright to be look'd against. Now, could I come
4- of great admittance,] i. e, admitted into all, or the greatest companies. Steevens.
generally allowed -] Allowed is approved. So, in King Lear:
sweet sway " Allow obedience," &c. STIEVENS. 6- to lay an amiable frege -] 1. e. a fiege of love. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
the frege of loving terms." MALONE. 9 She is too bright to be look'd againft.).
“ Nimium lubricus afpici." Hor. Malone.
to her with any detection in my hand, my desires had instance and arguments to commend themselves; I could drive her then from the ward of her purity,' her reputation, her marriage vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now are too strongly embattled against me: What say you to't, fir John?
Fal. Master Brook, I will first make bold with your money ; next, give me your hand; and last, as I am a gentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife.
FORD. O good fir!
Ford. Want no money, fir John, you shall want none.
FAL. Want no mistress Ford, master Brook, you Thall want none. I I shall be with her (I may tell you,) by her own appointment; even as you came in to me, her assistant, or go-between, parted from me: I say, I shall be with her between ten and eleven; for at that time the jealous rascally knave, her husband, will be forth. Come you to me at night; you
; you shall know how I speed.
instance and argument -] Inftance is example.
JOHNSON. 9 the ward of her purity,) i. e. The defence of it.
STEEVENS. What Ford means to say is, that if he could once detect her in a crime, he should then be able to drive her from those defences with which she would otherwise ward off his addresses, such as her purity, her reputation, her marriage vow, &c.
So, in The Winter's Tale, Hermione, speaking of Polixenes, says to Leontes,
Tell him, you're sure
Ford. I am blest in your acquaintance. Do know Ford, sir?
Fal. Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I know him not :-yet I wrong him, to call him poor ; they say, the jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money ;
for the which his wife seems to me wellfavour'd. I will use her as the key of the cuckoldly rogue's coffer; and there's
harvest-home. Ford. I would you knew Ford, fir; that you might avoid him, if you saw him.
Fal. Hang him, mechanical falt-butter rogue! I will stare him out of his wits; I will awe him with my cudgel : it shall hang like a meteor o'er the cuckold's horns : master Brook, thou shalt know, I will predominate over the peasant, and thou shalt lie with his wife.-Come to me soon at night :Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his stile; - thou, master Brook, shalt know him for knave and cuckold :--come to me soon at night.
[Exit. Ford. What a damn'd Epicurean rascal is this ! -My heart is ready to crack with impatience.Who says, this is improvident jealousy? My wife hath sent to him, the hour is fixed, the match is made. Would any man have thought this ? See the hell of having a false woman! my bed shall be abused, my coffers ransacked, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not only receive this villainous wrong, but stand under the adoption of abominable
- and I will aggravate his stile ;] Stile is a phrase from the Herald's office. Falstaff means, that he will add more titles to those he already enjoys. So, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611:
• I will create lords of a greater style." Again, in Spenser's Faery Queen, B. V. c. 2 :
" As to abandon that which doth contain