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BARD. Out, alas, fir! cozenage! meer cozenage! Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.
BARD. Run away with the cozeners: for fo foon as I came beyond Eton, they threw me off, from behind one of them, in a flough of mire; and set fpurs, and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Fauftufes."
HOST. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain: do not fay, they be fled; Germans are honest
Enter Sir HUGH EVANS.
Eva. Where is mine hoft?
Host. What is the matter, fir?
EVA. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town, tells me, there is three couzin germans, that has cozen'd all the hofts of Readings, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell you for good-will, look you you are wife, and full of gibes and vlouting-ftogs; and 'tis not convenient you fhould be cozen'd: Fare you well. [Exit.
CAIUS. Vere is mine Hoft de Farterre.
Hosr. Here, mafter doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma.
6-like three German devils, three Doctor Fauftufes.] John Fauft, commonly called Doctor Fauftus, was a German. STEEVENS.
Marlowe's Play on this fubject had fufficiently familiarized Bar dolph's fimile to our author's audience. STEEVENS.
CAIUS. I cannot tell vat is dat : But it is tell-a me, dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Farmany: by my trot, dere is no duke, dat the court is know to come: I tell you for good vill: adieu. [Exit.
Hosr. Hue and cry,villain, go:-affift me, knight; I am undone :-fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone ! [Exeunt Hoft and BARDOLPH ̧
FAL. I would, all the world might be cozen'd; for I have been cozen'd, and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court, how I have been transform'd, and how my transformation hath been wafh'd and cudgel'd, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me; I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as creft-fallen as a dried pear. I never profper'd fince I forefwore myself at Primero." Well, if my wind were but
creft-fallen as a dried pear.] To afcertain the propriety of this fimilitude, it may be obferved that pears, when they are dried, become flat, and lofe the erect and oblong form that, in their natural ftate, distinguishes them from apples. STEEVENS.
"Primero.] A game at cards. JOHNSON.
Primero was in Shakspeare's time the fashionable game. In the Earl of Northumberland's letters about the powder plot, Jofc. Percy was playing at Primero on Sunday, when his uncle, the confpirator, called on him at Effex Houfe. This game is again mentioned in our author's Henry VIII. PERCY.
"Primero and Primavifta, two games of cards. Primum et primum wifum, that is, first, and firft feene, because he that can fhow fuch an order of cardes, wins the game.' See Minfheu's DICT. 1617. REED.
In the Sydney Papers, Vol. II. p. 83, is the following account of an altercation that happened between our poet's generous patron, and one Willoughby, at this game: "The quarrel of my lord Southampton to Ambrofe Willoughby grew upon this: That he, with Sir Walter Rawley and Mr. Parker, being at Primero in the prefence-chamber, the queen was gone to bed; and he being there, as fquire of the body, defired him to give over. Soon after he
long enough to fay my prayers, I would repent.
Enter Mrs. QUICKLY.
Now! whence come you?
QUICK. From the two parties, forfooth.
FAL. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and fo they fhall be both beftow'd! I have fuffer'd more for their fakes, more, than the villainous inconftancy of man's difpofition is able to bear.
QUICK. And have not they suffer'd? Yes, I warrant; fpeciously one of them; mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot fee a white spot about her.
FAL. What tell'ft thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myfelf into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman,' deliver'd me, the knave conftable had
fpoke to them againe, that if they would not leave, he would call in the guard to pull down the bord; which Sir Walter Rawley feeing, put up his money, and went his wayes; but my lord Southampton took exceptions at hym, and told hym, he would remember yt: and fo finding hym between the Tennis-Court wall and the garden, frooke him; and Willoughby pull'd of fome of his lockes." This happened in the beginning of 1598. MALONE.
The manner of playing at this game may be seen in an Epigram quoted in Dadley's Collection of old Plays, Vol. V. p. 168, edit. 1780. See alfo Vol. X. p. 368, and Vol. XII. p. 396. REED.
8- to fay my prayers,] These words were restored from the early quarto by Mr. Pope. They were probably omitted in the folio on account of the Stat. 3 Jac. I. ch. 21. MALONE.
9 action of an old woman,] What! was it any dexterity of wit in Sir John Falftaff to counterfeit the action of an old woman, in order to escape being apprehended for a witch? Surely, one would imagine, this was the readieft means to bring him into fuch a fcrape: for none but old women have ever been fufpected of be
fet me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.
QUICK. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber: you shall hear how things go; and I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will fay fomewhat. Good hearts, what ado here is to bring you together! Sure, one of you does not ferve heaven well,' that you are so crofs'd.
Another Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FENTON and Hoft.
HOST. Mafter Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy, I will give over all.
FENT. Yet hear me fpeak: Affift me in my purpose, And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee
ing witches. The text muft certainly be reftor'd a wood woman, a crazy, frantick woman; one too wild, and filly, and unmeaning, to have either the malice, or mifchievous fubtlety of a witch in her. THEOBALD.
This emendation is received by Sir Thomas Hanmer, but rejected by Dr. Warburton. To me it appears reasonable enough.
I am not certain that this change is neceflary. Falstaff, by counterfeiting fuch weakness and infirmity, as would naturally be pitied in an old woman, averted the punishment to which he would otherwise have been subjected, on the fuppofition that he was a witch. STEEVENS.
The reading of the old copy is fully fupported by what Falstaff fays afterwards to Ford: "I went to her, Mafter Brook, as you fee, like a poor old man; but I came from her, Master Brook, like a poor old woman." MALONE.
Sure, one of you does not ferve heaven well, &c.] The great fault of this play is the frequency of expreffions fo profane, that no ne ceffity of preferving character can juftify them. There are laws of higher authority than thofe of criticifm. JOHNSON.
A hundred pound in gold, more than your lofs. HOST. I will hear you, master Fenton; and I will, at the leaft, keep your counsel.
FENT. From time to time I have acquainted you
3 The mirth whereof] Thus the old copy. Mr. Pope and all the fubfequent editors read-The mirth whereof's fo larded, &c. but the old reading is the true one, and the phrafeology that of Shakspeare's age. Whereof was formerly used as we now use thereof; "the mirth thereof being fo larded," &c. So, in Mount Tabor, or Private Exercises of a Penitent Sinner, 8vo. 1639: " In the mean time [they] clofely conveyed under the cloaths wherewithal he was covered, a vizard, like a fwine's fnout, upon his face, with three wire chains faftened thereunto, the other end whereof being holden feverally by thofe three ladies; who fall to finging again," &c. MALONE.
wherein fat Falstaff
Hath a great fcene:] The firft folio reads:
"Without the fhow of both: fat Falftaff," &c.
I have fupplied the word that was probably omitted at the press, from the early quarto, where, in the correfponding place, we find"Wherein fat Falstaff hath a mighty fcare [Scene]." The editor of the fecond folio, to fupply the metre, arbitrarily reads
"Without the fhew of both :-fat Sir John Falftaff.”
MALONE. 5 the image of the jeft-] Image is reprefentation. So, in
K. Richard III :
"And liv'd by looking on his images."
Again, in Measure for Measure :-" The image of it gives me content already." STEEVENS.