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your husbands. Am I a woodman?4 ha! Speak I like Herne the hunter?-Why, now is Cupid a child of confcience; he makes reftitution. As I am a true spirit, welcome! [Noife within.
MRS. PAGE. Alas! what noife?
MRS. FORD. Heaven forgive our fins!
[They run off.
FAL. I think, the devil will not have me damn'd, left the oil that is in me fhould fet hell on fire; he would never else cross me thus.
Enter Sir HUGH EVANS, like a fatyr; Mrs. QUICKLY, and PISTOL; ANNE PAGE, as the Fairy Queen, attended by her brother and others, dressed like fairies, with waxen tapers on their heads."
QUICK. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white, You moon-fhine revellers, and shades of night,
4 a woodman?] A woodman (fays Mr. Reed in a note on Measure for Measure, A& IV. fc. iii.) was an attendant on the officer, called Forrefter. See Manwood on the Foreft Laws, 4to. 1615, p. 46. It is here, however, ufed in a wanton fenfe, for one who choofes female game as the objects of his purfuit.
In its primitive fenfe I find it employed in an ancient MS. entitled The boke of huntyng, that is cleped Mayflier of Game: " And wondre ye not though I fey wodemanly, for it is a poynt of a wodemannys crafte. And though it be wele fittyng to an hunter to kun do it, yet natheles it longeth more to a wodemanny's crafte," &c. A woodman's calling is not very accurately defined, by any author I have met with. STEEVENS.
5 This ftage-direction I have formed on that of the old quarto, corrected by fuch circumftances as the poet introduced when he new-modelled his play. In the folio there is no direction whatsoMrs. Quickly and Pistol feem to have been but ill fuited to the delivery of the speeches here attributed to them; nor are either
You orphan-heirs of fixed destiny,"
of those perfonages named by Ford in a former scene, where the intended plot against Falstaff is mentioned. It is highly probable, (as a modern editor has obferved,) that the performer who had reprefented Pistol, was afterwards, from neceffity, employed among the fairies; and that his name thus crept into the copies. He here reprefents Puck, a part which in the old quarto is given to Sir Hugh. The introduction of Mrs. Quickly, however, cannot be accounted for in the fame manner; for in the firft sketch in quarto, fhe is particularly defcribed as the Queen of the Fairies; a part which our author afterwards allotted to Anne Page. MALONE.
6 You orphan-heirs of fixed deftiny,] But why orphan-beirs? Deftiny, whom they fucceeded, was yet in being. Doubtless the poet
"You ouphen heirs of fixed deftiny,"
i. e. you elves, who minifter, and fucceed in fome of the works of deftiny. They are called, in this play, both before and afterwards, ouphes; here ouphen; en being the plural termination of Saxon nouns. For the word is from the Saxon Alpenne, lamiæ, dæmones. Or it may be understood to be an adjective, as wooden, woollen, golden, &c. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton corrects orphan to ouphen; and not without plaufibility, as the word ouphes occurs both before and afterwards. But, I fancy, in acquiefcence to the vulgar doctrine, the addrefs in this line is to a part of the troop, as mortals by birth, but adopted by the fairies: orphans in refpect of their real parents, and now only dependent on deftiny herfelf. A few lines from Spenfer will fufficiently illuftrate this paffage :
"The man whom heavens have ordaynd to bee
"Yet is no Fary borne, ne fib at all
"And whilome by falfe Faries ftolen away, "Whiles yet in infant cradle he did crall," &c. Edit. 1590. B. III. ft. 26. FARMER. Dr. Warburton objects to their being heirs to Deftiny, who was ftill in being. But Shakspeare, I believe, ufes heirs, with his usual laxity, for children. So, to inherit is used in the fenfe of to poles. MALONE.
quality.] i. e. fellowship. See The Tempeft: « Ariel, and all his quality." STEEVENS.
Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy o-yes.
PIST. Elves, lift your names; filence, you airy toys.8
Cricket, to Windfor chimneys fhalt thou leap: Where fires thou find'ft unrak'd," and hearths unfwept,
There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry:2
FAL. They are fairies; he, that speaks to them, fhall die:
I'll wink and couch: No man their works must eye. [Lies down upon his face. EVA. Where's Bede? 3-Go you, and where you find a maid,
That, ere fhe fleep, has thrice her prayers faid,
8 Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy o-yes.
Pift. Elves, lift your names; filence, you airy toys.] These two lines were certainly intended to rhime together, as the preceding and fubfequent couplets do; and accordingly, in the old editions, the final words of each line are printed, oyes and toyes. This, therefore, is a striking inftance of the inconvenience, which has arifen from modernizing the orthography of Shakspeare.
9 Where fires thou find 'ft unrak'd,] i. e. unmade up, by covering them with fuel, fo that they may be found alight in the morning. This phrase is still current in feveral of our midland counties.
as bilberry:] The bilberry is the whortleberry. Fairies were always fuppofed to have a ftrong averfion to fluttery. Thus, in the old fong of Robin Good-Fellow. See Dr. Percy's Reliques, &c. Vol. III:
"When house or hearth doth fluttish lye,
"I pinch the maidens black and blue," &c.
3 Evans. Where's Bede? &c.] Thus the firft folio. The quartosPead. It is remarkable that, throughout this metrical business, Sir Hugh appears to drop his Welch pronunciation, though he refumes it as foon as he fpeaks in his own character. As Falftaff, however, fuppofes him to be a Welch Fairy, his peculiarity of utterance muft have been preserved on the stage, though it be not distinguished in the printed copies. STEEVENS.
Raise up the organs of her fantasy,
3 Go you, and where you find a maid,
Raife up the organs of her fantafy;] The fenfe of this fpeech is that the, who had performed her religious duties, fhould be fecure against the illufion of fancy; and have her sleep, like that of infancy, undisturbed by difordered dreams. This was then the popular opinion, that evil fpirits had a power over the fancy; and, by that means, could infpire wicked dreams into those who, on their going to fleep, had not recommended themselves to the protection of heaven. So Shakspeare makes Imogen, on her lying down, fay:
"From fairies, and the tempters of the night,
As this is the fenfe, let us fee how the common reading expresses it ;
"Raife up the organs of her fantafy;"
i. e. inflame her imagination with fenfual ideas; which is just the contrary to what the poet would have the speaker say. We cannot therefore but conclude he wrote:
"REIN up the organs of her fantafy;"
i. e. curb them, that the be no more difturbed by irregular imaginations, than children in their fleep. For he adds immediately: Sleep fhe as found as careless infancy." So, in The Tempest:
"Do not give dalliance
And, in Meafure for Measure:
"I give my fenfual race the rein.”
To give the rein, being juft the contrary to rein up. The fame thought he has again in Macbeth:
"Restrain in me the curfed thoughts that nature
This is highly plausible; and yet, raife up the organs of her fantaly, may mean, elevate her ideas above fenfuality, exalt them to the nobleft contemplation.
Mr. Malone fuppofes the fenfe of the paffage, collectively taken, to be as follows.
Go you, and wherever you find a maid afsleep, that hath thrice prayed to the deity, though, in confequence of her innocence, the
QUICK. About, about;
Search Windfor castle, elves, within and out:
fleep as foundly as an infant, elevate her fancy, and amuse her tranquil mind with fome delightful vifion; but those whom you find afleep, without having previously thought on their fins, and prayed to heaven for forgiveness, pinch, &c. It fhould be remembered that thofe perfons who fleep very foundly, feldom dream. Hence the injunction to " raife up the organs of her fantasy," "Sleep fhe," &c. i. e. though the fleep as found, &c.
The fantafies with which the mind of the virtuous maiden is to be amused, are the reverse of those with which Oberon disturbs Titania in A Midfummer-Night's Dream:
"There fleeps Titania;
"With the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
Dr. Warburton, who appears to me to have totally misunderstood this paffage, reads-Rein up, &c. in which he has been followed, in my opinion too haftily, by the fubfequent editors. MALONE.
▲ — on every facred room;] See Chaucer's Cant. Tales, v. 3482, edit. Tyrwhitt. "On four halves of the hous aboute," &c.
5 In ftate as wholefome,] Wholfome here fignifies integer. He wishes the caftle may ftand in its present state of perfection, which the following words plainly fhow;
as in ftate 'tis fit." WARBURTON.
6 Worthy the owner, and the owner it.] And cannot be the true reading. The context will not allow it; and his court to queen Elizabeth directs us to another:
as the owner it."
For, fure, he had more address than to content himself with wishing a thing to be, which his complaifance muft fuppofe actually was, namely, the worth of the owner. WARBURTON.
Surely this change is unneceffary. The fairy wishes that the castle and its owner, till the day of doom, may be worthy of each other. Queen Elizabeth's worth was not devolvable, as we have feen by the conduct of her foolish fucceffor. The prayer of the fairy is therefore fufficiently reasonable and intelligible without alteration. STEEVENS.