« FöregåendeFortsätt »
The Street in Windsor.
Enter Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. FORD, and Dr. CAIUS.
MRS. PAGE. Mafter doctor, my daughter is in green when you fee your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the deanery, and despatch it quickly: Go before into the park; we two muft go together.
CAIUS. I know vat I have to do; Adieu.
MRS. PAGE. Fare you well, fir. [Exit CAIUS.] My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff, as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter: but 'tis no matter; better a little chiding, than a great deal of heart-break.
MRS. FORD. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies? and the Welch devil, Hugh? 3
There is no blunder. In the ancient interludes and moralities, the beings of fupreme power, excellence, or depravity, are occafionally styled men. So, in Much ado about Nothing, Dogberry fays: "God's a good man.' Again, in an Epitaph, part of which has been borrowed as an abfurd one, by Mr. Pope and his affociates, who were not very well acquainted with ancient phraseology:
"Do all we can,
"That never fpareth none."
Again, in Jeronimo, or The Firft Part of the Spanish Tragedy, 1605: "You're the last man I thought on, fave the devil."
3 — and the Welch devil, Hugh ?] 'The former impreffions readthe Welch devil Herne? But Falstaff was to reprefent Herne, and he was no Welchman. Where was the attention or fagacity of our editors, not to obferve that Mrs. Ford is enquiring for [Sir Hugh] Evans by the name of the Welch devil? Dr. Thirlby likewise difcover'd the blunder of this paffage. THEOBALD.
MRS. PAGE. They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obfcured lights; which, at the very inftant of Falftaff's and our meeting, they will at once display to the night.
MRS. FORD. That cannot choose but amaze him. MRS. PAGE. If he be not amazed, he will be mock'd; if he be amazed, he will every way be mock'd.
MRS. FORD. We'll betray him finely.
MRS. PAGE. Against fuch lewdfters, and their lechery,
Those that betray them do no treachery.
MRS. FORD. The hour draws on; To the oak, to the oak!
Enter Sir HUGH EVANS, and Fairies.
Eva. Trib, trib, fairies; come; and remember your parts: be pold, I pray you; follow me into the pit; and when I give the watch-'ords, do as I pid you; Come, come; trib, trib. [Exeunt.
I fuppofe only the letter H. was fet down in the MS; and therefore, inftead of Hugh (which feems to be the true reading,) the editors fubftituted Herne. STEEVENS.
So, afterwards: "Well faid, fairy Hugh." MALONE.
4 in a pit hard by Herne's oak,] An oak, which may be that alluded to by Shakspeare, is fill ftanding close to a pit in Windfor foreft. It is yet fhown as the oak of Herne. STEEVENS.
Enter FALSTAFF disguised, with a buck's head on.
FAL. The Windsor bell hath ftruck twelve; the minute draws on: Now, the hot-blooded gods affift me!-Remember, Jove, thou waft a bull for thy Europa; love fet on thy horns.-O powerful love! that, in some respects, makes a beast a man; in fome other, a man a beaft. You were alfo, Jupiter, a swan, for the love of Leda ;-O, omnipotent love! how near the god drew to the complexion of a goofe?-A fault done first in the form of a beaft ;O Jove, a beaftly fault! and then another fault in the femblance of a fowl; think on't, Jove; a foul fault. When gods have hot backs, what fhall poor men do? For me, I am here a Windsor stag; and the fatteft, I think, i' the foreft: Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow?" Who comes here? my doe?
Another part of the Park.
5 - When gods have hot backs, what shall poor men do?] Shakfpeare had perhaps in his thoughts the argument which Cherea employed in a fimilar fituation. Ter. Eun. A&t III. fc. v: -Quia confimilem luferat
Jam olim ille ludum, impendio magis animus gaudebat mihi "Deum fefe in hominem convertiffe, atque per alienas tegulas "Veniffe clanculum per impluvium, fucum factum mulieri. "At quem deum? qui templa cœli fumma fonitu concutit.
Ego homuncio hoc non facerem? Ego vero illud ita feci, ac lubens.'
A tranflation of Terence was published in 1598.
The fame thought is found in Lily's Euphues, 1580: "I think in those days love was well ratified on earth, when luft was fo full authorized by the gods in heaven." MALONE.
Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can blame me to pifs my tallow?] This, I find, is technical. In Turberville's Booke of Hunting, 1575: "During the time of their rut, the harts live
Enter Mrs. FORD and Mrs. PAGE.
MRS. FORD. Sir John? art thou there, my deer? my male deer?
FAL. My doe with the black scut?-Let the sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Green Sleeves; hail kiffing-comfits, and fnow eringoes; let there come a tempeft of provocation," I will fhelter me here. [Embracing her.
with small fuftenance.-The red mushroome helpeth well to make them pye their greace, they are then in fo vehement heate," &c.
In Ray's Collection of Proverbs, the phrafe is yet further explained: "He has pifs'd his tallow. This is fpoken of bucks who grow lean after rutting-time, and may be applied to men."
The phrafe, however, is of French extraction. Jacques de Fouilloux in his quarto volume entitled La Venerie, alfo tells us that ftags in rutting time live chiefly on large red mushrooms, "qui aident fort à leur faire piffer le fuif." STEEVENS.
7 Let the fky rain potatoes ;-bail kiffing-comfits, and now eringoes; let there come a tempeft of provocation,] Potatoes, when they were first introduced in England, were fuppofed to be ftrong provocatives. See Mr. Collins's note on a paffage in Troilus and Creffida, A&t V. fc. ii.
Kiffing-comfits were fugar-plums, perfum'd to make the breath
Monfieur Le Grand D'Auffi in his Hiftoire de la vie privée des Français, Vol. II. p. 273. obferves-"Il y avait auffi de petits drageoirs qu'on portait en poche pour avoir, dans le jour, de quoi fe parfumer la bouche."
So, alfo in Webster's Duchefs of Malfy, 1623:
Nothing but perfuines or kiffing comfits."
In Swetnan Arraign'd, 1620, thefe confections are called" kiffing-causes."" Their very breath is fophifticated with amber-pellets, and kiffing-caufes."
Again, in A Very Woman, by Maflinger:
"Comfits of ambergris to help our kiffes."
For eating thefe, queen Mab may be faid, in Romeo and Juliet, to plague their lips with blifters.
Eringoes, like potatoes, were esteemed to be ftimulatives. So, (fays the late Mr. Henderfon,) in Drayton's Polyolbion:
MRS. FORD. Miftrefs Page is come with me, fweetheart.
FAL. Divide me like a bribe-buck,' each a haunch: I will keep my fides to myself, my fhoulders for the fellow of this walk,' and my horns I bequeath
"Whose root th' eringo is, the reines that doth inflame, "So ftrongly to performe the Cytherean game."
But Shakspeare, very probably, had the following artificial tempeft in his thoughts, when he put the words on which this note is founded, into the mouth of Falstaff.
Holinfhed informs us, that in the year 1583, for the entertainment of prince Alafco, was performed "a verie ftatelie tragedie named Dido, wherein the queen's banket (with Æneas' narration of the deftruction of Troie) was lively defcribed in a marchpaine patterne, the tempeft wherein it hailed small confe&ts, rained rofe-water, and fnew an artificial kind of fnow, all strange, marvellous and abun
Brantome alfo, defcribing an earlier feast given by the Vidam of Chartres, fays" Au deffert, il y eut un orage artificiel qui, pendant une demie heure entiere, fit tomber une pluie d'eaux odorantes, & un grêle de dragées." STEEVENS.
Divide me like a bribe-buck,] i. e. (as Mr. Theobald obferves) a buck fent for a bribe. He adds, that the old copies, mistakingly, read-brib'd-buck. STEEVENS.
Cartwright, in his Love's Convert, has an expreffion fomewhat fimilar:
"Put off your mercer with your fee-buck for that season."
shoulders to the fellow of this walk,] Who the fellow is, or why he keeps his boulders for him, I do not understand.
A walk is that district in a foreft, to which the jurifdiction of a particular keeper extends. So, in Lodge's Rofalynde, 1592: “ Tell me, forefter, under whom maintaineft thou thy walke MALONE. To the keeper the shoulders and humbles belong as a perquifite. GREY,
So, in Friar Bacon, and Friar Bungay, 1599: "Butter and cheese, and humbles of a deer, "Such as poor keepers have within their lodge." Again, in Holinihed, 1586, Vol. I. p. 204: "The keeper, by a cuftom-hath the fkin, head, umbles, chine and boulders."