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Mrs. FORD. Believe me, there's no such thing
FAL. What made me love thee? let that persuade thee,there's something extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like worden in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklers-burys in simple-time; I cannot: but I love thee; none but thee; and thou deserveft it.
Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, fir; I fear, you love mistress Page.
Fal. Thou might'st as well say, I love to walk by the Counter-gate; which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.?
Ritson observes, that “ the tune is the identical air now known
“ Fortune, my foe, why doft thou frown on me?
“ And wilt thou not restore my joys again?" MALONE.
- nature is thy friend :] Is, which is not in the old copy, was introduced by Mr. Pope. MALONE.
5. like Buckler’s-bury, &c.] Buckler’s-bury, in the time of Shakspeare, was chiefly inhabited by druggists, who fold all kinds of herbs, green as well as dry. STEEVENS.
- I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping hawthorn-tuds, I cannnt: but I love thee;] So, in Wily Beguild, 1606:
“ I cannot play the dissembler,
-as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.] Our poet has a fimilar image in Corislanus :
whose breath I hate, " As rock o' the rotten fens." STEEVEXS.
Mrs. Ford. Well, heaven knows, how I love you; and you shall one day find it.
Fal. Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.
so you do; or else I could not be in that mind.
Rob. [within.] Mistress Ford, mistress Ford ! here's mistress Page at the door, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you presently.
FAL. She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras.?
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling woman.
[Falstaff bides himself.
Enter Mistress Page and ROBIN.
What's the matter? how now?
Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed, you are overthrown, you are undone • for ever.
Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page ?
Mrs. Page. O well-a-day, mistress Ford! having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion !
Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion?
Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion?-Out upon you! how am I mistook in you?
Mrs. Ford. Why, alas! what's the matter?
behind the arras.] The spaces left between the walls and the wooden frames on which arras was hung, were not more commodious to our ancestors than to the authors of their ancient dramatic pieces. Borachio in Much ado about Nothing, and Polonius in Hamlet, also avail themselves of this convenient recess. . STEEVENS.
Mrs. Page. Your hụsband's coming hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman, that, he says, iş here now in the house, by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence: You are undone.
Mrs. Ford. Speak louder.—[ Aside. ]—"Tis not so, I hope. Mrs. Page. Pray heaven it be not so, that
you have such a man here; but 'tis most certain your husband's coming with half Windsor at his heels, to search for such a one. I come before to tell you: If you know yourself clear, why I am glad of it : but if you have a friend here, convey, convey
Be not amazed ; call all your senses to you; defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.
Mrs. Ford. What shall I do?—There is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear not mine own shame, so much as his peril: I had rather than a thousand pound, he were out of the house.
Mrs. Page. For shame, never stand you ther, and you bad rather; your husband's here at hand, bethink you of some conveyance: in the house you cannot hide him.-0, how have you deceived me !--Look, here is a basket; if he be of any reasonable stature, he may creep in here; and throw foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking: Or, it is whiting-time,? send him by your two men to Datchet mead.
Mrs. FORD. He's too big to go in there: What shall I do?
6 Speak louder.] i. e. that Falstaff who is retired may hear. This passage is only found in the two elder quartos. STEEVENS.
7- whiting-time,] Bleaching time; spring. The season when “ maidens bleach their summer smocks." "Holt White.
Fal. Let me see't, let me see't! O let me fee't! I'll in, I'll in; — follow your friend's counsel ; I'll in.
Mrs. PAGE. What! sir John Falstaff! Are these your letters knight?
FAL. I love thee, and none; but thee ; & help me away: let me creep in here; I'll never[He goes into the basket; they cover bim' with foul
linen.) Mrs. PAGE. Help to cover your master, boy: Call your men, mistress Ford :-You diffembling knight!
Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John! [Exit Robin. Re-enter Servants.] Go take up these clothes
] here, quickly; Where's the cowl-staff?, look, how you drumble: carry them to the laundress in Datchet mead;} quickly, come.
and none but thee;] These words which are characteristick, and spoken to Mrs. Page aside, deserve to be restored from the old quarto. He had used the same words before to Mrs. Ford,
MALONE. the cowl-staff?] Is a staff used for carrying a large tub or basket with two handles. In Eflex the word cowl is yet used for a tub. MALONE.
how you drumble : ] The reverend Mr. Lambe, the editor of the ancient metrical history of the Battle of Floddon, observes, that-look how you drumble, means—how confused you are; and that in the North, drumbled ale is muddy, disturbed ale. Thus, a Scottish proverb in Ray's collection:
“ It is good fishing in drumbling waters." Again, in Have with you to Saffron Walden, or Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is up, this word occurs: " -gray-beard drumbling over a discourse. Again : - your fly in a boxe is but a drumble-bee in comparison of it." Again: “'- this drumbling course." "
STEEVENS. To drumble, in Devonshire, signifies to mutter in a fullen and inarticulate voice. No other sense of the word will either explain
Enter FORD, Page, Caius, and Sir Hugh Evans.
Ford. Pray you, come near: if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jest; I deserve it.--How now? whither bear
Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle with buckwashing:
Ford. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the buck! Buck, buck, buck? Ay, buck; I warrant you, buck; and of the season too, it shall appear.* [Exeunt Servants with the basket.s Gentlemen,
this interrugation, or the passages adduced in Mr. Steevens's note. To drumble and drone are often used in connexion. Henley.
A drumble drone, in the western dialect, fignifies a drone or humble-bee. Mrs. Page may therefore mean-How lazy and stupid you are! be more alert. MALONE.
3 - carry them to the laundress in Datchet mead ;] Mr. Dennis objećts, with some degree of reason, to the probability of the circumstance of Falstaff's being carried to Datchet mead, and thrown into the Thames. “ It is not likely (he observes) that Falstaff would suffer himself to be carried in the basket as far as Datchet mead, which is half a mile from Windsor, and it is plain that they could not carry him, if he made any resistance.” MALONE.
it fall appear.] Ford seems to allude to the cuckold's horns. So afterwards : « and so buffers himself on the forehead, crying, peer out, peer out.” Of the season is a phrase of the foreft.
MALONE. Mr. Malone points the passage thus.—" Ay, buck; I warrant you, buck, and of the season too; it shall appear.” I am satisfied with the old punctuation. In The Rape of Lucrece, our poet makes his heroine compare herself to an“ unfeasonable doe;" and, in Blunt's Cuftoms of Manors, p. 168, is the same phrase employed by Ford.. “ A bukke delivered him of fey/lone, by the woodmaster and keepers of Needwoode." STEVENS.
So, in a letter written by Queene Catharine, in 1526, Howard's Collection, Vol. I. p. 212: “ We will and command you, that