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The better to denote her to the doctor,
age n and
to denote -] In the Mfs. of our author's to were formed fo very much alike, that they are scarcely diftinguishable. Hence it was, that in the old copies of these plays one of these letters is frequently put for the other. From the cause assigned, or from an accidental inversion of the letter » at the press, the first folio in the present instance reads_deuote, u being constantly employed in that copy instead of wi The same mistake has happened in several other places. Thus, in Much ado about Nothing, 1623, we find, “ he is turu'd orthographer," inftead of turn'd. Again, in Othello : -" to the contemplation, mark, and deuotement of her parts," instead of denotement. Again, in King John: This expeditious charge, instead of expedition's. Again, ibid: involuerable for irvulnerable. Again, in Hamlet, 1605, we meet with this very word put by an error of the press for denote :
Together with all forms, modes, Thapes of grief,
“ That can deuote me truly.” The present emendation, which was suggested by Mr. Steevens, is fully supported by a subsequent passage quoted by him :-“ the white will decipher her well enough." MALONE.
quaint in green,) may mean fantastically dreft in green. So, in Milton's Masque at Ludlow Caftle:
" = left the place,
“ And my quaint habits, breed astonishment.” Quaintness, however, was anciently used to signify gracefulness. So, in Greene's Dialogue between a He and She Coney-catcher, 1592: “ I began to think what a handsome man he was, and wished that he would come and take a night's lodging with me, fitting in a dump to think of the quaintness of his personage.” In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Aa III. sc. i. quaintly is used for ingeniously :
“ -- a ladder quaintly made of cords." STEEVENS. In Daniel's Sonnets, 1594, it is used for fantastick. “ Prayers prevail not with a quaint disdayne." MALONE.
Fent. Both, my good hoft, to go along with me: And here it rests,—that you'll procure the vicar To stay for me at church, 'twixt twelve and one, And, in the lawful name of marrying, To give our hearts united ceremony. Host. Well, husband your device; I'll to the
vicar: Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
Fent. So shall I evermore be bound to thee; Besides, I'll make a present recompence. [Exeunt,
Enter Falstaff and Mrs. QUICKLY. FAL. Pr’ythee, no more prattling ;-go. I'll hold :This is the third time; I hope, good luck lies in odd numbers. Away, go; they say, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.-Away.
Quick. I'll provide you a chain; and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns.
Fal. Away, I say; time wears : hold up your head, and mince.?
[Exit Mrs. QUICKLY.
5- I'll hold :) I suppose he means I'll keep the appointment. STEEVENS.
they say, there is divinity in odd numbers,] Alluding to the Roman adagenumero deus impare gandet. Virgil, Ecl. viii.
STEEVENS. hold up your head, and mince.] To mince is to walk with affected delicacy. So, in The Merchant of Venice :
turn two mincing steps
How now, master Brook? Master Brook, the matter will be known to-night, or never.
Be the Park about midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall see wonders.
Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, fir, as you told me you had appointed ?
Fal. I went to her, master Brook, as you see, like a poor old man: but I came from her, mafter Brook, like a poor old woman. That same knaye, Ford her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, master Brook, that ever governd frenzy. I will tell you.—He beat me grievously, in the shape of a woman; for in the shape of man, master Brook, I fear not Goliath with a weaver's beam; because I know also, life is a shuttle. * I am in haste; go along with me; I'll tell you all, mafter Brook. Since I plucked geese,' played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what it was to be beaten, till lately. Follow me: I'll tell you strange things of this knave Ford; on whom to-night I will be revenged, and I will deliver his wife into your hand.–Follow: Strange things in hand, master Brook! follow.
4 - because I know also, life is a shuttle.] An allusion to the fixth verse of the seventh chapter of the Book of Job: “My days are fwifter than a weaver's fhurtle,” &c. Steevens. 5
Since I plucked geese,] To ftrip a living goose of his feathers, was formerly an act of puerile barbarity. STEEVENS.
Enter Page, SHALLOW, and SLENDER.
PAGE. Come, come; we'll couch i' the castleditch, till we see the light of our fairies.-Remember, son Slender, my daughter.
Slen. Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word, how to know one another. I come to her in white, and cry, mum; she cries, budget ;8 and by that we know one another.
Shal. That's good too: But what needs either your mum, or her budget? the white will decipher her well enough. It hath struck ten o'clock.
Page. The night is dark; light and spirits will become it well. Heaven prosper our sport! No
. man means evil but the devil,' and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away; follow me. [Exeunt.
6 - my daughter.] The word daughter was inadvertently omitted in the first folio. The emendation was made by the editor of the second. MALONE.
7 1-a nay-word,] i. e. a watch-word. Mrs. Quickly has already used it in this sense. Steevens.
- mum ; she cries, budget ;] These words appear to have been in common use before the time of our author. " And now if a man call them to accomptes, and aike the cause of al these their tragical and cruel doings, he shall have a short answer with mum budget, except they will peradventure allege this,” &c. Oration against the unlawful insurreciions of the Protestants, bl. 1. 8vo. 1615, Sign. C 8. Reed.
9 No man means evil but the devil,] This is a double blunder ; for some, of whom this was fpoke, were women. We should read then, NO ONE means. WARBURTON.
S CE N E III.
The Street in Windsor.
Enter Mrs. Page, Mrs. FORD, and Dr. CAIUS,
Mrs. Page. Master doctor, my daughter is in green: when you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the deanery, and despatch it quickly: Go before into the park; we two must 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 ? :
There is no blunder. In the ancient interludes and moralities, the beings of supreme power, excellence, or depravity, are occafionally styled men. So, in Much ado about Nothing, Dogberry says: “ God's a good man.
Again, in an Epitaph, part of which has been borrowed as an absurd one, by Mr. Pope and his associates, who were not very well acquainted with ancient phraseology:
" Do all we can,
“ That never spareth none." Again, in Jeronimo, or The Firft Part of the Spanish Tragedy, 1605: “ You're the last man I thought on, save the devil.”
STEEVENS. 3 - and the Welch devil, Hugh?] 'The former impreffions readthe Welch devil Herne? But Falitaff was to represent Herne, and he was no Welchman. Where was the attention or fagacity of our editors, not to observe that Mrs. Ford is enquiring for [Sir Hugb] Evans by the name of the Welch devil ? Dr. Thirlby likewise discover'd the blunder of this passage. THEOBALD.