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Shal. The Council shall hear it; it is a riot.
Eva. It is not meet the Council hear a riot; there is no fear of Got in a riot: the Council, look you, shall desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your vizaments in that. 1
Shal. Ha! o’ my life, if I were young again, the sword should end it.
Eva. It is petter that friends is the sword, and end it: and there is also another device in my prain, which, peradventure, prings goot discretions with it: There is Anne Page, which is daughter to master George Page, which is pretty virginity.
Slen. Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and speaks small like a woman.3
9 The Council shall hear it; it is a riot.] By the Council is only meant the court of Star-chamber, composed chiefly of the king's council sitting in Camerâ stellatâ, which took cognizance of atro. cious riots. In the old quarto, “ the council shall know it," follows immediately after “ I 'll make a Star-chamber matter of it.” Blackstone. So, in Sir John Harrington's Epigrams, 1618:
“ No marvel, men of such a sumptuous dyet
“ Were brought into the Star-chamber for a ryot.” Malone. See Stat. 13, Henry IV, c. 7. Grey.
- your vizaments in that.) Advisement is now an obsolete word. I meet with it in the ancient morality of Every Man :
“ That I may amend me with good advysement." Again :
“I shall smite without any advysement.” Again :
“ To do with good advsement and delyberacyon.” It is often used by Spenser in his Faery Queen. So, B. II, c. 9:
Perhaps my succour and advizement meete.” Steevens. 2—which is daughter to master George Page,] The old copy reads- Thomas Page. Steevens.
The whole set of editions have negligently blundered one after another in Page's Christian name in this place; though Mrs. Page calls him George afterwards, in at least six several passages.
Theobald. speaks small like a woman.
n.] This is from the folio of 1623, and is the true reading. He admires her for the sweetness of her voice. But the expression is highly humorous, as making her speaking small like a woman one of her marks of distinction; and the ambiguity of sinall, which signifies little as well as low, makes the expression still more pleasant. Warburton.
Eva. It is that fery verson for all the 'orld, as just as you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of monies, and gold, and silver, is her grandsire, upon his death'sbed, (Got deliver to a joyful resurrections!) give, when she is able to overtake seventeen years old : it were a goot motion, if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage between master Abraham, and mistress Anne Page.
Shal. Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound ?4
Eva. Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny.
p. 611 :
Thus, Lear, speaking of Cordelia :
- Her voice was ever soft, “ Gentle and low:-an excellent thing in woman.” Steevens. Dr. Warburton has found more pleasantry here than I believe was intended. Small was, I think, not used, as he supposes, in an ambiguous sense, for “little, as well as low," but simply for weak, slender, feminine; and the only pleasantry of the passage seems to be, that poor Slender should characterise his mistress by ageneral quality belonging to her whole sex. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Quince tells Flute, who objects to playing a woman's part, “ You shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will.” Malone.
A small voice is a soft and melodious voice. Chaucer uses the word in that sense, in The Flower and the Leaf, Speght's edit.
“The company answered all,
“That me thought it the sweetest melody." Again, in Fairfax's Godfrey of Bulloigne, 1, 15, st. 62:
“She warbled forth a treble small,
“And with sweet lookes, her sweet songs enterlaced.” When female characters were filled by boys, to speak small like a woman must have been a valuable qualification. So, in Marston's What you will : “ I was solicited to graunt him leave to play the lady in comedies presented by children; but I knew his voice was too small, and his stature too low. Sing a treble, Holofernes ;--a very small sweet voice l’le assure you."
Holt White. 4 Shal. Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound? I know the young gentlewoman ; &c.] These two speeches are by mistake given to Slender in the first folio, the only authentick copy of this play. From the foregoing words it appears that Shallow is the person here addressed ; and on a marriage being proposed for his kinsman, he very naturally inquires concerning the lady's fortune. Slender should seem not to know what they are talking about; (except that he just hears the name of Anne Page, and breaks out into a foolish eulogium on her) for after
Shal. I know the young gentlewoman; she has good gifts.
Eva. Seven hundred pounds, and possibilities, is goot gifts.
Shal. Well, let us see honest master Page: Is Falstaff there?
Eva. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar, as I do despise one that is false; or, as I despise one that is not true. The knight, sir John, is there; and, I beseech you, be ruled by your well-willers. I will peat the door [knocks] for master Page. What, hoa! Got pless your house here!
Enter PAGE. Page. Who's there?
Eva. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and justice Shallow: and here young ster Slender; that, peradventures, shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.
Page. I am glad to see your worships well: I thank you for my venison, master Shallow.
Shal. Master Page, I am glad to see you; Much good do it your good heart! I wished your venison better; it was ill kill'd:—How doth good mistress Page?—and I love yous always with my heart, la; with my heart.
Page, Sir, I thank you.
wards Shallow says to him,-“ Coz, there is, as it were, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by sir Hugh here ; do you understand me?" to which Slender replies~" if it be so," &c. The tender, therefore, we see, had been made to Shallow, and not to Slender, the former of which names should be prefixed to the two speeches before us.
In this play, as exhibited in the first folio, many of the speeches are given to characters to whom they do not belong. Printers, to save trouble, keep the names of the speakers in each scene ready composed, and are very liable to mistakes, when two names begin (as in the present instance) with the same letter, and are nearly of the same length.--The present regulation was suggested by Mr. Capell. Malone.
I love you—] Thus the 4to. 1619. The folio_“I thank you-.". Dr. Farmer prefers the first of these readings, which I have therefore placed in the text. Steevens.
Slen. How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say, he was out-run on Cotsale. 6
Page. It could not be judg'd, sir.
Shal. That he will not;—'tis your fault, 'tis your fault:7-'Tis a good dog.
6 How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say, he was outrun on Cotsale.] He means Cotswold, in Gloucestershire. In the beginning of the reign of James the First, by permission of the king, one Dover, a public-spirited attorney of Barton on the Heath, in Warwickshire, instituted on the hills of Cotswold an annual celebration of games, consisting of rural sports and exercises. These he constantly conducted in person, well mounted, and accoutred in a suit of his majesty's old clothes ; and they were frequented above forty years by the nobility and gentry for sixty miles round, till the grand rebellion abolished every liberal establishment. I have seen a very scarce book, entitled, “ Annalia Dubrensia, Upon the yearly celebration of Mr. Robert Dover's Olympick games upon Cotswold hills,” &c. London, 1636, 4to. There are recommendatory verses prefixed, written by Drayton, Jonson, Randolph, and many others, the most eminent wits of the times. The games, as appears from a curious frontispiece, were, chiefly,wrestling, leaping, pitching the bar, handling the pike, dancing of women, various kinds of hunting, and particularly coursing the hare with greyhounds. Hence, also we see the meaning of another passage, where Falstaff, or Shallow, calls a stout fellow a Cotswold-man. But, from what is here said, an inference of another kind may be drawn, respecting the age of the play. A meagre and imperfect sketch of this comedy was printed in 1602. Afterwards Shakspeare new-wrote it entirely. This allusion therefore to the Cotswold games, not founded till the reign of James the First, ascertains a period of time beyond which our author must have made the additions to his original rough draft, or, in other words, composed the present comedy. James the First came to the crown in the year 1603. And we will suppose that two or three more years at least must have passed before these games could have been effectually established. I would therefore, at the earliest, date this play about the year 1607. T. Warton. The Annalia Dubrensia consists entirely of recommendatory
Douce. The Cotswold hills in Gloucestershire are a large tract of downs, famous for their fine turf, and therefore excellent for coursing. I believe there is no village of that name. Blackstone.
- 'tis your fault, 'tis your fault:] Of these words, which are addressed to Page, the sense is not very clear. Perhaps Shallow means to say, that it is a known failing of Page's not to confess that his dog has been out-run. Or, the meaning may be 'tis your misfortune that he was out-run on Cotswold; he is, however,
Page. A cur, sir.
Shal. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog; Can there be more said? he is good, and fair.- Is sir John Falstaff here?
Page. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a good office between you.
Eva. It is spoke as a christians ought to speak.
Shal. If it be confess'd, it is not redress'd; is not that so, master Page? He hath wrongd me; indeed, he hath;-at a word, he hath;-believe me;-Robert Shallow, Esquire, saith, he is wrong'd. Page. Here comes sir John. Enter Sir John FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, Nyx, and
PISTOL. Fal. Now, master Shallow; you'll complain of me to the ing?
Shal. Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and broke open my lodge.'
Fal. But not kiss'd your keeper's daughter?
Fal. I will answer it straight;—I have done all this: That is now answer'd.
Shal. The Council shall know this.
Fal. 'Twere better for you, if it were known in counsel:1 you 'll be laugh’d at.
a good dog. So perhaps the word is used afterwards by Ford, speaking of his jealousy:
“'Tis my fault, master Page; I suffer for it.” Malone. Perhaps Shallow addresses these words to Slender, and means to tell him, “it was his fault to undervalue a dog, whose inferiority in the chase was not ascertained.” Steevens.
- and broke open my lodge.] This probably alludes to some real incident, at that time well known. Fohnson.
So probably Falstaff's answer. Farmer.
1 'Twere better for you, if it were known in counsel:] The old copies read— Tevere better for you, if 'twere known in council
. Perhaps it is an abrupt speech, and must be read thus:-"Twere better for you—if 'twere known in council, you 'll be laugh'd at. 'Twere better for you, is, I believe, a menace. Johnson.
Some of the modern editors arbitrarily read-if 'twere not known in council:--but I believe Falstaff quibbles between council