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Away; disperse: But, till 'tis one o'clock,
Our dance of custom, round about the oak
Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget.
Era. Pray you, lock hand in hand“ yourselves ir

order set:
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
To guide our measure round about the tree.
But, stay; I smell a man of middle earth.5




swift, and secrete writing, by character. Invented by Timothie Brighte, Doctor of Phisike.” This seems to have been the first book

upon short-hand writing printed in England. Douce.

lack hand in hand;] The metre requires us to read"" lock hands.” Thus Milton, who perhaps had this passage in his mind, when he makes Comus say:

Come, knit hands, and beat the ground “ In a light fantastic round.” Steevens.

of middle earth.] Spirits are supposed to inhabit the ethereal regions, and fairies to dwell under ground; men there. fore are in a middle station. Fohnson.

So, in the ancient metrical romance of Syr Guy of Warwick bl. 1. no date:

“ And win the fayrest mayde of middle erde." Again, in Gower, De confessiore Amantis, fol. 26:

“ Adam, for pride lost his price

“ In mycell erth." Again, in the MSS. called William and the Werwolf, in the library of King's College, Cambridge, p.

“ And saide God that madest man, and all middel erthe." Ruddiman, the learned compiler of the Glos to Gawin Douglas's Translation of the Æneid, affords the following illustation of this contested phrase: “ It is yet in use in the North of Scotland among old people, by which they understand this earth in which we live, in opposition to the grave: Thus they say, There's no man in miildle erd is able to do it, i. e. no man alive, or on this earth, and so it is used by our author. But the reason is not so easy to come by; perhaps it is because they look upon this life as a middle state (as it is) between Heaven and Hell, which last is frequently taken for the grave. Or that life is as it were it milie betwixt non-entity, before we are born, and death, when we go hence and are no more seen; as life is called a coming into the world, and death a going out of it."-Again, among the Addenda to the Glossary aforesaid, “ Middil erd is borrowed from the A. S. MIDDAN-EARD, MIDDANGEARD, mundus, MIDDANEARDLICE, mundanus, SE LAESA MIDDANEARD, microcosmus." Steevens.

The author of The Remarks says, the phrase signifies neither more nor less, than the earth or world, from its imaginary situation in the midst or middle of the Ptolemaic system, and has rot the least reference to either spirits or fairies. Reed.

Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welch fairy! lest he transform me to a piece of cheese! Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'er-look'd even in thy

Quick. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end:'
If he be chaste, the flame will back descend,
Aud turn him to no pain:' but if he start,
It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.

Pist. A trial, come.
Eva. Come, will this wood take fire?

[They burn him with their tapers.
Fal. Oh, oh, oh!
Quick. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire !
About him, fairies: sing a scornful rhyme:
And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.

Eva. It is right; indeed he is full of lecheries and iniquity.


6 Vile worm,] The old copy reads--vild. That vild, which so often occurs in these plays, was not an error of the press, but the old spelling and the pronunciation of the time, appears from these lines of Heywood, in his Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas, 1637 :

“EARTH. What goddess, or how styld?
“ AGE. Age, am I call'd.
“ EARTH. Hence false virago vild.Malone.

- o’er-look'd even in thy birth.] i. e. slighted as soon as born. Steevens.

8 With trial-fire &c.] So, Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Faithful Shepherdess :

“ In this flame his finger thrust,
“ Which will burn him if he lust;
“ But if not, away will turn,

“ As loth unspotted fiesh to burn.” Steevens. 9 And turn him to no pain;] This appears to have been the common phraseology of our author's time. So again, in The Tempest:

O, my heart bleeds,
“ To think of the teen that I have turn'd
Again, in K. Henry VI, P. III:

Edward, what satisfaction canst thou make,
“For bearing arms, for stirring up my subjects,

“ And all the trouble thou hast turn'd me to." Of this line there is no trace in the original play, on which the Third Part of K. Henry VI was formed. Malone.


you to."

Song. Fye on sinful fantasy!

Fye on list and luxury!2
List is but a bloody fire, 3
Kindled with unchaste desire,
Fed in heart; whose flames aspire,
As thoughts do blow them higher and higher.
Pinch him, fairies, mutually;

Pinch him for his villainy;
Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
Till candles, and star-light, and moon-shine be out.
During this

80ng, +

* the fairies pinch Falstaff.5 Doctor Caius comes one way, and steals away a fairy in green; Slender another way, and takes off a fairy in white; and Fenton comes, and steals away Mrs. Anne Page. A noise of hunting is made within. All the fairies rün away. Falstaff pulls of his buck's head, and rises. Enter PAGE, FORD, Mrs. PAGE, and Mrs. Ford.

They lay hold on him. Page. Nay, do not fly: I think, we have watch'd you



i. e.

1 Eva. It is right; indeed &c.] This short speech, which is very much in character for Sir Hugh, I have inserted from the old quarto, 1619. Theobald.

and luxury!] Luxury is here used for incontinence. So, in King Lear: “ To ’t luxury, pell-mell, for I lack soldiers.”

Steevens. 3 Lust is but a bloody fire,] A bloody fire, means a fire in the blood. In The Second Part of Henry IV, Act IV, the same expression occurs:

“ Led on by bloody youth,” &c. sanguine youth. Steevens. In Sonnets by H. C. (Henry Constable] 1594, we find the same image:

Lust is a fire, that for an hour or twaine
“ Giveth a scorching blaze, and then he dies;

“ Love a continual furnace doth maintaine," &c. So also, in The Tempest:

the strongest oaths are straw To the fire i' the blood.Malone. 4 During this song,] This direction I thought proper to insert from the old quartos. Theobald.

the fairies pinch Falstaff:] So, in Lyly's Endyrnion, 1591: “ The fairies dance, and, with a song, pinch him.” And, in his Maid's Metamorphosis, 1600, they threaten the same punishment. Sicevens.


Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn? Mrs. Page. I pray you, come; hold up the jest no

higher:Now, good sir John, how like you Windsor wives? See you these, husband? do not these fair yokes Become the forest better than the town ? 6

Ford. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now?-Master Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns, master Brook: And, master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money; which must be paid to master Brook;? his horses are arrested for it, master Brook.

Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never meet. I will never take you for my love again, But I will always count you my deer.

See you these, husband ? do not these fair yokes

Become the forest better than the town?] Mrs. Page's mean. ing is this. Seeing the horns (the types of cuckoldom) in Falstaff's hands, she asks her husband, whether those yokes are not more proper in the forest than in the town; i. e. than in his own family. Theobald.

I am confident that oaks is the right reading. I agree with Theobald that the words, “ See you these, husband?" relate to the buck's horns; but what resemblance is there between the horns of a buck and a yoak? What connexion is there between a yoak and a forest? Why, none; whereas, on the other hand, the connexion between a forest and an oak is evident; nor is the resemblance less evident between a tree and the branches of a buck's horns; they are indeed called branches from that very resemblance; and the horns of a deer are called in French les bois. Though horns are types of cuckoldom, yoaks are not; and surely the types of cuckoldom, whatever they may be, are more proper for a town than for a forest. I am surprised that the subsequent editors should have adopted an amendment, which makes the passage nonsense.

M. Mason. I have inserted Mr. M. Mason's note, because he appears to think it brings conviction with it. Perhaps, however, (as Dr. Farmer observes to me) he was not aware that the extremities of yokes for cattle, as still used in several counties of England, bend upwards, and rising very high, in shape resemble horns.

Steevens. *

to master Brook ;] We ought rather to read with the old quarto— which must be paid to master Ford;" for as Ford, to mortify Falstaff, addresses him throughout his speech by the name of Brook, the describing himself by the same name creates a confusion. A modern editor plausibly enough reads“ which must be paid too, Master Brook;" but the first sket

Fal. I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass. Ford. Ay and an ox too; both the proofs are extant.

Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies: and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprize of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now, how wit may be made a Jack-a-lent,8 when 'tis upon ill employment!

Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.

Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.
Eva. And leave you your jealousies too, I pray you.

Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able to woo her in good English.

Pal. Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross o'er-reaching as this? Am I ridden with a Welch goat too! Shall I have a coxcomb of frize? 9 'tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.

Eva. Seese is not good to give putter; your pelly is all putter.

Fal. Seese and putter! have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This is enough to be the decay of lust and late-walking, through the realm.

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shows that to is right; for the sentence, as it stands in the quarto, will not admit too. Malone.

8 how wit may be male a Jack-a-lent,] A Fack o'Lent appears to have been some puppet which was thrown at in lent, like shrove-tide cocks. So, in the old comedy of Lady Alimony, 1659:

throwing cudgels
“ At Fack-a-lents, or Shrove-cocks."
Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Tamer Tamed:

- if I forfeit,
“Make me a Fack oʻLent, and break my

“For untagg'd points, and counters."
Again, in Ben Jonson's Tale of u Tub:

on an Ash-Wednesday, “ Where thou didst stand six weeks the Jack oʻLent, “ For boys to hurl three throws a penny at thee.” Steevens.

a coxcomb of frize?] i. e. a fool's cap made out of Welch materials. Wales was famous for this cloth. So, in K. Edward 1, 1599: “Enter Lluellin, alias Prince of Wales, &c.

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