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Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, sir John: my brows become nothing else; nor that well neither.
tioned none of these terms, but speaks of vails depending from the top of the head, and Aying behind in loose folds. The word volant was in use before the age of Shakspeare. I find it in Wil. fride Holme's Fall and evil Successe of Rebellion, 1537:
- high volant in any thing divine.” Tire vellet, which is the reading of the old quarto, may be printed, as Mr. Tollet observes, by mistake, for tire velvet. We know that velvet-hoods were worn in the age of Shakspeare. Steedens.
Among the presents sent by the Queen of Spain to the Queen of England, in April 1606, was a velvet cap with gold buttons. Catharine's cap, in The Taming of the Shrew, is likewise of velvet.
Tire-volant, however, I believe with Mr. Steevens, was the poet's word. “ Their heads (says Nashe in 1594) with their top and top-gallant lawne baby caps, and snow-resembled silver curl. ings, they make a plain puppet-stage of. Their breasts they embuske up on hie, and their round roseate buds they immodestly lay forth, to shew, at their hands there is fruit to be hoped.” Christ's Tears over Jerusalem, 4to. 1594. Malone.
of Venetian admittance.] i. e. of a fashion received or admitted from Venice. So, in Westward Hoe, 1606, by Decker and Webster:~"now she 's in that Italian head tire you sent her.” Dr. Farmer proposes to read" of Venetian remittance."
Steevens. In how much request the Venetian tyre formerly was held, appears from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 1624:-" let her have the Spanish gate, [gait] the Venetian tyre, Italian complements and endowments.” Malone.
May not the tire valiant be so called from the air of boldness and confidence which it might give the wearer? A certain court divine (who can hardly be called a courtly one) in a sermon preached before King James the First, thus speaks of the ladies' head dresses: “Oh what a wonder it is to see a ship under saile with her tacklings and her masts, and her tops and top-gal. lants, with her upper decks and her nether decks, and so bedeckt with her streames, flags and ensigns, and I know not what; yea but a world of wonders it is to see a woman created in God's image, so miscreate oft times and deformed with her French, her Spanish and her foolish fashions, that he that made her, when he looks upon her, shall hardly know her, with her plumes, her fans, and a silken vizard, with a ruffe, like a saile; ven, a ruffe like a rainbow, with a feather in her cap, like a flag in her top, to tell (I thinke) which way the wind will blow.” The MERCHANT ROYALL, á sermon preached at Whitehall before the King's Majestie, at the nuptialls of Lord Hay and his Lady, Twelfth-day, 1607, 4to. 1615. Again, “-it is proverbially said, that far fetcht and deare bought is fittest for ladies; as now-a-daies what groweth at home
Fal. Thou art a traitor" to say so: thou would'st make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gait, in a semi-circled farthingale. I see what thou wert, if fortune thy foes were not; nature is thy friend: Come, thou canst not hide it.
Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in me.
Fal. What made me love thee? le: 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 women in men's apparel, and smell like Buckler's-bury:
is base and homely; and what every one eates is meate for dogs ; and wee must have bread from one countrie, and drinke from another; and wee must have meate from Spaine, and sauce out of Italy; and if wee weare any thing, it must be pure Venetian, Roman, or barbarian; but the fashion of all must be French." Ibid. Reed.
- a traitor -] i. e. to thy own merit. Steevens. The folio reads—thou art a tyrant, &c. but the reading of the quarto appears to me far better. Malone.
- fortune thy foe-] “was the beginning of an old ballad, in which were enumerated all the misfortunes that fall upon mankind, through the caprice of fortune." See note on The Custom of the Country, Act I, sc. i, by Mr. Theobald; who observes, that this ballad is mentioned again in a comedy by John Tatham, printed in 1660, called The Rump, or Mirror of the times, wherein a Frenchman is introduced at the bonfire made for the burning of the rumps, and, catching hold of Priscilla, will oblige her to dance, and orders the musick to play Fortune
Scc also, Lingua, Vol. V, Dodsley's Collection, p. 188; and Tom Essence, 1677, p. 37. Mr. Ritson observes, that “the tune is the identi. cal air now known by the song of Death and the Lady, to which the metrical lamentations of extraordinary criminals have been usually chanted for upwards of these two hundred years.” Reed. The first stanza of this popular ballad was as follows:
“ Fortune my foe, why dost thou frown on me?
“ And wilt thou not restore my joys again!" Malone. This ballad is also mentioned by Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 576: “ What shall we do in such a case!" sing “ Fortune my foe.?” Steevens.
like Buckler's-bury &c.] Buckler's-bury, in the time of Shakspeare, was chiefly inhabited
by druggists, who sold all kinds of herbs, green as well as dry. Steevens.
in simple-time; I cannot: but I love thee;' none but thee; and thou deservest it.
Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, sir ; 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.3
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.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I must tell you, 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 ensconse me behind the arras. 4
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling woman.
[Fal, hides himself. Enter Mistress PAGE and Robin. What's the matter? how now?
Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed, your are overthrown, you are undone forever.
- I cannot
and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds. I cannot · but I love thee;] So, in Wily Beguild, 1606:
"I cannot play the dissembler,
“ I love faire Lelia.” Malone.
-as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.] Our poet has a similar image in Coriolanus :
whose breath I hate,
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:
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?
Mrs. Page. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman, that, he says, is 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 him out. Be not amazed; call all your senses to you; defend your reputation, or bid farewel to your good life forever.
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 had rather, and you had rather; your husband's here at hand, bethink
you of some conveyance: in the house you can-
Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there: What shall
-whiting-time,] Bleaching time; spring. The season when “ maidens bleach their summer smocks.” Holt White.
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 him with foul linen.]
Mrs. Page. Help to cover your master, boy: Call your men, mistress Ford:-You dissembling knight!
Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John! [Exit Robin. Re-enter Servants] Go take up these clothes here, quickly; Where's the cowl-staff?6 look, how you drumble:9
: o carry them to the laundress in Datchet mead; quickly, come. 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! wither bear you this?
Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle with buck-washing.
the cowl-staf?] Is a staff used for carrying a large tub or basket with two handles. In Essex the word cowl is yet used for a tub. Malone.
This word occurs also in Philemon Holland's translation of the seventh Book of Pliny's Natural History, ch. 56: “ The first battell that ever was fought, was between the Africans and .£gyptians; and the same performed by bastons, clubs and coulstares, which they call Phalange.” Steevens.
how you drumble:] The reverend Mr. Lambe, the editor of the ancient metrical history of the Battle of Floddon, ob. serves, that-look how you drumble, means-bow 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 Walien, 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-bec in comparison of it.” Again:“—this drumbling course.
.” Steevens. To drumble, in Devonshire, signifies to mutter in a sullen and inarticulate voice. No other sense of the word will either explain this interrogation, 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, signifies a drone or humble-bee. Mrs. Page may therefore mean—How lazy and stupid you are! be more alert. Malone.