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6. Bribed buck. A buck cut up into portions for distribution: from French, bribe, a piece or portion. The Welsh word brib, a scrap or fragment, supports this derivation.

7. The fellow of this walk. The forester; to whom it was the custom to present as perquisites the shoulders of venison cut from the buck when-in the language of the chase-the 'breaking up' of a deer took place. "Woodman" was the title given to the forester's attendant; but it applied to one

Mrs. Ford.

Mrs. Page. Away, away!

[They run off.

Fal. I think the devil will not have me, lest the oil that's in me should set his place on fire; he would never else cross me thus.

Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, as a Satyr: PISTOL, as Hobgoblin: ANNE PAGE, as the Fairy Queen, attended by her Brother and others, as Fairies, with waxen tapers on their heads.

Queen. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white, You moonshine revellers, and shades of night,

generally skilled in the sport of hunting game, and is used equivocally by Falstaff.

8. Queen. This prefix is given Qui. and Qu. through this scene in the Folio, and may have meant that the actress who played Mrs. Quickly was to double her part with this one; but as in Act iv. sc. 4, in Act iv. sc. 6, and in Act v. sc. 3, it is distinctly said that Anne Page is to enact the Fairy Queen, there is every probability that "Queen" is intended to be the



You orphan-heirs of fixed destiny,"
Attend your office and your quality.10—
Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy o-yes."

Pist. Elves, list your names; silence, you airy toys! Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap; 12 Where fires thou find'st unrak'd, and hearths unswept;

There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry:
Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery.

Fal. They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die :

I'll wink and couch: no man their works must eye. [Lies down upon his face. Evans. Where's Bede ?-Go you, and where

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Search Windsor Castle, elves, within and out:
Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room;
That it may stand till the perpetual doom,
In state as wholesome as in state 'tis fit,
Worthy the owner, and the owner it,
The several chairs of order look you scour
With juice of balm1 and every precious flower:
Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest,
With loyal blazon, evermore be blest!
And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing,
Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring :
Th' expressure1s that it bears, green let it be,
More fertile-fresh than all the field to see;
And Honi soit qui mal y pensé write
In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white;
Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee :-
Fairies use flowers for their charàctery.16
Away! disperse! But till 'tis one o'clock,
Our dance of custom round about the oak
Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget.

prefix here, and that the actress who plays Anne Page is to deliver these speeches.

9. Orphan-heirs of fixed destiny. Beings created orphans by fate; in allusion to supposed spontaneous and ex-natural births, such as Merlin's, and others of his stamp, holding place in popular superstition, who were believed to have been born without fathers. There is a similar reference in "2 Henry IV.," iv. 4-"Unfather'd heirs, and loathly births of


10. Quality. Used for appointed duty or performance. 11. O-yes. Old French, oyez, hear ye. "O-yes" still forms the commencement of a "Crier's" official proclamation.

12. Shalt thou leap. This has been changed to 'when thou'st leapt,' in order to make the couplet here rhyme like the rest; but many imperfectly rhyming couplets are to be found elsewhere in Shakespeare, when the general passage is in rhyme.

Evans. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves in 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." Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese! Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd1 even in thy birth.

Queen. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end : If he be chaste, the flame will back descend, And turn him to no pain; but if he start, It is the flesh of a corrupted heart. Pist. A trial, come. Evans.

Come, will this wood take fire ? [They burn him with their tapers.

Fal. Oh, oh, oh!

Queen. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire !— About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhyme! And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.


Fie on sinful fantasy!

Fie on vice and luxury!
Pinch him, fairies, mutually;

Pinch him for his villainy ;

Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
Till candles and starlight and moonshine be out.

During this song the Fairies pinch FALSTAFF. 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 ANNE PAGE. A noise of hunting is made within. The Fairies run away. FALSTAFF pulls off his buck's head, and rises.

Enter PAGE, Ford, MistresS PAGE, and MISTRESS FORD. They lay hold on FALSTAFF.

Page. Nay, do not fly; I think we have watch'd you now.19

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

13. Raise up the organs of her fantasy. Exalt her imagination by pleasant dreams.

14. Chairs of order look you scour with juice of balm. It was a usage of ancient luxury to rub tables and chairs with aromatic herbs.

15. Expressure. That which is expressed; the circular impressions left on the grass by the fairies dancing round, expressing the image of the Order of the Garter.

16. Charactery. Writing by characters, marks, or signs. 17. Middle-earth. Used for the world, the globe; " a man of middle-earth" signifies a 'mortal.'

18. O'erlook'd. Bewitched by the so-called 'Evil Eye.' 19. Watch'd you now. To "watch" was a technical term in falconry, for taming a hawk by preventing it from sleeping; and is often, as here, used metaphorically for subdue, bring to submission. "I think we have watch'd you now' may be taken as equivalent to 'I think we have broken you of your wild habits.'


Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives? See you these, husband? do not these fair yokes 20 Become the forest better than the town?

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

hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to sin, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?

Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax? Mrs. Page. A puffed man ?

Page. Old, cold, withered, and of intolerable entrails?


his horses


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. Fal. I do begin to perceive that I am made an


Ford. Ay, 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 surprise 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, when 'tis upon ill employment!

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

Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.

Evans. 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.

Fal. 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 Welsh goat too? shall I have a coxcomb of frize? 22 'Tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.

Evans. Seese is not goot to give putter; vour paunch 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 vice and latewalking through the realm. Mrs. Page. Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would have thrust virtue out of our

20. Yokes. In allusion to the branching antlers which Falstaff has worn on his head as Herne the hunter, and which resemble in their forked shape the ends of "yokes" (framework for supporting vines); or the "yokes" for oxen, used in some parts of England, that rise to a considerable height, and look like horns.

21. Must be paid to Master Brook. Some of the commentators gravely assert that we ought rather to read 'Master Ford' here, as the passage is confused by the reiterated introduction of the name "Master Brook: " but it is this very iteration which gives the required effect of Ford's harping upon a name which he means should reveal to Falstaff the identity of Ford and Brook.

22. A coxcomb of frise. A fool's cap made of a cloth for the manufacture of which Wales was celebrated. The deep


And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
And as poor as Job?

And as wicked as his wife?

Evans. And given to taverns, and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings and starings, pribbles and prabbles?

Fal. Well, I am your theme: you have the start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welsh flannel; ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me: 23 use me as you will.

Ford. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one Master Brook, that you have cozened of money, to whom you should have been a broker: over and above that you have suffered, I think, to repay that money will be a biting affliction.

Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt eat a posset to-night at my house; where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee: tell her Master Slender hath married her daughter.

Mrs. Page. [Aside.] Doctors doubt that if Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this, Doctor Caius' wife.

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mortification of the witty Falstaff at being outwitted, is a profound lesson; while that touch conveyed in the words, "I was three or four times in the thought they were not fairies," preserves the shrewd-sensed supremacy of the character, even while rendering the moral all the more pungent.

23. Ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me. 'Ignorance itself can sound the depths of my shallowness in this.' Falstaff, true to himself, has wit at command, even when deploring his own lack of brains; and the retorts he flings at his outwitters are thorough self-vindicators. "Toasted cheese" and "Welsh flannel" amply revenge him.

24. Posset. A warm drink made of milk curdled with wine or ale, much in favour among our ancestors as a night-draught before going to bed. There is something especially cordial in the introduction of this proposal from the good-natured yeoman,

Page. Upon my life, then, you took the wrong. Slen. What need you tell me that? I think so, when I took a boy for a girl. If I had been married to him, for all he was in woman's apparel, I would not have had him.

Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you how you should know my daughter by her garments?

Slen. I went to her in white, and cried "mum," and she cried "budget," as Anne and I had appointed; and yet it was not Anne, but a postmaster's boy.

Mrs. Page. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose; turned my daughter into green; and, indeed, she is now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.

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Mrs. Page.
Why went you not with Master
Doctor, maid?

Fent. You do amaze 25 her: hear the truth of it.
You would have married her most shamefully,
Where there was no proportion held in love.
The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,
Are now so sure, that nothing can dissolve us.
The offence is holy that she hath committed;
And this deceit loses the name of craft,
Of disobedience, or unduteous title;
Since therein she doth evitate and shun
A thousand irreligious cursèd hours,
Which forced marriage would have brought upon


Ford. Stand not amaz'd: here is no remedy.In love, the heavens themselves do guide the state;

Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.


Fal. I am glad, though you have ta'en a special stand to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanced.

Page. Well, what remedy ?-Fenton, Heaven give thee joy!

What cannot be eschew'd must be embrac'd.
Fal. When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are
Mrs. Page.
Well, I will muse no farther.-
Master Fenton,
Heaven give you many, many merry days!
Good husband, let us every one go home,
And laugh this sport o'er by a country fire!
Sir John and all.

Let it be so.-Sir John,
To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word;
For he to-night shall lie with Mistress Ford.


whence they might even take part in it, by aiming at the game driven by the keepers near to them.

27. When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are chas'd. Falstaff here takes a final chuckle over those who have defeated his pursuit of the dear merry wives, by showing them that their dear daughter has been caught by the man who was not their choice, but hers.

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