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Fent. Well, farewell; I am in great hafte now.

[Exit. Quick. Farewell to your worship:--Truly, an honeft gentleman; but Anne loves him not; for I know Anne's mind as well as another does :-Out upon’t! what have I forgot ?




Before Page's House.

Enter Mistress Page, with a letter. Mrs. Page. What! have I 'scaped love-letters in the holy-day time of my beauty, and am I now a subject for them? Let me see:

[reads. Ask me no reason why I love you; for though love use reason for his precisian, he admits him not for bis counsellor: You are not young, no more am I; go to

i-Out upon't! what have I forgot ?] This excuse for leaving the ftage, is rather too near Dr. Caius's “ Od's me! qu'ay j'oublié?" in the former part of the scene. STEEVENS.

3 —though love use reason for his precisian, be admits him not for his counsellor :] This is obscure : but the meaning is, though love permit reason to tell what is fit to be done, be feldom follows its advice.-By precisian, is meant one who pretends to a more than ordinary degree of virtue and fanctity. On which account they gave this name to the puritans of that time. So Osborne—" Conform their mode, words, and looks, to these PRECISIANS," And Maine, in his City Match :

I did commend
A great PRECISIAN to her for her woman."

WARBURTOX. Of this word I do not see any meaning that is very apposite to the present intention. Perhaps Falstaff said, Though love uje reason as bis physician, he admits him not for bis counsellor. This will be plain sense. Ask not the reason of my love; the business of reason is not to assist love, but to cure it. There may however be this

then, there's sympathy: you are merry, so am I, Ha! ba! then there's more sympathy: you love Jack, and so do I; Would you desire better sympathy? Let it suffice thee, mistress Page, (at the least, if the love of a soldier can

suffice,) ihat I love thee. I will not say, pity me, 'tis not a soldier-like phrase ; but I say, love me. By me,

Thine own true knight,
By day or night,
Or any kind of light,
With all his might,
For thee to fight,

John Falstaff.


meaning in the present reading. Though love, when he would submit to regulation, may use reason as his precijian, or director in nice cases, yet when he is only eager to attain his end, he takes not reason for his counsellor. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson wishes to read physician; and this conjecture becomes almost a certainty from a line in our author's 147th sonnet :

My reason the physician to my love," &c. Farmer. The character of a precijian seems to have been very generally ridiculed in the time of Shakspeare. So, in The Malcontent, 1604: You must take her in the right vein then; as, when the fign is in Pifces, a filhmonger's wife is very fociable: in Cancer, a precisa fian's wife is very flexible." Again, Dr. Fauftus, 1604:

I will set my countenance like a precision?" Again, in Ben Jonson's Cafe is alter'd, 1609:

It is precisianism to alter that,
With austere judgement, which is given by nature.”

STEEVENS. If physician be the right reading, the meaning may be this: A lover uncertain as yet of success, never takes reason for his counfellor, but, when desperate, applies to him as his physician.

MUSGRAVE. 3 Thine own true knight,

By day or night,] "This expression, which is ludicrously employed by Falstaff, anciently meant, at all times. So, in the third book of Gower, De Confeffione Amantis:

“ The sonne cleped was Machayre,
“ The daughter eke Canace hight,
By daie bothe and eke by night."

What a Herod of Jewry is this ?- wicked, wicked world !-one that is well nigh worn to pieces with age, to show himself a young gallant! What an unweigh'd behaviour 4 hath this Flemish drunkard' pick’d (with the devil's name) out of my conversation, that he dares in this manner assay me? Why, he hath not been thrice in my company ! What should I fay to him?- I was then frugal of my mirth: '— heaven forgive me !—Why, I'll exhibit a bill in the parliament for the putting down of men.7

How shall I be revenged on him? for re

Loud and fill, was another phrase of the fame meaning.

STEEVENS. 4What an unweigh'd bebaviour, &c.] Thus the folio 1623. It has been suggested to me, that we should read—one. Steevens.

s - Flemish drunkard ] It is not without reason that this term of reproach is here used. Sir Jon Smythe in Certain Discourses, &c. 40. 1590, fays, that the habit of drinking to excess was introduced into England from the Low Countries“ by some of our fuch men of warre within these very few years : whereof it is come to paffe that now-a-dayes there are very fewe feastes where our faid men of warre are present, but that they do invite and procure all the companie, of what calling foever they be, to carowsing and quaffing; and, because they will not be denied their challenges, they, with many new conges, ceremonies, and reverences, drinke to the health and prosperitie of princes; to the health of counsellors, and unto the health of their greatest friends both at home and abroad: in which exercise they never cease till they be dead drunke, or, as the Flemings say, Door dronken.He adds, " And this aforefaid detestable vice hath within these fixe or seven yeares taken wonderful roate amongest our English Nation, that in times paft was wont to be of all other nations of Christendome one of the soberest,” REED.

6 — I was then frugal of my mirth :) By breaking this speech into exclamations, the text may ftand; but I once thought it must be read, If I was not then frugal of my mirth, &c. JOHNSON. 7

- for the putting down of men.] The word which seems to have been inadvertently omitted in the folio, was restored by Mr. Theobald from the quarto, where the corresponding speech runs thus: “ Well, I shall truft fat men the worse, while I live, for his fake. O God; that I knew how to be revenged of him!” -Dr. Johnfon, however, thinks that the insertion is unnecessary,


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venged I will be, as sure as his guts are made of puddings.

Enter Mistress FORD. Mrs. Ford. Mistress Page ! trust me, I was going to your house.

Mrs. Page. And, trust me, I was coming to you.

You look very ill.

as " Mrs. Page might naturally enough, in the first heat of her anger, rail at the sex for the fault of one.” But the authority of the original sketch in quarto, and Mrs. Page's frequent mention of the size of her lover in the play as it now stands, in my opinion fully warrant the correction that has been made. Our author well knew that bills are brought into parliament for fome purpose that at least appears practicable. Mrs. Page therefore in her paffion might exhibit a bill for the putting down or destroying men of a particular description ; but Shakspeare would never have made her threaten to introduce a bill to effect an impossibility; viz. the extermination of the whole species.

There is no error more frequent at the press than the omission of words. In a sheet of this work now before me, (Mr. Malone means in his own edition) there was an out, (as it is termed in the printing-house,) that is, a passage omitted, of no less than ten lines. In every sheet some words are at first omitted.

The expression, putting down, is a common phrase of our municipal law.' MALONE.

I believe this passage has hitherto been misunderstood, and therefore continue to read with the folio, which omits the epithet -fat.

The putting down of men, may only fignify the humiliation of them, the bringing them to shame. So, in Twelfth Night, Malvolio fays of the clown—" I saw him, the other day, put down by an ordinary fool;” i. e. confounded. Again, in Love's Labour's Loft“ How the ladies and I have put him down !" Again, in Much ado about Nothing—“ You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.

I cannot help thinking that the extermination of all men would be as practicable a design of parliament, as the putting down of those whose only offence was embonpoint.

I persist in this opinion, even though I have before me (in fupport of Mr. Malone's argument) the famous print from P. Brueghel, representing the Lean Cocks expelling the Fat one. STEVENS.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, I'll ne'er believe that; I have to show to the contrary. Mrs. Page. 'Faith, but you do, in my

mind. Mrs. Ford. Well, I do then; yet, I say, I could show you to the contrary: O, mistress Page, give me some counsel !

Mrs. Page. What's the matter, woman?

Mrs. Ford. O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I could come to such honour !

Mrs. Page. Hang the trifle, woman; take the honour: What is it? -dispense with trifles ;what is it?

Mrs. Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment, or so, I could be knighted.

Mrs. Page. What? —thou liest!' - Sir Alice Ford! These knights will hack; and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry. 8

8 What ? -thou lieft!-Sir Alice Ford !--Thefe knights will hack; and so thou should not alter the article of thy gentry.) I read thusThese knights we'll hack, and so thou shoulds not alter the article of thy gentry. The punishment of a recreant, or undeserving knight, was to back off his fpurs: the meaning therefore is; it is not worth the while of a gentlewoman to be made a knight, for we'll degrade all these knights in a little time, by the usual form of backing off their {purs, and thou, if thou art knighted, shalt be hacked with the rest.

JOHNSON. Sir T. Hanmer says, to hack, means to turn hackney, or prostitute. I suppose he means—These knights will degrade themselves, so that she will acquire no honour by being connected with them.

It is not, however, impossible that Shakspeare meant by-these knights will hack-these knights will soon become hackney'd characters.--So many knights were made about the time this play was amplified (for the pastage is neither in the copy 1602, nor 1619) that such a stroke of satire might not have been unjustly thrown in. In Hans Beer Pot's Invisible Comedy, 1618, is a long piece of ridicule on the same occurrence:

Twas strange to see what knighthood once would do:
“ Stir great men up to lead a martial life

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