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old reading. Nym, who is about to quit his master, may be made to observe, with propriety, that the desertion of servants is dangerous to the interest of their masters. Revolt of mien, was there any authority for such a reading, would signify change of countenance, one of the effects he has just been ascribing to jealousy.
-no breed-bate:] Breed-bate means a stirrer of strife, or a tale-bearer, from bate, contention.
a Cain-colour'd beard.] Cane-colour'd in the latter editions. I have restored Cain from the old copies. Cain and Judas, in the tapestries and pictures of old, were represented with yellow beards. THEOBALD.
In an age when but a small part of the nation could read, ideas were frequently borrowed from representations in painting or tapestry.
34 We shall all be shent:] Shent is chid or scolded.
35 —de Jack priest;] Caius had called Sir Hugh before jack'nape priest in derision, and now it is Jack-priest.
36 These knights will hack;] To hack is an expression used below, in the ridiculous scene between Quickly, Evans, and the Boy (p. 80), and signifies to do mischief. The sense of this passage may therefore be, these knights are a riotous, dissolute sort of people, and on that account thou shouldst not wish to be of the number.
3? We burn day-light:] i. e. we have proof enough and yet we wish for more ; let us employ our time rather in contriving a due punishment for the offender..
38 — Green-sleeves.) A lewd song of that time. Mrs. Ford means that Falstaff's apparent decency of expression, and this impudent attack on her virtue, accorded no more together, than a sacred hymn would with the tune of an obscene ballad.
89 O, that my husband saw this letter !] O that, must be understood to mean O if or O should my husband see this letter!
40 there's the humour of it.] The following extracts from an old epigram, of about Shakspeare's time, will best account for Nym's frequent repetition of the word humour.
Aske Humors what a feather he doth weare,
STEEVENS. 41 Cataian,] China was anciently called Cataia or Cathay, by the first adventurers that travelled thither; some of whom told such incredible wonders of this new discovered empire, that a notorious liar was usually called a Cataian.
WARBURTON. The Chinese (anciently called Cataians) are said to be the most dextrous of all the nimble-fingered
tribe ; and for this reason Steevens thinks the name is applied to Pistol.
42 I would have nothing lie on my head :) As Johnson says elsewhere, hardly any thing pleases Shakspeare so much as a hint at the cuckold's horns.
4 with my long sword,] Not long before the introduction of rapiers, the swords in use were of an enormous length, and sometimes raised with both hands. Shallow, with an old man's vanity, censures the innovation by which lighter weapons were introduced, tells what he could once have done with his long sword, and ridicules the terms and rules of the rapier.
JOIINSON. 44 I will retort the sum in equipage.] This is added from the old quarto of 1619, and means, I will pay you again in stolen goods.
WARBURTON. 45 -coach-fellow,] Thus the old copies. Coachfellow has an obvious meaning, but the modern editors read couch-fellow. The following passage from Ben Jonson's Cynthia's Revels, may justify the reading I have chosen.-“ 'Tis the swaggering coach-horse Anaides, that draws with him there.” STEEVENS.
46 - the handle of her fan,] It should be remembered that fans, in our author's time, were more costly than they are at present, as well as of a different construction. They consisted of ostrich feathers, or others of equal length and flexibility, which were stuck into handles, the richer sort of which were composed of gold, silver, or ivory of curious workmanship. One of these is mentioned in The Fleire,
Com. 1610. .“ She hath a fan with a short silver handle, about the length of a barber's syringe."
STEEVENS. 47 A short knife and a throng ;] Part of the employment given by Drayton, in The Mooncalf, to the Baboon, seems the same with this recommended by Falstaff :
“ He like a gypsy oftentimes would go, “ All kinds of gibberish he had learn'd to know; “ And with a stick, a short string, and a nouse, “Would shew the people tricks at fast and loose.”
LANGTON. Greene, in his Life of Ned Browne, 1592, says, “ I had no other fence but my short knife, and a paire of purse-strings."
43 Pickt-hatch,] A noted place for thieves and pickpockets.
TJIEOBALD. 49 your red-lattice phrases,] Your ale-house conversation.
JOHNSON. Red lattice at the doors and windows, were formerly the external denotements of an ale-house. Hence the present chequers.
50 — frampold] Ray, among his South and East Country words, says that frampald or frampard signifies fretful, peevish, cross, froward.
51 --have a nay-word,] Nay-word means bye-word, or watch-word.
52 -fights;] Fights are clothes hung round the ship to conceal the men from the enemy.
53 via !] This cant phrase of exultation is common
in the old plays. So in Blurt Master Constable : “ Via for fate! Fortune, lo! this is all."
STE EVENS. 54 not to charge you ;] That is, not with a purpose of putting you to expence, or being burthensome.
JOHNSON 36 - of great admittance,] must mean permitted to enter (or admitted) into good company.
56 to lay an amiable siege-] to make an attack of gallantry.
57 I will aggravate his stile;] Stile is a phrase from the herald's office. Falstaff means, that he will add more titles to those he already enjoys.
58 --Barbason, well;] See Scott's Inventorie of the Names, Shapes, Powers, Government, and Effects of Devils and Spirits, of their several Segnories and Degrees ; a strange Discourse woorth the readinge.
—to see thee foin,] Spenser is frequent in the use of this word. It means to thrust or lounge.
-bully Stale?] the sense of stale is known to every stable boy. Urinal afterwards has the same allusion.
al Cry'd game,] We yet say, in colloquial language, that such a one is game, or game to the back. Cry'd game might mean in those days, a profess'd buck, one who was as well known by the report of his gallantry, as he could have been by proclamation.
62 To shallow rivers, to whose falls) This is part of a beautiful little poem of the author's.