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EVA. It is marring, indeed, if he quarter it.
EVA. Yes, py'r-lady; if he has a quarter of your coat, there is but three skirts for yourself, in my fimple conjectures: but this is all one: If fir John Falitaff have committed difparagements unto you, I am of the church, and will be glad to do my be
lifhed among his neighbours. It may be remarked likewife, that the jingle on which it turns, occurs in the first scene of The Merry Wives of Windfor."
I may add, that the veracity of the late Mr. Oldys has never yet been impeached; and it is not very probable that a ballad fhould be forged, from which an undiscovered wag could derive no triumph over antiquarian credulity. STEEVENS.
The luce is the fresh fish; the falt fish is an old coat.] Our author here alludes to the arms of Sir Thomas Lucy, who is faid to have profecuted him in the younger part of his life for a mifdemefnor, and who is fuppofed to be pointed at under the character of Justice Shallow. The text, however, by fome careleffness of the printer or tranfcriber, has been fo corrupted, that the paffage, as it stands at prefent, seems inexplicable. Dr. Farmer's regulation appears to me highly probable; and in further fupport of it, it may be obferved, that fome other speeches, befide thofe he has mentioned, are mifplaced in a fubfequent part of this scene, as exhibited in the first folio. MALONE.
Perhaps we have not yet conceived the humour of Master Shallow Slender has obferved, that the family might give a dozen white Luces in their coat; to which the Juftice adds, "It is an old one.' This produces the Parfon's blunder, and Shallow's correction. "The Luce is not the Loufe but the Pike, the fresh fish of that name. Indeed our Coat is old, as I faid, and the fish cannot be fresh; and therefore we bear the white, i. e. the pickled or falt fifh."
In the Northumberland Household Book, we meet with "nine barrels of white herringe for a hole yere, 4. 10. 0:" and Mr. Pennant in the additions to his London fays, "By the very high price of the Pike, it is probable that this fish had not yet been introduced into our ponds, but was imported as a luxury, pickled."
It will be ftill clearer if we read-" tho' falt fish in an old coat." FARmer,
nevolence, to make atonements and compromises between you.
SHAL. The Council fhall hear it; it is a riot."
EVA. It is not meet the Council hear a riot; there is no fear of Got in a riot: the Council, look you, fhall defire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your vizaments in that.'
SHAL. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the fword fhould end it.
EVA. It is petter that friends is the fword, and end it: and there is also another device in my prain, which, peradventure, prings goot difcretions with it: There is Anne Page, which is daughter to mafter George Page, which is pretty virginity.
• The Council shall hear it; it is a riot.] By the Council is only meant the court of Star-chamber, compofed chiefly of the king's council fitting in Camera ftellata, which took cognizance of atrocious riots. In the old quarto, "the council fhall know it," follows immediately after "I'll make a Star-chamber matter of it." BLACKSTONE.
So, in Sir John Harrington's Epigrams, 1618:
"No marvel, men of fuch a fumptuous dyet
See Stat. 13. Henry IV. c. 7. GREY.
your vizaments in that.] Advisement is now an obfolete word. I meet with it in the ancient morality of Every Man : "That I may amend me with good advyfement."
"I fhall fmite without any advyfement."
"To do with good advyfement and delyberacyon."
It is often used by Spenfer in his Faery Queen. So, B.II. c.9: "Perhaps my fuccour and advizement meete." STEEVENS,
which is daughter to mafter George Page.] The old copy reads-Thomas Page. STEEVENS.
The whole fet of editions have negligently blundered one after another in Page's Chriftian name in this place; though Mrs. Page calls him George afterwards in at least fix feveral paffages.
SLEN. Miftrefs Anne Page? She has brown hair, and speaks small like a woman.3
EVA. It is that fery verfon for all the 'orld, as juft as you will defire; and feven hundred pounds of monies, and gold, and filver, is her grandfire, upon his death's-bed, (Got deliver to a joyful refurrections!) give, when fhe is able to overtake
3 -Speaks fmall like a woman.] This is from the folio of 1623, and is the true reading. He admires her for the sweetness of her voice. But the expreffion is highly humorous, as making her fpeaking fmall like a woman one of her marks of distinction; and the ambiguity of small, which fignifies little as well as low, makes the expreffion ftill more pleasant. WARBURTON.
Thus, Lear, fpeaking of Cordelia:
Her voice was ever foft,
"Gentle and low-an excellent thing in woman."
Dr. Warburton has found more pleasantry here than I believe was intended. Small was, I think, not used, as he supposes, in an ambiguous fenfe, for "little, as well as low," but fimply for weak, fender, feminine; and the only pleafantry of the paffage feems to be, that poor Slender fhould characterife his mistress by a general quality belonging to her whole sex. In A Midfummer Night's Dream, Quince tells Flute, who objects to playing a woman's part, "You fhall play it in a mask, and you may speak as fmall as you will." MALONE.
Afmall voice is a foft and melodious voice. Chaucer uses the word in that sense, in The Flower and the Leaf, Speght's edit. p. 611:
"The company answered all,
"With voicè fweet entuned, and fo fmall,
Again, in Fairfax's Godfrey of Bulloigne, 1. 15, ft. 62:
"And with fweet lookes, her fweet fongs enterlaced." When female characters were filled by boys, to speak Small like a woman must have been a valuable qualification. So, in Marfton's What you will: I was folicited to graunt him leave to play the lady in comedies prefented by children; but I knew his voice was too small, and his ftature too low. Sing a treble, Holofernes ;-a very small sweet voice I'le affure you.' HOLT WHITE.
feventeen years old: it were a goot motion, if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and defire a marriage between mafter Abraham, and mistress Anne Page.
SHAL. Did her grandfire leave her feven hundred pound ?4
EVA. Ay, and her father is make her a petter
SHAL. I know the young gentlewoman; fhe has good gifts.
EVA. Seven hundred pounds, and poffibilities, is good gifts.
SHAL. Well, let us fee honeft mafter Page: Is Falstaff there?
EVA. Shall I tell you a lie? I do defpife a liar, as I do despise one that is false; or, as I defpife one
Shal. Did her grandfire leave her seven hundred pound?— I know the young gentlewoman; &c.] Thefe two speeches are by mistake given to Slender in the first folio, the only authentick copy of this play. From the foregoing words it appears that Shallow is the perfon here addreffed; and on a marriage being proposed for his kinfman, he very naturally enquires concerning the lady's fortune. Slender thould seem not to know what they are talking about; (except that he just hears the name of Anne Page, and breaks out into a foolish elogium on her;) for afterwards Shallow fays to him,-" Coz, there is, as it were, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by Sir Hugh here; do you understand me?" to which Slender replies-" if it be fo," &c. The tender, therefore, we see, had been made to Shallow, and not to Slender, the former of which names fhould be prefixed to the two speeches before us.
In this play, as exhibited in the first folio, many of the speeches are given to characters to whom they do not belong. Printers, to fave trouble, keep the names of the speakers in each fcene ready compofed, and are very liable to mistakes, when two names begin (as in the prefent inftance) with the fame letter, and are nearly of the fame length.-The prefent regulation was fuggefted by Mr. Capell. MALONE.
that is not true. The knight, fir John, is there; and, I beseech you, be ruled by your well-willers. I will peat the door [knocks] for mafter Page. What, hoa! Got pless your house here!
PAGE. Who's there?
EVA. Here is Got's pleffing, and your friend, and juftice Shallow: and here young mafter Slender; that, peradventures, shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.
PAGE. I am glad to fee your worships well: I thank you for my venison, master Shallow.
SHAL. Mafter Page, I am glad to fee you; Much good do it your good heart! I wifhed your venifon better; it was ill kill'd:-How doth good mistress Page?-and I love you 5 always with my heart, la; with my heart.
PAGE. Sir, I thank you.
SHAL. Sir, I thank you; by yea and no, I do. PAGE. I am glad to see you, good master Slender. SLEN. How does your fallow greyhound, fir? I heard fay, he was out-run on Cotfale."
S I love you-] Thus the 4to. 1619. The folio" I thank you-." Dr. Farmer prefers the firft of these readings, which I have therefore placed in the text.
How does your fallow greyhound, fir? I heard fay, he was out-run on Cotfale.] He means Cotswold, in Gloucestershire. In the beginning of the reign of James the First, by permiffion of the king, one Dover, a public-fpirited attorney of Barton on the Heath, in Warwickshire, inftituted on the hills of Cotswold an annual celebration of games, confifting of rural sports and exercises. These he conftantly conducted in perfon, well mounted, and accoutred in a suit of his majesty's old clothes; and they were frequented above forty years by the nobility and