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PAGE. It could not be judg'd, fir.
SLEN. You'll not confefs, you'll not confefs. SHAL. That he will not ;-'tis your fault, 'tis your fault-Tis a good dog.
gentry for fixty miles round, till the grand rebellion abolished every liberal eftablishment. I have feen a very scarce book, entitled, “Annalia Dubrenfia. Upon the yearly celebration of Mr. Robert Dover's Olympick games upon Cotswold hills," &c. London, 1636, 4to. There are recommendatory verfes prefixed, written by Drayton, Jonfon, Randolph, and many others, the moft eminent wits of the times. The games, as appears from a curious frontispiece, were, chiefly, wrestling, leaping, pitching the bar, handling the pike, dancing of women, various kinds of hunting, and particularly courfing the hare with greyhounds. Hence alfo we fee the meaning of another paffage, where Falstaff, or Shallow, calls a ftout fellow a Cotswold-man. But, from what is here faid, an inference of another kind may be drawn, respecting the age of the play. A meager and imperfect sketch of this comedy was printed in 1602. Afterwards Shakspeare new-wrote it entirely. This allufion therefore to the Cotswold games, not founded till the reign of James the First, afcertains a period of time beyond which our author must have made the additions to his original rough draft, or, in other words, composed the prefent comedy. James the First came to the crown in the year 1603. And we will suppose that two or three more years at least must have paffed before these games could have been effectually established. I would therefore, at the earliest, date this play about the year 1607. T. WARTON.
The Annalia Dubrenfia confifts entirely of recommendatory verfes. DOUCE.
The Cotswold hills in Gloucestershire are a large tract of downs, famous for their fine turf, and therefore excellent for courfing. I believe there is no village of that name. BLACKSTONE.
'tis your fault, 'tis your fault] Of these words,
which are addreffed to Page, the fenfe is not very clear. Perhaps Shallow means to fay, that it is a known failing of Page's not to confefs that his dog has been out-run. Or, the meaning may be, 'tis your misfortune that he was out-run on Cotswold; he is, however, a good dog. So perhaps the word is used afterwards by Ford, fpeaking of his jealoufy:
""Tis my fault, mafter Page; I fuffer for it." MALONE. VOL. V. C
PAGE. A cur, fir.
SHAL. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog; Can there be more faid? he is good, and fair.-Is fir John Falftaff here?
PAGE. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a good office between you.
EVA. It is fpoke as a chriftians ought to speak.
PAGE. Sir, he doth in fome fort confefs it.
SHAL. If it be confefs'd, it is not redrefs'd; is not that fo, mafter Page? He hath wrong'd me; indeed, he hath ;-at a word, he hath ;-believe me;-Robert Shallow, Efquire, faith, he is wrong'd. PAGE. Here comes fir John.
Enter Sir JOHN FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYм, and PISTOL.
FAL. Now, mafter Shallow; you'll complain of me to the king?
SHAL. Knight you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and broke open my lodge.9
FAL. But not kifs'd your keeper's daughter?
FAL. I will anfwer it ftraight;-I have done all this:-That is now anfwer'd.
SHAL. The Council fhall know this.
Perhaps Shallow addreffes these words to Slender, and means to tell him, "it was his fault to undervalue a dog whose inferiority in the chase was not ascertained." STEEVENS..
and broke open my lodge.] This probably alludes to fome real incident, at that time well known. JOHNSON. So probably Falstaff's anfwer. FARMER.
FAL. "Twere better for you, if it were known in counfel: you'll be laugh'd at.
EVA. Pauca verba, fir John, good worts.
1 'Twere better for you, if it were known in counfel:] The old copies read-Twere better for you, if 'twere known in council. Perhaps it is an abrupt fpeech, and must be read thus: Twere better for you-if 'twere known in council, you'll be laugh'd at. 'Twere better for you, is, I believe, a menace. JOHNSON.
Some of the modern editors arbitrarily read-if 'twere not known in council:-but I believe Falstaff quibbles between council and counfel. The latter fignifies fecrecy. So, in Hamlet: "The players cannot keep counjel, they'll tell all."
Falstaff's meaning feems to be--'twere better for you if it were known only in fecrecy, i. e. among your friends. A more publick complaint would fubject you to ridicule.
Thus, in Chaucer's Prologue to the Squires Tale, v. 10,305, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit:
"But wete ye what? in confeil be it feyde,
Again, in the ancient MS. Romance of the Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 39:
"And faide, fir, for alle loves
"I wole thee gife both goolde and gloves,
Again, in Gammer Gurton's Needle, last edit. p. 29:
"But firft for you in council, I have a word or twaine.” STEEVENS.
Mr. Ritfon fuppofes the prefent reading to be juft, and quite in Falstaff's infolent fneering manner. "It would be much better, indeed, to have it known in the council, where you would only be laughed at." REED.
The spelling of the old quarto, (counfel,) as well as the general purport of the paffage, fully confirms Mr. Steevens's interpretatation." Shal. Well, the Council fhall know it. Fal. "Twere better for you 'twere known in counfell. You'll be laugh't at."
In an office-book of Sir Heneage Finch, Treafurer of the Chambers to Queen Elizabeth, (a MS. in the British Museum,) I obferve that whenever the Privy Council is mentioned, the word is always fpelt Counsel; fo that the equivoque was lefs ftrained then than it appears now.
FAL. Good worts! good cabbage. Slender, I broke your head; What matter have you against
SLEN. Marry, fir, I have matter in my head against you; and againft your coney-catching_rafcals,3 Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. They carried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and afterwards picked my pocket.+
BARD. You Banbury cheese !5
"Mum is Counfell, viz. filence," is among Howel's Proverbial Sentences. See his DICT. folio, 1660. MALONE.
2 Good worts! good cabbage.] Worts was the ancient name of all the cabbage kind. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Valentinian :
Planting of worts and onions, any thing."
Again, in Tho. Lupton's Seventh Booke of Notable Thinges, 4to. bl. l."6 then anoint the burned place therwith, and lay a woort leafe upon it," &c. STEEVENS.
3 - coney-catching rafcals,] A coney-catcher was, in the time of Elizabeth, a common name for a cheat or sharper. Green, one of the first among us who made a trade of writing pamphlets, published A Detection of the Frauds and Tricks of Coney-catchers and Couzeners. JOHNSON.
So, in Decker's Satiromaftix:
"Thou shalt not coney-catch me for five pounds."
They carried me, &c.] Thefe words, which are neceffary to introduce what Falstaff fays afterwards, ["Piftol, did you pick master Slender's purfe?" I have reftored from the early quarto. Of this circumftance, as the play is exhibited in the folio, Sir John could have no knowledge. MALone.
We might fuppofe that Falstaff was already acquainted with this robbery, and had received his fhare of it, as in the cafe of the handle of mistress Bridget's fan, A& II. fc. ii. His question, therefore, may be faid to arife at once from confcious guilt and pretended ignorance. I have, however, adopted Mr. Malone's reftoration. STEEVENS.
5 You Banbury cheefe !] This is faid in allufion to the thin carcafe of Slender. The fame thought occurs in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601: "Put off your cloathes, and you are
SLEN. Ay, it is no matter,
NÝм. Slice, I fay! pauca, pauca ;' flice! that's my humour."
like a Banbury cheese,-nothing but paring." So Heywood, in his collection of epigrams:
"I never faw Banbury cheese thick enough,
How now, Mephoftophilus?] This is the name of a spirit or familiar, in the old ftory book of Sir John Fauftus, or John Fauft to whom our author afterwards alludes, A&t II. fc. ii. That it was a cant phrase of abuse, appears from the old comedy cited above, called A pleafant Comedy of the Gentle Craft, Signat. H 3. "Away you Iflington whitepot; hence you hopper-arfe, you barley-pudding full of maggots, you broiled carbonado: avaunt, avaunt, Mephoftophilus." In the same vein, Bardolph here also calls Slender, "You Banbury cheese." T. WARTON. Pistol means to calls Slender a very ugly fellow. So, in Nofce te, (Humors) by Richard Turner, 1607:
"O face, no face hath our Theophilus,
"I know 'twould ferve, and yet I am no wizard, "To play the Devil i'the yault without a vizard.” Again, in The Mufes Looking Glass, 1638: "We want not you to play Mephoftophilus. A pretty natural vizard!"
Slice, I fay! pauca, pauca;] Dr. Farmer (fee a former note, p. 10, n. 8,) would transfer the Latin words to Evans. But the old copy, I think, is right. Pistol, in K. Henry V. uses the fame language:
I will hold the quondam Quickly
In the fame scene Nym twice uses the word folus. MALONE,
that's my humour.] So, in an ancient MS. play, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy:
"I love not to difquiet ghofts, fir,
"Of any people living; that's my humour, fir.” See a following note, A&t II. fc. i. STEEVENS.