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pointment. Come to me at your convenient leisure, and you shall know how I speed; and the conclusion shall be crowned with your enjoying her: Adieu. You shall have her, master Brook; master Brook, you shall cuckold Ford. [Exit.
FORD. Hum! ha! is this a vision? is this a dream? do I sleep? Master Ford, awake; awake, master Ford; there's a hole made in your best coat, master Ford. This 'tis to be married! this 'tis to have linen, and buck-baskets!-Well, I will proclaim myself what I am: I will now take the lecher; he is at my house: he cannot 'scape me; 'tis impossible he should; he cannot creep into a halfpenny purse, nor into a pepper-box: but, lest the devil that guides him should aid him, I will search impossible places. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not, shall not make me tame: if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go with me, I'll be horn mad.2 [Exit.
I'll be horn mad.] There is no image which our author appears so fond of, as that of cuckold's horns. Scarcely a light character is introduced that does not endeavour to produce merriment by some allusion to horned husbands. As he wrote his plays for the stage rather than the press, he perhaps reviewed them seldom, and did not observe this repetition; or finding the jest, however frequent, still successful, did not think correction necessary. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Enter Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. QUICKLY, and WILLIAM.
MRS. PAGE. Is he at master Ford's already, think'st thou ?
QUICK. Sure, he is by this; or will be presently: but truly, he is very courageous mad, about his throwing into the water. Mistress Ford desires
you to come suddenly.
MRS. PAGE. I'll be with her by and by; I'll but bring my young man here to school: Look, where his master comes; 'tis a playing-day, I see.
Enter Sir HUGH EVANS.
How now, sir Hugh? no school to-day?
EVA. No; master Slender is let the boys leave to play.
QUICK. Blessing of his heart!
MRS. PAGE. Sir Hugh, my husband says, my
This is a very trifling scene, of no use to the plot, and I should think of no great delight to the audience; but Shakspeare best knew what would please. JOHNSON.
We may suppose this scene to have been a very entertaining one to the audience for which it was written. Many of the old plays exhibit pedants instructing their scholars. Marston has a very long one in his What you will, between a schoolmaster, and Holofernes, Nathaniel, &c. his pupils. The title of this play was perhaps borrowed by Shakspeare, to join to that of Twelfth Night. What you will appeared in 1607. Twelfth Night was first printed in 1623. STEEVENS.
son profits nothing in the world at his book; I pray you, ask him some questions in his accidence. EVA. Come hither, William; hold up your head; come.
MRS. PAGE. Come on, sirrah; hold up your head; answer your master, be not afraid.
EVA. William, how many numbers is in nouns? WILL. TWO.
QUICK. Truly, I thought there had been one number more; because they say, od's nouns. EVA. Peace your tattlings. What is fair,
QUICK. Poulcats! there are fairer things than poulcats, sure.
EVA. You are a very simplicity 'oman; I pray you, peace. What is lapis, William ?
WILL. A stone.
EVA. And what is a stone, William ?
WILL. A pebble.
EVA. No, it is lapis; I pray you remember in your prain.
EVA. That is good William. What is he, Wil liam, that does lend articles?
WILL. Articles are borrowed of the pronoun; and be thus declined, Singulariter, nominativo, hic, hæc, hoc.
Eva. Nominativo, hig, hag, hog;-pray you, mark: genitivo, hujus: Well, what is your accusa
WILL. Accusativo, hinc.
EVA. I pray you, have your remembrance, child; Accusativo, hing, hang, hog.
QUICK. Hang hog is Latin for bacon, I warrant
EVA. Leave your prabbles, 'oman. What is the focative case, William ?
WILL. O-vocativo, O.
EVA. Remember, William; focative is, caret. QUICK. And that's a good root.
EVA. 'Oman, forbear.
MRS. PAGE. Peace.
EVA. What is your genitive case plural, William? WILL. Genitive case?
WILL. Genitive,―horum, harum, horum.*
QUICK. 'Vengeance of Jenny's case! fie on her! -never name her, child, if she be a whore.
EVA. For shame, 'oman.
QUICK. You do ill to teach the child such words: he teaches him to hick and to hack," which they'll do fast enough of themselves; and to call horum : -fie upon you!
EVA. 'Oman, art thou lunatics? hast thou no understandings for thy cases, and the numbers of
• horum, harum, horum.] Taylor, the water-poet, has borrowed this jest, such as it is, in his character of a strumpet: "And comes to horum, harum, whorum, then
"She proves a great proficient among men." STEEVEns.
to hick and to hack,] Sir William Blackstone thought, that this, in Dame Quickly's language, signifies "to stammer or hesitate, as boys do in saying their lessons;" but Mr. Steevens, with more probability, supposes that it signifies, in her dialect, to do mischief. MALONE
the genders? Thou art as foolish christian creatures as I would desires.
MRS. PAGE. Pr'ythee hold thy peace.
EVA. Shew me now, William, some declensions your pronouns.
WILL. Forsooth, I have forgot.
EVA. It is ki, kæ, cod; if you forget your kies, your kes, and your cods, you must be preeches." Go your ways, and play, go.
MRS. PAGE. He is a better scholar, than I thought he was.
EVA. He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, mistress Page.
MRS. PAGE. Adieu, good sir Hugh. [Exit Sir. HUGH.] Get you home, boy.-Come, we stay too long. [Exeunt.
your kies, your kæs, &c.] All this ribaldry is likewise found in Taylor the water-poet. See fol. edit. p. 106.
-you must be preeches.] Sir Hugh means to say-you must be breeched, i. e. flogged. To breech is to flog. So, in The Taming of the Shrew:
"I am no breeching scholar in the schools."
Again, in The Humorous Lieutenant, by Beaumont and Fletcher: Cry like a breech'd boy, not eat a bit." STEEVens. sprag] I am told that this word is still used by the common people in the neighbourhood of Bath, where it signifies ready, alert, sprightly, and is pronounced as if it was writtensprack. STEEVENS.
A spackt lad or wench, says Ray, is apt to learn, ingenious.