H́nh ảnh trang

PAGE. The humour of it, quoth 'a! here's a fellow frights humour out of his wits.

FORD. I will seek out Falstaff.

PAGE. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.

FORD. If I do find it, well.

PAGE. I will not believe such a Cataian, though

The humour of it,] The following epigram, taken from Humor's Ordinarie, where a Man may bee verie merrie and exceeding well used for his Sixpence, quarto, 1607, will best account for Nym's frequent repetition of the word humour. Epig. 27:

[ocr errors]

"Aske HUMORS what a feather he doth weare,
"It is his humour (by the Lord) he'll sweare;
"Or what he doth with such a horse-taile locke,
"Or why upon a whore he spendes his stocke,-
"He hath a humour doth determine so:
"Why in the stop-throte fashion he doth goe,
"With scarfe about his necke, hat without band,-
"It is his humour. Sweet sir, understand,
"What cause his purse is so extreame distrest
"That oftentimes is scarcely penny-blest;
"Only a humour. If you question, why
"His tongue is ne'er unfurnish'd with a lye,—
"It is his humour too he doth protest:
"Or why with sergeants he is so opprest,
"That like to ghosts they haunt him ev'rie day;
"A rascal humour doth not love to pay.

"Object why bootes and spurres are still in season,
"His humour answers, humour is his reason.
"If you perceive his wits in wetting shrunke,
"It cometh of a humour to be drunke.

"When you behold his lookes pale, thin, and poore,
"The occasion is, his humour and a whoore:
"And every thing that he doth undertake,

"It is a veine, for senceless humour's sake.'


I will not believe such a Cataian,] All the mystery of the term Cataian, for a liar, is only this. China was anciently called Cataia or Cathay, by the first adventurers that travelled thither; such as M. Paulo, and our Mandeville, who told such incredible wonders of this new discovered empire, (in which they have not been outdone even by the Jesuits themselves, who

the priest o' the town commended him for a true



FORD. 'Twas a good sensible fellow: Well.

followed them,) that a notorious liar was usually called a Cataian. WARBURTON.

"This fellow has such an odd appearance, is so unlike a man civilized, and taught the duties of life, that I cannot credit To be a foreigner was always in England, and I suppose every where else, a reason of dislike. So, Pistol calls Sir Hugh, in the first act, a mountain foreigner; that is, a fellow unedu cated, and of gross behaviour; and again in his anger calls Bardolph, Hungarian wight. JOHNSON.

I believe that neither of the commentators is in the right, but am far from professing, with any great degree of confidence, that I am happier in my own explanation. It is remarkable, that in Shakspeare, this expression-a true man, is always put in opposition (as it is in this instance) to-a thief. So, in Henry IV. P. I:


now the thieves have bound the true men." The Chinese (anciently called Cataians) are said to be the most dextrous of all the nimble-fingered tríbe; and to this hour they deserve the same character. Pistol was known at Windsor to have had a hand in picking Slender's pocket, and therefore might be called Cataian with propriety, if my explanation be


That by a Cataian some kind of sharper was meant, I infer from the following passage in Love and Honour, a play by Sir William D'Avenant, 1649:

“Hang him, bold Cataian, he indites finely,

"And will live as well by sending short epistles,
"Or by the sad whisper at your gamester's ear,
"When the great By is drawn,

"As any distrest gallant of them all.”

Cathaia is mentioned in The Tamer Tamed, of Beaumont and Fletcher:

"I'll wish you in the Indies, or Cathaia."

The tricks of the Cataians are hinted at in one of the old black letter histories of that country; and again in a dramatick performance, called The Pedler's Prophecy, 1595:


in the east part of Inde,

"Through seas and floods, they work all thievish."


'Twas a good sensible fellow :] This, and the two preceding speeches of Ford, are spoken to himself, and have no

PAGE. How now, Meg?

MRS. PAGE. Whither go you, George?-Hark you.

MRS. FORD. How now, sweet Frank? why art thou melancholy?

FORD. I melancholy! I am not melancholy,Get you home, go.

MRS. FORD. 'Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now.-Will you go, mistress Page?

MRS. PAGE. Have with you.-You'll come to dinner, George?-Look, who comes yonder: she shall be our messenger to this paltry knight. [Aside to Mrs. FORD.

Enter Mistress QUICKLY.

MRS. FORD. Trust me, I thought on her she'll fit it.

MRS. PAGE. You are come to see my daughter Anne?

QUICK. Ay, forsooth; And, I pray, how does good mistress Anne?

MRS. PAGE. Go in with us, and see; we have an hour's talk with you.

[Exeunt Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. Ford, and Mrs. QUICKLY.

PAGE. How now, master Ford?

FORD. You heard what this knave told me; did you not?

[ocr errors]

PAGE. Yes; And you heard what the other told me?

connection with the sentiments of Page, who is likewise making his comment on what had passed, without attention to Ford.


FORD. Do you think there is truth in them?

PAGE. Hang 'em, slaves; I do not think the knight would offer it: but these that accuse him in his intent towards our wives, are a yoke of his discarded men; very rogues, now they be out of service."

FORD. Were they his men?

PAGE. Marry, were they.

FORD. I like it never the better for that.-Does he lie at the Garter?

PAGE. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head.

FORD. I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loath to turn them together: A man may be too confident: I would have nothing lie on my head: I cannot be thus satisfied.

PAGE. Look, where my ranting host of the Garter comes: there is either liquor in his pate, or money in his purse, when he looks so merrily.How now, mine host?

Enter Host, and SHALLOW.

HOST. How now, bully-rook? thou'rt a gentleman: cavalero-justice, I say.


very rogues, now they be out of service.] A rogue is a wanderer or vagabond, and, in its consequential signification, a cheat. JOHNSON.


-I would have nothing lie on my head:] Here seems to be an allusion to Shakspeare's favourite topick, the cuckold's horns.

[ocr errors]



This cant term occurs in The

Stately Moral of Three Ladies of London, 1590:

"Then know, Castilian cavaleros, this."

SHAL. I follow, mine host, I follow.-Good even, and twenty, good master Page! Master Page, will you go with us? we have sport in hand.

HOST. Tell him, cavalero-justice; tell him, bully-rook.

SHAL. Sir, there is a fray to be fought, between sir Hugh the Welch priest, and Caius the French doctor.

FORD. Good mine host o' the Garter, a word with you.

HOST. What say'st thou, bully-rook?

[They go aside. SHAL. Will you [to PAGE] go with us to behold it? My merry host hath had the measuring of their weapons; and, I think, he hath appointed them contrary places: for, believe me, I hear, the parson is no jester. Hark, I will tell you what our sport shall be.

HOST. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guest-cavalier?

FORD. None, I protest: but I'll give you a pottle of burnt sack to give me recourse to him, and tell him, my name is Brook; only for a jest.

HOST. My hand, bully: thou shalt have egress and regress; said I well? and thy name shall be

There is also a book printed in 1599, called, A Countercuffe given to Martin Junior; by the venturous, hardie, and renowned Pasquil of Englande, CAVALIERO. STEEVens,



and tell him, my name is Brook ;] Thus both the old quartos; and thus most certainly the poet_wrote. need no better evidence than the pun that Falstaff anon makes on the name, when Brook sends him some burnt sack: Such Brooks are welcome to me, that overflow such liquor. players, in their edition, altered the name to Broom.



« TrướcTiếp tục »