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she's as big as he is: and there's her thrum'd hat, and her muffler too: Run up, sir John.


MRS. FORD. Go, go, sweet sir John: mistress Page, and I, will look some linen for your head.

MRS. PAGE. Quick, quick; we'll come dress you straight: put on the gown the while.


MRS. FORD. I would, my husband would meet him in this shape: he cannot abide the old woman of Brentford; he swears, she's a witch; forbade her my house, and hath threatened to beat her.

MRS. PAGE. Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel; and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards!

MRS. FORD. But is my husband coming?

MRS. PAGE. Ay, in good sadness, is he; and talks of the basket too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.

MRS. FORD. We'll try that; for I'll appoint my


her thrum'd hat, and her muffler too:] The thrum is the end of a weaver's warp, and, we may suppose, was used for the purpose of making coarse hats. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:

"O fates, come, come,
"Cut thread and thrum."

A muffler was some part of dress that covered the face. So, in The Cobler's Prophecy, 1594:

"Now is she bare fac'd to be seen:-strait on her Muffler goes."

Again, in Laneham's account of Queen Elizabeth's entertainment at Kenelworth castle, 1575: " his mother lent him a nu mufflar for a napkin, that was tyed to hiz gyrdl for lozyng." STEEVENS.

The muffler was a part of female attire, which only covered the lower half of the face. DOUCE.

A thrum'd hat was made of very coarse woollen cloth. See Minsheu's DICT. 1617, in v. Thrum'd is, formed of thrums.


men to carry the basket again, to meet him at the door with it, as they did last time.

MRS. PAGE. Nay, but he'll be here presently: let's go dress him like the witch of Brentford.

MRS. FORD. I'll first direct my men, what they shall do with the basket. Go up, I'll bring linen for him straight. [Exit. MRS. PAGE. Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot misuse him enough.'


We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do, Wives may be merry, and yet honest too: We do not act, that often jest and laugh; 'Tis old but true, Still swine eat all the draff.2 [Exit.

Re-enter Mrs. FORD, with two Servants. MRS. FORD. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders; your master is hard at door; if he bid set it down, obey him: quickly, despatch. [Exit.


1. SERV. Come, come, take it up.

2. SERV. Pray heaven, it be not full of the knight again.



misuse him enough.] Him, which was accidentally omitted in the first folio, was inserted by the editor of the second. MALONE.



Still swine &c.] This is a proverbial sentence. Ray's Collection. MALONE.


of the knight-] The only authentick copy, the first folio, reads-" full of knight." The editor of the second-of the knight; I think, unnecessarily. We have just had—“ hard at door." MALONE.

At door, is a frequent provincial ellipsis. Full of knight is a phrase without example; and the present speaker (one of Ford's drudges) was not meant for a dealer in grotesque language. I therefore read with the second folio. STEEVENS.

1. SERV. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead.


FORD. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again?-Set down the basket, villain :-Somebody call my wife: -You, youth in a basket, come out here!-O, you panderly rascals! there's a knot, a ging, a pack, a conspiracy against me: Now shall the devil be shamed. What! wife, I say! come, come forth; behold what honest clothes you send forth to bleaching.

PAGE. Why, this passes! Master Ford, you are not to go loose any longer; you must be pinioned.

You, youth in a basket, come out here!] This reading I have adopted from the early quarto. The folio has only—“ Youth in a basket!" MALONE.


a ging,] Old copy-gin. Ging was the word intended by the poet, and was anciently used for gang. So, in Ben Jonson's New Inn, 1631:

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"The secret is, I would not willingly
"See or be seen to any of this ging,
Especially the lady."


Again, in The Alchemist, 1610:


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Sure he has got

"Some baudy picture to call all this ging;
“The friar and the boy, or the new motion," &c.


The second folio [1632] (so severely censured by Mr. Malone, and yet so often quoted by him as the source of emendations,) reads-ging. Milton, in his Smectymnuus, employs the same word: "I am met with a whole ging of words and phrases not mine." See edit. 1753, Vol. I. p. 119, STEEVENS. this passes!] The force of the phrase I did not understand, when a former impression of Shakspeare was prepared; and therefore gave these two words as part of an imperfect sen


EVA. Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as a mad dog!

SHAL. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well; indeed.

Enter Mrs. FORD.

FORD. So say I too, sir.-Come hither, mistress Ford; mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband!-I suspect without cause, mistress, do I?

MRS. FORD. Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty.

FORD. Well said, brazen-face; hold it out.. Come forth,sirrah. [Pulls the clothes out of the basket. PAGE. This passes!

MRS. FORD. Are you not ashamed? let the clothes alone.

FORD. I shall find

you anon.

EVA. 'Tis unreasonable! Will you take up your wife's clothes? Come away.

FORD. Empty the basket, I say.

MRS. FORD. Why, man, why,

FORD. Master Page, as I am a man, there was onveyed out of my house yesterday in this

is to go

tence. One of the obsolete senses of the verb, to pass, beyond bounds.

So, in Sir Clyomon, &c. Knight of the Golden Shield, 1599: "I have such a deal of substance here when Brian's men are slaine,

"That it passeth. O that I had while to stay!" Again, in the translation of the Menæchmi, 1595: "This passeth! that I meet with none, but thus they vexe me with strange speeches." STEEVENS.

basket: Why may not he be there again? In my house I am sure he is: my intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable: Pluck me out all the linen.

MRS. FORD. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death.

PAGE. Here's no man.

SHAL. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford; this wrongs you."


EVA. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies.

FORD. Well, he's not here I seek for.

PAGE. No, nor no where else, but in your brain.

FORD. Help to search my house this one time: if I find not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity, let me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of me, As jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow walnut for his wife's leman. Satisfy me once more; once more search with me.


MRS. FORD. What hoa, mistress Page! come you, and the old woman, down; my husband will come into the chamber.

FORD. Old woman! What old woman's that? MRS. FORD. Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brentford.


this wrongs you.] This is below your character, unworthy of your understanding, injurious to your honour. So, in The Taming of the Shrew, Bianca, being ill treated by her rugged sister, says:

"You wrong me much, indeed you wrong yourself."


his wife's leman.] Leman, i. e. lover, is derived from leef, Dutch, beloved, and man. STEEVENS.

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