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FAL. Good worts! good cabbage.2-Slender, I broke your head; What matter have you against me?

SLEN. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your coney-catching rascals,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 Counsell, viz. silence," is among Howel's Proverbial Sentences. See his DICT. folio, 1660. MALONE.

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.


coney-catching rascals,] 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 Satiromastix:

"Thou shalt not coney-catch me for five pounds."


They carried me, &c.] These words, which are necessary to introduce what Falstaff says afterwards, ["Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse?"] I have restored from the early quarto. Of this circumstance, as the play is exhibited in the folio, Sir John could have no knowledge. MALONE.

We might suppose that Falstaff was already acquainted with this robbery, and had received his share of it, as in the case of the handle of mistress Bridget's fan, Act II. sc. ii. His question, therefore, may be said to arise at once from conscious guilt and pretended ignorance. I have, however, adopted Mr. Malone's restoration. STEEVENS.

5 You Banbury cheese !] This is said in allusion to the thin carcase of Slender. The same thought occurs in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601: "Put off your cloathes, and you are

SLEN. Ay, it is no matter.

PIST. How now, Mephostophilus? 6

SLEN. Ay, it is no matter.

NÝм. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca ; " slice! that's my humour.8

like a Banbury cheese,-nothing but paring." So Heywood, in his collection of epigrams:

"I never saw Banbury cheese thick enough,
"But I have oft seen Essex cheese quick enough."



"How now, Mephostophilus?] This is the name of a spirit or familiar, in the old story book of Sir John Faustus, or John Faust to whom our author afterwards alludes, Act II. sc. ii. That it was a cant phrase of abuse, appears from the old comedy cited above, called A pleasant Comedy of the Gentle Craft, Signat. H 3. "Away you Islington whitepot; hence you hopper-arse, you barley-pudding full of maggots, you broiled carbonado: avaunt, avaunt, Mephostophilus.' In the same vein, Bardolph here also calls Slender, "You Banbury cheese."



Pistol means to call Slender a very ugly fellow. So, in Nosce te, (Humors) by Richard Turner, 1607:

"O face, no face hath our Theophilus,
"But the right forme of Mephostophilus.

"I know 'twould serve, and yet I am no wizard,

"To play the Devil i'the vault without a vizard." Again, in The Muses Looking Glass, 1638: "We want not you to play Mephostophilus. A pretty natural vizard!”

STEEVENS. Dr. Farmer (see a former the Latin words to Evans. Pistol, in K. Henry V. uses

7 Slice, I say! pauca, pauca ;] note, p. 10, n. 8,) would transfer But the old copy, I think, is right. the same language:


I will hold the quondam Quickly "For the only she; and pauca, there's enough." In the same scene Nym twice uses the word solus. MALONE. - that's humour.] So, in an ancient MS. play, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy:



I love not to disquiet ghosts, sir,

"Of any people living; that's my humour, sir." See a following note, Act II. sc. i. STEEVENS.

SLEN. Where's Simple, my man?-can you tell, cousin?

EVA. Peace: I pray you! Now let us understand: There is three umpires in this matter, as I understand that is-master Page, fidelicet, master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet, myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.

PAGE. We three, to hear it, and end it between them.

EVA. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-book; and we will afterwards 'ork upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can.

FAL. Pistol,

PIST. He hears with ears.

EVA. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, He hears with ear? Why, it is affectations.

FAL. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse? SLEN. Ay, by these gloves, did he, (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else,) of seven groats in mill-sixpences,' and two Edward shovel-boards," that cost me two shil

9 what phrase is this, &c.] Sir Hugh is justified in his censure of this passage by Peacham, who in his Garden of Eloquence, 1577, places this very mode of expression under the article Pleonasmus. HENDerson.


mill-sixpences,] It appears from a passage in Sir William Davenant's Newes from Plimouth, that these mill sixpences were used by way of counters to cast up money: A few mill d sixpences, with which "My purser casts accompt." STEEVENS.



Edward shovel-boards,] One of these pieces of metal is mentioned in Middleton's comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611: slid I my man, like a shovel-board shilling," &c.




ling and two pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.

"Edward shovel-boards," were the broad shillings of Edw. VI. -Taylor, the water-poet, in his Trauel of Twelve-pence, makes him complain: the unthrift every day


"With my face downwards do at shoave-board play;
"That had I had a beard, you may suppose,


They had worne it off, as they have done my nose." And in a note he tells us: "Edw. shillings for the most part are used at shoave-board." FARMER.

In the Second Part of K. Henry IV. Falstaff says, "Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat shilling." This confirms Farmer's opinion, that pieces of coin were used for that purpose. M. MASON.

The following extract, for the notice of which I am indebted to Dr. Farmer, will ascertain the species of coin mentioned in the text. "I must here take notice before I entirely quit the subject of these last-mentioned shillings, that I have also seen some other pieces of good silver, greatly resembling the same, and of the same date 1547, that have been so much thicker as to weigh about half an ounce, together with some others that have weighed an ounce." Folkes's Table of English Silver Coins, p. 32. The former of these were probably what cost Master Slender two shillings and two-pence a-piece. REED.

It appears, that the game of shovel-board was played with the shillings of Edward VI. in Shadwell's time; for in his Miser, Act III. sc. i. Cheatly says, "She persuaded him to play with hazard at backgammon, and he has already lost his Edward shillings that he kept for Shovel-board, and was pulling out broad pieces (that have not seen the sun these many years) when I came away."

In Shadwell's Lancashire Witches, Vol. III. p. 232, the game is called Shuffle-board. It is still played; and I lately heard a man ask another to go into an alehouse in the Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, to play at it. Douce.

That Slender means the broad shilling of one of our kings, appears from comparing these words with the corresponding passage in the old quarto: "Ay by this handkerchief did he ;two faire shovel-board shillings, besides seven groats in mill sixpences."

How twenty eight pence could be lost in mill-sixpences, Slender, however, has not explained to us. MALONE.

FAL. Is this true, Pistol?

EVA. No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.
PIST. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner!—Sir John
and master mine,

I combat challenge of this latten bilbo :3
Word of denial in thy labras here;*
Word of denial: froth and scum, thou liest.

3 I combat challenge of this latten bilbo :] Pistol, seeing Slender such a slim, puny wight, would intimate, that he is as thin as a plate of that compound metal, which is called latten: and which was, as we are told, the old orichalc. THEobald.

Latten is a mixed metal, made of copper and calamine.

MALONE. The sarcasm intended is, that Slender had neither courage nor strength, as a latten sword has neither edge nor substance.


Latten may signify no more than as thin as a lath. The word in some counties is still pronounced as if there was no h in it: and Ray, in his Dictionary of North Country Words, affirms it to be spelt lat in the North of England.

Falstaff threatens, in another play, to drive prince Henry out of his kingdom with a dagger of lath. A latten bilboe means therefore, I believe, no more than a blade as thin as a lath-ɑ vice's dagger.


Theobald, however, is right in his assertion that latten was a metal. So Turbervile, in his book of Falconry, 1575: you must set her a latten bason, or a vessel of stone or earth.” Again, in Old Fortunatus, 1600: "Whether it were lead or latten that hasp'd down those winking casements, I know not." Again, in the old metrical Romance of Syr Bevis of Hampton, bl. 1, no date :

"Windowes of latin were set with glasse."

Latten is still a common word for tin in the North. STEEVENS.

I believe Theobald has given the true sense of latten, though he is wrong in supposing, that the allusion is to Slender's thinness. It is rather to his softness or weakness. TYRWHITT.

* Word of denial in thy labras here;] I suppose it should rather be read:

"Word of denial in my labras hear;"

That is,, hear the word of denial in my lips. Thou lyst.


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