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HOST. Here, boys, here, here! shall we wag? PAGE. Have with you:-I had rather hear them scold than fight.
[Exeunt Host, SHALLOW, and PAGE.
FORD. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on his wife's frailty," yet I cannot put off my opinion so easily: She was in his company at Page's house; and, what they made there, I know
Usury, by Dr. Wilson, 1584, he says, "Here in England, he that can rob a man on the high-way, is called a tall fellow." Lord Bacon says, "that Bishop Fox caused his castle of Norham to be fortified, and manned it likewise with a very great number of tall soldiers."
The elder quarto reads-tall fencers. STEEVENS.
stands so firmly on his wife's frailty,] Thus all the copies. But Mr. Theobald has no conception how any man could stand firmly on his wife's frailty. And why? Because he had no conception how he could stand upon it, without knowing what it was. But if I tell a stranger, that the bridge he is about to cross is rotten, and he believes it not, but will go on, may I not say, when I see him upon it, that he stands firmly on a rotten plank? Yet he has changed frailty for fealty, and the Oxford editor has followed him. But they took the phrase, to stand firmly on, to signify to insist upon; whereas it signifies to rest upon, which the character of a secure fool, given to him, shews. So that the common reading has an elegance that would be lost in the alteration. Warburton.
To stand on any thing, does signify to insist on it. So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630: "All captains, and stand upon the honesty of your wives." Again, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, Book VI. chap. 30:
"For stoutly on their honesties doe wylie harlots stand.” The jealous Ford is the speaker, and all chastity in women appears to him as frailty. He supposes Page therefore to insist on that virtue as steady, which he himself suspects to be without foundation. STEEVENS.
and stands so firmly on his wife's frailty,] i. e. has such perfect confidence in his unchaste wife. His wife's frailty is the same as his frail wife. So, in Antony and Cleopatra, we meet with death and honour, for an honourable death. MALONE.
and, what they made signifying what they did there.
there,] An obsolete phrase MALONE.
not. Well, I will look further into't: and I have a disguise to sound Falstaff: If I find her honest, I lose not my labour; if she be otherwise, 'tis labour well bestowed.
A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL.
FAL. I will not lend thee a penny.
PIST. Why, then the world's mine oyster,"
So, in As you like it, Act I. sc. i:
"Now, sir, what make you here?" STEEVENS.
the world's mine oyster, &c.] Dr. Grey supposes Shakspeare to allude to an old proverb, "The mayor of Northampton opens oysters with his dagger,"-i. e. to keep them at a sufficient distance from his nose, that town being fourscore miles from the sea. STEEVENS.
• I will retort the sum in equipage.] This is added from the old quarto of 1619, and means, 1 will pay you again in stolen goods. WARburton.
I rather believe he means, that he will pay him by waiting on him for nothing. So, in Love's Pilgrimage, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
"And boy, be you my guide,
"For I will make a full descent in equipage." That equipage ever meant stolen goods, I am yet to learn.
Dr. Warburton may be right; for I find equipage was one of the cant words of the time. In Davies' Papers Complaint, (a poem which has erroneously been ascribed to Donne,) we have several of them:
"Embellish, blandishment, and equipage."
Which words, he tells us in the margin, overmuch savour of witlesse affectation. FARMER.
Dr. Warburton's interpretation is, I think, right. Equipage indeed does not per se signify stolen goods, but such goods as
FAL. Not a penny. penny. I have been content, sir, you should lay my countenance to pawn: I have grated upon my good friends for three reprieves for you and your coach-fellow, Nym;" or else you had looked through the grate, like a geminy of baboons. I am damned in hell, for swearing to gentlemen my friends, you were good soldiers, and tall fellows and when mistress Bridget lost the handle of her fan,2 I took❜t upon mine honour, thou hadst it not.
Pistol promises to return, we may fairly suppose, would be stolen, Equipage, which, as Dr. Farmer observes, had been but newly introduced into our language, is defined by Bullokar in his English Expositor, Svo. 1616: "Furniture, or provision for horsemanship, especially in triumphs or tournaments." Hence the modern use of this word. MALONE.
9 your coach-fellow, Nym ;] Thus the old copies. Coach-fellow has an obvious meaning; but the modern editors read, couch-fellow. The following passage from Ben Jonson's Cynthia's Revels may justify the reading I have chosen: ""Tis the swaggering coach-horse Anaides, that draws with him there."
Again, in Monsieur D'Olive, 1606: "Are you he my page here makes choice of to be his fellow coach-horse? Again, in A true Narrative of the Entertainment of his Royal Majestie, from the Time of his Departure from Edinburgh, till his Receiving in London, &c. 1603: "a base pilfering theefe was taken, who plaid the cutpurse in the court: his fellow was ill mist, for no doubt he had a walking-mate: they drew together like coach-horses, and it is pitie they did not hang together." Again, in Every Woman in her Humour, 1609:
"For wit, ye may be coach'd together." Again, in 10th Book of Chapman's Translation of Homer: "their chariot horse, as they coach-fellows were." STEEVENS.
your coach-fellow, Nym ;] i. e. he, who draws along you; who is joined with you in all your knavery. So before, Page, speaking of Nym and Pistol, calls them a "yoke of Falstaff's discarded men." MALONE.
tall fellows:] See p. 76.
— lost the handle of her fan,] that fans, in our author's time, were
It should be remembered, more costly than they are
at present, as well as of a different construction. They con
PIST. Didst thou not share? hadst thou not fifteen pence?
sisted of ostrich feathers (or others of equal length and flexibility,) which were stuck into handles. The richer sort of these were composed of gold, silver, or ivory of curious workmanship. One of them is mentioned in The Fleire, Com. 1610: "she hath a fan with a short silver handle, about the length of a barber's syringe." Again, in Love and Honour, by Sir W. D'Avenant, 1649: "All your plate, Vasco, is the silver handle of your old prisoner's fan." Again, in Marston's III. Satyre, edit. 1598:
"How can he keepe a lazie waiting man,
In the frontispiece to a play, called Englishmen for my Money, or A pleasant Comedy of a Woman will have her Will, 1616, is a portrait of a lady with one of these fans, which, after all, may prove the best commentary on the passage. The three other specimens are taken from the Habiti Antichi et Moderni di tutto il Mondo, published at Venice, 1598, from the drawings of Titian, and Cesare Vecelli, his brother. This fashion was perhaps imported from Italy, together with many others, in the reign of King Henry VIII. if not in that of King Richard II.
FAL. Reason, you rogue, reason: Think'st thou, I'll endanger my soul gratis? At a word, hang no more about me, I am no gibbet for you :-go.-A short knife and a throng; 3-to your manor of Pickt-hatch, go.-You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue!-you stand upon your honour !-Why,
Thus also Marston, in The Scourge of Villanie, Lib. III. -Another, he
"Her silver-handled fan would gladly be." And in other places. And Bishop Hall, in his Satires, published 1597, Lib. V. sat. iv:
"Whiles one piece pays her idle waiting manne,
In the Sidney papers, published by Collins, a fan is presented to Queen Elizabeth for a new year's gift, the handle of which was studded with diamonds. T. WARTON.
A short knife and a throng;] So, Lear: "When cutpurses come not to throngs." WARBURTON.
Part of the employment given by Drayton, in The Mooncalf, to the Baboon, seems the same with this recommended by Falstaff:
"He like a gypsey oftentimes would
"All kinds of gibberish he hath learn'd to know:
"Would show the people tricks at fast and loose." Theobald has throng instead of thong. The latter seems right. LANGTON.
Greene, in his Life of Ned Browne, 1592, says: "I had no other fence but my short knife, and a paire of purse-strings."
Mr. Dennis reads-thong; which has been followed, I think, improperly, by some of the modern editors.
Sir Thomas Overbury's Characters, 1616, furnish us with a confirmation of the reading of the old copies: "The eye of this wolf is as quick in his head as á cutpurse in a throng.”
Pickt-hatch,] Is frequently mentioned by contemporary writers. So, in Ben Jonson's Every Man in his Hu
"From the Bordello it might come as well,