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Quick. About, about;
Search Windsor castle, elves, within and out:
Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room;
That it may stand till the perpetual doom,
In state as wholesome, as in state 'tis fit;
Worthy the owner, and the owner it.
The several chairs of order look you scour
With juice of balm, and every precious flower9 :
Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest,
With loyal blazon, evermore be blest!
And nightly, meadow-fairies, look, you sing,
Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring :
The expressure that it bears, green let it be,
More fertile-fresh than all the field to see;
And, Hony soit qui mal y pense, write,
In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue and white;
Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee;
Fairies use flowers for their charactery 10.
Away; disperse: But, 'till 'tis one o'clock,
Our dance of custom, round about the oak
Of Herne the hunter, let us not not forget.
Eva. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves

in order set:
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
To guide our measure round about the tree.
But, stay; I smell a man of middle earth 11.

9 It was an article of ancient luxury to rub tables, &c. with aromatic herbs. So, in the Baucis and Philemon of Ovid, Met. viii.


aequatam Mentha abstersere virenti. Pliny informs us that the Romans did so to drive away evil spirits..

10 «Charactery, is a writing by characters, or by strange marks.” -Bullokar's English Expositor, 12mo. 1656.

11 By this term is merely meant a mortal man, in contradistinction to a spirit of the earth or of the air, such as a fairy or gnome. It was in use in the north of Scotland a century since, and appears. borrowed from the Saxon Middun Eard,

Fal. Heaven defend me from that Welsh fairy! lest he transform me to a piece of cheese! Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd 12 even in

thy birth.
Quick. With trial fire touch me his finger-end :
If he be chaste, the flame will back descend,
And turn him to no pain; but if he start,
It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.

Pist. A trial, come.
Eva. Come, will this wood take fire ?

[They burn him with their tapers. Fal. Oh, oh, oh!

Quick. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire! About him fairies; sing a scornful rhyme: And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.

Eva. It is right; indeed he is full of lecheries and iniquity.

Fye on sinful fantasy!
Fye on lust and luxury!
Lust is but a bloody fire,

Kindled with unchaste desire.
Fed in heart; whose flames aspire,
As thoughts do blow them, higher and higher.
Pinch him, fairies, mutually ;

Pinch him for his villany;
Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
Till candles, and starlight, and moonshine be out.
During this song, the fairies pinch Falstaff. Doctor

Caius comes one way, and steals away a fairy in

12 By o'er-looked is here meant bewitched by an evil eye, the word is used in that sense in Glanvilli Sadducismi Triumphatas, p. 95. Steevens erroneously interprets it Slighted as soon as born. See note on the Merchant of Venice, Act iii. Sc. 2.

“Beshrew your eyes, They have o'er-looked me

green; Slender another way, and takes off a fairy in white; and Fenton comes, and steals away Mrs. Anne Page. A noise of hunting is made within.

All the fairies run away. Falstaff pulls off his · buck's head, and rises. Enter PAGE, FORD, MRS. PAGE, and Mrs. FORD.

They lay hold on him. Page. Nay, do not fly: I think, we have watch'd

you now; Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn? Mrs. Page. I pray you, come; hold up the jest

no higher :Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives? See you these, husband ? do not these fair yokes 13 Become the forest better than the town?

Ford. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now ?-Master Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldy knave; here are his. horns, master Brook: And, master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buckbasket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money, which must be paid to master Brook; his horses are arrested for it, master Brook.

Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck, we could never meet. I will never take you for my love again, but I will always count you my deer.

Fal. I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass.

* 13 The extremities of yokes for oxen, as still used in several counties of England, bend upwards, and rising very high, in shape resemble horns. In Cotgrave's Dictionary, voce JOUELLES, we have 'Arched or yoked vines; vines so under propped or fashioned that one may go under the middle of them.' See also Hutton's Latin, Greek, and English Lexicon, 1585, in voce JUGUM; 'a thing made with forkes, like a gallowes, a frame whereon vines are joyned.'

Ford. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs are extant.

Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies : and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now, how wit may be made a Jack-a-lent, when 'tis upon ill employment!

Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.

Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.
Eva.And leave you your jealousies too, I pray you.

Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able to woo her in good English.

Fal. Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross o’erreaching as this ? Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too? Shall I have a coxcomb of frize 14 ? 'tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.

Eva. Seese is not good to give putter; your pelly is all putter.

Fal. Seese and putter! Have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English ? This is enough to be the decay of lust and late walking through the realm.

Mrs. Page. Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?

Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax? 14 i.e. a fool's cap made out of Welsh materials. Wales was famous for this cloth.

Mrs. Page. A puffed man?

Page. Old, cold, wíthered, and of intolerable entrails?

Ford. And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
Page. And as poor as Job?
Ford. And as wicked as his wife?

Eva. And given to fornications and to taverns, and sack and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings and starings, pribbles and prabbles ?

Fal. Well, I am your theme; you have the start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welsh flannel 15; ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me 16: use me as you will.

Ford. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one master Brook, that you have cozened of money, to whom you should have been a pander: over and above that you have suffered, I think, to repay that money will be a biting affliction. Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, let that go to make

amends; Forgive that sum, and so we'll all be friends.

Ford. Well, here's my hand; all's forgiven at last.

Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt eat a posset to-night at my house; where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee 17: Tell her, master Slender hath married her daughter.

Mrs. Page. Doctors doubt that: If Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this, doctor Caius' wife.


15 The very word flannel is derived from a Welsh one, and it is almost unnecessary to add that it was originally the manufacture of Wales.

16 Ignorance itself weighs me down, and oppresses me.

17 Dr. Johnson remarks, that the two plots are excellently connected, and the transition very artfully made in this speech.

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