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Slen. Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and

speaks small like a woman.

Evans. It is that fery person for all the orld, as just 50 as you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of moneys, and gold and silver, is her grandsire upon his death's-bed (Got deliver to a joyful resurrections!) give, when she is able to overtake seventeen years old: it were a goot motion if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage between Master Abraham and Mistress Anne Page.

Slen. Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred

pound?

Evans. Ay, and her father is make her a petter

penny.

49. small] F 1, Q 3; omitted F 2, 3, 4. 4 (and at line 44, etc.). 59, 60 and 63, Steevens, etc.

49. small] treble, shrill. Compare Coriolanus, III. ii. 14, and Midsummer Night's Dream, 1. ii. 52 (adverbial use). And in the Travels of Captain John Smith, Arber rept., p. 76, 1612: "The faces of all their Priests are painted as vgly as they can devise, in their hands they had every one his Rattle; some base [in tune], some smaller."

50. for all the orld] Exactly. This expression, hardly obsolete, occurs frequently; "he was for all the world like a forced radish," 2 Henry IV. 111. ii. 334.

53. death's-bed] The insertion of the "s" here, though perhaps correct, is not authorised in literature. It is merely a part of the stage Welshman's speech of the time, full of the letter. Compare Ben Jonson's For the Honour of Wales (passim); for example, "without all piddies or mercies or proprieties or decorums."

55

60

55. goot] F 1, QI; good F 2, 3, 64.] Given to Shallow by Capell,

56. pribbles and prabbles] A redundancy for "brabbles." See again v. v. 168, and in Fluellen's dialect in Henry V. IV. viii. 69: "Keep you out of prawls and prabbles." "Brabble " (quarrel), is in Twelfth Night, v. 68, etc. "Bibble-babble," a common expression, occurs there also: "their Physicke proved nothing but words and bibblebabbles," Holland's Plinie, xxvi. 2. Compare Lyly's Mother Bombie, v. 3: "Let us not brabble but play, tomorrow is a new day."

59, 60 and 63, 64.] These two speeches were given to Shallow by Capell, followed by Steevens and some modern editors. The Folio, the only authority, leaves us no choice in the matter.

61, 62. a petter penny] something more. Compare The London Prodigal, III. i., 1605: "You'll do this with forty pounds a year? Civet. Ay, and a

Slen. I know the young gentlewoman; she has good

gifts.

Evans. Seven hundred pounds and possibilities is goot gifts.

Shal. Well, let us see honest Master Page. Is

Falstaff there?

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Evans. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar as I do despise one that is false, or as I despise 70 one that is not true. The knight, Sir John, is there; and, I beseech you, be ruled by your wellwillers. I will peat the door for Master Page. [Knocks.] What, hoa! Got pless your house here! Page. [Within.] Who's there?

Enter PAGE.

Evans. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend,

65. possibilities] F 1, Q 3; possibility F 2, 3, 4.

66

وو

better penny, sister." And in The Mall, by J. D. (Saintsbury's Dryden, viii. 517), 1674: a thousand pound, and a better penny." And in Dryden's Sir Martin Mar-all, IV. i., 1667: "£5000 and a better penny.' In Court and Times of James I., ii. 468, in a letter from J. Chamberlain, July 1624: "The Earl of Holderness married Sir William Cockaine's daughter, with £10,000 portion, and a better penny, as they say.

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65. possibilities] prospects. well-Phillips (followed by Wheatley) gives this word here the meaning " possessions," from the following words in a will dated circa 1610, and written in strangely corrupt orthography, "for my possebilities is abel to mantayne her." This seems as likely to mean "it is possible for me to maintain her " as not. In any case it is a slender argument with which to divest the passage of its

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obvious sense. I find the following parallel passage in Peele's Old Wives' Tale (1874 ed., p. 455), ante 1595: "My own and my own because mine, and mine because mine, ha, ha! Above a thousand pounds in possibility, and things fitting the desire in possession.' And in Porter's Two Angry Women of Abingdon (Haz. Dods. vii. 310), 1599: "If that they like, her dowry shall be equal To your son's wealth or possibility." Halliwell is certainly wrong.

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72, 73. well-willers] Not a coinage of Evans', as Schmidt implies. I find it in Howell's Arbor of Amitie, Epist. Ded. (ed. Grosart, p. 6), 1568, "my friendly welwillers," and again on the following page. The same author uses "ill-willer." 66 'Well-willer Occurs several times in Holland's Plinie (x. 24; XXXV. II), 1601. And in Greene's Mamillia (Gros. ii. 252), 1583.

75. Enter Page] Placed as in Globe

Page. Sir, he doth in some sort confess it.
Shal. If it be confessed, it is not redressed is not
that so, Master Page? He hath wronged me;
indeed he hath; at a word, he hath, believe me:
Robert Shallow, esquire, saith, he is wronged.

Page. Here comes Sir John.

Enter SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYм, and

PISTOL.

Fal. Now, Master Shallow, you'll complain of me to the king?

Shal. Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my
deer, and broke open my lodge.

Fal. But not kissed your keeper's daughter?
Shal. Tut, a pin! this shall be answered.

113. king] council Q 1, Warburton.

107. If] Even if, though, granted that. New Eng. Dict. gives examples in this sense, 1340 to 1572. The sense here seems to require it. A rare usage -compare Tempest, II. ii. 70.

107. confessed... redressed] Herrick has, "He pays half that confesses his debt" (Grosart's Herrick, i. 165, 1648). Ray gives, "Confession of a fault makes half amends."

113. king] This points to the reign of King James, or to a correction made in the text to suit the play for representation before him. From line 112 to line 126 the words here are identical with those in the 1602 Quarto, with the exception that the latter reads "Councell" instead of "king." A similar reference to the king at I. iv. 5 (see note), is merely proverbial. The whole passage, especially the words from 114 to 116, bear reference almost certainly to event, or ballad upon an event, familiar to Shakespeare's hearers. Sir Walter

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Fal. I will answer it straight; I have done all this.

That is now answered.

Shal. The council shall know this.

Fal. 'Twere better for you if it were known in counsel: you'll be laughed at.

Evans. Pauca verba, Sir John; goot worts.

I 20

Fal. Good worts! good cabbage. Slender, I broke your head: what matter have you against 125

me?

Slen. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your cony-catching rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol.

me and be nott wrothe (Arber, p. 72), 1528. Cotgrave has: "A cela ne tienne, For that not a pin matter" (1611).

121, 122. in counsel] in secret. Steevens quotes from Chaucer, Prologue to the Squire's Tale. Compare Gammer Gurton's Needle, II. ii.: "But first for you in councel I have a word or twaine." An old and common use, found oftenest in the proverbial expressions, "Three may keep counsel if two be away" (Chaucer, The Commandments of Love, ante 1400), and in Heywood, 1546. Later it became: "Two may keep, etc., as in Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus and Romeo and Juliet; and earlier in Lyly's Euphues. G. Harvey may be quoted: "Two frendes or bretheren may keepe counsell, when one of the two is away."

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123. Pauca verba] few words. Shakespeare has this earlier in Love's Labour's Lost, IV. ii. 171. Ben Jonson tells us it is "the bencher's phrase," Every Man in his Humour, IV. i. (1598). See also Henry V. II. i. 83. Jonson has it again in Epicene, III. i. (1609): "Otter. Nay, good princess, hear nie pauca verba." It is met with as late as Shadwell's Miser, 1672. Why it is the "bencher's phrase" is yet to seek. Gifford says it is too high a matter for him. Skink uses the expression "pauca

verba" in Look About You (Haz. Dods. vii. 458), 1600.

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124. Good worts! good cabbage] Worts was the ancient name of all the cabbage kind. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Valentinian: Planting of worts, of onions, any thing" (Steevens). Cabage or colewort, brassica" (Baret's Alvearie, 1580). And in Holland's Plinie, XV11. 24 (541, L), 1601: "Neither can the Vine away with Coleworts or the Cabbage, nay it hateth generally all Woorts or pothearbs.' Wheatley says the "commentators are clearly wrong when they say that worts was the old name for cabbage." Plenty more examples could be given showing they were right. Compare Malory, Morte Arthur (Globe ed., p. 379), 1485: "A little courtlage, where Nacien the hermit gathered worts, as he which had tasted none other meat of a great while."

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128. cony-catching] cheating. Used again in Taming of the Shrew, v. i. 102. This term was invented by Robert Greene in his tracts on The Art of Conny-Catching, 1591, 1592. once became popular, being adopted by Gabriel Harvey in Pierce's Supererogation (1592) and his other writings. Greene says (Grosart, x. 33): "Yet

Bard. You Banbury cheese!

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Slen. Ay, it is no matter.

Pist. How now, Mephistophilus !

Slen. Ay, it is no matter.

Nym. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca: slice! that's my

humour.

دو

have they clokes for the raine, and shadowes for their vilanies, calling it by the name of art or law as conycatching art, or cony-catching law" (1591). The cony is, of course, the rabbit, or dupe. "Gentlemen, and Marchants, all are caught like Cunnies in the hay [net], and so led like lambs to their confusion" (ibidem, p. 8). Harvey supplies the earliest example I have seen of the literal sense in his Trimming of Thomas Nashe (Grosart, iii. 48), 1597: "The cunny-catching weasel insnared in the parker's net. New Eng. Dict. refers to Minsheu, 1617. Possibly the wily weasel suggested the term, which was no doubt common property before Greene gave it his imprimatur. However, Minsheu says it is "a name given to deceivers, by a metaphor taken from those that rob warrens.' "A cony-catcher" that lives by using his wit is introduced in A Merry Knack to Know a Knave, of which Henslowe records a performance in 1592. This may have antedated Greene. Malone inserted here: "They carried me to the tavern and made me drunk, and afterwards picked my pocket," from the Quarto, as being necessary to the sense of the scene. Sir John, Malone says, could have no knowledge of the "picking of Slender's purse" (line 166), without them. Moreover, Greene tells us, "In case hee [the cony-catcher] bring to passe that you [the countryman] be glad of his acquaintance, then doeth he carry you to the Tavernes" (ut supra, p. 10). The is therefore very proper to passage the situation, though it is not necessary, since we can gather all this from the subsequent dialogue, and Sir John

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knows his followers' doings no doubt. See line 155 and note.

130. You Banbury cheese] An allusion to the thinness implied by his name Slender. "Now the fame of this toune is for zeale, cheese, and cakes," Holland's translation of Camden's Britannia (1586), 1610. The original referred only to "cheese," and thereby hangs a tale [see Camden's MS. Supplement to the Britannia in the Bodleian Encyclopædia Metropolitana]. Wheatley says this cheese was "made about an inch in thickness." Apparently it had a coating that had to be pared off, leaving the remnant very thin. "I never saw Banbury cheese thicke enough." Heywood, Epigrams, 5th Hundred, No. 24, 1562: "like a Banbury cheese, nothing but paring." Marston, Pasquil and Katharine, iii. line 178, 1600: "like a Banbury cheese that goes away most in parings.' Court and Times of James I., ii. 182, Letter of J. Chamberlain, 1619.

132. Mephistophilus] A term of abuse, from the devil in Marlowe's Dr. Faustus. Ben Jonson used it at the same date, or earlier (?): "Onion. Tut! Your witness cannot serve. Juniper. 'Sblood, why what! thou art not lunatic, art thou? an thou be'st avoid, Mephistophilus !" Case is Altered, ii. 4 (1598). similarly used by Dekker in Gentle Craft and Satiromastix, and various other writers. See below, IV. v. 71.

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134. slice] Nym adopts Bardolph's idea and proposes to slice Slender, as if he were really a cheese. Nym's humour is generally prompt and full of action. Probably he puts his hand to his sword. The word seems to be uncommon at this period, and represents

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