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Sim. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber; I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down: I come to speak with her, indeed.

Host. Ha! a fat woman! the knight may be robbed: I'll call.-Bully knight! Bully sir John! speak from thy lungs military: Art thou there? it is thine Host, thine Ephesian, calls.


Fal. [above] How now, mine host?

Host. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar5 tarries the coming down of thy fat woman: Let her descend, bully, let her descend; my chambers are honourable: Fye! privacy? fye!


Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with me: but she's gone.

Sim. Pray you, sir, was 't not the wise woman of Brentford?

Fal. Ay, marry, was it, muscle-shell?" What would you with her?


thine Ephesian,] This was a cant term of the time. So, in K. Henry IV, P. II, Act II, sc ii: "P. Henry. What company? Page. Ephesians, my lord, of the old church" See the note there. Malone.

Hanmer supposes Ephesian to be a designed blunder for Ephæstion. Steevens.

5 Bohemian Tartar-] The French cell a Bohemian what we call a Gypsey, but I believe the Host means nothing more than, by a wild appellation, to insinuate that Simple makes a strange appearance. Fol.cons

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In Germany there were several companies of vagabonds, &c. called Tarters and Zigens. These were the same in my opinion," says Mezeray, as those the French call Bohemians, and the English Gypsies." Bulteel's Translation of Mezeray's History of France, under the year 1417. Tollet.

6 wise woman of Brentford?] In our author's time female dealers in palmistry and fortune-telling were usually denominated wise women. So the person from whom Heywood's play of The wise woman of Hogsden, 1638, takes its title, is employed in answering many such questions as are the objects of Simple's inquiry. Reed.

This appellation occurs also in our version of the Bible: "Her wise ladies answered her, yea she returned answer to herself." Judges, v. 29. Steevens.

7-muscle-shell;] He calls poor Simple muscle-shell, because he stands with his mouth open. Johnson.

Sim. My master, sir, my master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go thorough the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain,

or no.

Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.

Sim. And what says she, I pray, sir?

Fal. Marry, she says, that the very same man, that beguiled master Slender of his chain, cozened him of it.

Sim. I would, I could have spoken with the woman herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too, from him.

Fal. What are they? let us know.
Host. Ay, come; quick.

Sim. I may not conceal them, sir.

Fal. Conceal them, or thou diest.8

Sim. Why, sir, they were nothing but about mistress Anne Page; to know, if it were my master's fortune to have her, or no.

Fal. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.

Sim. What, sir?

Fal. To have her, or no: Go; say, the woman told

me so.

Sim. May I be so bold to say so, sir?

Fal. Ay, sir Tike; who more bold?9

Sim. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings. [Exit SIM. Host. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, sir John: Was there a wise woman with thee?


Fal. Ay, that there was, mine host; one, that hath taught me more wit than ever I learned before in my

8 Sim. I may not conceal them, sir.

Fal. Conceal them, or thou diest.] In both these instances Dr. Farmer thinks we should read-reveal. Steevens.

9 Ay, sir Tike; who more bold?] In the first edition, it stands ; "I Tike, who more bolde." And should plainly be read here, Ay, sir Tike, &c. Farmer.

1 clerkly,] i. e. scholar-like. So, in Sidney's Arcadia, Lib. III:

66 Lanquet, the shepheard best swift Ister knew
"For clearkly reed," &c.

Again, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act II, sc. i;
'tis very clerkly done." Steevens.



life and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning.2

Enter BARdolph.

Bard. Out, alas, sir! cozenage! meer cozenage! Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.

Bard. Run away with the cozeners: for so soon as I came beyond Eton, they threw me off. from behind one of them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs, and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.3

Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain: do not say, they be fled; Germans are honest men.


Eva. Where is mine host?

Host. What is the matter, sir?

Eva. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town, tells me, there is three cousin germans, that has cozened all the hosts of Readings, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell yor for good-will, look you: you are wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-stogs; and 'tis not convenient you should be cozened: Fare you well. [Exit.

Enter Doctor CAIUS.

Caius. Vere is mine Host de Jarterre?

Host. Here, master doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma.

Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat: But it is tell-a me, dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Jarmany: by my trot, dere is no duke, dat de court is know to come: I tell you for good vill: adieu.



I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning.] He alludes to the beating which he had just received. The same play on words occurs in Cymbeline, Act V: " have paid too much, and sorry that you are paid too much."

sorry you


To pay, in our author's time, often signified to beat. So, in King Henry IV, P. I: “—seven of the eleven I paid.” Malone.

3 like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.] John Faust, commonly called Doctor Faustus, was a German. Marlowe's play on this subject had sufficiently familiarized Bardolph's simile to our author's audience. Steevens.

Host. Hue and cry, villain, go:-assist me, knight; I am undone :-fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone! [Exeunt Host and BARD. Fal. I would, all the world might be cozened; for I have been cozened, and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court, how I have been transformed, and how my transformation hath been washed and cudgeled, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me; I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crestfallen as a dried pear.4 I never prospered since I foreswore myself at primero.5 Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent. Enter Mistress QUICKLY.

Now! whence come you?

Quick. From the two parties, forsooth.

4. - crest-fallen as a dried pear.] To ascertain the propriety of this similitude, it may be observed that pears, when they are dried, become flat, and lose the erect and oblong form that, in their natural state, distinguishes them from apples. Steevens.


- primero.] A game at cards. Johnson.

Primero was in Shakspeare's time the fashionable game. In the Earl of Northumberland's letters about the powder plot, Josc. Percy was playing at primero on Sunday when his uncle, the conspirator, called on him at Essex House. This game

is again mentioned in our author's Henry VIII. Percy.

"Primero and primavista, two games of cards. Primum et primum visum, that is, first, and first seene, because he that can show such an order of cardes, wins the game." See Minsheu's DICT. 1617. Reed.

In the Sydney Papers, Vol. II, p. 83, is the following account of an altercation that happened between our poet's generous patron, and one Willoughby, at this game :-"The quarrel of my lord Southampton to Ambrose Willoughby grew upon this: That he, with Sir Walter Rawley and Mr. Parker, being at primero in the presence-chamber, the queen was gone to bed; and he being there, as squire of the body, desired him to give over. Soon after he spoke to them againe, that if they would not leave, he would call in the guard to pull down the bord; which Sir Walter Rawley seeing, put up his money, and went his wayes; but my Lord Southampton took exceptions at hym, and told hym, he would remember yt: and so finding hym between the Tennis-Court wall and the garden, strooke him; and Willoughby pull'd of some of his lockes." This happened in the beginning of 1598. Malone.

The manner of playing at this game may be seen in an Epi

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Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestowed! I have suffered more for their sakes, more, than the villainous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.

Quick. And have not they suffered? Yes, I warrant; speciously one of them; mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.

Fal. What tell'st thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman, deliver'd me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.

Quick. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber: you shall hear how things go; and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado here is to bring you together! Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well,' that you are so crossed.

Fal. Come up into my



gram quoted in Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, Vol. V, p. 168, edit. 1780. See also Vol. X, p. 368, and Vol. XII, p. 396. Reed.

6 action of an old woman.] What! was it any dexterity of wit in Sir John Falstaff to counterfeit the action of an old woman, in order to escape being apprehended for a witch? Surely, one would imagine, this was the readiest means to bring himinto such a scrape: for none but old women have ever been suspected of being witches. The text must certainly be restored a wood woman, a crazy, frantic woman; one too wild, and silly, and unmeaning, to have either the malice or mischievous subtlety of a witch in her. Theobald.

This emendation is received by Sir Thomas Hanmer, but rejected by Dr. Warburton. To me it appears reasonable enough. Johnson.

I am not certain that this change is necessary. 'Falstaff, by counterfeiting such weakness and infirmity, as would naturally be pitied in an old woman, averted the punishment to which he would otherwise have been subjected, on the supposition that he was a witch. Steevens.

The reading of the old copy is fully supported by what Falstaff says afterwards to Ford: "I went to her, Master Brook, as you see, like a poor old man; but I came from her, Master Brook, like a poor old woman." Malone.

Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, &c.] The great

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