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Ford. Love my wife?'

Pist. With liver burning hot: Prevent, or go thou, Like sir Acteon he, with Ring-wood at thy heels:O, odious is the name!

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Take heed; have open eye; for thieves do foot by night: Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo birds do


Away, sir corporal Nym.

Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.


[Exit PIST

word too often used in the old play of Cambyses: 'My sapient words I say perpend."


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"My queen perpend what I pronounce." Shakspeare has put the same word into the mouth of Polonius,


Pistol again uses it in K. Henry V; so does the Clown in Twelfth Night: I do not believe, therefore, that any ridicule was here aimed at Preston, the author of Cambyses. Malone.

3 With liver burning hot:] So, in Much Ado about Nothing: "If ever love had interest in his liver."

The liver was anciently supposed to be the inspirer of amorous passions. Thus, in an old Latin distich:

"Cor ardet, pulmo loquitur, fel commovet iras;

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Splen ridere facit, cogit amare jecur." Steevens.

4 Away, sir corporal Nym.—

Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.] Nym, I believe, is out of place, and we should read thus:

Away, sir corporal.

Nym, Believe it, Page; he speaks sense. Johnson.

Perhaps Dr. Johnson is mistaken in his conjecture. He seems not to have been aware of the manner in which the author meant this scene should be represented. Ford and Pistol, Page and Nym, enter in pairs, each pair in separate conversation; and while Pistol is informing Ford of Falstaff''s design upon his wife, Nym is, during that timẹ, talking aside to Page, and giving information of the like plot against him.-When Pistol has finished, he calls out to Nym to come away; but seeing that he and Page are still in close debate, he goes off alone, first assuring Page, he may depend on the truth of Nym's story. Believe it, Page, &c. Nym then proceeds to tell the remainder of his tale out aloud. And this is true, &c. A little further on in this scene, Ford says to Page, You heard what this knave (i. e. Pistol) told me, &c. Page replies, Yes; And you heard what the other (i. e. Nym) told me. Steevens.

Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.] Thus has the passage been hitherto printed, says Dr. Farmer; but surely we should read

Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this.

Nym. And this is true; [to PAGE.] I like not the humour of lying. He hath wronged me in some humours: I should have borne the humoured letter to her; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your wife ;5 there 's the short and the long. My name is corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch. 'Tis true:-my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife.-Adieu! I love not the humour of bread and cheese; and there's the humour of it. Adieu. [Exit NYM. Page. The humour of it, quoth 'a! here 's a fellow

Believe it, Page, he speaks; which means no more, than-Page, believe what he says. This sense is expressed not only in the manner peculiar to Pistol, but to the grammar of the times.



I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your wife; &c.] Nym, to gain credit, says, that he is above the mean office of carrying love-letters; he has nobler means of living; he has a sword, and upon his necessity, that is, when his need drives him to unlawful expedients, his sword shall bite. Johnson.

6 The humour of it,] The following epigram, taken from Humor's Ordinarie, where a Man may bee verie merrie and exceeding well used for his Sixpence, quarto, 1607, will best account for Nym's frequent repetition of the word humour. Epig. 27:

"Aske HUMOURS what a feather he doth weare,
"It is his humour (by the Lord) he 'll sweare;
"Or what he doth with such a horse-taile locke,
"Or why upon a whore he spends his stocke,-
"He hath a humour doth determine so:
"Why in the stop-throte fashion he doth goe,
"With scarfe about his necke, hat without band,-
"It is his humour. Sweet sir, understand,
"What cause his purse is so extreme distrest
"That oftentimes is scarcely penny-blest;
"Only a humour. If you question, why
"His tongue is ne'er unfurnish'd with a lye,-
"It is his humour too he doth protest:
"Or why with sergeants he is so opprest,
"That like to ghosts they haunt him ev'rie day;
"A rascal humour doth not love to pay.

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'Object why bootes and spurres are still in season,
"His humour answers, humour is his reason.

"If you perceive his wits in wetting shrunke,


It cometh of a humour to be drunke.

"When you behold his lookes pale, thin, and poore,
"The occasion is, his humour and a whoore:

frights humour out of his wits.

Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.

Page. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue. Ford. If I do find it, well.

Puge. I will not believe such a Cataian;7 though the

"And every thing that he doth undertake,

"It is a veine, for senceless humour's sake." Steevens.

I will not believe such a Cataian,] All the mystery of the term Cataian, for a liar, is only this. China was anciently called Cataia or Cathay, by the first adventurers that travelled thither; such as M. Paulo, and our Mandeville, who told such incredible wonders of this new discovered empire, (in which they have not been outdone even by the Jesuits themselves, who followed them) that a notorious liar was usually called a Cataian. Warburton.

"This fellow has such an odd appearance, is so unlike a man civilized, and taught the duties of life, that I cannot credit him." To be a foreigner was always in England, and I suppose everywhere eise, a reason of dislike. So, Pistol calls Sir Hugh, in the first act, a mountain foreigner; that is, a fellow uneducated, and of gross behaviour; and again in his anger calls Bardolph, Hungarian wight. Johnson.

I believe that neither of the commentators is in the right, but am far from professing, with any great degree of confidence, that I am happier in my own explanation. It is remarkable, that in Shakspeare, this expression—a true man, is always put in opposition (as it is in this instance) to-a thief. So, in Henry IV, P. I: "" -now the thieves have bound the true men.'

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The Chinese (anciently called Cataians) are said to be the most dextrous of all the nimble-fingered tribe; and to this hour they deserve the same character. Pistol was known at Windsor to have had a hand in picking Slender's pocket, and therefore might be called a Cataian with propriety, if my explanation be admitted. That by a Cataian some kind of sharper was meant, I infer from the following passage in Love and Honour, a play by Sir William D'Avenant, 1649:

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Hang him, bold Cataian, he indites finely,

"And will live as well by sending short epistles,
"Or by the sad whisper at your gamester's ear,
"When the great By is drawn,

"As any distrest gallant of them all.”

Cathaia is mentioned in The Tamer Tamed, of Beaumont and Fletcher:

"I'll wish you in the Indies, or Cathaia."

The tricks of the Cataians are hinted at in one of the old black letter histories of that country; and again in a dramatic performance, called The Pedler's Prophecy, 1595:

in the east part of Inde,

Through seas and floods, they work all thiewish." · Steevens.

priest o' the town commended him for a true man. Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow: Well. Page. How now, Meg?

Mrs. Page. Whither go you, George?-Hark you. Mrs. Ford. How now, sweet Frank? why art thou melancholy?

Ford. I melancholy? I am not melancholy.-Get you home, go.

Mrs. Ford. 'Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now. Will you go, mistress Page?

Mrs. Page. Have with you.-You'll come to dinner, George?-Look, who comes yonder: she shall be our messenger to this paltry knight. [Aside to Mrs. FORD.

Enter Mistress QUICKLY.

Mrs. Ford. Trust me, I thought on her: she 'll fit it. Mrs. Page. You are come to see my daughter Anne ? Quick. Ay, forsooth; And, I pray, how does good mistress Anne?

Mrs. Page. Go in with us, and see; we have an hour's talk with you.

[Exeunt Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. FORD, and Mrs. QUICK. Page. How now, master Ford?

Ford. You heard what this knave told me; did you not?

Page. Yes; And you heard what the other told me?
Ford. Do you think there is truth in them?

Page. Hang 'em, slaves; I do not think the knight would offer it: but these that accuse him in his intent towards our wives, are a yoke of his discarded men; very rogues, now they be out of service."

Ford. Were they his men?

Page. Marry, were they.

Ford. I like it never the better for that.-Does he lie at the Garter?

8 'Twas a good sensible fellow:] This, and the two preceding speeches of Ford, are spoken to himself, and have no connection with the sentiments of Page, who is likewise making his comment on what had passed, without attention to Ford. Steevens.

9 •very rogues, now they be out of service.] A rogue is a wanderer or vagabond, and, in its consequential signification, a cheat. Johnson.

Page. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head.

Ford. I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loth to turn them together: A man may be too confident: I would have nothing lie on my head: I cannot be thus satisfied.

Page. Look, where my ranting host of the Garter comes: there is either liquor in his pate, or money in his purse, when he looks so merrily.-How now, mine host?



Host. How now, bully-rook thou 'rt a gentleman: cavalero-justice, I say. Shal. I follow, mine host, twenty, good master Page! with us we have sport in hand.

follow.-Good even, and Master Page, will you go

Host. Tell him, cavalero-justice; tell him, bully-rook. Shal. Sir, there is a fray to be fought. between sir Hugh the Welch priest, and Caius the French doctor. Ford. Good mine host 'o the Garter, a word with you. Host. What say'st thou, bully-rook? [They go aside. Shal. Will you [to PAGE] go with us to behold it? My merry host bath had the measuring of their weapons; and, I think, he hath appointed them contrary places: for, believe me, I hear the parson is no jester. Hark, I will tell you what our sport shall be.

Host. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guestcavalier?

Ford. None, I protest: but I'll give you a pottle of burnt sack to give me recourse to him, and tell him, my


I would have nothing lie on my head:] Here seems to be an allusion to Shakspeare's favourite topic, the cuckold's horns. Malone.


cavalero-justice,] This cant term occurs in The Stately

Moral of Three Ladies of London, 1590:

"Then know, Castilian cavaleros, this."

There is also a book printed in 1599, called A Countercuffe given to Martin Junior; by the venturous, hardie, and renowned Pasquil of Englande, CAVALIERO. Steevens.

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