Obrázky stránek

fellow of this walk, and my horns I bequeath your husbands. Am I a woodman? ha! Speak I like Herne the hunter? - Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience; he makes restitution. spirit, welcome!

As I am a true

[Noise within.

Mrs. Page. Alas! What noise?
Mrs. Ford. Heaven forgive our sins!

Fal. What should this be?

Mrs. Ford.

Mrs. Page. S

Away, away!

[They run off.

Fal. I think the devil will not have me damn'd, lest the oil that is in me should set hell on fire; he would never else cross me thus.

Enter Sir HUGH EVANS, like a satyr; Mrs. QUICKLY, and PISTOL; ANNE PAGE, as the Fairy Queen, attended by her brother and others, dressed like fairies, with waxen tapers on their heads.

Anne. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
You moonshine revellers, and shades of night,
You ouphen-heirs of fixed destiny,

Attend your office, and your quality."
Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes.

4 The keeper. The shoulders of the buck were among his perquisites.

5 The woodman was an attendant on the forester. It is here however used in a wanton sense, for one who chooses female game for the object of his pursuit. Thus, in Measure for Measure, Lucio says, "The Duke is a better woodman than thou takest him for."

The old copy reads orphan-heirs. Warburton reads ouphen, and not without plausibility; ouphes being mentioned before and afterward. Malone thinks it means mortals by birth, but adopted by the fairies; orphans in respect of their real parents, and now only dependent on destiny herself. - Singer.

We cannot help thinking that ouphen is the true word; the meaning being, "fairy children, who execute the decrees of destiny."

7 Profession.


Pist. Elves, list your names: silence, you airy


Cricket, to Windsor chimneys when thou'st leapt, Where fires thou find'st unrak'd, and hearths un


There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry:
Our radiant queen hates sluts, and sluttery.

Fal. They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die:

I'L wink and couch: No man their works must eye. [Lies down upon his face. Eva. Where's Bead? - Go you, and where you

find a maid,

8 This office of the ancient fairies appears to have been quite a favourite theme with poets. Thus in Drayton's Nymphidia:

"These make our girls their sluttery rue,

By pinching them both black and blue,
And put a penny in their shoe,

The house for cleanly sweeping."

So also in an old ballad entitled The Merry Pranks of Robin
Goodfellow, sometimes attributed to Ben Jonson :

"When house and harth doth sluttish lye,
I pinch the maidens black and blue;
The bed-clothes from the bedd pull I,
And lay them naked all to view."

And again in the ancient song of the Fairy Queen:
"And, if the house be foul
With platter, dish, or bowl,
Up stairs we nimbly creep,
And find the sluts asleep:

There we pinch their arms and thighes;
None escapes, nor none espies.

But if the house be swept,

And from uncleanness kept,

We praise the household maid,

And duely she is paid:

For we use before we goe

To drop a tester in her shoe."

It were a curious inquiry, what this superstition had to do, as cause or effect, with the well-known cleanliness of the English people


That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said,
Raise up the organs of her fantasy,"

Sleep she as sound as careless infancy;

But those as sleep, and think not on their sins, Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides, and shins.

Anne. About, about!

Search Windsor castle, elves, within and out:
Strew good luck, ouples, 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 flower:"
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, Honi 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."
Away; disperse: But, till 'tis one o'clock,
Our dance of custom, round about the oak
Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget.

Eva. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves
in order set:

That is, elevate her fancy, and amuse her tranquil mind with some delightful vision, though she sleep as soundly as an infant. 10 It was an article of ancient luxury to rub tables, &c. with aromatic herbs. Pliny informs us that the Romans did so to drive away evil spirits.

Charactery is a writing by characters, or by strange marks

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.12

Heaven defend me from that Welch fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!

Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd 13 even in thy birth.

Anne. 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!



Fal. Oh, oh, oh!

Come, will this wood take fire! [They burn him with their tapers.

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


Fie on sinful fantasy!

Fie on lust and luxury!

12 The globe was often called "middle earth."


13 By o'erlooked is here meant bewitched by an evil eye. This use of the word sprung from the popular belief, that the eyes of fairies and witches were full of spells and enchantments. See note on the Merchant of Venice, Act iii. sc. 2: "Beshrew your eyes, they have o'erlooked me.”


14 After this line Malone and others add the following from the quartos:

"Era. It is right; indeed he is full of lecheries and iniquity." It is to be observed, that in this interlude the speakers, except Falstaff, do not appear in their own characters: they are acting parts; and surely Sir Hugh would not speak any thing that was not put down for him. It is true, Falstaff a little before speaks of that Welch fairy;" but he does this from the Welchman's accent, not from his saying any thing that is not in his part.


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, fa ries, 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 s. ng, the fairies pinch FALSTAFI tor CAIUS comes one way, and steal away a fairy in green; SLENDER another way, and takes off a fairy in white; and FENTON comes, and steal away 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? Mr. Page. I pray you, core; hold up the jest

no higher :

Now, good Sir Joh., Iow like you Windsor wres? See you these, husband? do not those fair yoke: * Become he forest better than the town?

Ford. Now, sir, who's a cucl.old now?- Master Brook, Falstaff's a kuave, a cuckoldy knave; here are his horns, master B.ook: Ard, master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buckbasket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money,

15 The extremities of yokes for oxen, as still used in severa counties of England, bend upwards, and, rising very high, in shape resemble horns.

« PředchozíPokračovat »