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Fal. Is this true, Pistol?

Eva. No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.*

Pist. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner!-Sir John and
master mine,

I combat challenge of this latten bilbo:3
Word of denial in thy labras here;*

ask another to go into an alehouse in the Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, to play at it. Douce.

That Slender means the broad shilling of one of our kings, appears from comparing these words with the corresponding passage in the old quarto: "Ay by this handkerchief did he ;-two faire shovel-board shillings, besides seven groats in mill six-pences." How twenty-eight pence could be lost in mill-sixpences, Slender, however, has not explained to us. Malone.

* Eva. No, it is false, if it is a pick purse.] i. e. if Pistol is a pick purse, Pistol is not a true man. This quibble, on the word true, has been previously noticed. Am. Ed.

3 I combat challenge of this latten bilbo :] Pistol, seeing Slender such a slim, puny wight, would intimate, that he is as thin as a plate of that compound metal, which is called latten: and which was, as we are told, the old orichalc. Theobald.

Latten is a mixed metal, made of copper and calamine. Malone. The sarcasm intended is, that Slender had neither courage nor trength, as a latten sword has neither edge nor substance. Heath. Latten may signify no more than as thin as a lath. The word in some counties is still pronounced as if there was no h in it: and Ray, in his Dictionary of North Country Words, affirms it to be -spelt lat in the North of England.

Falstaff threatens, in another play, to drive prince Henry out of his kingdom with a dagger of lath. A latten bilboe means therefore, I believe, no more than a blade as thin as a lath-a vice's dagger.

Theobald, however, is right in his assertion that latten was a metal. So Turbervile, in his book of Falconry, 1575: “.


must set her a latten bason, or a vessel of stone or earth." Again, in Old Fortunatus, 1600: "Whether it were lead or latten that hasp'd down those winking easements, I know not." Again, in the old metrical Romance of Syr Bevis of Hampton, bl. 1. no date : "Windowes of latin were set with glasse."

Latten is still a common word for tin in the North. Steevens. I believe Theobald has given the true sense of latten, though he is wrong in supposing, that the allusion is to Slender's thinness. It is rather to his softness or weakness. Tyrwhitt.

4 Word of denial in thy labras here;] I suppose it should rather

be read:

"Word of denial in my labras hear;"

That is, hear the word of denial in my lips. Thou ly'st. Johnson,

Word of denial: froth and scum, thou liest.

Slen. By these gloves, then 'twas he.

Nym. Be advised, sir, and pass good humours: I will say, marry trap,5 with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on me; that is the very note of it.

Slen. By this hat, then he in the red face had it: for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass

Fal. What say you, Scarlet and John?7

Bard. Why, sir, for my part, I say, the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences.

Eva. It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is! Bard. And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashier'd;


We often talk of giving the lie in a man's teeth, or in his throat. Pistol chooses to throw the word of denial in the lips of his adversary, and is supposed to point to them as he speaks. Steevens.

5 marry trap,] When a man was caught in his own stratagem, I suppose the exclamation of insult was-marry, trap! Johnson

6 nuthook's humour -] Nuthook is the reading of the folio. The quarto reads, base humour.

If you run the nuthook's humour on me, is, in plain English, if you say I am a thief. Enough is said on the subject of hooking moveables out at windows, in a note on K. Henry IV. Steevens.

7 Scarlet and John?] The names of two of Robin Hood's companions; but the humour consists in the allusion to Bardolph's red face; concerning which, see The Second Part of Henry IV. Warburton.

8 And being fap,] I know not the exact meaning of this cant word, neither have I met with it in any of our old dramatic pieces, which have often proved the best comments on Shakspeare's vulgarisms.

Dr. Farmer, indeed, observes, that to fib is to beat; so that being fap may mean being beaten; and cashiered, turned out of company. Steevens.

The word fap, is probably made from vappa, a drunken fellow, or a good-for-nothing fellow, whose virtues are all exhaled. Slender, in his answer, seems to understand that Bardolph had made use of a Latin word: " Ay, you spake in Latin then too;" as Pistol had just hefore. S. W.

It is not probable that any cant term is from the Latin; nor that the word in question was so derived, because Slender mistook it for Latin. The mistake, indeed, is an argument to the contrary, as it shows his ignorance in that language. Fap, however, certainly means drunk, as appears from the glossaries. Douce.

and so conclusions pass'd the careires."

Slen. Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis no matter: I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again, but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick: if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those, that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.

Eva. So Got 'udge me, that is a virtuous mind.

Fal. You hear all these matters denied; gentlemen, you hear it.

Enter Mistress ANNE PAGE with wine; Mistress FORD and Mistress PAGE following.

Page. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we 'll drink within. [Exit ANNE PAGE.

Slen. O heaven! this is mistress Anne Page.
Page. How now, mistress Ford?

Fal. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met: by your leave, good mistress. [kissing her. Page. Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome:Come, we have a hot venison-pasty to dinner; come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.

[Exeunt all but SHAL. SLEN. and EVA. Slen. I had rather than forty shillings, I had my book of Songs and Sonnets here:1


careires.] I believe this strange word is nothing but the French cariere; and the expression means, that the common bounds of good behaviour are overpassed. Johnson.

To pass the cariere was a military phrase, or rather perhaps a term of the menage. I find it in one of sir John Smythe's Discourses, 1589, where, speaking of horses wounded, he says66 they, after the first shrink at the entering of the bullet, doo pass their carriere, as though they had verie little hurt." Again, in Harrington's translation of Ariosto, b. xxxviii, stanza 35:

"To stop, to start, to pass carier, to bound." Steevens. Bardolph means to say, and so in the end he reel'd about with a circuitous motion, like a horse, passing a carier." To pass a carier was a technical term. So, in Nashe's Have with you to Saffron Walden, &c. 1596: " her hottest fury may be resembled to the passing of a brave cariere by a Pegasus."

We find the term again used in K. Henry V, in the same manner as in the passage before us: "The king is a good king, but-he passes some humours and cariers." Malone.

1 — my book of Songs and Sonnets here:] It cannot be supposed that poor Slender was himself a poet. He probably means the Poems of Lord Surrey and others, which were very popular


How now, Simple! Where have you been? I must wait on myself, must I? You have not The Book of Riddles3 about you, have you?

Sim. Book of Riddles! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas?4

Shal. Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with you, coz: marry, this, coz; There is, as 'twere, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by sir Hugh here;-Do you understand me?

Slen. Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so, I shall do that that is reason.

Shal. Nay, but understand me.
Slen. So I do, sir.

in the age of Queen Elizabeth. They were printed in 1567, with this title: "Songes and Sonnettes, written by the Right Honourable Lord Henry Howard, late Earle of Surrey, and others."

Slender laments that he has not this fashionable book about him, supposing it might have assisted him, in paying his addresses to Anne Page. Malone.

Under the title, mentioned by Slender, Churchyard very evidently points out this book in an enumeration of his own pieces, prefixed to a collection of verse and prose, called Churchyard's Challenge, 4to. 1593: “. and many things in the booke of songes and sonets printed then, were of my making." By then he means "in Queene Maries raigne;" for Surrey was first published in 1557. Steevens.


The Book of Riddles -] This appears to have been a popular book, and is enumerated with others in The English Courtier, and Country Gentleman, bl. 1. 4to, 1586, Sign. H 4. See quotation in note to Much Ado about Nothing, Act II, sc. i. Reed.


upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ?] Sure, Simple is a little out in his reckoning. Allhallowmas is almost five weeks after Michaelmas. But may it not be urged, it is designed Simple should appear thus ignorant, to keep up the character? I think not. The simplest creatures (nay, even naturals) generally are very precise in the knowledge of festivals, and marking how the seasons run: and therefore I have ventured to suspect our poet wrote Martlemas, as the vulgar call it: which is near a fortnight after All-Saints day, i. e. eleven days, both inclusive. Theobald.

This correction, thus seriously and wisely enforced, is received by sir Thomas Hanmer; but probably Shakspeare intended to blunder. Johnson.

Eva. Give ear to his motions, master Slender: I will description the matter to you, if you be capacity of it. Slen. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says: I pray you, pardon me; he 's a justice of peace in his country, simple though I stand here.

Eva. But this is not the question; the question concerning your marriage.

Shal. Ay, there's the point, sir.

Eva. Marry, is it; the very point of it; to mistress Anne Page.

Slen. Why, if it be so, I will marry her, upon any reasonable demands.

Eva. But can you affection the 'oman? Let us command to know that of your mouth, or of your lips; for divers philosophers hold, that the lips is parcel of the mouth; Therefore, precisely, can you carry your good

will to the maid?

Shal. Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her? Slen. I hope, sir,-I will do, as it shall become one that would do reason.

Eva. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies, you must speak possitable, if you can carry her your desires towards her. Shal. That you must: Will you, upon good dowry, marry her?

Slen. I will do a greater thing than that, upon your request, cousin, in any reason.

Shal. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz; what I do, is to pleasure you, coz: Can you love the maid?

5 the lips is parcel of the mouth;] Thus the old copies. The modern editors read-" parcel of the mind."

To be parcel of any thing, is an expression, that often occurs in the old plays.

So, in Decker's Satiromastix:

"And make damnation parcel of your oath.”

This passage, however, might have been designed as a ridicule on another, in John Lyly's Midas, 1592:

"Pet. What lips hath she?

"Li. Tush! Lips are no part of the head, only made for a double-leaf door for the mouth."


The word parcel, in this place, seems to be used in the same sense as it was both formerly and at present in conveyances. "Part, parcel, or member of any estate," are formal words still to be found in various deeds. Reed.

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