Parallels between Shake-Speare and Bacon's Promus
(b) a second explanatory parallel
from Shake-Speare's The Merry Wives of Windsor 2.1.146-8
Ford: I melancholy? I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.
Mrs. Ford: Faith, thou hast some crochets in thy head now.
now from Bacon's Promus, (entry 1644):
"Il a beaucoup de grillons in la teste" (a French proverb)
Comments: The Arden editor translates "crochets" as simply: "absurb ideas. The phrase is proverbial (Tilley C.843)". But M.P. Tilley's A Dictionary of Proverbs gives examples of the English proverb from 1577-1670, none of which mention the element of melancholy. However, the French proverb from Bacon's Promus, as translated by Cotgrave's Dictionary means: "He is in his dumps; his head is much troubled, full of crochets or of Proclamations". So it looks as though Shake-Speare may have had in mind the French proverb and its accepted interpretation.