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THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.

LITERARY AND HISTORICAL NOTICE. THIS play was produced under two disadrantages : first, it was not the suggestiou of Shakspeare's own genius, be

having exhibited the character of Falstaff in three inimitable plays, and finished the portrait to his own taste ; and secondly, it was written with unusual expedition, in the short period of fourteen days. Queen Elizabet b is said to have been so delighted with the Knight, that she commanded our poet to show him in love ; and, up* on this regal signification, Dr. Johnson remarks, that "no task is harder than that of writing to the ideas of another. Shakspeare knew what the Queen, if the story be truc, seems not to have known---that by any real passion of tenderness, the selfish craft, the careless jollity, and the lazy luxury of Falstaff must have suffered so much abatement, that little of his former craft would have remained. Falstaff could not love, but by ccasing to be Falstaff." The most noted propensities of "the fat old man," are however, skilfully engrafted on the design of the piece ; so that wit, covetousness, mendacity, and concupiscence, are as much as possible combined and developed in his conduct. The other characters, also, are well contrasted ; and many of the scenes are pregnant with amusing incident. The circumstances of the plot are variously derived : some of them, probably, from an old translation of Il Pecorone by Giovanni Fiorentino; and the particular adventures of Falstaff, from The Lovers of Pisa, a story in an ancient piece called Tarleton's News out of Purgatorie. Ma. lone supposes that Shakspeare chose Windsor for the scene of Falstaff, love-frolics, upon reading the subjoined passage in " Westward for Smelts:" " In Windsor not long agoe, dwelt a sumpterman, who had to wife a very faire but wanton creature, over whom, not without cause, he was something Jealous ; yet bad he nerer any proof of her inconstancy.”

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ. SIR JOHN FALSTAPP.

ROBIN, Page to Falstaff. FENTON,

SIMPLE, Servant to Slender.
SHALLOW, a Country Justice.

RUGBY, Servant to Dr. Caius.
SLENDER, Cousin to Shallow.
MR. FORD, Tuo Gentlemen dwelling at
MR. PAGE,

Windsor.

MRS. FORD,

MRS. PACE. WILLIAM PAGE, a Boy, Son to Mr. Page.

Mrs. ANNE PAGz, her Daughter, in love with SIR HUGH EVANS, a Welsh Parson. DR. CAIUS, a French Physician.

Fenton,

MRs. QUICKLY, Servant to Dr. Caius.
Host of the Garter Inn.
BARDOLPH,
PISTOL, Followers of Falstaff.

Servants to Page, Ford, &c.
NY,

SCENE-Windsor, and the parts adjacent.

ACT І.

| old coat well ; it agrees well, passant : it is a

familiar beast to man, and signifies-love SCENE 1.-Windsor. Before Pace's House. Shal. The luce is the fresh fish ; the salt fish Enter Justice SHALLOW, SLENDER, and Sir. Is an old coat. HUGH EVANS.

Slen. I may quarter, coz I

Shal. You may, by marrying. Shal. Sir Hugh, persuade me not: I will

Kva. It is marring indeed, if he quarter it. make a star chamber matter of it: if he were

Shal. Not a whit. twenty Sir John Falstaffs, he shall not abuse

Eva. Yes, py'r • lady if he has a quarter of Robert Shallow, esquire.

your coat, there is but three skirts for yourself, Slen. In the county of Gloster, justice of

in my simple conjectures : but that is all one: peace, and cor am.

If Sir John Falstaff have committed disparShal. Ay, cousin Slender, and Cust-alorum. +!

'agements unto you, I am of the church, and Sien. Ay, and ratolorum too ; and a gentle.

will be glad to do my benevolence, to make man born, master parson ; who writes himself

atonements and compromises between you. armigero ; in any bill, warrant, quittance, or

Shal. The council + shall bear it ; it is a riot. obligation, armigero. Shal. Ay, that we do ; and have done any).

there is no fear of Got in a riot: the council time these three hundred years.

look you, shall desire to hear the fear of Got. Slen. All his successors, gone before him

and not to bear a riot ; take your vizaments have done't; and all his ancestors, that come

in that, after him, may ; they may give the dozen white

Shal. Ha ! o' my life, if I were young again, luces in their coat.

the sword should end it. Shal. It is an old coat.

Eva. It is petter that friends is the sword, Eva. The dozen white louses do become an

and end it: and there is also another device • A title formerly appropriated to chaplains as well as in my prain, whicb, peradventure, prings goot to knights.

Crestos rotulorum.
Tlie luce is a pike: Shakspeare has here a throw

discretions with it: There is Anne Page AL Sir Thomas Lucy, who compelled him.o leave Strat. ford

1. By our. Court of star-chamber. Advisement,

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wbich is daughter to master George Page, which 1. Pal. 'Twcre better for you, if it were known is pretty virginity.

in counsel : you'll be laugh'd at. Slen. Mistress Anne Page? She has brown Eva. Pauca verba, Sir John, goud worts. hair, and speaks small • like a woman.

1 Fal. Good worts ! • good cabbage.--Slender, Eva. It is that fery verson for all the 'orld, I broke your head ; What matter have you against as just as you will desire; and seven hundred me? pounds of monies, and gold, and silver, is berl Slen. Marry, Sir, I have matter in my head grandsire, upon his death's-bed, (Got deliver to against you; and against your coney-catching a joyful resurrections :) give, when she is rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. They carable to overtake seventeen years old : it were ried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and a goot motion, if we leave our pribbles and afterwards picked my pocket. prabbles, and desire a marriage between mas Burd. You Banbury cheese I 1 ter Abraham, and mistress Anne Page.

Slen. Ay, it is no matter. Shal, Did her grandsire leave her seven hun. Pist. How bow, Mephostopbilus ?$ dred pound 1

Slen. Ay, it is po matter. Eva. Ay, and her father is make her a petter Nym. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca ; ) slice 1 penny :

that's my humour. Shal. I know the young gentlewoman; she Slen. Where's Simple, my man ?-can you has good gifts.

tell, cousin ? Eva. Seven hundred pounds, and possibili Eva. Peace: I pray you ! Now let us under. ties, is good gifts.

stand: There is three umpires in this matter Shal. Well, let us see bonest master Page :) as I understand : that is-master Page, fidelicet, Is Falstaff there?

master Page ; and there is myself, fidelicet, myEva. Shall I tell you a lie ? I do despise a self; and the three party is, lastly and finally, liar, as I do despise one that is false ; or, as I mine host of the Garter. despise one that is not true. The knight, Sir Page. We three, to hear it, and end it between Jobn, is there ; and, I beseech you, be ruled by them. your well-willers. I will peat the door (knocks) Eva. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in for master Page. What, hoa ! Got pless your my note-book ; and we will afterwards 'ork house here !

upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we

can. Enter Page.

Fal. Pistol, Page. Who's there?

Pist. He hears with ears. Eva. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, Eva. The tevil and his tam ! what phrase is and justice Sballow : and here young master this, He hears with ears! Why, it is affectaSlender; that peradventures shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.

| Fal. Pistol, did you pick master Slepder's Page. I am glad to see your worship's well: 1 purse! tbank you for my venison, master Shallow.

Slen. Ay, by these gloves, did he, (or I would Shal. Master Page, I am glad to see you :I might never come in mine own great chamber Much good do it your good heart! I wished your again else,) of seven groats in mill-sixpences, venison better : it was ill kill'd :--How doth good and two Edward shovel-boards, { that cost me mistress Page 1-and I love yon always with my two shillings and twopence a-piece of Yead heart, la ; with my heart.

Miller, by these gloves. Page. Sir, I thank you.

Fal. Is this true, Pistol ? Shal. Sir, I thank you ; by yea and no, I do. Eva. No ; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.

Page. I am glad to see you, good master Pist. Ha, tbou mountain-foreigner! - Sir Slender.

Jobn, and master mine,
Slen. How does your fallow greyhound, Sir! I combat cballenge of this latten bilbo : "*
I heard say, he was out-run on Cotsale. +

Word of denial in thy labras it here ;
Page. It could not be judg'd, Sir.

Word of denial ; froth and scum, thou liest. Slen. You'll not confess, you'll not confess. Slen. By these gloves, then 'twas be.

Shal. That he will not; 'tis your fault, 'tis Nym. Be advised, Sir, and pass good hu your fault :-Tis a good dog.

mours: I will say, marry trap, with you, if you Page. A cur, Sir.

run the nuthook's It humours on me ; that is the Shal. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog ; / very note of it. Can there be more said? ue is good and fair. Šlen. By this bat, then he in the red face bad Is Sir John Falstaff here?

it : for though I cannot remember wbat I did Page. Sir, he is within ; and I would I could when you made me drunk, yet I am not aitoge. do a good office between you.

her an ass. Eva. It is spoke as a Christians ought to Fal. What say you, Scarlet and John ? speak.

Bard. Why, Sir, for my part, I say, the Shal. He bath wrong'd me, master Page. gentleman had drunk bimself out of his five Page. Sir, he doth in some sort confess it. sentences.

Shal. If it be confess'd, it is not redress'd ; is Eva. It is bis five senses : fie, what the ignonot that so, master Page 1 He hath wrong'arance is ! me ; indeed, he hath ;-at a word, he bath; Bard. And being rap, 5ý Sir, was, as they believe me ;-Robert Sballow, esquire, saith he say, casbier'd ; and so conclusions pass'd the is wrong'd.

careires. 18 Page. Here comes Sir John.

Slen. Ay, you spake in Latin then too ; but

'tis no matter : I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live Enter Sir John FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYM, again, but in honest, civil, godly company, for and PISTOL.

this trick : if I be drunk, i'll be drunk with Fal. Now, master Shallow ; you'll complain those that have the fear of God, and not with 'n me to the king ?

drunken knaves. Shal. Knight, you bave beaten my men, killed Eva. So Got 'udge me, that is a virtuous my deer, and broke open my lodge.

mind. Fal. But not kias'd your keeper's daughter? Shal. Tut, a pin ! this shall be answer'd.

• Worts was the ancient name of all the cabbage kind

+ Sharpers were called coney-catchers. Fal. I will answer it straight ;-1 have done

1 Nothing but paring all this :-That is now answer'd.

The name of a familiar spirit in the old story of Shal. The council shall know this.

Faust.

1 Few words. 9 King Edward's shillings, used in the game of shuffle-board.

• Blade as thin as a lath • Soft.

++ Lips. 11 If you say I am a thief Drunk, + Cotswold in Gloucestershire

06 The bounds of pood bebaviour

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Shal. That is now apsugut;-I have

Fal. You hear all these matters desied, gen. 1 Slen. Ay, or else I would I might be hanged, la, tlemen ; you hear it.

Re-enter ANNE PAGE. Enter Mistress ANNE Page with wine ; Mis! Shal. Here comes fair mistress Anne: tress Ford and Mistress PAGE following. Would I were young, for your sake, inistress Anne!

Page. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in ; we'li Anne. The dinner is on the table; my father drink within

[Exit ANNE PAGE. desires your worst

desires your worship's company. Slen. O heavens! this is mistress Anne Page. Shal. I will wait on binı, fair mistress Anne. Page. How now, mistress Ford ?

Eva. Od's plessed will;' I will not be abFal. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very sence at the grace. well met: by your leave, good mistress.

[E.reunt SHALLOW and Sir H. EVANS.

Kissing her. Anne. Will't please your worsbip to come Page. Wise, bid tbese gentlemen welcome :- in, Sir. Come we have a hot venison pasty to dinner ; Slen. No, I thank you, forsooth, beartily; I come, gentlemen, I bope we shall drink down am very well. all unkindness.

Anne. The dinner attends you, Sir, [Exeunt all but SHALLOW, SLENDER, and Slen, I am not a-bungry, I thank you, for EVANS.

sooth : Go, sirrah, for all you are my man, go, Slen. I had rather than forty shillings. I had wait upon my cousin Shallow : (Exit SIMPLE. my book of Songs and Sonnets here :-

A justice of peace sometime may be beholden

to his friend for a man :- 1 keep but three men Enter SIMPLE.

and a boy yet, till my mother be dead : But How now, Simple ! where have you been what though ; yet I live like a poor gentleman must wait on myself, must 11 You have not born. The Book of Riddles about you, have you?

Anne. I may not go in without your worship : Sim. Book of Riddles ! why, did you not lend they will not sit till you come. it to Alice Shortcake upon Allhallowmas last, Slen. l'faith, I'll eat nothing ; I thank you a fortnight afore Michaelmas ? •

as much as though I did. Shal. Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for Anne. I pray you, Sir, walk in. you. A word with you, coz: marry, this, coz :1 Slen. I had rather walk here. I thank you : There is, as 'twere, a tender, a kind of tender, I bruised my shin the other day with playing made afar off by Sir Hugb here ;-Do you un at sword and dagger with a master of fence, derstand me?

three veneys. for a dish of stewed prunes ; Slen. Ay, Sir, you shall find me reasonable ; and by my troth, I cannot abide the smell of if it be so, I shall do that that is reason.

hot meat since. Why do your dogs bark so I Shal. Nay, but understand me.

be there bears i' the town? Slen. So I do, Sir.

Anne. I think there are, Sir ; I heard them Eva, Give ear to his motions, master Slender : talked of. I will description the matter to you, if you be! Slen. I love the sport well ; but I shall as capacity of it.

soon quarrel at it, as any man in England.Slen. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow You are afraid, if you see the bear loose, are says : I pray you, pardon me; he's a justice of you not? peace in his country, simple though I stand here. Anne, Aye indeed, Sir.

Eva. But that is not the question ; tbe question Slen. That's meat and drink to me now: 1 is concerning your marriage.

have seen Sackerson + loose twenty times; and Shal. Ay, there's the point, Sir.

have taken him by the chain : but, I warrant Eva. Marry, is it; the very point of it; to you, the women have so cried and shriek'd at mistress Anne Page

it, that it pass'd : 1-but women, indeed, canSlen, Why, ir it be so, I will marry her, upon uot abide 'em; they are very ill favoured any reasonable demands.

rough things. Eva. But can you affection the 'aman 1 Let us command to know that of your mouth, or of

Re-enter PAGE. your lips; for divers philosophers hold, that Rage. Come, gentle master Slender, come ; the lips is parcel of the mouth :-Therefore, we stay for you. precisely, can you carry your good will to the Slen. I'll eat nothing ; I thank you, Sir. maid?

Page. By cock and pye, ý you shall not choose, Shal. Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love Sir: come, come. her 1

Slen. Nay, pray you, lead the way. Slen. I hope, Sir,- [ will do as it shall be Page. Come on, Sir. come one that would do reason.

Slen. Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first. Eva. Nay, Got's lords and bis ladies, you Anne. Not I, Sir ; pray you keep on. must speak possitable, if you can carry ber Slen. Truly, I will not go first ; truly, la : 1 your desires towards her.

will not do you that wrong. Shal. That you must: Will you, upon good Anne. I pray, you, Sir. dowry, marry her ?

Slen. P'll rather be unmannerly than troubleSlen. I will do a greater tbing than that, upon some : you do yourself wrong, indeed, la. your request, cousin, in any reason.

[Exeunt. Shal. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz; wbat I do, is to pleasure you, coz: Can

SCENE II.-The same. you love the maid ?

Slen. I will marry her, Sir, at your request ; Enter Sir Hugh Evans and SIMPLE. but if there be no great love in the beginning,

Eva. Go your ways, and ask of Doctor Caius's yet beaven may decrease it upon better ac

house, which is the way: and there dwells one quaintance, when we are married, and have

mistress Quickly, which is in the manner of his more occasion to know one another : I hope,

dry nurse, or his cook, or his laundry, his washer, upon familiarity will grow more contempt :

and his wringer. but if you say, marry her, I will marry her,

Simp. Well, Sir. that I am freely dissolv'd, and dissolutely.

Eva. Nay, it is petter yet :- give her this Era. It is a ferry discretion answer ; save,

letter; for it is a 'oman that altogether's ac. the faul' is in the 'ort dissolutely : the 'ort is, according to our meaning, resolutely ;-his 19

hid quaintance with mistress Anne Page ; and the meaniog is good.

Three set-to's, bouts, or hits. Shal. Ay, I think my cousin meant well.

The name of a bear exhibited at Paris-Garden in Southwark.

1 Surpassed all expression.

A common adjuration, and a corruption of the se. • An intended blunder.

cred Name in the old Moralities.

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