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Bard. Why, Sir, for my part, I fay, the gentleman had drunk himfelf out of his five fentences.

Eva. It is his five fenfes: fie, what the Ignorance is! Bard. And being fap, Sir, was, as they fay, cafhier'd; and fo conclufions paft the car-eires *.

Slen. Ay, you fpake in Latin then too; but 'tis no matter; I'll never be drunk whilft I live again, but in honeft, civil, godly company, for this trick: if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with thofe that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.

Eva. So Got udg me, that is a virtuous mind. Fal. You hear all these matters deny'd, gentlemen; you hear it.

Enter Mistress Anne Page, with winę.

Page. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll drink within. [Exit Anne Page, Slen. O heav'n! this is miftrefs Anne Page.

Enter Mistress Ford and Miftrefs Page.

Page. How now, miftrefs Ford?

Fal. Miftrefs Ford, by my troth, you are very well met; by your leave, good miftrefs. [Kiffing her. Page. Wife, bid thefe gentlemen welcome: come, we have a hot venifon pafty to dinner; come, gentle, men; I hope, we fhall drink down all unkindness. [Exe. Fal. Page, &c.


Manent Shallow, Evans, and Slender.

Slen. I had rather than forty fhillings, I had my book of fongs and fonnets here.

Enter Simple.

How now, Simple, where have you been? I must wait

*Careires.] I believe this fion means,

ftrange word is nothing but the French cariere, and the expref

that the common

bounds of good behaviour were overpafed.



on myself, must I? you have not the book of riddlesabout you, have you?


Simp. Book of riddles! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake upon Allhallowmas laft, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ?

Shal. Come, coz; come, coz; we ftay 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 fo, I fhall do that that is reafon.

Shal. Nay, but understand me.

Slen. So I do, Sir.

Eva. Give ear to his motions, Mr. Slender: I will defcription the matter to you, if you be capacity of it. Slen. Nay, I will do, as my coufin Shallow fays: I pray you, pardon me; he's a Juftice of peace in his country, fimple tho' I ftand here.

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

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

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

Slen. Why, if it be fo, I will marry her upon any reafonable demands.

Eva. But can you affection the 'oman? let us command to know that of your mouth, or of your lips; for divers philofophers hold, that the lips is parcel of

and marking how the Seafons. run and therefore I have ventur'd to fufpect our Poet wrote

3 upon Allhallowmas laft, a fortnight afore Michaelmas.] Sure, Simple's a little out in his Reckoning. Allhallowmas is al-Martlemas, as the Vulgar call it: moft five Weeks after Michael

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which is near a fortnight after All Saints Day, i. e. eleven Days, both inclufive. THEOBALD.

This correction, thus feriously and wifely enforced, is received by Sir Tho. Hanmer, but probably Shakespeare intended a blunder.


the mind, therefore precifely, can you carry your good Will to the maid?

Shal. Coufin Abraham Slender, can you love her? Slen. I hope, Sir, I will do, as it fhall become one that would do reason.

Eva. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies, you must fpeak poffitable, if you can carry her your defires towards her.

Shal. That you must: will you, upon good dowry, marry her?

Slen. I will do a greater thing than that upon your requeft, coufin, in any reafon.

Shal. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, fweet coz, what I do, is to pleasure you, coz; can you love the maid?

Slen. I will marry her, Sir, at your request: but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heav'n may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are marry'd, and have more occafion to know one another: I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt: but if you fay, marry her, I will marry her, that I am freely diffolved, and diffolutely.


Eva. It is a ferry discretion answer, fave, the fall iş in th'ort diffolutely: the ort is, according to our meaning, refolutely; his meaning is good.

Shal. Ay, I think, my coufin meant well.
Shen. Ay, or elfe I would I might be hang'd, la.

I hope upon Familiarity will grow more Content :] Certainly, the Editors in their Sagacity have murder'd a Jeft here. it is defign'd, no doubt, that Slender fhould fay decreafe, infead of increafe, and diffolved, difelutely, instead of refolved and

refolutely: but to make him fay, on the prefent Occafion, that upon Familiarity will grow more Content, inftead of Contempt, is difarming the Sentiment of all its Salt and Humour, and difappointing the Audience of a reafonable Caufe for Laughter.




Enter Miftrefs Anne Page.

Shal. Here comes fair miftrefs Anne: 'would, I were young for your fake, miftrefs Anne!

Anne. The dinner is on the table; my father defires your worship's company.

Shal. I will wait on him, fair miftrefs Anne.

Eva. Od's pleffed will, I will not be absence at the Grace. [Ex. Shallow and Evans. Anne. Will't please your worship to come in, Sir? Slen. No, I thank you, forfooth, heartily; I am very well.

Anne. The dinner attends you, Sir.


Slen. I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forfooth. Go, Sirrah, for all you are my man, go wait upon my coufin Shallow: [Ex. Simple.] A Juftice of peace fometime may be beholden to his friend for a man. keep but three men and a boy yet, 'till my mother be dead; but what though, yet I live like a poor gentleman born.

Anne. I may not go in without your worship; they will not fit, 'till you come.

Slen. I'faith, I'll eat nothing: I thank you as much as though I did.

Anne. I pray you, Sir, walk in.

Slen. I had rather walk here, I thank you: I bruis'd my fhin th❜other day with playing at fword and dagger with a master of fence, three veneys for a difh of ftew'd prunes; and, by my troth, I cannot abide the fmell of hot meat fince. Why do your dogs bark fo? be there bears i'th' town?

Anne. I think, there are, Sir; I heard them talk'dof.

Slen. I love the fport well, but I fhall as foon quar


rel at it as my man in England. You are afraid, if you fee the bear loofe, are you not?

Anne. Ay, indeed, Sir.

Slen. That's meat and drink to me now; I have feen Sackerfon locfe twenty times, and have taken him by the chain; but I warrant you, the women have so cry'd and fhriek'd at it, that it paft; but women, indeed, cannot abide 'em, they are very ill-favour'd rough things.

Enter Mr. Page.

Page. Come, gentle Mr. Slender, come; we ftay for


Slen. I'll eat nothing, I thank you, Sir.

Page. By cock and pye, you shall not chufe, Sir;

come; come.

Sten. Nay, pray you, lead the way.

Page. Come on, Sir.

Slen. Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first.
Anne. Not I, Sir; pray you, keep on.

Slen. Truly, I will not go first, truly-la: I will not

do you that wrong.

Anne. I pray you, Sir.

Slen. I'll rather be unmannerly, than troublesome; you do yourself wrong, indeed-la.


Re-enter Evans and Simple.


Eva. Go your ways, and afk of Doctor Caius' houfe which is the way; and there dwells one mistress Quickly, which is in the manner of his nurse, or his dry

5 that it past:-] It paft, or this paffes, was a way of fpeaking cuftomary heretofore, to fignify the excess, or extraordinary degree of any thing. The

fentence completed would be, This paffes all expreffion, or perhaps, This paffes all things. We ftill ufe paffing well, paffing frange.


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