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Quic. This is all, indeed-la; but I'll never put my finger in the fire, and need not.

Caius. Sir Hugh fend-a-you? Rugby, baillez me fome paper; tarry you a little while.

Quic. I am glad he is fo quiet; if he had been thoroughly moved, you should have heard him fo loud, and fo melancholy.-But notwithstanding, man, I'll do for your mafter what good I can; and the very yea and the no is, the French Doctor my mafter. (I may call him my mafter, look you, for I keep his house, and I wah, wring, brew, bake, fcour, drefs meat and drink, make the beds, and do all myself.)


Sim. 'Tis a great charge to come under one body's hand.

Quic. Are you a-vis'd o' that? you fhall find it a great charge; and to be up early and down late.-But notwithstanding, to tell you in your ear, I would have no words of it, my mafter himself is in love with mifrefs Anne Page; but, notwithstanding that, I know Anne's mind, that's neither here nor there.

Caius. You jack'nape; give-a this letter to Sir Hugh; by gar, it is a fhallenge: I will cut his throat in de parke, and I will teach a fcurvy jack-a-nape prieft to meddle or make -you may be gone; it is not good you tarry here; by gar, I will cut all his two ftones; by gar, he fhall not have a ftone to trow at his dog. [Exit Simple. Quic. Alas, he speaks but for his friend. Caius. It is no matter'a ver dat: do you not tell-a-me, dat I fhall have Anne Page for myself? by gar, I vill kill de jack prieft; and I have appointed mine hoft of de farterre to meafure our weapon; by gar, I will myfelf have Anne Page.

Quic. Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall be well: we muft give folks leave to prate; what, the goujere! Caius. Rugby, come to the Court with me; by gar, if I have not Anne Page, I fhall turn your

-follow my heels, Rugby. [Ex. Caius and Rugby. Quic. You fhall have An fools-head of your own. No, I know Anne's mind for that; never a Woman in Windfor knows more of Anne's mind than I do, nor can do more than I do with her, I thank heav'n.

Fent. (within.) Who's within there, hoa?

Quic. Who's there, I trow, come near the house pray you.


head out of my door;

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Enter Mr. Fenton.

Fent. How now, good woman, how doft thou?
Quic. The better, that it pleafes your good worship

to ask.

Fent. What news? how does

pretty mistress Anne? Quic. In truth, Sir, and the is pretty, and honeft, and gentle; and one that is your friend, I can tell you that by the way, I praise heav'n for it.

Fent. Shall I do any good, think'ft thou? fhall I not lose my fuit?

Quic. Troth, Sir, all is in his hands above; but notwithstanding, master Fenton, I'll be fworn on a book, fhe loves you-Have not your worship a wart above your eye?

Fent. Yes, marry, have I? and what of that?
Quic. Well, thereby hangs a tale; good faith, it is
fuch another Nan; but, I deteft, an honest maid as ever
broke bread; we had an hour's talk of that wart:-
I fhall never laugh but in that maid's company!-But,
indeed, she is given too much to allicholly and mufing;
but for you
-go to-
Fent. Well, I fhall fee her to day; hold, there's
mony for thee: let me have thy voice in my behalf;
if thou feeft her before me, commend me-

Quic. Will I? ay, faith, that we will: and I will
H h 4


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tell your worship more of the wart, the next time we have confidence, and of other wooers.

Fen. Well, farewel, I am in great hafte now. [Exit. Quic. Farewel to your worship. Truly, an honeft gentleman, but Anne loves him not; I know Anne's mind as well as another does. Out upon't, what have I forgot?




Before Page's House.

Enter Mrs. Page, with a Letter.

Mrs. PAGE.

HAT, have I fcap'd love-letters in the holyday-time of my beauty, and am I now a fubject for them? let me fee:


Afk me no reason, why I love you; for tho' love ufe reafon for his precifians, he admits him not for his counfellor you are not young, no more am I; go to then,


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there's fympathy: you are merry, fo am I; ha! ba! then there's more fympathy; you love fuck, and fo do I; would you defire better fympathy? let it fuffice thee, miftrefs Page, at the least if the love of a foldier can fuffice, that I love thee. I will not fay, pity me, 'tis not a foldier-like phrafe; but I fay, love me:

By me, thine own true Knight,
By day or night,
Or any kind of light,
With all his might,
For thee to fight.

John Falstaff.

What a Herod of Jewry is this? O wicked, wicked world! one that is well nigh worn to pieces with age, to fhow himself a young gallant! what unweigh'd behaviour hath this Flemish drunkard pickt, i'th' devil's name, out of my converfation, that he dares in this manner effay me? why, he hath not been thrice in my company what should I fay to him?—I was then frugal of my mirth-heav'n forgive me-Why, I'll exhibit a Bill in the Parliament for the putting down



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ceffarily read, -for the putting down of fat Men.Mrs. Ford fays in the very enfuing Scene, I shall think the worse of fat Men, as long as I have an Eye, &c. And in the old Quarto's, Mrs. Page, fo foon as she has read the Letter, fays, Well, I fall truft fat Men the worse, while I live, for his fake: And he is call'd, the fat Knight, the greafy Knight, by the Women, throughout the Play. THEOBALD.

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of men how fhall I be reveng'd on him? for reveng'd I will be, as fure as his guts are made of puddings.

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Enter Mrs. Ford.

Mrs. Ford. Mrs. Page, truft me, I was going to your houfe.


Mrs. Page. And trust me, I was coming to you; you look very ill.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, I'll ne'er believe that; I have to fhew to the contrary.

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Mrs. Page. 'Faith, but you do, in my mind.
Mrs. Ford. Well, I do then; yet I fay, I could


But how is the matter mended or the thought made lefs ridiculous? Shakespeare wrote, ・for the putting down of MUM, i, e. the fattening liquor, fo called. So Fletcher in his Wild goofe chafe: What a cold I have over my ftomach, would I had fome MUM This is truly humorous, and agrees with the character fhe had juft before given him of Flemish drunkard. But the greatest confirmation of this conjecture is the allufion the words, in queftion, bear to a matter then publickly tranfacting. The Merry Wives of Windfor appears to have been wrote in 1601, or very fhortly after. And we are informed by Sir Simon D'Ewes' Journal, that no home affair made more noife in and out of parliament at that time, than the fuppreffion and regulation of taverns, inns, ale-houses, ftrong liquors, and the drinkers

of them. In the Parliament held 1597, a bill was brought into both houses, For fuppreffing the Anmultitude of Maltfiers, &c. other, To refrain the exceffive making of Malt, and diforderly brewing of firong beer. Another, For regulation of Inns, Taverns, &c. In the next Parliament, held 1601, was a bill, For the fuppreffing of the multitude of Alebeufes and Tipling houfes. Another, Against exceffive and common drunkennefs; and feveral others of the fame nature. Some of which, after much canvaffing, were thrown out, and others paffed into Acts. WARBURT.

I do not fee that any alteration is neceffary, if it were, either of the foregoing conjectures might ferve the turn. But furely Mrs. Page may naturally enough, in the first heat of her anger, rail at the fex for the fault of one.




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