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there's fympathy: you are merry, fo am I; ha! ha! 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 leaft 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 show 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



I was then frugal of my mirth, &c.] By breaking this fpeech into exclamations, the text may ftand; but I once thought it must be read, If I was not then frugal of my mirth.

7, a bill in the Parliament for the putting down of Men :-] What, Mrs. Page, put down the whole Species Unius ob noxam, for a fingle Offender's Trefpafs? Don't be fo unreasonable in your Anger. But 'tis a falfe Charge againit You. I am perfuaded, a fhort Monofyllable is dropt out, which, once reftor'd, would qua lify the Matter. We must ne


ceffarily read, for the putting down of fat Men. -Mrs. Ford fays in the very enfuing Scene, I shall think the worfe of fat Men, as

long as I have an Eye, &c. And in the old Quarto's, Mrs. Page, fo foon as fhe has read the Letter, fays, Well, I shall 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.

I'll exhibit a Bill in Par

liament for putting down of MEN :] Mr. Theobald fays, we must neceffarily read,

for putting down of fat


of men

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


Enter Mrs. Ford.

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

Mrs. Page. And truft 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.

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 régulation of taverns, inns, ale-houfes, ftrong liquors, and the drinkers

of them. In the Parliament held
1597, a bill was brought into
both houfes, For fuppreffing the
multitude of Maltfiers, &c. An-
other, To refrain the exceffive
making of Malt, and diforderly
brewing of frong beer. Another,
For regulation of Inns, Taverns,
&c. In the next Parliament, held
1601, was a bill, For the fup-
preffing of the multitude of Ale-
heufes and Tipling houfes.
other, Againft exceffive and com-
mon 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."


fhew you to the contrary: O miftrefs Page, give me fome counfel.

Mrs. Page. What's the matter, woman?

Mrs. Ford. O woman! if it were not for one trifling refpect, I could come to fuch honour.

Mrs. Page. Hang the trifle, woman, take the honour; what is it? difpenfe with trifles; what is it? Mrs. Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment, or fo, I could be knighted.

Mrs. Page. What?-thou lieft!-Sir Alice Ford!thefe Knights will hack, and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.

Mrs. Ford. We burn day-light-here, read-read. -perceive how I might be knighted-I fhall think the worfe of fat men, as long as I have an eye to make difference of men's liking; and yet he would not fwear; prais'd women's modefty; and give fuch orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I would have fworn his difpofition would have

8 What, thou lieft! Sir Alice Ford! thefe Knights will HACK, and fo thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.] The unintelligible nonfenfe of this fpeech is hardly to be matched.


change of a fingle letter has occafioned it, which is thus eafily removed. Read and point, Thefe Knights will LACK, and fo thou should not alter the article of thy gentry. The other had faid, I could be knighted, meaning, I could have a Knight for my lover; her companion took it in the other fenfe, of conferring the title, and fays, What, thou lieft! Sir Alice Ford!

thefe Knights will lack a title, [i. e. rifk the punishment of degradation] rather than not make a whore of thee. For we are to obferve that and f

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gone to the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere, and keep place together, than the hundredth Pfalm to the tune of Green Sleeves. What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with fo many ton of oil in his belly, a'fhore at Windfor? how fhall I be reveng'd on him? I think, the best way were to entertain him with hope, 'till the wicked fire of luft have melted him in his own greafe-Did you ever hear the like? Mrs. Page. Letter for letter, but that the name of Page and Ford differs. To thy great comfort in this mystery of ill opinions, here's the twin brother of thy letter; but let thine inherit first, for, I proteft, mine never fhall. I warrant he hath a thousand of thefe letters, writ with blank-fpace for different names; nay, more; and thefe are of the fecond edition; he will print them out of doubt, for he cares not what he puts into the prefs, when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantefs, and lye under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lafcivious turtles, ere one chafte man.

Mrs. Ford. Why, this is the very fame, the very hand, the very words; what doth he think of us?

Mrs. Page. Nay, I know not; it makes me almost ready to wrangle with mine own honefty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal; for, fure, unless he knew fome Stain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.

Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call it you? I'll be fure to keep him above deck,

Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never to fea again. Let's be reveng'd on him; let's appoint him a meeting, give him a fhow of comfort in his fuit, and lead him on with a fine baited delay, till he hath pawn'd his horfes to mine Hoft of the


* Prefs is used ambiguously, for a prefs to print, and a prefs to fqueeze.


Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will confent to act any villainy against him, that may not fully the charinefs of our honesty. Oh, that my husband saw this letter! it would give him eternal food to his jealoufy.

Mrs. Page. Why, look, where he comes, and my good man too; he's as far from jealousy, as I am from giving him cause; and that, I hope, is an unmeafurăble distance.

Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman.

Mrs. Page. Let's confult together against this greasy Knight. Come hither. [They retire.

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Enter Ford with Pistol, Page with Nym.

Ford. Well, I hope, it be not fo.

Pift. Hope is a curtail-dog in fome affairs.

Sir John affects thy wife.

Ford. Why, Sir, my wife is not young.

Pift. He wooes both high and low, both rich and


Both young and old, one with another, Ford;
He loves thy gally-mawfry, Ford, perpend.
Ford. Love my wife?

Pift. With liver burning hot: prevent, or go thou, like Sir Acteon, he, with Ring-wood at thy heels. O, odious is the name.

Ford. What name, Sir?

Pift. The horn, I fay: farewel.

Take heed, have open eye; for thieves do foot by night.

Take heed ere fummer comes, or cuckoo-birds affright. Away, Sir corporal Nym.

- curtail-dog] That is, a dog that miffes his game. The tail is counted neceffary to the agility of a greyhound, and one method of qualifying a dog according to the foreft laws, is to



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