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573 Hoft. Here, mafter Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma,

Cajus, I cannot tell vat is dat; but it is tell-a-me, dat you make a grand preparation for a Duke de Jamany; by my trot, der is no Duke, dat the Court is know, to come. I tell I tell you for good will; adieu.




Hoft. Hue and cry, villain, go! aflift me, Knight, I am undone; fly, run, hue and cry! Villain, I am undone !


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Fal. I would, all the world might be cozen'd, for I have been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the Court, how I have been tranfformed, and how my transformation hath been wash'd and cudgel'd, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boats with me. I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, 'till I were as creft-fall'n as a dry'd pear. I never profper'd fince I forfwore myfelf at Primero 2. Well, if my wind were but long enough to fay my prayers, I would repent.


Enter Miftrefs Quickly,

Now, whence come you?

Quic. From the two parties, forfooth.

Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and fo they fhall be both beftow'd. I have fuffer'd more for their fakes, more than the villainous inconftancy of man's difpofition is able to bear.

Quic. And have not they fuffer'd? yes, I warrant, fpecioufly one of them; miftrefs Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot fee a white fpot

about her.

2 Primero.] A game at cards.


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Fal. What tell'ft thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brainford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, counterfeiting the action of an old woman, deliver'd me, the knave conftable had fet me i'th ftocks, i'th' common stocks, for a witch.




Quic. Sir, let me speak with you in chamber; you thall hear how things go, and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will fay fomewhat. Good hearts, what ado is here to bring you together? fure, one of you does not ferve heav'n well, that you are fo crofs'd.

Fal. Come up. into my




Enter Fenton and Hoft.

Hoft. Mafter Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy,

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I will give over all.

Fent. Yet hear me fpeak; affift me in my purpose,
And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee
A hundred pounds in gold more than your lofs.

3 Action of an old Woman.] What! was it any Dexterity of Wit in Sir John Falstaff, to counterfeit the Action of an old Woman, in order to escape being apprehended for a Witch? Surely, one would imagine, This was the readieft Means to bring him into fuch a Scrape: for none

either the Malice or mifchievous Subtlety of a Witch in her, THEOBALD. This emendation is received by Sir Thomas Hanmer, but rejected by Dr. Warburton. To me it appears reafonable enough.

4 The great fault of this play is the frequency of expreffions but Old Women have ever been fane, that no neceffity of

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fufpected of being Witches. The
Text must certainly be reftor'd,
a wood Woman, a crazy, fran-
tick Woman; one too wild, and
filly, and unmeaning, to have


preferving character can juftify them. There are laws of higher authority than thofe of criticifm.


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Hoft. I will hear you, mafter Fenton; and I will, at the leaft, keep your counfel.

Fen. From time to time I have acquainted you.
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
Who, mutually, hath anfwer'd my affection
(So far forth as herself might be her chuser)
Ev'n to my wish. I have a letter from her
Of fuch contents, as you will wonder at;
The mirth whereof's fo larded with my matter,
That neither fingly can be manifested,
Without the fhew of both. Fat Sir John Falstaff
Hath a great Scene; the image of the jeft

[Shewing a letter.
I'll shew you here at large. Hark, good mine Hoft;
To night at Herne's Oak, juft 'twixt twelve and one,
Muft my sweet Nan prefent the Fairy Queen;
The purpose why, is here; in which difguife,
While other jefts are fomething rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to flip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eaton
Immediately to marry; fhe hath confented-



Her mother, ever ftrong against that match,
And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he fhall likewife fhuffle her away,
While other fports are tafking of their minds
And at the Deanry, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her; To this her mother's Plot
She, feemingly obedient, likewife hath
Made promife to the Doctor. Now, thus it refts;

Her father means fhe fhall be all in white,


And in that drefs when Slender fees his time
To take her by the hand, and bid her go,
She fhall go with him. Her mother hath intended,
The better to devote her to the Doctor,
(For they must all be mafk'd and vizarded)
That, quaint in green, fhe fhall be loofe enrob'd,
With ribbands-pendant, flaring 'bout her head;


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1. *.*

And when the doctor fpies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and on that token,
The maid hath given confent to go with him.
Hoft. Which means the to deceive? father or mo-


Fent. Both, my good Hoft, to go along with me;
And here it refts, that you'll procure the Vicar
To ftay for me at church, 'twixt twelve and one,
And in the lawful name of marrying,...
To give our hearts united ceremony.

Hoft. Well, hufband your device; I'll to the Vicar.
Bring you the maid, you fhall not lack a prieft.
Fent. So fhall I evermore be bound to thee;
Befides, I'll make a prefent recompence.


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Re-enter Falstaff and Miftrefs Quickly.

Fal. Pr'ythee, no more pratling. Go. I'll hold. This is the third time; I hope, good luck lyes in odd. numbers. Away, go; they fay, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.-Away.

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Quic. I'll provide you a chain, and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns. [Exit Mrs. Quickly. Fal. Away, I fay; time wears: hold up your head and mince.

Enter Ford.

How now, mafter Brook? mafter Brook, the matter
will be known to-night, or never. Be you in the
Park about midnight, at Herne's Oak, and you fhall
fee wonders.

Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, Sir, as you told me you had appointed?


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Fal. I went to her, mafter Brook, as you fee, like a poor old man; but I came from her, mafter Brook, like a poor old woman. That fame knave, Ford her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealoufy in him, mafter Brook, that ever govern'd frenzy. I will tell you; he beat me grievoufly, in the fhape of a woman; for in the fhape of a man, master Brook, I fear not Goliah with a weaver's beam; because I know alfo, life is a fhuttle; I am in hafte; go along with me; I'll tell you all, mafter Brook. Since I pluckt geefe, play'd truant, and whipt top, I knew not what 'twas to be beaten, 'till lately. Follow me, I'll tell you ftrange things of this knave Ford, on whom to night I will be reveng❜d, and I will deliver his wife into your hand-Follow; ftrange things in hand, master Brook! follow.. [Exeunt.


Windfor Park.

Enter Page, Shallow, and Slender.



OME, come; we'll couch i'th' castle-ditch, 'till we see the light of our fairies. Remember, for Slender, my daughter.

Slen. Ay, forfooth, I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word how to know one another. I come. to her in white, and cry, mum; the cries, budget; and by that we know one another.

Shal. That's good too; but what needs either your mum, or her budget? the white will decipher her well enough. It hath ftruck ten o'clock.


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