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Enter Justice Shallow, Slender, and Sir Hugh Evans.
Slen. In the county of Gloucester, Justice of peace, and Coram.
Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and Custalorum.
Slen. Ay, and Rato-lorum too; and a gentleman born, master parson, who writes, himself Armigero in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation ; Armigero.
Shal. (a) This Play was written in the Author's beft and ripeft years, after Henry the Fourtb, by the command of Queen Elizabeth. There is a tradition that it was compos'd at a fortnight's warning. But shar must be meant only of the first imperfea skeicb of this Comedv, which is yet extant in an old. Quarto edition, printed'in 1619. This which we bere have, was alter'd and improv'd by the Author almost in every speech.
Shal. Ay, that I do, and have done any time these three hundred years.
Slen. All his fucceffors, gone before him, have don't ; and all his ancestors that come after him may; they may give the dozen white luces in their coat.
Sbal. It is an old coat.
Eva. The dozen white lowses do become an old coat well; it agrees well passant; it is a familiar beast to man, and signifies love.
Sbal. The luce is the fresh-fish, the falt-fith is an old coat.
Slen. I may quarter, coz.
Sbal. Not a whit. · Eva. Yes, per-lady; if he has a quarter of your coat, there is but three skirts for your self, in my simple conjectures; but that is all one: if Sir John Faltaf have committed disparagements upon you, I am of the church, and will be glad to do my benevolence, to make atonements and compromises between you.
Shal. The council shall hear it, it is a riot.
Eva. It is not meet the council hear of a riot; there is no fear of Got in a riot : the council, look you, shall desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot ; take you viza-ments in that.
Sbal. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the fword Thould end it.
Eva. It is petter that friends is the sword that end it; and there is also another device in my prain, which peradventure prings good discretions with it: there is Anne Page, which is daughter to master 'George Page, which is pretty virginity.
Slen. Mistress Anne Page? she has brown hair, and Speaks like a woman.
Eva. It is that ferry person for all the orld, as just as you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of monies,
and i Thomas ... old edit. Theob. emend.
and gold and silver, is her grand-fire upon his death’s-bed (Got deliver to a joyful resurrections) give when she is able to overtake seventeen years old : it were a good motion, if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage between master Abraham and mistress Anne Page.
Slen. Did her grand-fire leave her seven hundred pound? Eva. Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny, Slen. I know the young gentlewoman; she has good gifts. Eva. Seven hundred pounds, and possibility, is goot gifts. Sbal. Well ; let us see honest Mr. Page: is Falstaff there?
Eva. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar as I do despise one that is false; or as I despise one that is not true. The Knight Sir John is there; and I beseech you, be ruled by your well-wishers. I will peat the door [Knocks.] for master Page. What, hoa? Got bless
your house here.
Enter Mr. Page. Page. Who's there?
Eva. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and Justice Shallow; and here's young master Slender ; that peradventures shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.
Page. I am glad to see your worships well. I thank you for my venison, master Shallow.
Shal. Master Page, I am glad to see you; much good do it your good heart: I wish'd your venison better; it was ill kill'd. How doth good 'mistress Page? and I thank you always with my heart, la; with my heart,
Page. Sir, I thank you.
Slen. How do's your fallow greyhound, Sir? I heard say, he was out-run on Cotfale.
Page. It could not be judg’d, Sir.
Shal. That he will not ; 'tis your fault, 'tis your fault ; 'tis a good dog.
Page. A cur, Sir.
Sbal. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog; can there be more said ? he is good and fair. Is Sir Fobn Falstaf here?
Page. Sir, he is within ; and I would I could do a good office between you,
Eva. It is spoke as a christians ought to speak.
Shal. If it be confess’d, it is not redress’d; is not that so, master Page? he hath wrong'd me; indeed he hath ; at a word he hath; believe me, Robert Shallow Esquire faith, he is wrong’d.
Page. Here comes Sir John.
Enter Sir John Falstaff, Bardolph, Nym and Pistol.
Fal. Now, master Shallow, you'll complain of me to the king? Shal. Knight, you have beaten
my deer, and broke open my lodge.
Fal. But not kiss'd your keeper's daughter.
Fal. I will answer it strait: I have done all this. That is now answer'd.
Shal. The council shall know this.
Fal. 'Twere better for you if 'twere not known in council; you'll be laugh'd at.
Eva. Pauca verba, Sir John, good worts.
Fal. Good worts? good cabbage. Slender, I broke your head: what matter have you against me?
Slen. Marry, Sir, I have matter in my head against you, and against your cony-catching rascals, Bardolpb, Nom and Piftol. Bar. You Banbury cheefe!
Slen. Ay, it is no matter.
Nym. Slice, I say, pauca, pauca: Nice, that's my humour.
Slen. Where's Simple my man? can you tell, cousin?
Eva. Peace: I pray you: now let us understand; there is three umpires in this matter, as I understand, that is, master Page, fidelicet master Page; and there is my self, fidelicet my self; and the third party is, lastly and finally, mine host of the garter.
Page. We three to hear it, and end it between them.
Eva. Ferry goot; I will make a prief of it in my notebook, and we will afterwards ork upon the cause with as great discretions as we can.
Eva. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, he hears with ear? why, it is affectations.
Fal. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse?
Slen. Ay, by these gloves, did he, or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else, of seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two pence a-piece, of Yead Miller; by these gloves.
Fal. Is this true, Pistol?
Pift. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner ! Sir John, and master
Slen. By these gloves, then 'twas he.
Nym. Be advis'd, Sir, and pass good humours: I will Say marry trap with you, if you run the a nuthooks-humour on me; that is the very note of it.
Slen. (a) Nuthook was a word of reproach in the vulgar way and in the Cant Arain. In the second part of Hen. 4. Dol Tearsheet says to the Beadle, Nuthook, Núthook! you lic. Probably it was a name giver to a Baylif or Catchpole, very odious to the common people,