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Sir John Falstaff.
Mrs. Ann Page.
Servants to Page, Ford, &c.
SCENE, Windsor: and the Parts adjacent.
Τ Η Ε
(1) MERRY Wives of WINDSOR.
A C T I.
SCENE, before Page's House in Windfir. Enter Justice Shallow, Slender, and Sir Hugh Evans,
SHALLOW. IR Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Starchamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir John
Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, Efq; Slen. In the county of Gloucester, justice of peace, and Coram..
(1) The Merry Wives of Windsor. ] Queen Elizabeth was so well pleas'd with the admirable character of Falsaf in the Two l'arts of Henry IV, that, as Mr. Rowe informs us, me commanded Shakespeare to continue it for one play more, and t) shew him in love. To this command we owe this comedy of the Merry Wives of Windjor: which, Mr, Gildon says, he was very well aflur'd, our Author finiih'd in a fortnight. But this must be meant only, as Mr. Pope has observ'd, of the first imperfect sketch of this comedy, printed in 1619. The notice of a play, publish'd feventeen years after Queen Elizabeth's Jeuth, dres no ways come in support of the tradition, that it was perform'd for that Princess's entertainment. But I have another old quarto edition of this comedy, (which, 1 prefume, Mr. Pope never saw ;) printed in 1602; which says in the title-pageAs it bath been diverse times atid both before her Majesty and ell wbire. The reader will find the title this old play at length, in my caralogue of editions prefix'd to this work, L 2
Shal. Ay, coufin Slender, and Cuffalcrum.
Slen. Ay, and Rato-larum too; and a gentleman born, master parlon, who writes himself Armigero in ariy bill, warrant, quiuance, or obligation, armigero.
SbalAy, that I do, and have done any time these three hundred years.
Slen. All bis fucceffors, cone 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 oid coat,
Eva. The dozen white lowfes do become an old coat well, it agrees well, passant; it is a familiar beaft to man, and signifies love.
Shal. The luce is the fresh-fish, the salt-fifh is an old coat.
Eva. "Yes, per-lady'; if he has a quarter of your egat, there is but three skirts for yourself, in my fimple conjectures; but that is all one: if Sir John Falfaff 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. bi Shal. The council fhall hear it; it is a riot. is no fear of Got in a riot : the council, look you, Mall de fire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a tiot; take your viza-ments in that.
Skal. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the fword hould end it.
Eva. It is petter that friends is the sword, and end it; and there is also another device in my prain, which, peradventure, prings good discretions with it: there is Ann Page, (2) which is daughter to mafier George Page, which is pretty virginity,
0051 which is daugbter to-mafter Thomas Page,] The whole fet of editions have negligently blundes d one after another in Puge's chriftian name in this place; tho' Mss. Page calls him George Bitei wards in at least fix several passages.
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