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Duke. The more degenerate and base art thou,
Val. I thank your Grace; the gift hath made me happy.
Duke. I grant it for thine own, whate'er it be.
Val. These banish'd men, that I have kept withal,
Duke. Thou hast prevailid, I pardon them and thee;
Val. And as we walk along, I dare be bold
Duke. I think, the boy hath grace in him; he blushes.
Val. Please you, I'll tell you as we pass along,
SIR John Falstaff.
Mrs. Anne Page.
two Gentlemen, dwelling at Windsor.
Mrs. Page, Wife to Mr. Page.
Servants to Page, Ford, &c.
SCENE, Windfor : and the Parts adjacent.
(1) MERRY WIVES of Windsor.
А ст. І.
SCENE, before Page's House in Windsor.
Enter Justice Shallow, Slender, and Sir Hugh Evans.
SH ALLOW. IR Hugh, perswade me not; I will make a Star-Chamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir John Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, Esq;
Slen. In the county of Gloucester, justice of peace, and Coram,
, Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and Cuffalorum. (1)
. The Merry Wives of Windsor.] Queen Elizabeth was so well pleas’d with the admirable Character of Falstaff in the Two Parts of Henry IV, that, as Mr. Rowe informs us, She commanded Shakespeare to continue it for one Play more, and to thew him in Love. To this Command We owe this Comedy of the Merry Wives of Windsor : which, Mr. Gildon says, he was very well affur’d, our Author finish'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 seventeen years after Queen Elizabeth's Death, does 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, I presume, Mr. Pope never law ;) printed in 1602 ; which says in the Title-page - As it hath been diverse times acted both before her Majesty and elsewhere. The Reader will find the Title of this old Play at length, in my Catalogue of Editions prefix'd to this work.