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to the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere, and keep place together, than the hundredth psalm to the tune of Green Sleves. What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with so many tun of oil in his belly, a’shore at Windsor ? how shall I be reveng'd on him? I think, the best way were to entertain him with hope, 'till the wicked fire of lust have melted him in his own grease. 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 myftery of ill opinions, here's the twin brother of thy letter; but let thine inherit first, for, I protest, mine never shall. I warrant, he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank-space for different names ; nay, more; and these are of the second edition; he will print them out of doubt, for he cares not what he puts into the press, when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles, ere one chaste 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 honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal for, sure, unless he knew some stain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in


this fury.

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

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

Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him, that may not fully the chariness of our honesty: oh, that my husband saw this letter! it would give eternal food to his jealousy,

Mrs. Page.

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 unmeasurable distance.

Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman.

Mrs. Page. Let's consult together against this greasy Knight. Come hither.

[They retiré. Enter Ford with Pistol, Page with Nym. Ford. Well, I hope it be not so.

*Pift. Hope is a curtail-dog in some affairs. Sir John affects thy wife.

Ford. Why, Sir, my wife is not young.
Pift. He wooes both high and low, both rich and

poor, 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 Ringwood at thy heels.---0, odicus is the name.

Ford. What name, Sir ?

Pift. The horn, I say: farewel. Take heed, have open eye; for thieves do foot by night. Take heed ere summer comes, or cuckoo-birds affright. Away, Sir corporal Nym. Believe it, Page, he speaks fense.

[Exit Pistol, Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this.

Nym. And this is true: I like not the humour of lying; he hath wrong'd me in fome humours: I should have borne the humour'd letter to her ; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your

wife; there's the short and the long. My name is corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch ; 'tis. true; my name is Nym, and Falstoff loves your wife. Adieu ; I love not the humour of bread and cheese : adieu.

[Exit Nym. Page. The humour of it, quoth a'! here's a fellow, frights humour out of its wits.

Ford. I will seek out for Falstaff.
Page. I never heard such a drawling, affe&ing rogue.
Vol. I.



Ford. If I do find it: well.

Page. (12) I will not believe such a Cataian, tho the priest o'th' town commended him for a true man.

Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow : well.

Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford come forwards.
Page. How now, Meg!
Mrs. Page. Whither go you, Gearge? hark you.

Mrs. Ford. How now, sweet Frank, why art thou melancholy?

Ford. I'mclancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you

home, go.

Mrs. Ford. Faith, thou haft fome crotchets in thy head. Now, will you go, mistress Page ?

Mrs. Page. Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George ? Look, who comes yonder ; the shall be our messenger to this paltry Knight.

(12) I will not believe such a Cataian, tho', &c.] This is a piece of satire, that did not want its force at the time of the play's appearing; tho'ihe history, on which it is grounded, is become obsolete, and loft to general knowledge. In the year 1575, Captain Martin Frolisher (who was afterwards knighted, for services against the Spanish Armada ;) being furnith'd with adventurers to the project, set out upon his discovery of a passage to Cataia, near China, by the North-wett seas. Having fail'd fixty degrees North-west beyond Friesland, he came to land upon a place inhabited by favages, from whence he brought a piece of black stone, like sea-coal, which, upon his return, being assayed by the goldsmiths, was judg’d to be very rich in gold-ore. This encourag'd him to a second voyage thither the next season; when he freighted two vefsels home with this black stone: and in 1578, his project was so risen in credit, that he fet fail a third time with fifteen good fhips; and freighted them all, homewards, out of the said mines. But, to see the odd fate that too often attends such discoveries ! Tho' the prospect of immense treasures was at first so plausible, that it was given out with certainty, Cataia was Solomon's Opbir; yet, on a severe trial, this boasted gold ore proved to be mere dross: and that falling short of the expected value, and the adventurers of their expected gains, the projeềt fell fo low in repute, that Cataians and Frobishers became bye words for such vain boaiters, as promis'd more than they could make out, and therefore deserv'd not to be credited.


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Enter Mistress Quickly.
Mrs. Ford. Trust me, I thought on her, she'll fit it.
Mrs. Page. You are come to see my daughter Ann?

Quit. Ay, forsooth; and, I pray, how does good mistress Ann?

Mrs. Page. Go in with us, and see; we have an hour's talk with you.

[Exe. Mrs. Page, Mrs. Ford, and Mrs. Quic.
Page. How now, master Ford ?
Ford. You heard what this knave told me, did you not?
Page. Yes; and you heard what the other told me ?
Ford. Doy

you think there is truth in them
Page. Hang 'em flaves; I do not think, the Knight
would offer it; but there, that accuse him in his intent
towards our wives, are a yoak of his discarded men;
very rogues, now they be out of service.

Ford. Were they his men ?
Page. Marry, were they.

Ford. I like it never the better for that. Does he lie at the Garter ?

Page. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend his voyage towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head.

Ford. 'I do not misdoubt my wife, but I would be loth to turn them together; a man may be too confident; I would have nothing lie on my head; I cannot be thus satisfied.

Page. Look, where my ranting Host of the Garter comes; there is either liquor in his pate, or money in his purse, when he looks so merrily. How nowz mine Hoft ?

Enter Host and Shallow. Hoft. How now, bully Rack? thou’rt a gentleman, cavalerio-justice, I say.

Shal. I follow, mine Hoft, I follow. Good even, and twenty, good master Page. Master Page, will you go with us ? we have sport in hand.


M 2

Hoft. 'Tell him, cavaliero-justice; tell him, bully Rock.

Shal. Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir Hugh the Welch priest, and Caius the French doctor.

Ford, Good mine Hoft o'th'Garter, a word with you. Hoft. What say'st thou, bully Rock ?

Shal. Will you go with us to behold it? my merry Hoft hath had the measuring of their weapons, and, I think, hath appointed them contrary places; for, believe me, I hear, the parson is no jefter. Hark, I will tell you

what our sport shall be. H. Hast thou no suit against my Knight, my guestcavalier ?

Ford. None, I proteft ; but I'll give you a pottle of burnt fack to give me recourse to him, (13) and tell him my name is Brook; only for a jest.

Hoft. My hand, bully: thou shalt have egress and regress; said I well ? and thy name shall be Broak. It is a merry Knight. (14) Will you go an-heirs ?

Shal. Have with you, mine Hoit.
Page. I have heard, the Frenchman hath good skill in

his rapier.

(13) And tell bim, my name is Brook ;] Thus both the old Quartes; and thus most certainly the Poet u rote. We need no better evidence, than the pun that Falfitaff anon makes on the name, when Brock sends him fome burnt lack.

Such Brooks are welcome to me, that overflow with such liquor, The Players, in their editions, alter'd the name to Broom : But how far that name will fort with that jest, is submitted to common fense. Their successors; however, of the stage (like the old priest, who had read mumpfimus in his breviary, instead of fumpfimus, too long to think of altering it;) continue to this day to call him, master Broom,

(14) Will you go an-heirs ?] I can make nothing of this reading, which hath posiels'd all the editions. The word is not to be traced : and, consequently, I am apt to suspect, must be corrupted. I should think, the Host meant to say, either,

Will you go on bere? Pointing out the way, which was to lead them to the combatants; as he afterwards says, Here, boys bere, bere : shall we wag? Or,

Will you go, myn-beers? i. e. my masters; both these make plain sense; and are not remote from the traces of the text : but, without some such alteration, the paffage seems utterly unintelligible to me,


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