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Sir Bril. Profligates? Love. Ay! both ! we are pretty fellows indeed 1 Mrs Bell. I am glad to find you are awakened to a sense of your error. Love. I am, madam, and am frank enough to own it. I am above attempting to disguise my feelings, when I am conscious they are on the side of truth and honour. With the sincerest remorse I ask your pardon.—I should ask pardon of my Lady Constant too, but the fact is, Sir Bashful threw the whole affair in my way; and, when a husband will be ashamed of loving a valuable woman, he must not be surprised if other jo. take her case into consideration, and love e

r for him.

Sir Bril. Why, faith, that does in some sort make his apology.

Sir Bash. Sir Bashfull Sir Bashful thou art ruined. [Aside.

Mrs Bell. Well, sir, upon certain terms, I don’t know but I may sign and seal your pardon. Love. Terms!—what terms ? Mrs Bell. That you make due expiation of your guilt to that lady. [Pointing to Mrs LovEMoRE. Love. That lady, ma'am!—That lady has no reason to complaim. Mrs Love. No reason to complain, Mr Lovemore ? Love. No, madam, none; for whatever may have been my imprudences, they have had their source in your conduct. Mrs Love. In my conduct, sir? Love. In your conduct:—I here declare before this company, and I am above misrepresenting the matter; I here declare, that no man in England could be better inclined to domestic happiness, if you, madam, on your part, had been willing to -make home agreeable. Mrs Love. There, I confess, he touches me. [Aside. Love. You could take pains enough before marriage; you could put forth all your charms; practise all your arts, and make your features please by rule; for ever changing; running an eternal round of variety; and all this to win my affections: but when you had won them, you did not think them worth your keeping; never dressed, pensive, silent, melancholy; and the only entertainment in my house was the dear pleasure of a dull conjugal tăte-à-lète; and all this insipidity, because you think the sole merit of a wife consists in her virtue: a fine way of amusing a husband, truly 1 Sir Bril. Upon my soul, and so it is— [Laughing. Mrs Love. Sir, I must own there is too much truth in what you say. This lady has opened my eyes, and convinced me there was a mistake in my former conduct. Love. Come, come, you need say no more. I forgive you; I forgive; Mrs Love. Forgive I like that air of confidence, when you know that, on my side, it is,

at worst, an error in judgment; whereas, on yours Mrs Bell. Po! po! never stand disputing: rou know each other's faults and virtues: you ve nothing to do but to mend the former, and #. the latter. There, there, kiss and friends. There, Mrs Lovemore, take your reclaimed libertine to your arms. Love. 'Tis in your power, madam, to make a reclaimed libertine of me indeed. Mrs Love. From this moment it shall be our mutual study to please each other. Love. A match, with all my heart. I shall hereafter be ashamed only of my follies, but never ashamed of owning that I imoy love you. Sir Bash. Sha’n’t you be ashamed : Love. Never, sir. Sir Bash. And will you keep mein countenance? Love. I will. Sir Bash. Give me your hand. I now forgive you all. My Lady Constant, I own the letter, I own the sentiments of it; [Embraces her.] and from this moment I take you to my heart.—Lovemore, zookers! you have made a man of me. Sir Brilliant, come; produce the buckles. Lady Cons. If you hold in this humour, Sir Bashful, our quarrels are at an end. Sir Bril. And now, I suppose, I must make restitution here— [Gives Lady CoNSTANT the buckles. Sir Bash, Ay, ay, make restitution. Lovemore! this is the consequence of his having some tolerable phrase, and a person, Mr Lovemore, ha!

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Sir Bril. Why, I own the laugh is against me. With all my heart; I am glad to see my friends happy at last. Lovemore, may I presume to hope for pardon at that o: hands [Points to Mrs LovEMoRE. Love. My dear confederate in vice, your pardon is granted. Two sad libertines we have been. But come, give us your hand: we have used each other scurvily: for the future we will endeavour to atone for the errors of our past misconduct. Sir Bril. Agreed; we will henceforward behave like men, who have not forgot the obligations of truth and honour. Love. And now I congratulate the whole company, that this business has had so happy a tendency to convince each of us of our folly. Mrs Bell. Pray, sir, don’t draw me into a share of your folly." Love. Come, come, my dear ma'am, you are not without your share of it. This will teach you, for the future, to be content with one lover at a time, without listening to a fellow you know nothing of, because he assumes a title, and spreads a fair report of himself Mrs Bell. The reproof is just, I grant it. Love. Come, let us join the company cheerfully, keep our own secrets, and not make ourselves the town-talk. Sir Bash. Ay, ay; let us keep the secret. Love. What, returning to your fears again you will put me out of countenance, Sir Bashful.

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[Mercury descends from the clouds, flying across the stage : re-enters, followed by a servant, carrying a counsellor’s gown and wig.]

A LA MERCURE, equipp'd from top to toe,
My godship's name and quality you know.
Commission'd from Apollo, I come down
To attend this bench of justices, the town;
Assembled here, all members of the quorum :
o lay a matter of complaint before 'em.
The errand's not in character, 'tis true;
But what our betters bid us, we must do.
Therefore, t'appear with decency at session,
I’ve stole, you see, the garb of the profession.
This gown and band belong to serjeant Prig–
And this—our brother Puzzle's learned wig.—
[Putting on the gown, &c.
Dress makes the man, sirs, vestis virum facit—
now to business—Hem!—sivestris placet—
May't please your worships—Forgery, which is
grown
To such a height as ne'er before was known—
I say, a forgery hath been committed,
By which king Pluto's myrmidons, outwitted,
Certain choice spirits, in theatric shape,
Have suffer'd from Elysium to escape;
Of Shakespeare's offspring an ideal train,
Sprung, Pallas-like, from an immortal brain |
Their names—I have 'em down—but, to be brief,
Shall only just enumerate the chief.
Imprimis, with Madeira swell’d, and sack,
There's Sir John Falstaff, alias call’d Plump Jack;
Next, Captain Pistol, a notorious bully;
And Miss Doll Tearsheet, famed for jilting cully;
The widow Quickly, vintner, bawd and whore,
With Bardolph, Peto, Nym, and—several more;

Link'd in a gang, each cut-purse with his crony,
All arrant thieves and Dramatis Persona: ;
Bent, as supposed, to prostitute to shame
Th’ aforesaid Shakespeare's honour, name, and
fame.
I shall not trespass on your worship's time,
To explain at full the nature of this crime:
But, poets having an exclusive right
To bring their mental progeny to light,
This right's invaded by the party 'peach'd;
Who, vi et armis, hath th' old bard o'er-reach'd;
By counterfeiting of his hand, do you see,
Feloniously to set these vagrants free;
With base design to adopt them for his own,
Though Shakespeare's property, and his alone.
Such is the fact. A critic were an ass,
No doubt, to let such imposition pass;
Nor could a cheat so palpable succeed,
But that the captain of the guard couldn't read—
Not he, for laughing, though to 've saved his soul;
The scene and circumstances were so droll.
Pistol, with yellow nightcap patch'd with red,
With mother Quickly was retired to bed;
And, waking, swore, by Styx, he would not come,
Sans preparation, pike and beat of drum.
Of aqua-vitae having stole a flaggon,
Bardolph and Nym were playing at snap-dragon;
Sometimes proceeding from hard words to blows,
As by mistake Nym seiz'd on Bardolph's nose.
With Falstaff sat Doll Tearsheet, cheek by joll,

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SCENE I-A Street in Westminster, on the Day of the Coronation of King Henry the Fifth.

Sir John FALSTAFF enters solus.

WHAT a scurvy quarter is this? Not a bush or a blind Cupid in the neighbourhood!’Sblood, my legs will fail me ere I reach a tavern. Phoo— Phoo—It is some comfort, however, I escaped with my life. The green-apron'd rascals, crowding after the procession, had well nigh made an end of me.

BARDOLPH enters. Bar. O, Sir John, I’m glad I have found ye. I was in the fearfullest quandary for you in the world. I hope your honour has got no hurt. Fal. Not its death's wound, I hope; though Hal, indeed, look’d somewhat cold upon me. Bar. Cold, Sir John I am a-fear'd we shall be in limbo shortly: for my lord chief justice— 'al. Hold thy ill-omen’d croaking. If faithful

services are thus requited, I will turn cordwain. er; yea, cobler, and heel-piece old shoes, erel have to do with blood o: Ingratitude: I hate it. Bar. To be sure, Sir John, what you say is right; for, as the song says, ingratitude is worse than the sin of witchcraft. But I hope your honour got no personable harm in the mob: you were carried off the terrace, for all the world like a dunghill from Mill-bank by a spring-tide. Fal. Bardolph, away with thy filthy comparisons; I am ill at ease, and more disposed to spleen than merriment. ... I pr’ythee look out, and see if there be a bawdy-house at hand. Bar. What here, so near the court, Sir John? Fal. Where better? 'Sblood, dost think there are no whores at court? Are there no dames of honour? Dost think Hal hath banish'd them too? Look out, look out. Bar. I will, Sir John. [Erit BAR. Fal. I would I were in East-cheap. Mine hos. tess hath a most excellent cordial; and I never

stood in more need of it than now. The gross indignity Hal hath put on me, sticks in my throat, and in the end, may go near to choak me. I shall never gulp it down: that’s flat; unless, indeed, a full cup of sherris help to clear the way. And then, i. I shall stomach it; how I shall digest it, Heaven knows! At present both my person and knighthood are in jeopardy; my lord chief justice, to whose care I am commended, holding me not altogether in good liking. But no matter—if I am to be provided for, what avails it who is my caterer? I could wish, nevertheless, old white wine stood higher in his lordship's favour; that I may not be stinted at table, or in my by-drinkings. I like not such splenetic temperaments; o: constitutions; grey-beards, that never make allowances for the continual waste of radical moisture-’Sblood, I am as foundered and as sore as a blind horse in a mill. Bardolph 1 where a plague art thou gotten to, caterwauling

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Quick. Godild ye, Sir John—Well, I vow and protest an I didn't say he would take as civil notice of his old acquaintance: nay, tho’f he was created by my i. mayor of London. Doll. What talk § of lord mayors and fusty citizens, gossip Quickly Sir John is a courtier, and to be sure we must gratulate him now as one of the greatest knights in the nation—O, sweet Sir John | Fal. Truce with yourformalities, Mrs Dorothy. Pray, have you seen none of your followers by the way Pistol, nor Peto? Quick. No verily, Sir John, not one.—We have seen nothing of any of them to-day. The are all gone to the coronation, I warrant; and, indeed, we should have been there too, hadn't it been for that wicked villain, constable Fang, that, by a mistake of the beadle of our ward, would have carried us to Bridewell this .."; Fal. How 1 mine hostess and my fair Dorothy

to Bridewell, I can assure ye.

Quick. Even to Bridewell, I can assure ye. Fal. But how ! how dame Quickly to Bridewell ? a decent church-going widow and a modest maiden, I should say single gentlewoman, to a house of corrections why, what— Quick. So I said, Sir John. Nuthook, Nuthook, says I, do you know what you do, says 13Have me to Bridewell, says I—I say to Bridewell, indeed! a ruptable housekeeper, that has paid scot and lot, and borne the burden of half the parish any time these twenty years Fal. That thou hast, hostess; of the male half, I’ll be sworn for thee. Quick. Beside, says I, do you know Sir John Falstaff! says I.--Touch a hair of Mrs Dorothy's

head, says I, and Sir John will make you smart for it, says I, every bone in your skin, * I. Fal. And what said the rascal to that: Quick. Said, Sir John he stood mumchance, and spoke never a living syllable, but set his vinegar-visaged catch-poles upon us; who fastened their claws into Mrs Tearsheet's best kirtle, and tore it into as many rents and tatters, as there were in the old tapestry hangings I pawn'd to fit your honour out for the last expedition. Fal. Pshaw " Doll. Yes indeed, Sir John, made a mere tatterdemallion of me. But we did so tongue the leather-ear'd vultures— Fal. That they were glad to lose their gripe to get rid of you, I suppose. Quick. Nay, Sir John, I was obliged to perduce an angel to convince them we were not the parties indicted. Fal. Infidel rogues I would nothing less than the testimony of an angel convince them : Quick. Ay, I knew how Sir John would take it.-O, how soundly will the knave constable be swinged for this a jack-in-office rascal we shall

cure the blue-skinn'd runnion of his itch for whip-.

ping, I warrant ye.

BARDOLPH re-enters.

Bar. I have been looking all about, Sir John, but I cannot find one. Quick. What isit Sir John wants, Mr.Bardolph? Bar. A bawdy-house, mistress. Quick. O Jesu-Maria! Mrs Dorothy. Fal. How, sirrah! what call'st thou a bawdyhouse? I sent thee to look out for a house of civil entertainment, where I might repose myself after my fatigue 2 Why, what, you rogue, would you make of me? Quick. Marry come up indeed; a bawdy-house truly 2 but as to a house of civil entertainment, Sir John, here is one hard by, where the knights and lords, and all the great gentlemen of the court, are entertained, both by night and by day, as civilly as at their own homes; and by gentlewomen as kind to them, I warrant ye, as their own ladies themselves.—A house of civil entertainment a bawdy-house? why I keep a house of civility myself, and I would have you to know, Mr Bardolph ; : Nay, nay, 'tis all one: what Sir John pleases. Quick. Yes, by m ought, for if Sir Jo king— Doll. Nay, were I Sir John, I’m sure I would never promote such a clown as Bardolph at court. Bar. Ah! Doll, Doll, I am afraid our promotion will be at the gallows. If Sir John has any interest with the hangman, he may get me preferr'd, perhaps, to the top of the ladder. Doll. Why, how now, varlet? J §k Do you hear? do you hear, sweet Sir Ond .

truly, and so I think it recommends you to the

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