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man herself; I had other things to have spoken with
her too, from him.

Fal. What are they? let us know.
Hoft. Ay, coine ; quick.
Simp. I may not conceal them, fir.
Fal. Conceal them, or thou dy'st. :

Simp. Why, fir, they were nothing but about mistress Anne Page; to know, if it were my master's fortune to have her, or no,

Fal. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.
Simp. What, fir ?

Fal. To have her-or no: Go; say the woman told me so.

Simp. May I be so bold to say so, fir'?
Fal. Ay, fir Tike; like who more bold.

Simp. I thank your worship : I shall make my master glad with these tidings.

[Exit Simple. Hoft. Thou art clerkly”, thou art clerkly, fir John : Was there a wise woman with thee?

Fal. Ay, that there was, mine hoft; one, that hath taught me more wit than ever I learn'd before in my life: and I paid nothing for it neither, but was. paid for my learning.

Enier Bardolph.
Bard. Out, alas, fir! cozenage! meer cozenage !

Simple. May I be so bold to say so, fir? Falstaft. Ay, fir, like who more bold.] In the first edition, the latter speech stands :

I Tike, who more bolde. And should plainly be read here, Ay, fir Tike, &c. FARMER.

2 - clerkly, -]i. e, scholar-like. So, in the Two Gentlemen of Verona :

16 'Tis very clerkly done. STEEVENS. 3 I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning.) He alludes to the beating which he had just received. The same play on words occurs in Cymbeline, act V. "

sorry you have paid too much, and sorry that you are paid too much.”



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Hoft. Where be my horses ? speak well of them, varletto.

Bard. Run away with the cozeners : for so soon as I came beyond Eaton, they threw me off, from behind one of them, in a sough of mire; and set spurs, and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faus ftus's 4.

Hoft. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain : do not say, they are fled ; Germans are honest men,

Enter Sir Hugh Evans.
Eva. Where is mine host ?
Hoft. What is the matter, fir ?

Eva. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town, tells me, there is three couzin-germans, that has cozen'dall the hosts of Readings, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell you for good will, look you : you are wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-ftogs ; and 'tis not convenient you should be cozen'd: Fare you well,

[Exit, Enter Caius. Caius. Vere is mine Hos de Jarterre?

Hoft. Here, inafter doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma.

Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat: But it is tell-a-me, dat you make a grand preparation for a duke de Jamany: by my trot, dere is no duke, dat the court is know, to come : I tell you for good vill : adieu.

[Exit. Hoft. Hue and cry, villain, go! affist me, knight; I am undone:-fly, run, bue and cry, villain! I am undone!

[Exit, Fal. I would all the world might be cozen'd; for

+-three German devils, three Doctor Fauftus's. ] John Farfi, commonly called Doctor Fausus, was a German. STEEVENS.

I have been cozen'd, and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court, how I have been transform’d, and how my transformation hath been wash'd and cudgeld, they would inelt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermens' boots with me; I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crest-faln as a dry'd pear. I never prosper'd since I foreswore myself at s Primero. Well, if my wind were but long enough to say iny prayers, I would repent.

Enter Mistress Quickly. Now! whence come you?

Quic. From the two parties, forsooth.

Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestow'd! I have suffer'd more for their fakes, more, than the villainous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.

Quic. And have not they suffer'd ? yes, I warrant ; speciously one of thein ; mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.

Fal. What tell'st thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow ; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford ; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, counterfeiting the action of an old woman, deliver'd me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.


5- Primero.] A game at cards. Johnson. • fince I forefwore myself at Primero.] Primero was in Shakespeare's time the fashionable game. In the Earl of Northumberland's letters about the powder plot, Josc. Percy was playing at Primero on Sunday, when his uncle, the conspirator, called on hiin at Eflex House. This game is again mentioned in our author's Hen. VIII. Percy

o action of an old woman, —] What! was it any dexterity of wit in Sir John Falstaff to counterfeit the action of an old woman, in order to escape being apprehended for a witch? Surely, one would imagine, this was the readiest means to bring him into such a scrape : for none but old women have ever been suspected of being witches. The text must certainly be restor'd, a wood woman,

a crazy,

Quic. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber : you shall hear howthings go; and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will say fomewhat. Good hearts, ?what ado is here to bring you together! sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that'you are so cross'd. Fal. Come up into my chamber.


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Host. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is

heavy, I will give over all. Fent. Yet hear me speak: Affist me in my purpose, And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee A hundred pound in gold, more than your loss.

Hoft. I will hear you, master Fenton; and I will, at the least, keep your counsel.

Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page ;
Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection
(So far forth as herself might be her chuser)

a crazy, frantick woman ; one too wild, and Gilly, and unmeaning, to have either the malice, or mischievous subtlety of a witch in her. THEOBALD.

This emendation is received by Sir Thomas Hanmer, but rejected by Dr. Warburton. To me it appears reafonable enough.

JOHNSON. I am not certain that this change is necessary. Falstaff, by counterfeiting such weakness and infirmity, as would naturally be pitied in an old woman, averted the punishment to which he would otherwise have been subjected, on the fuppofition that he was a witch. STEEVENS.

? what ado is here to bring you together! - The great fault of this play is the frequency of expressions to profane, that no necessity of preserving character can justify them. There are laws of higher authority than those of criticism. JOHNSON.

Even to my wish : I have a letter from her
Of such contents as you will wonder at ;
The mirth whereof's so larded with my matter,
That neither, singly, can be manifested,
Without the shew of both : Fat fir John Falstaff
Hath a great scene ; the image of the jest 8

[Shewing a letter.
I'll shew you here at large. Hark, good mine host :
To-night at Herne's oak, just ’twixt twelve and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the fairy queen;
The purpose why, is here'; in which disguise,
While other jests are something rank on foot',
Her father hath commanded her to flip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eaton
Immediately to marry : she hath consented : now, sir,
Her mother, even strong against that match”,
And firm for doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
While other sports are talking of their minds 3,
And at the deanery, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her: to this her mother's plot
She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
Made promise to the doctor :-Now, thus it rests;
Her father means she shall be all in white;
And in that habit, when Slender sees his time

8 — the image of the jest] Image is representation. So, in K. Rich. III:

“ And liv'd by looking on his images." STEEVENS. 9-is here; ---- j i. e. in the letter. STEEVENS.

are some uhat rank on foot,] i. e. while they are hotly pursuing other merriment of their own. STEEVENS. 2 e ven strong against that match,] Thus the old copies. The modern editors read ever, but perhaps without neceility. Even strong, is as strong, with a similar degree of strength. So, in Hamlet : 6 even christian” is fellow christian. STEEVENS.

3- tasking of their minds,] So, in another play of our author :

- some things of weight
“ That talk our thoughts concerning us and France.”



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