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Sir John Falstaff.
Mrs. Ann Page.
Mrs. Page, Wife to Mr. Page.
Servants to Page, Ford, &c.
SCENE, Windsor; and the Parts adjacent,
A C T I. SCENE, before Page's House in Windsor. Enter Justice Shallow, Slender, and Sir Hugh Evans.
IR Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Starchamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir John
Falstafs, he thall not abuse Robert Shallow, Esq; Slen. In the county of Gloucester, juitice of peace, and Coram.
(1) The Merry Wives of Windsor.] Queen Elizabeth was so well pleas'd with the admirable character of Falsaff in the Two Parts of Henry IV, that, as Mr. Rore informs us, the commanded Shakejpeare 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 obferv’d, of the first imperfect sketch of this comedy, printed in 1619. The notice of a play, publish'd seventeen years after Qucen 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 saw ;) printed in 1692; which says in the title page As it bath been diverse times a&tid both before her Majesty and elje wbere. The reader will find the title of this old play at length, in iny cata. logue of editions prefix'd to this work.