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That quaint in green she shall be loose enrob'd,
With ribands pendant, flaring 'bout her head:
And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and, on that token,
The maid hath given consent to go with him.

Host. Which means she to deceive? father or mother?

Fent. Both, my good Host, to go along with me: And here it rests, that you'll procure the vicar To stay for me at church, 'twixt twelve and one, And, in the lawful name of marrying,

To give our hearts united ceremony.

Host. Well, husband your device: I'll to the vicar: Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest. Fent. So shall I evermore be bound to thee; Besides, I'll make a present recompense.



SCENE 1. A Room in the Garter Inn.


- go. - I'll

Fal. Pr'ythee, no more prattling; hold: This is the third time; I hope, good luck lies in odd numbers. Away, go; they say there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.Away.

Quick. I'll provide you a chain; and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns.

• Quaint, here, may mean neatly, or elegantly, which were ancient acceptations of the word, and not fantastically but either sense will suit.

Keep to the time.

Fal. Away I say; time wears: hold up your head and mince.2

[Exit Mrs. QUICKLY

Enter FORD.

How now, master Brook? Master Brook, the mat ter will be known to-night, or never. Be you in the Park about midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall see wonders.

Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, sir, as you told me you had appointed?

Fal. I went to her, master Brook, as you see, like a poor old man: but I came from her, master Brook, like a poor old woman. That same knave, Ford, her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, master Brook, that ever govern'd frenzy. I will tell you:- He beat me grievously, in the shape of a woman; for in the shape of man, master Brook, I fear not Goliah with a weaver's beam; because I know also, life is a shuttle." I am in haste: go along with me; I'll tell you all, master Brook. Since I pluck'd geese,' play'd truant, and whipp'd top, I knew not what 't was to be beaten, till lately. Follow me: I'll tell you strange things of this knave Ford; on whom to-night I will be revenged, and I will deliver his wife into your hand. Follow: Strange things in hand, master Brook! follow.


2 That is, walk: to mince signified to walk with affected delicacy.

An allusion to the Book of Job, c. vii. v. 6. "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle."

To strip a living goose of its feathers was form erly an act of puerile barbarity

SCENE II. Windsor Park.


Page. Come, come; we'll couch i' the castleditch, till we see the light of our fairies. - Remember, son Slender, my daughter.

Slen. Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word' how to know one another. I come to her in white, and cry "mum;" she cries budget;" and by that we know one another.


Shal. That's good too: But what needs either your "mum," or her " budget;" the white will decipher her well enough. It hath struck ten o'clock.

Page. The night is dark; light and spirits will become it well. Heaven prosper our sport! No man means evil but the devil, and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away; follow me. [Exeunt

SCENE III. A Street in Windsor.

Enter Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. FORD, and Dr. CAIUS.

Mrs. Page. Master doctor, my daughter is in green when you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the deanery, and despatch it quickly. Go before into the park: we tw must go together.

Caius. I know vat I have to do: Adieu.

Mrs. Page. Fare you well, sir. [Erit CAIUS.] My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff, as he will chafe at the doctor's marry

1 Watchword.

Page indirectly alludes to Falstaff, who was to have horns on his head.

ing my daughter: but 'tis no matter; better a little chiding, than a great deal of heart-break.

Mrs. Ford. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies and the Welch devil, Hugh?

Mrs. Page. They are all couch'd in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscur'd lights; which at the very instant of Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once display to the night.

Mrs. Ford. That cannot choose but amaze him. Mrs. Page. If he be not amaz'd, he will be mock'd; if he be amaz'd, he will every way be mock'd.

Mrs. Ford. We'll betray him finely.

Mrs. Page. Against such lewdsters, and their lechery,

Those that betray them do no treachery.

Mrs. Ford. The hour draws on: To the oak, to the oak!

SCENE IV. Windsor Park.

Enter Sir HUGH EVANS and Fairies.


Eva. Trib, trib, fairies: come; and remember your parts: Be pold, I pray you; follow me into the pit; and when I give the watch-'ords, do as I pid you: Come, come; trib, trib.


SCENE V. Another part of the Park.

Enter FALSTAFF disguised, with a buck's head on.

Fal. The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute draws on. Now, the hot-blooded gods assist me:- Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa; love set on thy horns:-O powerful love! that, in some respects, makes a beast a man; in

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some other, a man a beast. You were also, Jupiter, a swan, for the love of Leda : O, omnipotent love! how near the god drew to the complexion of a goose! A fault done first in the form of a beast -O Jove, a beastly fault! and then another fault in the semblance of a fowl: think on't, Jove; a foul fault. When gods have hot backs, what shall poor men do? For me, I am here a Windsor stag; and the fattest, I think, i' the forest: send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow? Who comes here? my doe?

Enter Mrs. FORD and Mrs. PAGE.

Mrs. Ford. Sir John? art thou there, my deer! my male deer?


Fal. My doe with the black scut? Let the sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of "Green Sleeves;" hail kissing-comfits, and snow eringoes; let there come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me here. [Embracing her. Mrs. Ford. Mistress Page is come with me, sweetheart.


Fal. Divide me like a bribe-buck, each a haunch: I will keep my sides to myself, my shoulders for the

This is technical. "During the time of their rut the harts live with small sustenance. The red mushroome helper. well to make them pysse their greace, they are then in so vehement beat." · Turberville's Book of Hunting, 1575.

2 The sweet potato was used in England as a delicacy long before the introduction of the common potato by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1586. It was imported in considerable quantities from Spain and the Canaries, and was supposed to possess the power of restoring decayed vigour. The kissing-comfits were principally made of these and eringo roots, and were perfumed to make the breath sweet. Gerarde attributes the same virtues to the common potato, which he distinguishes as the Virginian sort.

That is, according to Theobald, a buck sent as a bribe. The original has brib'd buck; and bribe anciently meant steal. that a brib'd buck is a stolen buck.



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