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Host. I will hear you, inaster Fenton ; and I will, at the least, keep your counfel.
Fen. 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 herfelf might be her chuser) Ev'n to my wish. I have a letter from her Of such contents, as you will wonder at ; The mirth whereof's lo larded with my matter, That neither fingly can be manifefted, Without the shew of both. Fat Sir John Falpaff Hath a great Scene; the image of the jest
(Shewing a letters I'll shew you here at large. Hark, good mine Hosts 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 nip Away with Slender, and with him at Eaton Immediately to marry; she hath consented Now,
Sir, Her mother, ever 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 ; And at the Deanry, where a priest artends, 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 dress when Slender fees his time To take her by the hand, and bid her go, She shall go with him.--Her mother hath intended, The better to devote her to the Doctor, (For they must all be mask'd and vizarded) That, quaint in green, she shall be loose enrob’d; With ribbands-pendant, flaring 'bout her head ;
And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
Hift. Well, husband your device; Pll to the Vicar. Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a prieft.
Fent. So shall I evermore be bound to thee ; Besides, I'll make a present recompence. [Exeunt.
Re-enter Falstaff and Mrs. Quickly. Fal. Pr’ythee, no more prattling Go. I'll hold. This is the third time; I hope, good luck lies in odd numbers. Away, go, they fay, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.Away.
Quic. I'll provide you a chain, and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns. [Exit Mrs. Quickly.
Fal. Away, I say; tiine wears: hold up your head and mince.
How now, master Brook? master Brook, the matter will be known to-night, or never.
Be you in the Park about midnight, at Herne's Oak, and you shalt fee wonders,
Ford. Weut 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 a man, master Brock, I fear not Goliab with a weaver's beam ; because I know alfo, life is a shuttle ; I am in hafte ; go along with me; I'll tell you all, master Brook. Since I pluckt geese, play'd truant, and whipt top, I knew not what 'twas to be beaten, 'till lately. Follow me, I'll tell you strange things of this knave Ford, on whom to night I will be reveng'd, and I will deliver his wife into your hand-Follow; strange things in hand, master Brook! follow.
ACT V. 's SCENE I.
Enter Page, Shallow, and Slender.
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; he 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; heav'n prosper our sport! No man means evil but the devil', and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away; follow me. [Exeunt,
Ś C EN E 11.
Enter Mistress Page, Mistress Ford and Caius.
Mrs. Page. Mr. Doctor, my daughter is in green; when you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the Deanery, and dispatch it quickly; go before into the Park ; we two must go together.
Caius. I know vat I have to do; adieu. [Exit.
Mrs. Page. Fare you well, Sir. My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff, as he will chafe at the Doctor's marrying 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 Evans ?
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 chuse 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.
5 No man means evil but ihe Hirne, and he was no Welchman. devil.] This is a double blunder; Where was the Attention, or Safor some, of whom this was gacity, of our. Editors, not to spoke, were women. We should observe that Mrs. Ford is inquirread then, no ONE means. ing for Evans by the Name of
WARBURTON. the Welsh Devil ? Dr. Thirlby 6. The former impresion :] likewise discover'd the Blunder And the Welch Devil Herne?) of this Passage, But Falfaff was to represent
THEOBALD. · Vol. II.
Mrs. Page. Against such lewdfters, and their lechery, Those, that betray them, do no treachery.
Mrs. Ford. The hour draws on; to the Oak, to the Oak.
Enter 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 youg come, come; trib, trib.
Enter Falstaff, with a Buck's bead on.
Fal. The Windfor bell hath struck twelve, the minute draws on; now, the hot-blooded Gods affist me! Remember, Jove, thou waft a bull for thy Europa; love set on thy horns. Oh powerful love! that, in some respects, makes a beast a man ; in some other, a man a beast: You were also, Jupiter, a swan, for the Love of Leda : Oh, omnipotent love ! how near the God drew to the complexion of a goose ? A fault done first in the form of a beast !
-0 Jove, a beastly fault in the semblance of a fowl: think on't, Fove, 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'th' forest. Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow? who comes here ? my Doe?
Enter Mistress Ford and Mifrefs Page. Mrs. Ford. Sir John ? art thou there, my deer ? my male-deer?
Fal. My doe with the black scut? let the fky rain potatoes ; let it thunder to the tune of Green-Sleeves;