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SCENE.-Windsor, and the parts adjacent.
ACT I. SCENE I.-Windsor. Before Page's House. Enter JUSTICE SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR* HUGH EVANS.
Shal. Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Star-chamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir John Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.
Slen. In the county of Glo'ster, justice of peace, and coram. Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and Cust-alorum.t
Slen. Ay, and ratolorum too; and a gentleman born, master parson; who writes himself armigero; in any bill, warrant, quito tance, or obligation, armigero,
Shal. Ay, that we do; and have done any time these three hundred years.
Slen. All his successors, gone before him, have done't; and all his ancestors, that come after him, may: they may give the dozen white luces in their coat.
Shal. It is an old coat. * A title formerly appropriated to chaplains. + Custos rotulorum, VOL. I.
Eva. The dozen white louses do become an old coat well; it agrees well, passant: it is a familiar heast to man, and signifies love.
Shal. The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat.
Eva. Yes, py'r*-lady; if he has a quarter of your coat, there is but three skirts for yourself, in my simple conjectures : but that is all one: If Sir John Falstaff have committed disparagements unto you, I am of the church, and will be glad to do my benevolence, to make atonements and compromises between you.
Shal. The Councilt shall hear it; it is a riot. Eoa. It is not meet the Council hear a riot; there is no fear of Got in a riot; the Council, look you, shall desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your vizaments.f in that.
Shal. Ha! o'my life, if I were young again, the sword should end it.
Eva. It is petter that friends is the sword, and end it: and there is also another device in my prain, which, peradventure, prings goot discretions with it: There is Ann Page, which is daughter to master George Page, which is pretty virginity.
Slen. Mistress Anne Page ? She has brown hair, and speaks smalls like a woman.
Eva. It is that fery verson for all the 'orld, as just as you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of monies, and gold, and silver, is her grandsire, upon his death's-bed, (Got deliver to a joyful resurrections !) give, when she is able to overtake seventeen years old: it were a goot motion, if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage between master Abraham and
mistress Anne Page.
Eva. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar, as I do despise one that is false; or, as I despise one that is not true. The knight, Sir John, is there; and, I beseech you, be ruled by your well-willers. I will peat the door (knocks] for master Page. What, hoa! Got pless your house here !
Enter PAGE. Page. Who's there?
Eva. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and justice Shallow: and here young master Slender; that, peradventures, shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.
Page. I am glad to see your worships well: I thank you for my venison, master Shallow.
Shal. Master Page, I am glad to see you; much good do it * By our. ^ The Court of Star-chamber. * Advisement.
your good heart! I wished your venison better; it was ill killd:
How doth good mistress Page ?--and I love you always with my heart, la; with my heart.
Page. Sir, I thank you.
Page. It could not be judged, Sir.
Shal. That he will not;tis your fault, 'tis your fault:-"Tis a good dog. Page. A cur, Sir.
Shal. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog; Can there be more said ? he is good, and fair.- Is Sir John Falstaff here?
Page. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a good office between you.
Eva. It is spoke as a Christians ought to speak.
Shal. If it be confess'd, it is not redress'd; is not that so, master Page? He hath wrong'd me; indeed, he hath ;-at a word, he hath ;-believe me ;-Robert Shallow, esquire, saith he is wrong'd.
Page. Here comes Sir John.
Shal. Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and broke open my lodge. Fal. But not kiss'd your keeper's daughter ? Shal. Tut, a pin ! this shall be answer'd. Fal. I will answer it straight;-I have done all this:- That is now answer'd.
Shal. The Council shall know this.
Fal. 'Twere better for you, if it were known in counsel: you'll be laugh'd at.
Eva. Pauca verba, Sir John, good worts.
+ good cabbage.-Slender, I broke your head: What matter have you against me?
Slen. Marry, Sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your coney-catching I rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. They carried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and afterwards picked my pocket.
Bard. You Banbury cheese!
* Cotswold, in Gloucestershire. † Worts was the ancient name of all the cabbage kind. Sharpcrs. Nothing but paring.
|| The name of an ugly spirit
Nym. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca ; * slice ! that's my humour. Slen. Where's Simple, my man-can you tell, cousin ?
Eva. Peace: I pray you! Now let us understand: There is three umpires in this matter as I understand: that is-master Page, fidelicet, master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet, myselt; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.
Page. We three, to hear it, and end it between them. Eva. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-book ; and we will afterwards ’ork upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can.
Eva. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, He hears with ear? Why it is affectations.
Fal. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse ?
Slen. Ay, by these gloves, did he, (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else,) of seven
groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward shovel-boards, † that cost me two shillings and two-pence apiece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.
Fal. Is this true, Pistol?
Pist. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner !-Sir John, and master
Slen. By these gloves, then 'twas he.
Nym. Be advised, Sir, and pass good humours: I will say, marry trap, with you, if you run the nuthook’s|| humour on me; that is the very note of it.
ślen. By this hat, then he in the red face had ite for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.
Fal. What say you, Scarlet and John ?
Bard. Why, Šir, for my part, I say, the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences.
Eva. It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is ! Bard. And being, fap, T Sir, was, as they say, cashier'd; and so conclusions pass'd the careires. **
Slen. Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis no matter: I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again, but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick: if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.
Eva. So Got’udge me, that is a virtuous mind.
Fal. You hear all these matters denied, gentlemen; you hear it.
* Few words. † King Edward's shillings, used in the game of shuffle-board, # Blade as thin as a lath.
Lips. If you say I ain a thief.
Drunk, ** The bounds of good behaviour.
Enter MISTRESS ANNE PAGE with wine ; MISTRESS FORD and
MISTRESS PAGE following.
[Exit ANNE PAGE.
Fal. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met : by your leave, good mistress.
[Kissing her. Page. Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome:-Come, we have a hot venison pasty to dinner; come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.
[Exeunt all but SHALLOW, SLENDER, and EVANS. Sler. I had rather than forty shillings, I had my book of songs and sonnets here :
Enter SIMPLE. How now, Simple! where have you been? I must wait on myself, must I? You have not The Book of Riddles about you, have you ?
Sim. Book of Riddles ! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ?*
Shal. Come, coz ; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with you, coz; marry, this, coz: There is, as 'twere, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by Sir Hugh here. Do you understand me?
Slen. Ay, Sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so, I shall do that that is reason.
Shal. Nay, but understand me.
Eva. Give ear to his motions, master Slender: I will description the matter to you, if you be capacity of it.
Slen. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says : I pray you pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his country, simple though I stand here.
Eva. But that is not the question ; the question is concerning your marriage.
Shal. Ay, there's the point, Sir.
Šlen. Why, if it be so, I will marry her, upon any reasonable demands.
Eva. But can you affection the 'oman ? Let us command to know that of your mouth, or of your lips; for divers philosophers hold, that the lips is parcel of the mouth;Therefore, precisely, can you carry your good will to the maid?
Shal. Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her?
Slen. I hope, Sir,- I will do, as it shall become one that would do reason.
Eva. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies, you must speak possitaole, if you can carry her your desires towards her.
Śhai. That you must: Will you, upon good dowry, marry her?
* An intended blunder.