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Enter Page, Ford, &c. They lay hold on him. Page. Nay, do not fly; I think, we have watch'd
you now; Will none but Herne, the hunter, serve your turn? Mrs. Page. I pray you, come; hold up the jest ng
higher. Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives?
See you these, husband ? do not these fair yoaks Become the forest better than the town?
Ford. Now, Sir, who's a cuckold now ? --Master Brook, Falstaff's a knaye, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns, master Brook: and, master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money ; which must be paid to master Brook; his horses are arrested for it, master Brook. i
Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never meet. I will never take you for my love again, but I will always count you my deer.
Fal. I do begin to perceive, that I am made an ass.
Ford. Ay, and an ox, too: both the proofs are extant.
Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three or four tinnes in the thought, they were not fairies : and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprize of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a receiv'd belief, in despight of the teeth of all rhime and reason, that they were fairies. See now, how wit o See you these husbands ? do not these fair oaks
Become the foreft better than the town?] What oaks, in the name of nonsense, do pur sagacious editors make Mrs. Page talk of? The oaks in the park? But there was no intention of transplanting them into the town. Talis inscitiæ & quidem pudet, pigetque. The first folio reads, as the poet intended, joaks : and Mrs. Page's meaning is this. She speaks to her own, and Mrs. Ford's husband, and aks them, if they see the horns in Falstaff's hand; and then, alluding to them as the types of cuckoldom, puts the question, whether those yoaks are not more proper in the forest than in the town, i. c. than in their families, as a reproach to them? THEOBALP.
may may be made a Jack-a-lent 7, when 'tis upon ill emas ployment ! scruple to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?
Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
Ford. Well faid, fairy Hugh.
Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou are able to woo her in good English.
Fal. Have I laid my brain in the sun and dried its that it wants matter to prevent so gross o’er-reaching as this ? Am I ridden with a Welch goat too ? shall I have a coxcomb of frize ? 'tis time I were choak'd with a piece of toasted cheese.
Eva. Seese is not good to give putter; your pelly is all putter.
Fal. Seese and putter! have I liv'd to stand in the taunt of one that makes fritters of English? this is enough to be the decay of lust and late-walking, through the realm.
Mrs. Page. Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without
1-how wit may be made a Jack-a-lent,-) A Jack o’Lent appears to have been some puppet which was throwit at in Lent, like Shrove-tide cocks. So in the old comedy of Lady Alimony; 16591
" throwing cudgels
" At Jack-a-lenis, or Shrove-cocks.” Again, The Wild Goose Chace of Beaumont and Fletcher ;
“ I would be married sooner to a monkey;
" Or to a jack of Straw."
if I forfeit,
“ For úntagg'd points, and counters." Again, in Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub:.
on an Ash-wednesday,
Ford. What, a hodge-pudding ? a bag of flax? Mrs. Page. A puft man ?
Page. Old, cold, wither'd, and of intolerable entrails?
Ford. And one that is as Nanderous as Satan?
Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and facks, and wines, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings, and starings, pribbles and prabbles ?
Fal. Well, I am your theme ; you have the start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welch flannel ; 3 ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me : use me as you will.
Ford. Marry, Sir, we'll bring you to Windsor to one Mr. Brook, that you cozen'd of money, to whom you should have been a pander : over and above that you have suffer’d, I think, to repay that money will be a biting aMiction.
9 Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, let that go to make
i amends : Forgive that sum, and so we'll all be friends.
8 ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me :- ] Though this be perhaps not unintelligible, yet it is an odd way of confeffing his dejection. I should with to read :
- ignorance itself has a plume o'me : That is, I am so depressed, that ignorance itself plucks me, and decks itself with the spoils of my weakness. Of the present reading, which is probably right, the meaning may be, I am so enfeebled, that ignorance itself weighs me down and oppresses me. JOHNSON.
9 Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, -] This and the following little speech I have inserted from the old quartos. The retrenchment, I presume, was by the players. Sir John Falstaff is sufficiently punished, in being disapointed and exposed. The expectation of his being prosecuted for the twenty pounds, gives the conclusion too tragical a turn. Besides, it is poetical justice that Ford should sustain this loss, as a fine for his unreasonable jealousy. THEOBALD.
Ford. Well, here's my hand; all's forgiven at last.
Page. Yet be cheerful, knight : thou shalt eat a poffet to-night at my house; where I will desire thee to ' laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee. Tell her, master Slender hath married her daughter.
Mrs. Page. Doctors doubt that; if Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this, Doctor Caius' wife.
(Afde. Enter Slender. Slen. What ho! ho! father Page. .
Page. Son! how now ? how now, fon? have you dispatch'd ?
Slen. Dispatch'd! I'll make the best in GloucesterThire know on't; would I were hang’d, la, else.
Page. Of what, son ?
Slen. I came yonder at Eaton to marry mistress Anne Page, and she's a great lubberly boy. If it had not been i' the church, I would have swing'd him, or he should have swing'd me. If I did not think it had been Anne Page, would I might never stir, and 'ris a post-master's boy.
Page. Upon my life then you took the wrong.
Slen. What need you tell me that? I think so, when I took a boy for a girl : if I had been married to him, for all he was in woman's apparel, I would not have had him.
Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you, how you should know my daughter by her garments ?
- Slen. I went to her in white, and cry'd mum, and she cry'd budget, as Anne and I had appointed, and yet it was not Anne, but a post-master's boy.
Eva. Jeshu! Master Slender, cannot you see but marry boys?
i- laugh at my wife, ] The two plots are excellently connected, and the transition very artfully made in this speech,
Page. O, I am vex’d at heart. What shall I do?
Mrs. Page. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose ; turn'd my daughter into green; and, indeed, she is now with the Doctor at the deanery, and there married.
Enter Caius. Caius. Ver is mistress Page? By gar, I am cozen'd; I ha' married un garçon, a boy; un paisan, by gar; a boy; it is not Anne Page: by gar, I am cozen'd.
Mrs. Page. Why, did you not take her in green?
Caits. Ay, be gar, and 'tis a boy: be gar, I'll raise all Windsor.
Ford. This is strange! Who hath got the right Anne?
Page. My heart misgives me: here comes master Fenton.
Enter Fenton, and Anne Page. How now, master Fenton ?
Anne. Pardon, good father ! good my mother, pardon!
Page. Now, mistress ? how chance you went not with master Slender?
Mrs. Page. Why went you not with master Doctor, maid ?
Fent. You do amaze her: hear the truth of it. You would have married her most shamefully, Where there was no proportion held in love. The truth is, she and I, long since contracted, Are now so sure, that nothing can diffolve us. The offence is holy that she hath committed : And this deceit loses the name of craft, Of disobedience, or unduteous title ; Since therein she doth evitate and shun A thousand irreligious cursed hours, Which forced marriage would have brought upon het. · Ford. Stand not amaz’d: here is no remedy In love, the heavens themselves do guide the state; Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.