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Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman is of no having: he kept company with the wild Prince and Poins ; he is of too high a region, he knows too much. No, he shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance : if he take her, let him take her simply; the wealth I have waits on my consent, and my consent goes not that way.

Ford. I beseech you, heartily, some of you go home with me to dinner: besides your cheer, you shall have sport; I will shew you a monster.—Master Doctor, you shall go ;-0 shall you, master Page ;-—and you, sir Hugh,

Shal. Well, fare you well :—we shall have the freer wooing at master Page’s. [Exe. Shal. and Slen.

Caius. Go home, John Rugby ; I come anon. [Ex. Rug.

Host. Farewell, my hearts : I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.

[Erit Host. Ford. [Aside.] I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with him ; I'll make him dance.—Will you go, gentles ?

All. Have with you, to see this monster. [Exeunt.

A Room in Ford's house. Enter Mrs. FORD and Mrs.

Mrs. Ford. What, John! what, Robert !
Mrs. Page. Quickly, quickly : Is the buck-basket-
Mrs. Ford. I warrant :- -What, Robin, I say.

Enter Servants with a basket.
Mrs. Page. Come, come, come.
Mrs. Ford. Here, set it down.

Mrs. Page. Give your men the charge; we must be brief.

Mrs. Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John, and Robert, be ready here hard by in the brew-house ; and when I suddenly call you, come forth, and (without any pause, or staggering) take this basket on your shoulders : that done, trudge with it in all haste, and carry it among the whitser in Datchet mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch, close by the Thames side.

Mrs. Page. You will do it? [6] The jest here lies in a play of words. " I'll give him pipe-wine, which shall make him dance." Edinburgh Magazine, Nov 1786. STEVENS


Mrs. Ford. I have told them over and over; they lack uo direction : Begone, and come when you are called.

[Exeunt Servants. Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin.

Enter Robin. Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket? what news with you?

Rob. My master sir John is come in at your back-door, mistress Ford ; and requ_sts your company.

Mrs. Page. You little Jack-a-lent, have you been true to us ?

Rob. Ay, I'll be sworn : My master knows not of your being here ; and bath threatened to put me into everlasting liberty, if I tell you of it; for, he swears, he'll turn me away.

Mrs. Page. Thou’rt a good boy · this secrecy of thine shall be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hose.--I'll go hide me.

Mrs. Ford. Do so :-Go tell thy master, I am alone. -Mistress Page, remember you your cue. (Exit Robin. Mrs. Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me.

[Exit Mrs. Page. Mrs. Ford. Go to then ; we'll use this unwholesome humidity, this gross watry pumpion ;-we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.

Enter FALSTAFF. Fal. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough ;' this is the period of my ambition : O this blessed hour!

Mrs. Ford. O sweet sir John!

Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my wish : I would thy husband were dead; I'll speak it before the best lord, I would make thee my lady.

[7] Eyas is a young unfledged bank; 1 suppose from the Italian Niaso, which originally signified any young bird taken from the nest unfledged, afterwards a young hawk.

The French, from hence, took their niais, and used it in both those significations; to wbich they added a third, metaphorically, a silly fellow; un garcon fort niais, un niais. Musket signifies a sparron hawk, or the smallest species of hawks. This too is from the Italian Muschetto, a small hawk, as appears from the original signification of the word, namely, a troublesome stinging fly. So that the humour of calling the little page an eyas-muskel is very intelligible.

WARBURTON. (8] This sentiment, which is of sacred origin, is here indecently introduced. It appears again, with somewhat less of profaneness, in the Winter's Tale, Act IV. and in Othello, Act II STEEVENS.

Mrs. Ford. I your lady, sir John ! alas, I should be a pitiful lady.

Fal. Let the court of France show me such another ; I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond : Thou hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the shiptire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.

Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, sir John : my brows become nothing else ; nor that well neither.

Fal. Thou art a traitor to say so : thou wouldst make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gait, in a semicircled farthingale. I see what thou wert, if fortune thy foe were not ; nature is thy friend : Come, thou canst not hide it..

Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in me.

Fal. What made me love thee ? let that persuade thee, there's something extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that 'come like women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklers-bury in simpletime ;' I cannot : but I love thee ; none but thee ; and thou deservest it.

Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, sir ; I fear, you love mistress Page.

Fal. Thou might'st as well say, I love, to walk by the Counter-gate ; which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.

Mrs. Ford. Well, heaven knows, how I love you ; and you shall one day find it.

Fal. Keep in that mind ; I'll deserve it.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, I must tell you, so you do'; or else I could not be in that mind.

Rob. [Within.] Mistress Ford, mistress Ford ! here's mistress Page at the door, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you presently,

Fal. She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras. Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so ; she's a very tattling

[FALSTAFF hides himself [9] The ship-tire was an open head dress, with a kind of scarf depending from be. hind. Its name of ship-tire was, I presume, from its giving the wearer some resemblance of a ship (as Shakespeare says) in all her trim : with all ber pendapts qut, and flags and streamers flying. WARB.

(1) Bucklers-bury in the time of Shakespeare was chiedy inhabited by drugaists who sold all kinds of herbs, green as well as dry. STEEVENS. 19 Vol. I.



Enter Mistress Page and Robin. What's the matter ? how now?

Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you done ? You're sham’d, you are overthrown, you are undone for


a one.

you know

Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page ?

Mrs. Page. O well-a-day, mistress Ford ! having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion !

Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion ?

Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion ?-Out upon you! how am I mistook in you?

Mrs. Ford. Why, alas ! what's the matter?

Mrs. Page. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman, that, he says, is here now in the house, by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence : You are undone.

Mrs. Ford. Speak louder. [Aside.)-'Tis not so, I hope.

Mrs. Page. Pray heaven it be not so, that you have such a man here ; but 'tis , most certain your husband's coming with half Windsor at his heels, to search for such I come before to tell you : If

yourself clear, why I am glad of it: but if you have a friend here, convey, convey him out. Be not amazed, call all your senses to you ; defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life forever.

Mrs. Ford. What shall I do ?- There is a gentleman, my dear friend ; and I fear not mine own shame, so much as his peril : I had rather than a thousand pound he were out of the house.

Mrs. Page. For shame, never stand you had rather, and you had rather ; your husband's here at hand, bethink you


some conveyance : in the house you cannot hide him.-0, how have you deceived me!-Look, here is a basket ; if he be of any reasonable stature, he may creep in here ; and throw foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking : Or, it is whiting-time, send him by your two men, to Datchet mead. Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there : What shall I do?

Re-enter FALSTAFF. Fal. Let me see't, let me see't ! O let me see't ! I'll in, I'll in ;--follow your friend's counsel ;--I'll in.

: car

Mrs. Page. What! Sir John Fallstaff! Are these your letters, knight?

Fal. I love thee, and none but thee ; help me away : let me creep in here ; I'll never

[He goes into the basket, they cover him with foul linen. Mrs. Page. Help_to cover your master, boy :-Call your men, mistress Ford :--You dissembling knight !

Mrs. Ford. What, John, Robert, John ! [Exit Robin: Re-enter Servants.] go take up these clothes here, quickly; Where's the cowl-staff ? look, how you

drumble : ry them to the laundress in Datchet mead; quickly, come.

Enter FORD, PAGE, Caius, and Sir Hugu EVANS. Ford. Pray you, come near : if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jest; I deserve it.-How now.? whither bear you this ?

Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.

Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it ? you were best meddle with buck-washing.

Ford. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the buck! Buck, buck, buck ? Ay, buck; I warrant


and of the season too ; it shall appear. [Exeunt Servants with the basket.] Gentlemen, I have dreamed to-night ; I'll tell you my dream. Here, here, here be my keys: ascend my chambers, search, seek, find out: I'll warrant, we'll unkennel the fox :-Let me stop this way first :-So, now uncapé.

Page. Good master Ford, be contented: you wrong yourself too much.

Ford. True, master Page.-Up, gentlemen ; you shall see sport anon : follow me, gentlemen.

[Exit. Eda. This is fery fantastical humours, and jealousies.

Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France : it is not jealous in France.

Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen ; see the issue of his search.

[Exeunt Evans, Page, and Caius. Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this ?

Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceived, or sir John.

Mrs. Page. What a taking was he in, when your husband asked who was in the basket !


[2] A cowl-staff is a staff used for carrying a large tub or basket with two han. dles. In Essex the word cowl is yet used for a tub. MALONE

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