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your will ?




To visit me :-you know your office, brother ;

Meantime, let wonder seem familiar, You must be father to your brother's daughter, And to the chapel let us presently. And give her to young Claudio. (Exeunt Ladies. Bene. Sost and fair, friar.- Which is Beatrice? Ant. Which I will do with confirmd countenance. Beat. I answer to that name; [unmasking] what is Bene. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think. Friar. To do what, signior?

Bene. Do not you love me? Bere. To bind me, or undo me, one of them.


Why no, no more than reason. Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,

Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, and Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.

Leon. That eye my daughter lent her: 'T is most | Have been deceiv'd; they swore you did.

Beat. Do not you love me?
Bene. And I do with an eye of love requite her. Bene.

Troth no, no more than reason. Leon. The sight whereof, I think, you had from me, Beat. Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula, From Claudio, and the prince. But what's your will ? Are much deceiv’d; for they did swear you did. Bene. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical:

Bene. They swore that you were almost sick for me. But, for my will, my will is, your good will

Beat. They swore that you were well nigh dead for May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd In the estate of honourable marriage;

Bene. 'T is no such matter :—Then you do not love In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.

me? Ison. My heart is with your liking.

Beat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense. Friar.

And my help. Leon. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentle (Hee comes the prince, and Claudio.]

Claud. And I 'll be sworn upon 't, that he loves her; Enter Don Pedro and Claudio, with Attendants. For here 's a paper, written in his hand, D. Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assembly.

A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,

Fashion'd to Beatrice. Leon. Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio;


And here is another,
We here attend you. Are you yet determind
Today to marry with my brother's daughter ?

Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her jocket, Claud. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope

Containing her affection unto Benedick. Leon. Call her forthi, brother, here's the friar ready. I hearts!--Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I

Bene. A miracle ; bere 's our own hands against our [Erit ANTONIO.

take thee for pity! D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick: Why, what 's the matter,

Beat. I would not deny yon ;-but, by this good day, That you have such a February face,

I yield upon great persuasion ; and, partly, to save So fall of frost, of storm, and cloudiness ?

your life, for I was told you were in a consumption. Cloud. I think he thinks upon the savage bull :

Bene. Peace, I will stop your mouth. [Kissing her. Tush, fear not, man, we 'll tip thy horns with gold,

D. Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick the married man? And all Europa shall rejoice at thee;

Bene. I 'll tell thee what, privce; a college of witAs once Europa did at lusty Jove,

crackers cannot flout me out of my humour: Dost thou When he wonld play the noble beast in love.

think I care for a satire, or an epigram? No: if a Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;

man will be beaten with brains, a shall wear nothing

handsome about him : In brief, since I do purpose to And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow, And got a calf in that same noble feat,

marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.

world can say against it; and therefore never flout at

me for what I have said against it; for man is a giddy Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked.

thing, and this is my conclusion.-For thy part, Clau

dio, I did think to have beaten thee; but in that thou Claud. For this I owe you : here come other reckon- art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my

cousin. Which is the lady I must seize upon ?

Claud. I had well hoped thou wouldst have denieul Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her. Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee ont of thy Claud. Why, then she's mine: Sweet, let me see single life, to make thee a double dealer ; which, out your face.

of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exLeon. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand ceeding narrowly to thee. Before this friar, and swear to marry her.

Bene. Come, come, we are friends :-let's have a Claud. Give me your hand before this holy friar; dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our own I am your husband, if you like of me.

hearts, and our wives' heels. Hero. And when I livd, I was your other wife : Leon. We 'll have dancing afterwards.

[Unmasking. Bene. First, o' my word ; therefore, play music.And when you lov d, you were my other husband. Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wise, get thee a wife; Claud. Another Hero !

there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn. Hero.

Nothing certainer : Ore Hero died (defil d ;] but I do live,

Enter a Messenger. And, surely as I live, I am a maid.

Mess. My lord, your brother Jolin is ta’en in flight, D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is deail! And brought with armed men back to Messina. Leon. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander liv'd. Bene. Think not on him till to-morrow; I 'll derise Friar. All this amazement can I qualify;

thee brare punishments for him.-Strike up, ripers. Wien, after that the holy rites are enderl,

[Dance. Exeunt 111 tell you largely of fair Hero's death :

. In that-because.


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Tise first e:lition of this play was published in 1602. Falstaff from his final humiliation. The net is around The comedy as it now stands first appeared in the folio him, but he does not see the meshes;—he fancies himof 1623; and the play in that edition contains very self the deceiver, but he is the deceived. The real nearly twice the number of lines that the original edi- jealousy of Ford most skilfully helps on the merry detivri coutains. The succession of scenes is the same in vices of his wife; and with equal skill does the poet both copies, except in one instance; but the speeches make him throw away his jealousy, and assist in the of the several characters are greatly elaborated in the last plot against the " unclean kuight." amended copy, and several of the characters not only The movement of the principal action is beautifully heightened, but new distinctive features given to them. contrasted with the occasional repose of the other scenes.

Rightly to appreciate this comedy, it is, we conceive, The Windsor of the time of Elizabeth is presented to absolutely necessary to dissociate it from the historical us, as the quiet country town, sleeping under the shadow plays of · Henry IV.' and `Henry V.' Whether Shak- of its neighbour the castle. Amidst its gabled houses, spere produced the original sketch of “The Merry separated by pretty gardeus, from which the elm and Wives of Windsor' before those plays, and remodelled the chestnut and the lime throw their branches across it after their appearance,

,—or whether he produced both the unpaved road, we find a goodly company, with the original sketch and the finished performance when little to do but gossip and laugh, and make sport out of his audiences were perfectly familiar with the Falstaff, each other's cholers and weakuesses. We see Master Shallow, Pistol, Nym, Bardolph, and Mistress Quickly Page training his “fallow greyhound;" and we go with of Henry IV. and Henry V.-it is perfectly certain Master Ford “a-birding." We listen to the “ pribbles that he did not intend “The Merry Wives' as a con- and prabbles” of Sir Hugh Evans and Justice Shallow tinuation. It is impossible, however, not to associate with a quiet satisfaction; for they talk as unartificial *he period of the comedy with the period of the his- men ordinarily talk, without much wisdom but with wries. But at the same time we must suffer our minds good temper and sincerity. We find ourselves in the to slide into the belief that the manners of the times of days of ancient hospitality, when men could make their Henry IV. bad sufficient points in common with those fellows welcome without ostentatious display, and half of the times of Elizabeth to justify the poet in taking a dozen neighbours “could drink down all unkindness" no great paius to distinguish between them. The cha- over“ a hot venison pasty.” The more busy inhabitants racters speak in the language of truth and nature, which of the town have time to tattle, and to laugh, and be belongs to all time; and we must forget that they laughed at. Mine Host of the Garter is the prince of sometimes use the expressions of a particular time to hosts; he is the very soul of fun and good temper. which they do not in strict propriety belong.

His coutrivances to manage the fray between the furious The critics have been singularly laudatory of this French doctor and the honest Welsh parson are procomedy. Warton calls it “the most complete specimen Juctive of the happiest situations. Caius waiting for of Shakspere's comic powers." Johnson says, “This his adversary—“De herring is no dead so as I vill kill comedy is remarkable for the variety and number of him"—is capital. Bul Sir Hugh, with histhe personages, who exhibit more characters appro

" There will we make our peds of roses, priated and discriminated than perhaps can be found

And a thousand fragrant posies, in any other play." We agree with much of this; but

To shallow we certainly cannot agree with Warton that it is “the Mercy on me! I have a great dispositions to cry,"—is most complete specimen of Shakspere's comic powers." inimitable. We cannot forget As You Like It,' and • Twelfth With regard to the under-plot of Fenton and Ame Night,' and 'Much Ado about Nothing. Of those Page—the scheme of Page to marry her to Slenderqualities which put Shakspere above all other men that the counterplot of her mother, “firm for Dr. Caius"ever existed, “The Merry Wives of Windsor' exhibits and the management of the lovers to obtain a triumph few traces. Some of the touches, however, which no out of the devices against them-it may be sufficieut to other hand could give, are to be found in Slender, and point out how skilfully it is interwoven with the Here's we think in Quickly.

Oak adventure of Falstaff. Over all the misadventures The principal action of this comedy—the adventures of that night, when “all sorts of deer were cbas d," of Falstaff with the Merry Wives--sweeps on with a Shakspere throws his own tolerant spirit of forgiveness rapidity of movement which hurries us forward to the and content:dénouement as irresistibly as if the acturs were under

“ Good husband, let us erery one go home, the influence of that destiny which belongs to the em

And laugh this sport o'er by a country fire; pire of tragedy. No reverses, no disgraces, can save

Sir John and all."




4 pears, Act I. se. 1; se. 3. Act II. sc. 2. Act III. 4. 3; sc. 5.
Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 5. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 5.

Appears, Act I. sc. 4. Act III. sc. 4. Act IV. se. 6. Act V. sc.5.

SHALLOW, a country justice.
Appears, Act I. se. I. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1;

se. 2; se. 4. Act IV. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 2.

SLENDER, cousin to Shallow.
depars, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. 3. Art III. sc. 1; se. 2; sc. 4.

Act V sc. 2; sc. 5.
Mr. Ford, a gentleman dwelling at Windsor.
Appeari, Act II. sc. l; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 2; sc. 3; sc. 5.

Aet IV. sc. 2; sc. 4. Act V. s. 1; sc. 5.
Mr. Page, a gentleman dwelling at Windsor.
pritrs, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. 1 ; sc. 3. Act III. sc.1: sc. 2;
$.3; se. 4. Act IV. sc. 2; se. 4. Act V. sc. 2; sc. 5.
William PAGE, a boy, son to Mr. Page.

Appears, Act IV. sc. l.
Sir Hugh Evans, a Welsh parson.
Agrazrx, Aet i. sc.l; se. 2. Act Ili. sc. 1 ; se. 2; se. 3.
Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 2, s. 4: sc.5. Act V. sc. 4; sc. 5.

Dr. Caius, a French physician.
Appears, Act I, s. 4. Act II. sc. 3. Act III. se. l; sc 2; sc. 3.
Aet IV. se. 2; se. 5. Act V. sc. 3; sc. 5.

Host of the Garter Inn.
Appears, Act I. se. 3. Act II. sc. I ; s. 3. Act III. sc. I; sc. 2.

Aet IV. sc. 3; se. 5; se. 6.

BARDOLPH, a follower of Falstaff.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1 ; sc. 3. Act II. sc. 2. Act Iil, E.

Act IV. se. 3; sc. 5.
Nym, a follower of Falstaff.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; se. 3. Act II. 8. 1.

Pistol, a follower of Falstaff.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act 7.6

Robin, page to Falstaff,
Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 2; sc. 3

SIMPLE, servant to Slender.
Appears, Act I. sc. I; se. 2 ; sc. 4. Act. III. &c. I.

Act IV. sc. 5.

Rugby, servant to Dr. Caius.
Appears, Act I. sc 4. Act II. se. 3. Act III. sc. 1; $. 3

Mrs. Ford.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. se. 1. Act III. sc. 3.
Act IV. sc. 2 ; sc. 4. Act V. sc. 3; sc. 5.

Mrs. PAGE.
Appears, Act I. sc: 1. Act II. se. I. Act III. sc. 2; sc. 3; ac. 4.

Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 4. Act V. sc. 3 ; sc. 5.
Mrs. ANNE PAGE, daughter to Mrs. Page.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act ill. se. 4. Act V. sc. 5.

Mrs. Quickly, servant to Dr. Caius.
Appears, Act I. sc. 4. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 4 ; sc. 3

Act IV. sc. 1: sc. 5. Act V. sc. l; sc. 5.

Servants to Page, Ford, &c.



SCENE I.-Windsor. Garden Front of Page's Shal. The luce is the fresh fish; the sali fish is an House.

old coat." Enter Justice SuaLLOW, SLENDER, and Sir Hugh

Slen. I may quarter, coz?

Shal. You may, by marrying.

Eva. It is marring, indeerd, if he quarter it. Shal. Sir Hugh, persuade me not ; I will make a

Shal. Not a whit. Star-chamber matter of it: if he were twenty sir John

Eva. Yes, py 'r lady; if he has a quarter of your Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.

coat there is but three skirts for yourself, in my simple Slen. In the county of Gloster, justice of peace, and conjectures : but that is all one : If sir John Falstafi

have committed disparagements unto you, I am of the Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and Cust-alorum.b Sien. Ay, and ratolorum too; and a gentleman born, make atonements and compromises between you

church, and will be glad to do my benevolence, to master parson ; who writes himself armigero; in any

Shal. The council shall hear it; it is a riot. bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, armigero.

Eva. It is not meet the council hear a riot; there is Shal. Ay, that I do; and have doned any time these

no fear of Got in a riot : the council, look you, shall tare hundred years.

desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot ; Slen. All his successors, gone before him, have done 't; take your vizaments in that. and all his ancestors, that come after him, may: Shal. Ha! o my life, if I were young again the they may give the dozen white luces in their coat.

sword should end it. Shal. It is an old coat.

Eva. It is petter that friends is the sword, and end Ee. The dozen white louses do become an old coat

it: and there is also another device in my prain, which, well; it agrees well, passant : it is a familiar beast to peradventure, prings goot discretions with it: There is man, and signifies love.

Anne Page, which is daughter to master George Page, We find several instances in Shakspere of a priest being which is pretty virginity. called Sir; as, Sir Hugh in this comedy; Sir Oliver in: As You Like It ; Sir Tepas in Twelfth Night;' and Sir Nathaniel in * It is pretty clear that “the dozer white lures" apply to the * Lave's Labour's Lost'

arms of the Lucy family. In Ferne's 'Blazon of Gentry.' 1586. Cest-aiaren is meant for an abridgment of Cestos Rotulorum. we have. "signs of the coat should something agree with the Sladet, bot understanding the abbreviation, ands, “and rato- name. It is the coat of Geffray Lord Lucy. He did bear gules,

three lucies lariant argent. The luce is a pike.--"the fresh • The justice signed his attestations, "jurat coram me. tish;" not the "familiar beast to man." So far is clear; bu! Laberto Shalow, ora gero."

why " the salt fish is an old coat" is not so intelligible. Base donese ha re done.

5. Visament.---advisements.

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