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This Play was written in the Author's best and ripest Years after Henry the Fourth, by • the Command of Queen Elizabeth. There is a Tradition, that it was composed at a Fortnight's Warning: but that must be meant only of the first imperfect Sketch of this Comedy, which is yet extant in an old Quarto Edition, printed in 1619. The other, which follows it, was altered and improved by the Author in almost every Speech.
Enter Iustice Shallow, Sir Hugh, Master Page, and Slender.
ERE talke to me, Ile make a star-chamber matter
Page. Nay good M. Shallow be perswaded by me. Slen. Nay surely my vnckle shall not put it vp.fo.
Sir Hugh. Will you not heare reasons M. Slender ? You should heare reasons.
Shal. Though he be a knight, he shall not thinke to carry
it fo away
Master Page I will not be wronged. For you
Page. And heeres my hand, and if my daughter
Heere a while: and on my life
Sir Hugh. I pray you M. Shallow let it be fo.
Enter Sir Iohn Falstaffe, Pistoll, Bardolffe, and Nym
Heere is sir Iohn himselfe now, looke you.
Fal. Now M. Shallow, you'l complaine of me to the councell, I heare.
Shal. Sir Iohn, fir lohn, you haue hurt my keeper,
Fal. But not kissed your keepers daughter.
Fal. Ile answer it strait. I haue done all this.
Shal. Well, the councell shall know it.
Fal. Twere better for you twere knowne in councell. You'l be laught at.
Sir Hugh, Good vrdes fiz lohn, good vrdes.
Fal. Good-vrdes, good cabedge
Slen. I haue matter in my head against you and your cogging companions, Pistoll and Nym. They carried me to the tauerne, and made me drunke, and afterward pickt my pocket.
Fal. What say you to this Pistoll, did you picke master Slenders purse, Pistoll?
Slen. I by this handkercher did he. Two faire Thouelboord shillings, beside feuen-groats in mill fixpences. Fal. What say you to this, Pistoll?
Pift. Sir Iohn and master mine, I combate craue
Slen. By this light it was he then.
Nym. Sir, my honor is not for many words,
Fal. You heare these matters denide gentlemen,
Enter Mistrese Ford, Mistresse Page, and her daughter Anne.
Pag. No more now,
wife is come to meete vs.
Sir Iohn kisses her. Mis: For. Your mistake fir is nothing but in the mistresse. But
my husbands name is Foord sir.
Mis. Page. With all my heart fir lohn.
Exit all but Slender and Mistrelle Anne.
Slen. Nay, for my owne part, I would little or nothing with you. I loue you well, and my vnckle can tell you how my liuing stands.
And if you can loue me, why so. If not, why then happy man bee his dole.
Anne. You say well, master Slender. But first you must giue me leaue
To be acquainted with your humor,
Slen. Why by God there, neuer a man in Christendome can desire more.
What, haue you beares in your towne, mistresse Anne, your dogs barke fo?
Anne. I cannot tell master Slender, I think there be.
Slen. Ha, how fay you? I warrant y'are afeared of a beare let loose, are you not?
Anne. Yes trust me.
Slen. Now that's meate and drinke to me,
Anne. Will you go into dinner, master Slender ?
Slen. No faith, not I, I thanke you,
Enter Master Page.
Slen. Ile follow you sir, pray leade the way.