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Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings, and starings, pribbles and prabbles ?
Ful. Well, I am your theme: you have the start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welch fannel; ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me: use me as you will.
Ford. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one master Brook, that you have cozened of money, to whom you should have been a pander : over and above that you have suffered, I think, to repay that money will be a biting affliction. Mrs. mord. Nay, husband, let that go to make
amevds: Forgive that sum, and so we'll all be friends.
Ford. Well, here's my hand; all's forgiven at last.
Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt eat a posset 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.
(Aside Enter Sleuder. Slen. Whoo, ho! ho! father Page!
Page. Son! how now? how now, son ? have you despatched ? 2. Slen. Despatched—I'll make the best in Glocestershire know ou’t; would I were lianged, la, else.
Page. Of what, son?
Slen. I came yonder at Eton to marry mistress Anne Page, and she's a great lubberly boy: If it had not been i' the church, I would have swinged him, or he should have swinged me. If I did not think it had been Anne Page, would I might never stir, and 'tis a post-master's boy.
Page. Upon my life then you took the wrong.
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.
Puge. 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 Avne, but a post-master's boy.
Eva. Jeshu! Master Slender, cannot you see but marry boys? Page. O, I am vexed at heart: What shall I do?
Mrs. Page. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose; turned my daughter into green; and, indeed, she is now with the doctor at the dean. ery, and there married.
Caius. Vere is mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened; I ha'married un garçon, a boy; un paisan, by gar, a boy; it is not Anne Page : by gar, I am cozened.
Mrs. Page. Why, did you take her in green?
Caius. Ay, be gar, and 'tis a boy: be gar, I'll raise all Windsor.
[Erit Caius. 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?
pardou ! Page. Now, mistress? how chance yon went not with master Slender?
Mrs. Page. Why went you not with master doc. tor, 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 dissolve us. The offence is holy, that she hath committed: And this deceit loses the name of craft, Of disobedience, or uvduteous title; Since therein she doth evitatet and shun A thousand irreligious cursed hours, Which forced marriage would have brought upon her.
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.
Fal. I am glad, though you have ta'en a special stand to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanced. Page. Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give
thee joy! What cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac'd. Fal. When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are
chas'd. Eva. I will dance and eat plumbs at your wedding. Mrs. Page. Well, I will muse no further :-Master
Let it be so :-Sir John,
of this play there is a tradition preserved by Mr. Rowe, that it was written at the command of Queen Elizabeth, who was so delighted with the character of Falstaff, that she wished it to be diffused through more plays; but suspecting that it might pall by continued uniformity, directed the poet to diversify his manner, by showing him in love. No task is harder than that of writing to the ideas of another. Shakspeare knew what the queen, if the story be true, serms not to have known, that by any real passion of tenderness, the selfish craft, the careless jolli. ty, and the lazy luxury of Falstaff inust have suffer. ed so much abatement, that little of his former cast would have remained. Falstaff could not love, but by ceasing to be Falstaff. He could only counterfeit love, and his professions could be prompted, not by the hope of pleasure, but of money. Thus the poet approached as near as he could to the work enjoined him; yet having perhaps in the former plays com. pleted his own idea, seems not to have beeu able to give Falstaff all his former power of entertainment.
This comedy is remarkable for the variety and number of the personages, who exhibit more charac. ters appropriated and discriminated, than perhaps can be found in any other play.
Whether Shakspeare was the first that produced upon the English stage the effect of language distorted and depraved by provincial or foreign pronuriciation, I cannot certainly decide. This mode of forming ridiculous characters can confer praise only on him who originally discovered it, for it requires not much of either wit or judgement; its success must be derived almost wholly from the play. er, but its power in a skilful mouth, even he that de. spises it, is unable to resist.
The conduct of this drama is deficient; the action begins and ends often, before the conclusion, and the different parts might change places without inconvenience; but its general power, that power by which all works of genius shall finally be tried, is such, that perhaps it never yet had reader or spectator who did not think it too soon at the end.