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Slen. I will marry her, sir, at your request; but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are married, and have more occasion to know one another: I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt: but if you say, marry her, I will marry her, that I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely.

Eva. It is a fery discretion answer; save, the faul' is in the 'ort dissolutely: the 'ort is, according to our meaning, resolutely;-his meaning is good.

Shal. Ay, I think my cousin meant well.

Slen. Ay, or else I would I might be hanged, la.
Re-enter ANNE PAGE.

Shal. Here comes fair mistress Anne:-Would I were young, for your sake, mistress Anne!

Anne. The dinner is on the table; my father desires your worships' company.

Shal. I will wait on him, fair mistress Anne.

Eva. Od's plessed will! I will not be absence at the grace. [Exeunt SHAL. and EvA. Anne. Will 't please your worship to come in, sir? Slen. No, I thank you, forsooth, heartily; I am very


Anne. The dinner attends you, sir.

Slen. I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forsooth: Go sirrah, for all you are my man, go, wait upon my cousin Shallow: [Exit SIM.] A justice of peace sometime


6 I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt :] The copy reads-content. Steevens.

Certainly, the editors in their sagacity have murdered a jest here. It is designed, no doubt, that Slender should say decrease, instead of increase; and dissolved and dissolutely, instead of resolved and resolutely: but to make him say, on the present occasion, that upon familiarity will grow more content, instead of contempt, is disarming the sentiment of all its salt and humour, and disappointing the audience of a reasonable cause for laughter.

Theobald. Theobald's conjecture may be supported by the same intentional blunder in Love's Labour's Lost:

"Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me." 7 Anne. The dinner attends you, sir.


Slen.-Go, sirrah, for all you are my man, go, wait upon my cousin Shallow:] This passage shows that it was formerly the custom

may be beholden to his friend for a man:-I keep but three men and a boy yet, till my mother be dead: But what though? yet I live like a poor gentleman born.

Anne. I may not go in without your worship: they will not sit, till you come.

Slen. I' faith, I'll eat nothing; I thank you as much as though I did.

Anne. I pray you, sir, walk in.

Slen. I had rather walk here, I thank you: I bruised my shin the other day with playing at sword and dagger, with a master of fence, three veneys for a dish of stew


in England, as it is now in France, for persons to be attended at dinner by their own servants, wherever they dined.

M. Mason.

8 I keep but three men and a boy yet,] As great a fool as the poet has made Slender, it appears, by his boasting of his wealth, his breeding and his courage, that he knew how to win a woman. This is a fine instance of Shakspeare's knowledge of nature.


9 — a master of fence.] Master of defence, on this occasion, does not simply mean a professor of the art of fencing, but a person who had taken his master's degree in it. I learn from one of the Sloanian MSS. (now in the British Museum, No. 2530, xxvi. D.) which seems to be the fragment of a register formerly belonging to some of our schools where the "Noble Science of Defence," was taught from the year 1568 to 1583, that in this art there were three degrees, viz. a Master's, a Provost's, and a Scholar's. For each of these a prize was played, as exercises are kept in universities for similar purposes. The weapons they used were the axe, the pike, rapier and target, rapier and cloke, two swords, the two-hand sword, the bastard sword, the dagger and staff, the sword and buckler, the rapier and dagger, &c. The places where they exercised were commonly theatres, halls, or other enclosures sufficient to contain a number of spectators; as Ely-Place in Holborn, the Bell Savage on Ludgate-Hill, the Curtain in Hollywell, the Gray Friars within Newgate, Hampton Court, the Bull in Bishopsgate-Street, the Clink, Duke's Place, Salisbury-Court, Bridewell, the Artillery Garden, &c. &c. &c. Among those who distinguished themselves in this science, I find Tarlton the Comedian, who "was allowed a master" the 23d of October, 1587 [I suppose, either as grand compounder, or by mandamus], he being "ordinary grome of her majesties chamber," and Robert Greene, who "plaide his maister's prize at Leadenhall with three weapons," &c. The book from which these extracts are made, is a singular curiosity, as it contains the oaths, customs, regulations, prizes, summonses, &c. of this once fashionable society. K. Henry VIII, K. Edward VI,

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ed prunes;1 and, by my troth, I cannot abide the smell of hot meat since. Why do your dogs bark so? be there bears i' the town?

Anne. I think, there are, sir; I heard them talked of. Slen. I love the sport well; but I shall as soon quarrel at it, as any man in England:-You are afraid, if you see the bear loose, are you not?

Anne. Ay, indeed, sir.

Slen. That's meat and drink to me now:2 I have seen Sackerson3 loose, twenty times; and have taken him by

Philip and Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, were frequent spectators of their skill and activity. Steevens.


three veneys for a dish, &c.] i. e. three venues, French. Three different set-to's, bouts, (or hits, as Mr. Malone, perhaps more properly, explains the word) a technical term. So, in our author's Love's Labour's Lost: "a quick venew of wit." Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster:-" thou wouldst be loth to play half a dozen venies at Wasters with a good fellow for a broken head." Again, in The Two Maids of More-clacke, 1609: "This was a pass, 'twas fencer's play, and for the after veny, let me use my skill." So, in The Famous History, &c. of Capt. Tho. Stukely, 1605: " for forfeits and venneys given upon a wager at the ninth button of your doublet."

Again, in the MSS. mentioned in the preceding note, "and at any prize whether it be maister's prize, &c. whosoever doth play agaynste the prizer, and doth strike his blowe and close with all, so that the prizer cannot strike his blowe after agayne, shall wynne no game for any veneye so given, althoughe it shold breake the prizer's head." Steevens.

2 That's meat and drink to me now:] Decker has this proverbial phrase in his Satiromastix: "Yes faith, 'tis meat and drink to


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Sackerson-] Seckarson is likewise the name of a bear in the old comedy of Sir Giles Goosecap. Steevens.

Sackerson, or Sacarson, was the name of a bear that was exhibited in our author's time at Paris-Garden in Southwark. See an old collection of Epigrams [by sir John Davies] printed at Middlebourg (without date, but in or before 1598):

"Publius, a student of the common law,
"To Paris-Garden doth himself withdraw ;-
"Leaving old Ployden, Dyer, and Broke, alone,
"To see old Harry Hunkes and Sacarson."

Sacarson probably had his name from his keeper. So, in the
Puritan, a comedy, 1607: "How many dogs do you think I had
upon me?
Almost as many as George Stone, the bear; three at



the chin; but I warrant you, the women have so cried and shriek'd at it, that it pass'd:4-but women, indeed, cannot abide 'em; they are ill-favoured rough things.

Re-enter PAGE.

Page. Come, gentle master Slender, come; we stay for you.

Slen. I'll eat nothing, I thank you, sir.


Page. By cock and pye, you shall not choose, sir:

come, come.


Slen. Nay, pray you, lead the way.

Page. Come on, sir.

Slen. Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first.

Anne. Not I, sir; pray you, keep on.

Slen. Truly, I will not go first; truly, la: I will not

you that wrong.

Anne. I pray, you, sir.

Slen. I'll rather be unmannerly, than troublesome: you do yourself wrong, indeed, la.


The same.



Eva. Go your ways, and ask of Doctor Caius' house, which is the way: and there dwells one mistress Quickly, which is in the manner of his nurse, or his dry nurse, or his cook, or his laundry, his washer and his wringer. Simp. Well, sir.

Eva. Nay, it is petter yet:- -give her this letter; for it is a 'oman that altogether's acquaintance with

that it pass'd:] It pass'd, or this passes, was a way of speaking customary heretofore, to signify the excess, or extraordinary degree of any thing. The sentence completed would be, This passes all expression, or perhaps, This passes all things. We still use passing well, passing strange. Warburton.

5 By cock and pye,] This was a very popular adjuration, and occurs in many of our old dramatic pieces. See note on Act V, sc. i, K. Henry IV, P. II. Steevens.


or his laundry,] Sir Hugh means to say his launder. Thus, in Sidney's Arcadia, B. I. p. 44, edit. 1633: ". not only will make him an Amazon, but a launder, a spinner," &c. Steevens. that altogether's acquaintance-] The old copy readsaltogethers acquaintance; but should not this be "that altogether's


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mistress Anne Page: and the letter is, to desire and require her to solicit your master's desires to mistress Anne. Page: I pray you, be gone; I will make an end of my dinner; there 's pippins and cheese to come. [Exeunt.


A Room in the Garter Inn.


Fal. Mine host of the garter,


Host. What says my bully-rook? Speak scholarly, and wisely.

Fal. Truly, mine host, I must turn away some of my followers.

Host. Discard, bully Hercules; cashier: let them wag; trot, trot.

Fal. I sit at ten pounds a week.

Host. Thou 'rt an emperor, Cæsar, Keisar,9 and Pheezar.1 I will entertain Bardolph; he shall draw, he shall tap: said I well, bully Hector?

Fal. Do so, good mine host.


The English,

acquaintance," i. e. that is altogether acquainted? I apprehend, would still be bad enough for Evans. I have availed myself of this judicious remark. Steevens. my bully-rook?] The spelling of this word is corrupted, and thereby its primitive meaning is lost. The old plays have generally bully-rook, which is right; and so it is exhibited by the folio edition of this comedy, as well as the 4to. 1619. The latter part of this compound title is taken from the rooks at the game of chess. Steevens.

Bully-rook seems to have been the reading of some editions: in others it is bully-rock. Mr. Steevens's explanation of it, as alluding to chess-men, is right. But Shakspeare might possibly have given it bully-rock, as rock is the true name of these men, which is softened or corrupted into rook. There is seemingly more humour in bully-rock. Whalley.

9 Keisar,] The preface to Stowe's Chronicle observes, that the Germans use the K for C, pronouncing Keysar, for Cæsar, their general word for an emperor.



and Pheezar.] Pheezar was a made word from pheeze. "I'll pheeze you," says Sly to the Hostess, in The Taming of the Shrew.


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