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and fhe cryed budget, as Anne and I had appointed; and yet it was not Anne, but a postmafter's boy.

EVA. Jefhu! Mafter Slender, cannot you fee but marry boys? 2

PAGE. O, I am vexed at heart: What shall I do?

MRS. PAGE. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpofe; turned my daughter into green; and, indeed, fhe is now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.

Enter CAIUS.

CAIUS. Vere is miftrefs Page? By gar, I am cozened; I ha' married un garçon, a boy; un paifan, 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 raife all Windsor.


be gar, I'll Exit CAIUS.

FORD. This is ftrange: Who hath got the right Anne?

PAGE. My heart mifgives me: Here comes mafter Fenton.


How now, mafter Fenton?

ANNE. Pardon, good father! good my mother, pardon!

marry boys? This and the next fpeech are likewife

reftorations from the old quarto. STEEVENS.

PAGE. Now, miftrefs? how chance you went not with master Slender?

MRS. PAGE. Why went you not with master doctor, maid?

FENT. You do amaze her :3 Hear the truth of it. You would have married her moft fhamefully, Where there was no proportion held in love. The truth is, She and I, long fince contracted, Are now fo fure, that nothing can diffolve us. The offence is holy, that she hath committed: And this deceit lofes the name of craft, Of disobedience, or unduteous title; Since therein the doth evitate and fhun A thousand irreligious curfed 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 ftate; Money buys lands, and wives are fold by fate.

FAL. I am glad, though you have ta'en a special ftand to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanced. PAGE. Well, what remedy ?4 Fenton, heaven give thee joy!


amaze her ;] i. e. confound her by your questions. So, in Cymbeline, A&t IV. fc. iii:

"I am amaz'd with matter."

Again, in Goulart's Memorable Hiftories, &c. 4to. 1607: "I have feene two men (the father and the fonne) have their bodies fo amazed and deaded with thunder," &c. STEEVENS.

4 Page. Well, what remedy ?] In the first sketch of this play, which, as Mr. Pope obferves, is much inferior to the latter performance, the only fentiment of which I regret the omiffion, occurs at this critical time. When Fenton brings in his wife, there is this dialogue:

Mrs. Ford. Come, Mrs. Page, I must be bold with you. 'Tis pity to part love that is so true.

What cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac'd. FAL. When night-dogs run, all forts of deer are chas❜d.5

EVA. I will dance and eat plums at your wedding."

MRS. PAGE. Well, I will mufe no further :-
Mafter Fenton,

Heaven give you many, many merry days!-
Good husband, let us every one go home,
And laugh this fport o'er by a country fire;
Sir John and all.

FORD. Let it be fo:-Sir John,

Mrs. Page. [Afide.] Although that I have mifs'd in my intent, Yet I am glad my husband's match is cross'd.

Here Fenton, take her.

Eva. Come, mafter Page, you must needs agree.

Ford. I faith, fir, come, you fee your wife is pleas'd.
Page. I cannot tell, and yet my heart is eas'd;

And yet it doth me good the doctor mifs'd.

Come hither, Fenton, and come hither daughter. JOHNSON.

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all forts of deer are chas'd.] Young and old, does as well as bucks. He alludes to Fenton's having just run down Anne Page. Malone.

• I will dance and eat plums at your wedding.] I have no doubt but this line, fuppofed to be fpoken by Evans, is mifplaced, and fhould come in after that spoken by Falstaff, which being intended to rhyme with the laft line of Page's fpeech, fhould immediately follow it; and then the paffage will run thus:

Page. Well, what remedy? Fenton, Heaven give thee joy!
What cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac'd.
Fal. When night-dogs run, all forts of deer are chac'd.
Evans. I will dance and eat plums, &c. M. MASON.

I have availed myself of Mr. M. Mafon's very judicious remark, which had also been made by Mr. Malone, who obferves that Evans's speech" I will dance," &c. was reftored from the firfi quarto by Mr. Pope. STEEVENS.

To master Brook you yet shall hold your word; For he, to-night, fhall lie with mistress Ford." [Exeunt.

7 Of this play there is a tradition preferved by Mr. Rowe, that it was written at the command of Queen Elizabeth, who was fo delighted with the character of Falstaff, that the wished it to be diffused through more plays; but fufpecting that it might pall by continued uniformity, directed the poet to diverfify his manner, by fhewing him in love. No tafk is harder than that of writing to the ideas of another. Shakspeare knew what the Queen, if the ftory be true, feems not to have known-that by any real paffion of tenderness, the selfish craft, the careless jollity, and the lazy luxury of Falstaff must have fuffered so much abatement, that little of his former caft would have remained. Falftaff could not love, but by ceafing to be Falstaff. He could only counterfeit love, and his profeffions 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 completed his own idea, feems not to have been able to give Falstaff all his former power of entertainment.

This comedy is remarkable for the variety and number of the perfonages, who exhibit more characters appropriated and difcriminated, than perhaps can be found in any other play.

Whether Shakspeare was the first that produced upon the English ftage the effect of language diftorted and depraved by provincial or foreign pronunciation, 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 fuccefs must be derived almost wholly from the player, but its power in a skilful mouth, even he that defpifes it, is unable to refift.

The conduct of this drama is deficient; the action begins and ends often, before the conclufion, and the different parts might change places without inconvenience; but its general power, that power by which all works of genius fhall finally be tried, is fuch, that perhaps it never yet had reader or spectator who did not think it too foon at the end. JOHNSON.

* In The Three Ladies of London, 1584, is the character of an Italian merchant, very ftrongly marked by foreign pronunciation. Dr. Dodypoll, in the comedy which bears his name, is, like Caius, a French phyfician. This piece appeared at leaft a year before The Merry Wives of Windsor. The hero of it speaks fuch another jargon as the antagonist of Sir Hugh, and like him is cheated of his miftrefs. In feveral other pieces, more ancient than the earliest of Shakspeare's, provincial characters are introduced. STEEVENS,

The ftory of The Two Lovers of Pisa, from which (as Dr. Farmer has obferved) Falftaff's adventures in this play feem to have been taken, is thus related in Tarleton's Newes out of Purgatorie, bl. 1. no date. [Entered in the Stationers' Books, June 16, 1590.]

"In Pifa, a famous cittie of Italye, there liued a gentleman of good linage and lands, feared as well for his wealth, as honoured for his vertue; but indeed well thought on for both: yet the better for his riches. This gentleman had one onelye daughter called Margaret, who for her beauty was liked of all, and defired of many: but neither might their futes, nor her own preuaile about her father's refolution, who was determyned not to marrye her, but to fuch a man as fhould be able in abundance to maintain the excellency of her beauty. Diuers young gentlemen proffered large feoffments, but in vaine: a maide thee must bee ftill: till at laft an olde doctor in the towne, that profeffed phificke, became a futor to her, who was a welcome man to her father, in that he was one of the welthieft men in all Pifa. A tall ftrippling he was, and a proper youth, his age about fourefcore; his head as white as milke, wherein for offence fake there was left neuer a tooth: but it is no matter; what he wanted in perfon he had in the purfe; which the poore gentlewoman little regarded, wishing rather to tie herself to one that might fit her content, though they liued meanely, then to him with all the wealth in Italye. But thee was yong and forcft to follow her father's direction, who vpon large couenants was content his daughter fhould marry with the doctor, and whether fhe like him or no, the match was made vp, and in fhort time fhe was married. The poore wench was bound to the ftake, and had not onely an old impotent man, but one that was fo jealous, as none might enter into his house without fufpicion, nor fhe doo any thing without blame: the leaft glance, the smallest countenance, any fmile, was a manifest instance to him, that thee thought of others better than himselfe; thys he himfelfe liued in a hell, and tormented his wife in as ill perplexitie. At laft it chaunced, that a young gentleman of the citie comming by her house, and feeing her looke out at her window, noting her rare and excellent proportion, fell in loue with her, and that fo extreamelye, as his paffion had no means till her fauour might mittigate his heartficke content. The young man that was ignorant in amorous matters, and had neuer been vfed to courte anye gentlewoman, thought to reueale his paffions to fome one freend, that might give him counfaile for the winning of her loue; and thinking experience was the fureft maister, on a daye seeing the olde doctor walking in the churche, (that was Margarets husband,) little knowing who he was, he thought

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