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but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick: if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.

EVA. So Got 'udge me, that is a virtuous mind. FAL. You hear all these matters denied, gentlemen; you hear it.

Enter Miftrefs ANNE PAGE with wine; Miftrefs FORD and Miftrefs PAGE following.

PAGE. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll drink within. [Exit ANNE PAGE. SLEN. O heaven! this is mistress Anne Page. PAGE. How now, mistress Ford?

FAL. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met: by your leave, good mistress. [kissing her. PAGE. Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome :Come, we have a hot venifon pafty to dinner; come, gentlemen, I hope we fhall drink down all unkindness.

[Exeunt all but SHAL. SLENDER and EVANS. SLEN. I had rather than forty fhillings, I had my book of Songs and Sonnets here: '


my book of Songs and Sonnets here:] It cannot be fuppofed that poor Slender was himself a poet. He probably means the Poems of Lord Surrey and others, which were very popular in the age of Queen Elizabeth. They were printed in 1567, with this title: Songes and Sonnettes, written by the Right Honourable Lord Henry Howard, late Earle of Surrey, and others."


Slender laments that he has not this fashionable book about him, fuppofing it might have affifted him in paying his addreffes to Anne Page. MALONE.

Under the title mentioned by Slender, Churchyard very evidently points out this book in an enumeration of his own pieces, prefixed to a collection of verfe and profe, called Churchyard's


How now, Simple! Where have you been? I muft wait on myself, muft I? You have not The Book of Riddles about you, have you?

SIM. Book of Riddles! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake upon Allhallowmas laft, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ? 3

SHAL. Come, coz; come, coz; we ftay for you. A word with you, coz: marry, this, coz; There is, as 'twere, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by fir Hugh here ;-Do you understand me?

SLEN. Ay, fir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be fo, I fhall do that that is reafon.

SHAL. Nay, but understand me.


Challenge, 4to. 1593: and many things in the booke of fonges and fonets printed then, were of my making." By then he means "in Queene Maries raigne;" for Surrey was firfl published in 1557. STEEVENS.


The Book of Riddles-] This appears to have been a popular book, and is enumerated with others in The English Courtier, and Country Gentleman, bl. 1. 4to. 1586, Sign. H 4. See quotation in note to Much Ado about Nothing, A& II. fc. i.


S upon Allhallowmas laft, a fortnight afore Michaelmas?] Sure, Simple's a little out in his reckoning. Allhallowmas is almost five weeks after Michaelmas. But may it not be urged, it is defigned Simple thould appear thus ignorant, to keep up the character? I think not. The fimpleft creatures (nay, even naturals,) generally are very precife in the knowledge of feftivals, and marking how the feafons run: and therefore I have ventured to fufpect our poet wrote Martlemas, as the vulgar call it which is near a fortnight after All-Saints day, i. e. eleven days, both inclufive. THEOBALD.

This correction, thus seriously and wifely enforced, is received by Sir Thomas Hanmer; but probably Shakspeare intended to blunder. JOHNSON.

SLEN. So I do, fir.

EVA. Give ear to his motions, master Slender : will defcription the matter to you, if you be сараcity of it.

SLEN. Nay, I will do as my coufin Shallow fays: I pray you, pardon me; he's a juftice of peace in his country, fimple though I ftand here.

EVA. But this is not the queftion; the question concerning your marriage.

SHAL. Ay, there's the point, fir.

EVA. Marry, is it; the very point of it; to mif tress Anne Page.

SLEN. Why, if it be fo, I will marry her, upon any reasonable demands.

EVA. But can you affection the 'oman? Let us command to know that of your mouth, or of your lips; for divers philofophers hold, that the lips is parcel of the mouth; 4-Therefore, prccifely, can you carry your good will to the maid?

4 the lips is parcel of the mouth;] Thus the old copies, The modern editors read-" parcel of the mind."

To be parcel of any thing, is an expreffion that often occurs in the old plays.

So, in Decker's Satiromaftix:

"And make damnation parcel of your oath."

Again, in Tamburlaine, 1590:

"To make it parcel of my empery.”

This paffage, however, might have been defigned as a ridicule on another, in John Lyly's Midas, 1592:

"Pet. What lips hath fhe?

"Li. Tufh! Lips are no part of the head, only made for a double-leaf door for the mouth." STEEVENS.

The word parcel, in this place, feems to be used in the same fenfe as it was both formerly and at present in conveyances. "Part, parcel, or member of any eftate," are formal words still to be found in various deeds. REED.


SHAL. Coufin Abraham Slender, can you love her?

SLEN. I hope, fir,-I will do, as it shall become one that would do reason.

EVA. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies, you must fpeak poffitable, if you can carry her your defires

towards her.

SHAL. That you muft: Will you, upon good dowry, marry her?

SLEN. I will do a greater thing than that, upon your requeft, coufin, in any reafon.

SHAL. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, fweet coz; what I do, is to pleasure you, coz: Can you love the maid?

SLEN. I will marry her, fir, 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 occafion to know one another: I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt :5 but if you fay, marry her, I will marry her, that I am freely diffolved, and diffolutely.

5 I hope upon familiarity will grow more contempt:] The old copy reads-content. STEEVENS.

Certainly, the editors in their fagacity have murdered a jest here. It is defigned, no doubt, that Slender fhould fay decreafe, inftead of increase; and diffolved and diffolutely, instead of refolved and refolutely: but to make him fay, on the prefent occafion, that upon familiarity will grow more content, instead of contempt, is difarming the fentiment of all its falt and humour, and disappointing the audience of a reasonable cause for laughter. THEOBALD.

Theobald's conjecture may be fupported by the fame intentional blunder in Love's Labour's Loft :

"Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me."


EVA. It is a fery difcretion answer; fave, the faul' is in the 'ort diffolutely: the 'ort is, according to our meaning, refolutely;-his meaning is good.

SHAL. Ay, I think my cousin meant well.

SLEN. Ay, or elfe I would I might be hanged, la.

Re-enter ANNE PAGE.

SHAL. Here comes fair miftrefs Anne :-Would

I were young, for your fake, mistress Anne!

ANNE. The dinner is on the table; my father defires your worships' company.

SHAL. I will wait on him, fair mistress Anne. EVA. Od's pleffed will! I will not be abfence at the grace.

[Exeunt SHALLOW and Sir H. EVANS. ANNE. Will't please your worship to come in, fir? SLEN. No, I thank you, forfooth, heartily; I am very well.

ANNE. The dinner attends you, fir.

SLEN. I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forfooth: Go, firrah, for all you are my man, go, wait upon my coufin Shallow: [Exit SIMPLE.] A juftice of peace fometime may be beholden to his friend for a man:-I keep but three men and a boy yet,"

• Anne. The dinner attends you, fir.

Slen.-Go, firrah, for all you are my man, go, wait upon my cousin Shallow :] This paffage fhews that it was formerly the cuftom in England, as it is now in France, for perfons to be attended at dinner by their own fervants, wherever they dined. M. MASON.


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

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