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Enter FALSTAFF in women's clothes, led by

Mrs. PAGE.

your hand.

Mrs. Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me

Ford. I'll prat her: Out of my door, you witch! [beats him] you rag,” you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon!8 out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.

[Exit FalstAFF. Mrs. Page. Are you not ashamed ? I think, you have killed the poor woman.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it:- 'Tis a goodly credit for you.

Ford. Hang her, witch!

Eva. By yea and no, I think, the 'oman is a witch indeed: I like not when a 'oman has a great peard; I spy a great peard under her muffler.

Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen ? I beseech you, follow ; see but the issue of my jealousy: if I cry out thus upon no trail,' never trust me when I open again.

Page. Let's obey his humour a little further: Come, gentlemen.

[Exeunt Page, FORD, SHALLOW, and Evans. Mrs. Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully

Mrs. Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not ; he beat him most unpitifully, methought.

Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallowed, and

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man.

1 -- you rag,] This opprobrious term is again used in Timon.

Tonyon!] Ronyon, applied to a woman, means, as far as can be traced, much the same with scall or scab spoken of a

From Rogneur, Fr.

cry out thus upon no trail,] The expression is taken from the hunters. Trail is the scent left by the passage of the game. To cry out, is to open or bark.

hung o'er the altar ; it hath done meritorious service.

Mrs. Ford. What think you? May we, with the warrant of womanhood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with

him with any further revenge? Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of him; if the devil have him not in feesimple, with fine and recovery,' he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again, .”

Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him?

Mrs. Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your hụsband's brains. If they can find in their hearts, the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further afflicted, we two will still be the ministers.

Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publickly shamed: and, methinks, there would be no period to the jest, should he not be publickly shamed.

Mrs. Page. Come, to the forge with it then, shape it: I would not have things cool. [Ereunt.

SCENE III.

A Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter Host and BARDOLPH. Bard. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your horses : the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him.

Host. What duke should that be, comes so se

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- if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with fine and recovery,) Fee-simple is the largest estate, and fine and recovery the strongest assurance, known to English law.

in the way of waste, attempt us again,] Make furtber attempts to ruin us, by corrupting our virtue.

3 no period - ) i. e. perhaps, no proper catastrophe.

cretly? I hear not of him in the court: Let me speak with the gentlemen ; they speak English ?

Bard. Ay, sir; I'll call them to you.

Host. They shall have my horses; but I'll make them pay, I'll sauce them: they have had my houses a week at command ; I have turned away my other guests: they must come off;* I'll sauce them: Come.

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV.

A Room in Ford's House.

Enter Page, Ford, Mrs. Page, Mrs. FORD, and

Sir Hugh Evans.

Eva. 'Tis one of the pest discretions of a ’oman as ever I did look upon.

Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant ?

Mrs. Page. Within a quarter of an hour.
Ford. Pardon me, wife: Henceforth do what thou

wilt; I rather will suspect the sun with cold, Than thee with wantonness : now doth thy honour

stand, In him that was of late an heretick, As firm as faith.

Page. 'Tis well, 'tis well ; no more. Be not as extreme in submission, As in offence; But let our plot go forward : let our wives Yet once again, to make us publick sport, Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow, Where we may take him, and disgrace him for it.

4 they must come off;] To come off, is, to pay. VOL, I.

X

Ford. There is no better way than that they

spoke of. Page. How! to send him word they'll meet him in the park at midnight ! fie, fie; he'll never

come.

Eva. You say, he has been thrown into the rivers ; and has been grievously peaten, as an old 'oman; methinks, there should be terrors in him, that he should not come; methinks, his flesh is punished, he shall have no desires.

Page. So think I too.
Mrs. Ford. Devise but how you'll use him when

he comes,
And let us two devise to bring him thither.
Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes,

that Herne the hunter, Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest, Doth all the winter time, at still midnight, Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns ; And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle;' And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a

chain In a most hideous and dreadful manner: You have heard of such a spirit; and well you know, The superstitious idle-headed eld Received, and did deliver to our age, This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth.

Page. Why, yet there want not many, that do fear In deep of night to walk by this Herne's oak: But what of this?

Mrs. Ford. Marry, this is our device ; That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us, Disguised like Herne, with huge horns on his head.

s—and takes the cattle ;] To take, in Shakspeare, signifies to seize or strike with a disease, to blast.

idle-headed eld -- ] Eld seems to be used here for the olden time ; or perhaps for old persons..

Page. Well

, let it not be doubted but he'll come, And in this shape: When you have brought him

thither, What shall be done with him ? what is your plot? Mrs. Page. That likewise have we thought upon,

and thus :
Nan Page my daughter, and

my
little

son,
And three or four more of their growth, we'll dress
Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies, green and white,
With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
And rattles in their hands; upon a sudden,
As Falstaff, she, and I, are newly met,
Let them from forth a saw-pit rush at once
With some diffused song ;s upon their sight,
We two in great amazedness will fly:
Then let them all encircle him about,
And, fairy-like, to-pinch the unclean knight;'
And ask him, why, that hour of fairy revel,
In their so sacred paths he dares to tread,
In shape profane.

Mrs. Ford. And till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound,'
And burn him with their tapers.
Mrs. Page.

The truth being known,
We'll all present ourselves; dis-horn the spirit,
And mock him home to Windsor.
Ford.

The children must Be practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.

Eva. I will teach the children their behaviours;

1 urchins, ouphes,] The primitive signification of urchin is a hedge-hog. Hence it comes to signify any thing little and dwarfish. Ouph is the Teutonick word for a fairy or goblin.

8 With some diffused song ;] i. e. wild, irregular, discordant.

? And, fairy-like, to-pinch the unclean knight ;] This use of to in composition with verbs, very common in Gower and Chaucer, was not quite antiquated in the time of Shakspeare. -- pinch him sound,] i. e. soundly.

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