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here ? my

Shal. That's good too : but what needs love of Leda O omnipotent Love ! how near either your 'muin’ or her 'budget ?' the the god drew to the complexion of a goose ! white will decipher her well enough. It hath A fault done first in the form of a beast. O struck ten o'clock.

Jove, a beastly fault! And then another fault Page. The night is dark ; light and spirits in the semblance of a fowl ; think on't, Jove ; will become it well. Heaven prosper our a foul fault! When gods have hot' backs, sport ! No man means evil but the devil, and what shall poor men do? For me, I am here we shall know him by his horns. Let's away; a Windsor stag; and the fattest, I think, i' the follow me.

[Exeunt. forest. Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who

can blame me to piss my tallow? Who comes SCENE III. A street leading to the Park.



Mrs. Ford. Sir John ! art thou there, my Mrs. Page. Master doctor, my daughter is

deer? my male deer? in green : when you see your time, take her

Fal. My doe with the black scut! Let the by the hand, away with her to the deanery, sky rain potatoes ; let it thunder to the tune and dispatch'it quickly. Go before into the

of Green Sleeves, hail kissing-comfits and snow Park : we two must go together.

eringoes ; let there come a tempest of provoCaius. I know vat I have to do. Adieu.

cation, I will shelter me here. Mrs. Page. Fare you well, sir. [Exit Caius.]

Mrs. Ford. Mistress Page is come with me, My husband will not rejoice so much at the

sweetheart. abuse of Falstaff as he will chafe at the doc

Fal. Divide me like a bribe buck, each a tor's marrying my daughter : but 'tis no mat

haunch : I will keep my sides to myself, my ter; better a little chiding than a great deal

shoulders for the fellow of this walk, and my of heart-break.


horns I bequeath your husbands. Am I a Mrs. Ford. Where is Nan now and her

woodman, ha ? Speak I like Herne the hunter? troop of fairies, and the Welsh devil Hugh?

Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience ; he Mrs. Page. They are all couched in a pit

makes restitution. As I am a true spirit, hard by Herne's oak, with obscured lights ;


[Nouse within which, at the very instant of Falstaff's and Mrs. Page. Alas, what noise ? our meeting, they will at once display to the

Mrs. Ford. Heaven forgive our sins ! night.

Fal. What should this be ? Mrs. Ford. That cannot choose but amaze

Mrs. Ford. him.

Mrs. Page.

Away, away! [They run off. Mrs. Page. If he be not amazed, he will be

Fal. I think the devil will not have me mocked ; if he be amazed, he will every way

damned, lest the oil that's in me should set be mocked.

21 hell on fire ; he would never else cross me Mis Ford. We'll betray him finely.

thus. Mrs. Page. Against such lewdsters and their

Enter Sir Hugh EVANS, disguised as before ; lechery

Pistol, as Hobgoblin ; MISTRESS QUICKThose that betray them do no treachery.

LY, ANNE PAGE, and others, as Fairies, Mrs. Ford. The hour draws on. To the oak, with tapers. to the oak!


Quick. Fairies, black, grey, green, and SCENE IV. Windsor Park.


You moonshine revellers and shades of night, Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, disguised, with others You orphan heirs of fixed destiny, as Fairies.


your office and your quality.

Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes. Evans, Trib, trib, fairies; come ; and re- Pist. Élves, list your names ; silence, you member your parts : be pold, I pray you ; airy toys. follow me into the pit; and when I give the Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap: watch-'ords, do as I pid you : come, come ; Where fires thou find'st unraked and hearths trib, trib

[Exeunt. unswept,

There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry : SCENE V. Another part of the Purk. Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery. 50 Enter FalsTAFF disguised as Herne.

Fal. They are fairies; he that speaks to

them shall die : Fal. The Windsor bell hath struck twelve ; I'll wink and couch · no man their works musi the minute draws on. Now, the hot-blooded


(Lies down upon his face. gods assist me! Remember, Jove, thou wast a Evans. Where's Bede? Go you, and where bull for thy Europa ; love set on thy horns.

you find a maid O powerful love that, in some respects, That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers makes a beast a man, in some other, a man á said, beasto You were also, Jupiter, a swan for the Raise up the organs of her fantasy :


Sleep she as sound as careless infancy :
Buc those as sleep and think not on their sins,
Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shonlders,

sides and shins. Quick. About, about; Search Windsor Castle, elves, within and out: Strew good luck, ouphes, op every sacred room :

61 That it may stand till the perpetual doom, In state as wholcsome as in state 'tis fit, Worthy the owner, and the owner it. The several chairs of order look you scour With juice of balm and every precious flower: Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest, With loyal blazon, evermore be blest ! And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing, Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring : 70 The expressure that it bears, green let it be, More fertile-fresh than all the field to see ; And 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' write In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue and

white; Let sapphire, pearl and rich embroidery, Buckled below fair knighthood's bending

knee : Fairies use flowers for their charactery. Away ; disperse : but till 'tis one o'clock, Our dance of custom round about the oak Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget. 80 Evans. Pray you, lock hand in hand ; your

selves in order set; And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be, To guide our measure round about the tree. But, stay ; I smell a man of middle-earth.

Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese! Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even

in thy birth. Quick. With trial-fire touch me his finger

end :
If he be chaste, the flame will back descend
And turn him to no pain ; but if he start, 90
It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.

Pist. A trial, come.
Evans. Come, will this wood take fire ?

[They burn him with their tapers. Fal. Oh, Oh, Oh ! Quick. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in

desire ! About hiin, fairies ; sing a scornful rhyme ; And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.

Fie on sinful fantasy!
Fie on lust and luxury !
Lust is but a bloody fire,
Kindled with unchaste desire,

100 Fed in heart, whose flames aspire As thoughts do blow them, higher and

higher. Pinch him, fairies, mutually ;

Pinch him for his villany ; Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about, Till candles and starlight and moonshine be


During this song they pinch FALSTAFF. Doo.

TOR Caius comes one way, and steals away a boy in green; SLENDER another way, and takes off a boy in white; and FENTON comes and steals away Mrs. ANNE PAGE. A ise of huntin is heard within. All the Fairies run away. · FALSTAFF pulls

off' his buck's head, and rises. Enter PAGE, FORD, MISTRESS PAGE, and

MISTRESS FORD. Page. Nay, do not fly ; I think we have

watch'd you pow : Will none but Herne the hunter serve your

turn ? Mrs. Page. I pray you, come, hold up the

jest no higher. Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives?

[yokes + See you these, husband ? do not these fair Become the forest better than the town?

Ford. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now ? Master Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns, Master Brook:and, Master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money, which must be paid to Master Brook ; his horses are arrested for it, Master Brook.

Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck ; we could never meet. I will never take you for my love again ; but I will always count you my deer.

Fal. I do begin to perceive that I am made

Ford. Ay, and an ox too : both the proofs are extant.

Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought they were not fairies: and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now how wit may be made a Jack-a-Lent, when 'tis upon ill employment !

Évans. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.

Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.

Evans. And leave your jealousies too, I pray you,

140 Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able to woo her in good English.

Fal. Have I laid my brain in the sun and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross o'erreaching as this? Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too? shall I have a coxcomb of frize ? "Tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.

Evans. Seese is not good to give putter; your belly is all putter,

Fal. Seese' and 'putter'! have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English ? This is enough to be the decay of lust and late-walking through the realm,

an ass.

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Mrs. Page. Why, Sir John, do you think, Mrs. Page. Good George, be not angry: I though we would have thrust virtue out of our knew of your purpose ; turned my daughter hearts by the head and shoulders and have into green ; and, indeed, she is now with the given ourselves without scruple to hell, that doctor at the deanery, and there married. ever the devil could have made you our delight?

Enter Caius. Ford. What, a hodge-pudding ? a bag of Caius. Vere is Mistress Page ? By gar, I flax ?

am cozened : I ha' married un garçon, a boy; Mrs. Page. A puffed man ?


un paysan, by gar, a boy ; it is not Anne Page: Page. Old, cold, withered and of intoler

by gar, I am cozened.

220 able entrails ?

Mrs. Page. Why, did you take her in Ford. And one that is as slanderous as

green? Satan ?

Caius. Ay, by gar, and 'tis a boy: by gar, Page. And as poor as Job ?

I'll raise all Windsor.

[Exit Ford. And as wicked as his wife ?

Ford. This is strange. Who hath got the Evans. And given to fornications, and to

right Anne ? taverns and sack and wine and metheglins,

Page. My heart misgives me: here comes and to drinkings and swearings and starings, Master Fenton. pribbles and prabbles ?

Fal. Well, I am your theme : you have the Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE, start of me; I am dejected ; I am not able to answer the Welsh flannel ; ignorance itself is How now, Master Fenton ! a plummet o'er me : use me as you will.

Anne. Pardon, good father! good my Ford. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Wind

mother, pardon ! sor, to one Master Brook, that you liave coz- Page. Now, mistress, how chance you went ened of money, to whom you should have been not with Master Slender ?

231 a pander : over and above that you have suf- Mrs. Puge. Why went you not with master fered, I think to repay that money will be a doctor, maid ? biting affliction.

Fent. You do amaze her : hear the truth of Page. Yet be cheerful, knight : thou shalt

it. eat a posset to-night at my house ; where I will You would have married her most shamedesire thee to laugh at my wife, that now fully, laughs at thee : tell her Master Slender hath Where there was no proportion held in love. married her daughter.

The truth is, she and I, long since contracted, Mrs. Page. [Aside] Doctors doubt that: if Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this,

us. Doctor Caius' wife.

The offence is holy that she hath committed ; Enter SLENDER.

And this deceit loses the name of craft,

Of disobedience, or unduteous title, 240 Slen. Whoa, ho ! ho, father Page !

Since therein she doth evitate and shun Page. Son, how now ! how now, son ! have A thousand irreligious cursed hours, you dispatched ?

Which forced marriage would have brought Slen. Dispatched! I'll make the best in

upon her. Gloucestershire know on't ; would I were Ford. Stand not amazed ; here is no remhanged, la, else.

edy : Page. Of what, son ?

In love the heavens themselves do guide the Slen. I came yonder at Eton to marry Mis

state ; tress Anne Page, and she's a great lubberly Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate. boy. "If it had not been i' the church, I would Fal. I am glad, though you have ta'en a have swinged him, or he should have swinged special stand to strike at me, that your arrow me. If I did not think it had been Anne Page, hath glanced. would I might never stir!-and 'tis a postmas- Page. Well, what remedy ? Fenton, heaven ter's boy.

give thee joy !

250 Page. Upon my life, then, you took the What cannot be eschew'd must be embraced. wrong.

201 Fal. When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer Slen. What need you tell me that ? ! are chased think so, when I took a boy for a girl. If I had Mrs. Page. Well, I will muse no further. been married to him, for all he was in woman's Master Fenton, app:rel, I would not have had him.

Heaven give you many, many merry days! Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not Good husband, let us every one go home, I tell you how you should know my daughter And laugh this sport o'er by a country fire ; by her garments ?

Sir Jolin and all. Slen. I went to her in white, and cried Ford. Let it be so. Sir John, 'mum,' and she cried 'budget,' as Anne and To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word; I had appointed ; and yet it was not Anne, For he to-night shall lie with Mistress Ford. but a postmaster's boy.





Much Ado About Nothing was entered on the Stationer's register, August 23, 1600, and a well. printed quarto edition appeared in the same year. The play is not mentioned by Meres, who wrote in 1598, and it is probable therefore that it was written at some time in the interval between 1v98 and 160). For the graver portion of the play-the Claudio and Hero story-Shakespeare had an original, perhaps Belleforest's translation in his Histoires Tragiques of Bandello's 22nd Novella, The story of Ariodante and Genevra in Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (canto v.) is substantially the same. This episode had been translated twice into English before Harrington's complete translation of the Orlando Furioso appeared in 1591; and it had formed the subject of a play acted before the Queen in 1582-83 ; the story was also told, in a somewhat altered form, by Spenser (Faerie Queen, II., 4). No original has been found for the merrier portion of the play, and Benedick and Beatrice were probably creations of Shakespeare. Much Ado About Nothing was popular on the stage in Shakespeare's day, and has sustained its reputation. Its variety, ranging from almost burlesque to almost tragedy, and from the euphemistic speech of courtiers to the blundering verbosity of clowns, has contributed io the success of the play. The chief persons, Hero and Claudio, Beatrice and Benedick, are contrasted pairs. Hero's character is kept subdued and quiet in tone, to throw out the force and color of the cbaracter of Beatrice; she is gentle, affectionate, tender, and if playful, playful in a gentle way. If our interest in Hero were made very strong, che pain of her unmerited shame anil suffering would be too keen. And Claudio is far from being a lover like Romeo; his woning is done by proxy, and he does not sink under the anguish of Hero's disgrace and supposed death. Don John, the villain of the piece, is a melancholy egoist, who looks sourly on all the world, and has a special grudge against his brother's young favorite Claudio. The chief force of Shakespeare in the play comes out in the characters of Benedick and Beatrice. They have not a touch of misanthropy, nor of sentimentality, but are thoroughly healthy and hearty human creatures; at tirst a little too much self-pleased, but framed by-and-by to be entirely pleased with one another. The thoughts of each from the first are pre-occupied with the other, but neither will put self-esteem to the hazard of a rebuke of making the first advances in love ; it only needs, however, that this danger should be removed for the pair to admit the fact that nature has made them over against one another-as their significant names suggest-for man and wife. Dogberry and Verges, as well as Beatrice and Benedick, are creations of Shakespeare. The blundering watchmen of the time are a source of fun with several Elizabethan playwrights ; but Dogberry and goodman Verges are the princes of blundering and incapable officials. It is a charming incongruity to find, while Leonato rages and Benedick offers his challenge, that the solemn ass Dogberry is the one to unravel the tangled threads of their fate.


VERGES, a headborough
A Sexton.

A Boy.

DON PEDRO, prince of Arragon.
DON JOHN, his bastard brother.
CLAUDIO, a young lord of Florence.
BENEDICK, a young lord of Padua.
LEONATO, governor of Messina.
ANTONIO, his brother.
BALTHASAR, attendant on Don Pedro.

followers of Don John.
DOGBERRY, a constable,

HERO, daughter to Leonato.
BEATRICE, niece to Leonato,
MARGARET, gentlewoman attending o

Messengers, Watch, Attendants, &c.
SCENE ; Messina.





Mess. A lord to a lord, a man to a man;

stuffed with all honorable virtues. SCENE I. Before LEONATO's house,

Beat. It is so, indeed ; he is no less than a

stuffed man : but for thu stuffing,-well, we are Enter LEONATO, HERO, and BEATRICE, with all mortal.

60 a Messenger.

Leon. You must not, sir, mistake my niece.

There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Leon. I learn in this letter that Don Peter Benedick and her: they never meet but there's of Arragon comes this night to Messina.

a skirmish of wit between them. Mess. He is very near by this : he was not Beat. Alas! he gets nothing by that. In three leagues off when I left him.

our last conflict four of his five wits went haltLeon. How many gentlemen have you losting off, and now is the whole man governed in this action ?

with one : so that if he have wit enough to Mess. But few of any sort, and none of keep himself warm, let him bear it for a dif

ference between himself and his horse ; for it Leon. A victory is twice itself when the is all the wealth that he hath left, to be known achiever brings home full numbers. I find a reasonable creature. Who is his companion here that Don Peter hath bestowed much now? He hath every month a new sworn honor on a young Florentine called Claudio. brother.

Mess. Much deserved on_his part and Mess. Is't possible ? equally remembered by Don Pedro : he hath Beat. Very easily possible : he wears his borne himself beyond the promise of his age, faith but as the fashion of his hat ; it ever doing, in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a changes with the next block. lion : he hath indeed better bettered expecta- Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in tion than you must expect of me to tell you

your books. how.

Beat. No ; an he were, I would burn my Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? will be very much glad of it.

Is there no young squarer now that will make Mess. I have already delivered him letters, a voyage with him to the devil ? and there appears much joy in him ; even so Mess. Hs is most in the company of the much that joy could not show itself modest right noble Claudio. enough without a badge of bitterness.

Beat. O Lord, he will hang upon him like Leon. Did he break out into tears ?

a disease : he is sooner caught than the pestiMess. In great measure.

lence, and the taker runs presently mad. God Leon. A kind overflow of kindness : there help the noble Claudio ! if he have caught the are no faces truer than those that are so wash- Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ed. How much better is it to weep at joy than ere a' be cured.

90 to joy at weeping !

Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady. Beat. I pray you, is Signior Mountanto re- Beat. Do, good friend. turred from the wars or no ?

31 Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
Mess. I know none of that name, lady : Beat. No, not till a hot January.
there was none such in the army of any sort. Mess. Don Pedro is approached.

Leon. What is he that you ask for, niece ?
Hero. My cousin means Signior Benedick

Enter Don PEDRO, DON JOHN, CLAUDIO, of Padua.

BENEDICK, and BALTHASAR. Mess. O, he's returned ; and as pleasant as D. Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, you are ever he was.

come to meet your trouble : the fashion cf the Beat. He set up his bills here in Messina world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it. and challenged Cupid at the flight ; and my Leon. Never came trouble to my house in uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed the likeness of your grace : for trouble being for Cupid, and challenged him at the bird-bolt. gone, comfort should remain ; but when you I pray you, how many hath he killed and eaten depart from me, sorrow abides and happiness in these wars ? But how many hath he takes his leave. killed ? for indeed I promised to eat all of his D. Pedro. You embrace your charge too killing.

willingly. I think this is your daughter. Leon. Faith, niece, you tax Signior Bene- Leon. Her mother hath many times told dick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I me so. doubt it not.

Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in asked her ? these wars.

Leon. Signior Benedick, no ; for hen were zat. You had musty victual, and he hath

you a child. holp to eat it : he is a very valiant trencher- D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick : we man ; he hath an excellent stomach.

may guess by this what you are, being a man. Mess. And a good soldier too, lady.

Truly, the lady fathers herself. Be happy, Beat.. And a good soldier tó a lady : but ady; for you are like an honorable father. what is he to a lord ?

Bene. į Signior Leonato be her father, she

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