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An apartment in the Duke's palace.
Enter Thurio, Protheus, and Julia.
Thu. Sir Protheus, what says Silvia to my
Pro. Oh, sir, I find her milder than she was;
And yet she takes exceptions at your person.
Thu. What, that my leg is too long?
Pro. No; that it is too little. [rounder.
Thu. I'll wear a boot to make it somewhat
Pro. But love will not be spurr'd to what it

Thu. What says she to my face?
Pro. She says, it is a fair one.


Pro. That you are well deriv`d.

Jul. True; from a gentleman to a fool. [Aside.
Thu. Considers she my possessions?

Pro. O, ay; and pities them.

Thu. Wherefore?

Jul. That such an ass should owe them. [Aside.
Pro. That they are out by lease.

Jul. Here comes the duke.

Enter Duke.

Duke. How now, sir Protheus? how now,


Which of you saw sir Eglamour of late?

Thu. Not I.

Pro. Nor I.

Duke. Saw you my daughter?

Pro. Neither.


Duke. Why, then she's fled unto that peasant
And Eglamour is in her company.

Tis true; for friar Laurence inei them both,
As he in penance wander'd through the forest:
40 Him he knew well, and guess'd that it was she;
But, being mask'd, he was not sure of it:
Besides, she did intend confession

At Patrick's cell this even; and there she was not:
These likelihoods confirm her flight from hence.
45 Therefore, I pray you, stand not to discourse,
But mount you presently; and meet with me
the rising of the mountain-foot
That leads towards Mantua, whither they are fled;
Dispatch, sweet gentlemen, and follow me.
[Exit Duke.

Thu. Nay, then the wanton lies; my face is black.
Pro. Eut pearls are fair; and the old saying is,
"Black men are pearls in beauteous ladies' eyes."50j
Jul. "Tis true, such pearls as put out ladies' eyes;
For I had rather wink, than look on them. [Aside.
Thu. How likes she my discourse?
Pro. I, when you talk of war. [peace?
Thu. But well, when I discourse of love, and 55
Jul. But better, indeed, when you hold you

Thu. What says she to my valour?
Pro. Oh, sir, she makes no doubt of that.

Thu. Why, this it is to be a peevish girl,
That flies her fortune when it follows her:
I'll after; more to be reveng'd on Eglamour,
Than for the love of reckless Silvia.

Pro. And I will follow, more for Silvia's love,
Than hate of Eglamour that goes with her.

Jul. And I will follow, more to cross that love, Than hate for Silvia, that is gone for love.



It should be remembered, that false hair was worn by the ladies, long before wigs were in fashion. These false coverings, however, were call'd periwigs. A high forehead was in Shakspeare's time accounted a feature eminently beautiful. That is, respectful, or respectable. Sure means safe. Own them.



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Val. How use doth breed a babit in a man!
This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods,
I better brook than flourishing peopled towns:
Here can I sit alone, uns en of any,
And, to the nightingale's complaining notes,
Tune my distresses, and record' my woes.
O thou that dost inhabit in my breast,
Leave not the mansion so long tenantless;
Lest, growing ruinous, the building fall,
And leave no memory of what it was!
Repair me with thy presence, Silvia;
Thou gentle nymph, cherish thy forlorn swain!-
What hallo ing, and what stir is this to-day?
These are my mates, that make their wills their
Have some unhappy passenger in chace: [law,
They love me well; yet I have much to do,
To keep them from uncivil outrages. [here?
Withdraw thee, Valentine; who's this comes
[Val. steps aside.



Pro. What dangerous action, stood it next to
Would I not undergo for one calm look?
Oh, 'tis the curse in love, and still approv'd,
When women cannot love, where they're belov'd.
Sil. When Protheus cannot love, where he'sbelov'd.
Read over Julia's heart, thy first best love,
For whose dear sake thou didst then rend thy faith
Into a thousand oaths; and all those oaths
Descended into perjury, to love me.


Thou hast no faith leit now, unless thou hadst
And that's far worse than none; better have none
Than plural faith, which is too much by one:
Thou counterfeit to thy true friend!

Pro. In love

Who respects friend?

Sil. All men but Protheus.

Pro. Nay, if the gentle spirit of moving words
Can no way change you to a milder form,

25 I'll woo you like a soldier, at arms' end;
And love you'gainst the nature of love, force you.
Sil. O heaven!

Pro. I'll force thee yield to my desire.
Val. Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch;

30 Thou friend of an ill fashion!

Pro. Valentine!

[or love; Val. Thou common friend, that's without faith (For such is a friend now) treacherous man! Thou hast beguil'd my hopes; nought but mine eye 35 Could have persuaded me: Now I dare not say, I have one friend alive; thou wouldst disprove me. Who should be trusted, when one's own right hand Is perjur'd to the bosom? Protheus,


I am sorry, I must never trust thee more,
But count the worlda stranger for thy sake. [curst!
The private wound is deepest: Oh time, most
Mongst all foes, that a friend should be the worst!
Pro. My shame and guilt confounds me.-
Forgive me, Valentine! if hearty sorrow
Be a sufficient ransom for offence,

I tender it here; I do as truly suffer,
As e'er I did commit.

Val. Then I am paid;

And once again I do receive thee honest: 50 Who by repentance is not satisfy'd,

Enter Protheus, Silvia, and Julia.
Pro. Madam, this service I have done for you, 45
(Though you respect not aught your servant doth)
To hazard life, and rescue you from him,
That wou'd have forc'd your honour and your love.
Vouchsafe me for my meed' but one fair look;
A smaller boon than this I cannot beg,
And less than this, I am sure, you cannot give.
Val. How like a dream is this, I see, and hear!
Love, lend me patience to forbear a while. [Aside.
Sil. O miserable, unhappy that I am!
Pro. Unhappy were you, madam, ere I came:155
But, by my coming, I have made you happy. [py.
Sil. By thy approach thoumak'st me most unhap
Jul. And me, when he approacheth to your

Sil. Had I been seized by a hungry lion,
I would have been a breakfast to the beast,

To record anciently signified to sing. press the first essays of a bird in singing.

Is nor of heaven, nor earth; for these are pleas'd;
By penitence the Eternal's wrath's appeas'd:-
And, that my love may appear plain and free,
All, that was mine in Silvia, I give thee.

Jul. Oh me unhappy!
Pro. Look to the boy.
[the matter?
Val. Why, boy! why, wag! how now? what is
Look up; speak.

Jul. O good sir, my master charged me 60 To deliver a ring to madam Silvia;

Which, out of my neglect, was never done.

Record is also a term still used by bird-fanciers, to ex-
That is, reward,


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Jul. Oh, cry your mercy, sir, I have mistook: 5
This is the ring you sent toSilvia.[Shewsanotherring]
Pro. But how cam'st thou by this ring? At my
gave this unto Julia.
Jul. And Julia herself did give it me;
And Julia herself hath brought it hither,
Pro. How! Julia?


Jul. Behold her that gave aim to all thy oaths,
And entertain'd them deeply in her heart:
How oft hast thou with perjury cleft the root?
Oh Protheus, let this habit make thee blush!
Be thou asham'd, that I have took upon me
Such an immodest rayment; if shame live
In a disguise of love:"

I hold him but a fool, that will endanger
His body for a girl that loves him not:
I claim her not, and therefore she is thine.
Duke. The more degenerate and base art thou,
To make such means for her as thou hast done,
And leave her on such slight conditions.—
Now, by the honour of mine ancestry,
I do applaud thy spirit, Valentine,
And think thee worthy of an empress' love.
10 Know then, I here forget all former griefs,
Cancel all grudge, repeal thee home again.
Plead a new state in thy unrival'd inerit,
To which I thus subscribe,-Sir Valentine,
Thou art a gentleman, and well deriv'd;
15 Take thou thy Sylvia, for thou hast deserv'd her.
Val. I thank your grace; the gift hath made
me happy.

It is the lesser blot, modesty finds, [minds.
Women to change their shapes, than men their 20
Pro. Than men their minds! 'tis true; oh hea-
ven! were man

But constant, he were perfect: that one error
Fills him with faults; makes him run through all
Inconstancy falls off, ere it begins:

[sins: 25

What is in Silvia's face, but I may spy

More fresh in Julia's with a constant eye?
Val. Come, come, a band from either:

Let me be blest to make this happy close;

Pro. Bear witness, heaven,

I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake,
To grant one boon that I shall ask of you.

Duke. I grant it, for thine own, whate'er it be.
Val. These banish'd men, that I have kept

Are men endu'd with worthy qualities;
Forgive them what they have committed here,
And let them be recall'd from their exile:
They are reformed, civil, full of good,
And fit for great employment, worthy lord.
Duke, Thou hast prevail'd: I pardon them and

"Twere pity two such friends should long be foes. 30 Dispose of them, as thou know'st their deserts.

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[duke. 35

Val. Forbear, forbear, I say; it is my lord the Your grace is welcome to a man disgrac'd, Banished Valentine.

Duke. Sir Valentine!

Thu. Yonderis Silvia; and Silvia's mine [death; 40
Val. Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy
Come not within the measure' of my wrath:
Do not name Silvia thine; if once again,
Milan shall not behold thee. Here she stands,
Take but possession of her with a touch;—
I dare thee but to breathe upon my love.-
Thu. Sir Valentine, I care not for her, I;

! That is, the reach of my anger.

Come, let us go; we will include all jars
With triumphs, mirth, and rare solemnity.
Val. And, as we walk along, I dare be bold
With our discourse to make your grace to smile.
What think you of this page, my lord?

Duke. I think the boy hath grace in him; he
Val. I warrant you, my lord; more grace than
Duke. What mean you by that saying?
Val. Please you, I'll tell you as we pass along,
That you will wonder, what hath fortuned.—
Come, Protheus: 'tis your penance, but to hear
The story of your loves discovered:

That done, our day of marriage shall be yours;
45 One feast, one house, one mutual happiness.
[Exeunt omnes.

To include is to shut up, to conclude.


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Before Page's house in Windsor.

Enter Justice Shallow,Slender, and Sir HughEvans.
Shal. SIR Hugh, persuade me not: I will

make a Star-chamber' matter of it: it he were twenty sir John Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.

Slen. In the county of Gloster, justice of peace, and coram.

Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and custalorum. Slen. Ay, and ratalorum too; and a gentleman born, master parson; who writes himself armigero; in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, armigero.


Shal. Ay, that I do: and have done any time these three hundred years.

Slen. All his successors, gone before him, have done't; and all his ancestors, that come after him, may: they may give the dozen white luces in

their coat.

Shal. It is an old coat.

Era. The dozen white louses do become an old coat well; it agrees well, passant: it is a fa[10miliar beast to man, and signifies-love.


Shal. The luce' is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat.

Slen. I may quarter, coz.

Shal. You may by marrying.

Eva. It is marring, indeed, if he quarter it.

'Queen Elizabeth was so well pleased with the admirable character of Falstaff in the Two Parts of Henry IV. that, as Mr. Rowe informs us, she commanded Shakspeare to continue it for one play more, and to shew him in love. To this command we owe The Merry Wives of Windsor: which, Mr. Gildon says, he was very well assured our author finished in a fortnight. This is the first of sundry instances in our poet, where a parson is called sir; upon which it may be observed, that anciently it was the common designation both of one in holy orders and a knight. The Star-chamber had a right to take cognizance of routs and riots. Probably intended for a corruption of Custos Rotulorum. The luce is a pike or jack. This passage is also supposed to point at Sir Thomas Lucy, who was the cause of Shakspeare's leaving Stratford,


Shal. Not a whit.

Eva. Yes, py'r-lady; if he has a quarter of your coat, there is but three skirts for yourself, in my simple conjectures: but that is all one: if sir John Falstaff have committed disparagements unto you, I am of the church, and will be glad to do my benevolence, to make atonements and compromises between you.


Shal. The council shall hear it; it is a riot. Eva. It is not meet the council hear of a riot;10 there is no fear of Got in a riot: the council, look you, shall desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your vizaments in that.

Shal. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the sword should end it.

Era. It is petter that friends is the sword, and end it and there is also another device in my prain, which, peradventure, prings gooddiscretions with it: There is Anne Page, which is daughter to master George Page, which is pretty virginity.

Slen. Mistress Anne Page? she has brown hair, and speaks small like a woman.



Eva. It is that very person for all the 'orld, as just as you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of monies, and gold, and silver, is her grandsire, 25 upon his death's-bed, (Got deliver to a joyful resurrections!) give, when she is able to overtake seventeen years old: it were a goot motion, if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage between master Abraham and mistress Anne Page.

Slen. Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pounds?

Eva. Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny.

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Poge. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do
good office between you.

Eva. It is spoke as a christians ought to speak.
Shal. He hath wrong'd me, master Page.
Page. Sir, he doth in some sort confess it.

Shal. If it be confess'd, it is not redress'd; is not that so, master Page? He hath wrong'd me;-indeed, he hath ;-at a word, he hath;-believe me; 30-Robert Shallow, esquire, saith, he is wrong'd.' Page. Here comes Sir John.

Slen. I know the young gentlewoman; she has 35 good gifts.

Era. Seven hundred pounds, and possibilities, is good gifts.

Shal. Well, let us see honest master Page: Is Falstaff there?


Eva. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar, as
I do despise one that is false; or, as I despise one
that is not true. The knight, Sir John, is there;
and, I beseech you, be ruled by your well-willers.
I will peat the door [Knocks] for master Page. 45
What, hoa! Got pless your house here!
Enter Page.
Page. Who's there?

Eva. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and justice Shallow: and here is young master 50 Slender, that peradventures shall tell you another

Enter Sir John Falstaff, Bardolph, Num,and Pistol. Ful. Now, master Shallow; you'll complain of me to the king?

Shal. Knight, you have beaten my men, kill'd my deer, and broke open my lodge.

"Fal. But not kiss'd your keeper's daughter? Shal. Tut, a pin! this shall be answer'd.

Fal. I will answer it strait;-I have done all this:-That is now answer'd.

Skal. The council shall know this.

Fal. "Twere better for you, if 'twere known in counsel'; you'll be laughed at.

Era. Pauca verba, sir John; good worts. Fal. Goodworts! good cabbage:-Slender, I brokeyourhead; What matterhaveyou against me?

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Sten. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your coney-catching ' rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. Bar. You Banbury cheese! Slen. Ay, it is no matter.

Advisement is now an obsolete v ord. 2 He means Cotswold, in Gloucestershire; where in the beginning of the reign of James the First, by permission of the king, Dover, a public-spirited attorney of Barton on the Heath, in Warwickshire, instituted on the hills of Cotswold an annual celebration of games, consisting of rural sports and exercises. These he constantly conducted in person, well mounted, and accoutred in a suit of his majesty's old cloaths; and they were frequented above forty years by the nobility and gentry for sixty miles round, till the grand rebellion abolished every liberal establishment. The games were, chiefly, wrestling, leaping, pitching the bar, handling the pike, dancing of women, various kinds of hunting, and particularly coursing the hare with greyhounds. ' Falstaff here probably quibbles between council and counsel; the latter signifies secrecy; and his meaning seems to be, 'Twere better for you if it were known only in secrecy, i. e. among your friends. Worts was the ancient name of all the cabbage kind. Á coney-catcher was, in the time of Elizabeth, a common name for a cheat or sharper. This alludes to the thin carcase of Slender.

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