Page images
PDF
EPUB

Such an immodest raiment; if shame live
In a disguise of love:

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

But constant, he were perfect: that one error
Fills him with faults; makes him run through all sins:
Inconstancy falls off, ere it begins:
What is in Silvia's face, but I may spy
More fresh in Julia's with a constant eye?

Val. Come, come, a hand from either:
Let me be blest to make this happy close;
'Twere pity two such friends should be long foes.
Pro. Bear witness, heaven, I have my wish for ever.
Jul. And I have mine.

Enter Out-laws, with DUKE and THURIO. Out. A prize, a prize, a prize! Val. Forbear, I say; it is my lord the duke. Your grace is welcome to a man disgrac'd, Banished Valentine.

[blocks in formation]

Thu. Yonder is Silvia; and Silvia's mine.
Val. Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy death;
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;
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 my ancestry,
I do applaud thy spirit, Valentine,
And think thee worthy of an empress' love.
Know then, I here forget all former griefs,
Cancel all grudge, repeal thee home again.-
Plead a new state in thy unrivall'd merit,
To which I thus subscribe,-Sir Valentine,
Thou art a gentleman, and well deriv'd;
Take thou thy Silvia, for thou hast deserv'd her.

Val. I thank your grace; the gift hath made me I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake, [happy. To grant one boon that I shall ask of you.

Duke. grant it, for thine own, whate'er it be. Val. These banish'd men, that I have kept withal, Are men endued with worthy qualities; Forgive them what they have committed here, And let them be recall'd from their exile: They are reform'd, civil, full of good, And fit for great employment, worthy lord. [thee; Duke. Thou hast prevail'd; I pardon them, and Dispose of them, as thou know'st their deserts. 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? [blushes. Duke. I think the boy hath grace in him; he Val. I warrant you, my lord; more grace than boy. 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, Proteus; 'tis your penance, but to hear The story of your loves discovered:

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

In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ignorance, of care and negligence. The versification is often excellent, and the allusions are learned and just; but the author conveys his heroes by sea from one inland town to another in the same country; he places the emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never mentions him more; he makes Proteus, after an interview with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture; and if we may credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking places, left his scenery inextricable. The reason of all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story from a novel, which he sometimes followed, and sometimes forsook, sometimes remembered, and sometimes forgot.

That this play is rightly attributed to Shakspeare, I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom shall it be given? This question may be asked of all the disputed plays,

except Titus Andronicus; and it will be found more credible, that Shakspeare might sometimes sink below his highest flights, than that any other should rise up to his lowest.-JOHNSON. Johnson's general remarks on this play are just, except that part in which he arraigns the conduct of the poet, for making Proteus say, that he had only seen the picture of Silvia, when it appears that he had had a personal interview with her. This, however, is not a blunder of Shakspeare's, but a mistake of Johnson's, who considers the passage alluded to in a more literal sense than the author intended it. Sir Proteus, it is true, had seen Silvia for a few moments; but though he could form from thence some idea of her person, he was still unac quainted with her temper, manner, and the qualities of her mind. He therefore considers himself as having seen her picture only.-The thought is just, and elegantly expressed.

M. MASON.

MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.

THIS play, which was probably written in the year 1600, was entered at Stationers' Hall, by John Busby, Jan. 18, 1601.The first perfect and entire copy was published in the folio of 1623.-There had been previously two mutilated quarto editions given to the public-one in the year 1602; the other, 1619-1 agree with Mr. Boaden, in considering these to have been printed from an imperfect copy, surreptitiously obtained from some person in the employ of the theatre, or from transcription during the representation; and not, as has been supposed, from the rough draught of an original play, which was afterward revised and enlarged by the author.-My reasons for holding this opinion are, that the chasms which occur in the dialogue, are such as would render the story of the play almost unintelligible: of this Mr. Boaden quotes one instance, in Act 1. Sc. 4. where Dr. Caius says, Sir Hugh send a you," and immediately sends him a challenge; in the folio, Mrs. Quickly had before told him that Simple had come with a message from Parson Hugh; but this piece of information being omitted in the first quarto edition, the Doctor's anger is rendered unintelligible-again, the quarto contains many profane and gross expressions, which are omitted in the folio, and which might be expected to exist in a copy made during representation from the mouths of the players, who, we know from Shakspeare's own complaint of them, were in the habit of attering more of this kind of offensive matter than was set dowa for them by the author;-again, had the copy been fairly obtained, with the consent of the author, in 1602, there would have been no reason for the editor's reprinting the

faulty and imperfect play in 1619, as he would have a legiti mate claim to the finished MS.

The events of the play are supposed to take place between the first and second parts of Henry the Fourth.-Falstaff is still in favour at court, and the compliment of Ford on his warlike preparations, must allude to the good service he had done at Shrewsbury. The adventures of Falstaff, in this play, bear some resemblance to the Lovers of Pisa, a story in Tarleton's News out of Purgatory.

The tradition respecting the origin of this inimitable comedy is, that 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 shew him in love. To this command we owe The Merry Wives of Windsor; which, Mr. Gildon says, [Remarks on Shakspeare's Plays, 8vo. 1710.] he was very well assured our author finished in a fortnight. He quotes no authority. The circumstance was first mentioned by Mr. Dennis. This comedy," says he, in his Epistle Dedicatory to The Comical Gallant (an alteration of the present play), 1702, was written at her [Queen Elizabeth's] command, and by her direction, and she was so eager to see it acted, that she commanded it to be finished in fourteen days; and was afterward, as tradition tells us, very well pleased at the representation." The information, it is probable, came originally from Dryden, who, from his intimacy with Sir William Davenant, had an opportunity of learning many particulars concerning our author.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

Sir JOHN FALSTAFF.
FENTON.

SHALLOW, a country justice.

SLENDER, Cousin to Shallow.

Mr. FORD, Mr. PAGE, two gentlemen dwelling at Windsor.

WILLIAM PAGE, a boy, son to Mr. Page.

Sir HUGH EVANS, a Welch parson.

Dr. CAIUS, a French physician.

Hast of the Garter Inn.

BARDOLPH, PISTOL, NYM, followers of Falstaff.
ROBIN, page to Falstaff.

SIMPLE, servant to Slender.
RUGBY, servant to Dr. Caius.

Mrs. FORD.

Mrs. PAGE.

Mrs. ANNE PAGE, her daughter, in love with Fenton. Mrs. QUICKLY, servant to Dr. Caius.

Servants to Page, Ford, &c. SCENE.-WINDSOR; and the parts adjacent.

ACT I.

SCENE I-Windsor. Before Page's House.

Enter Justice SHALLOW, SLENDER,
and Sir HUGH EVANS.

Shal. Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Star-chamber matter of it: if 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 Cust-alorum. Slen. Ay, and ratolorum too; and a gentleman born, master parson; who writes himself armigero; in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, armigero.

Shal. Ay, that we 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.

Eva. The dozen white louses do become an old coat well; it agrees well, passant: it is a familiar 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.
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 this 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 a riot; 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.

Eva. It is petter that friends is the sword, and end it and there is also another device in my prain, which, peradventure, prings goot discretions 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 fery person for all the 'orld, as just as you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of monies, and gold, and silver, is her grandsire, 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.

Shal. Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred

pound?

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

penny.

Shal. I know the young gentlewoman; she has good gifts.

Eva. 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. 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 young master Slender; that, peradventures, shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.

Page. I am glad to see your worships well: I thank you for my venison, master Shallow.

Shal. Master Page, I am glad to see you; Much good do it your good heart! I wished your venison better; it was ill killed :- How doth good mistress Page?-and I love you always with my heart, la; with my heart.

Page. Sir, I thank you.

Shal. Sir, I thank you; by yea and no, I do. Page. I am glad to see you, good master Slender. Slen. How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say, he was out-run on Cotsale.

Page. It could not be judg'd, sir.

Slen. You'll not confess, you'll not confess. Shal. That he will not ;-'tis your fault, 'tis your fault-Tis a good dog.

Page. A cur, sir.

Shal. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog; Can there be more said? he is good, and fair. Is sir John Falstaff here?

Page. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a 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; Robert Shallow, esquire, saith, he is wrong'd.

Page. Here comes sir John.

Enter Sir JOHN FALSTAFF, BARDOLPHI, NYM, and PISTOL.

Ful. Now, master Shallow; you'll complain of me to the king?

Shal. Knight, you have beaten my men, killed 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.

Slen. Ay, it is no matter.

Pist. How now, Mephostophilus ?
Slen. Ay, it is no matter.

Nym. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca; slice! that's my humour.

Slen. Where's Simple, my man?—can you tell, cousin?

Eva. Peace: I pray you! Now let us understand: There is three umpires in this matter, as I understand: that is,-master Page, fidelicet, master Page: and there is myself, fidelicet, myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.

Page. We three, to hear it, and end it between them. Eva. Ferry goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-book; and we will afterwards 'ork upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can. Fal. Pistol,

Pist. He hears with ears.

Eva. The tevil with his tam! what phrase is this, He hears with ear? Why, it is affectations.

Fal. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse? Slen. Ay, by these gloves, did he, (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else,) of seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves. Fal. Is this true, Pistol?

Eva. No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.
Pist. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner!-Sir John and
master mine,

I combat challenge of this latten bilbo :
Word of denial in thy labras here;
Word of denial: froth and scum, thou liest.

Slen. By these gloves, then 'twas he.

Nym. Be advis'd, sir, and pass good humours: I will say, marry, trap, with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on me: that is the very note of it.

Slen. By this hat, then, he in the red face had it: for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.

Fal. What say you, Scarlet and John? Bard. Why, sir, for my part, I say, the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences.

Eva. It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is! Bard. And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashier'd; and so conclusions pass'd the careires.

Slen. Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis no matter: I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again, 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 Mistress ANNE PAGE with wine; Mistress FORD and Mistress PAGE following.

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

Shal. The council shall know this.

Fal. "Twere better for you, if it were known in counsel you'll be laugh'd at.

Eva. Pauca verba, sir John, goot worts. Fal. Good worts! good cabbage.-Slender, I broke your head; What matter have you against me?

Slen. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your coney-catching rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. They carried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and afterwards picked my pocket.

Bard. You Banbury cheese!

Page. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll [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 venison pasty to dinner; come, gentlemen, I hope we shail drink down all unkindness. [Exeunt all but SHAL. SLENDER, and EVANS.

Slen. I had rather than forty shillings, I had my book of Songs and Sonnets here:-

How now,

Enter SIMPLE.

Simple! Where have you been? I must

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »