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And there he blasts the trees, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You've heard of such a fpirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv'd, 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.
We'll send him word to meet us in the field
Disguis'd like Herne with huge horns on his head.

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 we have 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: upon their sight,
We two in great amazedness will Ay;
Then let them all encircle him about,
And like to fairies pinch the unclean knight;
And ask him, why, that hour of fairy-revel,
In their so facred paths he dares to tread
In shape profane?

Mrs. Ford. And 'till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him round,
And burn him with their tapers.
a Diffused here means wild, irregular, extravagant.

Mrs.

Mrs. Page. The truth being known,
We'll all present ourselves; dishorn the spirit,
And mock him home to Windfor.

Ford. The children must
Be practis'd well to this, or they'll ne'er do’t.

Èva. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will be like a jack-a-napes also, to burn the knight with my taper.

Ford. This will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.

Mrs. Page. My Nan shall be the queen of all the fairies; Finely attired in a robe of white.

Page. That filk will I go buy, and in that ʼtire Shall master Slender steal my Nan away,

[aside. And marry her at Eaton. Go, send to Falstaff straight.

Ford. Nay, I'll to him again in the name of Brook; he'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he'll come.

Mrs. Page. Fear not you that; go, get us properties, and tricking for

your

fairies. Eva. Let us about it; it is admirable pleasures, and ferry honest knaveries.

[Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans. Mrs. Page. Go, mistress Ford, Send Quickly to fir John, to know his mind. [Exit. Mrs. Ford. I'll to the doctor; he hath my good will, And none but he, to marry with Nan Page. That Slender, though well landed, is an ideot; And him my husband best of all affects : The doctor is well money'd, and his friends Potent at court; he, none but he shall have her, Though twenty thousand worthier came to crave her. [Exit.

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The Garter-Inn.

Enter Host, and Simple. HAT wouldst thou have, boor? what, thick-skin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.

Simp. Marry, fir, I come to speak with fir John Falstaff from master Slender.

Hoft. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standingbed and truckle-bed; 'tis painted about with the story of the prodigal, fresh and new; go, knock and call; he'll speak like an anthropophaginian unto thee: knock, I say.

Simp. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber; I'll be so bold as stay, sir, 'till she come down; I come to speak with her, indeed.

Hoft. Ha! a fat woman? the knight may be robb’d: I'll call. Bully-knight! bully-fir John! speak from thy lungs military: art thou there? it is thine hoft, thine Ephesian' calls.

Enter Falstaff. Fal. How now, mine host?

Hoft. Here's a Bobemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman : let her descend, bully, let her descend; my chambers are honourable. Fie, privacy? fie!

Fal. There was, mine hoft, an old fat woman even now with me; but she's gone.

Simp. Pray you, sir, was't not the wife woman of Brainford? Fal

. Ay, marry, was it, muscle-shell, what would you with her? Simp. My master, fir, my master Slender sent to her, seeing her go through the street, to know, fir, whether one Nym, fir, that beguild him of a chain, had the chain or no.

Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.
Simp. And what says she, I pray, sir?

Fal. Marry, she says, that the very fame man that beguild master Slender of his chain cozen'd him of it.

Simp. I would, I could have spoken with the woman herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too from him.

Fal. What are they? let us know.
Hoft. Ay, come; quick.
Simp. I may not conceal them, sir?
Hof. Conceal them, and thou dy'st.
He means to say, thine Ephæstion.

Simp. Why, sir, they were nothing but about mistress Anne
Page, to know if it were my master's fortune to have her, or no.

Fal. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.
Simp. What, sir?
Fal. To have her, or no: go; fay, the woman told me so.
Simp. May I be so bold to say so, sir?
Hoft. Ay, sir; like who more bold.
Simp. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad
with these tidings.

[Exit Simple. Hoft. Thou art clerkly; thou art clerkly, fir John: was there a wise woman with thee?

Fal. Ay, that there was, mine host, one that hath taught me more wit than ever I learn'd before in my life; and I pay'd nothing for it neither, but was pay'd for my learning.

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S CE N E IX.

Enter Bardolph.
Bard. Out, alas, sir, cozenage! meer cozenage !
Hoft. Where be my horses ? speak well of them, varletto.

Bard. Run away with the cozeners; for so soon as I came beyond Eaton, they threw me off from behind one of them in a slough of mire, and set spurs, and away; like three German devils, three doctor Faustus's.

Hoft. They are gone but to meet the duke; villain, do not say they be Aed; Germans are honest men.

Enter Evans.
Eva. Where is mine host?
Hoft. What is the matter, sir?

Eva Have a care of your entertainments; there is a friend o'mine come to town tells me there is three cozen-jermans that has cozen'd all the hosts of Reading, of Maiden-head, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell you for good will, look you; you are wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-stocks, and 'tis not convenient you should be cozened; fare you well. [Exit.

Enter

Enter Caius. Caius. Ver is mine hoft de jartere ? Hoft. Here, master doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma.

Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat; but it is tell-a me, dat you make a grand preparation for a duke de Jamany; by my trot, dere is no duke, dat de court is know, to come: I tell you for good will; adieu.

TĒxit. Hoft. Hue and cry, villain, go; assift me, knight, I am undone; fly, run, hue and cry, villain ; I am undone. [Exit.

Fal. I would, all the world might be cozen'd, for I have been cozened, and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court how I have been transformed, and how my transformation hath been wash'd and cudgeld, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermens boots with me. I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, 'till I were as crest-faln as a dry'd pear. I never prosper'd since I forswore myself at Primeró. Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent. Now, whence come you?

X.

SCENE

Enter mistress Quickly. Quic. From the two parties, forsooth.

Fal. The devil take one party, and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestow'd! I have suffer’d more for their fakes, more than the villanous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.

Quic. And have they not suffer’d? yes, I warrant, speciously one of them; mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.

Fal. What tell’st thou me of black and blue ? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rain-bow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brainford; but that my

admirable dexterity of wit, counterfeiting the action of a wode woman, deliver'd

me,

the knave constable had set me i' th' stocks, i'th' common stocks, for a witch.

Quic. .

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