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London. Published by FC&J. Rivington and Partners Feb 1823.

Mrs. Ford. Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brentford. Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have I not forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does she? We are simple men; we do not know what's brought to pass under the profession of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by the figure, and such daubery as this is; beyond our element: we know nothing. Come down, you witch, you hag you; come down, I say.


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Mrs. Ford. Nay, good, sweet husband; — good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman.

Enter FALSTAFF in women's clothes, led by Mrs. PAGE. Mrs. Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me your hand.

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

such daubery-] Such gross falsehood, and imposition.

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

8 ronyon!] Ronyon, applied to a woman, means, as far as can be traced, much the same with scall or scab spoken of a man. From rogneux, 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.

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 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 any further revenge?

Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of him; if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with fine and recovery1, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.2

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 husband'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 period3 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.


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 further attempts to ruin us, by corrupting our virtue.

3 — no period-] i. e. perhaps, no proper catastrophe.


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 secretly? 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.



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


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.

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


'Tis well, 'tis well; no more.

Be not as éxtreme 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.

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


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; 5 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?

5 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.

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