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Sir John Falstaff.
Mrs. Ann Page.
. Mr. Ford } Two Gentlemen, dwelling at Windsor
} Sbarperi, attending on
Τ Η Ε
(1) Merry Wives of WINDSOR.
А сті. SCENE, before Page's House in Windfir. Enter Justice Shallow, Slender, and Sir Hugh Evans.
SHALLOW. IR Hugh, persuade me not ; I will make a Starchamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir Johre
Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, Esq; Slen. In the county of Gloucester, justice of peace, and Coram.
(1) The Merry Wives of Windsor.] Queen Elizabeth was so well pleas’d with the admirable character of Falstaff in the Two Parts of Henry IV, that, as Mr. Rowe informs us, the commanded Shakespeare to continue it for one play more, and to Mew him in love. To this command we owe this comedy of the Merry Wives of Windfor : which, Mr. Gildon says, he was very well assur’d, our Author finiih'd in a fortnight. But this must be meant only, as Mr. Pope has observ’d, of the first imperfect sketch of this comedy, printed in 1619. The notice of a play, publish'd seventeen years after Queen Elizabeth's death, does no ways come in support of the tradition, that it was perform'd for that Princess's entertainment. But I have another old quarto edition of this comedy, (which, I presume, Mr. Pope never saw ;) printed in 1602; which says in the title-pageAs it bath been diverse times at d both before her Majesty and ell.wbere. The reader will find the title of this old play at length, in my catalogue of editions prefix'd to this work, L 2