Ford. Troth, and I haue a bag of money heere troubles me: if you will helpe to beare it (Sir Iohn) take all, or halfe, for easing me of the carriage

Fal. Sir, I know not how I may deserue to bee your Porter

Ford. I will tell you sir, if you will giue mee the hearing

Fal. Speake (good Master Broome) I shall be glad to be your Seruant

Ford. Sir, I heare you are a Scholler: (I will be briefe with you) and you haue been a man long knowne to me, though I had neuer so good means as desire, to make my selfe acquainted with you. I shall discouer a thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine owne imperfection: but (good Sir Iohn) as you haue one eye vpon my follies, as you heare them vnfolded, turne another into the Register of your owne, that I may passe with a reproofe the easier, sith you your selfe know how easie it is to be such an offender

Fal. Very well Sir, proceed

Ford. There is a Gentlewoman in this Towne, her husbands name is Ford

Fal. Well Sir

Ford. I haue long lou'd her, and I protest to you, bestowed much on her: followed her with a doating obseruance: Ingross'd opportunities to meete her: fee'd euery slight occasion that could but nigardly giue mee sight of her: not only bought many presents to giue her, but haue giuen largely to many, to know what shee would haue giuen: briefly, I haue pursu'd her, as Loue hath pursued mee, which hath beene on the wing of all occasions: but whatsoeuer I haue merited, either in my minde, or in my meanes, meede I am sure I haue receiued none, vnlesse Experience be a Iewell, that I haue purchased at an infinite rate, and that hath taught mee to say this, ``Loue like a shadow flies, when substance Loue pursues, ``Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues

Fal. Haue you receiu'd no promise of satisfaction at her hands? Ford. Neuer

Fal. Haue you importun'd her to such a purpose? Ford. Neuer

Fal. Of what qualitie was your loue then? Ford. Like a fair house, built on another mans ground, so that I haue lost my edifice, by mistaking the place, where I erected it

Fal. To what purpose haue you vnfolded this to me? For. When I haue told you that, I haue told you all: Some say, that though she appeare honest to mee, yet in other places shee enlargeth her mirth so farre, that there is shrewd construction made of her. Now (Sir Iohn) here is the heart of my purpose: you are a gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable discourse, of great admittance, authenticke in your place and person, generally allow'd for your many war-like, court-like, and learned preparations

Fal. O Sir

Ford. Beleeue it, for you know it: there is money, spend it, spend it, spend more; spend all I haue, onely giue me so much of your time in enchange of it, as to lay an amiable siege to the honesty of this Fords wife: vse your Art of wooing; win her to consent to you: if any man may, you may as soone as any

Fal. Would it apply well to the vehemency of your affection that I should win what you would enioy? Methinkes you prescribe to your selfe very preposterously

Ford. O, vnderstand my drift: she dwells so securely on the excellency of her honor, that the folly of my soule dares not present it selfe: shee is too bright to be look'd against. Now, could I come to her with any detection in my hand; my desires had instance and argument to commend themselues, I could driue her then from the ward of her purity, her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now are tootoo strongly embattaild against me: what say you too't, Sir Iohn? Fal. Master Broome, I will first make bold with your money: next, giue mee your hand: and last, as I am a gentleman, you shall, if you will, enioy Fords wife

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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