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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act IV. Scene I.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Street.


Mrs. Page.Is he at Master Ford’s already, thinkest thou?

Quick.Sure he is by this, or will be presently; but truly, he is very courageous mad about his throwing into the water. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly.

Mrs. Page.I’ll be with her by and by: I’ll but bring my young man here to school. Look, where his master comes; ’tis a playing-day, I see.


How now, Sir Hugh! no school to-day?

Eva.No; Master Slender is get the boys leave to play.

Quick.Blessing of his heart!

Mrs. Page.Sir Hugh, my husband says my son profits nothing in the world at his book: I pray you, ask him some questions in his accidence.

Eva.Come hither, William; hold up your head; come.

Mrs. Page.Come on, sirrah; hold up your head; answer your master, be not afraid.

Eva.William, how many numbers is in nouns?


Quick.Truly, I thought there had been one number more, because they say, ‘Od’s nouns.’

Eva.Peace your tattlings! What is fair, William?


Quick.Polecats! there are fairer things than polecats, sure.

Eva.You are a very simplicity ’oman: I pray you peace. What is lapis, William?

Will.A stone.

Eva.And what is a stone, William?

Will.A pebble.

Eva.No, it is lapis: I pray you remember in your prain.


Eva.That is a good William. What is he, William, that does lend articles?

Will.Articles are borrowed of the pronoun, and be thus declined, Singulariter, nominativo, hic, hœc, hoc.

Eva.Nominativo, hig, hag, hog; pray you, mark: genitivo, hujus. Well, what is your accusative case?

Will.Accusativo, hinc.

Eva.I pray you, have your remembrance, child; accusativo, hung, hang, hog.

Quick.Hang hog is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.

Eva.Leave your prabbles, ’oman. What is the focative case, William?

Will.O vocativo, O.

Eva.Remember, William; focative is caret.

Quick.And that’s a good root.

Eva.’Oman, forbear.

Mrs. Page.Peace!

Eva.What is your genitive case plural, William?

Will.Genitive case?


Will.Genitive, horum, harum, horum.

Quick.Vengeance of Jenny’s case! fie on her! Never name her, child, if she be a whore.

Eva.For shame, ’oman!

Quick.You do ill to teach the child such words. He teaches him to hick and to hack, which they’ll do fast enough of themselves, and to call ‘horum?’ fie upon you!

Eva.’Oman, art thou lunatics? hast thou no understandings for thy cases and the numbers and the genders? Thou art as foolish Christian creatures as I would desires.

Mrs. Page.Prithee, hold thy peace.

Eva.Show me now, William, some declensions of your pronouns.

Will.Forsooth, I have forgot.

Eva.It is qui, quœ, quod; if you forget your quis, your quœs, and your quods, you must be preeches. Go your ways and play; go.

Mrs. Page.He is a better scholar than I thought he was.

Eva.He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, Mistress Page.

Mrs. Page.Adieu, good Sir Hugh.[Exit SIR HUGH.]Get you home, boy. Come, we stay too long.[Exeunt.