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This is a play which all men admire, and which most women dislike. Many revolting expressions in the comic parts, much boisterous courage in some of the graver scenes, together with Falstaff's unwieldy person, offend every female auditor; and whilst a facetious Prince of Wales is employed in taking purses on the highway, a lady would rather see him stealing hearts at a ball, though the event might produce more fatal consequences.
The great Percy, they confess, pays some attention to his wife, but still more to his horse: and, as the king was a rebel before he mounted the throne, and all women are naturally loyal, they shudder at a crowned head leagued with a traitor's heart.
With all these plausible objections, infinite enter tainment and instruction, may be received from this drama, even by the most delicate readers. They will observe the pen of a faithful historian, as well as of a great poet; and they ought, surely, to be charmed with every character, as a complete copy of nature; admiring even the delinquency of them all, far beyond that false display of unsullied virtue, so easy for a bard to bestow upon the creatures of his fancy, when