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Renascence Editions

William Shakespeare

Merry Wives of Windsor.

Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text is a copy of the University of Adelaide mirror of the ERIS Project plain text edition. The text is in the public domain. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 1999 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only.



                        Dramatis Personae

  FENTON, a young gentleman
  SHALLOW, a country justice
  SLENDER, cousin to Shallow

    Gentlemen of Windsor
  WILLIAM PAGE, a boy, son to Page
  SIR HUGH EVANS, a Welsh parson
  DOCTOR CAIUS, a French physician
  HOST of the Garter Inn

    Followers of Falstaff
  ROBIN, page to Falstaff
  SIMPLE, servant to Slender
  RUGBY, servant to Doctor Caius

  MISTRESS ANNE PAGE, her daughter
  MISTRESS QUICKLY, servant to Doctor Caius
  SERVANTS to Page, Ford, etc.

    Windsor, and the neighbourhood

    The Merry Wives of Windsor

                         ACT I. SCENE 1.

                   Windsor. Before PAGE'S house


  SHALLOW. Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Star
    Chamber matter of it; if he were twenty Sir John Falstaffs,
    he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.
  SLENDER. In the county of Gloucester, Justice of Peace, and
  SHALLOW. Ay, cousin Slender, and Custalorum.
  SLENDER. Ay, and Ratolorum too; and a gentleman born,
    Master Parson, who writes himself 'Armigero' in any bill,
    warrant, quittance, or obligation-'Armigero.'
  SHALLOW. Ay, that I do; and have done any time these three
    hundred years.
  SLENDER. All his successors, gone before him, hath done't;
    and all his ancestors, that come after him, may: they may
    give the dozen white luces in their coat.
  SHALLOW. It is an old coat.
  EVANS. The dozen white louses do become an old coat well;
    it agrees well, passant; it is a familiar beast to man, and
    signifies love.
  SHALLOW. The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old
  SLENDER. I may quarter, coz.
  SHALLOW. You may, by marrying.
  EVANS. It is marring indeed, if he quarter it.
  SHALLOW. Not a whit.
  EVANS. Yes, py'r lady! If he has a quarter of your coat, there
    is but three skirts for yourself, in my simple conjectures;
    but that is all one. If Sir John Falstaff have committed
    disparagements unto you, I am of the church, and will be
    glad to do my benevolence, to make atonements and
    compremises between you.
  SHALLOW. The Council shall hear it; it is a riot.
  EVANS. It is not meet the Council hear a riot; there is no
    fear of Got in a riot; the Council, look you, shall desire
    to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your
    vizaments in that.
  SHALLOW. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the sword
    should end it.
  EVANS. It is petter that friends is the sword and end it;
    and there is also another device in my prain, which
    peradventure prings goot discretions with it. There is Anne
    Page, which is daughter to Master George Page, which is
    pretty virginity.
  SLENDER. Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and
    speaks small like a woman.
  EVANS. It is that fery person for all the orld, as just as you
    will desire; and seven hundred pounds of moneys, and
    gold, and silver, is her grandsire upon his death's-bed-Got
    deliver to a joyful resurrections!-give, when she is able to
    overtake seventeen years old. It were a goot motion if we
    leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage
    between Master Abraham and Mistress Anne Page.
  SHALLOW. Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound?
  EVANS. Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny.
  SHALLOW. I know the young gentlewoman; she has good
  EVANS. Seven hundred pounds, and possibilities, is goot gifts.
  SHALLOW. Well, let us see honest Master Page. Is Falstaff
  EVANS. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar as I do
    despise one that is false; or as I despise one that is not
    true. The knight Sir John is there; and, I beseech you, be
    ruled by your well-willers. I will peat the door for Master
    [Knocks]  What, hoa! Got pless your house here!
  PAGE.  [Within]  Who's there?

                            Enter PAGE

  EVANS. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and Justice
  Shallow; and here young Master Slender, that peradventures
    shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your
  PAGE. I am glad to see your worships well. I thank you for
    my venison, Master Shallow.
  SHALLOW. Master Page, I am glad to see you; much good do
    it your good heart! I wish'd your venison better; it was ill
    kill'd. How doth good Mistress Page?-and I thank you
    always with my heart, la! with my heart.
  PAGE. Sir, I thank you.
  SHALLOW. Sir, I thank you; by yea and no, I do.
  PAGE. I am glad to see you, good Master Slender.
  SLENDER. How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say
    he was outrun on Cotsall.
  PAGE. It could not be judg'd, sir.
  SLENDER. You'll not confess, you'll not confess.
  SHALLOW. That he will not. 'Tis your fault; 'tis your fault;
    'tis a good dog.
  PAGE. A cur, sir.
  SHALLOW. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog. Can there be
    more said? He is good, and fair. Is Sir John Falstaff here?
  PAGE. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a good office
    between you.
  EVANS. It is spoke as a Christians ought to speak.
  SHALLOW. He hath wrong'd me, Master Page.
  PAGE. Sir, he doth in some sort confess it.
  SHALLOW. If it be confessed, it is not redressed; is not that
    so, Master Page? He hath wrong'd me; indeed he hath; at a
    word, he hath, believe me; Robert Shallow, esquire, saith
    he is wronged.
  PAGE. Here comes Sir John.


  FALSTAFF. Now, Master Shallow, you'll complain of me to
    the King?
  SHALLOW. Knight, you have beaten my men, kill'd my deer,
    and broke open my lodge.
  FALSTAFF. But not kiss'd your keeper's daughter.
  SHALLOW. Tut, a pin! this shall be answer'd.
  FALSTAFF. I will answer it straight: I have done all this.
    That is now answer'd.
  SHALLOW. The Council shall know this.
  FALSTAFF. 'Twere better for you if it were known in counsel:
    you'll be laugh'd at.
  EVANS. Pauca verba, Sir John; goot worts.
  FALSTAFF. Good worts! good cabbage! Slender, I broke your
    head; what matter have you against me?
  SLENDER. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you;
    and against your cony-catching rascals, Bardolph, Nym,
    and Pistol. They carried me to the tavern, and made me
    drunk, and afterwards pick'd my pocket.
  BARDOLPH. You Banbury cheese!
  SLENDER. Ay, it is no matter.
  PISTOL. How now, Mephostophilus!
  SLENDER. Ay, it is no matter.
  NYM. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca; slice! That's my humour.
  SLENDER. Where's Simple, my man? Can you tell, cousin?
  EVANS. Peace, I pray you. Now let us understand. There is
    three umpires in this matter, as I understand: that is,
    Master Page, fidelicet Master Page; and there is myself,
    fidelicet myself; and the three party is, lastly and
    finally, mine host of the Garter.
  PAGE. We three to hear it and end it between them.
  EVANS. Fery goot. I will make a prief of it in my note-book;
    and we will afterwards ork upon the cause with as great
    discreetly as we can.
  FALSTAFF. Pistol!
  PISTOL. He hears with ears.
  EVANS. The tevil and his tam! What phrase is this, 'He hears
    with ear'? Why, it is affectations.
  FALSTAFF. Pistol, did you pick Master Slender's purse?
  SLENDER. Ay, by these gloves, did he-or I would I might
    never come in mine own great chamber again else!-of
    seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward
    shovel-boards that cost me two shilling and two pence apiece
    of Yead Miller, by these gloves.
  FALSTAFF. Is this true, Pistol?
  EVANS. No, it is false, if it is a pick-purse.
  PISTOL. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner! Sir John and master
    I combat challenge of this latten bilbo.
    Word of denial in thy labras here!
    Word of denial! Froth and scum, thou liest.
  SLENDER. By these gloves, then, 'twas he.
  NYM. Be avis'd, sir, and pass good humours; I will say
    'marry trap' with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on
    me; that is the very note of it.
  SLENDER. By this hat, then, he in the red face had it; for
    though I cannot remember what I did when you made me
    drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.
  FALSTAFF. What say you, Scarlet and John?
  BARDOLPH. Why, sir, for my part, I say the gentleman had
    drunk himself out of his five sentences.
  EVANS. It is his five senses; fie, what the ignorance is!
  BARDOLPH. And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashier'd;
    and so conclusions pass'd the careers.
  SLENDER. Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis no matter;
    I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again, but in honest,
    civil, godly company, for this trick. If I be drunk, I'll be
    drunk with those that have the fear of God, and not with
    drunken knaves.
  EVANS. So Got udge me, that is a virtuous mind.
  FALSTAFF. You hear all these matters deni'd, gentlemen; you
    hear it.

          Enter MISTRESS ANNE PAGE with wine; MISTRESS
               FORD and MISTRESS PAGE, following

  PAGE. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll drink within.
                                                  Exit ANNE PAGE
  SLENDER. O heaven! this is Mistress Anne Page.
  PAGE. How now, Mistress Ford!
  FALSTAFF. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well
    met; by your leave, good mistress.              [Kisses her]
  PAGE. Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome. Come, we have a
    hot venison pasty to dinner; come, gentlemen, I hope we
    shall drink down all unkindness.
                      Exeunt all but SHALLOW, SLENDER, and EVANS
  SLENDER. I had rather than forty shillings I had my Book of
    Songs and Sonnets here.

                          Enter SIMPLE

    How, Simple! Where have you been? I must wait on
    myself, must I? You have not the Book of Riddles about you,
    have you?
  SIMPLE. Book of Riddles! Why, did you not lend it to Alice
    Shortcake upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore
  SHALLOW. Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word
    with you, coz; marry, this, coz: there is, as 'twere, a
    tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by Sir Hugh here. Do
    you understand me?
  SLENDER. Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so, I
    shall do that that is reason.
  SHALLOW. Nay, but understand me.
  SLENDER. So I do, sir.
  EVANS. Give ear to his motions: Master Slender, I will
    description the matter to you, if you be capacity of it.
  SLENDER. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says; I pray
    you pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his country,
    simple though I stand here.
  EVANS. But that is not the question. The question is
    concerning your marriage.
  SHALLOW. Ay, there's the point, sir.
  EVANS. Marry is it; the very point of it; to Mistress Anne
  SLENDER. Why, if it be so, I will marry her upon any
    reasonable demands.
  EVANS. But can you affection the oman? Let us command to
    know that of your mouth or of your lips; for divers philosophers
    hold that the lips is parcel of the mouth. Therefore,
    precisely, can you carry your good will to the maid?
  SHALLOW. Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her?
  SLENDER. I hope, sir, I will do as it shall become one that
    would do reason.
  EVANS. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies! you must speak possitable,
    if you can carry her your desires towards her.
  SHALLOW. That you must. Will you, upon good dowry,
    marry her?
  SLENDER. I will do a greater thing than that upon your request,
    cousin, in any reason.
  SHALLOW. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz; what
    I do is to pleasure you, coz. Can you love the maid?
  SLENDER. I will marry her, sir, at your request; but if there
    be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease
    it upon better acquaintance, when we are married and
    have more occasion to know one another. I hope upon
    familiarity will grow more contempt. But if you say
    'marry her,' I will marry her; that I am freely dissolved,
    and dissolutely.
  EVANS. It is a fery discretion answer, save the fall is in the
    ord 'dissolutely': the ort is, according to our meaning,
    'resolutely'; his meaning is good.
  SHALLOW. Ay, I think my cousin meant well.
  SLENDER. Ay, or else I would I might be hang'd, la!

                       Re-enter ANNE PAGE

  SHALLOW. Here comes fair Mistress Anne. Would I were
    young for your sake, Mistress Anne!
  ANNE. The dinner is on the table; my father desires your
    worships' company.
  SHALLOW. I will wait on him, fair Mistress Anne!
  EVANS. Od's plessed will! I will not be absence at the grace.
                                        Exeunt SHALLOW and EVANS
  ANNE. Will't please your worship to come in, sir?
  SLENDER. No, I thank you, forsooth, heartily; I am very
  ANNE. The dinner attends you, sir.
  SLENDER. I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forsooth. Go,
    sirrah, for all you are my man, go wait upon my cousin
  Shallow.  [Exit SIMPLE]  A justice of peace sometime may
    be beholding to his friend for a man. I keep but three men
    and a boy yet, till my mother be dead. But what though?
    Yet I live like a poor gentleman born.
  ANNE. I may not go in without your worship; they will not
    sit till you come.
  SLENDER. I' faith, I'll eat nothing; I thank you as much as
    though I did.
  ANNE. I pray you, sir, walk in.
  SLENDER. I had rather walk here, I thank you. I bruis'd my
    shin th' other day with playing at sword and dagger with
    a master of fence-three veneys for a dish of stew'd prunes
    -and, I with my ward defending my head, he hot my shin,
    and, by my troth, I cannot abide the smell of hot meat
    since. Why do your dogs bark so? Be there bears i' th'
  ANNE. I think there are, sir; I heard them talk'd of.
  SLENDER. I love the sport well; but I shall as soon quarrel at
    it as any man in England. You are afraid, if you see the
    bear loose, are you not?
  ANNE. Ay, indeed, sir.
  SLENDER. That's meat and drink to me now. I have seen
    Sackerson loose twenty times, and have taken him by the
    chain; but I warrant you, the women have so cried and
    shriek'd at it that it pass'd; but women, indeed, cannot
    abide 'em; they are very ill-favour'd rough things.

                         Re-enter PAGE

  PAGE. Come, gentle Master Slender, come; we stay for you.
  SLENDER. I'll eat nothing, I thank you, sir.
  PAGE. By cock and pie, you shall not choose, sir! Come,
  SLENDER. Nay, pray you lead the way.
  PAGE. Come on, sir.
  SLENDER. Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first.
  ANNE. Not I, sir; pray you keep on.
  SLENDER. Truly, I will not go first; truly, la! I will not do
    you that wrong.
  ANNE. I pray you, sir.
  SLENDER. I'll rather be unmannerly than troublesome. You
    do yourself wrong indeed, la!                         Exeunt

                            SCENE 2.

                       Before PAGE'S house

                Enter SIR HUGH EVANS and SIMPLE

  EVANS. Go your ways, and ask of Doctor Caius' house which
    is the way; and there dwells one Mistress Quickly, which
    is in the manner of his nurse, or his dry nurse, or his cook,
    or his laundry, his washer, and his wringer.
  SIMPLE. Well, sir.
  EVANS. Nay, it is petter yet. Give her this letter; for it is a
    oman that altogether's acquaintance with Mistress Anne
    Page; and the letter is to desire and require her to solicit
    your master's desires to Mistress Anne Page. I pray you
    be gone. I will make an end of my dinner; there's pippins
    and cheese to come.                                   Exeunt

                            SCENE 3.

                         The Garter Inn


  FALSTAFF. Mine host of the Garter!
  HOST. What says my bully rook? Speak scholarly and
  FALSTAFF. Truly, mine host, I must turn away some of my
  HOST. Discard, bully Hercules; cashier; let them wag; trot,
  FALSTAFF. I sit at ten pounds a week.
  HOST. Thou'rt an emperor-Caesar, Keiser, and Pheazar. I
    will entertain Bardolph; he shall draw, he shall tap; said I
    well, bully Hector?
  FALSTAFF. Do so, good mine host.
  HOST. I have spoke; let him follow.  [To BARDOLPH]  Let me
    see thee froth and lime. I am at a word; follow.   Exit HOST
  FALSTAFF. Bardolph, follow him. A tapster is a good trade;
    an old cloak makes a new jerkin; a wither'd serving-man a
    fresh tapster. Go; adieu.
  BARDOLPH. It is a life that I have desir'd; I will thrive.
  PISTOL. O base Hungarian wight! Wilt thou the spigot
    wield?                                         Exit BARDOLPH
  NYM. He was gotten in drink. Is not the humour conceited?
  FALSTAFF. I am glad I am so acquit of this tinder-box: his
    thefts were too open; his filching was like an unskilful
    singer-he kept not time.
  NYM. The good humour is to steal at a minute's rest.
  PISTOL. 'Convey' the wise it call. 'Steal' foh! A fico for the
  FALSTAFF. Well, sirs, I am almost out at heels.
  PISTOL. Why, then, let kibes ensue.
  FALSTAFF. There is no remedy; I must cony-catch; I must
  PISTOL. Young ravens must have food.
  FALSTAFF. Which of you know Ford of this town?
  PISTOL. I ken the wight; he is of substance good.
  FALSTAFF. My honest lads, I will tell you what I am about.
  PISTOL. Two yards, and more.
  FALSTAFF. No quips now, Pistol. Indeed, I am in the waist
    two yards about; but I am now about no waste; I am about
    thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make love to Ford's wife; I
    spy entertainment in her; she discourses, she carves, she
    gives the leer of invitation; I can construe the action of her
    familiar style; and the hardest voice of her behaviour, to be
    English'd rightly, is 'I am Sir John Falstaff's.'
    PISTOL. He hath studied her well, and translated her will out
    of honesty into English.
  NYM. The anchor is deep; will that humour pass?
  FALSTAFF. Now, the report goes she has all the rule of her
    husband's purse; he hath a legion of angels.
  PISTOL. As many devils entertain; and 'To her, boy,' say I.
  NYM. The humour rises; it is good; humour me the angels.
  FALSTAFF. I have writ me here a letter to her; and here
    another to Page's wife, who even now gave me good eyes
    too, examin'd my parts with most judicious oeillades;
    sometimes the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes my
    portly belly.
  PISTOL. Then did the sun on dunghill shine.
  NYM. I thank thee for that humour.
  FALSTAFF. O, she did so course o'er my exteriors with such
    a greedy intention that the appetite of her eye did seem to
    scorch me up like a burning-glass! Here's another letter to
    her. She bears the purse too; she is a region in Guiana, all
    gold and bounty. I will be cheaters to them both, and they
    shall be exchequers to me; they shall be my East and West
    Indies, and I will trade to them both. Go, bear thou this
    letter to Mistress Page; and thou this to Mistress Ford. We
    will thrive, lads, we will thrive.
  PISTOL. Shall I Sir Pandarus of Troy become,
    And by my side wear steel? Then Lucifer take all!
  NYM. I will run no base humour. Here, take the
    humour-letter; I will keep the haviour of reputation.
  FALSTAFF.  [To ROBIN]  Hold, sirrah; bear you these letters
    Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores.
    Rogues, hence, avaunt! vanish like hailstones, go;
    Trudge, plod away i' th' hoof; seek shelter, pack!
    Falstaff will learn the humour of the age;
    French thrift, you rogues; myself, and skirted page.
                                       Exeunt FALSTAFF and ROBIN
  PISTOL. Let vultures gripe thy guts! for gourd and fullam
    And high and low beguiles the rich and poor;
    Tester I'll have in pouch when thou shalt lack,
    Base Phrygian Turk!
  NYM. I have operations in my head which be humours of
  PISTOL. Wilt thou revenge?
  NYM. By welkin and her star!
  PISTOL. With wit or steel?
  NYM. With both the humours, I.
    I will discuss the humour of this love to Page.
  PISTOL. And I to Ford shall eke unfold
    How Falstaff, varlet vile,
    His dove will prove, his gold will hold,
    And his soft couch defile.
  NYM. My humour shall not cool; I will incense Page to deal
    with poison; I will possess him with yellowness; for the
    revolt of mine is dangerous. That is my true humour.
  PISTOL. Thou art the Mars of malcontents; I second thee;
    troop on.                                             Exeunt

                            SCENE 4.

                      DOCTOR CAIUS'S house


  QUICKLY. What, John Rugby! I pray thee go to the casement
    and see if you can see my master, Master Doctor
    Caius, coming. If he do, i' faith, and find anybody in the
    house, here will be an old abusing of God's patience and
    the King's English.
  RUGBY. I'll go watch.
  QUICKLY. Go; and we'll have a posset for't soon at night, in
    faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal fire.  [Exit RUGBY]  An
    honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant shall come in
    house withal; and, I warrant you, no tell-tale nor no
    breed-bate; his worst fault is that he is given to prayer; he is
    something peevish that way; but nobody but has his fault;
    but let that pass. Peter Simple you say your name is?
  SIMPLE. Ay, for fault of a better.
  QUICKLY. And Master Slender's your master?
  SIMPLE. Ay, forsooth.
  QUICKLY. Does he not wear a great round beard, like a
    glover's paring-knife?
  SIMPLE. No, forsooth; he hath but a little whey face, with a
    little yellow beard, a Cain-colour'd beard.
  QUICKLY. A softly-sprighted man, is he not?
  SIMPLE. Ay, forsooth; but he is as tall a man of his hands as
    any is between this and his head; he hath fought with a
  QUICKLY. How say you? O, I should remember him. Does
    he not hold up his head, as it were, and strut in his gait?
  SIMPLE. Yes, indeed, does he.
  QUICKLY. Well, heaven send Anne Page no worse fortune!
    Tell Master Parson Evans I will do what I can for your
    master. Anne is a good girl, and I wish-

                         Re-enter RUGBY

  RUGBY. Out, alas! here comes my master.
  QUICKLY. We shall all be shent. Run in here, good young
    man; go into this closet.  [Shuts SIMPLE in the closet]  He
    will not stay long. What, John Rugby! John! what, John,
    I say! Go, John, go inquire for my master; I doubt he be
    not well that he comes not home.  [Singing]
    And down, down, adown-a, etc.

                       Enter DOCTOR CAIUS

  CAIUS. Vat is you sing? I do not like des toys. Pray you, go
    and vetch me in my closet un boitier vert-a box, a green-a
    box. Do intend vat I speak? A green-a box.
  QUICKLY. Ay, forsooth, I'll fetch it you.  [Aside]  I am glad
    he went not in himself; if he had found the young man,
    he would have been horn-mad.
  CAIUS. Fe, fe, fe fe! ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je m'en vais a
    la cour-la grande affaire.
  QUICKLY. Is it this, sir?
  CAIUS. Oui; mette le au mon pocket: depeche, quickly. Vere
    is dat knave, Rugby?
  QUICKLY. What, John Rugby? John!
  RUGBY. Here, sir.
  CAIUS. You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby.
    Come, take-a your rapier, and come after my heel to the
  RUGBY. 'Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.
    CAIUS. By my trot, I tarry too long. Od's me! Qu'ai j'oublie?
    Dere is some simples in my closet dat I vill not for the
    varld I shall leave behind.
  QUICKLY. Ay me, he'll find the young man there, and be
  CAIUS. O diable, diable! vat is in my closet? Villainy! larron!
    [Pulling SIMPLE out]  Rugby, my rapier!
  QUICKLY. Good master, be content.
  CAIUS. Wherefore shall I be content-a?
  QUICKLY. The young man is an honest man.
  CAIUS. What shall de honest man do in my closet? Dere is
    no honest man dat shall come in my closet.
  QUICKLY. I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic; hear the
    truth of it. He came of an errand to me from Parson Hugh.
  CAIUS. Vell?
  SIMPLE. Ay, forsooth, to desire her to-
  QUICKLY. Peace, I pray you.
  CAIUS. Peace-a your tongue. Speak-a your tale.
  SIMPLE. To desire this honest gentlewoman, your maid, to
    speak a good word to Mistress Anne Page for my master,
    in the way of marriage.
  QUICKLY. This is all, indeed, la! but I'll ne'er put my finger
    in the fire, and need not.
  CAIUS. Sir Hugh send-a you? Rugby, baillez me some paper.
    Tarry you a little-a-while.                        [Writes]
  QUICKLY.  [Aside to SIMPLE]  I am glad he is so quiet; if he
    had been throughly moved, you should have heard him
    so loud and so melancholy. But notwithstanding, man, I'll
    do you your master what good I can; and the very yea and
    the no is, the French doctor, my master-I may call him
    my master, look you, for I keep his house; and I wash,
    wring, brew, bake, scour, dress meat and drink, make the
    beds, and do all myself-
  SIMPLE.  [Aside to QUICKLY]  'Tis a great charge to come
    under one body's hand.
  QUICKLY.  [Aside to SIMPLE]  Are you avis'd o' that? You
    shall find it a great charge; and to be up early and down
    late; but notwithstanding-to tell you in your ear, I would
    have no words of it-my master himself is in love with
    Mistress Anne Page; but notwithstanding that, I know
    Anne's mind-that's neither here nor there.
  CAIUS. You jack'nape; give-a this letter to Sir Hugh; by gar,
    it is a shallenge; I will cut his troat in de park; and I will
    teach a scurvy jack-a-nape priest to meddle or make. You
    may be gone; it is not good you tarry here. By gar, I will
    cut all his two stones; by gar, he shall not have a stone
    to throw at his dog.                             Exit SIMPLE
  QUICKLY. Alas, he speaks but for his friend.
  CAIUS. It is no matter-a ver dat. Do not you tell-a me dat I
    shall have Anne Page for myself? By gar, I vill kill de Jack
    priest; and I have appointed mine host of de Jarteer to
    measure our weapon. By gar, I will myself have Anne
  QUICKLY. Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall be well. We
    must give folks leave to prate. What the good-year!
  CAIUS. Rugby, come to the court with me. By gar, if I have
    not Anne Page, I shall turn your head out of my door.
    Follow my heels, Rugby.               Exeunt CAIUS and RUGBY
  QUICKLY. You shall have-An fool's-head of your own. No,
    I know Anne's mind for that; never a woman in Windsor
    knows more of Anne's mind than I do; nor can do more
    than I do with her, I thank heaven.
  FENTON.  [Within]  Who's within there? ho!
  QUICKLY. Who's there, I trow? Come near the house, I pray

                          Enter FENTON

  FENTON. How now, good woman, how dost thou?
  QUICKLY. The better that it pleases your good worship to
  FENTON. What news? How does pretty Mistress Anne?
  QUICKLY. In truth, sir, and she is pretty, and honest, and
    gentle; and one that is your friend, I can tell you that by
    the way; I praise heaven for it.
  FENTON. Shall I do any good, think'st thou? Shall I not lose
    my suit?
  QUICKLY. Troth, sir, all is in His hands above; but
    notwithstanding, Master Fenton, I'll be sworn on a book
    she loves you. Have not your worship a wart above your eye?
  FENTON. Yes, marry, have I; what of that?
  QUICKLY. Well, thereby hangs a tale; good faith, it is such
    another Nan; but, I detest, an honest maid as ever broke
    bread. We had an hour's talk of that wart; I shall never
    laugh but in that maid's company! But, indeed, she is
    given too much to allicholy and musing; but for you-well,
    go to.
  FENTON. Well, I shall see her to-day. Hold, there's money
    for thee; let me have thy voice in my behalf. If thou seest
    her before me, commend me.
  QUICKLY. Will I? I' faith, that we will; and I will tell your
    worship more of the wart the next time we have confidence;
    and of other wooers.
  FENTON. Well, farewell; I am in great haste now.
  QUICKLY. Farewell to your worship.  [Exit FENTON]  Truly,
    an honest gentleman; but Anne loves him not; for I know
    Anne's mind as well as another does. Out upon 't, what
    have I forgot?                                          Exit

                        ACT II. SCENE 1.

                       Before PAGE'S house

                Enter MISTRESS PAGE, with a letter

  MRS. PAGE. What! have I scap'd love-letters in the holiday-time
    of my beauty, and am I now a subject for them? Let
    me see.                                              [Reads]
    'Ask me no reason why I love you; for though Love use
    Reason for his precisian, he admits him not for his counsellor.
    You are not young, no more am I; go to, then, there's
    sympathy. You are merry, so am I; ha! ha! then there's
    more sympathy. You love sack, and so do I; would you
    desire better sympathy? Let it suffice thee, Mistress Page
    at the least, if the love of soldier can suffice-that I love
    thee. I will not say, Pity me: 'tis not a soldier-like phrase;
    but I say, Love me. By me,
    Thine own true knight,
    By day or night,
    Or any kind of light,
    With all his might,
    For thee to fight,
    What a Herod of Jewry is this! O wicked, wicked world!
    One that is well-nigh worn to pieces with age to show
    himself a young gallant! What an unweighed behaviour
    hath this Flemish drunkard pick'd-with the devil's name!
    -out of my conversation, that he dares in this manner
    assay me? Why, he hath not been thrice in my company!
    What should I say to him? I was then frugal of my mirth.
    Heaven forgive me! Why, I'll exhibit a bill in the parliament
    for the putting down of men. How shall I be
    reveng'd on him? for reveng'd I will be, as sure as his guts
    are made of puddings.

                       Enter MISTRESS FORD

  MRS. FORD. Mistress Page! trust me, I was going to your
  MRS. PAGE. And, trust me, I was coming to you. You look
    very ill.
  MRS. FORD. Nay, I'll ne'er believe that; I have to show to
    the contrary.
  MRS. PAGE. Faith, but you do, in my mind.
  MRS. FORD. Well, I do, then; yet, I say, I could show you to
    the contrary. O Mistress Page, give me some counsel.
  MRS. PAGE. What's the matter, woman?
  MRS. FORD. O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect,
    I could come to such honour!
  MRS. PAGE. Hang the trifle, woman; take the honour. What
    is it? Dispense with trifles; what is it?
  MRS. FORD. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment
    or so, I could be knighted.
  MRS. PAGE. What? Thou liest. Sir Alice Ford! These knights
    will hack; and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy
  MRS. FORD. We burn daylight. Here, read, read; perceive
    how I might be knighted. I shall think the worse of fat
    men as long as I have an eye to make difference of men's
    liking. And yet he would not swear; prais'd women's
    modesty, and gave such orderly and well-behaved reproof
    to all uncomeliness that I would have sworn his disposition
    would have gone to the truth of his words; but they do no
    more adhere and keep place together than the Hundredth
    Psalm to the tune of 'Greensleeves.' What tempest, I trow,
    threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his belly,
    ashore at Windsor? How shall I be revenged on him? I
    think the best way were to entertain him with hope, till
    the wicked fire of lust have melted him in his own grease.
    Did you ever hear the like?
  MRS. PAGE. Letter for letter, but that the name of Page and
    Ford differs. To thy great comfort in this mystery of ill
    opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy letter; but let thine
    inherit first, for, I protest, mine never shall. I warrant he
    hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for
    different names-sure, more!-and these are of the second
    edition. He will print them, out of doubt; for he cares not
    what he puts into the press when he would put us two. I
    had rather be a giantess and lie under Mount Pelion. Well,
    I will find you twenty lascivious turtles ere one chaste
  MRS. FORD. Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the
    very words. What doth he think of us?
  MRS. PAGE. Nay, I know not; it makes me almost ready to
    wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain myself like
    one that I am not acquainted withal; for, sure, unless he
    know some strain in me that I know not myself, he would
    never have boarded me in this fury.
  MRS. FORD. 'Boarding' call you it? I'll be sure to keep him
    above deck.
  MRS. PAGE. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never
    to sea again. Let's be reveng'd on him; let's appoint him a
    meeting, give him a show of comfort in his suit, and lead
    him on with a fine-baited delay, till he hath pawn'd his
    horses to mine host of the Garter.
  MRS. FORD. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against
    him that may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O
    that my husband saw this letter! It would give eternal food
    to his jealousy.
  MRS. PAGE. Why, look where he comes; and my good man
    too; he's as far from jealousy as I am from giving him
    cause; and that, I hope, is an unmeasurable distance.
  MRS. FORD. You are the happier woman.
  MRS. PAGE. Let's consult together against this greasy knight.
    Come hither.                                   [They retire]

           Enter FORD with PISTOL, and PAGE with Nym

  FORD. Well, I hope it be not so.
  PISTOL. Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs.
    Sir John affects thy wife.
  FORD. Why, sir, my wife is not young.
  PISTOL. He woos both high and low, both rich and poor,
    Both young and old, one with another, Ford;
    He loves the gallimaufry. Ford, perpend.
  FORD. Love my wife!
  PISTOL. With liver burning hot. Prevent, or go thou,
    Like Sir Actaeon he, with Ringwood at thy heels.
    O, odious is the name!
  FORD. What name, sir?
  PISTOL. The horn, I say. Farewell.
    Take heed, have open eye, for thieves do foot by night;
    Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo birds do sing.
    Away, Sir Corporal Nym.
    Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.               Exit PISTOL
  FORD.  [Aside]  I will be patient; I will find out this.
  NYM.  [To PAGE]  And this is true; I like not the humour of
    lying. He hath wronged me in some humours; I should
    have borne the humour'd letter to her; but I have a sword,
    and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your wife;
    there's the short and the long.
    My name is Corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch;
    'Tis true. My name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife.
    Adieu! I love not the humour of bread and cheese; and
    there's the humour of it. Adieu.                    Exit Nym
  PAGE. 'The humour of it,' quoth 'a! Here's a fellow frights
    English out of his wits.
  FORD. I will seek out Falstaff.
  PAGE. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.
  FORD. If I do find it-well.
  PAGE. I will not believe such a Cataian though the priest o'
    th' town commended him for a true man.
  FORD. 'Twas a good sensible fellow. Well.

             MISTRESS PAGE and MISTRESS FORD come forward

  PAGE. How now, Meg!
  MRS. PAGE. Whither go you, George? Hark you.
  MRS. FORD. How now, sweet Frank, why art thou melancholy?
  FORD. I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home;
  MRS. FORD. Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now.
    Will you go, Mistress Page?

                     Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

  MRS. PAGE. Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George?
    [Aside to MRS. FORD]  Look who comes yonder; she shall
    be our messenger to this paltry knight.
  MRS. FORD.  [Aside to MRS. PAGE]  Trust me, I thought on
    her; she'll fit it.
  MRS. PAGE. You are come to see my daughter Anne?
  QUICKLY. Ay, forsooth; and, I pray, how does good Mistress Anne?
  MRS. PAGE. Go in with us and see; we have an hour's talk
    with you.           Exeunt MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS FORD, and
                                                MISTRESS QUICKLY
  PAGE. How now, Master Ford!
  FORD. You heard what this knave told me, did you not?
  PAGE. Yes; and you heard what the other told me?
  FORD. Do you think there is truth in them?
  PAGE. Hang 'em, slaves! I do not think the knight would offer it;
    but these that accuse him in his intent towards our
    wives are a yoke of his discarded men; very rogues, now
    they be out of service.
  FORD. Were they his men?
  PAGE. Marry, were they.
  FORD. I like it never the better for that. Does he lie at the
  PAGE. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage
    toward my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what
    he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head.
  FORD. I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loath to
    turn them together. A man may be too confident. I would
    have nothing lie on my head. I cannot be thus satisfied.

                           Enter HOST

  PAGE. Look where my ranting host of the Garter comes.
    There is either liquor in his pate or money in his purse
    when he looks so merrily. How now, mine host!
  HOST. How now, bully rook! Thou'rt a gentleman.  [To
    SHALLOW following]  Cavaleiro Justice, I say.

                         Enter SHALLOW

  SHALLOW. I follow, mine host, I follow. Good even and
    twenty, good Master Page! Master Page, will you go with
    us? We have sport in hand.
  HOST. Tell him, Cavaleiro Justice; tell him, bully rook.
  SHALLOW. Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir Hugh
    the Welsh priest and Caius the French doctor.
  FORD. Good mine host o' th' Garter, a word with you.
  HOST. What say'st thou, my bully rook?         [They go aside]
  SHALLOW.  [To PAGE] Will you go with us to behold it? My
    merry host hath had the measuring of their weapons; and,
    I think, hath appointed them contrary places; for, believe
    me, I hear the parson is no jester. Hark, I will tell you
    what our sport shall be.               [They converse apart]
  HOST. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guest-cavaleiro.
  FORD. None, I protest; but I'll give you a pottle of burnt
    sack to give me recourse to him, and tell him my name is
    Brook-only for a jest.
  HOST. My hand, bully; thou shalt have egress and regress-
    said I well?-and thy name shall be Brook. It is a merry
    knight. Will you go, Mynheers?
  SHALLOW. Have with you, mine host.
  PAGE. I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in his
  SHALLOW. Tut, sir, I could have told you more. In these
    times you stand on distance, your passes, stoccadoes, and
    I know not what. 'Tis the heart, Master Page; 'tis here,
    'tis here. I have seen the time with my long sword I would
    have made you four tall fellows skip like rats.
  HOST. Here, boys, here, here! Shall we wag?
  PAGE. Have with you. I had rather hear them scold than
    fight.                                   Exeunt all but FORD
  FORD. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on
    his wife's frailty, yet I cannot put off my opinion so
    easily. She was in his company at Page's house, and what
    they made there I know not. Well, I will look further into
    't, and I have a disguise to sound Falstaff. If I find her
    honest, I lose not my labour; if she be otherwise, 'tis labour
    well bestowed.                                          Exit

                            SCENE 2.

                    A room in the Garter Inn

                    Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL

  FALSTAFF. I will not lend thee a penny.
  PISTOL. I will retort the sum in equipage.
  FALSTAFF. Not a penny.
  PISTOL. Why, then the world's mine oyster. Which I with
    sword will open.
  FALSTAFF. Not a penny. I have been content, sir, you should
    lay my countenance to pawn. I have grated upon my good
    friends for three reprieves for you and your coach-fellow,
    Nym; or else you had look'd through the grate, like a
    geminy of baboons. I am damn'd in hell for swearing to
    gentlemen my friends you were good soldiers and tall fellows;
    and when Mistress Bridget lost the handle of her fan,
    I took 't upon mine honour thou hadst it not.
  PISTOL. Didst not thou share? Hadst thou not fifteen pence?
  FALSTAFF. Reason, you rogue, reason. Think'st thou I'll
    endanger my soul gratis? At a word, hang no more about me,
    I am no gibbet for you. Go-a short knife and a throng!-
    to your manor of Pickt-hatch; go. You'll not bear a letter
    for me, you rogue! You stand upon your honour! Why,
    thou unconfinable baseness, it is as much as I can do to
    keep the terms of my honour precise. I, I, I myself
    sometimes, leaving the fear of God on the left hand, and hiding
    mine honour in my necessity, am fain to shuffle, to hedge,
    and to lurch; and yet you, rogue, will ensconce your rags,
    your cat-a-mountain looks, your red-lattice phrases, and
    your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your honour!
    You will not do it, you!
  PISTOL. I do relent; what would thou more of man?

                          Enter ROBIN

  ROBIN. Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.
  FALSTAFF. Let her approach.

                     Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

  QUICKLY. Give your worship good morrow.
  FALSTAFF. Good morrow, good wife.
  QUICKLY. Not so, an't please your worship.
  FALSTAFF. Good maid, then.
  QUICKLY. I'll be sworn;
    As my mother was, the first hour I was born.
  FALSTAFF. I do believe the swearer. What with me?
  QUICKLY. Shall I vouchsafe your worship a word or two?
  FALSTAFF. Two thousand, fair woman; and I'll vouchsafe
    thee the hearing.
  QUICKLY. There is one Mistress Ford, sir-I pray, come a little
    nearer this ways. I myself dwell with Master Doctor
  FALSTAFF. Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say-
  QUICKLY. Your worship says very true. I pray your worship
    come a little nearer this ways.
  FALSTAFF. I warrant thee nobody hears-mine own people,
    mine own people.
  QUICKLY. Are they so? God bless them, and make them his
  FALSTAFF. Well; Mistress Ford, what of her?
  QUICKLY. Why, sir, she's a good creature. Lord, Lord, your
    worship's a wanton! Well, heaven forgive you, and all of
    us, I pray.
  FALSTAFF. Mistress Ford; come, Mistress Ford-
  QUICKLY. Marry, this is the short and the long of it: you
    have brought her into such a canaries as 'tis wonderful.
    The best courtier of them all, when the court lay at Windsor,
    could never have brought her to such a canary. Yet
    there has been knights, and lords, and gentlemen, with
    their coaches; I warrant you, coach after coach, letter after
    letter, gift after gift; smelling so sweetly, all musk, and so
    rushling, I warrant you, in silk and gold; and in such alligant
    terms; and in such wine and sugar of the best and the
    fairest, that would have won any woman's heart; and I
    warrant you, they could never get an eye-wink of her.
    I had myself twenty angels given me this morning; but I
    defy all angels, in any such sort, as they say, but in the
    way of honesty; and, I warrant you, they could never get
    her so much as sip on a cup with the proudest of them all;
    and yet there has been earls, nay, which is more,
    pensioners; but, I warrant you, all is one with her.
  FALSTAFF. But what says she to me? Be brief, my good she-
  QUICKLY. Marry, she hath receiv'd your letter; for the
    which she thanks you a thousand times; and she gives you
    to notify that her husband will be absence from his house
    between ten and eleven.
  FALSTAFF. Ten and eleven?
  QUICKLY. Ay, forsooth; and then you may come and see
    the picture, she says, that you wot of. Master Ford, her
    husband, will be from home. Alas, the sweet woman leads
    an ill life with him! He's a very jealousy man; she leads a
    very frampold life with him, good heart.
  FALSTAFF. Ten and eleven. Woman, commend me to her; I
    will not fail her.
  QUICKLY. Why, you say well. But I have another messenger
    to your worship. Mistress Page hath her hearty commendations
    to you too; and let me tell you in your ear, she's as
    fartuous a civil modest wife, and one, I tell you, that will
    not miss you morning nor evening prayer, as any is in
    Windsor, whoe'er be the other; and she bade me tell your
    worship that her husband is seldom from home, but she
    hopes there will come a time. I never knew a woman so
    dote upon a man: surely I think you have charms, la! Yes,
    in truth.
  FALSTAFF. Not I, I assure thee; setting the attraction of my
    good parts aside, I have no other charms.
  QUICKLY. Blessing on your heart for 't!
  FALSTAFF. But, I pray thee, tell me this: has Ford's wife and
    Page's wife acquainted each other how they love me?
  QUICKLY. That were a jest indeed! They have not so little
    grace, I hope-that were a trick indeed! But Mistress Page
    would desire you to send her your little page of all loves.
    Her husband has a marvellous infection to the little page;
    and truly Master Page is an honest man. Never a wife in
    Windsor leads a better life than she does; do what she will,
    say what she will, take all, pay all, go to bed when she
    list, rise when she list, all is as she will; and truly she
    deserves it; for if there be a kind woman in Windsor, she
    is one. You must send her your page; no remedy.
  FALSTAFF. Why, I will.
  QUICKLY. Nay, but do so then; and, look you, he may come
    and go between you both; and in any case have a
    nay-word, that you may know one another's mind, and the boy
    never need to understand any thing; for 'tis not good that
    children should know any wickedness. Old folks, you
    know, have discretion, as they say, and know the world.
  FALSTAFF. Fare thee well; commend me to them both.
    There's my purse; I am yet thy debtor. Boy, go along with
    this woman.  [Exeunt QUICKLY and ROBIN]  This news
    distracts me.
  PISTOL.  [Aside]  This punk is one of Cupid's carriers;
    Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights;
    Give fire; she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all!    Exit
  FALSTAFF. Say'st thou so, old Jack; go thy ways; I'll make
    more of thy old body than I have done. Will they yet look
    after thee? Wilt thou, after the expense of so much money,
    be now a gainer? Good body, I thank thee. Let them say
    'tis grossly done; so it be fairly done, no matter.

                         Enter BARDOLPH

  BARDOLPH. Sir John, there's one Master Brook below would
    fain speak with you, and be acquainted with you; and hath
    sent your worship a moming's draught of sack.
  FALSTAFF. Brook is his name?
  BARDOLPH. Ay, sir.
  FALSTAFF. Call him in.  [Exit BARDOLPH]  Such Brooks are
    welcome to me, that o'erflows such liquor. Ah, ha! Mistress
    Ford and Mistress Page, have I encompass'd you? Go to;

              Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised

  FORD. Bless you, sir!
  FALSTAFF. And you, sir! Would you speak with me?
  FORD. I make bold to press with so little preparation upon
  FALSTAFF. You're welcome. What's your will? Give us leave,
    drawer.                                        Exit BARDOLPH
  FORD. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name
    is Brook.
  FALSTAFF. Good Master Brook, I desire more acquaintance
    of you.
  FORD. Good Sir John, I sue for yours-not to charge you; for I
    must let you understand I think myself in better plight for
    a lender than you are; the which hath something
    embold'ned me to this unseason'd intrusion; for they say, if
    money go before, all ways do lie open.
  FALSTAFF. Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on.
  FORD. Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me; if
    you will help to bear it, Sir John, take all, or half, for easing
    me of the carriage.
  FALSTAFF. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your
  FORD. I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing.
  FALSTAFF. Speak, good Master Brook; I shall be glad to be
    your servant.
  FORD. Sir, I hear you are a scholar-I will be brief with you
    -and you have been a man long known to me, though I
    had never so good means as desire to make myself acquainted
    with you. I shall discover a thing to you, wherein
    I must very much lay open mine own imperfection; but,
    good Sir John, as you have one eye upon my follies, as you
    hear them unfolded, turn another into the register of your
    own, that I may pass with a reproof the easier, sith you
    yourself know how easy is it to be such an offender.
  FALSTAFF. Very well, sir; proceed.
  FORD. There is a gentlewoman in this town, her husband's
    name is Ford.
  FALSTAFF. Well, sir.
  FORD. I have long lov'd her, and, I protest to you, bestowed
    much on her; followed her with a doting observance;
    engross'd opportunities to meet her; fee'd every slight occasion
    that could but niggardly give me sight of her; not
    only bought many presents to give her, but have given
    largely to many to know what she would have given;
    briefly, I have pursu'd her as love hath pursued me; which
    hath been on the wing of all occasions. But whatsoever I
    have merited, either in my mind or in my means, meed, I
    am sure, I have received none, unless experience be a jewel;
    that I have purchased at an infinite rate, and that hath
    taught me to say this:
    'Love like a shadow flies when substance love pursues;
    Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.'
  FALSTAFF. Have you receiv'd no promise of satisfaction at
    her hands?
  FORD. Never.
  FALSTAFF. Have you importun'd her to such a purpose?
  FORD. Never.
    FALSTAFF. Of what quality was your love, then?
  FORD. Like a fair house built on another man's ground; so
    that I have lost my edifice by mistaking the place where
    erected it.
  FALSTAFF. To what purpose have you unfolded this to me?
  FORD. When I have told you that, I have told you all. Some
    say that though she appear honest to me, yet in other
    places she enlargeth her mirth so far that there is shrewd
    construction made of her. Now, Sir John, here is the heart
    of my purpose: you are a gentleman of excellent
    breeding, admirable discourse, of great admittance, authentic in
    your place and person, generally allow'd for your many
    war-like, courtlike, and learned preparations.
  FALSTAFF. O, sir!
  FORD. Believe it, for you know it. There is money; spend it,
    spend it; spend more; spend all I have; only give me so
    much of your time in exchange of it as to lay an amiable
    siege to the honesty of this Ford's wife; use your art of
    wooing, win her to consent to you; if any man may, you
    may as soon as any.
    FALSTAFF. Would it apply well to the vehemency of your
    affection, that I should win what you would enjoy?
    Methinks you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.
  FORD. O, understand my drift. She dwells so securely on the
    excellency of her honour that the folly of my soul dares
    not present itself; she 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 themselves;
    I could drive her then from the ward of her purity,
    her reputation, her marriage vow, and a thousand other her
    defences, which now are too too strongly embattl'd against
    me. What say you to't, Sir John?
  FALSTAFF. Master Brook, I will first make bold with your
    money; next, give me your hand; and last, as I am a gentleman,
    you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife.
  FORD. O good sir!
  FALSTAFF. I say you shall.
  FORD. Want no money, Sir John; you shall want none.
  FALSTAFF. Want no Mistress Ford, Master Brook; you shall
    want none. I shall be with her, I may tell you, by her own
    appointment; even as you came in to me her assistant, or
    go-between, parted from me; I say I shall be with her between
    ten and eleven; for at that time the jealous rascally
    knave, her husband, will be forth. Come you to me at
    night; you shall know how I speed.
  FORD. I am blest in your acquaintance. Do you know Ford,
  FALSTAFF. Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I know him
    not; yet I wrong him to call him poor; they say the
    jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money; for the which
    his wife seems to me well-favour'd. I will use her as the
    key of the cuckoldly rogue's coffer; and there's my harvest-home.
  FORD. I would you knew Ford, sir, that you might avoid him
    if you saw him.
  FALSTAFF. Hang him, mechanical salt-butter rogue! I will
    stare him out of his wits; I will awe him with my cudgel;
    it shall hang like a meteor o'er the cuckold's horns. Master
    Brook, thou shalt know I will predominate over the
    peasant, and thou shalt lie with his wife. Come to me soon at
    night. Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his style; thou,
    Master Brook, shalt know him for knave and cuckold.
    Come to me soon at night.                               Exit
  FORD. What a damn'd Epicurean rascal is this! My heart is
    ready to crack with impatience. Who says this is improvident
    jealousy? My wife hath sent to him; the hour is fix'd;
    the match is made. Would any man have thought this? See
    the hell of having a false woman! My bed shall be abus'd,
    my coffers ransack'd, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall
    not only receive this villainous wrong, but stand under the
    adoption of abominable terms, and by him that does me
    this wrong. Terms! names! Amaimon sounds well; Lucifer,
    well; Barbason, well; yet they are devils' additions, the names
    of fiends. But cuckold! Wittol! Cuckold! the devil himself
    hath not such a name. Page is an ass, a secure ass; he will trust
    his wife; he will not be jealous; I will rather trust a Fleming
    with my butter, Parson Hugh the Welshman with my
    cheese, an Irishman with my aqua-vitae bottle, or a thief to
    walk my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself. Then
    she plots, then she ruminates, then she devises; and what
    they think in their hearts they may effect, they will break
    their hearts but they will effect. God be prais'd for my
    jealousy! Eleven o'clock the hour. I will prevent this, detect
    my wife, be reveng'd on Falstaff, and laugh at Page.
    I will about it; better three hours too soon than a minute
    too late. Fie, fie, fie! cuckold! cuckold! cuckold!     Exit

                           SCENE 3.

                     A field near Windsor

                     Enter CAIUS and RUGBY

  CAIUS. Jack Rugby!
  RUGBY. Sir?
  CAIUS. Vat is de clock, Jack?
  RUGBY. 'Tis past the hour, sir, that Sir Hugh promis'd to
  CAIUS. By gar, he has save his soul dat he is no come; he has
    pray his Pible well dat he is no come; by gar, Jack Rugby,
    he is dead already, if he be come.
  RUGBY. He is wise, sir; he knew your worship would kill
    him if he came.
  CAIUS. By gar, de herring is no dead so as I vill kill him. Take
    your rapier, Jack; I vill tell you how I vill kill him.
  RUGBY. Alas, sir, I cannot fence!
  CAIUS. Villainy, take your rapier.
  RUGBY. Forbear; here's company.

            Enter HOST, SHALLOW, SLENDER, and PAGE

  HOST. Bless thee, bully doctor!
  SHALLOW. Save you, Master Doctor Caius!
  PAGE. Now, good Master Doctor!
  SLENDER. Give you good morrow, sir.
  CAIUS. Vat be all you, one, two, tree, four, come for?
  HOST. To see thee fight, to see thee foin, to see thee traverse;
    to see thee here, to see thee there; to see thee pass thy
    punto, thy stock, thy reverse, thy distance, thy montant.
    Is he dead, my Ethiopian? Is he dead, my Francisco? Ha,
    bully! What says my Aesculapius? my Galen? my heart
    of elder? Ha! is he dead, bully stale? Is he dead?
  CAIUS. By gar, he is de coward Jack priest of de world; he is
    not show his face.
  HOST. Thou art a Castalion-King-Urinal. Hector of Greece,
    my boy!
  CAIUS. I pray you, bear witness that me have stay six or
    seven, two tree hours for him, and he is no come.
  SHALLOW. He is the wiser man, Master Doctor: he is a curer
    of souls, and you a curer of bodies; if you should fight,
    you go against the hair of your professions. Is it not true,
    Master Page?
  PAGE. Master Shallow, you have yourself been a great fighter,
    though now a man of peace.
  SHALLOW. Bodykins, Master Page, though I now be old, and
    of the peace, if I see a sword out, my finger itches to make
    one. Though we are justices, and doctors, and churchmen,
    Master Page, we have some salt of our youth in us; we are
    the sons of women, Master Page.
  PAGE. 'Tis true, Master Shallow.
  SHALLOW. It will be found so, Master Page. Master Doctor
  CAIUS, I come to fetch you home. I am sworn of the peace;
    you have show'd yourself a wise physician, and Sir Hugh
    hath shown himself a wise and patient churchman. You
    must go with me, Master Doctor.
  HOST. Pardon, Guest Justice. A word, Mounseur Mockwater.
  CAIUS. Mock-vater! Vat is dat?
  HOST. Mockwater, in our English tongue, is valour, bully.
  CAIUS. By gar, then I have as much mockvater as de Englishman.
    Scurvy jack-dog priest! By gar, me vill cut his ears.
  HOST. He will clapper-claw thee tightly, bully.
  CAIUS. Clapper-de-claw! Vat is dat?
  HOST. That is, he will make thee amends.
  CAIUS. By gar, me do look he shall clapper-de-claw me; for,
    by gar, me vill have it.
  HOST. And I will provoke him to't, or let him wag.
  CAIUS. Me tank you for dat.
  HOST. And, moreover, bully-but first:  [Aside to the others]
    Master Guest, and Master Page, and eke Cavaleiro Slender,
    go you through the town to Frogmore.
  PAGE.  [Aside]  Sir Hugh is there, is he?
  HOST.  [Aside]  He is there. See what humour he is in; and
    I will bring the doctor about by the fields. Will it do well?
  SHALLOW.  [Aside]  We will do it.
  PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER. Adieu, good Master Doctor.
                               Exeunt PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER
  CAIUS. By gar, me vill kill de priest; for he speak for a jack-
    an-ape to Anne Page.
  HOST. Let him die. Sheathe thy impatience; throw cold water
    on thy choler; go about the fields with me through Frogmore;
    I will bring thee where Mistress Anne Page is, at a a
    farm-house, a-feasting; and thou shalt woo her. Cried
    game! Said I well?
  CAIUS. By gar, me dank you vor dat; by gar, I love you; and
    I shall procure-a you de good guest, de earl, de knight, de
    lords, de gentlemen, my patients.
  HOST. For the which I will be thy adversary toward Anne
    Page. Said I well?
  CAIUS. By gar, 'tis good; vell said.
  HOST. Let us wag, then.
  CAIUS. Come at my heels, Jack Rugby.                    Exeunt

                       ACT III SCENE 1.

                     A field near Frogmore

                Enter SIR HUGH EVANS and SIMPLE

  EVANS. I pray you now, good Master Slender's serving-man,
    and friend Simple by your name, which way have you
    look'd for Master Caius, that calls himself Doctor of
  SIMPLE. Marry, sir, the pittie-ward, the park-ward; every
    way; old Windsor way, and every way but the town way.
  EVANS. I most fehemently desire you you will also look that
  SIMPLE. I will, Sir.                                      Exit
  EVANS. Pless my soul, how full of chollors I am, and trempling
    of mind! I shall be glad if he have deceived me. How
    melancholies I am! I will knog his urinals about his knave's
    costard when I have goot opportunities for the ork. Pless
    my soul!                                             [Sings]
    To shallow rivers, to whose falls
    Melodious birds sings madrigals;
    There will we make our peds of roses,
    And a thousand fragrant posies.
    To shallow-
    Mercy on me! I have a great dispositions to cry.     [Sings]
    Melodious birds sing madrigals-
    Whenas I sat in Pabylon-
    And a thousand vagram posies.
    To shallow, etc.

                       Re-enter SIMPLE

  SIMPLE. Yonder he is, coming this way, Sir Hugh.
  EVANS. He's welcome.                                   [Sings]
    To shallow rivers, to whose falls-
    Heaven prosper the right! What weapons is he?
  SIMPLE. No weapons, sir. There comes my master, Master
    Shallow, and another gentleman, from Frogmore, over the
    stile, this way.
  EVANS. Pray you give me my gown; or else keep it in your
    arms.                                     [Takes out a book]

               Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER

  SHALLOW. How now, Master Parson! Good morrow, good
    Sir Hugh. Keep a gamester from the dice, and a good student
     from his book, and it is wonderful.
  SLENDER.  [Aside]  Ah, sweet Anne Page!
  PAGE. Save you, good Sir Hugh!
  EVANS. Pless you from his mercy sake, all of you!
  SHALLOW. What, the sword and the word! Do you study
    them both, Master Parson?
  PAGE. And youthful still, in your doublet and hose, this raw
    rheumatic day!
  EVANS. There is reasons and causes for it.
  PAGE. We are come to you to do a good office, Master
  EVANS. Fery well; what is it?
  PAGE. Yonder is a most reverend gentleman, who, belike having
    received wrong by some person, is at most odds with
    his own gravity and patience that ever you saw.
  SHALLOW. I have lived fourscore years and upward; I never
    heard a man of his place, gravity, and learning, so wide of
    his own respect.
  EVANS. What is he?
  PAGE. I think you know him: Master Doctor Caius, the
    renowned French physician.
  EVANS. Got's will and his passion of my heart! I had as lief
    you would tell me of a mess of porridge.
  PAGE. Why?
  EVANS. He has no more knowledge in Hibocrates and
    Galen, and he is a knave besides-a cowardly knave as you
    would desires to be acquainted withal.
  PAGE. I warrant you, he's the man should fight with him.
  SLENDER.  [Aside]  O sweet Anne Page!
  SHALLOW. It appears so, by his weapons. Keep them asunder;
    here comes Doctor Caius.

                 Enter HOST, CAIUS, and RUGBY

  PAGE. Nay, good Master Parson, keep in your weapon.
  SHALLOW. So do you, good Master Doctor.
  HOST. Disarm them, and let them question; let them keep
    their limbs whole and hack our English.
  CAIUS. I pray you, let-a me speak a word with your ear.
    Verefore will you not meet-a me?
  EVANS.  [Aside to CAIUS]  Pray you use your patience; in
    good time.
  CAIUS. By gar, you are de coward, de Jack dog, John ape.
  EVANS.  [Aside to CAIUS]  Pray you, let us not be
    laughing-stocks to other men's humours; I desire you in
    friendship, and I will one way or other make you amends.
    [Aloud]  I will knog your urinals about your knave's cogscomb
    for missing your meetings and appointments.
  CAIUS. Diable! Jack Rugby-mine Host de Jarteer-have I
    not stay for him to kill him? Have I not, at de place I did
  EVANS. As I am a Christians soul, now, look you, this is the
    place appointed. I'll be judgment by mine host of the
  HOST. Peace, I say, Gallia and Gaul, French and Welsh,
    soul-curer and body-curer.
  CAIUS. Ay, dat is very good! excellent!
  HOST. Peace, I say. Hear mine host of the Garter. Am I
    politic? am I subtle? am I a Machiavel? Shall I lose my
    doctor? No; he gives me the potions and the motions. Shall I
    lose my parson, my priest, my Sir Hugh? No; he gives me
    the proverbs and the noverbs. Give me thy hand, terrestrial;
    so. Give me thy hand, celestial; so. Boys of art, I have
    deceiv'd you both; I have directed you to wrong places;
    your hearts are mighty, your skins are whole, and let burnt
    sack be the issue. Come, lay their swords to pawn. Follow
    me, lads of peace; follow, follow, follow.
  SHALLOW. Trust me, a mad host. Follow, gentlemen, follow.
  SLENDER.  [Aside]  O sweet Anne Page!
                                  Exeunt all but CAIUS and EVANS
  CAIUS. Ha, do I perceive dat? Have you make-a de sot of us,
    ha, ha?
  EVANS. This is well; he has made us his vlouting-stog. I
    desire you that we may be friends; and let us knog our prains
    together to be revenge on this same scall, scurvy, cogging
    companion, the host of the Garter.
  CAIUS. By gar, with all my heart. He promise to bring me
    where is Anne Page; by gar, he deceive me too.
  EVANS. Well, I will smite his noddles. Pray you follow.

                           SCENE 2.

                    The street in Windsor

                Enter MISTRESS PAGE and ROBIN

  MRS. PAGE. Nay, keep your way, little gallant; you were
    wont to be a follower, but now you are a leader. Whether
    had you rather lead mine eyes, or eye your master's heels?
  ROBIN. I had rather, forsooth, go before you like a man than
    follow him like a dwarf.
  MRS. PAGE. O, you are a flattering boy; now I see you'll be a

                          Enter FORD

  FORD. Well met, Mistress Page. Whither go you?
  MRS. PAGE. Truly, sir, to see your wife. Is she at home?
  FORD. Ay; and as idle as she may hang together, for want of
    company. I think, if your husbands were dead, you two
    would marry.
  MRS. PAGE. Be sure of that-two other husbands.
  FORD. Where had you this pretty weathercock?
  MRS. PAGE. I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my
    husband had him of. What do you call your knight's
    name, sirrah?
  ROBIN. Sir John Falstaff.
  FORD. Sir John Falstaff!
  MRS. PAGE. He, he; I can never hit on's name. There is such
    a league between my good man and he! Is your wife at
    home indeed?
  FORD. Indeed she is.
  MRS. PAGE. By your leave, sir. I am sick till I see her.
                                      Exeunt MRS. PAGE and ROBIN
  FORD. Has Page any brains? Hath he any eyes? Hath he any
    thinking? Sure, they sleep; he hath no use of them. Why,
    this boy will carry a letter twenty mile as easy as a cannon
    will shoot pointblank twelve score. He pieces out his wife's
    inclination; he gives her folly motion and advantage; and
    now she's going to my wife, and Falstaff's boy with her. A
    man may hear this show'r sing in the wind. And Falstaff's
    boy with her! Good plots! They are laid; and our revolted
    wives share damnation together. Well; I will take him,
    then torture my wife, pluck the borrowed veil of modesty
    from the so seeming Mistress Page, divulge Page himself
    for a secure and wilful Actaeon; and to these violent proceedings
    all my neighbours shall cry aim.  [Clock strikes]
    The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me
    search; there I shall find Falstaff. I shall be rather prais'd
    for this than mock'd; for it is as positive as the earth is firm
    that Falstaff is there. I will go.

                              CAIUS, and RUGBY

  SHALLOW, PAGE, &C. Well met, Master Ford.
  FORD. Trust me, a good knot; I have good cheer at home,
    and I pray you all go with me.
  SHALLOW. I must excuse myself, Master Ford.
  SLENDER. And so must I, sir; we have appointed to dine with
    Mistress Anne, and I would not break with her for more
    money than I'll speak of.
  SHALLOW. We have linger'd about a match between Anne
    Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have
    our answer.
  SLENDER. I hope I have your good will, father Page.
  PAGE. You have, Master Slender; I stand wholly for you. But
    my wife, Master Doctor, is for you altogether.
  CAIUS. Ay, be-gar; and de maid is love-a me; my nursh-a
    Quickly tell me so mush.
  HOST. What say you to young Master Fenton? He capers,
    he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks
    holiday, he smells April and May; he will carry 't, he will
    carry 't; 'tis in his buttons; he will carry 't.
  PAGE. Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman is
    of no having: he kept company with the wild Prince and
    Poins; he is of too high a region, he knows too much. No,
    he shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of
    my substance; if he take her, let him take her simply; the
    wealth I have waits on my consent, and my consent goes
    not that way.
  FORD. I beseech you, heartily, some of you go home with me
    to dinner: besides your cheer, you shall have sport; I will
    show you a monster. Master Doctor, you shall go; so shall
    you, Master Page; and you, Sir Hugh.
  SHALLOW. Well, fare you well; we shall have the freer
    wooing at Master Page's.          Exeunt SHALLOW and SLENDER
  CAIUS. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.            Exit RUGBY
  HOST. Farewell, my hearts; I will to my honest knight
    Falstaff, and drink canary with him.               Exit HOST
  FORD.  [Aside]  I think I shall drink in pipe-wine first with
    him. I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles?
  ALL. Have with you to see this monster.                 Exeunt

                           SCENE 3.

                         FORD'S house

             Enter MISTRESS FORD and MISTRESS PAGE

  MRS. FORD. What, John! what, Robert!
  MRS. PAGE. Quickly, quickly! Is the buck-basket-
  MRS. FORD. I warrant. What, Robin, I say!

                 Enter SERVANTS with a basket

  MRS. PAGE. Come, come, come.
  MRS. FORD. Here, set it down.
  MRS. PAGE. Give your men the charge; we must be brief.
  MRS. FORD. Marry, as I told you before, John and Robert, be
    ready here hard by in the brew-house; and when I suddenly
    call you, come forth, and, without any pause or
    staggering, take this basket on your shoulders. That done,
    trudge with it in all haste, and carry it among the whitsters
    in Datchet Mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch
    close by the Thames side.
  Mrs. PAGE. You will do it?
  MRS. FORD. I ha' told them over and over; they lack no
    direction. Be gone, and come when you are call'd.
                                               Exeunt SERVANTS
  MRS. PAGE. Here comes little Robin.

                         Enter ROBIN

  MRS. FORD. How now, my eyas-musket, what news with
  ROBIN. My Master Sir John is come in at your back-door,
    Mistress Ford, and requests your company.
  MRS. PAGE. You little Jack-a-Lent, have you been true to us?
  ROBIN. Ay, I'll be sworn. My master knows not of your
    being here, and hath threat'ned to put me into everlasting
    liberty, if I tell you of it; for he swears he'll turn me away.
  MRS. PAGE. Thou 'rt a good boy; this secrecy of thine shall
    be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and
    hose. I'll go hide me.
  MRS. FORD. Do so. Go tell thy master I am alone.  [Exit
  ROBIN]  Mistress Page, remember you your cue.
  MRS. PAGE. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me.
                                                Exit MRS. PAGE
  MRS. FORD. Go to, then; we'll use this unwholesome
    humidity, this gross wat'ry pumpion; we'll teach him to
    know turtles from jays.

                      Enter FALSTAFF

  FALSTAFF. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel?
    Why, now let me die, for I have liv'd long enough; this is
    the period of my ambition. O this blessed hour!
  MRS. FORD. O sweet Sir John!
  FALSTAFF. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate,
    Mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my wish; I would thy
    husband were dead; I'll speak it before the best lord, I
    would make thee my lady.
  MRS. FORD. I your lady, Sir John? Alas, I should be a pitiful
  FALSTAFF. Let the court of France show me such another. I
    see how thine eye would emulate the diamond; thou hast
    the right arched beauty of the brow that becomes the
    ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.
  MRS. FORD. A plain kerchief, Sir John; my brows become
    nothing else, nor that well neither.
  FALSTAFF. By the Lord, thou art a tyrant to say so; thou
    wouldst make an absolute courtier, and the firm fixture of
    thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gait in a
    semi-circled farthingale. I see what thou wert, if Fortune
    thy foe were, not Nature, thy friend. Come, thou canst not
    hide it.
  MRS. FORD. Believe me, there's no such thing in me.
  FALSTAFF. What made me love thee? Let that persuade thee
    there's something extra-ordinary in thee. Come, I cannot
    cog, and say thou art this and that, like a many of these
    lisping hawthorn-buds that come like women in men's
    apparel, and smell like Bucklersbury in simple time; I
    cannot; but I love thee, none but thee; and thou deserv'st it.
  MRS. FORD. Do not betray me, sir; I fear you love Mistress
  FALSTAFF. Thou mightst as well say I love to walk by the
    Counter-gate, which is as hateful to me as the reek of a
  MRS. FORD. Well, heaven knows how I love you; and you
    shall one day find it.
  FALSTAFF. Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.
  MRS. FORD. Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could
    not be in that mind.
  ROBIN.  [Within]  Mistress Ford, Mistress Ford! here's
    Mistress Page at the door, sweating and blowing and looking
    wildly, and would needs speak with you presently.
  FALSTAFF. She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind
    the arras.
  MRS. FORD. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling woman.
                                      [FALSTAFF hides himself]

               Re-enter MISTRESS PAGE and ROBIN

    What's the matter? How now!
  MRS. PAGE. O Mistress Ford, what have you done? You're
    sham'd, y'are overthrown, y'are undone for ever.
  MRS. FORD. What's the matter, good Mistress Page?
  MRS. PAGE. O well-a-day, Mistress Ford, having an honest
    man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion!
  MRS. FORD. What cause of suspicion?
  MRS. PAGE. What cause of suspicion? Out upon you, how
    am I mistook in you!
  MRS. FORD. Why, alas, what's the matter?
  MRS. PAGE. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all
    the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman that he
    says is here now in the house, by your consent, to take an
    ill advantage of his absence. You are undone.
  MRS. FORD. 'Tis not so, I hope.
  MRS. PAGE. Pray heaven it be not so that you have such a
    man here; but 'tis most certain your husband's coming,
    with half Windsor at his heels, to search for such a one. I
    come before to tell you. If you know yourself clear, why,
    I am glad of it; but if you have a friend here, convey,
    convey him out. Be not amaz'd; call all your senses to you;
    defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life
    for ever.
  MRS. FORD. What shall I do? There is a gentleman, my dear
    friend; and I fear not mine own shame as much as his peril.
    I had rather than a thousand pound he were out of the
  MRS. PAGE. For shame, never stand 'you had rather' and 'you
    had rather'! Your husband's here at hand; bethink you of
    some conveyance; in the house you cannot hide him. O,
    how have you deceiv'd me! Look, here is a basket; if he be
    of any reasonable stature, he may creep in here; and throw
    foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking, or-it is
    whiting-time-send him by your two men to Datchet
  MRS. FORD. He's too big to go in there. What shall I do?
  FALSTAFF.  [Coming forward]  Let me see 't, let me see 't. O,
    let me see 't! I'll in, I'll in; follow your friend's counsel;
    I'll in.
  MRS. PAGE. What, Sir John Falstaff!      [Aside to FALSTAFF]
    Are these your letters, knight?
  FALSTAFF.  [Aside to MRS. PAGE]  I love thee and none but
    thee; help me away.-Let me creep in here; I'll never-
    [Gets into the basket; they cover him with foul linen]
  MRS. PAGE. Help to cover your master, boy. Call your men,
    Mistress Ford. You dissembling knight!
  MRS. FORD. What, John! Robert! John!                Exit ROBIN

                 Re-enter SERVANTS

    Go, take up these clothes here, quickly; where's the
    cowl-staff? Look how you drumble. Carry them to the laundress
    in Datchet Mead; quickly, come.

         Enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS

  FORD. Pray you come near. If I suspect without cause, why
    then make sport at me, then let me be your jest; I deserve
    it. How now, whither bear you this?
  SERVANT. To the laundress, forsooth.
  MRS. FORD. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it?
    You were best meddle with buck-washing.
  FORD. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the buck!
    Buck, buck, buck! ay, buck! I warrant you, buck; and of
    the season too, it shall appear.  [Exeunt SERVANTS with
    basket]  Gentlemen, I have dream'd to-night; I'll tell you my
    dream. Here, here, here be my keys; ascend my chambers,
    search, seek, find out. I'll warrant we'll unkennel the fox.
    Let me stop this way first.  [Locking the door]  So, now
  PAGE. Good Master Ford, be contented; you wrong yourself
    too much.
  FORD. True, Master Page. Up, gentlemen, you shall see sport
    anon; follow me, gentlemen.                             Exit
  EVANS. This is fery fantastical humours and jealousies.
  CAIUS. By gar, 'tis no the fashion of France; it is not jealous
    in France.
  PAGE. Nay, follow him, gentlemen; see the issue of his
    search.                        Exeunt EVANS, PAGE, and CAIUS
  MRS. PAGE. Is there not a double excellency in this?
  MRS. FORD. I know not which pleases me better, that my
    husband is deceived, or Sir John.
  MRS. PAGE. What a taking was he in when your husband
    ask'd who was in the basket!
  MRS. FORD. I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so
    throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.
  MRS. PAGE. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would all of the
    same strain were in the same distress.
  MRS. FORD. I think my husband hath some special suspicion
    of Falstaff's being here, for I never saw him so gross in his
    jealousy till now.
  MRS. PAGE. I Will lay a plot to try that, and we will yet have
    more tricks with Falstaff. His dissolute disease will scarce
    obey this medicine.
  MRS. FORD. Shall we send that foolish carrion, Mistress
    Quickly, to him, and excuse his throwing into the water,
    and give him another hope, to betray him to another
  MRS. PAGE. We will do it; let him be sent for to-morrow
    eight o'clock, to have amends.

       Re-enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS

  FORD. I cannot find him; may be the knave bragg'd of that
    he could not compass.
  MRS. PAGE.  [Aside to MRS. FORD]  Heard you that?
  MRS. FORD. You use me well, Master Ford, do you?
  FORD. Ay, I do so.
  MRS. FORD. Heaven make you better than your thoughts!
  FORD. Amen.
  MRS. PAGE. You do yourself mighty wrong, Master Ford.
  FORD. Ay, ay; I must bear it.
  EVANS. If there be any pody in the house, and in the
    chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses, heaven forgive
    my sins at the day of judgment!
  CAIUS. Be gar, nor I too; there is no bodies.
  PAGE. Fie, fie, Master Ford, are you not asham'd? What
    spirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I would not ha'
    your distemper in this kind for the wealth of Windsor
  FORD. 'Tis my fault, Master Page; I suffer for it.
  EVANS. You suffer for a pad conscience. Your wife is as
    honest a omans as I will desires among five thousand, and five
    hundred too.
  CAIUS. By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman.
  FORD. Well, I promis'd you a dinner. Come, come, walk in
    the Park. I pray you pardon me; I will hereafter make
    known to you why I have done this. Come, wife, come,
    Mistress Page; I pray you pardon me; pray heartly,
    pardon me.
  PAGE. Let's go in, gentlemen; but, trust me, we'll mock him.
    I do invite you to-morrow morning to my house to breakfast;
    after, we'll a-birding together; I have a fine hawk for
    the bush. Shall it be so?
  FORD. Any thing.
  EVANS. If there is one, I shall make two in the company.
  CAIUS. If there be one or two, I shall make-a the turd.
  FORD. Pray you go, Master Page.
  EVANS. I pray you now, remembrance to-morrow on the
    lousy knave, mine host.
  CAIUS. Dat is good; by gar, with all my heart.
  EVANS. A lousy knave, to have his gibes and his mockeries!

                           SCENE 4.

                      Before PAGE'S house

                   Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE

  FENTON. I see I cannot get thy father's love;
    Therefore no more turn me to him, sweet Nan.
  ANNE. Alas, how then?
  FENTON. Why, thou must be thyself.
    He doth object I am too great of birth;
    And that, my state being gall'd with my expense,
    I seek to heal it only by his wealth.
    Besides these, other bars he lays before me,
    My riots past, my wild societies;
    And tells me 'tis a thing impossible
    I should love thee but as a property.
  ANNE.. May be he tells you true.
  FENTON. No, heaven so speed me in my time to come!
    Albeit I will confess thy father's wealth
    Was the first motive that I woo'd thee, Anne;
    Yet, wooing thee, I found thee of more value
    Than stamps in gold, or sums in sealed bags;
    And 'tis the very riches of thyself
    That now I aim at.
  ANNE. Gentle Master Fenton,
    Yet seek my father's love; still seek it, sir.
    If opportunity and humblest suit
    Cannot attain it, why then-hark you hither.
                                           [They converse apart]


  SHALLOW. Break their talk, Mistress Quickly; my kinsman
    shall speak for himself.
  SLENDER. I'll make a shaft or a bolt on 't; 'slid, 'tis but
  SHALLOW. Be not dismay'd.
  SLENDER. No, she shall not dismay me. I care not for that,
    but that I am afeard.
  QUICKLY. Hark ye, Master Slender would speak a word
    with you.
  ANNE. I come to him.  [Aside]  This is my father's choice.
    O, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
    Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a year!
  QUICKLY. And how does good Master Fenton? Pray you, a
    word with you.
  SHALLOW. She's coming; to her, coz. O boy, thou hadst a
  SLENDER. I had a father, Mistress Anne; my uncle can tell
    you good jests of him. Pray you, uncle, tell Mistress Anne
    the jest how my father stole two geese out of a pen, good
  SHALLOW. Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.
  SLENDER. Ay, that I do; as well as I love any woman in
  SHALLOW. He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.
  SLENDER. Ay, that I will come cut and longtail, under the
    degree of a squire.
  SHALLOW. He will make you a hundred and fifty pounds
  ANNE. Good Master Shallow, let him woo for himself.
  SHALLOW. Marry, I thank you for it; I thank you for that
    good comfort. She calls you, coz; I'll leave you.
  ANNE. Now, Master Slender-
  SLENDER. Now, good Mistress Anne-
  ANNE. What is your will?
  SLENDER. My Will! 'Od's heartlings, that's a pretty jest
    indeed! I ne'er made my will yet, I thank heaven; I am not
    such a sickly creature, I give heaven praise.
  ANNE. I mean, Master Slender, what would you with me?
  SLENDER. Truly, for mine own part I would little or nothing
    with you. Your father and my uncle hath made motions;
    if it be my luck, so; if not, happy man be his dole! They
    can tell you how things go better than I can. You may ask
    your father; here he comes.

            Enter PAGE and MISTRESS PAGE

  PAGE. Now, Master Slender! Love him, daughter Anne-
    Why, how now, what does Master Fenton here?
    You wrong me, sir, thus still to haunt my house.
    I told you, sir, my daughter is dispos'd of.
  FENTON. Nay, Master Page, be not impatient.
  MRS. PAGE. Good Master Fenton, come not to my child.
  PAGE. She is no match for you.
  FENTON. Sir, will you hear me?
  PAGE. No, good Master Fenton.
    Come, Master Shallow; come, son Slender; in.
    Knowing my mind, you wrong me, Master Fenton.
                               Exeunt PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER
  QUICKLY. Speak to Mistress Page.
  FENTON. Good Mistress Page, for that I love your daughter
    In such a righteous fashion as I do,
    Perforce, against all checks, rebukes, and manners,
    I must advance the colours of my love,
    And not retire. Let me have your good will.
  ANNE. Good mother, do not marry me to yond fool.
  MRS. PAGE. I mean it not; I seek you a better husband.
  QUICKLY. That's my master, Master Doctor.
  ANNE. Alas, I had rather be set quick i' th' earth.
    And bowl'd to death with turnips.
  MRS. PAGE. Come, trouble not yourself. Good Master
    I will not be your friend, nor enemy;
    My daughter will I question how she loves you,
    And as I find her, so am I affected;
    Till then, farewell, sir; she must needs go in;
    Her father will be angry.
  FENTON. Farewell, gentle mistress; farewell, Nan.
                                       Exeunt MRS. PAGE and ANNE
  QUICKLY. This is my doing now: 'Nay,' said I 'will you cast
    away your child on a fool, and a physician? Look on
    Master Fenton.' This is my doing.
  FENTON. I thank thee; and I pray thee, once to-night
    Give my sweet Nan this ring. There's for thy pains.
  QUICKLY. Now Heaven send thee good fortune!  [Exit
    FENTON]  A kind heart he hath; a woman would run through
    fire and water for such a kind heart. But yet I would my
    master had Mistress Anne; or I would Master Slender had
    her; or, in sooth, I would Master Fenton had her; I will
    do what I can for them all three, for so I have promis'd,
    and I'll be as good as my word; but speciously for Master
    Fenton. Well, I must of another errand to Sir John Falstaff
    from my two mistresses. What a beast am I to slack it!

                              SCENE 5.

                           The Garter Inn

                     Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH

  FALSTAFF. Bardolph, I say!
  BARDOLPH. Here, sir.
  FALSTAFF. Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast in 't.
                                                   Exit BARDOLPH
    Have I liv'd to be carried in a basket, like a barrow of
    butcher's offal, and to be thrown in the Thames? Well, if
    I be serv'd such another trick, I'll have my brains ta'en out
    and butter'd, and give them to a dog for a new-year's gift.
    The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse
    as they would have drown'd a blind bitch's puppies, fifteen
    i' th' litter; and you may know by my size that I have
    a kind of alacrity in sinking; if the bottom were as deep as
    hell I should down. I had been drown'd but that the shore
    was shelvy and shallow-a death that I abhor; for the water
    swells a man; and what a thing should I have been when
    had been swell'd! I should have been a mountain of

                  Re-enter BARDOLPH, with sack

  BARDOLPH. Here's Mistress Quickly, sir, to speak with you
  FALSTAFF. Come, let me pour in some sack to the Thames
    water; for my belly's as cold as if I had swallow'd
    snowballs for pills to cool the reins. Call her in.
  BARDOLPH. Come in, woman.

                     Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

  QUICKLY. By your leave; I cry you mercy. Give your
    worship good morrow.
  FALSTAFF. Take away these chalices. Go, brew me a pottle
    of sack finely.
  BARDOLPH. With eggs, sir?
  FALSTAFF. Simple of itself; I'll no pullet-sperm in my
    brewage.  [Exit BARDOLPH]  How now!
  QUICKLY. Marry, sir, I come to your worship from Mistress
  FALSTAFF. Mistress Ford! I have had ford enough; I was
    thrown into the ford; I have my belly full of ford.
  QUICKLY. Alas the day, good heart, that was not her fault!
    She does so take on with her men; they mistook their
  FALSTAFF. So did I mine, to build upon a foolish woman's
  QUICKLY. Well, she laments, sir, for it, that it would yearn
    your heart to see it. Her husband goes this morning
    a-birding; she desires you once more to come to her between
    eight and nine; I must carry her word quickly. She'll make
    you amends, I warrant you.
  FALSTAFF. Well, I Will visit her. Tell her so; and bid her
    think what a man is. Let her consider his frailty, and then
    judge of my merit.
  QUICKLY. I will tell her.
  FALSTAFF. Do so. Between nine and ten, say'st thou?
  QUICKLY. Eight and nine, sir.
  FALSTAFF. Well, be gone; I will not miss her.
  QUICKLY. Peace be with you, sir.                          Exit
  FALSTAFF. I marvel I hear not of Master Brook; he sent me
    word to stay within. I like his money well. O, here he

                       Enter FORD disguised

  FORD. Bless you, sir!
  FALSTAFF. Now, Master Brook, you come to know what
    hath pass'd between me and Ford's wife?
  FORD. That, indeed, Sir John, is my business.
  FALSTAFF. Master Brook, I will not lie to you; I was at her
    house the hour she appointed me.
  FORD. And sped you, sir?
  FALSTAFF. Very ill-favouredly, Master Brook.
  FORD. How so, sir; did she change her determination?
  FALSTAFF. No. Master Brook; but the peaking cornuto her
    husband, Master Brook, dwelling in a continual 'larum of
    jealousy, comes me in the instant of our, encounter, after
    we had embrac'd, kiss'd, protested, and, as it were, spoke
    the prologue of our comedy; and at his heels a rabble of his
    companions, thither provoked and instigated by his
    distemper, and, forsooth, to search his house for his wife's
  FORD. What, while you were there?
  FALSTAFF. While I was there.
  FORD. And did he search for you, and could not find you?
  FALSTAFF. You shall hear. As good luck would have it, comes
    in one Mistress Page, gives intelligence of Ford's approach;
    and, in her invention and Ford's wife's distraction, they
    convey'd me into a buck-basket.
  FORD. A buck-basket!
  FALSTAFF. By the Lord, a buck-basket! Ramm'd me in with
    foul shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings, greasy
    napkins, that, Master Brook, there was the rankest compound
    of villainous smell that ever offended nostril.
  FORD. And how long lay you there?
  FALSTAFF. Nay, you shall hear, Master Brook, what I have
    suffer'd to bring this woman to evil for your good. Being
    thus cramm'd in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his
    hinds, were call'd forth by their mistress to carry me in
    the name of foul clothes to Datchet Lane; they took me on
    their shoulders; met the jealous knave their master in the
    door; who ask'd them once or twice what they had in their
    basket. I quak'd for fear lest the lunatic knave would have
    search'd it; but Fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold,
    held his hand. Well, on went he for a search, and away
    went I for foul clothes. But mark the sequel, Master
    Brook-I suffered the pangs of three several deaths: first,
    an intolerable fright to be detected with a jealous rotten
    bell-wether; next, to be compass'd like a good bilbo in the
    circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head; and
    then, to be stopp'd in, like a strong distillation, with
    stinking clothes that fretted in their own grease. Think of that
    -a man of my kidney. Think of that-that am as subject to
    heat as butter; a man of continual dissolution and thaw. It
    was a miracle to scape suffocation. And in the height of
    this bath, when I was more than half-stew'd in grease, like
    a Dutch dish, to be thrown into the Thames, and cool'd,
    glowing hot, in that surge, like a horse-shoe; think of that
    -hissing hot. Think of that, Master Brook.
  FORD. In good sadness, sir, I am sorry that for my sake you
    have suffer'd all this. My suit, then, is desperate;
    you'll undertake her no more.
  FALSTAFF. Master Brook, I will be thrown into Etna, as I
    have been into Thames, ere I will leave her thus. Her
    husband is this morning gone a-birding; I have received from
    her another embassy of meeting; 'twixt eight and nine is
    the hour, Master Brook.
  FORD. 'Tis past eight already, sir.
  FALSTAFF. Is it? I Will then address me to my appointment.
    Come to me at your convenient leisure, and you shall
    know how I speed; and the conclusion shall be crowned
    with your enjoying her. Adieu. You shall have her, Master
    Brook; Master Brook, you shall cuckold Ford.            Exit
  FORD. Hum! ha! Is this a vision? Is this a dream? Do I sleep?
    Master Ford, awake; awake, Master Ford. There's a hole
    made in your best coat, Master Ford. This 'tis to be
    married; this 'tis to have linen and buck-baskets! Well, I will
    proclaim myself what I am; I will now take the lecher; he
    is at my house. He cannot scape me; 'tis impossible he
    should; he cannot creep into a halfpenny purse nor into
    a pepper box. But, lest the devil that guides him should aid
    him, I will search impossible places. Though what I am I
    cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not shall not make
    me tame. If I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb
    go with me-I'll be horn mad.                            Exit

                     ACT IV. SCENE I.

                     Windsor. A street


  MRS. PAGE. Is he at Master Ford's already, think'st thou?
  QUICKLY. 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.

                     Enter SIR HUGH EVANS

    How now, Sir Hugh, no school to-day?
  EVANS. No; Master Slender is let the boys leave to play.
  QUICKLY. 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.
  EVANS. Come hither, William; hold up your head; come.
  MRS. PAGE. Come on, sirrah; hold up your head; answer your
    master; be not afraid.
  EVANS. William, how many numbers is in nouns?
  QUICKLY. Truly, I thought there had been one number
    more, because they say 'Od's nouns.'
  EVANS. Peace your tattlings. What is 'fair,' William?
  WILLIAM. Pulcher.
  QUICKLY. Polecats! There are fairer things than polecats,
  EVANS. You are a very simplicity oman; I pray you, peace.
    What is 'lapis,' William?
  WILLIAM. A stone.
  EVANS. And what is 'a stone,' William?
  WILLIAM. A pebble.
  EVANS. No, it is 'lapis'; I pray you remember in your prain.
  WILLIAM. Lapis.
  EVANS. That is a good William. What is he, William, that
    does lend articles?
  WILLIAM. Articles are borrowed of the pronoun, and be
    thus declined: Singulariter, nominativo; hic, haec, hoc.
  EVANS. Nominativo, hig, hag, hog; pray you, mark: genitivo,
    hujus. Well, what is your accusative case?
  WILLIAM. Accusativo, hinc.
  EVANS. I pray you, have your remembrance, child.
    Accusativo, hung, hang, hog.
  QUICKLY. 'Hang-hog' is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.
  EVANS. Leave your prabbles, oman. What is the focative
    case, William?
  WILLIAM. O-vocativo, O.
  EVANS. Remember, William: focative is caret.
  QUICKLY. And that's a good root.
  EVANS. Oman, forbear.
  MRS. PAGE. Peace.
  EVANS. What is your genitive case plural, William?
  WILLIAM. Genitive case?
  EVANS. Ay.
  WILLIAM. Genitive: horum, harum, horum.
  QUICKLY. Vengeance of Jenny's case; fie on her! Never
    name her, child, if she be a whore.
  EVANS. For shame, oman.
  QUICKLY. 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!
  EVANS. Oman, art thou lunatics? Hast thou no understandings
    for thy cases, and the numbers of the genders? Thou
    art as foolish Christian creatures as I would desires.
  MRS. PAGE. Prithee hold thy peace.
  EVANS. Show me now, William, some declensions of your
  WILLIAM. Forsooth, I have forgot.
  EVANS. It is qui, quae, quod; if you forget your qui's, your
    quae's, and your quod's, you must be preeches. Go your
    ways and play; go.
  MRS. PAGE. He is a better scholar than I thought he was.
  EVANS. 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

                          SCENE 2.

                        FORD'S house

               Enter FALSTAFF and MISTRESS FORD

  FALSTAFF. Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my
    sufferance. I see you are obsequious in your love, and I
    profess requital to a hair's breadth; not only, Mistress Ford, in
    the simple office of love, but in all the accoutrement,
    complement, and ceremony of it. But are you sure of your
    husband now?
  MRS. FORD. He's a-birding, sweet Sir John.
  MRS. PAGE.  [Within]  What hoa, gossip Ford, what hoa!
  MRS. FORD. Step into th' chamber, Sir John.      Exit FALSTAFF

                      Enter MISTRESS PAGE

  MRS. PAGE. How now, sweetheart, who's at home besides
  MRS. FORD. Why, none but mine own people.
  MRS. PAGE. Indeed?
  MRS. FORD. No, certainly.  [Aside to her]  Speak louder.
  MRS. PAGE. Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here.
  MRS. FORD. Why?
  MRS. PAGE. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes
    again. He so takes on yonder with my husband; so rails
    against all married mankind; so curses an Eve's daughters,
    of what complexion soever; and so buffets himself on the
    forehead, crying 'Peer-out, peer-out!' that any madness I
    ever yet beheld seem'd but tameness, civility, and patience,
    to this his distemper he is in now. I am glad the fat knight
    is not here.
  MRS. FORD. Why, does he talk of him?
  MRS. PAGE. Of none but him; and swears he was carried out,
    the last time he search'd for him, in a basket; protests to
    my husband he is now here; and hath drawn him and the
    rest of their company from their sport, to make another
    experiment of his suspicion. But I am glad the knight is not
    here; now he shall see his own foolery.
  MRS. FORD. How near is he, Mistress Page?
  MRS. PAGE. Hard by, at street end; he will be here anon.
  MRS. FORD. I am undone: the knight is here.
  MRS. PAGE. Why, then, you are utterly sham'd, and he's but
    a dead man. What a woman are you! Away with him,
    away with him; better shame than murder.
  MRS. FORD. Which way should he go? How should I bestow
    him? Shall I put him into the basket again?

                  Re-enter FALSTAFF

  FALSTAFF. No, I'll come no more i' th' basket. May I not go
    out ere he come?
  MRS. PAGE. Alas, three of Master Ford's brothers watch the
    door with pistols, that none shall issue out; otherwise you
    might slip away ere he came. But what make you here?
  FALSTAFF. What shall I do? I'll creep up into the chimney.
  MRS. FORD. There they always use to discharge their
  MRS. PAGE. Creep into the kiln-hole.
  FALSTAFF. Where is it?
  MRS. FORD. He will seek there, on my word. Neither press,
    coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an abstract for
    the remembrance of such places, and goes to them by his
    note. There is no hiding you in the house.
  FALSTAFF. I'll go out then.
  MRS. PAGE. If you go out in your own semblance, you die,
    Sir John. Unless you go out disguis'd.
  MRS. FORD. How might we disguise him?
  MRS. PAGE. Alas the day, I know not! There is no woman's
    gown big enough for him; otherwise he might put on a
    hat, a muffler, and a kerchief, and so escape.
  FALSTAFF. Good hearts, devise something; any extremity
    rather than a mischief.
  MRS. FORD. My Maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brainford, has
    a gown above.
  MRS. PAGE. On my word, it will serve him; she's as big as he
    is; and there's her thrumm'd hat, and her muffler too. Run
    up, Sir John.
  MRS. FORD. Go, go, sweet Sir John. Mistress Page and I will
    look some linen for your head.
  MRS. PAGE. Quick, quick; we'll come dress you straight. Put
    on the gown the while.                         Exit FALSTAFF
  MRS. FORD. I would my husband would meet him in this
    shape; he cannot abide the old woman of Brainford; he
    swears she's a witch, forbade her my house, and hath
    threat'ned to beat her.
  MRS. PAGE. Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel; and
    the devil guide his cudgel afterwards!
  MRS. FORD. But is my husband coming?
  MRS. PAGE. Ay, in good sadness is he; and talks of the basket
    too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.
  MRS. FORD. We'll try that; for I'll appoint my men to carry
    the basket again, to meet him at the door with it as they
    did last time.
  MRS. PAGE. Nay, but he'll be here presently; let's go dress
    him like the witch of Brainford.
  MRS. FORD. I'll first direct my men what they shall do with
    the basket. Go up; I'll bring linen for him straight.   Exit
  MRS. PAGE. Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot misuse
    him enough.
    We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
    Wives may be merry and yet honest too.
    We do not act that often jest and laugh;
    'Tis old but true: Still swine eats all the draff.      Exit

            Re-enter MISTRESS FORD, with two SERVANTS

  MRS. FORD. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders;
    your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey
    him; quickly, dispatch.                                 Exit
  FIRST SERVANT. Come, come, take it up.
  SECOND SERVANT. Pray heaven it be not full of knight again.
  FIRST SERVANT. I hope not; I had lief as bear so much lead.


  FORD. Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page, have you any
    way then to unfool me again? Set down the basket, villain!
    Somebody call my wife. Youth in a basket! O you panderly
    rascals, there's a knot, a ging, a pack, a conspiracy
    against me. Now shall the devil be sham'd. What, wife, I
    say! Come, come forth; behold what honest clothes you
    send forth to bleaching.
  PAGE. Why, this passes, Master Ford; you are not to go loose
    any longer; you must be pinion'd.
  EVANS. Why, this is lunatics. This is mad as a mad dog.
  SHALLOW. Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well, indeed.
  FORD. So say I too, sir.

                     Re-enter MISTRESS FORD

    Come hither, Mistress Ford; Mistress Ford, the honest
    woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath
    the jealous fool to her husband! I suspect without cause,
    Mistress, do I?
  MRS. FORD. Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect
    me in any dishonesty.
  FORD. Well said, brazen-face; hold it out. Come forth, sirrah.
                           [Pulling clothes out of the basket]
  PAGE. This passes!
  MRS. FORD. Are you not asham'd? Let the clothes alone.
  FORD. I shall find you anon.
  EVANS. 'Tis unreasonable. Will you take up your wife's
    clothes? Come away.
  FORD. Empty the basket, I say.
  MRS. FORD. Why, man, why?
  FORD. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one convey'd
    out of my house yesterday in this basket. Why may not
    he be there again? In my house I am sure he is; my
    intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable.
    Pluck me out all the linen.
  MRS. FORD. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's
  PAGE. Here's no man.
  SHALLOW. By my fidelity, this is not well, Master Ford; this
    wrongs you.
  EVANS. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the
    imaginations of your own heart; this is jealousies.
  FORD. Well, he's not here I seek for.
  PAGE. No, nor nowhere else but in your brain.
  FORD. Help to search my house this one time. If I find not
    what I seek, show no colour for my extremity; let me for
    ever be your table sport; let them say of me 'As jealous as
    Ford, that search'd a hollow walnut for his wife's leman.'
    Satisfy me once more; once more search with me.
  MRS. FORD. What, hoa, Mistress Page! Come you and the old
    woman down; my husband will come into the chamber.
  FORD. Old woman? what old woman's that?
  MRS. FORD. Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brainford.
  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 th' figure, and such daub'ry as this
    is, beyond our element. We know nothing. Come down, you
    witch, you hag you; come down, I say.
  MRS. FORD. Nay, good sweet husband! Good gentlemen, let
    him not strike the old woman.

   Re-enter FALSTAFF in woman's clothes, and MISTRESS PAGE

  MRS. PAGE. Come, Mother Prat; come. give me your hand.
  FORD. I'll prat her.  [Beating him]  Out of my door, you
    witch, you hag, you. baggage, you polecat, you ronyon!
    Out, out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.
                                                   Exit FALSTAFF
  MRS. PAGE. Are you not asham'd? I think you have kill'd the
    poor woman.
  MRS. FORD. Nay, he will do it. 'Tis a goodly credit for you.
  FORD. Hang her, witch!
  EVANS. 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 his 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.
  PAGE. Let's obey his humour a little further. Come,
    gentlemen.            Exeunt all but MRS. FORD and MRS. PAGE
  MRS. PAGE. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.
  MRS. FORD. Nay, by th' mass, that he did not; he beat him
    most unpitifully methought.
  MRS. PAGE. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd 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 scar'd out of
    him; if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with fine and
    recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste,
    attempt us again.
  MRS. FORD. Shall we tell our husbands how we have serv'd
  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 publicly sham'd;
    and methinks there would be no period to the jest, should
    he not be publicly sham'd.
  MRS. PAGE. Come, to the forge with it then; shape it. I
    would not have things cool.                           Exeunt

                       SCENE 3.

                    The Garter Inn

               Enter HOST and BARDOLPH

  BARDOLPH. 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?
  BARDOLPH. 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 house a week at
    command; I have turn'd away my other guests. They must
    come off; I'll sauce them. Come.                      Exeunt

                       SCENE 4

                     FORD'S house

                      SIR HUGH EVANS

  EVANS. 'Tis one of the best discretions of a oman as ever
    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 wilt;
    I rather will suspect the sun with cold
    Than thee with wantonness. Now doth thy honour stand,
    In him that was of late an heretic,
    As firm as faith.
  PAGE. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more.
    Be not as extreme in submission as in offence;
    But let our plot go forward. Let our wives
    Yet once again, to make us public 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!
  EVANS. You say he has been thrown in 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 punish'd; he shall have no desires.
  PAGE. So think I too.
  MRS. FORD. Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,
    And let us two devise to bring him thither.
  MRS. PAGE. There is an old tale goes that Heme 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,
    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
    Receiv'd, and did deliver to our age,
    This tale of Heme 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?
  MRS. FORD. Marry, this is our device-
    That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us,
    Disguis'd, like Heme, with huge horns on his head.
  PAGE. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come,
    And in this shape. When you have brought him thither,
    What shall be done with him? What is your plot?
  MRS. PAGE. That likewise have we thought upon, and
    Nan Page my daughter, and my little son,
    And three or four more of their growth, we'll dress
    Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies, green and white,
    With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
    And rattles in their hands; upon a sudden,
    As Falstaff, she, and I, are newly met,
    Let them from forth a sawpit rush at once
    With some diffused song; upon their sight
    We two in great amazedness will fly.
    Then let them all encircle him about,
    And fairy-like, to pinch the unclean knight;
    And ask him why, that hour of fairy revel,
    In their so sacred paths he dares to tread
    In shape profane.
  MRS. FORD. And till he tell the truth,
    Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound,
    And burn him with their tapers.
  MRS. PAGE. The truth being known,
    We'll all present ourselves; dis-horn the spirit,
    And mock him home to Windsor.
  FORD. The children must
    Be practis'd well to this or they'll nev'r do 't.
  EVANS. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will
    be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my
  FORD. That will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.
  MRS. PAGE. My Nan shall be the Queen of all the Fairies,
    Finely attired in a robe of white.
  PAGE. That silk will I go buy.  [Aside]  And in that time
    Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away,
    And marry her at Eton.-Go, send to Falstaff straight.
  FORD. Nay, I'll to him again, in name of Brook;
    He'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he'll come.
  MRS. PAGE. Fear not you that. Go get us properties
    And tricking for our fairies.
  EVANS. Let us about it. It is admirable pleasures, and fery
    honest knaveries.               Exeunt PAGE, FORD, and EVANS
  MRS. PAGE. Go, Mistress Ford.
    Send Quickly to Sir John to know his mind.
                                                  Exit MRS. FORD
    I'll to the Doctor; he hath my good will,
    And none but he, to marry with Nan Page.
    That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot;
    And he my husband best of all affects.
    The Doctor is well money'd, and his friends
    Potent at court; he, none but he, shall have her,
    Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.      Exit

                       SCENE 5.

                    The Garter Inn

                Enter HOST and SIMPLE

  HOST. What wouldst thou have, boor? What, thick-skin?
    Speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
  SIMPLE. Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff
    from Master Slender.
  HOST. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his
    standing-bed and truckle-bed; 'tis painted about with the
    story of the Prodigal, fresh and new. Go, knock and can; he'll
    speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee. Knock, I say.
  SIMPLE. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into
    his chamber; I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down;
    I come to speak with her, indeed.
  HOST. Ha! a fat woman? The knight may be robb'd. I'll call.
    Bully knight! Bully Sir John! Speak from thy lungs
    military. Art thou there? It is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls.
  FALSTAFF.  [Above]  How now, mine host?
  HOST. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of
    thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let her descend;
    my chambers are honourible. Fie, privacy, fie!

                    Enter FALSTAFF

  FALSTAFF. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even
    now with, me; but she's gone.
  SIMPLE. Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman of
  FALSTAFF. Ay, marry was it, mussel-shell. What would you
    with her?
  SIMPLE. My master, sir, my Master Slender, sent to her,
    seeing her go thorough the streets, to know, sir, whether one
    Nym, sir, that beguil'd him of a chain, had the chain or no.
  FALSTAFF. I spake with the old woman about it.
  SIMPLE. And what says she, I pray, sir?
  FALSTAFF Marry, she says that the very same man that
    beguil'd Master Slender of his chain cozen'd him of it.
  SIMPLE. I would I could have spoken with the woman
    herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too,
    from him.
  FALSTAFF. What are they? Let us know.
  HOST. Ay, come; quick.
  SIMPLE. I may not conceal them, sir.
  FALSTAFF. Conceal them, or thou diest.
    SIMPLE.. Why, sir, they were nothing but about Mistress
    Anne Page: to know if it were my master's fortune to
    have her or no.
  FALSTAFF. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.
  SIMPLE. What sir?
  FALSTAFF. To have her, or no. Go; say the woman told me
  SIMPLE. May I be bold to say so, sir?
  FALSTAFF. Ay, sir, like who more bold?
  SIMPLE., I thank your worship; I shall make my master glad
    with these tidings.                              Exit SIMPLE
  HOST. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was
    there a wise woman with thee?
  FALSTAFF. Ay, that there was, mine host; one that hath
    taught me more wit than ever I learn'd before in my life;
    and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my

                    Enter BARDOLPH

  BARDOLPH. Out, alas, sir, cozenage, mere cozenage!
  HOST. Where be my horses? Speak well of them, varletto.
  BARDOLPH. Run away with the cozeners; for so soon as I
    came beyond Eton, they threw me off from behind one of
    them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs and away, like
    three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.
  HOST. They are gone but to meet the Duke, villain; do not
    say they be fled. Germans are honest men.

                 Enter SIR HUGH EVANS

  EVANS. Where is mine host?
  HOST. What is the matter, sir?
  EVANS. Have a care of your entertainments. There is a friend
    of mine come to town tells me there is three
    cozen-germans that has cozen'd all the hosts of Readins,
    of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell you for
    good will, look you; you are wise, and full of gibes and
    vlouting-stogs, and 'tis not convenient you should be
    cozened. Fare you well.                                 Exit

                  Enter DOCTOR CAIUS

  CAIUS. Vere is mine host de Jarteer?
  HOST. Here, Master Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful
  CAIUS. I cannot tell vat is dat; but it is tell-a me dat you
    make grand preparation for a Duke de Jamany. By my
    trot, dere is no duke that the court is know to come; I
    tell you for good will. Adieu.                          Exit
  HOST. Hue and cry, villain, go! Assist me, knight; I am
    undone. Fly, run, hue and cry, villain; I am undone.
                                        Exeunt HOST and BARDOLPH
  FALSTAFF. I would all the world might be cozen'd, for I have
    been cozen'd and beaten too. If it should come to the car
    of the court how I have been transformed, and how my
    transformation hath been wash'd and cudgell'd, they
    would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor
    fishermen's boots with me; I warrant they would whip me
    with their fine wits till I were as crestfall'n as a dried pear.
    I never prosper'd since I forswore myself at primero. Well,
    if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers,
    would repent.

                Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Now! whence come you?
  QUICKLY. From the two parties, forsooth.
  FALSTAFF. The devil take one party and his dam the other!
    And so they shall be both bestowed. I have suffer'd more
    for their sakes, more than the villainous inconstancy of
    man's disposition is able to bear.
  QUICKLY. And have not they suffer'd? Yes, I warrant;
    speciously one of them; Mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten
    black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.
  FALSTAFF. What tell'st thou me of black and blue? I was
    beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and
    was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brainford. But
    that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the
    action of an old woman, deliver'd me, the knave constable
    had set me i' th' stocks, i' th' common stocks, for a witch.
  QUICKLY. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber; you
    shall hear how things go, and, I warrant, to your content.
    Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado
    here is to bring you together! Sure, one of you does not
    serve heaven well, that you are so cross'd.
  FALSTAFF. Come up into my chamber.                      Exeunt

                       SCENE 6.

                    The Garter Inn

                Enter FENTON and HOST

  HOST. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy; I
    will give over all.
  FENTON. Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose,
    And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give the
    A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.
  HOST. I will hear you, Master Fenton; and I will, at the least,
    keep your counsel.
  FENTON. From time to time I have acquainted you
    With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
    Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection,
    So far forth as herself might be her chooser,
    Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
    Of such contents as you will wonder at;
    The mirth whereof so larded with my matter
    That neither, singly, can be manifested
    Without the show of both. Fat Falstaff
    Hath a great scene. The image of the jest
    I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host:
    To-night at Heme's oak, just 'twixt twelve and one,
    Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen-
    The purpose why is here-in which disguise,
    While other jests are something rank on foot,
    Her father hath commanded her to slip
    Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
    Immediately to marry; she hath consented.
    Now, sir,
    Her mother, even strong against that match
    And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
    That he shall likewise shuffle her away
    While other sports are tasking of their minds,
    And at the dean'ry, where a priest attends,
    Straight marry her. To this her mother's plot
    She seemingly obedient likewise hath
    Made promise to the doctor. Now thus it rests:
    Her father means she shall be all in white;
    And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
    To take her by the hand and bid her go,
    She shall go with him; her mother hath intended
    The better to denote her to the doctor-
    For they must all be mask'd and vizarded-
    That quaint in green she shall be loose enrob'd,
    With ribands pendent, flaring 'bout her head;
    And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
    To pinch her by the hand, and, on that token,
    The maid hath given consent to go with him.
  HOST. Which means she to deceive, father or mother?
  FENTON. Both, my good host, to go along with me.
    And here it rests-that you'll procure the vicar
    To stay for me at church, 'twixt twelve and one,
    And in the lawful name of marrying,
    To give our hearts united ceremony.
  HOST. Well, husband your device; I'll to the vicar.
    Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
  FENTON. So shall I evermore be bound to thee;
    Besides, I'll make a present recompense.              Exeunt

                    ACT V. SCENE 1.

                    The Garter Inn


  FALSTAFF. Prithee, no more prattling; go. I'll, hold. This is
    the third time; I hope good luck lies in odd numbers.
    Away, go; they say there is divinity in odd numbers, either
    in nativity, chance, or death. Away.
  QUICKLY. I'll provide you a chain, and I'll do what I can to
    get you a pair of horns.
  FALSTAFF. Away, I say; time wears; hold up your head, and
    mince.                                     Exit MRS. QUICKLY

                 Enter FORD disguised

    How now, Master Brook. Master Brook, the matter will
    be known tonight or never. Be you in the Park about
    midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall see wonders.
  FORD. Went you not to her yesterday, sir, as you told me
    you had appointed?
  FALSTAFF. I went to her, Master Brook, as you see, like a
    poor old man; but I came from her, Master Brook, like a
    poor old woman. That same knave Ford, her husband, hath
    the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, Master Brook, that
    ever govern'd frenzy. I will tell you-he beat me grievously
    in the shape of a woman; for in the shape of man, Master
    Brook, I fear not Goliath with a weaver's beam; because
    I know also life is a shuttle. I am in haste; go along with
    me; I'll. tell you all, Master Brook. Since I pluck'd geese,
    play'd truant, and whipp'd top, I knew not what 'twas to
    be beaten till lately. Follow me. I'll tell you strange things
    of this knave-Ford, on whom to-night I will be revenged,
    and I will deliver his wife into your hand. Follow. Strange
    things in hand, Master Brook! Follow.                 Exeunt

                       SCENE 2.

                     Windsor Park

           Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER

  PAGE. Come, come; we'll couch i' th' Castle ditch till we
    see the light of our fairies. Remember, son Slender, my daughter.
  SLENDER. Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her, and we have
    a nay-word how to know one another. I come to her in
    white and cry 'mum'; she cries 'budget,' and by that we
    know one another.
  SHALLOW. That's good too; but what needs either your mum
    or her budget? The white will decipher her well enough.
    It hath struck ten o'clock.
  PAGE. The night is dark; light and spirits will become it well.
    Heaven prosper our sport! No man means evil but the
    devil, and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away;
    follow me.                                            Exeunt
                       SCENE 3.

             A street leading to the Park


  MRS. PAGE. Master Doctor, my daughter is in green; when
    you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to
    the deanery, and dispatch it quickly. Go before into the
    Park; we two must go together.
  CAIUS. I know vat I have to do; adieu.
  MRS. PAGE. Fare you well, sir.  [Exit CAIUS]  My husband
    will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff as he will
    chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter; but 'tis no
    matter; better a little chiding than a great deal of
  MRS. FORD. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies, and
    the Welsh devil, Hugh?
  MRS. PAGE. They are all couch'd in a pit hard by Heme's
    oak, with obscur'd lights; which, at the very instant of
    Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once display to the
  MRS. FORD. That cannot choose but amaze him.
  MRS. PAGE. If he be not amaz'd, he will be mock'd; if he be
    amaz'd, he will every way be mock'd.
  MRS. FORD. We'll betray him finely.
  MRS. PAGE. Against such lewdsters and their lechery,
    Those that betray them do no treachery.
  MRS. FORD. The hour draws on. To the oak, to the oak!

                       SCENE 4.

                     Windsor Park

     Enter SIR HUGH EVANS like a satyr, with OTHERS as fairies

  EVANS. Trib, trib, fairies; come; and remember your parts.
    Be pold, I pray you; follow me into the pit; and when I
    give the watch-ords, do as I pid you. Come, come; trib,
    trib.                                                 Exeunt

                       SCENE 5.

               Another part of the Park

          Enter FALSTAFF disguised as HERNE

  FALSTAFF. The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute
    draws on. Now the hot-blooded gods assist me!
    Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa; love set on thy
    horns. O powerful love! that in some respects makes a
    beast a man; in some other a man a beast. You were also,
    Jupiter, a swan, for the love of Leda. O omnipotent love!
    how near the god drew to the complexion of a goose! A
    fault done first in the form of a beast-O Jove, a beastly
    fault!-and then another fault in the semblance of a fowl-
    think on't, Jove, a foul fault! When gods have hot backs
    what shall poor men do? For me, I am here a Windsor
    stag; and the fattest, I think, i' th' forest. Send me a cool
    rut-time, Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow?
    Who comes here? my doe?


  MRS. FORD. Sir John! Art thou there, my deer, my male deer.
  FALSTAFF. My doe with the black scut! Let the sky rain
    potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Greensleeves, hail
    kissing-comfits, and snow eringoes; let there come a tempest
    of provocation, I will shelter me here.      [Embracing her]
  MRS. FORD. Mistress Page is come with me, sweetheart.
  FALSTAFF. Divide me like a brib'd buck, each a haunch; I
    will keep my sides to myself, my shoulders for the fellow
    of this walk, and my horns I bequeath your husbands. Am
    I a woodman, ha? Speak I like Heme the Hunter? Why,
    now is Cupid a child of conscience; he makes restitution.
    As I am a true spirit, welcome!           [A noise of horns]
  MRS. PAGE. Alas, what noise?
  MRS. FORD. Heaven forgive our sins!
  FALSTAFF. What should this be?
  MRS. FORD. } Away, away.
  MRS. PAGE. } Away, away.                        [They run off]
  FALSTAFF. I think the devil will not have me damn'd, lest the
    oil that's in me should set hell on fire; he would never else
    cross me thus.

        Enter SIR HUGH EVANS like a satyr, ANNE PAGE as
      a fairy, and OTHERS as the Fairy Queen, fairies, and
               Hobgoblin; all with tapers

  FAIRY QUEEN. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
    You moonshine revellers, and shades of night,
    You orphan heirs of fixed destiny,
    Attend your office and your quality.
    Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes.
  PUCK. Elves, list your names; silence, you airy toys.
    Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap;
    Where fires thou find'st unrak'd, and hearths unswept,
    There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry;
    Our radiant Queen hates sluts and sluttery.
  FALSTAFF. They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die.
    I'll wink and couch; no man their works must eye.
                                       [Lies down upon his face]
  EVANS. Where's Pede? Go you, and where you find a maid
    That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said,
    Raise up the organs of her fantasy
    Sleep she as sound as careless infancy;
    But those as sleep and think not on their sins,
    Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides, and shins.
  FAIRY QUEEN. About, about;
    Search Windsor castle, elves, within and out;
    Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room,
    That it may stand till the perpetual doom
    In state as wholesome as in state 'tis fit,
    Worthy the owner and the owner it.
    The several chairs of order look you scour
    With juice of balm and every precious flower;
    Each fair instalment, coat, and sev'ral crest,
    With loyal blazon, evermore be blest!
    And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing,
    Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring;
    Th' expressure that it bears, green let it be,
    More fertile-fresh than all the field to see;
    And 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' write
    In em'rald tufts, flow'rs purple, blue and white;
    Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
    Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee.
    Fairies use flow'rs for their charactery.
    Away, disperse; but till 'tis one o'clock,
    Our dance of custom round about the oak
    Of Herne the Hunter let us not forget.
  EVANS. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves in order set;
    And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
    To guide our measure round about the tree.
    But, stay. I smell a man of middle earth.
  FALSTAFF. Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he
    transform me to a piece of cheese!
  PUCK. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even in thy birth.
  FAIRY QUEEN. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end;
    If he be chaste, the flame will back descend,
    And turn him to no pain; but if he start,
    It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.
  PUCK. A trial, come.
  EVANS. Come, will this wood take fire?
             [They put the tapers to his fingers, and he starts]
  FALSTAFF. Oh, oh, oh!
  FAIRY QUEEN. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!
    About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhyme;
    And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
    Fie on sinful fantasy!
    Fie on lust and luxury!
    Lust is but a bloody fire,
    Kindled with unchaste desire,
    Fed in heart, whose flames aspire,
    As thoughts do blow them, higher and higher.
    Pinch him, fairies, mutually;
    Pinch him for his villainy;
    Pinch him and burn him and turn him about,
    Till candles and star-light and moonshine be out.

        During this song they pinch FALSTAFF. DOCTOR
        CAIUS comes one way, and steals away a fairy in
        green; SLENDER another way, and takes off a fairy in
        white; and FENTON steals away ANNE PAGE. A noise
        of hunting is heard within. All the fairies run away.
        FALSTAFF pulls off his buck's head, and rises

                        SIR HUGH EVANS

  PAGE. Nay, do not fly; I think we have watch'd you now.
    Will none but Heme the Hunter serve your turn?
  MRS. PAGE. I pray you, come, hold up the jest no higher.
    Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives?
    See you these, husband? Do not these fair yokes
    Become the forest better than the town?
  FORD. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now? Master Brook,
    Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns,
    Master Brook; and, Master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of
    Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds
    of money, which must be paid to Master Brook; his horses
    are arrested for it, Master Brook.
  MRS. FORD. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never
    meet. I will never take you for my love again; but I will
    always count you my deer.
  FALSTAFF. I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass.
  FORD. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs are extant.
  FALSTAFF. And these are not fairies? I was three or four
    times in the thought they were not fairies; and yet the
    guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers,
    drove the grossness of the foppery into a receiv'd belief,
    in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they
    were fairies. See now how wit may be made a Jack-a-Lent
    when 'tis upon ill employment.
  EVANS. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires,
    and fairies will not pinse you.
  FORD. Well said, fairy Hugh.
  EVANS. And leave you your jealousies too, I pray you.
  FORD. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able
    to woo her in good English.
  FALSTAFF. Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that
    it wants matter to prevent so gross, o'er-reaching as this?
    Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too? Shall I have a cox-comb
    of frieze? 'Tis time I were chok'd with a piece of
    toasted cheese.
  EVANS. Seese is not good to give putter; your belly is all
  FALSTAFF. 'Seese' and 'putter'! Have I liv'd to stand at the
    taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This is enough
    to be the decay of lust and late-walking through the realm.
  MRS. PAGE. Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would
    have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and
    shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to hell,
    that ever the devil could have made you our delight?
  FORD. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax?
  MRS. PAGE. A puff'd man?
  PAGE. Old, cold, wither'd, and of intolerable entrails?
  FORD. And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
  PAGE. And as poor as Job?
  FORD. And as wicked as his wife?
  EVANS. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack,
    and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings,
    and starings, pribbles and prabbles?
  FALSTAFF. Well, I am your theme; you have the start of me;
    I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welsh flannel;
    ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me; use me as you will.
  FORD. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one Master
    Brook, that you have cozen'd of money, to whom you
    should have been a pander. Over and above that you have
    suffer'd, I think to repay that money will be a biting
  PAGE. Yet be cheerful, knight; thou shalt eat a posset
    tonight at my house, where I will desire thee to laugh at my
    wife, that now laughs at thee. Tell her Master Slender hath
    married her daughter.
  MRS. PAGE.  [Aside]  Doctors doubt that; if Anne Page be
    my daughter, she is, by this, Doctor Caius' wife.

                        Enter SLENDER

  SLENDER. Whoa, ho, ho, father Page!
  PAGE. Son, how now! how now, son! Have you dispatch'd'?
  SLENDER. Dispatch'd! I'll make the best in Gloucestershire
    know on't; would I were hang'd, la, else!
  PAGE. Of what, son?
  SLENDER. I came yonder at Eton to marry Mistress Anne
    Page, and she's a great lubberly boy. If it had not been i'
    th' church, I would have swing'd him, or he should have
    swing'd me. If I did not think it had been Anne Page,
    would I might never stir!-and 'tis a postmaster's boy.
  PAGE. Upon my life, then, you took the wrong.
  SLENDER. What need you tell me that? I think so, when I
    took a boy for a girl. If I had been married to him, for all
    he was in woman's apparel, I would not have had him.
  PAGE. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you how
    you should know my daughter by her garments?
  SLENDER. I went to her in white and cried 'mum' and she
    cried 'budget' as Anne and I had appointed; and yet it was
    not Anne, but a postmaster's boy.
  MRS. PAGE. Good George, be not angry. I knew of your
    purpose; turn'd my daughter into green; and, indeed, she
    is now with the Doctor at the dean'ry, and there married.

                         Enter CAIUS

  CAIUS. Vere is Mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened; I ha'
    married un garcon, a boy; un paysan, by gar, a boy; it is
    not Anne Page; by gar, I am cozened.
  MRS. PAGE. Why, did you take her in green?
  CAIUS. Ay, be gar, and 'tis a boy; be gar, I'll raise all
    Windsor.                                          Exit CAIUS
  FORD. This is strange. Who hath got the right Anne?
  PAGE. My heart misgives me; here comes Master Fenton.

                  Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE

    How now, Master Fenton!
  ANNE. Pardon, good father. Good my mother, pardon.
  PAGE. Now, Mistress, how chance you went not with Master
  MRS. PAGE. Why went you not with Master Doctor, maid?
  FENTON. You do amaze her. Hear the truth of it.
    You would have married her most shamefully,
    Where there was no proportion held in love.
    The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,
    Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve us.
    Th' offence is holy that she hath committed;
    And this deceit loses the name of craft,
    Of disobedience, or unduteous title,
    Since therein she doth evitate and shun
    A thousand irreligious cursed hours,
    Which forced marriage would have brought upon her.
  FORD. Stand not amaz'd; here is no remedy.
    In love, the heavens themselves do guide the state;
    Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.
  FALSTAFF. I am glad, though you have ta'en a special stand
    to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanc'd.
  PAGE. Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give thee joy!
    What cannot be eschew'd must be embrac'd.
  FALSTAFF. When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are chas'd.
  MRS. PAGE. Well, I will muse no further. Master Fenton,
    Heaven give you many, many merry days!
    Good husband, let us every one go home,
    And laugh this sport o'er by a country fire;
    Sir John and all.
  FORD. Let it be so. Sir John,
    To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word;
    For he, to-night, shall lie with Mistress Ford.       Exeunt

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