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Merry Wives of Windsor

Author: Shakespeare William

Genre: Comedy

Description:

Entire play in one page

Act 1, Scene 1: Windsor. Before PAGE's house.
Act 1, Scene 2: The same.
Act 1, Scene 3: A room in the Garter Inn.
Act 1, Scene 4: A room in DOCTOR CAIUS' house.

Act 2, Scene 1: Before PAGE'S house.
Act 2, Scene 2: A room in the Garter Inn.
Act 2, Scene 3: A field near Windsor.

Act 3, Scene 1: A field near Frogmore.
Act 3, Scene 2: A street.
Act 3, Scene 3: A room in FORD'S house.
Act 3, Scene 4: A room in PAGE'S house.
Act 3, Scene 5: A room in the Garter Inn.

Act 4, Scene 1: A street.
Act 4, Scene 2: A room in FORD'S house.
Act 4, Scene 3: A room in the Garter Inn.
Act 4, Scene 4: A room in FORD'S house.
Act 4, Scene 5: A room in the Garter Inn.
Act 4, Scene 6: Another room in the Garter Inn.

Act 5, Scene 1: A room in the Garter Inn.
Act 5, Scene 2: Windsor Park.
Act 5, Scene 3: A street leading to the Park.
Act 5, Scene 4: Windsor Park.
Act 5, Scene 5: Another part of the Park.

SCENE I. Windsor. Before PAGE's house.

    Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR HUGH EVANS

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
    'Coram.'

SHALLOW

    Ay, cousin Slender, and 'Custalourum.

SLENDER

    Ay, and 'Rato-lorum' 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.

SIR HUGH 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 coat.

SLENDER

    I may quarter, coz.

SHALLOW

    You may, by marrying.

SIR HUGH EVANS

    It is marring indeed, if he quarter it.

SHALLOW

    Not a whit.

SIR HUGH 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 bear it; it is a riot.

SIR HUGH 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.

SIR HUGH 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 Thomas
    Page, which is pretty virginity.

SLENDER

    Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and speaks
    small like a woman.

SIR HUGH 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.

SLENDER

    Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound?

SIR HUGH EVANS

    Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny.

SLENDER

    I know the young gentlewoman; she has good gifts.

SIR HUGH EVANS

    Seven hundred pounds and possibilities is goot gifts.

SHALLOW

    Well, let us see honest Master Page. Is Falstaff there?

SIR HUGH 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 Page.

    Knocks
    What, hoa! Got pless your house here!

PAGE

    [Within] Who's there?

    Enter PAGE

SIR HUGH 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 likings.

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 wished your venison better; it
    was ill killed. 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 judged, 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.

SIR HUGH EVANS

    It is spoke as a Christians ought to speak.

SHALLOW

    He hath wronged me, Master Page.

PAGE

    Sir, he doth in some sort confess it.

SHALLOW

    If it be confessed, it is not redress'd: is not that
    so, Master Page? He hath wronged me; indeed he
    hath, at a word, he hath, believe me: Robert
    Shallow, esquire, saith, he is wronged.

PAGE

    Here comes Sir John.

    Enter FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYM, and PISTOL

FALSTAFF

    Now, Master Shallow, you'll complain of me to the king?

SHALLOW

    Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and
    broke open my lodge.

FALSTAFF

    But not kissed your keeper's daughter?

SHALLOW

    Tut, a pin! this shall be answered.

FALSTAFF

    I will answer it straight; I have done all this.
    That is now answered.

SHALLOW

    The council shall know this.

FALSTAFF

    'Twere better for you if it were known in counsel:
    you'll be laughed at.

SIR HUGH 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.

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?

SIR HUGH 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.

SIR HUGH 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.

SIR HUGH 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?

SIR HUGH EVANS

    No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.

PISTOL

    Ha, thou mountain-foreigner! Sir John and Master mine,
    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 avised, 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.

SIR HUGH EVANS

    It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is!

BARDOLPH

    And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashiered; and
    so conclusions passed the careires.

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.

SIR HUGH EVANS

    So Got udge me, that is a virtuous mind.

FALSTAFF

    You hear all these matters denied, gentlemen; you hear it.

    Enter 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 except SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR HUGH EVANS

SLENDER

    I had rather than forty shillings I had my Book of
    Songs and Sonnets here.

    Enter SIMPLE
    How now, 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 All-hallowmas last, a fortnight
    afore Michaelmas?

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.

SIR HUGH 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.

SIR HUGH EVANS

    But that is not the question: the question is
    concerning your marriage.

SHALLOW

    Ay, there's the point, sir.

SIR HUGH EVANS

    Marry, is it; the very point of it; to Mistress Anne Page.

SLENDER

    Why, if it be so, I will marry her upon any
    reasonable demands.

SIR HUGH 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.

SIR HUGH 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.

SIR HUGH EVANS

    It is a fery discretion answer; save the fall is in
    the ort '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 hanged, la!

SHALLOW

    Here comes fair Mistress Anne.

    Re-enter ANNE PAGE
    Would I were young for your sake, Mistress Anne!

ANNE PAGE

    The dinner is on the table; my father desires your
    worships' company.

SHALLOW

    I will wait on him, fair Mistress Anne.

SIR HUGH EVANS

    Od's plessed will! I will not be absence at the grace.

    Exeunt SHALLOW and SIR HUGH EVANS

ANNE PAGE

    Will't please your worship to come in, sir?

SLENDER

    No, I thank you, forsooth, heartily; I am very well.

ANNE PAGE

    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 sometimes 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 PAGE

    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 PAGE

    I pray you, sir, walk in.

SLENDER

    I had rather walk here, I thank you. I bruised
    my shin th' other day with playing at sword and
    dagger with a master of fence; three veneys for a
    dish of stewed prunes; and, by my troth, I cannot
    abide the smell of hot meat since. Why do your
    dogs bark so? be there bears i' the town?

ANNE PAGE

    I think there are, sir; I heard them talked 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 PAGE

    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 shrieked at it, that it passed: but women,
    indeed, cannot abide 'em; they are very ill-favored
    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, come.

SLENDER

    Nay, pray you, lead the way.

PAGE

    Come on, sir.

SLENDER

    Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first.

ANNE PAGE

    Not I, sir; pray you, keep on.

SLENDER

    I'll rather be unmannerly than troublesome.
    You do yourself wrong, indeed, la!

    Exeunt

SCENE II. The same.

    Enter SIR HUGH EVANS and SIMPLE

SIR HUGH 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.

SIR HUGH 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 III. A room in the Garter Inn.

    Enter FALSTAFF, Host, BARDOLPH, NYM, PISTOL, and ROBIN

FALSTAFF

    Mine host of the Garter!

Host

    What says my bully-rook? speak scholarly and wisely.

FALSTAFF

    Truly, mine host, I must turn away some of my
    followers.

Host

    Discard, bully Hercules; cashier: let them wag; trot, trot.

FALSTAFF

    I sit at ten pounds a week.

Host

    Thou'rt an emperor, Caesar, Keisar, and Pheezar. 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

FALSTAFF

    Bardolph, follow him. A tapster is a good trade:
    an old cloak makes a new jerkin; a withered
    serving-man a fresh tapster. Go; adieu.

BARDOLPH

    It is a life that I have desired: 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 tinderbox: 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 phrase!

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 shift.

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 behavior, to be Englished
    rightly, is, 'I am Sir John Falstaff's.'

PISTOL

    He hath studied her will, 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, examined 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 cheater 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 havior of reputation.

FALSTAFF

    [To ROBIN] Hold, sirrah, bear you these letters tightly;
    Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores.
    Rogues, hence, avaunt! vanish like hailstones, go;
    Trudge, plod away o' the 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 holds,
    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 which be humours of revenge.

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 malecontents: I second thee; troop on.

    Exeunt

SCENE IV. A room in DOCTOR CAIUS' house.

    Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY, SIMPLE, and RUGBY

MISTRESS 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 any
    body in the house, here will be an old abusing of
    God's patience and the king's English.

RUGBY

    I'll go watch.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    And Master Slender's your master?

SIMPLE

    Ay, forsooth.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Does he not wear a great round beard, like a
    glover's paring-knife?

SIMPLE

    No, forsooth: he hath but a little wee face, with a
    little yellow beard, a Cain-coloured beard.

MISTRESS 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 warrener.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    We shall all be shent. Run in here, good young man;
    go into this closet: he will not stay long.

    Shuts SIMPLE in the closet
    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, & c.

    Enter DOCTOR CAIUS

DOCTOR 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.

MISTRESS 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.

DOCTOR CAIUS

    Fe, fe, fe, fe! ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je
    m'en vais a la cour--la grande affaire.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Is it this, sir?

DOCTOR CAIUS

    Oui; mette le au mon pocket: depeche, quickly. Vere
    is dat knave Rugby?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    What, John Rugby! John!

RUGBY

    Here, sir!

DOCTOR CAIUS

    You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby. Come,
    take-a your rapier, and come after my heel to the court.

RUGBY

    'Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.

DOCTOR 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.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Ay me, he'll find the young man here, and be mad!

DOCTOR CAIUS

    O diable, diable! vat is in my closet? Villain! larron!

    Pulling SIMPLE out
    Rugby, my rapier!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Good master, be content.

DOCTOR CAIUS

    Wherefore shall I be content-a?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    The young man is an honest man.

DOCTOR CAIUS

    What shall de honest man do in my closet? dere is
    no honest man dat shall come in my closet.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic. Hear the truth
    of it: he came of an errand to me from Parson Hugh.

DOCTOR CAIUS

    Vell.

SIMPLE

    Ay, forsooth; to desire her to--

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Peace, I pray you.

DOCTOR 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.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    This is all, indeed, la! but I'll ne'er put my
    finger in the fire, and need not.

DOCTOR CAIUS

    Sir Hugh send-a you? Rugby, baille me some paper.
    Tarry you a little-a while.

    Writes

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    [Aside to SIMPLE] I am glad he is so quiet: if he
    had been thoroughly 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 MISTRESS QUICKLY] 'Tis a great charge to
    come under one body's hand.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    [Aside to SIMPLE] Are you avised 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.

DOCTOR CAIUS

    You jack'nape, give-a this letter to Sir Hugh; by
    gar, it is a shallenge: I will cut his troat in dee
    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

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Alas, he speaks but for his friend.

DOCTOR 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 Page.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall be well. We
    must give folks leave to prate: what, the good-jer!

DOCTOR 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 DOCTOR CAIUS and RUGBY

MISTRESS 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!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Who's there, I trow! Come near the house, I pray you.

    Enter FENTON

FENTON

    How now, good woman? how dost thou?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    The better that it pleases your good worship to ask.

FENTON

    What news? how does pretty Mistress Anne?

MISTRESS 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, thinkest thou? shall I not lose my suit?

MISTRESS 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?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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 I. Before PAGE'S house.

    Enter MISTRESS PAGE, with a letter

MISTRESS PAGE

    What, have I scaped 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 physician, 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, JOHN FALSTAFF'
    What a Herod of Jewry is this! O wicked
    world! One that is well-nigh worn to pieces with
    age to show himself a young gallant! What an
    unweighed behavior hath this Flemish drunkard
    picked--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 revenged on him? for revenged I will be,
    as sure as his guts are made of puddings.

    Enter MISTRESS FORD

MISTRESS FORD

    Mistress Page! trust me, I was going to your house.

MISTRESS PAGE

    And, trust me, I was coming to you. You look very
    ill.

MISTRESS FORD

    Nay, I'll ne'er believe that; I have to show to the contrary.

MISTRESS PAGE

    Faith, but you do, in my mind.

MISTRESS FORD

    Well, I do then; yet I say I could show you to the
    contrary. O Mistress Page, give me some counsel!

MISTRESS PAGE

    What's the matter, woman?

MISTRESS FORD

    O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I
    could come to such honour!

MISTRESS PAGE

    Hang the trifle, woman! take the honour. What is
    it? dispense with trifles; what is it?

MISTRESS FORD

    If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or so,
    I could be knighted.

MISTRESS PAGE

    What? thou liest! Sir Alice Ford! These knights
    will hack; and so thou shouldst not alter the
    article of thy gentry.

MISTRESS 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; praised
    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 'Green Sleeves.' 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?

MISTRESS 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 man.

MISTRESS FORD

    Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the very
    words. What doth he think of us?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS FORD

    'Boarding,' call you it? I'll be sure to keep him
    above deck.

MISTRESS PAGE

    So will I if he come under my hatches, I'll never
    to sea again. Let's be revenged 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 pawned his horses to mine host of the Garter.

MISTRESS FORD

    Nay, I will consent to act any villany 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.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS FORD

    You are the happier woman.

MISTRESS 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 wooes 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

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 humoured 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

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' the town commended him for a true man.

FORD

    'Twas a good sensible fellow: well.

PAGE

    How now, Meg!

    MISTRESS PAGE and MISTRESS FORD come forward

MISTRESS PAGE

    Whither go you, George? Hark you.

MISTRESS FORD

    How now, sweet Frank! why art thou melancholy?

FORD

    I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.

MISTRESS FORD

    Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head. Now,
    will you go, Mistress Page?

MISTRESS PAGE

    Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George.

    Aside to MISTRESS FORD
    Look who comes yonder: she shall be our messenger
    to this paltry knight.

MISTRESS FORD

    [Aside to MISTRESS PAGE] Trust me, I thought on her:
    she'll fit it.

    Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

MISTRESS PAGE

    You are come to see my daughter Anne?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Ay, forsooth; and, I pray, how does good Mistress Anne?

MISTRESS 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 Garter?

PAGE

    Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage
    towards 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.

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.

    Enter Host
    How now, mine host!

Host

    How now, bully-rook! thou'rt a gentleman.
    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' the Garter, a word with you.

    Drawing him aside

Host

    What sayest thou, my bully-rook?

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-cavaleire?

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, An-heires?

SHALLOW

    Have with you, mine host.

PAGE

    I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in
    his rapier.

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 would rather hear them scold than fight.

    Exeunt Host, SHALLOW, and PAGE

FORD

    Though Page be a secure fool, an 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 II. A room in the Garter Inn.

    Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL

FALSTAFF

    I will not lend thee 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 looked through
    the grate, like a geminy of baboons. I am damned 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: thinkest 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

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Give your worship good morrow.

FALSTAFF

    Good morrow, good wife.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Not so, an't please your worship.

FALSTAFF

    Good maid, then.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    I'll be sworn,
    As my mother was, the first hour I was born.

FALSTAFF

    I do believe the swearer. What with me?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    Shall I vouchsafe your worship a word or two?

FALSTAFF

    Two thousand, fair woman: and I'll vouchsafe thee
    the hearing.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

    There is one Mistress Ford, sir:--I pray, come a
    little nearer this ways:--I myself dwell with master
    Doctor Caius,--

FALSTAFF

    Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say,--

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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