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The Merry Wives of Windsor-

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The Merry Wives of Windsor Shakespeare homepage | Merry Wives of Windsor | Entire play ACT I 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

   Are they so? God bless them and make them his servants!

FALSTAFF

   Well, Mistress Ford; what of her?

MISTRESS 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,--

MISTRESS 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-Mercury.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   Marry, she hath received 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?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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 attractions of my
   good parts aside I have no other charms.

MISTRESS 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?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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 MISTRESS QUICKLY and ROBIN
   This news distracts me!

PISTOL

   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

   Sayest 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 morning'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'erflow such
   liquor. Ah, ha! Mistress Ford and Mistress Page
   have I encompassed you? go to; via!
   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
   you.

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 embolden'd me to this unseasoned
   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 porter.

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 it is 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 loved her, and, I protest to you,
   bestowed much on her; followed her with a doting
   observance; engrossed 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 pursued
   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 received no promise of satisfaction at her hands?

FORD

   Never.

FALSTAFF

   Have you importuned 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 I 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 allowed for your many
   war-like, court-like, 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 looked against. Now, could I could 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
   embattled 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,
   sir?

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-favored. 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 damned 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 fixed; the match is made. Would any man
   have thought this? See the hell of having a false
   woman! My bed shall be abused, my coffers
   ransacked, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not
   only receive this villanous 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
   praised for my jealousy! Eleven o'clock the hour.
   I will prevent this, detect my wife, be revenged 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 III. A field near Windsor.

   Enter DOCTOR CAIUS and RUGBY 

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Jack Rugby!

RUGBY

   Sir?

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Vat is de clock, Jack?

RUGBY

   'Tis past the hour, sir, that Sir Hugh promised to meet.

DOCTOR 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.

DOCTOR 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.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Villany, 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.

DOCTOR 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?

DOCTOR CAIUS

   By gar, he is de coward Jack priest of de vorld; he
   is not show his face.

Host

   Thou art a Castalion-King-Urinal. Hector of Greece, my boy!

DOCTOR CAIUS

   I pray you, bear vitness 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 am come to fetch you home. I am sworn of
   the peace: you have showed 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.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Mock-vater! vat is dat?

Host

   Mock-water, in our English tongue, is valour, bully.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   By gar, den, I have as mush mock-vater as de
   Englishman. Scurvy jack-dog priest! by gar, me
   vill cut his ears.

Host

   He will clapper-claw thee tightly, bully.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Clapper-de-claw! vat is dat?

Host

   That is, he will make thee amends.

DOCTOR 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.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Me tank you for dat.

Host

   And, moreover, bully,--but first, master guest, and
   Master Page, and eke Cavaleiro Slender, go you
   through the town to Frogmore.
   Aside to them

PAGE

   Sir Hugh is there, is he?

Host

   He is there: see what humour he is in; and I will
   bring the doctor about by the fields. Will it do well?

SHALLOW

   We will do it.

PAGE SHALLOW SLENDER

   Adieu, good master doctor.
   Exeunt PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER

DOCTOR 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 farm-house a-feasting; and thou
   shalt woo her. Cried I aim? said I well?

DOCTOR CAIUS

   By gar, me dank you for 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?

DOCTOR CAIUS

   By gar, 'tis good; vell said.

Host

   Let us wag, then.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Come at my heels, Jack Rugby.
   Exeunt

ACT III SCENE I. A field near Frogmore.

   Enter SIR HUGH EVANS and SIMPLE 

SIR HUGH EVANS

   I pray you now, good master Slender's serving-man,
   and friend Simple by your name, which way have you
   looked for Master Caius, that calls himself doctor of physic?

SIMPLE

   Marry, sir, the pittie-ward, the park-ward, every
   way; old Windsor way, and every way but the town
   way.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   I most fehemently desire you you will also look that
   way.

SIMPLE

   I will, sir.
   Exit

SIR HUGH 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
   good 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--
   When as I sat in Pabylon--
   And a thousand vagram posies.
   To shallow & c.
   Re-enter SIMPLE

SIMPLE

   Yonder he is coming, this way, Sir Hugh.

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.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Pray you, give me my gown; or else keep it in your arms.
   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!

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!

SIR HUGH EVANS

   There is reasons and causes for it.

PAGE

   We are come to you to do a good office, master parson.

SIR HUGH 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.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   What is he?

PAGE

   I think you know him; Master Doctor Caius, the
   renowned French physician.

SIR HUGH 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?

SIR HUGH 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.

SHALLOW

   [Aside] O sweet Anne Page!

SHALLOW

   It appears so by his weapons. Keep them asunder:
   here comes Doctor Caius.
   Enter Host, DOCTOR 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.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   I pray you, let-a me speak a word with your ear.
   Vherefore vill you not meet-a me?

SIR HUGH EVANS

   [Aside to DOCTOR CAIUS] Pray you, use your patience:
   in good time.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   By gar, you are de coward, de Jack dog, John ape.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   [Aside to DOCTOR 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 cockscomb
   for missing your meetings and appointments.

DOCTOR 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 appoint?

SIR HUGH EVANS

   As I am a Christians soul now, look you, this is the
   place appointed: I'll be judgement by mine host of
   the Garter.

Host

   Peace, I say, Gallia and Gaul, French and Welsh,
   soul-curer and body-curer!

DOCTOR 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
   no-verbs. Give me thy hand, terrestrial; so. Give me
   thy hand, celestial; so. Boys of art, I have
   deceived 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 SHALLOW, SLENDER, PAGE, and Host

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Ha, do I perceive dat? have you make-a de sot of
   us, ha, ha?

SIR HUGH 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.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   By gar, with all my heart. He promise to bring me
   where is Anne Page; by gar, he deceive me too.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Well, I will smite his noddles. Pray you, follow.
   Exeunt

SCENE II. A street.

   Enter MISTRESS PAGE and ROBIN 

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   O, you are a flattering boy: now I see you'll be a courtier.
   Enter FORD

FORD

   Well met, Mistress Page. Whither go you?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Be sure of that,--two other husbands.

FORD

   Where had you this pretty weather-cock?

MISTRESS 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!

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   By your leave, sir: I am sick till I see her.
   Exeunt MISTRESS 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 point-blank 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 shower 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 heard
   The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me
   search: there I shall find Falstaff: I shall be
   rather praised for this than mocked; for it is as
   positive as the earth is firm that Falstaff is
   there: I will go.
   Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, SLENDER, Host, SIR HUGH EVANS, DOCTOR 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 lingered 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.

DOCTOR 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

DOCTOR 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

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 III. A room in FORD'S house.

   Enter MISTRESS FORD and MISTRESS PAGE 

MISTRESS FORD

   What, John! What, Robert!

MISTRESS PAGE

   Quickly, quickly! is the buck-basket--

MISTRESS FORD

   I warrant. What, Robin, I say!
   Enter Servants with a basket

MISTRESS PAGE

   Come, come, come.

MISTRESS FORD

   Here, set it down.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Give your men the charge; we must be brief.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   You will do it?

MISTRESS FORD

   I ha' told them over and over; they lack no
   direction. Be gone, and come when you are called.
   Exeunt Servants

MISTRESS PAGE

   Here comes little Robin.
   Enter ROBIN

MISTRESS FORD

   How now, my eyas-musket! what news with you?

ROBIN

   My master, Sir John, is come in at your back-door,
   Mistress Ford, and requests your company.

MISTRESS 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 threatened to put me into
   everlasting liberty if I tell you of it; for he
   swears he'll turn me away.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS FORD

   Do so. Go tell thy master I am alone.
   Exit ROBIN
   Mistress Page, remember you your cue.

MISTRESS PAGE

   I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me.
   Exit

MISTRESS FORD

   Go to, then: we'll use this unwholesome humidity,
   this gross watery 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 lived long enough: this is the
   period of my ambition: O this blessed hour!

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS FORD

   I your lady, Sir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady!

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.

MISTRESS FORD

   A plain kerchief, Sir John: my brows become nothing
   else; nor that well neither.

FALSTAFF

   By the Lord, thou art a traitor 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.

MISTRESS FORD

   Believe me, there is no such thing in me.

FALSTAFF

   What made me love thee? let that persuade thee
   there's something extraordinary 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 deservest it.

MISTRESS FORD

   Do not betray me, sir. I fear you love Mistress Page.

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 lime-kiln.

MISTRESS FORD

   Well, heaven knows how I love you; and you shall one
   day find it.

FALSTAFF

   Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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!

MISTRESS PAGE

   O Mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed,
   you're overthrown, you're undone for ever!

MISTRESS FORD

   What's the matter, good Mistress Page?

MISTRESS PAGE

   O well-a-day, Mistress Ford! having an honest man
   to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion!

MISTRESS FORD

   What cause of suspicion?

MISTRESS PAGE

   What cause of suspicion! Out pon you! how am I
   mistook in you!

MISTRESS FORD

   Why, alas, what's the matter?

MISTRESS 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 assence: you are undone.

MISTRESS FORD

   'Tis not so, I hope.

MISTRESS 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
   amazed; call all your senses to you; defend your
   reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.

MISTRESS FORD

   What shall I do? There is a gentleman my dear
   friend; and I fear not mine own shame so much as his
   peril: I had rather than a thousand pound he were
   out of the house.

MISTRESS 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 deceived 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-mead.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   What, Sir John Falstaff! Are these your letters, knight?

FALSTAFF

   I love thee. Help me away. Let me creep in here.
   I'll never--
   Gets into the basket; they cover him with foul linen

MISTRESS PAGE

   Help to cover your master, boy. Call your men,
   Mistress Ford. You dissembling knight!

MISTRESS 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-meat; quickly, come.
   Enter FORD, PAGE, DOCTOR 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.

MISTRESS 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 the basket
   Gentlemen, I have dreamed 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 uncape.

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

SIR HUGH EVANS

   This is fery fantastical humours and jealousies.

DOCTOR 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 PAGE, DOCTOR CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS

MISTRESS PAGE

   Is there not a double excellency in this?

MISTRESS FORD

   I know not which pleases me better, that my husband
   is deceived, or Sir John.

MISTRESS PAGE

   What a taking was he in when your husband asked who
   was in the basket!

MISTRESS FORD

   I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so
   throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would all of the same
   strain were in the same distress.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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 punishment?

MISTRESS PAGE

   We will do it: let him be sent for to-morrow,
   eight o'clock, to have amends.
   Re-enter FORD, PAGE, DOCTOR CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS

FORD

   I cannot find him: may be the knave bragged of that
   he could not compass.

MISTRESS PAGE

   [Aside to MISTRESS FORD] Heard you that?

MISTRESS FORD

   You use me well, Master Ford, do you?

FORD

   Ay, I do so.

MISTRESS FORD

   Heaven make you better than your thoughts!

FORD

   Amen!

MISTRESS PAGE

   You do yourself mighty wrong, Master Ford.

FORD

   Ay, ay; I must bear it.

SIR HUGH 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!

DOCTOR CAIUS

   By gar, nor I too: there is no bodies.

PAGE

   Fie, fie, Master Ford! are you not ashamed? What
   spirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I
   would not ha' your distemper in this kind for the
   wealth of Windsor Castle.

FORD

   'Tis my fault, Master Page: I suffer for it.

SIR HUGH 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.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman.

FORD

   Well, I promised 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 heartily, 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.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   If there is one, I shall make two in the company.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   If dere be one or two, I shall make-a the turd.

FORD

   Pray you, go, Master Page.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   I pray you now, remembrance tomorrow on the lousy
   knave, mine host.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Dat is good; by gar, with all my heart!

SIR HUGH EVANS

   A lousy knave, to have his gibes and his mockeries!
   Exeunt

SCENE IV. A room in 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 PAGE

   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 PAGE

   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 PAGE

   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
   Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and MISTRESS QUICKLY

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
   venturing.

SHALLOW

   Be not dismayed.

SLENDER

   No, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that,
   but that I am afeard.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   Hark ye; Master Slender would speak a word with you.

ANNE PAGE

   I come to him.
   Aside
   This is my father's choice.
   O, what a world of vile ill-favor'd faults
   Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a-year!

MISTRESS 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 father!

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 uncle.

SHALLOW

   Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.

SLENDER

   Ay, that I do; as well as I love any woman in
   Gloucestershire.

SHALLOW

   He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.

SLENDER

   Ay, that I will, come cut and long-tail, under the
   degree of a squire.

SHALLOW

   He will make you a hundred and fifty pounds jointure.

ANNE PAGE

   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 PAGE

   Now, Master Slender,--

SLENDER

   Now, good Mistress Anne,--

ANNE PAGE

   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 PAGE

   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 disposed of.

FENTON

   Nay, Master Page, be not impatient.

MISTRESS 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

MISTRESS 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 cheques, rebukes and manners,
   I must advance the colours of my love
   And not retire: let me have your good will.

ANNE PAGE

   Good mother, do not marry me to yond fool.

MISTRESS PAGE

   I mean it not; I seek you a better husband.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   That's my master, master doctor.

ANNE PAGE

   Alas, I had rather be set quick i' the earth
   And bowl'd to death with turnips!

MISTRESS PAGE

   Come, trouble not yourself. Good Master Fenton,
   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 MISTRESS PAGE and ANNE PAGE

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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 promised, 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!
   Exit

SCENE V. A room in 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 lived to be carried in a basket, like a
   barrow of butcher's offal, and to be thrown in the
   Thames? Well, if I be served such another trick,
   I'll have my brains ta'en out and buttered, 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 drowned a blind bitch's puppies,
   fifteen i' the 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 drowned, 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 I
   had been swelled! I should have been a mountain of mummy.
   Re-enter BARDOLPH with sack

BARDOLPH

   Here's Mistress Quickly, sir, to speak with you.

FALSTAFF

   Let me pour in some sack to the Thames water; for my
   belly's as cold as if I had swallowed snowballs for
   pills to cool the reins. Call her in.

BARDOLPH

   Come in, woman!
   Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

MISTRESS 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!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   Marry, sir, I come to your worship from Mistress Ford.

FALSTAFF

   Mistress Ford! I have had ford enough; I was thrown
   into the ford; I have my belly full of ford.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   Alas the day! good heart, that was not her fault:
   she does so take on with her men; they mistook their erection.

FALSTAFF

   So did I mine, to build upon a foolish woman's promise.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   I will tell her.

FALSTAFF

   Do so. Between nine and ten, sayest thou?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   Eight and nine, sir.

FALSTAFF

   Well, be gone: I will not miss her.

MISTRESS 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 comes.
   Enter FORD

FORD

   Bless you, sir!

FALSTAFF

   Now, master Brook, you come to know what hath passed
   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-favoredly, 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 embraced, kissed, 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 love.

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 conveyed me into a buck-basket.

FORD

   A buck-basket!

FALSTAFF

   By the Lord, a buck-basket! rammed me in with foul
   shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings, greasy
   napkins; that, Master Brook, there was the rankest
   compound of villanous smell that ever offended nostril.

FORD

   And how long lay you there?

FALSTAFF

   Nay, you shall hear, Master Brook, what I have
   suffered to bring this woman to evil for your good.
   Being thus crammed in the basket, a couple of Ford's
   knaves, his hinds, were called 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
   asked them once or twice what they had in their
   basket: I quaked for fear, lest the lunatic knave
   would have searched 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 compassed, like a good
   bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to
   point, heel to head; and then, to be stopped 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 stewed in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be
   thrown into the Thames, and cooled, glowing hot,
   in that surge, like a horse-shoe; think of
   that,--hissing hot,--think of that, Master Brook.

FORD

   In good sadness, I am sorry that for my sake you
   have sufferd 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. A street.

   Enter MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS QUICKLY, and WILLIAM PAGE 

MISTRESS PAGE

   Is he at Master Ford's already, think'st thou?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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?

SIR HUGH EVANS

   No; Master Slender is let the boys leave to play.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   Blessing of his heart!

MISTRESS 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.

SIR HUGH EVANS

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

MISTRESS PAGE

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

SIR HUGH EVANS

   William, how many numbers is in nouns?

WILLIAM PAGE

   Two.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Peace your tattlings! What is 'fair,' William?

WILLIAM PAGE

   Pulcher.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   Polecats! there are fairer things than polecats, sure.

SIR HUGH EVANS

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

WILLIAM PAGE

   A stone.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   And what is 'a stone,' William?

WILLIAM PAGE

   A pebble.

SIR HUGH EVANS

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

WILLIAM PAGE

   Lapis.

SIR HUGH EVANS

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

WILLIAM PAGE

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

SIR HUGH EVANS

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

WILLIAM PAGE

   Accusativo, hinc.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   I pray you, have your remembrance, child,
   accusative, hung, hang, hog.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   'Hang-hog' is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.

SIR HUGH EVANS

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

WILLIAM PAGE

   O,--vocativo, O.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Remember, William; focative is caret.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   And that's a good root.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   'Oman, forbear.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Peace!

SIR HUGH EVANS

   What is your genitive case plural, William?

WILLIAM PAGE

   Genitive case!

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Ay.

WILLIAM PAGE

   Genitive,--horum, harum, horum.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   Vengeance of Jenny's case! fie on her! never name
   her, child, if she be a whore.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   For shame, 'oman.

MISTRESS 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!

SIR HUGH 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Prithee, hold thy peace.

SIR HUGH EVANS

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

WILLIAM PAGE

   Forsooth, I have forgot.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   It is qui, quae, quod: if you forget your 'quies,'
   your 'quaes,' and your 'quods,' you must be
   preeches. Go your ways, and play; go.

MISTRESS PAGE

   He is a better scholar than I thought he was.

SIR HUGH EVANS

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

MISTRESS PAGE

   Adieu, good Sir Hugh.
   Exit SIR HUGH EVANS
   Get you home, boy. Come, we stay too long.
   Exeunt

SCENE II. A room in 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?

MISTRESS FORD

   He's a-birding, sweet Sir John.

MISTRESS PAGE

   [Within] What, ho, gossip Ford! what, ho!

MISTRESS FORD

   Step into the chamber, Sir John.
   Exit FALSTAFF
   Enter MISTRESS PAGE

MISTRESS PAGE

   How now, sweetheart! who's at home besides yourself?

MISTRESS FORD

   Why, none but mine own people.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Indeed!

MISTRESS FORD

   No, certainly.
   Aside to her
   Speak louder.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here.

MISTRESS FORD

   Why?

MISTRESS 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 all 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 seemed but
   tameness, civility and patience, to this his
   distemper he is in now: I am glad the fat knight is not here.

MISTRESS FORD

   Why, does he talk of him?

MISTRESS PAGE

   Of none but him; and swears he was carried out, the
   last time he searched 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.

MISTRESS FORD

   How near is he, Mistress Page?

MISTRESS PAGE

   Hard by; at street end; he will be here anon.

MISTRESS FORD

   I am undone! The knight is here.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Why then you are utterly shamed, and he's but a dead
   man. What a woman are you!--Away with him, away
   with him! better shame than murder.

FORD

   Which way should be 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' the basket. May I not go
   out ere he come?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS FORD

   There they always use to discharge their
   birding-pieces. Creep into the kiln-hole.

FALSTAFF

   Where is it?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   If you go out in your own semblance, you die, Sir
   John. Unless you go out disguised--

MISTRESS FORD

   How might we disguise him?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS FORD

   My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brentford, has a
   gown above.

MISTRESS PAGE

   On my word, it will serve him; she's as big as he
   is: and there's her thrummed hat and her muffler
   too. Run up, Sir John.

MISTRESS FORD

   Go, go, sweet Sir John: Mistress Page and I will
   look some linen for your head.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Quick, quick! we'll come dress you straight: put
   on the gown the while.
   Exit FALSTAFF

MISTRESS FORD

   I would my husband would meet him in this shape: he
   cannot abide the old woman of Brentford; he swears
   she's a witch; forbade her my house and hath
   threatened to beat her.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel, and the
   devil guide his cudgel afterwards!

MISTRESS FORD

   But is my husband coming?

MISTRESS PAGE

   Ah, in good sadness, is he; and talks of the basket
   too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Nay, but he'll be here presently: let's go dress him
   like the witch of Brentford.

MISTRESS FORD

   I'll first direct my men what they shall do with the
   basket. Go up; I'll bring linen for him straight.
   Exit

MISTRESS 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 eat all the draff.
   Exit
   Re-enter MISTRESS FORD with two Servants

MISTRESS 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 as lief bear so much lead.
   Enter FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, DOCTOR CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS

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 shamed. 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 pinioned.

SIR HUGH 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?

MISTRESS 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!

MISTRESS FORD

   Are you not ashamed? let the clothes alone.

FORD

   I shall find you anon.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   'Tis unreasonable! Will you take up your wife's
   clothes? Come away.

FORD

   Empty the basket, I say!

MISTRESS FORD

   Why, man, why?

FORD

   Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed
   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.

MISTRESS FORD

   If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death.

PAGE

   Here's no man.

SHALLOW

   By my fidelity, this is not well, Master Ford; this
   wrongs you.

SIR HUGH 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, Chat searched a hollow
   walnut for his wife's leman.' Satisfy me once more;
   once more search with me.

MISTRESS FORD

   What, ho, Mistress Page! come you and the old woman
   down; my husband will come into the chamber.

FORD

   Old woman! what old woman's that?

MISTRESS FORD

   Nay, it is my maid's aunt of Brentford.

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 the figure, and such daubery as this is, beyond
   our element we know nothing. Come down, you witch,
   you hag, you; come down, I say!

MISTRESS FORD

   Nay, good, sweet husband! Good gentlemen, let him
   not strike the old woman.
   Re-enter FALSTAFF in woman's clothes, and MISTRESS PAGE

MISTRESS 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 runyon! out, out! I'll conjure you,
   I'll fortune-tell you.
   Exit FALSTAFF

MISTRESS PAGE

   Are you not ashamed? I think you have killed the
   poor woman.

MISTRESS FORD

   Nay, he will do it. 'Tis a goodly credit for you.

FORD

   Hang her, witch!

SIR HUGH EVANS

   By the 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 FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, DOCTOR CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS

MISTRESS PAGE

   Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.

MISTRESS FORD

   Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most
   unpitifully, methought.

MISTRESS PAGE

   I'll have the cudgel hallowed and hung o'er the
   altar; it hath done meritorious service.

MISTRESS FORD

   What think you? may we, with the warrant of
   womanhood and the witness of a good conscience,
   pursue him with any further revenge?

MISTRESS PAGE

   The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared 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.

MISTRESS FORD

   Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS FORD

   I'll warrant they'll have him publicly shamed: and
   methinks there would be no period to the jest,
   should he not be publicly shamed.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Come, to the forge with it then; shape it: I would
   not have things cool.
   Exeunt

SCENE III. A room in 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 turned away my other guests: they
   must come off; I'll sauce them. Come.
   Exeunt

SCENE IV. A room in FORD'S house.

   Enter PAGE, FORD, MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS FORD, and SIR HUGH EVANS 

SIR HUGH EVANS

   'Tis one of the best discretions of a 'oman as ever
   I did look upon.

PAGE

   And did he send you both these letters at an instant?

MISTRESS 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.

SIR HUGH 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 punished, he shall have
   no desires.

PAGE

   So think I too.

MISTRESS FORD

   Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,
   And let us two devise to bring him thither.

MISTRESS PAGE

   There is an old tale goes that Herne 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
   Received and did deliver to our age
   This tale of Herne 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?

MISTRESS FORD

   Marry, this is our device;
   That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us.

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?

MISTRESS PAGE

   That likewise have we thought upon, and thus:
   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.

MISTRESS FORD

   And till he tell the truth,
   Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound
   And burn him with their tapers.

MISTRESS 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 practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   I will teach the children their behaviors; and I
   will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the
   knight with my taber.

FORD

   That will be excellent. I'll go and buy them vizards.

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Fear not you that. Go get us properties
   And tricking for our fairies.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Let us about it: it is admirable pleasures and fery
   honest knaveries.
   Exeunt PAGE, FORD, and SIR HUGH EVANS

MISTRESS PAGE

   Go, Mistress Ford,
   Send quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.
   Exit MISTRESS 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 V. A room in 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 call; hell 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 robbed: 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 honourable: 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
   Brentford?

FALSTAFF

   Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell: what would you with her?

SIMPLE

   My master, sir, Master Slender, sent to her, seeing
   her go through the streets, to know, sir, whether
   one Nym, sir, that beguiled 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
   beguiled Master Slender of his chain cozened 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.

Host

   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 so.

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

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 learned before in my life;
   and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for
   my learning.
   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

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Where is mine host?

Host

   What is the matter, sir?

SIR HUGH 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 cozened 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-stocks, and
   'tis not convenient you should be cozened. Fare you well.
   Exit
   Enter DOCTOR CAIUS

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Vere is mine host de Jarteer?

Host

   Here, master doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma.

DOCTOR 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 dat the court is know to
   come. I tell you for good vill: 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 cozened; for I have
   been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to
   the ear of the court, how I have been transformed
   and how my transformation hath been washed and
   cudgelled, 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 crest-fallen as a dried pear. I never prospered
   since I forswore myself at primero. Well, if my
   wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.
   Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY
   Now, whence come you?

MISTRESS 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 suffered more
   for their sakes, more than the villanous inconstancy
   of man's disposition is able to bear.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   And have not they suffered? 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 tellest thou me of black and blue? I was
   beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow;
   and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of
   Brentford: but that my admirable dexterity of wit,
   my counterfeiting the action of an old woman,
   delivered me, the knave constable had set me i' the
   stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.

MISTRESS 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 crossed.

FALSTAFF

   Come up into my chamber.
   Exeunt

SCENE VI. Another room in 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 thee
   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 Herne'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, ever 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 deanery, 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 enrobed,
   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 I. A room in the Garter Inn.

   Enter FALSTAFF and MISTRESS QUICKLY 

FALSTAFF

   Prithee, no more prattling; go. I'll hold. This is
   the third time; I hope good luck lies in odd
   numbers. Away I go. They say there is divinity in
   odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death. Away!

MISTRESS 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 MISTRESS QUICKLY
   Enter FORD
   How now, Master Brook! Master Brook, the matter
   will be known to-night, 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 governed 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
   plucked geese, played truant and whipped 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 II. Windsor Park.

   Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER 

PAGE

   Come, come; we'll couch i' the 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 III. A street leading to the Park.

   Enter MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS FORD, and DOCTOR CAIUS 

MISTRESS PAGE

   Master doctor, my daughter is in green: when you
   see your time, take her by the band, away with her
   to the deanery, and dispatch it quickly. Go before
   into the Park: we two must go together.

DOCTOR CAIUS

   I know vat I have to do. Adieu.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Fare you well, sir.
   Exit DOCTOR 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 heart-break.

MISTRESS FORD

   Where is Nan now and her troop of fairies, and the
   Welsh devil Hugh?

MISTRESS PAGE

   They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak,
   with obscured lights; which, at the very instant of
   Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once
   display to the night.

MISTRESS FORD

   That cannot choose but amaze him.

MISTRESS PAGE

   If he be not amazed, he will be mocked; if he be
   amazed, he will every way be mocked.

MISTRESS FORD

   We'll betray him finely.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Against such lewdsters and their lechery
   Those that betray them do no treachery.

MISTRESS FORD

   The hour draws on. To the oak, to the oak!
   Exeunt

SCENE IV. Windsor Park.

   Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, disguised, with others as Fairies 

SIR HUGH 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 V. 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' the
   forest. Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can
   blame me to piss my tallow? Who comes here? my
   doe?
   Enter MISTRESS FORD and MISTRESS PAGE

MISTRESS 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 Green
   Sleeves, hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes; let
   there come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me here.

MISTRESS FORD

   Mistress Page is come with me, sweetheart.

FALSTAFF

   Divide me like a bribe 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 Herne the hunter?
   Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience; he makes
   restitution. As I am a true spirit, welcome!
   Noise within

MISTRESS PAGE

   Alas, what noise?

MISTRESS FORD

   Heaven forgive our sins

FALSTAFF

   What should this be?

MISTRESS FORD MISTRESS PAGE

   Away, away!
   They run off

FALSTAFF

   I think the devil will not have me damned, lest the
   oil that's in me should set hell on fire; he would
   never else cross me thus.
   Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, disguised as before; PISTOL, as Hobgoblin; MISTRESS QUICKLY, ANNE PAGE, and others, as Fairies, with tapers

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   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.

PISTOL

   Elves, list your names; silence, you airy toys.
   Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap:
   Where fires thou find'st unraked 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

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Where's Bede? 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.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   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 several crest,
   With loyal blazon, evermore be blest!
   And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing,
   Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring:
   The 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 emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue and white;
   Let sapphire, pearl and rich embroidery,
   Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee:
   Fairies use flowers 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.

SIR HUGH 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!

PISTOL

   Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even in thy birth.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   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.

PISTOL

   A trial, come.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Come, will this wood take fire?
   They burn him with their tapers

FALSTAFF

   Oh, Oh, Oh!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

   Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!
   About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhyme;
   And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
   SONG.
   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 villany;
   Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
   Till candles and starlight and moonshine be out.
   During this song they pinch FALSTAFF. DOCTOR CAIUS comes one way, and steals away a boy in green; SLENDER another way, and takes off a boy in white; and FENTON comes and steals away ANN PAGE. A noise of hunting is heard within. All the Fairies run away. FALSTAFF pulls off his buck's head, and rises
   Enter PAGE, FORD, MISTRESS PAGE, and MISTRESS FORD

PAGE

   Nay, do not fly; I think we have watch'd you now
   Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn?

MISTRESS 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.

MISTRESS 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
   received 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!

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your
   desires, and fairies will not pinse you.

FORD

   Well said, fairy Hugh.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   And leave 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'erreaching as
   this? Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too? shall I
   have a coxcomb of frize? 'Tis time I were choked
   with a piece of toasted cheese.

SIR HUGH EVANS

   Seese is not good to give putter; your belly is all putter.

FALSTAFF

   'Seese' and 'putter'! have I lived 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Why Sir John, do you think, though we would have the
   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?

MISTRESS PAGE

   A puffed man?

PAGE

   Old, cold, withered 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?

SIR HUGH 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 cozened of money, to
   whom you should have been a pander: over and above
   that you have suffered, I think to repay that money
   will be a biting affliction.

PAGE

   Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt eat a posset
   to-night 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.

MISTRESS 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 dispatched?

SLENDER

   Dispatched! I'll make the best in Gloucestershire
   know on't; would I were hanged, 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' the church, I would have swinged him, or he
   should have swinged 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose;
   turned my daughter into green; and, indeed, she is
   now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.
   Enter DOCTOR CAIUS

DOCTOR 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.

MISTRESS PAGE

   Why, did you take her in green?

DOCTOR CAIUS

   Ay, by gar, and 'tis a boy: by gar, I'll raise all Windsor.
   Exit

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 PAGE

   Pardon, good father! good my mother, pardon!

PAGE

   Now, mistress, how chance you went not with Master Slender?

MISTRESS 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.
   The 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 amazed; 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 glanced.

PAGE

   Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give thee joy!
   What cannot be eschew'd must be embraced.

FALSTAFF

   When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are chased.

MISTRESS 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 tonight shall lie with Mistress Ford.
   Exeunt

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