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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

Part 39 out of 63

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


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



Before PAGE'S house

Enter MISTRESS PAGE, with a letter

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


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

Enter FORD with PISTOL, and PAGE with Nym

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


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


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

Enter HOST

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


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


A room in the Garter Inn


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


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


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


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

Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised

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


A field near Windsor


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


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



A field near Frogmore


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

Re-enter SIMPLE

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


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


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



The street in Windsor


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

Enter FORD

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


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



FORD'S house


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

Enter SERVANTS with a basket

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Before PAGE'S house


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


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


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


The Garter Inn


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

Re-enter BARDOLPH, with sack

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


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

Enter FORD disguised

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



Windsor. A street


MRS. PAGE. Is he at Master Ford's already, think'st thou?
QUICKLY. Sure he is by this; or will be presently; but truly
he is very courageous mad about his throwing into the
water. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly.
MRS. PAGE. I'll be with her by and by; I'll but bring my
young man here to school. Look where his master comes;
'tis a playing day, I see.


How now, Sir Hugh, no school to-day?
EVANS. No; Master Slender is let the boys leave to play.
QUICKLY. Blessing of his heart!
MRS. PAGE. Sir Hugh, my husband says my son profits
nothing in the world at his book; I pray you ask him some
questions in his accidence.
EVANS. Come hither, William; hold up your head; come.
MRS. PAGE. Come on, sirrah; hold up your head; answer your
master; be not afraid.
EVANS. William, how many numbers is in nouns?
QUICKLY. Truly, I thought there had been one number
more, because they say 'Od's nouns.'
EVANS. Peace your tattlings. What is 'fair,' William?
WILLIAM. Pulcher.
QUICKLY. Polecats! There are fairer things than polecats,
EVANS. You are a very simplicity oman; I pray you, peace.
What is 'lapis,' William?
WILLIAM. A stone.
EVANS. And what is 'a stone,' William?
WILLIAM. A pebble.
EVANS. No, it is 'lapis'; I pray you remember in your prain.
EVANS. That is a good William. What is he, William, that
does lend articles?
WILLIAM. Articles are borrowed of the pronoun, and be
thus declined: Singulariter, nominativo; hic, haec, hoc.
EVANS. Nominativo, hig, hag, hog; pray you, mark: genitivo,
hujus. Well, what is your accusative case?
WILLIAM. Accusativo, hinc.
EVANS. I pray you, have your remembrance, child.
Accusativo, hung, hang, hog.
QUICKLY. 'Hang-hog' is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.
EVANS. Leave your prabbles, oman. What is the focative
case, William?
WILLIAM. O-vocativo, O.
EVANS. Remember, William: focative is caret.
QUICKLY. And that's a good root.
EVANS. Oman, forbear.
MRS. PAGE. Peace.
EVANS. What is your genitive case plural, William?
WILLIAM. Genitive case?
WILLIAM. Genitive: horum, harum, horum.
QUICKLY. Vengeance of Jenny's case; fie on her! Never
name her, child, if she be a whore.
EVANS. For shame, oman.
QUICKLY. YOU do ill to teach the child such words. He
teaches him to hick and to hack, which they'll do fast
enough of themselves; and to call 'horum'; fie upon you!
EVANS. Oman, art thou lunatics? Hast thou no understandings
for thy cases, and the numbers of the genders? Thou
art as foolish Christian creatures as I would desires.
MRS. PAGE. Prithee hold thy peace.
EVANS. Show me now, William, some declensions of your
WILLIAM. Forsooth, I have forgot.
EVANS. It is qui, quae, quod; if you forget your qui's, your
quae's, and your quod's, you must be preeches. Go your
ways and play; go.
MRS. PAGE. He is a better scholar than I thought he was.
EVANS. He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, Mistress Page.
MRS. PAGE. Adieu, good Sir Hugh. Exit SIR HUGH
Get you home, boy. Come, we stay too long. Exeunt


FORD'S house


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

MRS. PAGE. Come, Mother Prat; come. give me your hand.
FORD. I'll prat her. [Beating him] Out of my door, you
witch, you hag, you. baggage, you polecat, you ronyon!
Out, out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.
MRS. PAGE. Are you not asham'd? I think you have kill'd the
poor woman.
MRS. FORD. Nay, he will do it. 'Tis a goodly credit for you.
FORD. Hang her, witch!
EVANS. By yea and no, I think the oman is a witch indeed; I
like not when a oman has a great peard; I spy a great peard
under his muffler.
FORD. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you follow;
see but the issue of my jealousy; if I cry out thus upon no
trail, never trust me when I open again.
PAGE. Let's obey his humour a little further. Come,
gentlemen. Exeunt all but MRS. FORD and MRS. PAGE
MRS. PAGE. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.
MRS. FORD. Nay, by th' mass, that he did not; he beat him
most unpitifully methought.
MRS. PAGE. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd and hung o'er the
altar; it hath done meritorious service.
MRS. FORD. What think you? May we, with the warrant of
womanhood and the witness of a good conscience, pursue
him with any further revenge?
MRS. PAGE. The spirit of wantonness is sure scar'd out of
him; if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with fine and
recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste,
attempt us again.
MRS. FORD. Shall we tell our husbands how we have serv'd
MRS. PAGE. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the
figures out of your husband's brains. If they can find in their
hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further
afflicted, we two will still be the ministers.
MRS. FORD. I'll warrant they'll have him publicly sham'd;
and methinks there would be no period to the jest, should
he not be publicly sham'd.
MRS. PAGE. Come, to the forge with it then; shape it. I
would not have things cool. Exeunt


The Garter Inn


BARDOLPH. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your
horses; the Duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and
they are going to meet him.
HOST. What duke should that be comes so secretly? I hear
not of him in the court. Let me speak with the gentlemen;
they speak English?
BARDOLPH. Ay, sir; I'll call them to you.
HOST. They shall have my horses, but I'll make them pay;
I'll sauce them; they have had my house a week at
command; I have turn'd away my other guests. They must
come off; I'll sauce them. Come. Exeunt


FORD'S house


EVANS. 'Tis one of the best discretions of a oman as ever
did look upon.
PAGE. And did he send you both these letters at an instant?
MRS. PAGE. Within a quarter of an hour.
FORD. Pardon me, wife. Henceforth, do what thou wilt;
I rather will suspect the sun with cold
Than thee with wantonness. Now doth thy honour stand,
In him that was of late an heretic,
As firm as faith.
PAGE. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more.
Be not as extreme in submission as in offence;
But let our plot go forward. Let our wives
Yet once again, to make us public sport,
Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow,
Where we may take him and disgrace him for it.
FORD. There is no better way than that they spoke of.
PAGE. How? To send him word they'll meet him in the Park
at midnight? Fie, fie! he'll never come!
EVANS. You say he has been thrown in the rivers; and has
been grievously peaten as an old oman; methinks there
should be terrors in him, that he should not come;
methinks his flesh is punish'd; he shall have no desires.
PAGE. So think I too.
MRS. FORD. Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,
And let us two devise to bring him thither.
MRS. PAGE. There is an old tale goes that Heme the Hunter,
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv'd, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Heme the Hunter for a truth.
PAGE. Why yet there want not many that do fear
In deep of night to walk by this Herne's oak.
But what of this?
MRS. FORD. Marry, this is our device-
That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us,
Disguis'd, like Heme, with huge horns on his head.
PAGE. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come,
And in this shape. When you have brought him thither,
What shall be done with him? What is your plot?
MRS. PAGE. That likewise have we thought upon, and
Nan Page my daughter, and my little son,
And three or four more of their growth, we'll dress
Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies, green and white,
With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
And rattles in their hands; upon a sudden,
As Falstaff, she, and I, are newly met,
Let them from forth a sawpit rush at once
With some diffused song; upon their sight
We two in great amazedness will fly.
Then let them all encircle him about,
And fairy-like, to pinch the unclean knight;
And ask him why, that hour of fairy revel,
In their so sacred paths he dares to tread
In shape profane.
MRS. FORD. And till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound,
And burn him with their tapers.
MRS. PAGE. The truth being known,
We'll all present ourselves; dis-horn the spirit,
And mock him home to Windsor.
FORD. The children must
Be practis'd well to this or they'll nev'r do 't.
EVANS. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will
be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my
FORD. That will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.
MRS. PAGE. My Nan shall be the Queen of all the Fairies,
Finely attired in a robe of white.
PAGE. That silk will I go buy. [Aside] And in that time
Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away,
And marry her at Eton.-Go, send to Falstaff straight.
FORD. Nay, I'll to him again, in name of Brook;
He'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he'll come.
MRS. PAGE. Fear not you that. Go get us properties
And tricking for our fairies.
EVANS. Let us about it. It is admirable pleasures, and fery
honest knaveries. Exeunt PAGE, FORD, and EVANS
MRS. PAGE. Go, Mistress Ford.
Send Quickly to Sir John to know his mind.
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


The Garter Inn


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

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