The Merry Wives of Windsor

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Page, Ford, Mistress Page, Mistress Ford, and



'Tis one of the best discretions of a 'oman as ever

I did look upon.


And did he send you both these letters at an instant?
instant, at an at the same time, simultaneously


Within a quarter of an hour.


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,
wantonness (n.) 3 lust, lasciviousness, promiscuity

In him that was of late an heretic,

As firm as faith.


                         'Tis well, 'tis well. No more.

Be not as extreme in submission
submission (n.) compliance, deference, obedience

As in offence.

But let our plot go forward. Let our wives

Yet once again, to make us public sport,
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count
sport (n.) 4 subject of sport

Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow,

Where we may take him and disgrace him for it.


There is no better way than that they spoke of.


How? To send him word they'll meet him in the

Park at midnight? Fie, fie, he'll never come.


You say he has been thrown in the rivers, and has

been grievously peaten as an old 'oman. Methinks there
grievously (adv.) 2 seriously, greatly

should be terrors in him, that he should not come.
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Methinks his flesh is punished; he shall have no desires.


So think I too.


Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,
use (v.) 2 treat, deal with, manage

And let us two devise to bring him thither.


There is an old tale goes that Herne the Hunter,

Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
sometime (adv.) 1 formerly, at one time, once

Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,

Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
ragged (adj.) 2 broken, jagged, fragmented

And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
blast (v.) 1 blight, wither, destroy
take (v.) 7 bewitch, take possession of, take into one's power

And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
milch-kine (n.) dairy-milk cows

In a most hideous and dreadful manner.

You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know

The superstitious idle-headed eld
eld (n.) 1 men of old, people from former times
idle-headed (adj.) ignorant, foolish, superstitious

Received and did deliver to our age

This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.


Why, yet there want not many that do fear
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

In deep of night to walk by this Herne's Oak.
deep (n.) depths, middle

But what of this?
device (n.) 1 plot, stratagem, trick


                         Marry, this is our device:

That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us,

Disguised like Herne, with huge horns on his head.


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?


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,
ouph, oaf (n.) elf, elfen child, changeling
urchin (n.) 2 spirit in hedgehog form, goblin

With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
round (n.) 2 circlet, ring, crown
taper (n.) candle

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
sawpit (n.) pit used for sawing wood

With some diffusèd song. Upon their sight,
diffused (adj.) 1 disorderly, mixed-up, jumbled

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.


                         And till he tell the truth,

Let the supposèd fairies pinch him sound
sound (adv.) soundly, heartily, vigorously
supposed (adj.) 1 pretended, false, counterfeit

And burn him with their tapers.


                         The truth being known,

We'll all present ourselves, dis-horn the spirit,

And mock him home to Windsor.


                         The children must

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


I will teach the children their behaviours, and I

will be like a jackanapes also, to burn the knight with
jackanapes, jackanape, jack'nape (n.) upstart, buffoon, monkey

my taber.


That will be excellent. I'll go buy them vizards.
vizard (n.) mask, visor


My Nan shall be the Queen of all the Fairies,

Finely attirèd in a robe of white.


That silk will I go buy. (Aside) And in that time

Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away

And marry her at Eton. (To them) Go, send to Falstaff straight.


Nay, I'll to him again in name of Brook.

He'll tell me all his purpose. Sure, he'll come.
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count


Fear not you that. Go get us properties
property (n.) 4 (plural) stage requisites, accessories, props

And tricking for our fairies.
tricking (n.) costumes, ornamentation, decking out, costumery


Let us about it. It is admirable pleasures and fery

honest knaveries.

Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans


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;
landed (adj.) possessed of land, having property

And he my husband best of all affects.
affect (v.) 1 incline to, like, favour, be drawn to

The doctor is well moneyed, and his friends

Potent at court. He, none but he, shall have her,

Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count
worthy (adj.) 1 of worth, of value, deserving


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