The Merry Wives of Windsor

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Original text
Act V, Scene I
Enter Falstoffe, Quickly, and Ford.

Fal.
Pre'thee no more pratling: go, Ile hold, this
is the third time: I hope good lucke lies in odde numbers:
Away, go, they say there is Diuinity in odde Numbers,
either in natiuity, chance, or death: away.

Qui.
Ile prouide you a chaine, and Ile do
what I can to get you a paire of hornes.

Fall.
Away I say, time weares, hold vp your head
& mince.
How now M. Broome? Master Broome, the matter will
be knowne to night, or neuer. Bee you in the Parke about
midnight, at Hernes-Oake, and you shall see wonders.

Ford.
Went you not to her yesterday (Sir) as you told me
you had appointed?

Fal.
I went to her (Master Broome) as you see, like
a poore-old-man, but I came from her (Master Broome) like
a poore-old-woman; that same knaue (Ford hir husband)
hath the finest mad diuell of iealousie in him (Master
Broome) that euer gouern'd Frensie. I will tell you, he
beate me greeuously, in the shape of a woman: (for in the
shape of Man (Master Broome) I feare not Goliah with a
Weauers beame, because I know also, life is a Shuttle) I
am in hast, go along with mee, Ile tell you all (Master
Broome:) since I pluckt Geese, plaide Trewant, and whipt
Top, I knew not what 'twas to be beaten, till lately.
Follow mee, Ile tell you strange things of this knaue
Ford, on whom to night I will be reuenged, and I will
deliuer his wife into your hand. Follow, straunge things
in hand (M. Broome) follow.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act V, Scene II
Enter Page, Shallow, Slender.

Page.
Come, come: wee'll couch i'th Castle-ditch, till we
see the light of our Fairies. Remember son Slender, my

Slen.
I forsooth, I haue spoke with her, & we haue
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.

Shal.
That's good too: But what needes either your
Mum, or her Budget? The white will decipher her
well enough. It hath strooke ten a'clocke.

Page.
The night is darke, Light and Spirits will become it
wel: Heauen prosper our sport. No man means euill but
the deuill, and we shal know him by his hornes. Lets
away: follow me.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act V, Scene III
Enter Mist. Page, Mist. Ford, Caius.

Mist. Page.
Mr Doctor, my daughter is in green, when
you see your time, take her by the hand, away
with her to the Deanerie, and dispatch it quickly: go
before into the Parke: we two must go together.

Cai.
I know vat I haue to do, adieu.

Mist. Page.
Fare you well (Sir:)
my husband will not reioyce so much at the abuse of
Falstaffe, as he will chafe at the Doctors marrying my
daughter: But 'tis no matter; better a little chiding,
then a great deale of heart-breake.

Mist. Ford.
Where is Nan now? and her troop of
Fairies? and the Welch-deuill Herne?

Mist. Page.
They are all couch'd in a pit hard by
Hernes Oake, with obscur'd Lights; which at the very
instant of Falstaffes and our meeting, they will at once
display to the night.

Mist. Ford.
That cannot choose but amaze him.

Mist. Page.
If he be not amaz'd he will be mock'd:
If he be amaz'd, he will euery way be mock'd.

Mist. Ford.
Wee'll betray him finely.

Mist. Page.
Against such Lewdsters, and their lechery,
Those that betray them, do no treachery.

Mist. Ford.
The houre drawes-on: to the Oake, to the
Oake.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act V, Scene IV
Enter Euans and
Fairies.

Euans.
Trib, trib Fairies: Come, and remember your
parts: be pold (I pray you) follow me into the pit, and
when I giue the watch-'ords, do as I pid you: Come,
come, trib, trib.
Exeunt
Original text
Act V, Scene V
Enter Falstaffe, Mistris Page, Mistris Ford, Euans, Anne Page, Fairies, Page,
Ford, Quickly, Slender, Fenton, Caius, Pistoll.

Fal.
The Windsor-bell hath stroke twelue: the
Minute drawes-on: Now the hot-bloodied-Gods assist
me: / Remember Ioue, thou was't a Bull for thy Europa,
Loue set on thy hornes. O powerfull Loue, that in some
respects makes a Beast a Man: in som other, a Man a
beast. / You were also (Iupiter) a Swan, for the loue of
Leda: O omnipotent Loue, how nere the God drew to the
complexion of a Goose: a fault done first in the forme of a
beast, (O Ioue, a beastly fault:) and then another fault,
in the semblance of a Fowle, thinke on't (Ioue) a fowle-fault.
When Gods haue hot backes, what shall poore men do?
For me, I am heere a Windsor Stagge, and the fattest (I
thinke) i'th Forrest. Send me a coole rut-time (Ioue) or who
can blame me to pisse my Tallow? Who comes heere?
my Doe?

M. Ford.
Sir Iohn? Art thou there (my Deere?) / My
male-Deere?

Fal.
My Doe, with the blacke Scut? Let the skie raine
Potatoes: let it thunder, to the tune of Greenesleeues,
haile-kissing Comfits, and snow Eringoes: Let there come
a tempest of prouocation, I will shelter mee heere.

M. Ford.
Mistris Page is come with me
(sweet hart.)

Fal.
Diuide me like a brib'd-Bucke, each a Haunch:
I will keepe my sides to my selfe, my shoulders for the
fellow of this walke; and my hornes I bequeath your
husbands. Am I a Woodman, ha? Speake I like Herne
the Hunter? Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience,
he makes restitution. As I am a true spirit, welcome.

M. Page.
Alas, what noise?

M. Ford.
Heauen forgiue our sinnes.

Fal.
What should this be?

M. Ford. M. Page.
Away, away.

Fal.
I thinke the diuell wil not haue me damn'd, / Least
the oyle that's in me should set hell on fire; / He would
neuer else crosse me thus.
Enter Fairies.

Qui.
Fairies blacke, gray, greene, and white,
You Moone-shine reuellers, and shades of night.
You Orphan heires of fixed destiny,
Attend your office, and your quality.
Crier Hob-goblyn, make the Fairy Oyes.

Pist.
Elues, list your names: Silence you aiery toyes.
Cricket, to Windsor-chimnies shalt thou leape;
Where fires thou find'st vnrak'd, and hearths vnswept,
There pinch the Maids as blew as Bill-berry,
Our radiant Queene, hates Sluts, and Sluttery.

Fal.
They are Fairies, he that speaks to them shall die,
Ile winke, and couch: No man their workes must eie.

Eu.
Wher's Bede? Go you, and where you find a maid
That ere she sleepe has thrice her prayers said,
Raise vp the Organs of her fantasie,
Sleepe she as sound as carelesse infancie,
But those as sleepe, and thinke not on their sins,
Pinch them armes, legs, backes, shoulders, sides, & shins.

Qu.
About, about:
Search Windsor Castle (Elues) within, and out.
Strew good lucke (Ouphes) on euery sacred roome,
That it may stand till the perpetuall doome,
In state as wholsome, as in state 'tis fit,
Worthy the Owner, and the Owner it.
The seuerall Chaires of Order, looke you scowre
With iuyce of Balme; and euery precious flowre,
Each faire Instalment, Coate, and seu'rall Crest,
With loyall Blazon, euermore be blest.
And Nightly-meadow-Fairies, looke you sing
Like to the Garters-Compasse, in a ring
Th' expressure that it beares: Greene let it be,
Mote fertile-fresh then all the Field to see:
And, Hony Soit Qui Mal-y-Pence, write
In Emrold-tuffes, Flowres purple, blew, and white,
Like Saphire-pearle, and rich embroiderie,
Buckled below faire Knight-hoods bending knee;
Fairies vse Flowres for their characterie.
Away, disperse: But till 'tis one a clocke,
Our Dance of Custome, round about the Oke
Of Herne the Hunter, let vs not forget.

Euan.
Pray you lock hand in hand: your selues in order (set:
And twenty glow-wormes shall our Lanthornes bee
To guide our Measure round about the Tree.
But stay, I smell a man of middle earth.

Fal.
Heauens defend me from that Welsh Fairy,
Least he transforme me to a peece of Cheese.

Pist.
Vilde worme, thou wast ore-look'd euen in thy birth.

Qu.
With Triall-fire touch me his finger end:
If he be chaste, the flame will backe descend
And turne him to no paine: but if he start,
It is the flesh of a corrupted hart.

Pist.
A triall, come.

Eua.
Come: will this wood take fire?

Fal.
Oh, oh, oh.

Qui.
Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire.
About him (Fairies) sing a scornfull rime,
And as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
The Song.
Fie on sinnefull phantasie:
Fie on Lust, and Luxurie:
Lust is but a bloudy fire,
kindled with vnchaste desire,
Fed in heart whose flames aspire,
As thoughts do blow them higher and higher.
Pinch him (Fairies) mutually:
Pinch him for his villanie.
Pinch him, and burne him, and turne him about,
Till Candles, & Star-light, & Moone-shine be out.

Page.
Nay do not flye, I thinke we haue watcht you now:
Will none but Herne the Hunter serue your turne?

M. Page.
I pray you come, hold vp the iest no higher.
Now (good Sir Iohn) how like you Windsor wiues?

See you these husband? Do not these faire yoakes
Become the Forrest better then the Towne?

Ford.
Now Sir, whose a Cuckold now? Mr Broome,
Falstaffes a Knaue, a Cuckoldly knaue, / Heere are his
hornes Master Broome: / And Master Broome, he hath
enioyed nothing of Fords, but his Buck-basket, his
cudgell, and twenty pounds of money, which must be
paid to Mr Broome, his horses are arrested for it,
Mr Broome.

M. Ford.
Sir Iohn, we haue had ill lucke: wee could
neuer meete: I will neuer take you for my Loue againe, but
I will alwayes count you my Deere.

Fal.
I do begin to perceiue that I am made an Asse.

Ford.
I, and an Oxe too: both the proofes are extant.

Fal.
And these are not Fairies: / I was three or foure times
in the thought they were not Fairies, and yet the
guiltinesse of my minde, the sodaine surprize of my
powers, droue the grossenesse of the foppery into a
receiu'd beleefe, in despight of the teeth of all rime and
reason, that they were Fairies. See now how wit may be
made a Iacke-a-Lent, when 'tis vpon ill imployment.

Euans.
Sir Iohn Falstaffe, serue Got, and leaue your desires,
and Fairies will not pinse you.

Ford.
Well said Fairy Hugh.

Euans.
And leaue you your iealouzies too, I pray you.

Ford.
I will neuer mistrust my wife againe, till thou art able
to woo her in good English.

Fal.
Haue I laid my braine in the Sun, and dri'de it,
that it wants matter to preuent so grosse ore-reaching as
this? Am I ridden with a Welch Goate too? Shal I haue
a Coxcombe of Frize? Tis time I were choak'd with a
peece of toasted Cheese.

Eu.
Seese is not good to giue putter; your belly is al
putter.

Fal.
Seese, and Putter? Haue I liu'd to stand at
the taunt of one that makes Fritters of English? This is
enough to be the decay of lust and late-walking through
the Realme.

Mist. Page.
Why Sir Iohn, do you thinke though wee
would haue thrust vertue out of our hearts by the head
and shoulders, and haue giuen our selues without scruple
to hell, that euer the deuill could haue made you our
delight?

Ford.
What, a hodge-pudding? A bag of flax?

Mist. Page.
A puft man?

Page.
Old, cold, wither'd, and of intollerable entrailes?

Ford.
And one that is as slanderous as Sathan?

Page.
And as poore as Iob?

Ford.
And as wicked as his wife?

Euan.
And giuen to Fornications, and to Tauernes, and
Sacke, and Wine, and Metheglins, and to drinkings and
swearings, and starings? Pribles and prables?

Fal.
Well, I am your Theame: you haue the start of
me, I am deiected: I am not able to answer the Welch
Flannell, Ignorance it selfe is a plummet ore me, vse me as
you will.

Ford.
Marry Sir, wee'l bring you to Windsor to one
Mr Broome, that you haue cozon'd of money, to whom
you should haue bin a Pander: ouer and aboue that
you haue suffer'd, I thinke, to repay that money will be a
biting affliction.

Page.
Yet be cheerefull Knight: thou shalt eat a posset
to night at my house, wher I will desire thee to laugh at
my wife, that now laughes at thee: Tell her Mr Slender
hath married her daughter.

Mist. Page.
Doctors doubt that; / If Anne Page
be my daughter, she is (by this) Doctour Caius wife.

Slen.
Whoa hoe, hoe, Father Page.

Page.
Sonne? How now? How now Sonne, Haue you
dispatch'd?

Slen.
Dispatch'd? Ile make the best in Glostershire
know on't: would I were hang'd la, else.

Page.
Of what sonne?

Slen.
I came yonder at Eaton to marry Mistris Anne
Page, and she's a great lubberly boy. If it had not bene
i'th Church, I would haue swing'd him, or hee should
haue swing'd me. If I did not thinke it had beene Anne
Page, would I might neuer stirre, and 'tis a Post-masters
Boy.

Page.
Vpon my life then, you tooke the wrong.

Slen.
What neede you tell me that? I think so, when I
tooke a Boy for a Girle: If I had bene married to him, (for all
he was in womans apparrell) I would not haue had him.

Page.
Why this is your owne folly, / Did not I tell you how
you should know my daughter, / By her garments?

Slen.
I went to her in greene, and cried Mum, and
she cride budget, as Anne and I had appointed, and
yet it was not Anne, but a Post-masters boy.

Mist. Page.
Good George be not angry, I knew of
your purpose: turn'd my daughter into white, and
indeede she is now with the Doctor at the Deanrie, and
there married.


Cai.
Ver is Mistris Page: by gar I am cozoned, I ha
married oon Garsoon, a boy; oon pesant, by gar. A boy, it is
not An Page, by gar, I am cozened.

M. Page.
Why? did you take her in white?

Cai.
I bee gar, and 'tis a boy: be gar, Ile raise all
Windsor.

Ford.
This is strange: Who hath got the right Anne?

Page.
My heart misgiues me, here comes Mr Fenton.
How now Mr Fenton?

Anne.
Pardon good father, good my mother pardon

Page.
Now Mistris: / How chance you went not with
Mr Slender?

M. Page.
Why went you not with Mr Doctor, maid?

Fen.
You do amaze her: heare the truth of it,
You would haue married her most shamefully,
Where there was no proportion held in loue:
The truth is, she and I (long since contracted)
Are now so sure that nothing can dissolue vs:
Th'offence is holy, that she hath committed,
And this deceit looses the name of craft,
Of disobedience, or vnduteous title,
Since therein she doth euitate and shun
A thousand irreligious cursed houres
Which forced marriage would haue brought vpon her.

Ford.
Stand not amaz'd, here is no remedie:
In Loue, the heauens themselues do guide the state,
Money buyes Lands, and wiues are sold by fate.

Fal.
I am glad, though you haue tane a special
stand to strike at me, that your Arrow hath glanc'd.

Page.
Well, what remedy? Fenton, heauen giue thee
ioy, what cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac'd.

Fal.
When night-dogges run, all sorts of Deere are chac'd.

Mist. Page.
Well, I will muse no further: Mr Fenton,
Heauen giue you many, many merry dayes:
Good husband, let vs euery one go home,
And laugh this sport ore by a Countrie fire,
Sir Iohn and all.

Ford.
Let it be so (Sir Iohn:)
To Master Broome, you yet shall hold your word,
For he, to night, shall lye with Mistris Ford:
Exeunt
Modern text
Act V, Scene I
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; 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 disguised as Brook
How now, Master Brook! Master Brook, the matter will
be known tonight or never. Be you in the Park about
midnight, at Herne's Oak, and you shall see wonders.

FORD
Went you not to her yesterday, sir, as you told me
you had appointed?

FALSTAFF
I went to her, Master Brook, as you see, like
a poor old man. But I came from her, Master Brook, like
a poor old woman. That same knave Ford, her husband,
hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, Master
Brook, that ever 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 tonight I will be revenged. And I will
deliver his wife into your hand. Follow. Strange things
in hand, Master Brook! Follow.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act V, Scene II
Enter Page, Shallow, and Slender

PAGE
Come, come. We'll couch i'th' Castle ditch till we
see the light of our fairies. Remember, son Slender, my
daughter.

SLENDER
Ay, forsooth. I have spoke with her, and we have
a nay-word how to know one another. I come to her in
white, and cry ‘ mum ’; she cries ‘ budget ’; and by that
we know one another.

SHALLOW
That's good too. But what needs either your
‘ mum ’ or her ‘ budget ’? The white will decipher her
well enough. It hath struck ten o'clock.

PAGE
The night is dark. Light and spirits will become it
well. Heaven prosper our sport! No man means evil but
the devil, and we shall know him by his horns. Let's
away. Follow me.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act V, Scene III
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 hand, away
with her to the deanery, and dispatch it quickly. Go
before into the Park. We two must go together.

CAIUS
I know vat I have to do. Adieu.

MISTRESS PAGE
Fare you well, sir.
Exit Caius
My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of
Falstaff as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my
daughter. But 'tis no matter. Better a little chiding
than a great deal of heartbreak.

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
Modern text
Act V, Scene IV
Enter Evans disguised as a Satyr, and others as
Fairies

EVANS
Trib, trib, fairies. Come. And remember your
parts. Be pold, I pray you. Follow me into the pit, and
when I give the watch-'ords, do as I pid you. Come,
come; trib, trib.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act V, Scene V
Enter Falstaff disguised as Herne, with a buck's
head upon him

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

MISTRESS FORD
Mistress Page is come with me,
sweetheart.

FALSTAFF
Divide me like a bribed 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!
A noise of horns

MISTRESS PAGE
Alas, what noise?

MISTRESS FORD
Heaven forgive our sins!

FALSTAFF
What should this be?

MISTRESS FORD and 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 Evans as a Satyr, Mistress Quickly as the
Queen of Fairies, Pistol as Hobgoblin, Anne Page and
boys as Fairies. They carry tapers

MISTRESS QUICKLY as Queen of Fairies
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 as Hobgoblin
Elves, list your names; silence, you airy toys.
Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap.
Where fires thou findest 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.
He lies down upon his face

EVANS as a Satyr
Where's Bead? 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 as Queen of Fairies
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.
Th' expressure that it bears, green let it be,
More fertile-fresh than all the field to see;
And Honi soit qui mal y pense write
In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white,
Like 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.

EVANS as a Satyr
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 as Hobgoblin
Vile worm, thou wast o'erlooked even in thy birth.

MISTRESS QUICKLY as Queen of Fairies
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 as Hobgoblin
A trial, come.

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

FALSTAFF
O, O, O!

MISTRESS QUICKLY as Queen of Fairies
Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!
About him, fairies, sing a scornful rhyme,
And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
THE 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 villainy.
Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
Till candles and starlight and moonshine be out.
During this song they pinch Falstaff; and 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 Anne Page. A noise
of hunting is made within; and all the Fairies run
away. Falstaff pulls off his buck's head, and rises up.
Enter Page, Ford, Mistress Page, and Mistress Ford

PAGE
Nay, do not fly; I think we have watched 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?
She points to the horns
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 cuckoldy 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.

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

FORD
Well said, fairy 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 frieze? 'Tis time I were choked with a
piece of toasted cheese.

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 thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head
and shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple
to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our
delight?

FORD
What, a hodge-pudding? A bag of flax?

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?

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
tonight at my house, where I will desire thee to laugh at
my wife that now laughs at thee. Tell her Master Slender
hath married her daughter.

MISTRESS PAGE
(aside)
Doctors doubt that. If Anne Page
be my daughter, she is, by this, Doctor Caius's 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'th' 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

CAIUS
Vere is Mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened. I ha'
married un garçon, 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?

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
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.
Th' offence is holy that she hath committed,
And this deceit loses the name of craft,
Of disobedience, or unduteous title,
Since therein she doth evitate and shun
A thousand irreligious cursed hours
Which forced marriage would have brought upon her.

FORD
Stand not 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 eschewed 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
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL