Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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The Merry Wives of Windsor (Folio 1, 1623)

The Merry Wiues of Windsor.
Be gone, and come when you are call'd.
1370M. Page. Here comes little Robin.
Mist. Ford. How now my Eyas-Musket, what newes
Rob. My M. Sir Iohn is come in at your backe doore
(Mist. Ford, and requests your company.
M. Page. You litle Iack-a-lent, haue you bin true to vs
1375Rob. I, Ile be sworne: my Master knowes not of your
being heere: and hath threatned to put me into euerla-
sting liberty, if I tell you of it: for he sweares he'll turne
me away.
Mist. Pag. Thou'rt a good boy: this secrecy of thine
1380shall be a Tailor to thee, and shal make thee a new dou-
blet and hose. Ile go hide me.
Mi. Ford. Do so: go tell thy Master, I am alone: Mi-
stris Page, remember you your Qu.
Mist. Pag. I warrant thee, if I do not act it, hisse me.
1385Mist. Ford. Go-too then: we'l vse this vnwholsome
humidity, this grosse-watry Pumpion; we'll teach him
to know Turtles from Iayes.
Fal. Haue I caught thee, my heauenly Iewell? Why
now let me die, for I haue liu'd long enough: This is the
1390period of my ambition: O this blessed houre.
Mist. Ford. O sweet Sir Iohn.
Fal. Mistris Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate (Mist.
Ford) now shall I sin in my wish; I would thy Husband
were dead, Ile speake it before the best Lord, I would
1395make thee my Lady.
Mist. Ford. I your Lady Sir Iohn? Alas, I should bee a
pittifull Lady.
Fal. Let the Court of France shew me such another:
I see how thine eye would emulate the Diamond: Thou
1400hast the right arched-beauty of the brow, that becomes
the Ship-tyre, the Tyre-valiant, or any Tire of Venetian
Mist. Ford. A plaine Kerchiefe, Sir Iohn:
My browes become nothing else, nor that well neither.
1405Fal. Thou art a tyrant to say so: thou wouldst make
an absolute Courtier, and the firme fixture of thy foote,
would giue an excellent motion to thy gate, in a semi-
circled Farthingale. I see what thou wert if Fortune thy
foe, were not Nature thy friend: Come, thou canst not
1410hide it.
Mist. Ford. Beleeue me, ther's no such thing in me.
Fal. What made me loue thee? Let that perswade
thee. Ther's something extraordinary in thee: Come, I
cannot cog, and say thou art this and that, like a-manie
1415of these lisping-hauthorne buds, that come like women
in mens apparrell, and smell like Bucklers-berry in sim-
ple time: I cannot, but I loue thee, none but thee; and
thou deseru'st it.
M. Ford. Do not betray me sir, I fear you loue M. Page.
1420Fal. Thou mightst as well say, I loue to walke by the
Counter-gate, which is as hatefull to me, as the reeke of
a Lime-kill.
Mis Ford. Well, heauen knowes how I loue you,
And you shall one day finde it.
1425Fal. Keepe in that minde, Ile deserue it.
Mist. Ford. Nay, I must tell you, so you doe;
Or else I could not be in that minde.
Rob. Mistris Ford, Mistris Ford: heere's Mistris Page at
the doore, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildely,
1430and would needs speake with you presently.
Fal. She shall not see me, I will ensconce mee behinde
the Arras.
M. Ford. Pray you do so, she's a very tatling woman.
Whats the matter? How now?
1435Mist. Page. O mistris Ford what haue you done?
You'r sham'd, y'are ouerthrowne, y'are vndone for euer.
M. Ford. What's the matter, good mistris Page?
M. Page. O weladay, mist. Ford, hauing an honest man
to your husband, to giue him such cause of suspition.
1440M. Ford. What cause of suspition?
M. Page. What cause of suspition? Out vpon you:
How am I mistooke in you?
M. Ford. Why (alas) what's the matter?
M. Page. Your husband's comming hether (Woman)
1445with all the Officers in Windsor, to search for a Gentle-
man, that he sayes is heere now in the house; by your
consent to take an ill aduantage of his absence: you are
M. Ford. 'Tis not so, I hope.
1450M. Page. Pray heauen it be not so, that you haue such
a man heere: but 'tis most certaine your husband's com-
ming, with halfe Windsor at his heeles, to serch for such
a one, I come before to tell you: If you know your selfe
cleere, why I am glad of it: but if you haue a friend here,
1455conuey, conuey him out. Be not amaz'd, call all your
senses to you, defend your reputation, or bid farwell to
your good life for euer.
M. Ford. What shall I do? There is a Gentleman my
deere friend: and I feare not mine owne shame so much,
1460as his perill. I had rather then a thousand pound he were
out of the house.
M. Page. For shame, neuer stand (you had rather, and
you had rather:) your husband's heere at hand, bethinke
you of some conueyance: in the house you cannot hide
1465him. Oh, how haue you deceiu'd me? Looke, heere is a
basket, if he be of any reasonable stature, he may creepe
in heere, and throw fowle linnen vpon him, as if it were
going to bucking: Or it is whiting time, send him by
your two men to Datchet-Meade.
1470M. Ford. He's too big to go in there: what shall I do?
Fal. Let me see't, let me see't, O let me see't:
Ile in, Ile in: Follow your friends counsell, Ile in.
M. Page. What Sir Iohn Falstaffe? Are these your Let-
ters, Knight?
1475Fal. I loue thee, helpe mee away: let me creepe in
heere: ile neuer ---
M. Page. Helpe to couer your master (Boy:) Call
your men (Mist. Ford.) You dissembling Knight.
M. Ford. What Iohn, Robert, Iohn; Go, take vp these
1480cloathes heere, quickly: Wher's the Cowle-staffe? Look
how you drumble? Carry them to the Landresse in Dat-
chet mead: quickly, come.
Ford. 'Pray you come nere: if I suspect without cause,
Why then make sport at me, then let me be your iest,
1485I deserue it: How now? Whether beare you this?
Ser. To the Landresse forsooth?
M. Ford. Why, what haue you to doe whether they
beare it? You were best meddle with buck-washing.
Ford. Buck? I would I could wash my selfe of ye Buck:
1490Bucke, bucke, bucke, I bucke: I warrant you Bucke,
And of the season too; it shall appeare.
Gentlemen, I haue dream'd to night, Ile tell you my
dreame: heere, heere, heere bee my keyes, ascend my
Chambers, search, seeke, finde out: Ile warrant wee'le
1495vnkennell the Fox. Let me stop this way first: so, now
Page. Good master Ford, be contented:
You wrong your selfe too much.
Ford. True (master Page) vp Gentlemen,
1500You shall see sport anon: