Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merry Wives of Windsor (Folio 1, 1623)

The Merry Wiues of Windsor.
2010nest cloathes you send forth to bleaching.
Page. Why, this passes M. Ford: you are not to goe
loose any longer, you must be pinnion'd.
Euans. Why, this is Lunaticks: this is madde, as a
mad dogge.
2015Shall. Indeed M. Ford, thi is not well indeed.
Ford. So say I too Sir, come hither Mistris Ford, Mi-
stris Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the vertu-
ous creature, that hath the iealious foole to her husband:
I suspect without cause (Mistris) do I?
2020Mist. Ford. Heauen be my witnesse you doe, if you
suspect me in any dishonesty.
Ford. Well said Brazon-face, hold it out: Come forth
Page. This passes.
2025Mist. Ford. Are you not asham'd, let the cloths alone.
Ford. I shall finde you anon.
Eua. 'Tis vnreasonable; will you take vp your wiues
cloathes? Come, away.
Ford. Empty the basket I say.
2030M. Ford. Why man, why?
Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one con-
uay'd out of my house yesterday in this basket: why
may not he be there againe, in my house I am sure he is:
my Intelligence is true, my iealousie is reasonable, pluck
2035me out all the linnen.
Mist. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall dye a Fleas
Page. Heer's no man.
Shal. By my fidelity this is not well Mr. Ford: This
2040wrongs you.
Euans. Mr Ford, you must pray, and not follow the
imaginations of your owne heart: this is iealousies.
Ford. Well, hee's not heere I seeke for.
Page. No, nor no where else but in your braine.
2045Ford. Helpe to search my house this one time: if I find
not what I seeke, shew no colour for my extremity: Let
me for euer be your Table-sport: Let them say of me, as
iealous as Ford, that search'd a hollow Wall-nut for his
wiues Lemman. Satisfie me once more, once more serch
2050with me.
M. Ford. What hoa (Mistris Page,) come you and
the old woman downe: my husband will come into the
Ford. Old woman? what old womans that?
2055M. Ford. Why it is my maids Aunt of Brainford.
Ford. A witch, a Queane, an olde couzening queane:
Haue I not forbid her my house. She comes of errands
do's she? We are simple men, wee doe not know what's
brought to passe vnder the profession of Fortune-telling.
2060She workes by Charmes, by Spels, by th'Figure, & such
dawbry as this is, beyond our Element: wee know no-
thing. Come downe you Witch, you Hagge you, come
downe I say.
Mist. Ford. Nay, good sweet husband, good Gentle-
2065men, let him strike the old woman.
Mist. Page. Come mother Prat, Come giue me your
Ford. Ile Prat-her: Out of my doore, you Witch,
you Ragge, you Baggage, you Poulcat, you Runnion,
2070out, out: Ile coniure you, Ile fortune-tell you.
Mist. Page. Are you not asham'd?
I thinke you haue kill'd the poore woman.
Mist. Ford. Nay he will do it, 'tis a goodly credite
for you.
2075Ford. Hang her witch.
Eua. By yea, and no, I thinke the o'man is a witch in-
deede: I like not when a o'man has a great peard; I spie
a great peard vnder his muffler.
Ford. Will you follow Gentlemen, I beseech you fol-
2080low: see but the issue of my iealousie: If I cry out thus
vpon no traile, neuer trust me when I open againe.
Page. Let's obey his humour a little further:
Come Gentlemen.
Mist. Page. Trust me he beate him most pittifully.
2085Mist. Ford. Nay by th'Masse that he did not: he beate
him most vnpittifully, me thought.
Mist. Page. Ile haue the cudgell hallow'd, and hung
ore the Altar, it hath done meritorious seruice.
Mist. Ford. What thinke you? May we with the war-
2090rant of woman-hood, and the witnesse of a good consci-
ence, pursue him with any further reuenge?
M. Page. The spirit of wantonnesse is sure scar'd out
of him, if the diuell haue him not in fee-simple, with
fine and recouery, he will neuer (I thinke) in the way of
2095waste, attempt vs againe.
Mist. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how wee haue
seru'd him?
Mist. Page. Yes, by all meanes: if it be but to scrape
the figures out of your husbands braines: if they can find
2100in their hearts, the poore vnuertuous fat Knight shall be
any further afflicted, wee two will still bee the mini-
Mist. Ford. Ile warrant, they'l haue him publiquely
sham'd, and me thinkes there would be no period to the
2105iest, should he not be publikely sham'd.
Mist. Page. Come, to the Forge with it, then shape it:
I would not haue things coole.

Scena Tertia.

Enter Host and Bardolfe.
2110Bar. Sir, the Germane desires to haue three of your
horses: the Duke himselfe will be to morrow at Court,
and they are going to meet him.
Host. What Duke should that be comes so secretly?
I heare not of him in the Court: let mee speake with the
2115Gentlemen, they speake English?
Bar. I Sir? Ile call him to you.
Host. They shall haue my horses, but Ile make them
pay: Ile sauce them, they haue had my houses a week at
commaund: I haue turn'd away my other guests, they
2120must come off, Ile sawce them, come.

Scena Quarta.

Enter Page, Ford, Mistris Page, Mistris
Ford, and Euans.
Eua. 'Tis one of the best discretions of a o'man as e-
2125uer I did looke vpon.
Page. And did he send you both these Letters at an
Mist. Page. VVithin a quarter of an houre.
Ford. Pardon me (wife) henceforth do what yu wilt:
2130I rather will suspect the Sunne with gold,
Then thee with wantonnes: Now doth thy honor stand