Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merry Wives of Windsor (Folio 1, 1623)

The Merry Wiues of Windsor.
2385That quaint in greene, she shall be loose en-roab'd,
With Ribonds-pendant, flaring 'bout her head;
And when the Doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and on that token,
The maid hath giuen consent to go with him.
2390Host. Which meanes she to deceiue? Father, or Mo-
Fen. Both (my good Host) to go along with me:
And heere it rests, that you'l procure the Vicar
To stay for me at Church, 'twixt twelue, and one,
2395And in the lawfull name of marrying,
To giue our hearts vnited ceremony.
Host. Well, husband your deuice; Ile to the Vicar,
Bring you the Maid, you shall not lacke a Priest.
Fen. So shall I euermore be bound to thee;
2400Besides, Ile make a present recompence.

Actus Quintus. Scoena Prima.

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:
2405Away, 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 &
2410mince. How now M. Broome? Master Broome, the mat-
ter 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
2415me 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 hus-
band) hath the finest mad diuell of iealousie in him (Ma-
2420ster 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
2425(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
2430things in hand (M. Broome) follow.

Scena Secunda.

Enter Page, Shallow, Slender.

Page. Come, come: wee'll couch i'th Castle-ditch,
till we see the light of our Fairies. Remember son Slen-
2435der, 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.
2440Shal. 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 be-
come it wel: Heauen prosper our sport. No man means
2445euill but the deuill, and we shal know him by his hornes.
Lets away: follow me.

Scena Tertia.

Enter Mist. Page, Mist. Ford, Caius.

Mist. Page. Mr Doctor, my daughter is in green, when
2450you 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
2455reioyce so much at the abuse of Falstaffe, as he will chafe
at the Doctors marrying my daughter: But 'tis no mat-
ter; better a little chiding, then a great deale of heart-
Mist. Ford. Where is Nan now? and her troop of Fai-
2460ries? 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.
2465Mist. 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,
2470Those that betray them, do no treachery.
Mist. Ford. The houre drawes-on: to the Oake, to the

Scena Quarta.

Enter Euans and Fairies.

2475Euans. 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.

Scena Quinta.

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 Mi-
nute drawes-on: Now the hot-bloodied-Gods assist me:
2485Remember Ioue, thou was't a Bull for thy Europa, Loue
set on thy hornes. O powerfull Loue, that in some re-
spects makes a Beast a Man: in som other, a Man a beast.
You were also (Iupiter) a Swan, for the loue of Leda: O