Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merry Wives of Windsor (Folio 1, 1623)

The Merry Wiues of Windsor.
735Ford. Good mine Host o'th' Garter: a word with you.
Host. What saist thou, my Bully-Rooke?
Shal. Will you goe with vs to behold it? My merry
Host hath had the measuring of their weapons; and (I
thinke) hath appointed them contrary places: for (be-
740leeue mee) I heare the Parson is no Iester: harke, I will
tell you what our sport shall be.
Host. Hast thou no suit against my Knight? my guest-
Shal. None, I protest: but Ile giue you a pottle of
745burn'd sacke, to giue me recourse to him, and tell him
my name is Broome: onely for a iest.
Host. My hand, (Bully:) thou shalt haue egresse and
regresse, (said I well?) and thy name shall be Broome. It
is a merry Knight: will you goe An-heires?
750Shal. Haue with you mine Host.
Page. I haue heard the French-man hath good skill
in his Rapier.
Shal. Tut sir: I could haue told you more: In these
times you stand on distance: your Passes, Stoccado's, and
755I know not what: 'tis the heart (Master Page) 'tis heere,
'tis heere: I haue seene the time, with my long-sword, I
would haue made you fowre tall fellowes skippe like
Host. Heere boyes, heere, heere: shall we wag?
760Page. Haue with you: I had rather heare them scold,
then fight.
Ford. Though Page be a secure foole, and stands so
firmely on his wiues frailty; yet, I cannot put-off my o-
pinion so easily: she was in his company at Pages house:
765and what they made there, I know not. Well, I wil looke
further into't, and I haue a disguise, to sound Falstaffe; if
I finde her honest, I loose not my labor: if she be other-
wise, 'tis labour well bestowed.

Scoena Secunda.

Enter Falstaffe, Pistoll, Robin, Quickly, Bardolffe,

Fal. I will not lend thee a penny.
Pist. Why then the world's mine Oyster, which I,
with sword will open.
775Fal. Not a penny: I haue beene content (Sir,) you
should lay my countenance to pawne: I haue grated vp-
on my good friends for three Repreeues for you, and
your Coach-fellow Nim; or else you had look'd through
the grate, like a Geminy of Baboones: I am damn'd in
780hell, for swearing to Gentlemen my friends, you were
good Souldiers, and tall-fellowes. And when Mistresse
Briget lost the handle of her Fan, I took't vpon mine ho-
nour thou hadst it not.
Pist. Didst not thou share? hadst thou not fifteene
Fal. Reason, you roague, reason: thinkst thou Ile en-
danger my soule, gratis? at a word, hang no more about
mee, I am no gibbet for you: goe, a short knife, and a
throng, to your Mannor of Pickt-hatch: goe, you'll not
790beare a Letter for mee you roague? you stand vpon your
honor: why, (thou vnconfinable basenesse) it is as much
as I can doe to keepe the termes of my honor precise:
I, I, I my selfe sometimes, leauing the feare of heauen on
the left hand, and hiding mine honor in my necessity, am
795faine to shufflle: to hedge, and to lurch, and yet, you
Rogue, will en-sconce your raggs; your Cat-a-Moun-
taine-lookes, your red-lattice phrases, and your bold-
beating-oathes, vnder the shelter of your honor? you
will not doe it? you?
800Pist. I doe relent: what would thou more of man?
Robin. Sir, here's a woman would speake with you.
Fal. Let her approach.
Qui. Giue your worship good morrow.
Fal. Good-morrow, good-wife.
805Qui. Not so and't please your worship.
Fal. Good maid then.
Qui. Ile be sworne,
As my mother was the first houre I was borne.
Fal. I doe beleeue the swearer; what with me?
810Qui. Shall I vouch-safe your worship a word, or
Fal. Two thousand (faire woman) and ile vouchsafe
thee the hearing.
Qui. There is one Mistresse Ford, (Sir) I pray come a
815little neerer this waies: I my selfe dwell with M. Doctor
Fal. Well, on; Mistresse Ford, you say.
Qui. Your worship saies very true: I pray your wor-
ship come a little neerer this waies.
820Fal. I warrant thee, no-bodie heares: mine owne
people, mine owne people.
Qui. Are they so? heauen-blesse them, and make
them his Seruants.
Fal. Well; Mistresse Ford, what of her?
825Qui. Why, Sir; shee's a good-creature; Lord, Lord,
your Worship's a wanton: well: heauen forgiue you,
and all of vs, I pray ---.
Fal. Mistresse Ford: come, Mistresse Ford.
Qui. Marry this is the short, and the long of it: you
830haue brought her into such a Canaries, as 'tis wonder-
full: the best Courtier of them all (when the Court lay
at Windsor) could neuer haue brought her to such a Ca-
narie: yet there has beene Knights, and Lords, and Gen-
tlemen, with their Coaches; I warrant you Coach after
835Coach, letter after letter, gift after gift, smelling so sweet-
ly; all Muske, and so rushling, I warrant you, in silke
and golde, and in such alligant termes, and in such wine
and suger of the best, and the fairest, that would haue
wonne any womans heart: and I warrant you, they could
840neuer get an eye-winke of her: I had my selfe twentie
Angels giuen me this morning, but I defie all Angels (in
any such sort, as they say) but in the way of honesty: and
I warrant you, they could neuer get her so much as sippe
on a cup with the prowdest of them all, and yet there has
845beene Earles: nay, (which is more) Pentioners, but I
warrant you all is one with her.
Fal. But what saies shee to mee? be briefe my good
Qui. Marry, she hath receiu'd your Letter: for the
850which she thankes you a thousand times; and she giues
you to notifie, that her husband will be absence from his
house, betweene ten and eleuen.
Fal. Ten, and eleuen.
Qui. I, forsooth: and then you may come and see the
855picture (she sayes) that you wot of: Master Ford her hus-
band will be from home: alas, the sweet woman leades
an ill life with him: hee's a very iealousie-man; she leads
a very frampold life with him, (good hart.)
Fal. Ten, and eleuen.