Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

The Merry Wiues of Windsor.
giue me so much of your time in enchange of it, as to lay
an amiable siege to the honesty of this Fords wife: vse
your Art of wooing; win her to consent to you: if any
man may, you may as soone as any.
995Fal. Would it apply well to the vehemency of your
affection that I should win what you would enioy? Me-
thinkes you prescribe to your selfe very preposterously.
Ford. O, vnderstand my drift: she dwells so securely
on the excellency of her honor, that the folly of my soule
1000dares not present it selfe: shee is too bright to be look'd
against. Now, could I come to her with any detection
in my hand; my desires had instance and argument to
commend themselues, I could driue her then from the
ward of her purity, her reputation, her marriage-vow,
1005and a thousand other her defences, which now are too-
too strongly embattaild against me: what say you too't,
Sir Iohn?
Fal. Master Broome, I will first make bold with your
money: next, giue mee your hand: and last, as I am a
1010gentleman, you shall, if you will, enioy Fords wife.
Ford. O good Sir.
Fal. I say you shall.
Ford. Want no money (Sir Iohn) you shall want none.
Fal. Want no Mistresse Ford (Master Broome) you shall
1015want none: I shall be with her (I may tell you) by her
owne appointment, euen as you came in to me, her assi-
stant, or goe-betweene, parted from me: I say I shall be
with her betweene ten and eleuen: for at that time the
iealious-rascally-knaue her husband will be forth: come
1020you to me at night, you shall know how I speed.
Ford. I am blest in your acquaintance: do you know
Ford Sir?
Fal. Hang him (poore Cuckoldly knaue) I know
him not: yet I wrong him to call him poore: They say
1025the iealous wittolly-knaue hath masses of money, for
the which his wife seemes to me well-fauourd: I will vse
her as the key of the Cuckoldly-rogues Coffer, & ther's
my haruest-home.
Ford. I would you knew Ford, sir, that you might a-
1030uoid him, if you saw him.
Fal. Hang him, mechanicall-salt-butter rogue; I wil
stare him out of his wits: I will awe-him with my cud-
gell: it shall hang like a Meteor ore the Cuckolds horns:
Master Broome, thou shalt know, I will predominate o-
1035uer the pezant, and thou shalt lye with his wife. Come
to me soone at night: Ford's a knaue, and I will aggra-
uate his stile: thou (Master Broome) shalt know him for
knaue, and Cuckold. Come to me soone at night.
Ford. What a damn'd Epicurian-Rascall is this? my
1040heart is ready to cracke with impatience: who saies this
is improuident iealousie? my wife hath sent to him, the
howre is fixt, the match is made: would any man haue
thought this? see the hell of hauing a false woman: my
bed shall be abus'd, my Coffers ransack'd, my reputati-
1045on gnawne at, and I shall not onely receiue this villanous
wrong, but stand vnder the adoption of abhominable
termes, and by him that does mee this wrong: Termes,
names: Amaimon sounds well: Lucifer, well: Barbason,
well: yet they are Diuels additions, the names of fiends:
1050But Cuckold, Wittoll, Cuckold? the Diuell himselfe
hath not such a name. Page is an Asse, a secure Asse; hee
will trust his wife, hee will not be iealous: I will rather
trust a Fleming with my butter, Parson Hugh the Welsh-
man with my Cheese, an Irish-man with my Aqua-vitæ-
1055bottle, or a Theefe to walke my ambling gelding, then
my wife with her selfe. Then she plots, then shee rumi-
nates, then shee deuises: and what they thinke in their
hearts they may effect; they will breake their hearts but
they will effect. Heauen bee prais'd for my iealousie:
1060eleuen o'clocke the howre, I will preuent this, detect
my wife, bee reueng'd on Falstaffe, and laugh at Page. I
will about it, better three houres too soone, then a my-
nute too late: fie, fie, fie: Cuckold, Cuckold, Cuckold.

Scena Tertia.

Enter Caius, Rugby, Page, Shallow, Slender, Host.
Caius. Iacke Rugby.
Rug. Sir.
Caius. Vat is the clocke, Iack.
1070Rug. 'Tis past the howre (Sir) that Sir Hugh promis'd
to meet.
Cai. By gar, he has saue his soule, dat he is no-come:
hee has pray his Pible well, dat he is no-come: by gar
(Iack Rugby) he is dead already, if he be come.
1075Rug. Hee is wise Sir: hee knew your worship would
kill him if he came.
Cai. By gar, de herring is no dead, so as I vill kill
him: take your Rapier, (Iacke) I vill tell you how I vill
kill him.
1080Rug. Alas sir, I cannot fence.
Cai. Villanie, take your Rapier.
Rug. Forbeare: heer's company.
Host. 'Blesse thee, bully-Doctor.
Shal. 'Saue you Mr. Doctor Caius.
1085Page. Now good Mr. Doctor.
Slen. 'Giue you good-morrow, sir.
Caius. Vat be all you one, two, tree, fowre, come for?
Host. To see thee fight, to see thee foigne, to see thee
trauerse, to see thee heere, to see thee there, to see thee
1090passe thy puncto, thy stock, thy reuerse, thy distance, thy
montant: Is he dead, my Ethiopian? Is he dead, my Fran-
cisco? ha Bully? what saies my Esculapius? my Galien? my
heart of Elder? ha? is he dead bully-Stale? is he dead?
Cai. By gar, he is de Coward-Iack-Priest of de vorld:
1095he is not show his face.
Host. Thou art a Castalion-king-Vrinall: Hector of
Greece (my Boy)
Cai. I pray you beare witnesse, that me haue stay,
sixe or seuen, two tree howres for him, and hee is no-
Shal. He is the wiser man (M. Docto)rhe is a curer of
soules, and you a curer of bodies: if you should fight, you
goe against the haire of your professions: is it not true,
Master Page?
1105Page. Master Shallow; you haue your selfe beene a
great fighter, though now a man of peace.
Shal. Body-kins M. Page, though I now be old, and
of the peace; if I see a sword out, my finger itches to
make one: though wee are Iustices, and Doctors, and
1110Church-men (M. Page) wee haue some salt of our youth
in vs, we are the sons of women (M. Page.)
Page. 'Tis true, Mr. Shallow.
Shal. It wil be found so, (M. Page:) M. Doctor Caius,
I am come to fetch you home: I am sworn of the peace:
1115you haue show'd your selfe a wise Physician, and Sir
Hugh hath showne himselfe a wise and patient Church-
man: you must goe with me, M. Doctor.
Host. Par-