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  • Title: The Merry Wives of Windsor (Folio 1, 1623)

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Merry Wives of Windsor (Folio 1, 1623)

    Cai. I, dat is very good, excellant.
    1245Host. Peace, I say: heare mine Host of the Garter,
    Am I politicke? Am I subtle? Am I a Machiuell?
    Shall I loose my Doctor? No, hee giues me the Potions
    and the Motions. Shall I loose my Parson? my Priest?
    my Sir Hugh? No, he giues me the Prouerbes, and the
    1250No-verbes. Giue me thy hand (Celestiall) so: Boyes of
    Art, I haue deceiu'd you both: I haue directed you to
    wrong places: your hearts are mighty, your skinnes are
    whole, and let burn'd Sacke be the issue: Come, lay their
    swords to pawne: Follow me, Lad of peace, follow, fol-
    1255low, follow.
    Shal. Trust me, a mad Host: follow Gentlemen, fol-
    Slen. O sweet Anne Page.
    Cai. Ha' do I perceiue dat? Haue you make-a-de-sot
    1260of vs, ha, ha?
    Eua. This is well, he has made vs his vlowting-stog:
    I desire you that we may be friends: and let vs knog our
    praines together to be reuenge on this same scall scur-
    uy-cogging-companion the Host of the Garter.
    1265Cai. By gar, with all my heart: he promise to bring
    me where is Anne Page: by gar he deceiue me too.
    Euan. Well, I will smite his noddles: pray you follow.

    Scena Secunda.

    Mist. Page, Robin, Ford, Page, Shallow, Slender, Host,
    1270Euans, Caius.
    Mist. Page. Nay keepe your way (little Gallant) you
    were wont to be a follower, but now you are a Leader:
    whether had you rather lead mine eyes, or eye your ma-
    sters heeles?
    1275Rob. I had rather (forsooth) go before you like a man,
    then follow him like a dwarfe.
    M. Pa. O you are a flattering boy, now I see you'l be a (Courtier.
    Ford. Well met mistris Page, whether go you.
    1280M. Pa. Truly Sir, to see your wife, is she at home?
    Ford. I, and as idle as she may hang together for want
    of company: I thinke if your husbands were dead, you
    two would marry.
    M. Pa. Be sure of that, two other husbands.
    1285Ford. Where had you this pretty weather-cocke?
    M. Pa. I cannot tell what (the dickens) his name is my
    husband had him of, what do you cal your Knights name (sirrah?
    Rob. Sir Iohn Falstaffe.
    Ford. Sir Iohn Falstaffe.
    1290M. Pa. He, he, I can neuer hit on's name; there is such a
    league betweene my goodman, and he: is your Wife at (home indeed?
    Ford. Indeed she is.
    M. Pa. By your leaue sir, I am sicke till I see her.
    Ford. Has Page any braines? Hath he any eies? Hath he
    1295any thinking? Sure they sleepe, he hath no vse of them:
    why this boy will carrie a letter twentie mile as easie, as
    a Canon will shoot point-blanke twelue score: hee pee-
    ces out his wiues inclination: he giues her folly motion
    and aduantage: and now she's going to my wife, & Fal-
    1300staffes boy with her: A man may heare this showre sing
    in the winde; and Falstaffes boy with her: good plots,
    they are laide, and our reuolted wiues share damnation
    together. Well, I will take him, then torture my wife,
    plucke the borrowed vaile of modestie from the so-see-
    1305ming Mist. Page, divulge Page himselfe for a secure and
    wilfull Acteon, and to these violent proceedings all my
    neighbors shall cry aime. The clocke giues me my Qu,
    and my assurance bids me search, there I shall finde Fal-
    staffe: I shall be rather praisd for this, then mock'd, for
    1310it is as possitiue, as the earth is firme, that Falstaffe is
    there: I will go.
    Shal. Page, &c. Well met Mr Ford.
    Ford. Trust me, a good knotte; I haue good cheere at
    home, and I pray you all go with me.
    1315Shal. I must excuse my selfe Mr Ford.
    Slen. And so must I Sir,
    We haue appointed to dine with Mistris Anne,
    And I would not breake with her for more mony
    Then Ile speake of.
    1320Shal. We haue linger'd about a match betweene An
    Page, and my cozen Slender, and this day wee shall haue
    our answer.
    Slen. I hope I haue your good will Father Page.
    Pag. You haue Mr Slender, I stand wholly for you,
    1325But my wife (Mr Doctor) is for you altogether.
    Cai. I be-gar, and de Maid is loue-a-me: my nursh-a-Quickly
    tell me so mush.
    Host. What say you to yong Mr Fenton? He capers,
    he dances, he has eies of youth: he writes verses, hee
    1330speakes holliday, he smels April and May, he wil carry't,
    he will carry't, 'tis in his buttons, he will carry't.
    Page. Not by my consent I promise you. The Gentle-
    man is of no hauing, hee kept companie with the wilde
    Prince, and Pointz: he is of too high a Region, he knows
    1335too much: no, hee shall not knit a knot in his fortunes,
    with the finger of my substance: if he take her, let him
    take her simply: the wealth I haue waits on my consent,
    and my consent goes not that way.
    Ford. I beseech you heartily, some of you goe home
    1340with me to dinner: besides your cheere you shall haue
    sport, I will shew you a monster: Mr Doctor, you shal
    go, so shall you Mr Page, and you Sir Hugh.
    Shal. Well, fare you well:
    We shall haue the freer woing at Mr Pages.
    1345Cai. Go home Iohn Rugby, I come anon.
    Host. Farewell my hearts, I will to my honest Knight
    Falstaffe, and drinke Canarie with him.
    Ford. I thinke I shall drinke in Pipe-wine first with
    him, Ile make him dance. Will you go, Gentles?
    1350All. Haue with you, to see this Monster. Exeunt

    Scena Tertia.
    Enter M. Ford, M. Page, Seruants, Robin, Falstaffe,
    Ford, Page, Caius, Euans.
    Mist. Ford. What Iohn, what Robert.
    1355M. Page. Quickly, quickly: Is the Buck-basket ---
    Mis. Ford. I warrant. What Robin I say.
    Mis. Page. Come, come, come.
    Mist. Ford. Heere, set it downe.
    M. Pag. Giue your men the charge, we must be briefe.
    1360M. Ford. Marrie, as I told you before (Iohn & Robert)
    be ready here hard-by in the Brew-house, & when I so-
    dainly call you, come forth, and (without any pause, or
    staggering) take this basket on your shoulders: yt done,
    trudge with it in all hast, and carry it among the Whit-
    1365sters in Dotchet Mead, and there empty it in the muddie
    ditch, close by the Thames side.
    M. Page. You will do it?
    M. Ford. I ha told them ouer and ouer, they lacke no (direction.