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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The Merry Wiues of Windsor.
    Ford. A Buck-basket?
    Fal. Yes: a Buck-basket: ram'd mee in with foule
    Shirts and Smockes, Socks, foule Stockings, greasie
    Napkins, that (Master Broome) there was the rankest
    1760compound of villanous smell, that euer offended no-
    Ford. And how long lay you there?
    Fal. Nay, you shall heare (Master Broome) what I
    haue sufferd, to bring this woman to euill, for your
    1765good: Being thus cram'd in the Basket, a couple of
    Fords knaues, his Hindes, were cald forth by their Mi-
    stris, to carry mee in the name of foule Cloathes to
    Datchet-lane: they tooke me on their shoulders: met
    the iealous knaue their Master in the doore; who
    1770ask'd them once or twice what they had in their Bas-
    ket? I quak'd for feare least the Lunatique Knaue
    would haue search'd it: but Fate (ordaining he should
    be a Cuckold) held his hand: well, on went hee, for
    a search, and away went I for foule Cloathes: But
    1775marke the sequell (Master Broome) I suffered the pangs
    of three seuerall deaths: First, an intollerable fright,
    to be detected with a iealious rotten Bell-weather:
    Next to be compass'd like a good Bilbo in the circum-
    ference of a Pecke, hilt to point, heele to head. And
    1780then to be stopt in like a strong distillation with stink-
    ing Cloathes, that fretted in their owne grease:
    thinke of that, a man of my Kidney; thinke of that,
    that am as subiect to heate as butter; a man of conti-
    nuall dissolution, and thaw: it was a miracle to scape
    1785suffocation. And in the height of this Bath (when I
    was more then halfe stew'd in grease (like a Dutch-
    dish) to be throwne into the Thames, and
    coold, glowing-hot, in that serge like a Horse-
    shoo; thinke of that; hissing hot: thinke of that (Master
    Ford. In good sadnesse Sir, I am sorry, that for my sake
    you haue sufferd all this.
    My suite then is desperate: You'll vndertake her no
    1795Fal. Master Broome: I will be throwne into Etna,
    as I haue beene into Thames, ere I will leaue her thus;
    her Husband is this morning gone a Birding: I
    haue receiued from her another ambassie of mee-
    ting: 'twixt eight and nine is the houre (Master
    Ford. 'Tis past eight already Sir.
    Fal. Is it? I will then addresse mee to my appoint-
    ment: Come to mee at your conuenient leisure, and
    you shall know how I speede: and the conclusion
    1805shall be crowned with your enioying her: adiew: you
    shall haue her (Master Broome) Master Broome, you shall
    cuckold Ford.
    Ford. Hum: ha? Is this a vision? Is this a dreame?
    doe I sleepe? Master Ford awake, awake Master Ford:
    1810ther's a hole made in your best coate (Master Ford:) this
    'tis to be married; this 'tis to haue Lynnen, and Buck-
    baskets: Well, I will proclaime my selfe what I am:
    I will now take the Leacher: hee is at my house: hee
    cannot scape me: 'tis impossible hee should: hee can-
    1815not creepe into a halfe-penny purse, nor into a Pepper-
    Boxe: But least the Diuell that guides him, should
    aide him, I will search impossible places: though
    what I am, I cannot auoide; yet to be what I would
    not, shall not make me tame: If I haue hornes, to make
    1820one mad, let the prouerbe goe with me, Ile be horne-
    mad. Exeunt.

    Actus Quartus. Scoena Prima.

    Enter Mistris Page, Quickly, William, Euans.
    Mist. Pag. Is he at M. Fords already think'st thou?
    1825Qui. Sure he is by this; or will be presently; but
    truely he is very couragious mad, about his throwing
    into the water. Mistris Ford desires you to come so-
    Mist. Pag. Ile be with her by and by: Ile but bring
    1830my yong-man here to Schoole: looke where his Master
    comes; 'tis a playing day I see: how now Sir Hugh, no
    Schoole to day?
    Eua. No: Master Slender is let the Boyes leaue to play.
    Qui 'Blessing of his heart.
    1835Mist. Pag. Sir Hugh, my husband saies my sonne pro-
    fits nothing in the world at his Booke: I pray you aske
    him some questions in his Accidence.
    Eu. Come hither William; hold vp your head; come.
    Mist. Pag. Come-on Sirha; hold vp your head; an-
    1840swere your Master, be not afraid.
    Eua. William, how many Numbers is in Nownes?
    Will. Two.
    Qui. Truely, I thought there had bin one Number
    more, because they say od's-Nownes.
    1845Eua. Peace, your tatlings. What is (Faire) William?
    Will. Pulcher.
    Qu. Powlcats? there are fairer things then Powlcats,
    Eua. You are a very simplicity o'man: I pray you
    1850peace. What is (Lapis) William?
    Will. A Stone.
    Eua. And what is a Stone (William?)
    Will. A Peeble.
    Eua. No; it is Lapis: I pray you remember in your
    Will. Lapis.
    Eua. That is a good William: what is he (William) that
    do's lend Articles.
    Will. Articles are borrowed of the Pronoune; and be
    1860thus declined. Singulariter nominatiuo hic haec, hoc.
    Eua. Nominatiuo hig, hag, hog: pray you marke: geni-
    tiuo huius: Well: what is your Accusatiue-case?
    Will. Accusatiuo hinc.
    Eua. I pray you haue your remembrance (childe) Ac-
    1865cusatiuo hing, hang, hog.
    Qu. Hang-hog, is latten for Bacon, I warrant you.
    Eua. Leaue your prables (o'man) What is the Foca-
    tiue case (William?)
    Will. O, Vocatiuo, O.
    1870Eua. Remember William, Focatiue, is caret.
    Qu. And that's a good roote.
    Eua. O'man, forbeare.
    Mist. Pag. Peace.
    Eua. What is your Genitiue case plurall (William?)
    1875Will. Genitiue case?
    Eua. I.
    Will. Genitiue horum, harum, horum.
    Qu. 'Vengeance of Ginyes case; fie on her; neuer
    name her (childe) if she be a whore.
    1880Eua. For shame o'man.
    Qu. You doe ill to teach the childe such words: hee
    teaches him to hic, and to hac; which they'll doe fast
    enough of themselues, and to call horum; fie vpon you.
    Eua. 'Oman