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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    2010nest cloathes you send forth to bleaching.
    Page. Why, this passes M. Ford: you are not to goe
    loose any longer, you must be pinnion'd.
    Euans. Why, this is Lunaticks: this is madde, as a
    mad dogge.
    2015Shall. Indeed M. Ford, thi is not well indeed.
    Ford. So say I too Sir, come hither Mistris Ford, Mi-
    stris Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the vertu-
    ous creature, that hath the iealious foole to her husband:
    I suspect without cause (Mistris) do I?
    2020Mist. Ford. Heauen be my witnesse you doe, if you
    suspect me in any dishonesty.
    Ford. Well said Brazon-face, hold it out: Come forth
    Page. This passes.
    2025Mist. Ford. Are you not asham'd, let the cloths alone.
    Ford. I shall finde you anon.
    Eua. 'Tis vnreasonable; will you take vp your wiues
    cloathes? Come, away.
    Ford. Empty the basket I say.
    2030M. Ford. Why man, why?
    Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one con-
    uay'd out of my house yesterday in this basket: why
    may not he be there againe, in my house I am sure he is:
    my Intelligence is true, my iealousie is reasonable, pluck
    2035me out all the linnen.
    Mist. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall dye a Fleas
    Page. Heer's no man.
    Shal. By my fidelity this is not well Mr. Ford: This
    2040wrongs you.
    Euans. Mr Ford, you must pray, and not follow the
    imaginations of your owne heart: this is iealousies.
    Ford. Well, hee's not heere I seeke for.
    Page. No, nor no where else but in your braine.
    2045Ford. Helpe to search my house this one time: if I find
    not what I seeke, shew no colour for my extremity: Let
    me for euer be your Table-sport: Let them say of me, as
    iealous as Ford, that search'd a hollow Wall-nut for his
    wiues Lemman. Satisfie me once more, once more serch
    2050with me.
    M. Ford. What hoa (Mistris Page,) come you and
    the old woman downe: my husband will come into the
    Ford. Old woman? what old womans that?
    2055M. Ford. Why it is my maids Aunt of Brainford.
    Ford. A witch, a Queane, an olde couzening queane:
    Haue I not forbid her my house. She comes of errands
    do's she? We are simple men, wee doe not know what's
    brought to passe vnder the profession of Fortune-telling.
    2060She workes by Charmes, by Spels, by th'Figure, & such
    dawbry as this is, beyond our Element: wee know no-
    thing. Come downe you Witch, you Hagge you, come
    downe I say.
    Mist. Ford. Nay, good sweet husband, good Gentle-
    2065men, let him strike the old woman.
    Mist. Page. Come mother Prat, Come giue me your
    Ford. Ile Prat-her: Out of my doore, you Witch,
    you Ragge, you Baggage, you Poulcat, you Runnion,
    2070out, out: Ile coniure you, Ile fortune-tell you.
    Mist. Page. Are you not asham'd?
    I thinke you haue kill'd the poore woman.
    Mist. Ford. Nay he will do it, 'tis a goodly credite
    for you.
    2075Ford. Hang her witch.
    Eua. By yea, and no, I thinke the o'man is a witch in-
    deede: I like not when a o'man has a great peard; I spie
    a great peard vnder his muffler.
    Ford. Will you follow Gentlemen, I beseech you fol-
    2080low: see but the issue of my iealousie: If I cry out thus
    vpon no traile, neuer trust me when I open againe.
    Page. Let's obey his humour a little further:
    Come Gentlemen.
    Mist. Page. Trust me he beate him most pittifully.
    2085Mist. Ford. Nay by th'Masse that he did not: he beate
    him most vnpittifully, me thought.
    Mist. Page. Ile haue the cudgell hallow'd, and hung
    ore the Altar, it hath done meritorious seruice.
    Mist. Ford. What thinke you? May we with the war-
    2090rant of woman-hood, and the witnesse of a good consci-
    ence, pursue him with any further reuenge?
    M. Page. The spirit of wantonnesse is sure scar'd out
    of him, if the diuell haue him not in fee-simple, with
    fine and recouery, he will neuer (I thinke) in the way of
    2095waste, attempt vs againe.
    Mist. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how wee haue
    seru'd him?
    Mist. Page. Yes, by all meanes: if it be but to scrape
    the figures out of your husbands braines: if they can find
    2100in their hearts, the poore vnuertuous fat Knight shall be
    any further afflicted, wee two will still bee the mini-
    Mist. Ford. Ile warrant, they'l haue him publiquely
    sham'd, and me thinkes there would be no period to the
    2105iest, should he not be publikely sham'd.
    Mist. Page. Come, to the Forge with it, then shape it:
    I would not haue things coole. Exeunt

    Scena Tertia.

    Enter Host and Bardolfe.
    2110Bar. Sir, the Germane desires to haue three of your
    horses: the Duke himselfe will be to morrow at Court,
    and they are going to meet him.
    Host. What Duke should that be comes so secretly?
    I heare not of him in the Court: let mee speake with the
    2115Gentlemen, they speake English?
    Bar. I Sir? Ile call him to you.
    Host. They shall haue my horses, but Ile make them
    pay: Ile sauce them, they haue had my houses a week at
    commaund: I haue turn'd away my other guests, they
    2120must come off, Ile sawce them, come. Exeunt

    Scena Quarta.

    Enter Page, Ford, Mistris Page, Mistris
    Ford, and Euans.
    Eua. 'Tis one of the best discretions of a o'man as e-
    2125uer I did looke vpon.
    Page. And did he send you both these Letters at an
    Mist. Page. VVithin a quarter of an houre.
    Ford. Pardon me (wife) henceforth do what yu wilt:
    2130I rather will suspect the Sunne with gold,
    Then thee with wantonnes: Now doth thy honor stand