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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
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    The Merry Wives of Windsor (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Merry Wiues of Windsor.
    her selfe, I had other things to haue spoken with her
    too, from him.
    2260Fal. What are they? let vs know.
    Host. I: come: quicke.
    Fal. I may not conceale them (Sir.)
    Host. Conceale them, or thou di'st.
    Sim. Why sir, they were nothing but about Mistris
    2265Anne Page, to know if it were my Masters fortune to
    haue her, or no.
    Fal. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.
    Sim. What Sir?
    Fal. To haue her, or no: goe; say the woman told
    2270me so.
    Sim. May I be bold to say so Sir?
    Fal. I Sir: like who more bold.
    Sim. I thanke your worship: I shall make my Master
    glad with these tydings.
    2275Host. Thou are clearkly: thou art clearkly (Sir Iohn)
    was there a wise woman with thee?
    Fal. I that there was (mine Host) one that hath taught
    me more wit, then euer I learn'd before in my life: and
    I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my lear-
    Bar. Out alas (Sir) cozonage: meere cozonage.
    Host. Where be my horses? speake well of them var-
    Bar. Run away with the cozoners: for so soone as
    2285I came beyond Eaton, they threw me off, from behinde
    one of them, in a slough of myre; and set spurres, and
    away; like three Germane-diuels; three Doctor Fau-
    Host. They are gone but to meete the Duke (villaine)
    2290doe not say they be fled: Germanes are honest men.
    Euan. Where is mine Host?
    Host. What is the matter Sir?
    Euan. Haue a care of your entertainments: there is a
    friend of mine come to Towne, tels mee there is three
    2295Cozen-Iermans, that has cozend all the Hosts of Readins,
    of Maidenhead; of Cole-brooke, of horses and money: I
    tell you for good will (looke you) you are wise, and full
    of gibes, and vlouting-stocks: and 'tis not conuenient
    you should be cozoned. Fare you well.
    2300Cai. Ver' is mine Host de Iarteere?
    Host. Here (Master Doctor) in perplexitie, and doubt-
    full delemma.
    Cai. I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a-me, dat
    you make grand preparation for a Duke de Iamanie: by
    2305my trot: der is no Duke that the Court is know, to
    come: I tell you for good will: adieu.
    Host. Huy and cry, (villaine) goe: assist me Knight, I
    am vndone: fly, run: huy, and cry (villaine) I am vn-
    2310Fal. I would all the world might be cozond, for I
    haue beene cozond and beaten too: if it should come
    to the eare of the Court, how I haue beene transformed;
    and how my transformation hath beene washd, and
    cudgeld, they would melt mee out of my fat drop by
    2315drop, and liquor Fishermens-boots with me: I warrant
    they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as
    crest-falne as a dride-peare: I neuer prosper'd, since I
    forswore my selfe at Primero: well, if my winde were
    but long enough; I would repent: Now? Whence come
    Qui. From the two parties forsooth.
    Fal. The Diuell take one partie, and his Dam the
    other: and so they shall be both bestowed; I haue suf-
    fer'd more for their sakes; more then the villanous in-
    2325constancy of mans disposition is able to beare.
    Qui. And haue not they suffer'd? Yes, I warrant; spe-
    ciously one of them; Mistris Ford (good heart) is beaten
    blacke and blew, that you cannot see a white spot about
    2330Fal. What tell'st thou mee of blacke, and blew? I
    was beaten my selfe into all the colours of the Raine-
    bow: and I was like to be apprehended for the Witch
    of Braineford, but that my admirable dexteritie of wit,
    my counterfeiting the action of an old woman deliuer'd
    2335me, the knaue Constable had set me ith' Stocks, ith' com-
    mon Stocks, for a Witch.
    Qu, Sir: let me speake with you in your Chamber,
    you shall heare how things goe, and (I warrant) to your
    content: here is a Letter will say somewhat: (good-
    2340hearts) what a-doe here is to bring you together? Sure,
    one of you do's not serue heauen well, that you are so
    Fal. Come vp into my Chamber.

    Scena Sexta.

    Enter Fenton, Host.
    Host. Master Fenton, talke not to mee, my minde is
    heauy: I will giue ouer all.
    Fen. Yet heare me speake: assist me in my purpose,
    And (as I am a gentleman) ile giue thee
    2350A hundred pound in gold, more then your losse.
    Host. I will heare you (Master Fenton) and I will (at
    the least) keepe your counsell.
    Fen. From time to time, I haue acquainted you
    With the deare loue I beare to faire Anne Page,
    2355Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection,
    (So farre forth, as her selfe might be her chooser)
    Euen to my wish; I haue a letter from her
    Of such contents, as you will wonder at;
    The mirth whereof, so larded with my matter,
    2360That neither (singly) can be manifested
    Without the shew of both: fat Falstaffe
    Hath a great Scene; the image of the iest
    Ile show you here at large (harke good mine Host:)
    To night at Hernes-Oke, iust 'twixt twelue and one,
    2365Must my sweet Nan present the Faerie-Queene:
    The purpose why, is here: in which disguise
    VVhile other Iests are something ranke on foote,
    Her father hath commanded her to slip
    Away with Slender, and with him, at Eaton
    2370Immediately to Marry: She hath consented: Now Sir,
    Her Mother, (euen strong against that match
    And firme for Doctor Caius) hath appointed
    That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
    While other sports are tasking of their mindes,
    2375And at the Deanry, where a Priest attends
    Strait marry her: to this her Mothers plot
    She seemingly obedient) likewise hath
    Made promise to the Doctor: Now, thus it rests,
    Her Father meanes she shall be all in white;
    2380And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
    To take her by the hand, and bid her goe,
    She shall goe with him: her Mother hath intended
    (The better to deuote her to the Doctor;
    For they must all be mask'd, and vizarded)