What do you like about the ISE? What could we do better? Please tell us in this 10-minute survey!

Start Survey

Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in

About this text

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    2385That quaint in greene, she shall be loose en-roab'd,
    With Ribonds-pendant, flaring 'bout her head;
    And when the Doctor spies his vantage ripe,
    To pinch her by the hand, and on that token,
    The maid hath giuen consent to go with him.
    2390Host. Which meanes she to deceiue? Father, or Mo-
    Fen. Both (my good Host) to go along with me:
    And heere it rests, that you'l procure the Vicar
    To stay for me at Church, 'twixt twelue, and one,
    2395And in the lawfull name of marrying,
    To giue our hearts vnited ceremony.
    Host. Well, husband your deuice; Ile to the Vicar,
    Bring you the Maid, you shall not lacke a Priest.
    Fen. So shall I euermore be bound to thee;
    2400Besides, Ile make a present recompence. Exeunt

    Actus Quintus. Scoena Prima.

    Enter Falstoffe, Quickly, and Ford.

    Fal. Pre'thee no more pratling: go, Ile hold, this is
    the third time: I hope good lucke lies in odde numbers:
    2405Away, go, they say there is Diuinity in odde Numbers,
    either in natiuity, chance, or death: away.
    Qui. Ile prouide you a chaine, and Ile do what I can
    to get you a paire of hornes.
    Fall. Away I say, time weares, hold vp your head &
    2410mince. How now M. Broome? Master Broome, the mat-
    ter will be knowne to night, or neuer. Bee you in the
    Parke about midnight, at Hernes-Oake, and you shall
    see wonders.
    Ford. Went you not to her yesterday (Sir) as you told
    2415me you had appointed?
    Fal. I went to her (Master Broome) as you see, like a
    poore-old-man, but I came from her (Master Broome)
    like a poore-old-woman; that same knaue (Ford hir hus-
    band) hath the finest mad diuell of iealousie in him (Ma-
    2420ster Broome) that euer gouern'd Frensie. I will tell you,
    he beate me greeuously, in the shape of a woman: (for in
    the shape of Man (Master Broome) I feare not Goliah
    with a Weauers beame, because I know also, life is a
    Shuttle) I am in hast, go along with mee, Ile tell you all
    2425(Master Broome:) since I pluckt Geese, plaide Trewant,
    and whipt Top, I knew not what 'twas to be beaten, till
    lately. Follow mee, Ile tell you strange things of this
    knaue Ford, on whom to night I will be reuenged, and I
    will deliuer his wife into your hand. Follow, straunge
    2430things in hand (M. Broome) follow. Exeunt.

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter Page, Shallow, Slender.

    Page. Come, come: wee'll couch i'th Castle-ditch,
    till we see the light of our Fairies. Remember son Slen-
    2435der, my
    Slen. I forsooth, I haue spoke with her, & we haue
    a nay-word, how to know one another. I come to her
    in white, and cry Mum; she cries Budget, and by that
    we know one another.
    2440Shal. That's good too: But what needes either your
    Mum, or her Budget? The white will decipher her well
    enough. It hath strooke ten a'clocke.
    Page. The night is darke, Light and Spirits will be-
    come it wel: Heauen prosper our sport. No man means
    2445euill but the deuill, and we shal know him by his hornes.
    Lets away: follow me. Exeunt.

    Scena Tertia.

    Enter Mist. Page, Mist. Ford, Caius.

    Mist. Page. Mr Doctor, my daughter is in green, when
    2450you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her
    to the Deanerie, and dispatch it quickly: go before into
    the Parke: we two must go together.
    Cai. I know vat I haue to do, adieu.
    Mist. Page. Fare you well (Sir:) my husband will not
    2455reioyce so much at the abuse of Falstaffe, as he will chafe
    at the Doctors marrying my daughter: But 'tis no mat-
    ter; better a little chiding, then a great deale of heart-
    Mist. Ford. Where is Nan now? and her troop of Fai-
    2460ries? and the Welch-deuill Herne?
    Mist. Page. They are all couch'd in a pit hard by Hernes
    Oake, with obscur'd Lights; which at the very instant
    of Falstaffes and our meeting, they will at once display to
    the night.
    2465Mist. Ford. That cannot choose but amaze him.
    Mist. Page. If he be not amaz'd he will be mock'd: If
    he be amaz'd, he will euery way be mock'd.
    Mist. Ford. Wee'll betray him finely.
    Mist. Page. Against such Lewdsters, and their lechery,
    2470Those that betray them, do no treachery.
    Mist. Ford. The houre drawes-on: to the Oake, to the
    Oake. Exeunt.

    Scena Quarta.

    Enter Euans and Fairies.

    2475Euans. Trib, trib Fairies: Come, and remember your
    parts: be pold (I pray you) follow me into the pit, and
    when I giue the watch-'ords, do as I pid you: Come,
    come, trib, trib. Exeunt

    Scena Quinta.

    2480Enter Falstaffe, Mistris Page, Mistris Ford, Euans,
    Anne Page, Fairies, Page, Ford, Quickly,
    Slender, Fenton, Caius, Pistoll.
    Fal. The Windsor-bell hath stroke twelue: the Mi-
    nute drawes-on: Now the hot-bloodied-Gods assist me:
    2485Remember Ioue, thou was't a Bull for thy Europa, Loue
    set on thy hornes. O powerfull Loue, that in some re-
    spects makes a Beast a Man: in som other, a Man a beast.
    You were also (Iupiter) a Swan, for the loue of Leda: O