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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    omnipotent Loue, how nere the God drew to the com-
    2490plexion of a Goose: a fault done first in the forme of a
    beast, (O Ioue, a beastly fault:) and then another fault,
    in the semblance of a Fowle, thinke on't (Ioue) a fowle-fault.
    When Gods haue hot backes, what shall poore
    men do? For me, I am heere a Windsor Stagge, and the
    2495fattest (I thinke) i'th Forrest. Send me a coole rut-time
    (Ioue) or who can blame me to pisse my Tallow? Who
    comes heere? my Doe?
    M. Ford. Sir Iohn? Art thou there (my Deere?)
    My male-Deere?
    2500Fal. My Doe, with the blacke Scut? Let the skie
    raine Potatoes: let it thunder, to the tune of Greene-
    sleeues, haile-kissing Comfits, and snow Eringoes: Let
    there come a tempest of prouocation, I will shelter mee
    2505M. Ford. Mistris Page is come with me (sweet hart.)
    Fal. Diuide me like a brib'd-Bucke, each a Haunch:
    I will keepe my sides to my selfe, my shoulders for the
    fellow of this walke; and my hornes I bequeath your
    husbands. Am I a Woodman, ha? Speake I like Herne
    2510the Hunter? Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience,
    he makes restitution. As I am a true spirit, welcome.
    M. Page. Alas, what noise?
    M. Ford. Heauen forgiue our sinnes.
    Fal. What should this be?
    2515M. Ford. M. Page. Away, away.
    Fal. I thinke the diuell wil not haue me damn'd,
    Least the oyle that's in me should set hell on fire;
    He would neuer else crosse me thus.
    Enter Fairies.
    2520Qui. Fairies blacke, gray, greene, and white,
    You Moone-shine reuellers, and shades of night.
    You Orphan heires of fixed destiny,
    Attend your office, and your quality.
    Crier Hob-goblyn, make the Fairy Oyes.
    2525Pist. Elues, list your names: Silence you aiery toyes.
    Cricket, to Windsor-chimnies shalt thou leape;
    Where fires thou find'st vnrak'd, and hearths vnswept,
    There pinch the Maids as blew as Bill-berry,
    Our radiant Queene, hates Sluts, and Sluttery.
    2530Fal. They are Fairies, he that speaks to them shall die,
    Ile winke, and couch: No man their workes must eie.
    Eu. Wher's Bede? Go you, and where you find a maid
    That ere she sleepe has thrice her prayers said,
    Raise vp the Organs of her fantasie,
    2535Sleepe she as sound as carelesse infancie,
    But those as sleepe, and thinke not on their sins,
    Pinch them armes, legs, backes, shoulders, sides, & shins.
    Qu. About, about:
    Search Windsor Castle (Elues) within, and out.
    2540Strew good lucke (Ouphes) on euery sacred roome,
    That it may stand till the perpetuall doome,
    In state as wholsome, as in state 'tis fit,
    Worthy the Owner, and the Owner it.
    The seuerall Chaires of Order, looke you scowre
    2545With iuyce of Balme; and euery precious flowre,
    Each faire Instalment, Coate, and seu'rall Crest,
    With loyall Blazon, euermore be blest.
    And Nightly-meadow-Fairies, looke you sing
    Like to the Garters-Compasse, in a ring
    2550Th' expressure that it beares: Greene let it be,
    Mote fertile-fresh then all the Field to see:
    And, Hony Soit Qui Mal-y-Pence, write
    In Emrold-tuffes, Flowres purple, blew, and white,
    Like Saphire-pearle, and rich embroiderie,
    2555Buckled below faire Knight-hoods bending knee;
    Fairies vse Flowres for their characterie.
    Away, disperse: But till 'tis one a clocke,
    Our Dance of Custome, round about the Oke
    Of Herne the Hunter, let vs not forget.
    2560Euan. Pray you lock hand in hand: your selues in order (set:
    And twenty glow-wormes shall our Lanthornes bee
    To guide our Measure round about the Tree.
    But stay, I smell a man of middle earth.
    Fal. Heauens defend me from that Welsh Fairy,
    2565Least he transforme me to a peece of Cheese.
    Pist. Vilde worme, thou wast ore-look'd euen in thy
    Qu. With Triall-fire touch me his finger end:
    If he be chaste, the flame will backe descend
    2570And turne him to no paine: but if he start,
    It is the flesh of a corrupted hart.
    Pist. A triall, come.
    Eua. Come: will this wood take fire?
    Fal. Oh, oh, oh.
    2575Qui. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire.
    About him (Fairies) sing a scornfull rime,
    And as you trip, still pinch him to your time.

    The Song.
    Fie on sinnefull phantasie: Fie on Lust, and Luxurie:
    2580Lust is but a bloudy fire, kindled with vnchaste desire,
    Fed in heart whose flames aspire,
    As thoughts do blow them higher and higher.
    Pinch him (Fairies) mutually: Pinch him for his villanie.
    Pinch him, and burne him, and turne him about,
    2585 Till Candles, & Star-light, & Moone-shine be out.

    Page. Nay do not flye, I thinke we haue watcht you
    now: VVill none but Herne the Hunter serue your
    M. Page. I pray you come, hold vp the iest no higher.
    2590Now (good Sir Iohn) how like you Windsor wiues?
    See you these husband? Do not these faire yoakes
    Become the Forrest better then the Towne?
    Ford. Now Sir, whose a Cuckold now?
    Mr Broome, Falstaffes a Knaue, a Cuckoldly knaue,
    2595Heere are his hornes Master Broome:
    And Master Broome, he hath enioyed nothing of Fords,
    but his Buck-basket, his cudgell, and twenty pounds of
    money, which must be paid to Mr Broome, his horses are
    arrested for it, Mr Broome.
    2600M. Ford. Sir Iohn, we haue had ill lucke: wee could
    neuer meete: I will neuer take you for my Loue againe,
    but I will alwayes count you my Deere.
    Fal. I do begin to perceiue that I am made an Asse.
    Ford. I, and an Oxe too: both the proofes are ex-
    Fal. And these are not Fairies:
    I was three or foure times in the thought they were not
    Fairies, and yet the guiltinesse of my minde, the sodaine
    surprize of my powers, droue the grossenesse of the fop-
    2610pery into a receiu'd beleefe, in despight of the teeth of
    all rime and reason, that they were Fairies. See now
    how wit may be made a Iacke-a-Lent, when 'tis vpon ill
    Euans. Sir Iohn Falstaffe, serue Got, and leaue your
    2615desires, and Fairies will not pinse you.
    Ford. Well said Fairy Hugh.
    Euans. And leaue you your iealouzies too, I pray