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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    Not Peer Reviewed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. I will neuer mistrust my wife againe, till thou
    2620art able to woo her in good English.
    Fal. Haue I laid my braine in the Sun, and dri'de it,
    that it wants matter to preuent so grosse ore-reaching as
    this? Am I ridden with a Welch Goate too? Shal I haue
    a Coxcombe of Frize? Tis time I were choak'd with a
    2625peece of toasted Cheese.
    Eu. Seese is not good to giue putter; your belly is al
    Fal. Seese, and Putter? Haue I liu'd to stand at the
    taunt of one that makes Fritters of English? This is e-
    2630nough to be the decay of lust and late-walking through
    the Realme.
    Mist. Page. Why Sir Iohn, do you thinke though wee
    would haue thrust vertue out of our hearts by the head
    and shoulders, and haue giuen our selues without scru-
    2635ple to hell, that euer the deuill could haue made you our
    Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? A bag of flax?
    Mist. Page. A puft man?
    Page. Old, cold, wither'd, and of intollerable en-
    Ford. And one that is as slanderous as Sathan?
    Page. And as poore as Iob?
    Ford. And as wicked as his wife?
    Euan. And giuen to Fornications, and to Tauernes,
    2645and Sacke, and Wine, and Metheglins, and to drinkings
    and swearings, and starings? Pribles and prables?
    Fal. Well, I am your Theame: you haue the start of
    me, I am deiected: I am not able to answer the Welch
    Flannell, Ignorance it selfe is a plummet ore me, vse me
    2650as you will.
    Ford. Marry Sir, wee'l bring you to Windsor to one
    Mr Broome, that you haue cozon'd of money, to whom
    you should haue bin a Pander: ouer and aboue that you
    haue suffer'd, I thinke, to repay that money will be a bi-
    2655ting affliction.
    Page. Yet be cheerefull Knight: thou shalt eat a pos-
    set to night at my house, wher I will desire thee to laugh
    at my wife, that now laughes at thee: Tell her Mr Slen-
    der hath married her daughter.
    2660Mist. Page. Doctors doubt that;
    If Anne Page be my daughter, she is (by this) Doctour
    Caius wife.
    Slen. Whoa hoe, hoe, Father Page.
    Page. Sonne? How now? How now Sonne,
    2665Haue you dispatch'd?
    Slen. Dispatch'd? Ile make the best in Glostershire
    know on't: would I were hang'd la, else.
    Page. Of what sonne?
    Slen. I came yonder at Eaton to marry Mistris Anne
    2670Page, and she's a great lubberly boy. If it had not bene
    i'th Church, I would haue swing'd him, or hee should
    haue swing'd me. If I did not thinke it had beene Anne
    Page, would I might neuer stirre, and 'tis a Post-masters
    2675Page. Vpon my life then, you tooke the wrong.
    Slen. What neede you tell me that? I think so, when
    I tooke a Boy for a Girle: If I had bene married to him,
    (for all he was in womans apparrell) I would not haue
    had him.
    2680Page. Why this is your owne folly,
    Did not I tell you how you should know my daughter,
    By her garments?
    Slen. I went to her in greene, and cried Mum, and
    she cride budget, as Anne and I had appointed, and yet
    2685it was not Anne, but a Post-masters boy.
    Mist. Page. Good George be not angry, I knew of
    your purpose: turn'd my daughter into white, and in-
    deede she is now with the Doctor at the Deanrie, and
    there married.
    2690Cai. Ver is Mistris Page: by gar I am cozoned, I ha
    married oon Garsoon, a boy; oon pesant, by gar. A boy,
    it is not An Page, by gar, I am cozened.
    M. Page. VVhy? did you take her in white?
    Cai. I bee gar, and 'tis a boy: be gar, Ile raise all
    Ford. This is strange: Who hath got the right Anne?
    Page. My heart misgiues me, here comes Mr Fenton.
    How now Mr Fenton?
    Anne. Pardon good father, good my mother pardon
    2700Page. Now Mistris:
    How chance you went not with Mr Slender?
    M. Page. Why went you not with Mr Doctor, maid?
    Fen. You do amaze her: heare the truth of it,
    You would haue married her most shamefully,
    2705Where there was no proportion held in loue:
    The truth is, she and I (long since contracted)
    Are now so sure that nothing can dissolue vs:
    Th'offence is holy, that she hath committed,
    And this deceit looses the name of craft,
    2710Of disobedience, or vnduteous title,
    Since therein she doth euitate and shun
    A thousand irreligious cursed houres
    Which forced marriage would haue brought vpon her.
    Ford. Stand not amaz'd, here is no remedie:
    2715In Loue, the heauens themselues do guide the state,
    Money buyes Lands, and wiues are sold by fate.
    Fal. I am glad, though you haue tane a special stand
    to strike at me, that your Arrow hath glanc'd.
    Page. Well, what remedy? Fenton, heauen giue thee
    2720ioy, what cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac'd.
    Fal. When night-dogges run, all sorts of Deere are
    Mist. Page. Well, I will muse no further: Mr Fenton,
    Heauen giue you many, many merry dayes:
    2725Good husband, let vs euery one go home,
    And laugh this sport ore by a Countrie fire,
    Sir Iohn and all.
    Ford. Let it be so (Sir Iohn:)
    To Master Broome, you yet shall hold your word,
    2730For he, to night, shall lye with Mistris Ford: Exeunt