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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.
    praise womens modesty: and gaue such orderly and wel-
    behaued reproofe to al vncomelinesse, that I would haue
    605sworne his disposition would haue gone to the truth of
    his words: but they doe no more adhere and keep place
    together, then the hundred Psalms to the tune of Green-
    sleeues: What tempest (I troa) threw this Whale, (with
    so many Tuns of oyle in his belly) a'shoare at Windsor?
    610How shall I bee reuenged on him? I thinke the best way
    were, to entertaine him with hope, till the wicked fire
    of lust haue melted him in his owne greace: Did you e-
    uer heare the like?
    Mis. Page. Letter for letter; but that the name of
    615Page and Ford differs: to thy great comfort in this my-
    stery of ill opinions, heere's the twyn-brother of thy Let-
    ter: but let thine inherit first, for I protest mine neuer
    shall: I warrant he hath a thousand of these Letters, writ
    with blancke-space for different names (sure more): and
    620these are of the second edition: hee will print them out
    of doubt: for he cares not what hee puts into the presse,
    when he would put vs two: I had rather be a Giantesse,
    and lye vnder Mount Pelion: Well; I will find you twen-
    tie lasciuious Turtles ere one chaste man.
    625Mis. Ford. Why this is the very same: the very hand:
    the very words: what doth he thinke of vs?
    Mis. Page. Nay I know not: it makes me almost rea-
    die to wrangle with mine owne honesty: Ile entertaine
    my selfe like one that I am not acquainted withall: for
    630sure vnlesse hee know some straine in mee, that I know
    not my selfe, hee would neuer haue boorded me in this
    Mi. Ford. Boording, call you it? Ile bee sure to keepe
    him aboue decke.
    635Mi. Page. So will I: if hee come vnder my hatches,
    Ile neuer to Sea againe: Let's bee reueng'd on him: let's
    appoint him a meeting: giue him a show of comfort in
    his Suit, and lead him on with a fine baited delay, till hee
    hath pawn'd his horses to mine Host of the Garter.
    640Mi. Ford. Nay, I wil consent to act any villany against
    him, that may not sully the charinesse of our honesty: oh
    that my husband saw this Letter: it would giue eternall
    food to his iealousie.
    Mis. Page. Why look where he comes; and my good
    645man too: hee's as farre from iealousie, as I am from gi-
    uing him cause, and that (I hope) is an vnmeasurable di-
    Mis. Ford. You are the happier woman.
    Mis. Page. Let's consult together against this greasie
    650Knight: Come hither.
    Ford. Well: I hope, it be not so.
    Pist. Hope is a curtall-dog in some affaires:
    Sir Iohn affects thy wife.
    Ford. Why sir, my wife is not young.
    655Pist. He wooes both high and low, both rich & poor,
    both yong and old, one with another (Ford) he loues the
    Gally-mawfry (Ford) perpend.
    Ford. Loue my wife?
    Pist. With liuer, burning hot: preuent:
    660Or goe thou like Sir Acteon he, with
    Ring-wood at thy heeles: O, odious is the name.
    Ford. What name Sir?
    Pist. The horne I say: Farewell:
    Take heed, haue open eye, for theeues doe foot by night.
    665Take heed, ere sommer comes, or Cuckoo-birds do sing.
    Away sir Corporall Nim:
    Beleeue it (Page) he speakes sence.
    Ford. I will be patient: I will find out this.
    Nim. And this is true: I like not the humor of lying:
    670hee hath wronged mee in some humors: I should haue
    borne the humour'd Letter to her: but I haue a sword:
    and it shall bite vpon my necessitie: he loues your wife;
    There's the short and the long: My name is Corporall
    Nim: I speak, and I auouch; 'tis true: my name is Nim:
    675and Falstaffe loues your wife: adieu, I loue not the hu-
    mour of bread and cheese: adieu.
    Page. The humour of it (quoth 'a?) heere's a fellow
    frights English out of his wits.
    Ford. I will seeke out Falstaffe.
    680Page. I neuer heard such a drawling-affecting rogue.
    Ford. If I doe finde it: well.
    Page. I will not beleeue such a Cataian, though the
    Priest o'th'Towne commended him for a true man.
    Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow: well.
    685Page. How now Meg?
    Mist. Page. Whether goe you (George?) harke you.
    Mis. Ford. How now (sweet Frank) why art thou me-
    Ford. I melancholy? I am not melancholy:
    690Get you home: goe.
    Mis. Ford. Faith, thou hast some crochets in thy head,
    Now: will you goe, Mistris Page?
    Mis. Page. Haue with you: you'll come to dinner
    George? Looke who comes yonder: shee shall bee our
    695Messenger to this paltrie Knight.
    Mis. Ford. Trust me, I thought on her: shee'll fit it.
    Mis. Page. You are come to see my daughter Anne?
    Qui. I forsooth: and I pray how do's good Mistresse
    700Mis Page. Go in with vs and see: we haue an houres
    talke with you.
    Page. How now Master Ford?
    For. You heard what this knaue told me, did you not?
    Page. Yes, and you heard what the other told me?
    705Ford. Doe you thinke there is truth in them?
    Pag. Hang 'em slaues: I doe not thinke the Knight
    would offer it: But these that accuse him in his intent
    towards our wiues, are a yoake of his discarded men: ve-
    ry rogues, now they be out of seruice.
    710Ford. Were they his men?
    Page. Marry were they.
    Ford. I like it neuer the beter for that,
    Do's he lye at the Garter?
    Page. I marry do's he: if hee should intend this voy-
    715age toward my wife, I would turne her loose to him;
    and what hee gets more of her, then sharpe words, let it
    lye on my head.
    Ford. I doe not misdoubt my wife: but I would bee
    loath to turne them together: a man may be too confi-
    720dent: I would haue nothing lye on my head: I cannot
    be thus satisfied.
    Page. Looke where my ranting-Host of the Garter
    comes: there is eyther liquor in his pate, or mony in his
    purse, when hee lookes so merrily: How now mine
    Host. How now Bully-Rooke: thou'rt a Gentleman
    Caueleiro Iustice, I say.
    Shal. I follow, (mine Host) I follow: Good-euen,
    and twenty (good Master Page.) Master Page, wil you go
    730with vs? we haue sport in hand.
    Host. Tell him Caueleiro-Iustice: tell him Bully-
    Shall. Sir, there is a fray to be fought, betweene Sir
    Hugh the Welch Priest, and Caius the French Doctor.
    Ford. Good