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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    735Ford. Good mine Host o'th' Garter: a word with you.
    Host. What saist thou, my Bully-Rooke?
    Shal. Will you goe with vs to behold it? My merry
    Host hath had the measuring of their weapons; and (I
    thinke) hath appointed them contrary places: for (be-
    740leeue mee) I heare the Parson is no Iester: harke, I will
    tell you what our sport shall be.
    Host. Hast thou no suit against my Knight? my guest-
    Shal. None, I protest: but Ile giue you a pottle of
    745burn'd sacke, to giue me recourse to him, and tell him
    my name is Broome: onely for a iest.
    Host. My hand, (Bully:) thou shalt haue egresse and
    regresse, (said I well?) and thy name shall be Broome. It
    is a merry Knight: will you goe An-heires?
    750Shal. Haue with you mine Host.
    Page. I haue heard the French-man hath good skill
    in his Rapier.
    Shal. Tut sir: I could haue told you more: In these
    times you stand on distance: your Passes, Stoccado's, and
    755I know not what: 'tis the heart (Master Page) 'tis heere,
    'tis heere: I haue seene the time, with my long-sword, I
    would haue made you fowre tall fellowes skippe like
    Host. Heere boyes, heere, heere: shall we wag?
    760Page. Haue with you: I had rather heare them scold,
    then fight.
    Ford. Though Page be a secure foole, and stands so
    firmely on his wiues frailty; yet, I cannot put-off my o-
    pinion so easily: she was in his company at Pages house:
    765and what they made there, I know not. Well, I wil looke
    further into't, and I haue a disguise, to sound Falstaffe; if
    I finde her honest, I loose not my labor: if she be other-
    wise, 'tis labour well bestowed. Exeunt.

    Scoena Secunda.

    770 Enter Falstaffe, Pistoll, Robin, Quickly, Bardolffe,

    Fal. I will not lend thee a penny.
    Pist. Why then the world's mine Oyster, which I,
    with sword will open.
    775Fal. Not a penny: I haue beene content (Sir,) you
    should lay my countenance to pawne: I haue grated vp-
    on my good friends for three Repreeues for you, and
    your Coach-fellow Nim; or else you had look'd through
    the grate, like a Geminy of Baboones: I am damn'd in
    780hell, for swearing to Gentlemen my friends, you were
    good Souldiers, and tall-fellowes. And when Mistresse
    Briget lost the handle of her Fan, I took't vpon mine ho-
    nour thou hadst it not.
    Pist. Didst not thou share? hadst thou not fifteene
    Fal. Reason, you roague, reason: thinkst thou Ile en-
    danger my soule, gratis? at a word, hang no more about
    mee, I am no gibbet for you: goe, a short knife, and a
    throng, to your Mannor of Pickt-hatch: goe, you'll not
    790beare a Letter for mee you roague? you stand vpon your
    honor: why, (thou vnconfinable basenesse) it is as much
    as I can doe to keepe the termes of my honor precise:
    I, I, I my selfe sometimes, leauing the feare of heauen on
    the left hand, and hiding mine honor in my necessity, am
    795faine to shufflle: to hedge, and to lurch, and yet, you
    Rogue, will en-sconce your raggs; your Cat-a-Moun-
    taine-lookes, your red-lattice phrases, and your bold-
    beating-oathes, vnder the shelter of your honor? you
    will not doe it? you?
    800Pist. I doe relent: what would thou more of man?
    Robin. Sir, here's a woman would speake with you.
    Fal. Let her approach.
    Qui. Giue your worship good morrow.
    Fal. Good-morrow, good-wife.
    805Qui. Not so and't please your worship.
    Fal. Good maid then.
    Qui. Ile be sworne,
    As my mother was the first houre I was borne.
    Fal. I doe beleeue the swearer; what with me?
    810Qui. Shall I vouch-safe your worship a word, or
    Fal. Two thousand (faire woman) and ile vouchsafe
    thee the hearing.
    Qui. There is one Mistresse Ford, (Sir) I pray come a
    815little neerer this waies: I my selfe dwell with M. Doctor
    Fal. Well, on; Mistresse Ford, you say.
    Qui. Your worship saies very true: I pray your wor-
    ship come a little neerer this waies.
    820Fal. I warrant thee, no-bodie heares: mine owne
    people, mine owne people.
    Qui. Are they so? heauen-blesse them, and make
    them his Seruants.
    Fal. Well; Mistresse Ford, what of her?
    825Qui. Why, Sir; shee's a good-creature; Lord, Lord,
    your Worship's a wanton: well: heauen forgiue you,
    and all of vs, I pray ---.
    Fal. Mistresse Ford: come, Mistresse Ford.
    Qui. Marry this is the short, and the long of it: you
    830haue brought her into such a Canaries, as 'tis wonder-
    full: the best Courtier of them all (when the Court lay
    at Windsor) could neuer haue brought her to such a Ca-
    narie: yet there has beene Knights, and Lords, and Gen-
    tlemen, with their Coaches; I warrant you Coach after
    835Coach, letter after letter, gift after gift, smelling so sweet-
    ly; all Muske, and so rushling, I warrant you, in silke
    and golde, and in such alligant termes, and in such wine
    and suger of the best, and the fairest, that would haue
    wonne any womans heart: and I warrant you, they could
    840neuer get an eye-winke of her: I had my selfe twentie
    Angels giuen me this morning, but I defie all Angels (in
    any such sort, as they say) but in the way of honesty: and
    I warrant you, they could neuer get her so much as sippe
    on a cup with the prowdest of them all, and yet there has
    845beene Earles: nay, (which is more) Pentioners, but I
    warrant you all is one with her.
    Fal. But what saies shee to mee? be briefe my good
    Qui. Marry, she hath receiu'd your Letter: for the
    850which she thankes you a thousand times; and she giues
    you to notifie, that her husband will be absence from his
    house, betweene ten and eleuen.
    Fal. Ten, and eleuen.
    Qui. I, forsooth: and then you may come and see the
    855picture (she sayes) that you wot of: Master Ford her hus-
    band will be from home: alas, the sweet woman leades
    an ill life with him: hee's a very iealousie-man; she leads
    a very frampold life with him, (good hart.)
    Fal. Ten, and eleuen.