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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Scena Quinta.
    1680Enter Falstaffe, Bardolfe, Quickly, Ford.
    Fal. Bardolfe I say.
    Bar. Heere Sir.
    Fal. Go, fetch me a quart of Sacke, put a tost in't.
    Haue I liu'd to be carried in a Basket like a barrow of
    1685butchers Offall? and to be throwne in the Thames? Wel,
    if I be seru'd such another tricke, Ile haue my braines
    'tane out and butter'd, and giue them to a dogge for a
    New-yeares gift. The rogues slighted me into the riuer
    with as little remorse, as they would haue drown'de a
    1690blinde bitches Puppies, fifteene i'th litter: and you may
    know by my size, that I haue a kinde of alacrity in sink-
    ing: if the bottome were as deepe as hell, I shold down.
    I had beene drown'd, but that the shore was sheluy and
    shallow: a death that I abhorre: for the water swelles a
    1695man; and what a thing should I haue beene, when I
    had beene swel'd? I should haue beene a Mountaine of
    Bar. Here's M. Quickly Sir to speake with you.
    Fal. Come, let me poure in some Sack to the Thames
    1700water: for my bellies as cold as if I had swallow'd snow-
    bals, for pilles to coole the reines. Call her in.
    Bar. Come in woman.
    Qui. By your leaue: I cry you mercy?
    Giue your worship good morrow.
    1705Fal. Take away these Challices:
    Go, brew me a pottle of Sacke finely.
    Bard. With Egges, Sir?
    Fal. Simple of it selfe: Ile no Pullet-Spersme in my
    brewage. How now?
    1710Qui. Marry Sir, I come to your worship from M. Ford.
    Fal. Mist. Ford? I haue had Ford enough: I was thrown
    into the Ford; I haue my belly full of Ford.
    Qui. Alas the day, (good-heart) that was not her
    fault: she do's so take on with her men; they mistooke
    1715their erection.
    Fal. So did I mine, to build vpon a foolish Womans (promise.
    Qui. Well, she laments Sir for it, that it would yern
    your heart to see it: her husband goes this morning a
    birding; she desires you once more to come to her, be-
    1720tweene eight and nine: I must carry her word quickely,
    she'll make you amends I warrant you.
    Fal. Well, I will visit her, tell her so: and bidde her
    thinke what a man is: Let her consider his frailety, and
    then iudge of my merit.
    1725Qui. I will tell her.
    Fal. Do so. Betweene nine and ten saist thou?
    Qui. Eight and nine Sir.
    Fal. Well, be gone: I will not misse her.
    Qui. Peace be with you Sir.
    1730Fal. I meruaile I heare not of Mr Broome: he sent me
    word to stay within: I like his money well.
    Oh, heere be comes.
    Ford. Blesse you Sir.
    Fal. Now M. Broome, you come to know
    1735What hath past betweene me, and Fords wife.
    Ford. That indeed (Sir Iohn) is my businesse.
    Fal. M. Broome I will not lye to you,
    I was at her house the houre she appointed me.
    Ford. And sped you Sir?
    1740Fal. very ill-fauouredly M. Broome.
    Ford. How so sir, did she change her determination?
    Fal. No (M. Broome) but the peaking Curnuto her hus-
    band (M. Broome) dwelling in a continual larum of ielou-
    sie, coms me in the instant of our encounter, after we had
    1745embrast, kist, protested, & (as it were) spoke the prologue
    of our Comedy: and at his heeles, a rabble of his compa-
    nions, thither prouoked and instigated by his distemper,
    and (forsooth) to serch his house for his wiues Loue.
    Ford. What? While you were there?
    1750Fal. While I was there.
    For. And did he search for you, & could not find you?
    Fal. You shall heare. As good lucke would haue it,
    comes in one Mist. Page, giues intelligence of Fords ap-
    proch: and in her inuention, and Fords wiues distraction,
    1755they conuey'd me into a bucke-basket.
    Ford. A Buck-basket?
    Fal. Yes: a Buck-basket: ram'd mee in with foule
    Shirts and Smockes, Socks, foule Stockings, greasie
    Napkins, that (Master Broome) there was the rankest
    1760compound of villanous smell, that euer offended no-
    Ford. And how long lay you there?
    Fal. Nay, you shall heare (Master Broome) what I
    haue sufferd, to bring this woman to euill, for your
    1765good: Being thus cram'd in the Basket, a couple of
    Fords knaues, his Hindes, were cald forth by their Mi-
    stris, to carry mee in the name of foule Cloathes to
    Datchet-lane: they tooke me on their shoulders: met
    the iealous knaue their Master in the doore; who
    1770ask'd them once or twice what they had in their Bas-
    ket? I quak'd for feare least the Lunatique Knaue
    would haue search'd it: but Fate (ordaining he should
    be a Cuckold) held his hand: well, on went hee, for
    a search, and away went I for foule Cloathes: But
    1775marke the sequell (Master Broome) I suffered the pangs
    of three seuerall deaths: First, an intollerable fright,
    to be detected with a iealious rotten Bell-weather:
    Next to be compass'd like a good Bilbo in the circum-
    ference of a Pecke, hilt to point, heele to head. And
    1780then to be stopt in like a strong distillation with stink-
    ing Cloathes, that fretted in their owne grease:
    thinke of that, a man of my Kidney; thinke of that,
    that am as subiect to heate as butter; a man of conti-
    nuall dissolution, and thaw: it was a miracle to scape
    1785suffocation. And in the height of this Bath (when I
    was more then halfe stew'd in grease (like a Dutch-
    dish) to be throwne into the Thames, and
    coold, glowing-hot, in that serge like a Horse-
    shoo; thinke of that; hissing hot: thinke of that (Master
    Ford. In good sadnesse Sir, I am sorry, that for my sake
    you haue sufferd all this.
    My suite then is desperate: You'll vndertake her no
    1795Fal. Master Broome: I will be throwne into Etna,
    as I haue beene into Thames, ere I will leaue her thus;
    her Husband is this morning gone a Birding: I
    haue receiued from her another ambassie of mee-
    ting: 'twixt eight and nine is the houre (Master
    Ford. 'Tis past eight already Sir.
    Fal. Is it? I will then addresse mee to my appoint-
    ment: Come to mee at your conuenient leisure, and
    you shall know how I speede: and the conclusion
    1805shall be crowned with your enioying her: adiew: you
    shall haue her (Master Broome) Master Broome, you shall
    cuckold Ford.
    Ford. Hum: ha? Is this a vision? Is this a dreame?
    doe I sleepe? Master Ford awake, awake Master Ford:
    1810ther's a hole made in your best coate (Master Ford:) this
    'tis to be married; this 'tis to haue Lynnen, and Buck-
    baskets: Well, I will proclaime my selfe what I am:
    I will now take the Leacher: hee is at my house: hee
    cannot scape me: 'tis impossible hee should: hee can-
    1815not creepe into a halfe-penny purse, nor into a Pepper-
    Boxe: But least the Diuell that guides him, should
    aide him, I will search impossible places: though
    what I am, I cannot auoide; yet to be what I would
    not, shall not make me tame: If I haue hornes, to make
    1820one mad, let the prouerbe goe with me, Ile be horne-
    mad. Exeunt.