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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Secunda.
    1900Enter Falstoffe, Mist. Ford, Mist. Page, Seruants, Ford,
    Page, Caius, Euans, Shallow.
    Fal. Mi. Ford, Your sorrow hath eaten vp my suffe-
    rance; I see you are obsequious in your loue, and I pro-
    fesse requitall to a haires bredth, not onely Mist. Ford,
    1905in the simple office of loue, but in all the accustrement,
    complement, and ceremony of it: But are you sure of
    your husband now?
    Mis. Ford. Hee's a birding (sweet Sir Iohn.)
    Mis. Page. What hoa, gossip Ford: what hoa.
    1910Mis. Ford. Step into th'chamber, Sir Iohn.
    Mis. Page. How now (sweete heart) whose at home
    besides your selfe?
    Mis Ford. Why none but mine owne people.
    Mis. Page. Indeed?
    1915Mis. Ford. No certainly: Speake louder.
    Mist. Pag. Truly, I am so glad you haue no body here.
    Mist. Ford. Why?
    Mis. Page. Why woman, your husband is in his olde
    lines againe: he so takes on yonder with my husband, so
    1920railes against all married mankinde; so curses all Eues
    daughters, of what complexion soeuer; and so buffettes
    himselfe on the for-head: crying peere-out, peere-out,
    that any madnesse I euer yet beheld, seem'd but tame-
    nesse, ciuility, and patience to this his distemper he is in
    1925now: I am glad the fat Knight is not heere.
    Mist. Ford. Why, do's he talke of him?
    Mist. Page. Of none but him, and sweares he was ca-
    ried out the last time hee search'd for him, in a Basket:
    Protests to my husband he is now heere, & hath drawne
    1930him and the rest of their company from their sport, to
    make another experiment of his suspition: But I am glad
    the Knight is not heere; now he shall see his owne foo-
    Mist. Ford. How neere is he Mistris Page?
    1935Mist. Pag. Hard by, at street end; he wil be here anon.
    Mist. Ford. I am vndone, the Knight is heere.
    Mist. Page. Why then you are vtterly sham'd, & hee's
    but a dead man. What a woman are you? Away with
    him, away with him: Better shame, then murther.
    1940Mist. Ford. Which way should he go? How should I
    bestow him? Shall I put him into the basket againe?
    Fal. No, Ile come no more i'th Basket:
    May I not go out ere he come?
    Mist. Page. Alas: three of Mr. Fords brothers watch
    1945the doore with Pistols, that none shall issue out: other-
    wise you might slip away ere hee came: But what make
    you heere?
    Fal. What shall I do? Ile creepe vp into the chimney.
    Mist. Ford. There they alwaies vse to discharge their
    1950Birding-peeces: creepe into the Kill-hole.
    Fal. Where is it?
    Mist. Ford. He will seeke there on my word: Neyther
    Presse, Coffer, Chest, Trunke, Well, Vault, but he hath
    an abstract for the remembrance of such places, and goes
    1955to them by his Note: There is no hiding you in the
    Fal. Ile go out then.
    Mist. Ford. If you goe out in your owne semblance,
    you die Sir Iohn, vnlesse you go out disguis'd.
    1960Mist. Ford. How might we disguise him?
    Mist. Page. Alas the day I know not, there is no wo-
    mans gowne bigge enough for him: otherwise he might
    put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchiefe, and so escape.
    Fal. Good hearts, deuise something: any extremitie,
    1965rather then a mischiefe.
    Mist. Ford. My Maids Aunt the fat woman of Brain-
    ford, has a gowne aboue.
    Mist. Page. On my word it will serue him: shee's as
    big as he is: and there's her thrum'd hat, and her muffler
    1970too: run vp Sir Iohn.
    Mist. Ford. Go, go, sweet Sir Iohn: Mistris Page and
    I will looke some linnen for your head.
    Mist. Page. Quicke, quicke, wee'le come dresse you
    straight: put on the gowne the while.
    1975Mist. Ford. I would my husband would meete him
    in this shape: he cannot abide the old woman of Brain-
    ford; he sweares she's a witch, forbad her my house, and
    hath threatned to beate her.
    Mist. Page. Heauen guide him to thy husbands cud-
    1980gell: and the diuell guide his cudgell afterwards.
    Mist. Ford. But is my husband comming?
    Mist. Page. I in good sadnesse is he, and talkes of the
    basket too, howsoeuer he hath had intelligence.
    Mist. Ford. Wee'l try that: for Ile appoint my men to
    1985carry the basket againe, to meete him at the doore with
    it, as they did last time.
    Mist. Page. Nay, but hee'l be heere presently: let's go
    dresse him like the witch of Brainford.
    Mist. Ford. Ile first direct my men, what they
    1990shall doe with the basket: Goe vp, Ile bring linnen for
    him straight.
    Mist. Page. Hang him dishonest Varlet,
    We cannot misuse enough:
    We'll leaue a proofe by that which we will doo,
    1995Wiues may be merry, and yet honest too:
    We do not acte that often, iest, and laugh,
    'Tis old, but true, Still Swine eats all the draugh.
    Mist. Ford. Go Sirs, take the basket againe on your
    shoulders: your Master is hard at doore: if hee bid you
    2000set it downe, obey him: quickly, dispatch.
    1 Ser. Come, come, take it vp.
    2 Ser. Pray heauen it be not full of Knight againe.
    1 Ser. I hope not, I had liefe as beare so much lead.
    Ford. I, but if it proue true (Mr. Page) haue you any
    2005way then to vnfoole me againe. Set downe the basket
    villaine: some body call my wife: Youth in a basket:
    Oh you Panderly Rascals, there's a knot: a gin, a packe,
    a conspiracie against me: Now shall the diuel be sham'd.
    What wife I say: Come, come forth: behold what ho-
    2010nest cloathes you send forth to bleaching.
    Page. Why, this passes M. Ford: you are not to goe
    loose any longer, you must be pinnion'd.
    Euans. Why, this is Lunaticks: this is madde, as a
    mad dogge.
    2015Shall. Indeed M. Ford, thi is not well indeed.
    Ford. So say I too Sir, come hither Mistris Ford, Mi-
    stris Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the vertu-
    ous creature, that hath the iealious foole to her husband:
    I suspect without cause (Mistris) do I?
    2020Mist. Ford. Heauen be my witnesse you doe, if you
    suspect me in any dishonesty.
    Ford. Well said Brazon-face, hold it out: Come forth
    Page. This passes.
    2025Mist. Ford. Are you not asham'd, let the cloths alone.
    Ford. I shall finde you anon.
    Eua. 'Tis vnreasonable; will you take vp your wiues
    cloathes? Come, away.
    Ford. Empty the basket I say.
    2030M. Ford. Why man, why?
    Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one con-
    uay'd out of my house yesterday in this basket: why
    may not he be there againe, in my house I am sure he is:
    my Intelligence is true, my iealousie is reasonable, pluck
    2035me out all the linnen.
    Mist. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall dye a Fleas
    Page. Heer's no man.
    Shal. By my fidelity this is not well Mr. Ford: This
    2040wrongs you.
    Euans. Mr Ford, you must pray, and not follow the
    imaginations of your owne heart: this is iealousies.
    Ford. Well, hee's not heere I seeke for.
    Page. No, nor no where else but in your braine.
    2045Ford. Helpe to search my house this one time: if I find
    not what I seeke, shew no colour for my extremity: Let
    me for euer be your Table-sport: Let them say of me, as
    iealous as Ford, that search'd a hollow Wall-nut for his
    wiues Lemman. Satisfie me once more, once more serch
    2050with me.
    M. Ford. What hoa (Mistris Page,) come you and
    the old woman downe: my husband will come into the
    Ford. Old woman? what old womans that?
    2055M. Ford. Why it is my maids Aunt of Brainford.
    Ford. A witch, a Queane, an olde couzening queane:
    Haue I not forbid her my house. She comes of errands
    do's she? We are simple men, wee doe not know what's
    brought to passe vnder the profession of Fortune-telling.
    2060She workes by Charmes, by Spels, by th'Figure, & such
    dawbry as this is, beyond our Element: wee know no-
    thing. Come downe you Witch, you Hagge you, come
    downe I say.
    Mist. Ford. Nay, good sweet husband, good Gentle-
    2065men, let him strike the old woman.
    Mist. Page. Come mother Prat, Come giue me your
    Ford. Ile Prat-her: Out of my doore, you Witch,
    you Ragge, you Baggage, you Poulcat, you Runnion,
    2070out, out: Ile coniure you, Ile fortune-tell you.
    Mist. Page. Are you not asham'd?
    I thinke you haue kill'd the poore woman.
    Mist. Ford. Nay he will do it, 'tis a goodly credite
    for you.
    2075Ford. Hang her witch.
    Eua. By yea, and no, I thinke the o'man is a witch in-
    deede: I like not when a o'man has a great peard; I spie
    a great peard vnder his muffler.
    Ford. Will you follow Gentlemen, I beseech you fol-
    2080low: see but the issue of my iealousie: If I cry out thus
    vpon no traile, neuer trust me when I open againe.
    Page. Let's obey his humour a little further:
    Come Gentlemen.
    Mist. Page. Trust me he beate him most pittifully.
    2085Mist. Ford. Nay by th'Masse that he did not: he beate
    him most vnpittifully, me thought.
    Mist. Page. Ile haue the cudgell hallow'd, and hung
    ore the Altar, it hath done meritorious seruice.
    Mist. Ford. What thinke you? May we with the war-
    2090rant of woman-hood, and the witnesse of a good consci-
    ence, pursue him with any further reuenge?
    M. Page. The spirit of wantonnesse is sure scar'd out
    of him, if the diuell haue him not in fee-simple, with
    fine and recouery, he will neuer (I thinke) in the way of
    2095waste, attempt vs againe.
    Mist. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how wee haue
    seru'd him?
    Mist. Page. Yes, by all meanes: if it be but to scrape
    the figures out of your husbands braines: if they can find
    2100in their hearts, the poore vnuertuous fat Knight shall be
    any further afflicted, wee two will still bee the mini-
    Mist. Ford. Ile warrant, they'l haue him publiquely
    sham'd, and me thinkes there would be no period to the
    2105iest, should he not be publikely sham'd.
    Mist. Page. Come, to the Forge with it, then shape it:
    I would not haue things coole. Exeunt