The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act II, Scene 1
Windsor. A street in front of Page’s house.
- Enter Mistress Page, reading of a letter.
Mistress Page1 - 33
- What, have I scap’d love-letters in the
- holiday-time of my beauty, and am I now a
- subject for them? Let me see.
- “Ask me no reason why I love you, for though
- Love use Reason for his precisian, he admits
- him not for his counsellor. You are not young,
- no more am I; go to then, there’s sympathy. You
- are merry, so am I; ha, ha! Then there’s more
- sympathy. You love sack, and so do I; would
- you desire better sympathy? Let it suffice thee,
- Mistress Page—at the least if the love of a
- soldier can suffice—that I love thee. I will not
- say, pity me—’tis not a soldier-like phrase—but
- I say, love me. By me,
- Thine own true knight,
- By day or night,
- Or any kind of light,
- With all his might
- For thee to fight,
- John Falstaff.”
- What a Herod of Jewry is this! O wicked,
- wicked world! One that is well-nigh worn to
- pieces with age to show himself a young
- gallant! What an unweigh’d behavior hath this
- Flemish drunkard pick’d (with the devil’s name!)
- out of my conversation, that he dares in this
- manner assay me? Why, he hath not been
- thrice in my company! What should I say to
- him? I was then frugal of my mirth. Heaven
- forgive me! Why, I’ll exhibit a bill in the
- parliament for the putting down of men. How
- shall I be reveng’d on him? For reveng’d I will
- be! As sure as his guts are made of puddings.
- Enter Mistress Ford.
Mistress Ford34 - 35
- Mistress Page, trust me, I was going to your
Mistress Page36 - 37
- And trust me, I was coming to you. You look
- very ill.
Mistress Ford38 - 39
- Nay, I’ll ne’er believe that; I have to show to the
- Faith, but you do, in my mind.
Mistress Ford41 - 43
- Well—I do then; yet I say I could show you to
- the contrary. O Mistress Page, give me some
- What’s the matter, woman?
Mistress Ford45 - 46
- O woman—if it were not for one trifling respect,
- I could come to such honor!
Mistress Page47 - 48
- Hang the trifle, woman, take the honor. What is
- it? Dispense with trifles. What is it?
Mistress Ford49 - 50
- If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or
- so, I could be knighted.
Mistress Page51 - 53
- What? Thou liest! Sir Alice Ford! These knights
- will hack, and so thou shouldst not alter the
- article of thy gentry.
Mistress Ford54 - 70
- We burn daylight. Here, read, read; perceive
- how I might be knighted. I shall think the worse
- of fat men, as long as I have an eye to make
- difference of men’s liking: and yet he would not
- swear; prais’d women’s modesty; and gave
- such orderly and well-behav’d reproof to all
- uncomeliness, that I would have sworn his
- disposition would have gone to the truth of his
- words; but they do no more adhere and keep
- place together than the hundred Psalms to the
- tune of “Green-sleeves.” What tempest, I trow,
- threw this whale (with so many tuns of oil in his
- belly) ashore at Windsor? How shall I be
- reveng’d on him? I think the best way were to
- entertain him with hope, till the wicked fire of
- lust have melted him in his own grease. Did you
- ever hear the like?
Mistress Page71 - 83
- Letter for letter; but that the name of Page and
- Ford differs! To thy great comfort in this mystery
- of ill opinions, here’s the twin-brother of thy
- letter; but let thine inherit first, for I protest mine
- never shall. I warrant he hath a thousand of
- these letters, writ with blank space for different
- names (sure, more!); and these are of the
- second edition. He will print them, out of doubt;
- for he cares not what he puts into the press,
- when he would put us two. I had rather be a
- giantess, and lie under Mount Pelion. Well—I
- will find you twenty lascivious turtles ere one
- chaste man.
Mistress Ford84 - 85
- Why, this is the very same: the very hand; the
- very words. What doth he think of us?
Mistress Page86 - 91
- Nay, I know not; it makes me almost ready to
- wrangle with mine own honesty. I’ll entertain
- myself like one that I am not acquainted withal;
- for sure unless he know some strain in me that I
- know not myself, he would never have boarded
- me in this fury.
Mistress Ford92 - 93
- “Boarding,” call you it? I’ll be sure to keep him
- above deck.
Mistress Page94 - 99
- So will I; if he come under my hatches, I’ll never
- to sea again. Let’s be reveng’d on him: let’s
- appoint him a meeting, give him a show of
- comfort in his suit, and lead him on with a
- fine-baited delay, till he hath pawn’d his horses
- to mine host of the Garter.
Mistress Ford100 - 103
- Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against
- him, that may not sully the chariness of our
- honesty. O that my husband saw this letter! It
- would give eternal food to his jealousy.
Mistress Page104 - 107
- Why, look where he comes; and my good man
- too. He’s as far from jealousy as I am from
- giving him cause, and that (I hope) is an
- unmeasurable distance.
- You are the happier woman.
Mistress Page109 - 110
- Let’s consult together against this greasy
- knight. Come hither.
- They retire.
- Enter Ford with Pistol; Page with Nym.
- Well, I hope it be not so.
Pistol112 - 113
- Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs. Sir John
- affects thy wife.
- Why, sir, my wife is not young.
Pistol115 - 117
- He woos both high and low, both rich and poor,
- Both young and old, one with another, Ford.
- He loves the gallimaufry, Ford. Perpend.
- Love my wife?
Pistol119 - 121
- With liver burning hot. Prevent; or go thou
- Like Sir Actaeon he, with Ringwood at thy heels—
- O, odious is the name!
- What name, sir?
Pistol123 - 127
- The horn, I say. Farewell.
- Take heed, have open eye, for thieves do foot by night.
- Take heed, ere summer comes or cuckoo-birds do sing.
- Away, Sir Corporal Nym!
- Believe it, Page, he speaks sense.
- I will be patient; I will find out this.
Nym129 - 138
- To Page.
- And this is true; I like not the humor of lying. He
- hath wrong’d me in some humors. I should
- have borne the humor’d letter to her; but I have
- a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He
- loves your wife: there’s the short and the long.
- My name is Corporal Nym; I speak, and I
- avouch; ’tis true; my name is Nym, and Falstaff
- loves your wife. Adieu. I love not the humor of
- bread and cheese and there’s the humor of it.
George139 - 140
- “The humor of it,” quoth ’a! Here’s a fellow
- frights English out of his wits.
- I will seek out Falstaff.
- I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.
- If I do find it—well.
George144 - 146
- I will not believe such a Cataian, though the
- priest o’ th’ town commended him for a true
- ’Twas a good sensible fellow—well.
- Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford come forward.
- How now, Meg?
- Whither go you, George, hark you?
Mistress Ford150 - 151
- How now, sweet Frank, why art thou
Ford152 - 153
- I melancholy? I am not melancholy. Get you
- home; go.
Mistress Ford154 - 155
- Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head
- now. Will you go, Mistress Page?
Mistress Page156 - 158
- Have with you. You’ll come to dinner, George?
- Aside to Mrs. Ford.
- Look who comes yonder. She shall be our
- messenger to this paltry knight.
- Aside to Mrs. Page
- Trust me, I thought on her. She’ll fit it.
- Enter Mistress Quickly.
- You are come to see my daughter Anne?
Mistress Quickly161 - 162
- Ay, forsooth; and I pray, how does good
- Mistress Anne?
- Go in with us and see. We have an hour’s talk with you.
- Exeunt Mrs. Page, Mrs. Ford, and Mrs. Quickly.
- How now, Master Ford?
Ford165 - 166
- You heard what this knave told me, did you
- Yes, and you heard what the other told me?
- Do you think there is truth in them?
George169 - 173
- Hang ’em, slaves! I do not think the knight
- would offer it; but these that accuse him in his
- intent towards our wives are a yoke of his
- discarded men—very rogues, now they be out
- of service.
- Were they his men?
- Marry, were they.
Ford176 - 177
- I like it never the better for that. Does he lie at
- the Garter?
George178 - 181
- Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this
- voyage toward my wife, I would turn her loose
- to him; and what he gets more of her than
- sharp words, let it lie on my head.
Ford182 - 185
- I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loath
- to turn them together. A man may be too
- confident. I would have nothing lie on my head.
- I cannot be thus satisfied.
- Enter Host.
George186 - 189
- Look where my ranting host of the Garter
- comes. There is either liquor in his pate, or
- money in his purse, when he looks so merrily.
- How now, mine host?
Host190 - 191
- How now, bully-rook? Thou’rt a gentleman.
- Cavaleiro Justice, I say!
- Enter Shallow.
Shallow192 - 194
- I follow, mine host, I follow. Good even and
- twenty, good Master Page! Master Page, will
- you go with us? We have sport in hand.
- Tell him, Cavaleiro Justice; tell him, bully-rook.
Shallow196 - 198
- Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir
- Hugh the Welsh priest and Caius the French
- Good mine host o’ th’ Garter, a word with you.
- What say’st thou, my bully-rook?
- Ford and the Host talk.
Shallow201 - 205
- To Page.
- Will you go with us to behold it? My merry host
- hath had the measuring of their weapons, and, I
- think, hath appointed them contrary places; for,
- believe me, I hear the parson is no jester. Hark,
- I will tell you what our sport shall be.
- They converse apart.
Host206 - 207
- Hast thou no suit against my knight, my
Ford208 - 210
- None, I protest; but I’ll give you a pottle of burnt
- sack to give me recourse to him and tell him my
- name is Brook—only for a jest.
Host211 - 214
- My hand, bully; thou shalt have egress and
- regress—said I well?—and thy name shall be
- Brook. It is a merry knight. Will you go,
- Have with you, mine host.
George216 - 217
- I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in
- his rapier.
Shallow218 - 223
- Tut, sir; I could have told you more. In these
- times you stand on distance: your passes,
- stoccadoes, and I know not what. ’Tis the heart,
- Master Page, ’tis here, ’tis here. I have seen the
- time, with my long sword I would have made
- you four tall fellows skip like rats.
- Here, boys, here, here! Shall we wag?
George225 - 226
- Have with you. I had rather hear them scold
- than fight.
- Exeunt Host, Shallow, and Page.
Ford227 - 234
- Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so
- firmly on his wife’s frailty, yet I cannot put off my
- opinion so easily. She was in his company at
- Page’s house; and what they made there, I
- know not. Well, I will look further into’t, and I
- have a disguise to sound Falstaff. If I find her
- honest, I lose not my labor; if she be otherwise,
- ’tis labor well bestow’d.