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The Merry Wives of Windsor: Act 2, Scene 1

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 2, Scene 1

Scene 1

Windsor. A street in front of Page’s house.

  1. Enter Mistress Page, reading of a letter.

Mistress Page

2 - 29
  1. What, have I scap’d love-letters in the holiday-time of my
  2. beauty, and am I now a subject for them? Let me see.
  3. Reads.
  4. Ask me no reason why I love you, for though Love use Reason
  5. for his precisian, he admits him not for his counsellor. You
  6. are not young, no more am I; go to then, there’s sympathy.
  7. You are merry, so am I; ha, ha! Then there’s more sympathy.
  8. You love sack, and so do I; would you desire better
  9. sympathy? Let it suffice thee, Mistress Pageat the least if
  10. the love of a soldier can sufficethat I love thee. I will
  11. not say, pity me’tis not a soldier-like phrasebut I say,
  12. love me. By me,
  13. Thine own true knight,
  14. By day or night,
  15. Or any kind of light,
  16. With all his might
  17. For thee to fight,
  18. John Falstaff.”
  19. What a Herod of Jewry is this! O wicked, wicked world! One
  20. that is well-nigh worn to pieces with age to show himself a
  21. young gallant! What an unweigh’d behavior hath this Flemish
  22. drunkard pick’d (with the devil’s name!) out of my
  23. conversation, that he dares in this manner assay me? Why, he
  24. hath not been thrice in my company! What should I say to
  25. him? I was then frugal of my mirth. Heaven forgive me! Why,
  26. I’ll exhibit a bill in the parliament for the putting down
  27. of men. How shall I be reveng’d on him? For reveng’d I will
  28. be! As sure as his guts are made of puddings.
  1. Enter Mistress Ford.

Mistress Ford

31
  1. Mistress Page, trust me, I was going to your house.

Mistress Page

32
  1. And trust me, I was coming to you. You look very ill.

Mistress Ford

33 - 34
  1. Nay, I’ll ne’er believe that; I have to show to the
  2. contrary.

Mistress Page

35
  1. Faith, but you do, in my mind.

Mistress Ford

36 - 37
  1. WellI do then; yet I say I could show you to the contrary.
  2. O Mistress Page, give me some counsel!

Mistress Page

38
  1. What’s the matter, woman?

Mistress Ford

39 - 40
  1. O womanif it were not for one trifling respect, I could
  2. come to such honor!

Mistress Page

41 - 42
  1. Hang the trifle, woman, take the honor. What is it? Dispense
  2. with trifles. What is it?

Mistress Ford

43 - 44
  1. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or so, I
  2. could be knighted.

Mistress Page

45 - 46
  1. What? Thou liest! Sir Alice Ford! These knights will hack,
  2. and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.

Mistress Ford

47 - 59
  1. We burn daylight. Here, read, read; perceive how I might be
  2. knighted. I shall think the worse of fat men, as long as I
  3. have an eye to make difference of men’s liking: and yet he
  4. would not swear; prais’d women’s modesty; and gave such
  5. orderly and well-behav’d reproof to all uncomeliness, that I
  6. would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the
  7. truth of his words; but they do no more adhere and keep
  8. place together than the hundred Psalms to the tune of
  9. Green-sleeves.” What tempest, I trow, threw this whale
  10. (with so many tuns of oil in his belly) ashore at Windsor?
  11. How shall I be reveng’d on him? I think the best way were to
  12. entertain him with hope, till the wicked fire of lust have
  13. melted him in his own grease. Did you ever hear the like?

Mistress Page

60 - 70
  1. Letter for letter; but that the name of Page and Ford
  2. differs! To thy great comfort in this mystery of ill
  3. opinions, here’s the twin-brother of thy letter; but let
  4. thine inherit first, for I protest mine never shall. I
  5. warrant he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank
  6. space for different names (sure, more!); and these are of
  7. the second edition. He will print them, out of doubt; for he
  8. cares not what he puts into the press, when he would put us
  9. two. I had rather be a giantess, and lie under Mount Pelion.
  10. WellI will find you twenty lascivious turtles ere one
  11. chaste man.

Mistress Ford

71 - 72
  1. Why, this is the very same: the very hand; the very words.
  2. What doth he think of us?

Mistress Page

73 - 77
  1. Nay, I know not; it makes me almost ready to wrangle with
  2. mine own honesty. I’ll entertain myself like one that I am
  3. not acquainted withal; for sure unless he know some strain
  4. in me that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me
  5. in this fury.

Mistress Ford

78 - 79
  1. Boarding,” call you it? I’ll be sure to keep him above
  2. deck.

Mistress Page

80 - 84
  1. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I’ll never to sea
  2. again. Let’s be reveng’d on him: let’s appoint him a
  3. meeting, give him a show of comfort in his suit, and lead
  4. him on with a fine-baited delay, till he hath pawn’d his
  5. horses to mine host of the Garter.

Mistress Ford

85 - 88
  1. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him, that
  2. may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O that my
  3. husband saw this letter! It would give eternal food to his
  4. jealousy.

Mistress Page

89 - 91
  1. Why, look where he comes; and my good man too. He’s as far
  2. from jealousy as I am from giving him cause, and that (I
  3. hope) is an unmeasurable distance.

Mistress Ford

92
  1. You are the happier woman.

Mistress Page

93 - 94
  1. Let’s consult together against this greasy knight. Come
  2. hither.
  1. They retire.
  1. Enter Ford with Pistol; Page with Nym.

Ford

97
  1. Well, I hope it be not so.

Pistol

98 - 99
  1. Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs. Sir John affects thy
  2. wife.

Ford

100
  1. Why, sir, my wife is not young.

Pistol

101 - 103
  1. He woos both high and low, both rich and poor,
  2. Both young and old, one with another, Ford.
  3. He loves the gallimaufry, Ford. Perpend.

Ford

104
  1. Love my wife?

Pistol

105 - 107
  1. With liver burning hot. Prevent; or go thou
  2. Like Sir Actaeon he, with Ringwood at thy heels
  3. O, odious is the name!

Ford

108
  1. What name, sir?

Pistol

109 - 113
  1. The horn, I say. Farewell.
  2. Take heed, have open eye, for thieves do foot by night.
  3. Take heed, ere summer comes or cuckoo-birds do sing.
  4. Away, Sir Corporal Nym!
  5. Believe it, Page, he speaks sense.
  1. Exit.

Ford

115 - 116
  1. Aside.
  2. I will be patient; I will find out this.

Nym

117 - 125
  1. To Page.
  2. And this is true; I like not the humor of lying. He hath
  3. wrong’d me in some humors. I should have borne the humor’d
  4. letter to her; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my
  5. necessity. He loves your wife: there’s the short and the
  6. long. My name is Corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch; ’tis
  7. true; my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife. Adieu. I
  8. love not the humor of bread and cheese and there’s the humor
  9. of it. Adieu.
  1. Exit.

George

127 - 128
  1. The humor of it,” quoth ’a! Here’s a fellow frights English
  2. out of his wits.

Ford

129
  1. I will seek out Falstaff.

George

130
  1. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.

Ford

131
  1. If I do find itwell.

George

132 - 133
  1. I will not believe such a Cataian, though the priest o’ th’
  2. town commended him for a true man.

Ford

134
  1. ’Twas a good sensible fellowwell.
  1. Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford come forward.

George

136
  1. How now, Meg?

Mistress Page

137
  1. Whither go you, George, hark you?

Mistress Ford

138
  1. How now, sweet Frank, why art thou melancholy?

Ford

139
  1. I melancholy? I am not melancholy. Get you home; go.

Mistress Ford

140 - 141
  1. Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now. Will you
  2. go, Mistress Page?

Mistress Page

142 - 145
  1. Have with you. You’ll come to dinner, George?
  2. Aside to Mrs. Ford.
  3. Look who comes yonder. She shall be our messenger to this
  4. paltry knight.

Mistress Ford

146 - 147
  1. Aside to Mrs. Page
  2. Trust me, I thought on her. She’ll fit it.
  1. Enter Mistress Quickly.

Mistress Page

149
  1. You are come to see my daughter Anne?

Mistress Quickly

150
  1. Ay, forsooth; and I pray, how does good Mistress Anne?

Mistress Page

151
  1. Go in with us and see. We have an hour’s talk with you.
  1. Exeunt Mrs. Page, Mrs. Ford, and Mrs. Quickly.

George

153
  1. How now, Master Ford?

Ford

154
  1. You heard what this knave told me, did you not?

George

155
  1. Yes, and you heard what the other told me?

Ford

156
  1. Do you think there is truth in them?

George

157 - 160
  1. Hang ’em, slaves! I do not think the knight would offer it;
  2. but these that accuse him in his intent towards our wives
  3. are a yoke of his discarded menvery rogues, now they be out
  4. of service.

Ford

161
  1. Were they his men?

George

162
  1. Marry, were they.

Ford

163 - 164
  1. I like it never the better for that. Does he lie at the
  2. Garter?

George

165 - 167
  1. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage toward
  2. my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets
  3. more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head.

Ford

168 - 170
  1. I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loath to turn them
  2. together. A man may be too confident. I would have nothing
  3. lie on my head. I cannot be thus satisfied.
  1. Enter Host.

George

172 - 174
  1. Look where my ranting host of the Garter comes. There is
  2. either liquor in his pate, or money in his purse, when he
  3. looks so merrily. How now, mine host?

Host

175 - 176
  1. How now, bully-rook? Thou’rt a gentleman. Cavaleiro Justice,
  2. I say!
  1. Enter Shallow.

Shallow

178 - 180
  1. I follow, mine host, I follow. Good even and twenty, good
  2. Master Page! Master Page, will you go with us? We have sport
  3. in hand.

Host

181
  1. Tell him, Cavaleiro Justice; tell him, bully-rook.

Shallow

182 - 183
  1. Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir Hugh the Welsh
  2. priest and Caius the French doctor.

Ford

184
  1. Good mine host o’ th’ Garter, a word with you.

Host

185
  1. What say’st thou, my bully-rook?
  1. Ford and the Host talk.

Shallow

187 - 191
  1. To Page.
  2. Will you go with us to behold it? My merry host hath had the
  3. measuring of their weapons, and, I think, hath appointed
  4. them contrary places; for, believe me, I hear the parson is
  5. no jester. Hark, I will tell you what our sport shall be.
  1. They converse apart.

Host

193
  1. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guest-cavalier?

Ford

194 - 196
  1. None, I protest; but I’ll give you a pottle of burnt sack to
  2. give me recourse to him and tell him my name is Brookonly
  3. for a jest.

Host

197 - 199
  1. My hand, bully; thou shalt have egress and regresssaid I
  2. well?—and thy name shall be Brook. It is a merry knight.
  3. Will you go, An-heires?

Shallow

200
  1. Have with you, mine host.

George

201
  1. I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in his rapier.

Shallow

202 - 206
  1. Tut, sir; I could have told you more. In these times you
  2. stand on distance: your passes, stoccadoes, and I know not
  3. what. ’Tis the heart, Master Page, ’tis here, ’tis here. I
  4. have seen the time, with my long sword I would have made you
  5. four tall fellows skip like rats.

Host

207
  1. Here, boys, here, here! Shall we wag?

George

208
  1. Have with you. I had rather hear them scold than fight.
  1. Exeunt Host, Shallow, and Page.

Ford

210 - 216
  1. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on his
  2. wife’s frailty, yet I cannot put off my opinion so easily.
  3. She was in his company at Page’s house; and what they made
  4. there, I know not. Well, I will look further into’t, and I
  5. have a disguise to sound Falstaff. If I find her honest, I
  6. lose not my labor; if she be otherwise, ’tis labor well
  7. bestow’d.
  1. Exit.
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