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The Merry Wives of Windsor: Act II, Scene 1

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act II, Scene 1

Scene 1

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

  1. Enter Mistress Page, reading of a letter.

Mistress Page

1 - 33
  1. What, have I scap’d love-letters in the
  2. holiday-time of my beauty, and am I now a
  3. subject for them? Let me see.
  4. Reads.
  5. Ask me no reason why I love you, for though
  6. Love use Reason for his precisian, he admits
  7. him not for his counsellor. You are not young,
  8. no more am I; go to then, there’s sympathy. You
  9. are merry, so am I; ha, ha! Then there’s more
  10. sympathy. You love sack, and so do I; would
  11. you desire better sympathy? Let it suffice thee,
  12. Mistress Pageat the least if the love of a
  13. soldier can sufficethat I love thee. I will not
  14. say, pity me’tis not a soldier-like phrasebut
  15. I say, love me. By me,
  16. Thine own true knight,
  17. By day or night,
  18. Or any kind of light,
  19. With all his might
  20. For thee to fight,
  21. John Falstaff.”
  22. What a Herod of Jewry is this! O wicked,
  23. wicked world! One that is well-nigh worn to
  24. pieces with age to show himself a young
  25. gallant! What an unweigh’d behavior hath this
  26. Flemish drunkard pick’d (with the devil’s name!)
  27. out of my conversation, that he dares in this
  28. manner assay me? Why, he hath not been
  29. thrice in my company! What should I say to
  30. him? I was then frugal of my mirth. Heaven
  31. forgive me! Why, I’ll exhibit a bill in the
  32. parliament for the putting down of men. How
  33. shall I be reveng’d on him? For reveng’d I will
  34. be! As sure as his guts are made of puddings.
  1. Enter Mistress Ford.

Mistress Ford

34 - 35
  1. Mistress Page, trust me, I was going to your
  2. house.

Mistress Page

36 - 37
  1. And trust me, I was coming to you. You look
  2. very ill.

Mistress Ford

38 - 39
  1. Nay, I’ll ne’er believe that; I have to show to the
  2. contrary.

Mistress Page

40
  1. Faith, but you do, in my mind.

Mistress Ford

41 - 43
  1. WellI do then; yet I say I could show you to
  2. the contrary. O Mistress Page, give me some
  3. counsel!

Mistress Page

44
  1. What’s the matter, woman?

Mistress Ford

45 - 46
  1. O womanif it were not for one trifling respect,
  2. I could come to such honor!

Mistress Page

47 - 48
  1. Hang the trifle, woman, take the honor. What is
  2. it? Dispense with trifles. What is it?

Mistress Ford

49 - 50
  1. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or
  2. so, I could be knighted.

Mistress Page

51 - 53
  1. What? Thou liest! Sir Alice Ford! These knights
  2. will hack, and so thou shouldst not alter the
  3. article of thy gentry.

Mistress Ford

54 - 70
  1. We burn daylight. Here, read, read; perceive
  2. how I might be knighted. I shall think the worse
  3. of fat men, as long as I have an eye to make
  4. difference of men’s liking: and yet he would not
  5. swear; prais’d women’s modesty; and gave
  6. such orderly and well-behav’d reproof to all
  7. uncomeliness, that I would have sworn his
  8. disposition would have gone to the truth of his
  9. words; but they do no more adhere and keep
  10. place together than the hundred Psalms to the
  11. tune of Green-sleeves.” What tempest, I trow,
  12. threw this whale (with so many tuns of oil in his
  13. belly) ashore at Windsor? How shall I be
  14. reveng’d on him? I think the best way were to
  15. entertain him with hope, till the wicked fire of
  16. lust have melted him in his own grease. Did you
  17. ever hear the like?

Mistress Page

71 - 83
  1. Letter for letter; but that the name of Page and
  2. Ford differs! To thy great comfort in this mystery
  3. of ill opinions, here’s the twin-brother of thy
  4. letter; but let thine inherit first, for I protest mine
  5. never shall. I warrant he hath a thousand of
  6. these letters, writ with blank space for different
  7. names (sure, more!); and these are of the
  8. second edition. He will print them, out of doubt;
  9. for he cares not what he puts into the press,
  10. when he would put us two. I had rather be a
  11. giantess, and lie under Mount Pelion. WellI
  12. will find you twenty lascivious turtles ere one
  13. chaste man.

Mistress Ford

84 - 85
  1. Why, this is the very same: the very hand; the
  2. very words. What doth he think of us?

Mistress Page

86 - 91
  1. Nay, I know not; it makes me almost ready to
  2. wrangle with mine own honesty. I’ll entertain
  3. myself like one that I am not acquainted withal;
  4. for sure unless he know some strain in me that I
  5. know not myself, he would never have boarded
  6. me in this fury.

Mistress Ford

92 - 93
  1. Boarding,” call you it? I’ll be sure to keep him
  2. above deck.

Mistress Page

94 - 99
  1. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I’ll never
  2. to sea again. Let’s be reveng’d on him: let’s
  3. appoint him a meeting, give him a show of
  4. comfort in his suit, and lead him on with a
  5. fine-baited delay, till he hath pawn’d his horses
  6. to mine host of the Garter.

Mistress Ford

100 - 103
  1. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against
  2. him, that may not sully the chariness of our
  3. honesty. O that my husband saw this letter! It
  4. would give eternal food to his jealousy.

Mistress Page

104 - 107
  1. Why, look where he comes; and my good man
  2. too. He’s as far from jealousy as I am from
  3. giving him cause, and that (I hope) is an
  4. unmeasurable distance.

Mistress Ford

108
  1. You are the happier woman.

Mistress Page

109 - 110
  1. Let’s consult together against this greasy
  2. knight. Come hither.
  1. They retire.
  1. Enter Ford with Pistol; Page with Nym.

Ford

111
  1. Well, I hope it be not so.

Pistol

112 - 113
  1. Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs. Sir John
  2. affects thy wife.

Ford

114
  1. Why, sir, my wife is not young.

Pistol

115 - 117
  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

118
  1. Love my wife?

Pistol

119 - 121
  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

122
  1. What name, sir?

Pistol

123 - 127
  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

128
  1. Aside.
  2. I will be patient; I will find out this.

Nym

129 - 138
  1. To Page.
  2. And this is true; I like not the humor of lying. He
  3. hath wrong’d me in some humors. I should
  4. have borne the humor’d letter to her; but I have
  5. a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He
  6. loves your wife: there’s the short and the long.
  7. My name is Corporal Nym; I speak, and I
  8. avouch; ’tis true; my name is Nym, and Falstaff
  9. loves your wife. Adieu. I love not the humor of
  10. bread and cheese and there’s the humor of it.
  11. Adieu.
  1. Exit.

George

139 - 140
  1. The humor of it,” quoth ’a! Here’s a fellow
  2. frights English out of his wits.

Ford

141
  1. I will seek out Falstaff.

George

142
  1. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.

Ford

143
  1. If I do find itwell.

George

144 - 146
  1. I will not believe such a Cataian, though the
  2. priest o’ th’ town commended him for a true
  3. man.

Ford

147
  1. ’Twas a good sensible fellowwell.
  1. Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford come forward.

George

148
  1. How now, Meg?

Mistress Page

149
  1. Whither go you, George, hark you?

Mistress Ford

150 - 151
  1. How now, sweet Frank, why art thou
  2. melancholy?

Ford

152 - 153
  1. I melancholy? I am not melancholy. Get you
  2. home; go.

Mistress Ford

154 - 155
  1. Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head
  2. now. Will you go, Mistress Page?

Mistress Page

156 - 158
  1. Have with you. You’ll come to dinner, George?
  2. Aside to Mrs. Ford.
  3. Look who comes yonder. She shall be our
  4. messenger to this paltry knight.

Mistress Ford

159
  1. Aside to Mrs. Page
  2. Trust me, I thought on her. She’ll fit it.
  1. Enter Mistress Quickly.

Mistress Page

160
  1. You are come to see my daughter Anne?

Mistress Quickly

161 - 162
  1. Ay, forsooth; and I pray, how does good
  2. Mistress Anne?

Mistress Page

163
  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

164
  1. How now, Master Ford?

Ford

165 - 166
  1. You heard what this knave told me, did you
  2. not?

George

167
  1. Yes, and you heard what the other told me?

Ford

168
  1. Do you think there is truth in them?

George

169 - 173
  1. Hang ’em, slaves! I do not think the knight
  2. would offer it; but these that accuse him in his
  3. intent towards our wives are a yoke of his
  4. discarded menvery rogues, now they be out
  5. of service.

Ford

174
  1. Were they his men?

George

175
  1. Marry, were they.

Ford

176 - 177
  1. I like it never the better for that. Does he lie at
  2. the Garter?

George

178 - 181
  1. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this
  2. voyage toward my wife, I would turn her loose
  3. to him; and what he gets more of her than
  4. sharp words, let it lie on my head.

Ford

182 - 185
  1. I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loath
  2. to turn them together. A man may be too
  3. confident. I would have nothing lie on my head.
  4. I cannot be thus satisfied.
  1. Enter Host.

George

186 - 189
  1. Look where my ranting host of the Garter
  2. comes. There is either liquor in his pate, or
  3. money in his purse, when he looks so merrily.
  4. How now, mine host?

Host

190 - 191
  1. How now, bully-rook? Thou’rt a gentleman.
  2. Cavaleiro Justice, I say!
  1. Enter Shallow.

Shallow

192 - 194
  1. I follow, mine host, I follow. Good even and
  2. twenty, good Master Page! Master Page, will
  3. you go with us? We have sport in hand.

Host

195
  1. Tell him, Cavaleiro Justice; tell him, bully-rook.

Shallow

196 - 198
  1. Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir
  2. Hugh the Welsh priest and Caius the French
  3. doctor.

Ford

199
  1. Good mine host o’ th’ Garter, a word with you.

Host

200
  1. What say’st thou, my bully-rook?
  1. Ford and the Host talk.

Shallow

201 - 205
  1. To Page.
  2. Will you go with us to behold it? My merry host
  3. hath had the measuring of their weapons, and, I
  4. think, hath appointed them contrary places; for,
  5. believe me, I hear the parson is no jester. Hark,
  6. I will tell you what our sport shall be.
  1. They converse apart.

Host

206 - 207
  1. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my
  2. guest-cavalier?

Ford

208 - 210
  1. None, I protest; but I’ll give you a pottle of burnt
  2. sack to give me recourse to him and tell him my
  3. name is Brookonly for a jest.

Host

211 - 214
  1. My hand, bully; thou shalt have egress and
  2. regresssaid I well?—and thy name shall be
  3. Brook. It is a merry knight. Will you go,
  4. An-heires?

Shallow

215
  1. Have with you, mine host.

George

216 - 217
  1. I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in
  2. his rapier.

Shallow

218 - 223
  1. Tut, sir; I could have told you more. In these
  2. times you stand on distance: your passes,
  3. stoccadoes, and I know not what. ’Tis the heart,
  4. Master Page, ’tis here, ’tis here. I have seen the
  5. time, with my long sword I would have made
  6. you four tall fellows skip like rats.

Host

224
  1. Here, boys, here, here! Shall we wag?

George

225 - 226
  1. Have with you. I had rather hear them scold
  2. than fight.
  1. Exeunt Host, Shallow, and Page.

Ford

227 - 234
  1. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so
  2. firmly on his wife’s frailty, yet I cannot put off my
  3. opinion so easily. She was in his company at
  4. Page’s house; and what they made there, I
  5. know not. Well, I will look further into’t, and I
  6. have a disguise to sound Falstaff. If I find her
  7. honest, I lose not my labor; if she be otherwise,
  8. ’tis labor well bestow’d.
  1. Exit.
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