The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 2, Scene 1
Windsor. A street in front of Page’s house.
- Enter Mistress Page, reading of a letter.
Mistress Page2 - 29
- 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 Page, trust me, I was going to your house.
- And trust me, I was coming to you. You look very ill.
Mistress Ford33 - 34
- Nay, I’ll ne’er believe that; I have to show to the
- Faith, but you do, in my mind.
Mistress Ford36 - 37
- Well—I do then; yet I say I could show you to the contrary.
- O Mistress Page, give me some counsel!
- What’s the matter, woman?
Mistress Ford39 - 40
- O woman—if it were not for one trifling respect, I could
- come to such honor!
Mistress Page41 - 42
- Hang the trifle, woman, take the honor. What is it? Dispense
- with trifles. What is it?
Mistress Ford43 - 44
- If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or so, I
- could be knighted.
Mistress Page45 - 46
- What? Thou liest! Sir Alice Ford! These knights will hack,
- and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.
Mistress Ford47 - 59
- 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 Page60 - 70
- 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 Ford71 - 72
- Why, this is the very same: the very hand; the very words.
- What doth he think of us?
Mistress Page73 - 77
- 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 Ford78 - 79
- “Boarding,” call you it? I’ll be sure to keep him above
Mistress Page80 - 84
- 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 Ford85 - 88
- 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
Mistress Page89 - 91
- 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 Page93 - 94
- Let’s consult together against this greasy knight. Come
- They retire.
- Enter Ford with Pistol; Page with Nym.
- Well, I hope it be not so.
Pistol98 - 99
- Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs. Sir John affects thy
- Why, sir, my wife is not young.
Pistol101 - 103
- 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?
Pistol105 - 107
- 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?
Pistol109 - 113
- 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.
Ford115 - 116
- I will be patient; I will find out this.
Nym117 - 125
- 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. Adieu.
George127 - 128
- “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.
George132 - 133
- I will not believe such a Cataian, though the priest o’ th’
- town commended him for a true man.
- ’Twas a good sensible fellow—well.
- Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford come forward.
- How now, Meg?
- Whither go you, George, hark you?
- How now, sweet Frank, why art thou melancholy?
- I melancholy? I am not melancholy. Get you home; go.
Mistress Ford140 - 141
- Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now. Will you
- go, Mistress Page?
Mistress Page142 - 145
- 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.
Mistress Ford146 - 147
- 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?
- 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?
- You heard what this knave told me, did you not?
- Yes, and you heard what the other told me?
- Do you think there is truth in them?
George157 - 160
- 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.
Ford163 - 164
- I like it never the better for that. Does he lie at the
George165 - 167
- 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.
Ford168 - 170
- 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.
George172 - 174
- 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?
Host175 - 176
- How now, bully-rook? Thou’rt a gentleman. Cavaleiro Justice,
- I say!
- Enter Shallow.
Shallow178 - 180
- 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.
Shallow182 - 183
- Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir Hugh the Welsh
- priest and Caius the French doctor.
- Good mine host o’ th’ Garter, a word with you.
- What say’st thou, my bully-rook?
- Ford and the Host talk.
Shallow187 - 191
- 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.
- Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guest-cavalier?
Ford194 - 196
- 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.
Host197 - 199
- 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, An-heires?
- Have with you, mine host.
- I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in his rapier.
Shallow202 - 206
- 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?
- Have with you. I had rather hear them scold than fight.
- Exeunt Host, Shallow, and Page.
Ford210 - 216
- 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