The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 3, Scene 5
A room in the Garter Inn.
- Enter Falstaff.
- Bardolph, I say!
- Enter Bardolph.
- Here, sir.
Falstaff5 - 18
- Go fetch me a quart of sack, put a toast in’t.
- Exit Bardolph.
- Have I liv’d to be carried in a basket like a barrow of
- butcher’s offal? And to be thrown in the Thames? Well, and I
- be serv’d such another trick, I’ll have my brains ta’en out
- and butter’d, and give them to a dog for a new-year’s gift.
- The rogues slighted me into the river with as little remorse
- as they would have drown’d a blind bitch’s puppies, fifteen
- i’ th’ litter; and you may know by my size that I have a
- kind of alacrity in sinking; and the bottom were as deep as
- hell, I should down. I had been drown’d, but that the shore
- was shelvy and shallow—a death that I abhor; for the water
- swells a man; and what a thing should I have been when I had
- been swell’d! I should have been a mountain of mummy.
- Enter Bardolph with sack.
- Here’s Mistress Quickly, sir, to speak with you.
Falstaff21 - 23
- Come, let me pour in some sack to the Thames water; for my
- belly’s as cold as if I had swallow’d snowballs for pills to
- cool the reins. Call her in.
- Come in, woman!
- Enter Mistress Quickly.
Mistress Quickly26 - 27
- By your leave; I cry you mercy! Give your worship good
Falstaff28 - 29
- Take away these chalices. Go, brew me a pottle of sack
- With eggs, sir?
Falstaff31 - 33
- Simple of itself; I’ll no pullet-sperm in my brewage.
- Exit Bardolph.
- How now?
- Marry, sir, I come to your worship from Mistress Ford.
Falstaff35 - 36
- Mistress Ford? I have had ford enough. I was thrown into the
- ford; I have my belly full of ford.
Mistress Quickly37 - 38
- Alas the day! Good heart, that was not her fault. She does
- so take on with her men; they mistook their erection.
- So did I mine, to build upon a foolish woman’s promise.
Mistress Quickly40 - 44
- Well, she laments, sir, for it, that it would yearn your
- heart to see it. Her husband goes this morning a-birding;
- she desires you once more to come to her, between eight and
- nine. I must carry her word quickly. She’ll make you amends,
- I warrant you.
Falstaff45 - 47
- Well, I will visit her, tell her so. And bid her think what
- a man is: let her consider his frailty, and then judge of my
- I will tell her.
- Do so. Between nine and ten, say’st thou?
- Eight and nine, sir.
- Well, be gone; I will not miss her.
- Peace be with you, sir.
Falstaff54 - 55
- I marvel I hear not of Master Brook; he sent me word to stay
- within. I like his money well. O, here he comes.
- Enter Ford disguised.
- Bless you, sir!
Falstaff58 - 59
- Now, Master Brook, you come to know what hath pass’d between
- me and Ford’s wife?
- That indeed, Sir John, is my business.
Falstaff61 - 62
- Master Brook, I will not lie to you. I was at her house the
- hour she appointed me.
- And sped you, sir?
- Very ill-favoredly, Master Brook.
- How so, sir? Did she change her determination?
Falstaff66 - 73
- No, Master Brook, but the peaking cornuto her husband,
- Master Brook, dwelling in a continual ’larum of jealousy,
- comes me in the instant of our encounter, after we had
- embrac’d, kiss’d, protested, and, as it were, spoke the
- prologue of our comedy; and at his heels a rabble of his
- companions, thither provok’d and instigated by his
- distemper, and, forsooth, to search his house for his wive’s
- What? While you were there?
- While I was there.
- And did he search for you, and could not find you?
Falstaff77 - 80
- You shall hear. As good luck would have it, comes in one
- Mistress Page; gives intelligence of Ford’s approach; and in
- her invention, and Ford’s wive’s distraction, they convey’d
- me into a buck-basket.
- A buck-basket?
Falstaff82 - 85
- By the Lord, a buck-basket! Ramm’d me in with foul shirts
- and smocks, socks, foul stockings, greasy napkins, that,
- Master Brook, there was the rankest compound of villainous
- smell that ever offended nostril.
- And how long lay you there?
Falstaff87 - 110
- Nay, you shall hear, Master Brook, what I have suffer’d to
- bring this woman to evil for your good. Being thus cramm’d
- in the basket, a couple of Ford’s knaves, his hinds, were
- call’d forth by their mistress to carry me in the name of
- foul clothes to Datchet-lane. They took me on their
- shoulders; met the jealous knave their master in the door,
- who ask’d them once or twice what they had in their basket.
- I quak’d for fear, lest the lunatic knave would have
- search’d it; but fate (ordaining he should be a cuckold)
- held his hand. Well, on went he for a search, and away went
- I for foul clothes. But mark the sequel, Master Brook. I
- suffer’d the pangs of three several deaths: first, an
- intolerable fright, to be detected with a jealous rotten
- bell-wether; next, to be compass’d like a good bilbo in the
- circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head; and
- then to be stopp’d in like a strong distillation with
- stinking clothes that fretted in their own grease. Think of
- that—a man of my kidney. Think of that—that am as subject to
- heat as butter; a man of continual dissolution and thaw. It
- was a miracle to scape suffocation. And in the height of
- this bath (when I was more than half stew’d in grease, like
- a Dutch dish) to be thrown into the Thames, and cool’d,
- glowing-hot, in that surge, like a horse-shoe; think of
- that—hissing-hot—think of that, Master Brook.
Ford111 - 113
- In good sadness, sir, I am sorry that for my sake you have
- suffer’d all this. My suit then is desperate; you’ll
- undertake her no more?
Falstaff114 - 118
- Master Brook, I will be thrown into Etna, as I have been
- into Thames, ere I will leave her thus. Her husband is this
- morning gone a-birding. I have receiv’d from her another
- embassy of meeting. ’Twixt eight and nine is the hour,
- Master Brook.
- ’Tis past eight already, sir.
Falstaff120 - 124
- Is it? I will then address me to my appointment. Come to me
- at your convenient leisure, and you shall know how I speed;
- and the conclusion shall be crown’d with your enjoying her.
- Adieu. You shall have her, Master Brook. Master Brook, you
- shall cuckold Ford.
Ford126 - 137
- Hum! Ha? Is this a vision? Is this a dream? Do I sleep?
- Master Ford, awake! Awake, Master Ford! There’s a hole made
- in your best coat, Master Ford. This ’tis to be married!
- This ’tis to have linen and buck-baskets! Well, I will
- proclaim myself what I am. I will now take the lecher; he is
- at my house. He cannot scape me; ’tis impossible he should;
- he cannot creep into a halfpenny purse, nor into a
- pepper-box. But lest the devil that guides him should aid
- him, I will search impossible places. Though what I am I
- cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not shall not make me
- tame. If I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go
- with me: I’ll be horn-mad.