The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act IV, Scene 4
A room in Ford’s house.
- Enter Page, Ford, Mistress Page, Mistress Ford, and Evans.
Evans1 - 2
- ’Tis one of the best discretions of a oman as ever I did
- look upon.
- And did he send you both these letters at an instant?
- Within a quarter of an hour.
Ford5 - 9
- Pardon me, wife, henceforth do what thou wilt.
- I rather will suspect the sun with cold
- Than thee with wantonness. Now doth thy honor stand,
- In him that was of late an heretic,
- As firm as faith.
George10 - 15
- ’Tis well, ’tis well, no more.
- Be not as extreme in submission as in offense;
- But let our plot go forward. Let our wives
- Yet once again (to make us public sport)
- Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow,
- Where we may take him, and disgrace him for it.
- There is no better way than that they spoke of.
George17 - 18
- How? To send him word they’ll meet him in the park at
- midnight? Fie, fie, he’ll never come.
Evans19 - 22
- You say he has been thrown in the rivers, and has been
- grievously peaten as an old oman. Methinks there should be
- terrors in him that he should not come; methinks his flesh
- is punish’d, he shall have no desires.
- So think I too.
Mistress Ford24 - 25
- Devise but how you’ll use him when he comes,
- And let us two devise to bring him thither.
Mistress Page26 - 36
- There is an old tale goes, that Herne the Hunter
- (Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest)
- Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
- Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns,
- And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
- And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
- In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
- You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
- The superstitious idle-headed eld
- Receiv’d and did deliver to our age
- This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.
George37 - 39
- Why, yet there want not many that do fear
- In deep of night to walk by this Herne’s oak.
- But what of this?
Mistress Ford40 - 42
- Marry, this is our device:
- That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us,
- Disguis’d like Herne, with huge horns on his head.
George43 - 45
- Well, let it not be doubted but he’ll come,
- And in this shape when you have brought him thither,
- What shall be done with him? What is your plot?
Mistress Page46 - 60
- That likewise have we thought upon, and thus:
- Nan Page (my daughter) and my little son,
- And three or four more of their growth, we’ll dress
- Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies, green and white,
- With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
- And rattles in their hands. Upon a sudden,
- As Falstaff, she, and I are newly met,
- Let them from forth a sawpit rush at once
- With some diffused song. Upon their sight,
- We two in great amazedness will fly;
- Then let them all encircle him about,
- And fairy-like to pinch the unclean knight;
- And ask him why, that hour of fairy revel,
- In their so sacred paths he dares to tread
- In shape profane.
Mistress Ford61 - 63
- And till he tell the truth,
- Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound,
- And burn him with their tapers.
Mistress Page64 - 66
- The truth being known,
- We’ll all present ourselves; dis-horn the spirit,
- And mock him home to Windsor.
Ford67 - 68
- The children must
- Be practic’d well to this, or they’ll nev’r do’t.
- I will teach the children their behaviors; and I will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my taber.
- That will be excellent. I’ll go buy them vizards.
Mistress Page71 - 72
- My Nan shall be the queen of all the fairies,
- Finely attired in a robe of white.
George73 - 76
- That silk will I go buy.
- And in that time
- Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away,
- And marry her at Eton.—Go, send to Falstaff straight.
Ford77 - 78
- Nay, I’ll to him again in name of Brook;
- He’ll tell me all his purpose. Sure he’ll come.
Mistress Page79 - 80
- Fear not you that. Go get us properties
- And tricking for our fairies.
Evans81 - 82
- Let us about it. It is admirable pleasures and fery honest
- Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans.
Mistress Page83 - 91
- Go, Mistress Ford,
- Send Quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.
- Exit Mrs. Ford.
- I’ll to the doctor, he hath my good will,
- And none but he, to marry with Nan Page.
- That Slender (though well landed) is an idiot;
- And he my husband best of all affects.
- The doctor is well money’d, and his friends
- Potent at court. He, none but he, shall have her,
- Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.