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The Merry Wives of Windsor: Act 4, Scene 4

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 4, Scene 4

A room in Ford’s house.

  1. Enter Page, Ford, Mistress Page, Mistress Ford, and Evans.

Evans

2 - 3
  1. ’Tis one of the best discretions of a oman as ever I did
  2. look upon.

George

4
  1. And did he send you both these letters at an instant?

Mistress Page

5
  1. Within a quarter of an hour.

Ford

6 - 10
  1. Pardon me, wife, henceforth do what thou wilt.
  2. I rather will suspect the sun with cold
  3. Than thee with wantonness. Now doth thy honor stand,
  4. In him that was of late an heretic,
  5. As firm as faith.

George

11 - 16
  1.                   ’Tis well, ’tis well, no more.
  2. Be not as extreme in submission as in offense;
  3. But let our plot go forward. Let our wives
  4. Yet once again (to make us public sport)
  5. Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow,
  6. Where we may take him, and disgrace him for it.

Ford

17
  1. There is no better way than that they spoke of.

George

18 - 19
  1. How? To send him word they’ll meet him in the park at
  2. midnight? Fie, fie, he’ll never come.

Evans

20 - 23
  1. You say he has been thrown in the rivers, and has been
  2. grievously peaten as an old oman. Methinks there should be
  3. terrors in him that he should not come; methinks his flesh
  4. is punish’d, he shall have no desires.

George

24
  1. So think I too.

Mistress Ford

25 - 26
  1. Devise but how you’ll use him when he comes,
  2. And let us two devise to bring him thither.

Mistress Page

27 - 37
  1. There is an old tale goes, that Herne the Hunter
  2. (Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest)
  3. Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
  4. Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns,
  5. And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
  6. And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
  7. In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
  8. You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
  9. The superstitious idle-headed eld
  10. Receiv’d and did deliver to our age
  11. This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.

George

38 - 40
  1. Why, yet there want not many that do fear
  2. In deep of night to walk by this Herne’s oak.
  3. But what of this?

Mistress Ford

41 - 43
  1.                   Marry, this is our device:
  2. That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us,
  3. Disguis’d like Herne, with huge horns on his head.

George

44 - 46
  1. Well, let it not be doubted but he’ll come,
  2. And in this shape when you have brought him thither,
  3. What shall be done with him? What is your plot?

Mistress Page

47 - 61
  1. That likewise have we thought upon, and thus:
  2. Nan Page (my daughter) and my little son,
  3. And three or four more of their growth, we’ll dress
  4. Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies, green and white,
  5. With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
  6. And rattles in their hands. Upon a sudden,
  7. As Falstaff, she, and I are newly met,
  8. Let them from forth a sawpit rush at once
  9. With some diffused song. Upon their sight,
  10. We two in great amazedness will fly;
  11. Then let them all encircle him about,
  12. And fairy-like to pinch the unclean knight;
  13. And ask him why, that hour of fairy revel,
  14. In their so sacred paths he dares to tread
  15. In shape profane.

Mistress Ford

62 - 64
  1.                   And till he tell the truth,
  2. Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound,
  3. And burn him with their tapers.

Mistress Page

65 - 67
  1.                                 The truth being known,
  2. We’ll all present ourselves; dis-horn the spirit,
  3. And mock him home to Windsor.

Ford

68 - 69
  1.                               The children must
  2. Be practic’d well to this, or they’ll nev’r do’t.

Evans

70
  1. I will teach the children their behaviors; and I will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my taber.

Ford

71
  1. That will be excellent. I’ll go buy them vizards.

Mistress Page

72 - 73
  1. My Nan shall be the queen of all the fairies,
  2. Finely attired in a robe of white.

George

74 - 78
  1. That silk will I go buy.
  2. Aside.
  3. And in that time
  4. Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away,
  5. And marry her at Eton.—Go, send to Falstaff straight.

Ford

79 - 80
  1. Nay, I’ll to him again in name of Brook;
  2. He’ll tell me all his purpose. Sure he’ll come.

Mistress Page

81 - 82
  1. Fear not you that. Go get us properties
  2. And tricking for our fairies.

Evans

83 - 84
  1. Let us about it. It is admirable pleasures and fery honest
  2. knaveries.
  1. Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans.

Mistress Page

86 - 95
  1. Go, Mistress Ford,
  2. Send Quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.
  3. Exit Mrs. Ford.
  4. I’ll to the doctor, he hath my good will,
  5. And none but he, to marry with Nan Page.
  6. That Slender (though well landed) is an idiot;
  7. And he my husband best of all affects.
  8. The doctor is well money’d, and his friends
  9. Potent at court. He, none but he, shall have her,
  10. Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.
  1. Exit.
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