The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 4, Scene 6
Another room in the Garter Inn.
- Enter Fenton, Host.
Host2 - 3
- Master Fenton, talk not to me, my mind is heavy; I will give
- over all.
Fenton4 - 6
- Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose,
- And (as I am a gentleman) I’ll give thee
- A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.
Host7 - 8
- I will hear you, Master Fenton, and I will (at the least)
- keep your counsel.
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- From time to time I have acquainted you
- With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page,
- Who mutually hath answer’d my affection
- (So far forth as herself might be her chooser)
- Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
- Of such contents as you will wonder at;
- The mirth whereof so larded with my matter,
- That neither, singly, can be manifested
- Without the show of both. Fat Falstaff
- Hath a great scene; the image of the jest
- I’ll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host:
- Tonight at Herne’s oak, just ’twixt twelve and one,
- Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen;
- The purpose why, is here; in which disguise,
- While other jests are something rank on foot,
- Her father hath commanded her to slip
- Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
- Immediately to marry. She hath consented.
- Now, sir,
- Her mother (even strong against that match
- And firm for Doctor Caius) hath appointed
- That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
- While other sports are tasking of their minds,
- And at the dean’ry, where a priest attends,
- Straight marry her. To this her mother’s plot
- She (seemingly obedient) likewise hath
- Made promise to the doctor. Now, thus it rests:
- Her father means she shall be all in white;
- And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
- To take her by the hand and bid her go,
- She shall go with him. Her mother hath intended
- (The better to denote her to the doctor,
- For they must all be mask’d and vizarded)
- That quaint in green she shall be loose enrob’d,
- With ribands pendant, flaring ’bout her head;
- And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
- To pinch her by the hand, and on that token,
- The maid hath given consent to go with him.
- Which means she to deceive, father or mother?
Fenton48 - 52
- Both, my good host, to go along with me.
- And here it rests, that you’ll procure the vicar
- To stay for me at church, ’twixt twelve and one,
- And in the lawful name of marrying,
- To give our hearts united ceremony.
Host53 - 54
- Well, husband your device; I’ll to the vicar.
- Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
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- So shall I evermore be bound to thee;
- Besides, I’ll make a present recompense.