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avel? Shall I lose my doctor? no; he gives me the potions, and the motions. Shall I lose my parson? my priest? my sir Hugh? no: he gives me the proverbs and the no-verbs. Give me thy hand, terrestrial; so: - Give me thy hand, celestial; so. Boys of art, I have deceived you both; I have directed you to wrong places; your hearts are mighty, your skins are whole, and let burnt sack be Come, lay their swords to pawn: — Follow me, lad of peace; follow, follow, follow. Shal. Trust me, a mad host: :- Follow, gentlemen, follow.
Enter Mistress PAGE and ROBIN.
Mrs. Page. Nay, keep your way, little gallant; you were wont to be a follower, but now you are a leader Whether had you rather, lead mine eyes, or eve your master's heels?
Rob. I had rather, forsooth, go before you like a man, than follow him like a dwarf.
torture my wife, pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming mistress Page, divulge Page himself for a secure and wilful Actæon; and to these violent proceedings all my neighbours shall cry aim. [Clock strikes.] The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me search; there I shall find Falstaff: I shall be rather praised for this, than mocked; for it is as positive as the earth is firm, that Falstaff is there: I will go.
Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, SLENDER, Host, Sir HUGH EVANS, CAIUS, and RUGBY.
Shal. Page, &c. Well met, master Ford. Ford. Trust me, a good knot: I have good cheer at home; and, I pray you, all go with me. Shal. I must excuse myself, master Ford. Slen. And so must I, sir; we have appointed to dine with mistress Anne, and I would not break with her for more money than I'll speak of.
Shal. We have lingered about a match between Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our answer.
Slen. I hope I have your good will, father Page. Page. You have, master Slender; I stand wholly but my wife, master doctor, is for you
for you :altogether. Caius. Ay, by gar; and de maid is love a-me; my nursh-a Quickly tell me so mush.
Host. What say you to young master Fenton? he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holyday, he smells April and May: he will carry't, he will carry't; 'tis in his buttons; he will carry't.
Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman is of no having: he kept company with the wild Prince and Poins; he is of too high a reMrs. Page. O you are a flattering boy; now, I gion, he knows too much. No, he shall not knit a see, you'll be a courtier.
Ford. Well met, mistress Page: Whither go you? Mrs. Page. Truly, sir, to see your wife;. Is she at home?
Ford. Ay; and as idle as she may hang together, for want of company: I think, if your husbands were dead, you two would marry.
Mrs. Page. Be sure of that, - -two other husbands. Ford. Where had you this pretty weather-cock? Mrs. Page. I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my husband had him of: What do you call your knight's name, sirrah?
Rob. Sir John Falstaff.
Ford. Sir John Falstaff!
Mrs. Page. He, he; I can never hit on's name. There is such a league between my good man and he! Is your wife at home, indeed? Ford. Indeed, she is. Mrs. Page. By your leave, sir; I am sick, till I see her. [Exeunt Mrs. PAGE and ROBIN.
Ford. Has Page any brains? hath he any eyes? hath he any thinking? Sure, they sleep; he hath no use of them. Why, this boy will carry a letter twenty miles, as easy as a cannon will shoot pointblank twelve score. He pieces-out his wife's inclination; he gives her folly motion and advantage: and now she's going to my wife, and Falstaff's boy with her. A man may hear this shower sing in the wind! Good -and Falstaff's boy with her! plots! they are laid; and our revolted wives share damnation together. Well; I will take him, then
knot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance: if he take her, let him take her simply; the wealth I have waits on my consent, and my consent goes not that way.
Ford. I beseech you, heartily, some of you go shall have sport; I will show you a monster. — home with me to dinner: besides your cheer, you - Master doctor, you shall go;-so shall you, master Page; -and you, sir Hugh.
Shal. Well, fare you well: - we shall have the freer wooing at master Page's.
[Exeunt SHALLOW and SLENDer. Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon. [Erit RUGBY. Host. Farewell, my hearts: I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.
Mrs. Ford. Here, set it down. Mrs. Page. Give your men the charge; we must be brief.
thee, there's something extraordinary in thee. Come I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like Mrs. Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John, women in men's apparel, and smell like Buckler'sand Robert, be ready here hard by in the brew-bury in simple-time; I cannot but I love thee; house; and when I suddenly call you, come forth, and (without any pause, or staggering,) take this basket on your shoulders: that done, trudge with it in all haste, and carry it among the whitsters in Datchet mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch, close by the Thames side.
Mrs. Page. You will do it?
Mrs. Ford. I have told them over and over; they lack no direction: Be gone, and come when you are called. [Exeunt Servants.
Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin.
Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket? what news with you?
Rob. My master, sir John, is come in at your back-door, mistress Ford; and requests your company.
Mrs. Page. You little Jack-a-lent, have you been true to us?
Rob. Ay, I'll be sworn: My master knows not of your being here; and hath threatened to put me into everlasting liberty, if I tell you of it; for, he swears, he'll turn me away.
Mrs. Page. Thou'rt a good boy; this secrecy o thine shall be a tailor to thee, and shall make thee a new doublet and hose. I'll go hide me. Mrs. Ford. Do so:- Go tell thy master, I am alone. Mistress Page, remember you your cue. [Erit ROBIN.
Mrs. Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me. [Exit Mrs. PAGE. Mrs. Ford. Go to then; we'll use this unwholesome humidity, this gross watery pumpion;- we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.
Fal. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough; this is the period of my ambition; O this blessed
Mrs. Ford. O sweet sir John!
Fal. Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot prate, mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my wish: I would thy husband were dead; I'll speak it before the best lord, I would make thee my lady.
Mrs. Ford. I your lady, sir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady.
Fal. Let the court of France show me such another; I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond: Thou hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.
Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, sir John: my brows become nothing else; nor that well neither.
Fal. Thou art a traitor to say so: thou would'st make an absolute courtier; and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an excellent motion to thy gait, in a semi-circled farthingale. I see what thou wert, if fortune thy foe were not; nature is thy friend : Come, thou canst not hide it.
Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in
none but thee; and thou deservest it.
Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, sir; I fear, you love mistress Page.
Fal. Thou might'st as well say, I love to walk by the Counter-gate; which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.
Mrs. Ford. Well, heaven knows, how I love you; and you shall one day find it.
Fal. Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it. Mrs. Ford. Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could not be in that mind.
Rob. [within.] Mistress Ford, mistress Ford! here's mistress Page at the door, sweating, and blowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you presently.
behind the arras.
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so she's a very tattling
Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page?
Mrs. Page. O well-a-day, mistress Ford! having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion !
Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion?
Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion? - Out upon you! how am I mistook in you?
Mrs. Ford. Why, alas! what's the matter? Mrs. Page. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to search for a gentleman, that, he says, is here now in the house, by your consent, to take an ill advantage of his absence: You are undone.
Mrs. Ford. Speak louder. — [Aside.] — 'Tis not so, I hope.
Mrs. Page. Pray heaven it be not so, that you have such a man here; but 'tis most certain your husband's coming with half Windsor at his heels, to search for such a one. I come before to tell you: If you know yourself clear, why I am glad of it: but if you have a friend here, convey, convey him out. Be not amazed; call all your senses to you; defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.
Mrs. Ford. What shall I do?- There is a gentleman, my dear friend; and I fear not mine own shame, so much as his peril: I had rather than a thousand pound, he were out of the house.
Mrs. Page. For shame, never stand you had rather, and you had rather; your husband's here at hand, bethink you of some conveyance: in the house you cannot hide him. O, how have you deceived me! - Look, here is a basket; if he be of any reasonable stature, he may creep in here; and throw foul linen upon him, as if it were going to bucking: Or, it is whiting-time, send him by your two men to Datchet mead.
Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there: What
Fal. What made me love thee? let that persuade ' shall I do?
Fal. Let me see't, let me see't! O let me see't! I'll in, I'll in; follow your friend's counsel;- I'll in. Mrs. Page. What! Sir John Falstaff! Are these your letters, knight?
Fal. I love thee, and none but thee; help me away: let me creep in here; I'll never [He goes into the basket; they cover him with foul linen. Mrs. Page. Help to cover your master, boy: Call your men, mistress Ford:-You dissembling knight! Mrs. Ford. What John, Robert, John! [Exit ROBIN. Re-enter Servants.] Go take up these clothes here, quickly; where's the cowl-staff? look, how you drumble; carry them to the laundress in Datchet mead; quickly, come.
Enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and Sir HUGH EVANS. Ford. Pray you, come near: if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me, then let me be your jest; I deserve it. How now? whither bear you this?
Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.
Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle with buck-washing.
Ford. Buck? I would I could wash myself of the buck! Buck, buck, buck? Ay, buck; I warrant you, buck; and of the season too; it shall appear. [Exeunt Servants with the basket.] Gentlemen, I have dreamed to-night; I'll tell you my dream. Here, here, here be my keys: asce: o my chainbers, search, seek, find out: I'll warrant wo' unkennel the fox: - Let me stop this way first: so, now uncape.
Page. Good master Ford be contented: you wrong yourself too much.
Ford. True, master Page. - Up, gentlemen; you shall see sport anon: follow me, gentlemen.
Eva. This is fery fantastical humours and jealousies.
Caius. By gar, 'tis no de fashion of France: it is not jealous in France
Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen; see the issue of his search [Exeunt EVANS, PAGE, and CAIUS.
Mrs. Page. Is there not a double excellency in this? Mrs. Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband is deceived, or sir John.
Mrs. Page. What a taking was he in, when your husband asked who was in the basket!
Mrs. Ford. I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so throwing him into the water will do him a benefit
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would all of the same strain were in the same distress.
Mrs. Ford. I think my husband hath some special suspicion of Falstaff's being here; for I never saw him so gross in his jealousy till now.
Mrs. Page. I will lay a plot to try that: And we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff: his dissolute disease will scarce obey this medicine.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we send that foolish carrion, mistress Quickly, to him, and excuse his throwing into the water; and give him another hope, to betray him to another punishment?
Mrs. Page. We'll do it; let him be sent for tomorrow eight o'clock, to have amends.
Re-enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and Sir HUGH EVANS. Ford. I cannot find him: may be the knave bragged of that he could not compass.
Mrs. Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, master Ford.
Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.
Eva. If there be any pody in the house, and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses, heaven forgive my sins at the day of judgment !
Caius. By gar, nor I too; dere is no bodies. Page. Fie, fie, master Ford! are you not ashamed? What spirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I would not have your distemper in this kind, for the wealth of Windsor Castle.
Ford. 'Tis my fault, master Page: I suffer for it. Eva. You suffer for a pad conscience: your wife is as honest a 'omans, as I will desires among five thousand, and five hundred too.
Caius. By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman. Ford. Well; I promised you a dinner. Come, come, walk in the park: I pray you, pardon me; I will hereafter make known to you, why I have done this. - Come, wife; -come, mistress Page; I pray you, pardon me; pray heartily, par
Page. Let's go in, gentlemen; but, trust me, we'll mock him. I do invite you to-morrow morning to my house to breakfast; after, we'll a birding together; I have a fine hawk for the bush: Shall it be so?
Ford. Any thing.
Eva. If there is one, I shall make two in the company.
Caius. If there be one or two, I shall make-a de turd.
Eva. In your teeth: for shame.
Ford. Pray you go, master Page.
Eva. I pray you now, remembrance to-morrow on the lousy knave, mine host.
Caius. Dat is good; by gar, vit all my heart. Eva. A lousy knave; to have his gibes and his mockeries. [Exeunt.
· A Room in Page's House.
Enter FENTON and Mistress ANNE PAGE.
Fent. I see, I cannot get thy father's love;
Why, thou must be thyself.
Fent. No, heaven so speed me in my time to come!
Albeit, I will confess, thy father's wealth
That now I aim at.
Anne. I come to him. This is my father's | choice.
O, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a year!
[Aside. Quick. And how does good master Fenton? Pray you, a word with you.
Shal. She's coming; to her, coz. hadst a father!
O boy, thou
Slen. I had a father, mistress Anne; can tell you good jests of him : — Pray you, uncle, tell mistress Anne the jest, how my father stole two geese out of a pen, good uncle.
Shal. Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you. Ste. Ay, that I do; as well as I love any woman in Gloucestershire.
Shal. He will maintain you like a gentlewoman. Slen. Ay, that I will, come cut and long-tail, under the degree of a 'squire.
Shal. He will make you a hundred and fifty pounds jointure.
Come, master Shallow; come, son Slender; in: -
In such a righteous fashion as I do,
Perforce, against all checks, rebukes, and mann,
Anne. Good mother, do not marry me to yond'
Mrs. Page. I mean it not; I seek you a better
Quick. That's my master, master doctor.
Mrs. Page. Come, trouble not yourself: Good
I will not be your friend, nor enemy: My daughter will I question how she loves you, | And as I find her, so am I affected; 'Till then, farewell, sir: She must needs go in; Her father will be angry.
[Exeunt Mrs. PAGE and ANNE. Fent. Farewell, gentle mistress; farewell, Nan. Quick. This is my doing now; - Nay, said I, will you cast away your child on a fool, and a physician? Look on master Fenton: this is my doing.
Fent. I thank thee; and I pray thee, once to
Give my sweet Nan this ring: There's for thy pains. [Exit.
Quick. Now heaven send thee good fortune! A kind heart he hath: a woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart. But yet, I would my master had mistress Anne; or I would
Anne. Good master Shallow, let him woo for master Slender had her; or, in sooth, I would mashimself
Shal. Marry, I thank you for it; I thank you for that good comfort. She calls you, coz: I'll leave you
Anne. Now, master Slender.
Slen. My will? 'od's heartlings, that's a pretty jest, indeed! I ne'er made my will yet, I thank heaven; I am not such a sickly creature, I give heaven praise.
Anne. I mean, master Slender, what would you with me?
Slen. Truly, for mine own part, I would little or nothing with you: Your father, and my uncle, have ¡rade motions: if it be my luck, so: if not, happy man be his dole! They can tell you how things go, better than I can: You may ask your father; here
Enter PAGE and Mistress PAGE.
Page. Now, master Slender : -Love him, daughter Anne.
Why, how now! what does master Fenton here?
ter Fenton had her: I will do what I can for them all three; for so I have promised, and I'll be as good as my word; but speciously for master Fenton. Well, I must of another errand to sir John Falstaff from my two mistresses; What a beast am I to slack it? Exit.
SCENE V.. A Room in the Garter Inn. Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH. Fal. Bardolph, I say, · Bard. Here, sir. Fal. Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast in't. [Exit BARD.] Have I lived to be carried in a basket, like a barrow of butcher's offal; and to be thrown into the Thames? Well, if I be served 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 drowned a bitch's blind puppies, fifteen i' the litter and you may know by my size, that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking; if the bottom were as deep as hell, I should down. I had been drowned, 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 swelled!
Mrs. Page. Good master Fenton, come not to should have been a mountain of mummy. my child.
Page. She is no match for you.
Fent. Sir, will you hear me?
Re-enter BARDOLPH, with the wine.
No, good master Fenton.
Fal. Come, let me pour in Thames water; for my belly's as swallowed snow-balls for pills to Call her in.
Bard. Come in, woman.
one sack to the | Ford's wife's distraction, they conveyed me into 2
Enter Mrs. QUICKLY.
Ford. A buck-basket!
Fal. By the Lord, a buck-basket: rammed ine in with foul shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings, and greasy napkins; that, master Brook, there was the rankest compound of villainous smell, that ever
Quick. By your leave; I cry you mercy: Give offended nostril. your worship good-morrow.
Fal. Take away these chalices Go, brew me a pottle of sack finely.
Bard. With eggs, sir?
Fal. Simple of itself; I'll no pullet-sperm in my rewage. -[Exit BARDOLPH.] · How now? Quick. Marry, sir, I come to your worship from mistress Ford.
Fal. Mistress Ford! I have had ford enough: I was thrown into the ford: I have my belly full of ford.
Quick. Alas the day! good heart, that was not her fault she does so take on with her men; they mistook their erection.
Fal. So did I mine, to build upon a foolish woman's promise.
Quick. Well, she laments, sir, for it, that it would yearn your heart to see it. Her husband this morning a birding; she desires you once goes more to come to her between eight and nine; I must carry her word quickly: she'll make you amends, I warrant you.
Fal. 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 merit.
Quick. I will tell her.
Ford. And how long lay you there?
Fal. Nay, you shall hear, master Brook, what I have suffered to bring this woman to evil for your good. Being thus crammed in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds, were called forth by their mistress, to carry me in the name of fou! clothes to Datchet-lane: they took me on their shoulders; met the jealous knave their master in tl.c door; who asked them once or twice what they ha in their basket: I quaked for fear, lest the lunatic knave would have searched 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 sutfered the pangs of three several deaths: first, an intolerable fright, to be detected with a jealous rotte: bell-wether: next, to be compassed, like a good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head and then, to be stopped 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; And in the it was a miracle, to 'scape suffocation. height of this bath, when I was more than half stewed in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown into the Thames, and cooled, glowing hot, in that surge, like a horse-shoe; think of that, hissing hot, -think of that, master Brook.
Ford. In good sadness, sir, I am sorry that for my sake you have suffered all this. My suit then is desperate; you'll undertake her no more.
Fal. 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 received from her another embassy of meet'twixt eight and nine is the hour, Master
Fal. Now, master Brook? you come to knowing;
at her house the hour she appointed me.
Ford. 'Tis past eight already, sir.
Fal. Is it? I will then address me to my appointment. Come to me at your convenient leisure, and you shall know how speed; and the conclusion shall be crowned with your enjoying her: Ford. How so, sir? Did she change her deter- Adieu. You shall have her, master Brook; master mination?
Fal. Very ill-favouredly, master Brook.
Fal. 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 embraced, kissed, protested, and, as it were, spoke the prologue of our comedy; and at his heels a rabble of his companions, thither provoked and instigated by his distemper, and forsooth, to search his house for his wife's love.
Ford. What, while you were there?
Ford. And did he search for you and could not find you?
Fal. You shall hear. As good luck would have it comes in one mistress Page; gives intelligence Ford's approach; and, by her invention and
Brook, you shall cuckold Ford.
Ford. 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 no make me tame: if I have horns to make me mad, let the proverb go with me, I'll be horn