Speeches (Lines) for Falstaff
in "Merry Wives of Windsor"

Total: 136

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Speech text



(stage directions). [Enter FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYM, and PISTOL]

Falstaff. Now, Master Shallow, you'll complain of me to the king?



Robert Shallow. Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and
broke open my lodge.

Falstaff. But not kissed your keeper's daughter?



Robert Shallow. Tut, a pin! this shall be answered.

Falstaff. I will answer it straight; I have done all this.
That is now answered.



Robert Shallow. The council shall know this.

Falstaff. 'Twere better for you if it were known in counsel:
you'll be laughed at.



Sir Hugh Evans. Pauca verba, Sir John; goot worts.

Falstaff. Good worts! good cabbage. Slender, I broke your
head: what matter have you against me?



Sir Hugh Evans. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-
book; and we will afterwards ork upon the cause with
as great discreetly as we can.

Falstaff. Pistol!



Sir Hugh Evans. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, 'He
hears with ear'? why, it is affectations.

Falstaff. Pistol, did you pick Master Slender's purse?



Slender. Ay, by these gloves, did he, or I would I might
never come in mine own great chamber again else, of
seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward
shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two
pence apiece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.

Falstaff. Is this true, Pistol?



Slender. By this hat, then, he in the red face had it; for
though I cannot remember what I did when you made me
drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.

Falstaff. What say you, Scarlet and John?



Sir Hugh Evans. So Got udge me, that is a virtuous mind.

Falstaff. You hear all these matters denied, gentlemen; you hear it.
[Enter ANNE PAGE, with wine; MISTRESS FORD]
and MISTRESS PAGE, following]



Page. How now, Mistress Ford!

Falstaff. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met:
by your leave, good mistress.



(stage directions). [Enter FALSTAFF, Host, BARDOLPH, NYM, PISTOL,]
and ROBIN]

Falstaff. Mine host of the Garter!



Host. What says my bully-rook? speak scholarly and wisely.

Falstaff. Truly, mine host, I must turn away some of my



Host. Discard, bully Hercules; cashier: let them wag; trot, trot.

Falstaff. I sit at ten pounds a week.



Host. Thou'rt an emperor, Caesar, Keisar, and Pheezar. I
will entertain Bardolph; he shall draw, he shall
tap: said I well, bully Hector?

Falstaff. Do so, good mine host.



(stage directions). [Exit]

Falstaff. Bardolph, follow him. A tapster is a good trade:
an old cloak makes a new jerkin; a withered
serving-man a fresh tapster. Go; adieu.



Nym. He was gotten in drink: is not the humour conceited?

Falstaff. I am glad I am so acquit of this tinderbox: his
thefts were too open; his filching was like an
unskilful singer; he kept not time.



Pistol. 'Convey,' the wise it call. 'Steal!' foh! a fico
for the phrase!

Falstaff. Well, sirs, I am almost out at heels.



Pistol. Why, then, let kibes ensue.

Falstaff. There is no remedy; I must cony-catch; I must shift.



Pistol. Young ravens must have food.

Falstaff. Which of you know Ford of this town?



Pistol. I ken the wight: he is of substance good.

Falstaff. My honest lads, I will tell you what I am about.



Pistol. Two yards, and more.

Falstaff. No quips now, Pistol! Indeed, I am in the waist two
yards about; but I am now about no waste; I am about
thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make love to Ford's
wife: I spy entertainment in her; she discourses,
she carves, she gives the leer of invitation: I
can construe the action of her familiar style; and
the hardest voice of her behavior, to be Englished
rightly, is, 'I am Sir John Falstaff's.'



Nym. The anchor is deep: will that humour pass?

Falstaff. Now, the report goes she has all the rule of her
husband's purse: he hath a legion of angels.



Nym. The humour rises; it is good: humour me the angels.

Falstaff. I have writ me here a letter to her: and here
another to Page's wife, who even now gave me good
eyes too, examined my parts with most judicious
oeillades; sometimes the beam of her view gilded my
foot, sometimes my portly belly.



Nym. I thank thee for that humour.

Falstaff. O, she did so course o'er my exteriors with such a
greedy intention, that the appetite of her eye did
seem to scorch me up like a burning-glass! Here's
another letter to her: she bears the purse too; she
is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty. I will
be cheater to them both, and they shall be
exchequers to me; they shall be my East and West
Indies, and I will trade to them both. Go bear thou
this letter to Mistress Page; and thou this to
Mistress Ford: we will thrive, lads, we will thrive.



Nym. I will run no base humour: here, take the
humour-letter: I will keep the havior of reputation.

Falstaff. [To ROBIN] Hold, sirrah, bear you these letters tightly;
Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores.
Rogues, hence, avaunt! vanish like hailstones, go;
Trudge, plod away o' the hoof; seek shelter, pack!
Falstaff will learn the humour of the age,
French thrift, you rogues; myself and skirted page.



(stage directions). [Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL]

Falstaff. I will not lend thee a penny.



Pistol. Why, then the world's mine oyster.
Which I with sword will open.

Falstaff. Not a penny. I have been content, sir, you should
lay my countenance to pawn; I have grated upon my
good friends for three reprieves for you and your
coach-fellow Nym; or else you had looked through
the grate, like a geminy of baboons. I am damned in
hell for swearing to gentlemen my friends, you were
good soldiers and tall fellows; and when Mistress
Bridget lost the handle of her fan, I took't upon
mine honour thou hadst it not.



Pistol. Didst not thou share? hadst thou not fifteen pence?

Falstaff. Reason, you rogue, reason: thinkest thou I'll
endanger my soul gratis? At a word, hang no more
about me, I am no gibbet for you. Go. A short knife
and a throng! To your manor of Pickt-hatch! Go.
You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue! you
stand upon your honour! Why, thou unconfinable
baseness, it is as much as I can do to keep the
terms of my honour precise: I, I, I myself
sometimes, leaving the fear of God on the left hand
and hiding mine honour in my necessity, am fain to
shuffle, to hedge and to lurch; and yet you, rogue,
will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain
looks, your red-lattice phrases, and your
bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your
honour! You will not do it, you!



Robin. Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.

Falstaff. Let her approach.



Hostess Quickly. Give your worship good morrow.

Falstaff. Good morrow, good wife.



Hostess Quickly. Not so, an't please your worship.

Falstaff. Good maid, then.



Hostess Quickly. I'll be sworn,
As my mother was, the first hour I was born.

Falstaff. I do believe the swearer. What with me?



Hostess Quickly. Shall I vouchsafe your worship a word or two?

Falstaff. Two thousand, fair woman: and I'll vouchsafe thee
the hearing.



Hostess Quickly. There is one Mistress Ford, sir:—I pray, come a
little nearer this ways:—I myself dwell with master
Doctor Caius,—

Falstaff. Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say,—



Hostess Quickly. Your worship says very true: I pray your worship,
come a little nearer this ways.

Falstaff. I warrant thee, nobody hears; mine own people, mine
own people.



Hostess Quickly. Are they so? God bless them and make them his servants!

Falstaff. Well, Mistress Ford; what of her?



Hostess Quickly. Why, sir, she's a good creature. Lord Lord! your
worship's a wanton! Well, heaven forgive you and all
of us, I pray!

Falstaff. Mistress Ford; come, Mistress Ford,—



Hostess Quickly. Marry, this is the short and the long of it; you
have brought her into such a canaries as 'tis
wonderful. The best courtier of them all, when the
court lay at Windsor, could never have brought her
to such a canary. Yet there has been knights, and
lords, and gentlemen, with their coaches, I warrant
you, coach after coach, letter after letter, gift
after gift; smelling so sweetly, all musk, and so
rushling, I warrant you, in silk and gold; and in
such alligant terms; and in such wine and sugar of
the best and the fairest, that would have won any
woman's heart; and, I warrant you, they could never
get an eye-wink of her: I had myself twenty angels
given me this morning; but I defy all angels, in
any such sort, as they say, but in the way of
honesty: and, I warrant you, they could never get
her so much as sip on a cup with the proudest of
them all: and yet there has been earls, nay, which
is more, pensioners; but, I warrant you, all is one with her.

Falstaff. But what says she to me? be brief, my good



Hostess Quickly. Marry, she hath received your letter, for the which
she thanks you a thousand times; and she gives you
to notify that her husband will be absence from his
house between ten and eleven.

Falstaff. Ten and eleven?



Hostess Quickly. Ay, forsooth; and then you may come and see the
picture, she says, that you wot of: Master Ford,
her husband, will be from home. Alas! the sweet
woman leads an ill life with him: he's a very
jealousy man: she leads a very frampold life with
him, good heart.

Falstaff. Ten and eleven. Woman, commend me to her; I will
not fail her.



Hostess Quickly. Why, you say well. But I have another messenger to
your worship. Mistress Page hath her hearty
commendations to you too: and let me tell you in
your ear, she's as fartuous a civil modest wife, and
one, I tell you, that will not miss you morning nor
evening prayer, as any is in Windsor, whoe'er be the
other: and she bade me tell your worship that her
husband is seldom from home; but she hopes there
will come a time. I never knew a woman so dote upon
a man: surely I think you have charms, la; yes, in truth.

Falstaff. Not I, I assure thee: setting the attractions of my
good parts aside I have no other charms.



Hostess Quickly. Blessing on your heart for't!

Falstaff. But, I pray thee, tell me this: has Ford's wife and
Page's wife acquainted each other how they love me?



Hostess Quickly. That were a jest indeed! they have not so little
grace, I hope: that were a trick indeed! but
Mistress Page would desire you to send her your
little page, of all loves: her husband has a
marvellous infection to the little page; and truly
Master Page is an honest man. Never a wife in
Windsor leads a better life than she does: do what
she will, say what she will, take all, pay all, go
to bed when she list, rise when she list, all is as
she will: and truly she deserves it; for if there
be a kind woman in Windsor, she is one. You must
send her your page; no remedy.

Falstaff. Why, I will.



Hostess Quickly. Nay, but do so, then: and, look you, he may come and
go between you both; and in any case have a
nay-word, that you may know one another's mind, and
the boy never need to understand any thing; for
'tis not good that children should know any
wickedness: old folks, you know, have discretion,
as they say, and know the world.

Falstaff. Fare thee well: commend me to them both: there's
my purse; I am yet thy debtor. Boy, go along with
this woman.
This news distracts me!



(stage directions). [Exit]

Falstaff. Sayest thou so, old Jack? go thy ways; I'll make
more of thy old body than I have done. Will they
yet look after thee? Wilt thou, after the expense
of so much money, be now a gainer? Good body, I
thank thee. Let them say 'tis grossly done; so it be
fairly done, no matter.



Bardolph. Sir John, there's one Master Brook below would fain
speak with you, and be acquainted with you; and hath
sent your worship a morning's draught of sack.

Falstaff. Brook is his name?



Bardolph. Ay, sir.

Falstaff. Call him in.
Such Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such
liquor. Ah, ha! Mistress Ford and Mistress Page
have I encompassed you? go to; via!



Ford. Bless you, sir!

Falstaff. And you, sir! Would you speak with me?



Ford. I make bold to press with so little preparation upon

Falstaff. You're welcome. What's your will? Give us leave, drawer.



Ford. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name is Brook.

Falstaff. Good Master Brook, I desire more acquaintance of you.



Ford. Good Sir John, I sue for yours: not to charge you;
for I must let you understand I think myself in
better plight for a lender than you are: the which
hath something embolden'd me to this unseasoned
intrusion; for they say, if money go before, all
ways do lie open.

Falstaff. Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on.



Ford. Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me:
if you will help to bear it, Sir John, take all, or
half, for easing me of the carriage.

Falstaff. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter.



Ford. I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing.

Falstaff. Speak, good Master Brook: I shall be glad to be
your servant.



Ford. Sir, I hear you are a scholar,—I will be brief
with you,—and you have been a man long known to me,
though I had never so good means, as desire, to make
myself acquainted with you. I shall discover a
thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine
own imperfection: but, good Sir John, as you have
one eye upon my follies, as you hear them unfolded,
turn another into the register of your own; that I
may pass with a reproof the easier, sith you
yourself know how easy it is to be such an offender.

Falstaff. Very well, sir; proceed.



Ford. There is a gentlewoman in this town; her husband's
name is Ford.

Falstaff. Well, sir.



Ford. I have long loved her, and, I protest to you,
bestowed much on her; followed her with a doting
observance; engrossed opportunities to meet her;
fee'd every slight occasion that could but niggardly
give me sight of her; not only bought many presents
to give her, but have given largely to many to know
what she would have given; briefly, I have pursued
her as love hath pursued me; which hath been on the
wing of all occasions. But whatsoever I have
merited, either in my mind or, in my means, meed,
I am sure, I have received none; unless experience
be a jewel that I have purchased at an infinite
rate, and that hath taught me to say this:
'Love like a shadow flies when substance love pursues;
Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.'

Falstaff. Have you received no promise of satisfaction at her hands?



Ford. Never.

Falstaff. Have you importuned her to such a purpose?



Ford. Never.

Falstaff. Of what quality was your love, then?



Ford. Like a fair house built on another man's ground; so
that I have lost my edifice by mistaking the place
where I erected it.

Falstaff. To what purpose have you unfolded this to me?



Ford. When I have told you that, I have told you all.
Some say, that though she appear honest to me, yet in
other places she enlargeth her mirth so far that
there is shrewd construction made of her. Now, Sir
John, here is the heart of my purpose: you are a
gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable
discourse, of great admittance, authentic in your
place and person, generally allowed for your many
war-like, court-like, and learned preparations.

Falstaff. O, sir!



Ford. Believe it, for you know it. There is money; spend
it, spend it; spend more; spend all I have; only
give me so much of your time in exchange of it, as
to lay an amiable siege to the honesty of this
Ford's wife: use your art of wooing; win her to
consent to you: if any man may, you may as soon as

Falstaff. Would it apply well to the vehemency of your
affection, that I should win what you would enjoy?
Methinks you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.



Ford. O, understand my drift. She dwells so securely on
the excellency of her honour, that the folly of my
soul dares not present itself: she is too bright to
be looked against. Now, could I could come to her
with any detection in my hand, my desires had
instance and argument to commend themselves: I
could drive her then from the ward of her purity,
her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand
other her defences, which now are too too strongly
embattled against me. What say you to't, Sir John?

Falstaff. Master Brook, I will first make bold with your
money; next, give me your hand; and last, as I am a
gentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife.



Ford. O good sir!

Falstaff. I say you shall.



Ford. Want no money, Sir John; you shall want none.

Falstaff. Want no Mistress Ford, Master Brook; you shall want
none. I shall be with her, I may tell you, by her
own appointment; even as you came in to me, her
assistant or go-between parted from me: I say I
shall be with her between ten and eleven; for at
that time the jealous rascally knave her husband
will be forth. Come you to me at night; you shall
know how I speed.



Ford. I am blest in your acquaintance. Do you know Ford,

Falstaff. Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I know him not:
yet I wrong him to call him poor; they say the
jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money; for the
which his wife seems to me well-favored. I will
use her as the key of the cuckoldly rogue's coffer;
and there's my harvest-home.



Ford. I would you knew Ford, sir, that you might avoid him
if you saw him.

Falstaff. Hang him, mechanical salt-butter rogue! I will
stare him out of his wits; I will awe him with my
cudgel: it shall hang like a meteor o'er the
cuckold's horns. Master Brook, thou shalt know I
will predominate over the peasant, and thou shalt
lie with his wife. Come to me soon at night.
Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his style;
thou, Master Brook, shalt know him for knave and
cuckold. Come to me soon at night.



(stage directions). [Enter FALSTAFF]

Falstaff. 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 hour!



Mistress Ford. O sweet Sir John!

Falstaff. 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.



Mistress Ford. I your lady, Sir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady!

Falstaff. Let the court of France show me such another. I see
how thine eye would emulate the diamond: thou hast
the right arched beauty of the brow that becomes the
ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of
Venetian admittance.



Mistress Ford. A plain kerchief, Sir John: my brows become nothing
else; nor that well neither.

Falstaff. By the Lord, thou art a traitor to say so: thou
wouldst 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
thy friend. Come, thou canst not hide it.



Mistress Ford. Believe me, there is no such thing in me.

Falstaff. What made me love thee? let that persuade thee
there's something extraordinary in thee. Come, I
cannot cog and say thou art this and that, like a
many of these lisping hawthorn-buds, that come like
women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklersbury
in simple time; I cannot: but I love thee; none
but thee; and thou deservest it.



Mistress Ford. Do not betray me, sir. I fear you love Mistress Page.

Falstaff. Thou mightst as well say I love to walk by the
Counter-gate, which is as hateful to me as the reek
of a lime-kiln.



Mistress Ford. Well, heaven knows how I love you; and you shall one
day find it.

Falstaff. Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.



Robin. [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.

Falstaff. She shall not see me: I will ensconce me behind the arras.



Mistress Ford. He's too big to go in there. What shall I do?

Falstaff. [Coming forward] 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.



Mistress Page. What, Sir John Falstaff! Are these your letters, knight?

Falstaff. I love thee. Help me away. Let me creep in here.
I'll never—



(stage directions). [Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH]

Falstaff. Bardolph, I say,—



Bardolph. Here, sir.

Falstaff. Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast in't.
Have I lived to be carried in a basket, like a
barrow of butcher's offal, and to be thrown in the
Thames? Well, if I be served such another trick,
I'll have my brains ta'en out and buttered, 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 blind bitch's 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! I should have been a mountain of mummy.



Bardolph. Here's Mistress Quickly, sir, to speak with you.

Falstaff. Let me pour in some sack to the Thames water; for my
belly's as cold as if I had swallowed snowballs for
pills to cool the reins. Call her in.



Hostess Quickly. By your leave; I cry you mercy: give your worship
good morrow.

Falstaff. Take away these chalices. Go brew me a pottle of
sack finely.



Bardolph. With eggs, sir?

Falstaff. Simple of itself; I'll no pullet-sperm in my brewage.
How now!



Hostess Quickly. Marry, sir, I come to your worship from Mistress Ford.

Falstaff. Mistress Ford! I have had ford enough; I was thrown
into the ford; I have my belly full of ford.



Hostess Quickly. Alas the day! good heart, that was not her fault:
she does so take on with her men; they mistook their erection.

Falstaff. So did I mine, to build upon a foolish woman's promise.



Hostess Quickly. 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.

Falstaff. 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.



Hostess Quickly. I will tell her.

Falstaff. Do so. Between nine and ten, sayest thou?



Hostess Quickly. Eight and nine, sir.

Falstaff. Well, be gone: I will not miss her.



(stage directions). [Exit]

Falstaff. I marvel I hear not of Master Brook; he sent me word
to stay within: I like his money well. O, here he comes.



Ford. Bless you, sir!

Falstaff. Now, master Brook, you come to know what hath passed
between me and Ford's wife?



Ford. That, indeed, Sir John, is my business.

Falstaff. Master Brook, I will not lie to you: I was at her
house the hour she appointed me.



Ford. And sped you, sir?

Falstaff. Very ill-favoredly, Master Brook.



Ford. How so, sir? Did she change her determination?

Falstaff. 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?

Falstaff. While I was there.



Ford. And did he search for you, and could not find you?

Falstaff. 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 wife's
distraction, they conveyed me into a buck-basket.



Ford. A buck-basket!

Falstaff. By the Lord, a buck-basket! rammed me in with foul
shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings, greasy
napkins; that, Master Brook, there was the rankest
compound of villanous smell that ever offended nostril.



Ford. And how long lay you there?

Falstaff. 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 foul clothes to
Datchet-lane: they took me on their shoulders; met
the jealous knave their master in the door, who
asked them once or twice what they had 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 suffered the pangs
of three several deaths; first, an intolerable
fright, to be detected with a jealous rotten
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: it was a miracle to scape suffocation.
And in the 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, I am sorry that for my sake you
have sufferd all this. My suit then is desperate;
you'll undertake her no more?

Falstaff. 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 meeting; 'twixt
eight and nine is the hour, Master Brook.



Ford. 'Tis past eight already, sir.

Falstaff. 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
crowned with your enjoying her. Adieu. You shall
have her, Master Brook; Master Brook, you shall
cuckold Ford.



(stage directions). [Enter FALSTAFF and MISTRESS FORD]

Falstaff. Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my
sufferance. I see you are obsequious in your love,
and I profess requital to a hair's breadth; not
only, Mistress Ford, in the simple
office of love, but in all the accoutrement,
complement and ceremony of it. But are you
sure of your husband now?



(stage directions). [Re-enter FALSTAFF]

Falstaff. No, I'll come no more i' the basket. May I not go
out ere he come?



Mistress Page. Alas, three of Master Ford's brothers watch the door
with pistols, that none shall issue out; otherwise
you might slip away ere he came. But what make you here?

Falstaff. What shall I do? I'll creep up into the chimney.



Mistress Ford. There they always use to discharge their
birding-pieces. Creep into the kiln-hole.

Falstaff. Where is it?



Mistress Ford. He will seek there, on my word. Neither press,
coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he hath an
abstract for the remembrance of such places, and
goes to them by his note: there is no hiding you in the house.

Falstaff. I'll go out then.



Mistress Page. Alas the day, I know not! There is no woman's gown
big enough for him otherwise he might put on a hat,
a muffler and a kerchief, and so escape.

Falstaff. Good hearts, devise something: any extremity rather
than a mischief.



Host. Ha! a fat woman! the knight may be robbed: I'll
call. Bully knight! bully Sir John! speak from
thy lungs military: art thou there? it is thine
host, thine Ephesian, calls.

Falstaff. [Above] How now, mine host!



(stage directions). [Enter FALSTAFF]

Falstaff. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now with
me; but she's gone.



Simple. Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman of

Falstaff. Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell: what would you with her?



Simple. My master, sir, Master Slender, sent to her, seeing
her go through the streets, to know, sir, whether
one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the
chain or no.

Falstaff. I spake with the old woman about it.



Simple. And what says she, I pray, sir?

Falstaff. Marry, she says that the very same man that
beguiled Master Slender of his chain cozened him of



Simple. I would I could have spoken with the woman herself;
I had other things to have spoken with her too from

Falstaff. What are they? let us know.



Simple. Why, sir, they were nothing but about Mistress Anne
Page; to know if it were my master's fortune to
have her or no.

Falstaff. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.



Simple. What, sir?

Falstaff. To have her, or no. Go; say the woman told me so.



Simple. May I be bold to say so, sir?

Falstaff. Ay, sir; like who more bold.



Host. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was
there a wise woman with thee?

Falstaff. Ay, that there was, mine host; one that hath taught
me more wit than ever I learned before in my life;
and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for
my learning.



(stage directions). [Exeunt Host and BARDOLPH]

Falstaff. I would all the world might be cozened; for I have
been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to
the ear of the court, how I have been transformed
and how my transformation hath been washed and
cudgelled, they would melt me out of my fat drop by
drop and liquor fishermen's boots with me; I warrant
they would whip me with their fine wits till I were
as crest-fallen as a dried pear. I never prospered
since I forswore myself at primero. Well, if my
wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.
Now, whence come you?



Hostess Quickly. From the two parties, forsooth.

Falstaff. The devil take one party and his dam the other! and
so they shall be both bestowed. I have suffered more
for their sakes, more than the villanous inconstancy
of man's disposition is able to bear.



Hostess Quickly. And have not they suffered? Yes, I warrant;
speciously one of them; Mistress Ford, good heart,
is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a
white spot about her.

Falstaff. What tellest thou me of black and blue? I was
beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow;
and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of
Brentford: but that my admirable dexterity of wit,
my counterfeiting the action of an old woman,
delivered me, the knave constable had set me i' the
stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.



Hostess Quickly. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber: you
shall hear how things go; and, I warrant, to your
content. Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good
hearts, what ado here is to bring you together!
Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that
you are so crossed.

Falstaff. Come up into my chamber.



(stage directions). [Enter FALSTAFF and MISTRESS QUICKLY]

Falstaff. Prithee, no more prattling; go. I'll hold. This is
the third time; I hope good luck lies in odd
numbers. Away I go. They say there is divinity in
odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death. Away!



Hostess Quickly. I'll provide you a chain; and I'll do what I can to
get you a pair of horns.

Falstaff. Away, I say; time wears: hold up your head, and mince.
[Enter FORD]
How now, Master Brook! Master Brook, the matter
will be known to-night, or never. Be you in the
Park about midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall
see wonders.



Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, sir, as you told me
you had appointed?

Falstaff. I went to her, Master Brook, as you see, like a poor
old man: but I came from her, Master Brook, like a
poor old woman. That same knave Ford, her husband,
hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him,
Master Brook, that ever governed frenzy. I will tell
you: he beat me grievously, in the shape of a
woman; for in the shape of man, Master Brook, I fear
not Goliath with a weaver's beam; because I know
also life is a shuttle. I am in haste; go along
with me: I'll tell you all, Master Brook. Since I
plucked geese, played truant and whipped top, I knew
not what 'twas to be beaten till lately. Follow
me: I'll tell you strange things of this knave
Ford, on whom to-night I will be revenged, and I
will deliver his wife into your hand. Follow.
Strange things in hand, Master Brook! Follow.



(stage directions). [Enter FALSTAFF disguised as Herne]

Falstaff. The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute
draws on. Now, the hot-blooded gods assist me!
Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa; love
set on thy horns. O powerful love! that, in some
respects, makes a beast a man, in some other, a man
a beast. You were also, Jupiter, a swan for the love
of Leda. O omnipotent Love! how near the god drew
to the complexion of a goose! A fault done first in
the form of a beast. O Jove, a beastly fault! And
then another fault in the semblance of a fowl; think
on 't, Jove; a foul fault! When gods have hot
backs, what shall poor men do? For me, I am here a
Windsor stag; and the fattest, I think, i' the
forest. Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can
blame me to piss my tallow? Who comes here? my



Mistress Ford. Sir John! art thou there, my deer? my male deer?

Falstaff. My doe with the black scut! Let the sky rain
potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Green
Sleeves, hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes; let
there come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me here.



Mistress Ford. Mistress Page is come with me, sweetheart.

Falstaff. Divide me like a bribe buck, each a haunch: I will
keep my sides to myself, my shoulders for the fellow
of this walk, and my horns I bequeath your husbands.
Am I a woodman, ha? Speak I like Herne the hunter?
Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience; he makes
restitution. As I am a true spirit, welcome!



Mistress Ford. Heaven forgive our sins

Falstaff. What should this be?



(stage directions). [They run off]

Falstaff. I think the devil will not have me damned, lest the
oil that's in me should set hell on fire; he would
never else cross me thus.
[Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, disguised as before; PISTOL,]
others, as Fairies, with tapers]



Pistol. Elves, list your names; silence, you airy toys.
Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap:
Where fires thou find'st unraked and hearths unswept,
There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry:
Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery.

Falstaff. They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die:
I'll wink and couch: no man their works must eye.



Sir Hugh Evans. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves in order set
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
To guide our measure round about the tree.
But, stay; I smell a man of middle-earth.

Falstaff. Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he
transform me to a piece of cheese!



(stage directions). [They burn him with their tapers]

Falstaff. Oh, Oh, Oh!



Mistress Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never meet.
I will never take you for my love again; but I will
always count you my deer.

Falstaff. I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass.



Ford. Ay, and an ox too: both the proofs are extant.

Falstaff. And these are not fairies? I was three or four
times in the thought they were not fairies: and yet
the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my
powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a
received belief, in despite of the teeth of all
rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now
how wit may be made a Jack-a-Lent, when 'tis upon
ill employment!



Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again till thou art
able to woo her in good English.

Falstaff. Have I laid my brain in the sun and dried it, that
it wants matter to prevent so gross o'erreaching as
this? Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too? shall I
have a coxcomb of frize? 'Tis time I were choked
with a piece of toasted cheese.



Sir Hugh Evans. Seese is not good to give putter; your belly is all putter.

Falstaff. 'Seese' and 'putter'! have I lived to stand at the
taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This
is enough to be the decay of lust and late-walking
through the realm.



Sir Hugh Evans. And given to fornications, and to taverns and sack
and wine and metheglins, and to drinkings and
swearings and starings, pribbles and prabbles?

Falstaff. Well, I am your theme: you have the start of me; I
am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welsh
flannel; ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me: use
me as you will.



Ford. Stand not amazed; here is no remedy:
In love the heavens themselves do guide the state;
Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.

Falstaff. I am glad, though you have ta'en a special stand to
strike at me, that your arrow hath glanced.



Page. Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give thee joy!
What cannot be eschew'd must be embraced.

Falstaff. When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are chased.

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