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

Total: 99

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Speech text



(stage directions). [Enter FORD with PISTOL, and PAGE with NYM]

Ford. Well, I hope it be not so.



Pistol. Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs:
Sir John affects thy wife.

Ford. Why, sir, my wife is not young.



Pistol. He wooes both high and low, both rich and poor,
Both young and old, one with another, Ford;
He loves the gallimaufry: Ford, perpend.

Ford. Love my wife!



Pistol. With liver burning hot. Prevent, or go thou,
Like Sir Actaeon he, with Ringwood at thy heels:
O, odious is the name!

Ford. What name, sir?



(stage directions). [Exit]

Ford. [Aside] I will be patient; I will find out this.



Page. 'The humour of it,' quoth a'! here's a fellow
frights English out of his wits.

Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.



Page. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.

Ford. If I do find it: well.



Page. I will not believe such a Cataian, though the priest
o' the town commended him for a true man.

Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow: well.



Mistress Ford. How now, sweet Frank! why art thou melancholy?

Ford. I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.



Page. How now, Master Ford!

Ford. You heard what this knave told me, did you not?



Page. Yes: and you heard what the other told me?

Ford. Do you think there is truth in them?



Page. Hang 'em, slaves! I do not think the knight would
offer it: but these that accuse him in his intent
towards our wives are a yoke of his discarded men;
very rogues, now they be out of service.

Ford. Were they his men?



Page. Marry, were they.

Ford. I like it never the better for that. Does he lie at
the Garter?



Page. Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage
towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and
what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it
lie on my head.

Ford. I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loath to
turn them together. A man may be too confident: I
would have nothing lie on my head: I cannot be thus satisfied.



Robert Shallow. Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir Hugh
the Welsh priest and Caius the French doctor.

Ford. Good mine host o' the Garter, a word with you.



Host. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my

Ford. None, I protest: but I'll give you a pottle of
burnt sack to give me recourse to him and tell him
my name is Brook; only for a jest.



(stage directions). [Exeunt Host, SHALLOW, and PAGE]

Ford. Though Page be a secure fool, an stands so firmly
on his wife's frailty, yet I cannot put off my
opinion so easily: she was in his company at Page's
house; and what they made there, I know not. Well,
I will look further into't: and I have a disguise
to sound Falstaff. If I find her honest, I lose not
my labour; if she be otherwise, 'tis labour well bestowed.



(stage directions). [Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised]

Ford. Bless you, sir!



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

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



(stage directions). [Exit BARDOLPH]

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.



(stage directions). [Exit]

Ford. What a damned Epicurean rascal is this! My heart is
ready to crack with impatience. Who says this is
improvident jealousy? my wife hath sent to him; the
hour is fixed; the match is made. Would any man
have thought this? See the hell of having a false
woman! My bed shall be abused, my coffers
ransacked, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not
only receive this villanous wrong, but stand under
the adoption of abominable terms, and by him that
does me this wrong. Terms! names! Amaimon sounds
well; Lucifer, well; Barbason, well; yet they are
devils' additions, the names of fiends: but
Cuckold! Wittol!—Cuckold! the devil himself hath
not such a name. Page is an ass, a secure ass: he
will trust his wife; he will not be jealous. I will
rather trust a Fleming with my butter, Parson Hugh
the Welshman with my cheese, an Irishman with my
aqua-vitae bottle, or a thief to walk my ambling
gelding, than my wife with herself; then she plots,
then she ruminates, then she devises; and what they
think in their hearts they may effect, they will
break their hearts but they will effect. God be
praised for my jealousy! Eleven o'clock the hour.
I will prevent this, detect my wife, be revenged on
Falstaff, and laugh at Page. I will about it;
better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
Fie, fie, fie! cuckold! cuckold! cuckold!



(stage directions). [Enter FORD]

Ford. Well met, Mistress Page. Whither go you?



Mistress 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.



Mistress Page. Be sure of that,—two other husbands.

Ford. Where had you this pretty weather-cock?



Robin. Sir John Falstaff.

Ford. Sir John Falstaff!



Mistress 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.



(stage directions). [Exeunt MISTRESS 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 mile, as
easy as a cannon will shoot point-blank 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. And
Falstaff's boy with her! Good plots, they are laid;
and our revolted wives share damnation together.
Well; I will take him, then torture my wife, pluck
the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming
Mistress Page, divulge Page himself for a secure and
wilful Actaeon; and to these violent proceedings all
my neighbours shall cry aim.
[Clock heard]
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.



Robert Shallow. [with Page and others] Well met, Master Ford.

Ford. Trust me, a good knot: I have good cheer at home;
and I pray you all go with me.



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 region; he knows too
much. No, he shall not knit a 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 home with me
to dinner: besides your cheer, you shall have
sport; I will show you a monster. Master doctor,
you shall go; so shall you, Master Page; and you, Sir Hugh.



(stage directions). [Exit]

Ford. [Aside] I think I shall drink in pipe wine first
with him; I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles?



(stage directions). [Enter FORD, PAGE, DOCTOR 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?



Mistress 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: ascend my
chambers; search, seek, find out: I'll warrant
we'll unkennel the fox. Let me stop this way first.
[Locking the door]
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.



(stage directions). [Re-enter FORD, PAGE, DOCTOR CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS]

Ford. I cannot find him: may be the knave bragged of that
he could not compass.



Mistress Ford. You use me well, Master Ford, do you?

Ford. Ay, I do so.



Mistress Ford. Heaven make you better than your thoughts!

Ford. Amen!



Mistress Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, Master Ford.

Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.



Page. Fie, fie, Master Ford! are you not ashamed? What
spirit, what devil suggests this imagination? I
would not ha' your distemper in this kind for the
wealth of Windsor Castle.

Ford. 'Tis my fault, Master Page: I suffer for it.



Doctor 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, pardon me.



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.



Doctor Caius. If dere be one or two, I shall make-a the turd.

Ford. Pray you, go, Master Page.



(stage directions). [Enter FORD]

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.



(stage directions). [Exit]

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 not make me tame:
if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go
with me: I'll be horn-mad.



Mistress Page. Why then you are utterly shamed, and he's but a dead
man. What a woman are you!—Away with him, away
with him! better shame than murder.

Ford. Which way should be go? how should I bestow him?
Shall I put him into the basket again?



(stage directions). [Enter FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, DOCTOR CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS]

Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page, have you any
way then to unfool me again? Set down the basket,
villain! Somebody call my wife. Youth in a basket!
O you panderly rascals! there's a knot, a ging, a
pack, a conspiracy against me: now shall the devil
be shamed. What, wife, I say! Come, come forth!
Behold what honest clothes you send forth to bleaching!



Robert Shallow. Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well, indeed.

Ford. So say I too, sir.
Come hither, Mistress Ford; Mistress Ford the honest
woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that
hath the jealous fool to her husband! I suspect
without cause, mistress, do I?



Mistress Ford. Heaven be my witness you do, if you suspect me in
any dishonesty.

Ford. Well said, brazen-face! hold it out. Come forth, sirrah!



Mistress Ford. Are you not ashamed? let the clothes alone.

Ford. I shall find you anon.



Sir Hugh Evans. 'Tis unreasonable! Will you take up your wife's
clothes? Come away.

Ford. Empty the basket, I say!



Mistress Ford. Why, man, why?

Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed
out of my house yesterday in this basket: why may
not he be there again? In my house I am sure he is:
my intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable.
Pluck me out all the linen.



Sir Hugh Evans. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the
imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies.

Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.



Page. No, nor nowhere else but in your brain.

Ford. Help to search my house this one time. If I find
not what I seek, show no colour for my extremity; let
me for ever be your table-sport; let them say of
me, 'As jealous as Ford, Chat searched a hollow
walnut for his wife's leman.' Satisfy me once more;
once more search with me.



Mistress Ford. What, ho, Mistress Page! come you and the old woman
down; my husband will come into the chamber.

Ford. Old woman! what old woman's that?



Mistress Ford. Nay, it is my maid's aunt of Brentford.

Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have I not
forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does
she? We are simple men; we do not know what's
brought to pass under the profession of
fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells,
by the figure, and such daubery as this is, beyond
our element we know nothing. Come down, you witch,
you hag, you; come down, I say!



Mistress Page. Come, Mother Prat; come, give me your hand.

Ford. I'll prat her.
[Beating him]
Out of my door, you witch, you hag, you baggage, you
polecat, you runyon! out, out! I'll conjure you,
I'll fortune-tell you.



Mistress Ford. Nay, he will do it. 'Tis a goodly credit for you.

Ford. Hang her, witch!



Sir Hugh Evans. By the yea and no, I think the 'oman is a witch
indeed: I like not when a 'oman has a great peard;
I spy a great peard under his muffler.

Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, follow;
see but the issue of my jealousy: if I cry out thus
upon no trail, never trust me when I open again.



Mistress Page. Within a quarter of an hour.

Ford. Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou wilt;
I rather will suspect the sun with cold
Than thee with wantonness: now doth thy honour stand
In him that was of late an heretic,
As firm as faith.



Page. 'Tis well, 'tis well; no more:
Be not as extreme in submission
As in offence.
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.

Ford. There is no better way than that they spoke of.



Mistress Page. The truth being known,
We'll all present ourselves, dis-horn the spirit,
And mock him home to Windsor.

Ford. The children must
Be practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.



Sir Hugh Evans. 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. That will be excellent. I'll go and buy them vizards.



Page. 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.

Ford. Nay I'll to him again in name of Brook
He'll tell me all his purpose: sure, he'll come.



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?



Mistress Page. I pray you, come, hold up the jest no higher
Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives?
See you these, husband? do not these fair yokes
Become the forest better than the town?

Ford. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now? Master Brook,
Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his
horns, Master Brook: and, Master Brook, he hath
enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buck-basket, his
cudgel, and twenty pounds of money, which must be
paid to Master Brook; his horses are arrested for
it, Master Brook.



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

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



Sir Hugh Evans. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your
desires, and fairies will not pinse you.

Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.



Sir Hugh Evans. And leave your jealousies too, I pray you.

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



Mistress Page. Why Sir John, do you think, though we would have the
virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders
and have given ourselves without scruple to hell,
that ever the devil could have made you our delight?

Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax?



Page. Old, cold, withered and of intolerable entrails?

Ford. And one that is as slanderous as Satan?



Page. And as poor as Job?

Ford. And as wicked as his wife?



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. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one
Master Brook, that you have cozened of money, to
whom you should have been a pander: over and above
that you have suffered, I think to repay that money
will be a biting affliction.



(stage directions). [Exit]

Ford. This is strange. Who hath got the right Anne?



Fenton. You do amaze her: hear the truth of it.
You would have married her most shamefully,
Where there was no proportion held in love.
The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,
Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve us.
The offence is holy that she hath committed;
And this deceit loses the name of craft,
Of disobedience, or unduteous title,
Since therein she doth evitate and shun
A thousand irreligious cursed hours,
Which forced marriage would have brought upon her.

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.



Mistress Page. Well, I will muse no further. Master Fenton,
Heaven give you many, many merry days!
Good husband, let us every one go home,
And laugh this sport o'er by a country fire;
Sir John and all.

Ford. Let it be so. Sir John,
To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word
For he tonight shall lie with Mistress Ford.

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