Open Source Shakespeare

The Merry Wives of Windsor

(complete text)

Act I

1. Windsor. Before PAGE’s house.

2. The same.

3. A room in the Garter Inn.

4. A room in DOCTOR CAIUS’ house.

Act II

1. Before PAGE’S house.

2. A room in the Garter Inn.

3. A field near Windsor.


1. A field near Frogmore.

2. A street.

3. A room in FORD’S house.

4. A room in PAGE’S house.

5. A room in the Garter Inn.

Act IV

1. A street.

2. A room in FORD’S house.

3. A room in the Garter Inn.

4. A room in FORD’S house.

5. A room in the Garter Inn.

6. Another room in the Garter Inn.

Act V

1. A room in the Garter Inn.

2. Windsor Park.

3. A street leading to the Park.

4. Windsor Park.

5. Another part of the Park.

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Act I, Scene 1

Windsor. Before PAGE’s house.



  • Robert Shallow. Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Star-
    chamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir John
    Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.
  • Slender. In the county of Gloucester, justice of peace and 5
  • Robert Shallow. Ay, cousin Slender, and 'Custalourum.
  • Slender. Ay, and 'Rato-lorum' too; and a gentleman born,
    master parson; who writes himself 'Armigero,' in any
    bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, 'Armigero.' 10
  • Robert Shallow. Ay, that I do; and have done any time these three
    hundred years.
  • Slender. All his successors gone before him hath done't; and
    all his ancestors that come after him may: they may
    give the dozen white luces in their coat. 15
  • Robert Shallow. It is an old coat.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. The dozen white louses do become an old coat well;
    it agrees well, passant; it is a familiar beast to
    man, and signifies love.
  • Robert Shallow. The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat. 20
  • Slender. I may quarter, coz.
  • Robert Shallow. You may, by marrying.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. It is marring indeed, if he quarter it.
  • Robert Shallow. Not a whit.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Yes, py'r lady; if he has a quarter of your coat, 25
    there is but three skirts for yourself, in my
    simple conjectures: but that is all one. If Sir
    John Falstaff have committed disparagements unto
    you, I am of the church, and will be glad to do my
    benevolence to make atonements and compremises 30
    between you.
  • Robert Shallow. The council shall bear it; it is a riot.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. It is not meet the council hear a riot; there is no
    fear of Got in a riot: the council, look you, shall
    desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a 35
    riot; take your vizaments in that.
  • Robert Shallow. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the sword
    should end it.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. It is petter that friends is the sword, and end it:
    and there is also another device in my prain, which 40
    peradventure prings goot discretions with it: there
    is Anne Page, which is daughter to Master Thomas
    Page, which is pretty virginity.
  • Slender. Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and speaks
    small like a woman. 45
  • Sir Hugh Evans. It is that fery person for all the orld, as just as
    you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of moneys,
    and gold and silver, is her grandsire upon his
    death's-bed—Got deliver to a joyful resurrections!
    —give, when she is able to overtake seventeen years 50
    old: it were a goot motion if we leave our pribbles
    and prabbles, and desire a marriage between Master
    Abraham and Mistress Anne Page.
  • Slender. Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound?
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny. 55
  • Slender. I know the young gentlewoman; she has good gifts.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Seven hundred pounds and possibilities is goot gifts.
  • Robert Shallow. Well, let us see honest Master Page. Is Falstaff there?
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar as I do
    despise one that is false, or as I despise one that 60
    is not true. The knight, Sir John, is there; and, I
    beseech you, be ruled by your well-willers. I will
    peat the door for Master Page.
    What, hoa! Got pless your house here! 65
  • Page. [Within] Who's there?

[Enter PAGE]

  • Sir Hugh Evans. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and Justice
    Shallow; and here young Master Slender, that
    peradventures shall tell you another tale, if 70
    matters grow to your likings.
  • Page. I am glad to see your worships well.
    I thank you for my venison, Master Shallow.
  • Robert Shallow. Master Page, I am glad to see you: much good do it
    your good heart! I wished your venison better; it 75
    was ill killed. How doth good Mistress Page?—and I
    thank you always with my heart, la! with my heart.
  • Page. Sir, I thank you.
  • Robert Shallow. Sir, I thank you; by yea and no, I do.
  • Page. I am glad to see you, good Master Slender. 80
  • Slender. How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say he
    was outrun on Cotsall.
  • Page. It could not be judged, sir.
  • Slender. You'll not confess, you'll not confess.
  • Robert Shallow. That he will not. 'Tis your fault, 'tis your fault; 85
    'tis a good dog.
  • Page. A cur, sir.
  • Robert Shallow. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog: can there be
    more said? he is good and fair. Is Sir John
    Falstaff here? 90
  • Page. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a good
    office between you.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. It is spoke as a Christians ought to speak.
  • Robert Shallow. He hath wronged me, Master Page.
  • Page. Sir, he doth in some sort confess it. 95
  • Robert Shallow. If it be confessed, it is not redress'd: is not that
    so, Master Page? He hath wronged me; indeed he
    hath, at a word, he hath, believe me: Robert
    Shallow, esquire, saith, he is wronged.
  • Page. Here comes Sir John. 100


  • 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? 105
  • 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: 110
    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?
  • Slender. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; 115
    and against your cony-catching rascals, Bardolph,
    Nym, and Pistol.
  • Bardolph. You Banbury cheese!
  • Slender. Ay, it is no matter.
  • Pistol. How now, Mephostophilus! 120
  • Slender. Ay, it is no matter.
  • Nym. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca: slice! that's my humour.
  • Slender. Where's Simple, my man? Can you tell, cousin?
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Peace, I pray you. Now let us understand. There is
    three umpires in this matter, as I understand; that 125
    is, Master Page, fidelicet Master Page; and there is
    myself, fidelicet myself; and the three party is,
    lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.
  • Page. We three, to hear it and end it between them.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note- 130
    book; and we will afterwards ork upon the cause with
    as great discreetly as we can.
  • Falstaff. Pistol!
  • Pistol. He hears with ears.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, 'He 135
    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 140
    shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two
    pence apiece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.
  • Falstaff. Is this true, Pistol?
  • Sir Hugh Evans. No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.
  • Pistol. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner! Sir John and Master mine, 145
    I combat challenge of this latten bilbo.
    Word of denial in thy labras here!
    Word of denial: froth and scum, thou liest!
  • Slender. By these gloves, then, 'twas he.
  • Nym. Be avised, sir, and pass good humours: I will say 150
    'marry trap' with you, if you run the nuthook's
    humour on me; that is the very note of it.
  • 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. 155
  • Falstaff. What say you, Scarlet and John?
  • Bardolph. Why, sir, for my part I say the gentleman had drunk
    himself out of his five sentences.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is!
  • Bardolph. And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashiered; and 160
    so conclusions passed the careires.
  • Slender. Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis no
    matter: I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again,
    but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick:
    if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have 165
    the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.
  • 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] 170
  • Page. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll drink within.


  • Slender. O heaven! this is Mistress Anne Page.
  • Page. How now, Mistress Ford!
  • Falstaff. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met: 175
    by your leave, good mistress.

[Kisses her]

  • Page. Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome. Come, we have a
    hot venison pasty to dinner: come, gentlemen, I hope
    we shall drink down all unkindness. 180

[Exeunt all except SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR HUGH EVANS]

  • Slender. I had rather than forty shillings I had my Book of
    Songs and Sonnets here.
    [Enter SIMPLE]
    How now, Simple! where have you been? I must wait 185
    on myself, must I? You have not the Book of Riddles
    about you, have you?
  • Simple. Book of Riddles! why, did you not lend it to Alice
    Shortcake upon All-hallowmas last, a fortnight
    afore Michaelmas? 190
  • Robert Shallow. Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with
    you, coz; marry, this, coz: there is, as 'twere, a
    tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by Sir Hugh
    here. Do you understand me?
  • Slender. Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so, 195
    I shall do that that is reason.
  • Robert Shallow. Nay, but understand me.
  • Slender. So I do, sir.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Give ear to his motions, Master Slender: I will
    description the matter to you, if you be capacity of it. 200
  • Slender. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says: I pray
    you, pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his
    country, simple though I stand here.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. But that is not the question: the question is
    concerning your marriage. 205
  • Robert Shallow. Ay, there's the point, sir.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Marry, is it; the very point of it; to Mistress Anne Page.
  • Slender. Why, if it be so, I will marry her upon any
    reasonable demands.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. But can you affection the 'oman? Let us command to 210
    know that of your mouth or of your lips; for divers
    philosophers hold that the lips is parcel of the
    mouth. Therefore, precisely, can you carry your
    good will to the maid?
  • Robert Shallow. Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her? 215
  • Slender. I hope, sir, I will do as it shall become one that
    would do reason.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies! you must speak
    possitable, if you can carry her your desires
    towards her. 220
  • Robert Shallow. That you must. Will you, upon good dowry, marry her?
  • Slender. I will do a greater thing than that, upon your
    request, cousin, in any reason.
  • Robert Shallow. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz: what I do
    is to pleasure you, coz. Can you love the maid? 225
  • Slender. I will marry her, sir, at your request: but if there
    be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may
    decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are
    married and have more occasion to know one another;
    I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt: 230
    but if you say, 'Marry her,' I will marry her; that
    I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. It is a fery discretion answer; save the fall is in
    the ort 'dissolutely:' the ort is, according to our
    meaning, 'resolutely:' his meaning is good. 235
  • Robert Shallow. Ay, I think my cousin meant well.
  • Slender. Ay, or else I would I might be hanged, la!
  • Robert Shallow. Here comes fair Mistress Anne.
    [Re-enter ANNE PAGE]
    Would I were young for your sake, Mistress Anne! 240
  • Anne Page. The dinner is on the table; my father desires your
    worships' company.
  • Robert Shallow. I will wait on him, fair Mistress Anne.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Od's plessed will! I will not be absence at the grace.


  • Anne Page. Will't please your worship to come in, sir?
  • Slender. No, I thank you, forsooth, heartily; I am very well.
  • Anne Page. The dinner attends you, sir.
  • Slender. I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forsooth. Go,
    sirrah, for all you are my man, go wait upon my 250
    cousin Shallow.
    [Exit SIMPLE]
    A justice of peace sometimes may be beholding to his
    friend for a man. I keep but three men and a boy
    yet, till my mother be dead: but what though? Yet I 255
    live like a poor gentleman born.
  • Anne Page. I may not go in without your worship: they will not
    sit till you come.
  • Slender. I' faith, I'll eat nothing; I thank you as much as
    though I did. 260
  • Anne Page. I pray you, sir, walk in.
  • Slender. I had rather walk here, I thank you. I bruised
    my shin th' other day with playing at sword and
    dagger with a master of fence; three veneys for a
    dish of stewed prunes; and, by my troth, I cannot 265
    abide the smell of hot meat since. Why do your
    dogs bark so? be there bears i' the town?
  • Anne Page. I think there are, sir; I heard them talked of.
  • Slender. I love the sport well but I shall as soon quarrel at
    it as any man in England. You are afraid, if you see 270
    the bear loose, are you not?
  • Anne Page. Ay, indeed, sir.
  • Slender. That's meat and drink to me, now. I have seen
    Sackerson loose twenty times, and have taken him by
    the chain; but, I warrant you, the women have so 275
    cried and shrieked at it, that it passed: but women,
    indeed, cannot abide 'em; they are very ill-favored
    rough things.

[Re-enter PAGE]

  • Page. Come, gentle Master Slender, come; we stay for you. 280
  • Slender. I'll eat nothing, I thank you, sir.
  • Page. By cock and pie, you shall not choose, sir! come, come.
  • Slender. Nay, pray you, lead the way.
  • Page. Come on, sir.
  • Slender. Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first. 285
  • Anne Page. Not I, sir; pray you, keep on.
  • Slender. I'll rather be unmannerly than troublesome.
    You do yourself wrong, indeed, la!



Act I, Scene 2

The same.



  • Sir Hugh Evans. Go your ways, and ask of Doctor Caius' house which
    is the way: and there dwells one Mistress Quickly,
    which is in the manner of his nurse, or his dry
    nurse, or his cook, or his laundry, his washer, and
    his wringer. 295
  • Simple. Well, sir.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Nay, it is petter yet. Give her this letter; for it
    is a 'oman that altogether's acquaintance with
    Mistress Anne Page: and the letter is, to desire
    and require her to solicit your master's desires to 300
    Mistress Anne Page. I pray you, be gone: I will
    make an end of my dinner; there's pippins and cheese to come.



Act I, Scene 3

A room in the Garter Inn.



  • 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. 310
  • 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. 315
  • Host. I have spoke; let him follow.
    Let me see thee froth and lime: I am at a word; follow.


  • Falstaff. Bardolph, follow him. A tapster is a good trade: 320
    an old cloak makes a new jerkin; a withered
    serving-man a fresh tapster. Go; adieu.
  • Bardolph. It is a life that I have desired: I will thrive.
  • Pistol. O base Hungarian wight! wilt thou the spigot wield?


  • 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.
  • Nym. The good humour is to steal at a minute's rest. 330
  • 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. 335
  • 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. 340
  • 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 345
    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.'
  • Pistol. He hath studied her will, and translated her will,
    out of honesty into English. 350
  • 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.
  • Pistol. As many devils entertain; and 'To her, boy,' say I.
  • Nym. The humour rises; it is good: humour me the angels. 355
  • 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. 360
  • Pistol. Then did the sun on dunghill shine.
  • 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 365
    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 370
    this letter to Mistress Page; and thou this to
    Mistress Ford: we will thrive, lads, we will thrive.
  • Pistol. Shall I Sir Pandarus of Troy become,
    And by my side wear steel? then, Lucifer take all!
  • Nym. I will run no base humour: here, take the 375
    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! 380
    Falstaff will learn the humour of the age,
    French thrift, you rogues; myself and skirted page.


  • Pistol. Let vultures gripe thy guts! for gourd and fullam holds,
    And high and low beguiles the rich and poor: 385
    Tester I'll have in pouch when thou shalt lack,
    Base Phrygian Turk!
  • Nym. I have operations which be humours of revenge.
  • Pistol. Wilt thou revenge?
  • Nym. By welkin and her star! 390
  • Pistol. With wit or steel?
  • Nym. With both the humours, I:
    I will discuss the humour of this love to Page.
  • Pistol. And I to Ford shall eke unfold
    How Falstaff, varlet vile, 395
    His dove will prove, his gold will hold,
    And his soft couch defile.
  • Nym. My humour shall not cool: I will incense Page to
    deal with poison; I will possess him with
    yellowness, for the revolt of mine is dangerous: 400
    that is my true humour.
  • Pistol. Thou art the Mars of malecontents: I second thee; troop on.



Act I, Scene 4

A room in DOCTOR CAIUS’ house.



  • Hostess Quickly. What, John Rugby! I pray thee, go to the casement, 405
    and see if you can see my master, Master Doctor
    Caius, coming. If he do, i' faith, and find any
    body in the house, here will be an old abusing of
    God's patience and the king's English.
  • Rugby. I'll go watch. 410
  • Hostess Quickly. Go; and we'll have a posset for't soon at night, in
    faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal fire.
    [Exit RUGBY]
    An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant
    shall come in house withal, and, I warrant you, no 415
    tell-tale nor no breed-bate: his worst fault is,
    that he is given to prayer; he is something peevish
    that way: but nobody but has his fault; but let
    that pass. Peter Simple, you say your name is?
  • Simple. Ay, for fault of a better. 420
  • Hostess Quickly. And Master Slender's your master?
  • Simple. Ay, forsooth.
  • Hostess Quickly. Does he not wear a great round beard, like a
    glover's paring-knife?
  • Simple. No, forsooth: he hath but a little wee face, with a 425
    little yellow beard, a Cain-coloured beard.
  • Hostess Quickly. A softly-sprighted man, is he not?
  • Simple. Ay, forsooth: but he is as tall a man of his hands
    as any is between this and his head; he hath fought
    with a warrener. 430
  • Hostess Quickly. How say you? O, I should remember him: does he not
    hold up his head, as it were, and strut in his gait?
  • Simple. Yes, indeed, does he.
  • Hostess Quickly. Well, heaven send Anne Page no worse fortune! Tell
    Master Parson Evans I will do what I can for your 435
    master: Anne is a good girl, and I wish—

[Re-enter RUGBY]

  • Rugby. Out, alas! here comes my master.
  • Hostess Quickly. We shall all be shent. Run in here, good young man;
    go into this closet: he will not stay long. 440
    [Shuts SIMPLE in the closet]
    What, John Rugby! John! what, John, I say!
    Go, John, go inquire for my master; I doubt
    he be not well, that he comes not home.
    [Singing] 445
    And down, down, adown-a, &c.


  • Doctor Caius. Vat is you sing? I do not like des toys. Pray you,
    go and vetch me in my closet un boitier vert, a box,
    a green-a box: do intend vat I speak? a green-a box. 450
  • Hostess Quickly. Ay, forsooth; I'll fetch it you.
    I am glad he went not in himself: if he had found
    the young man, he would have been horn-mad.
  • Doctor Caius. Fe, fe, fe, fe! ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je 455
    m'en vais a la cour—la grande affaire.
  • Hostess Quickly. Is it this, sir?
  • Doctor Caius. Oui; mette le au mon pocket: depeche, quickly. Vere
    is dat knave Rugby?
  • Hostess Quickly. What, John Rugby! John! 460
  • Rugby. Here, sir!
  • Doctor Caius. You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby. Come,
    take-a your rapier, and come after my heel to the court.
  • Rugby. 'Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.
  • Doctor Caius. By my trot, I tarry too long. Od's me! 465
    Qu'ai-j'oublie! dere is some simples in my closet,
    dat I vill not for the varld I shall leave behind.
  • Hostess Quickly. Ay me, he'll find the young man here, and be mad!
  • Doctor Caius. O diable, diable! vat is in my closet? Villain! larron!
    [Pulling SIMPLE out] 470
    Rugby, my rapier!
  • Hostess Quickly. Good master, be content.
  • Doctor Caius. Wherefore shall I be content-a?
  • Hostess Quickly. The young man is an honest man.
  • Doctor Caius. What shall de honest man do in my closet? dere is 475
    no honest man dat shall come in my closet.
  • Hostess Quickly. I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic. Hear the truth
    of it: he came of an errand to me from Parson Hugh.
  • Doctor Caius. Vell.
  • Simple. Ay, forsooth; to desire her to— 480
  • Hostess Quickly. Peace, I pray you.
  • Doctor Caius. Peace-a your tongue. Speak-a your tale.
  • Simple. To desire this honest gentlewoman, your maid, to
    speak a good word to Mistress Anne Page for my
    master in the way of marriage. 485
  • Hostess Quickly. This is all, indeed, la! but I'll ne'er put my
    finger in the fire, and need not.
  • Doctor Caius. Sir Hugh send-a you? Rugby, baille me some paper.
    Tarry you a little-a while.


  • Hostess Quickly. [Aside to SIMPLE] I am glad he is so quiet: if he
    had been thoroughly moved, you should have heard him
    so loud and so melancholy. But notwithstanding,
    man, I'll do you your master what good I can: and
    the very yea and the no is, the French doctor, my 495
    master,—I may call him my master, look you, for I
    keep his house; and I wash, wring, brew, bake,
    scour, dress meat and drink, make the beds and do
    all myself,—
  • Simple. [Aside to MISTRESS QUICKLY] 'Tis a great charge to 500
    come under one body's hand.
  • Hostess Quickly. [Aside to SIMPLE] Are you avised o' that? you
    shall find it a great charge: and to be up early
    and down late; but notwithstanding,—to tell you in
    your ear; I would have no words of it,—my master 505
    himself is in love with Mistress Anne Page: but
    notwithstanding that, I know Anne's mind,—that's
    neither here nor there.
  • Doctor Caius. You jack'nape, give-a this letter to Sir Hugh; by
    gar, it is a shallenge: I will cut his troat in dee 510
    park; and I will teach a scurvy jack-a-nape priest
    to meddle or make. You may be gone; it is not good
    you tarry here. By gar, I will cut all his two
    stones; by gar, he shall not have a stone to throw
    at his dog: 515


  • Hostess Quickly. Alas, he speaks but for his friend.
  • Doctor Caius. It is no matter-a ver dat: do not you tell-a me
    dat I shall have Anne Page for myself? By gar, I
    vill kill de Jack priest; and I have appointed mine 520
    host of de Jarteer to measure our weapon. By gar, I
    will myself have Anne Page.
  • Hostess Quickly. Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall be well. We
    must give folks leave to prate: what, the good-jer!
  • Doctor Caius. Rugby, come to the court with me. By gar, if I have 525
    not Anne Page, I shall turn your head out of my
    door. Follow my heels, Rugby.


  • Hostess Quickly. You shall have An fool's-head of your own. No, I
    know Anne's mind for that: never a woman in Windsor 530
    knows more of Anne's mind than I do; nor can do more
    than I do with her, I thank heaven.
  • Fenton. [Within] Who's within there? ho!
  • Hostess Quickly. Who's there, I trow! Come near the house, I pray you.

[Enter FENTON]

  • Fenton. How now, good woman? how dost thou?
  • Hostess Quickly. The better that it pleases your good worship to ask.
  • Fenton. What news? how does pretty Mistress Anne?
  • Hostess Quickly. In truth, sir, and she is pretty, and honest, and
    gentle; and one that is your friend, I can tell you 540
    that by the way; I praise heaven for it.
  • Fenton. Shall I do any good, thinkest thou? shall I not lose my suit?
  • Hostess Quickly. Troth, sir, all is in his hands above: but
    notwithstanding, Master Fenton, I'll be sworn on a
    book, she loves you. Have not your worship a wart 545
    above your eye?
  • Fenton. Yes, marry, have I; what of that?
  • Hostess Quickly. Well, thereby hangs a tale: good faith, it is such
    another Nan; but, I detest, an honest maid as ever
    broke bread: we had an hour's talk of that wart. I 550
    shall never laugh but in that maid's company! But
    indeed she is given too much to allicholy and
    musing: but for you—well, go to.
  • Fenton. Well, I shall see her to-day. Hold, there's money
    for thee; let me have thy voice in my behalf: if 555
    thou seest her before me, commend me.
  • Hostess Quickly. Will I? i'faith, that we will; and I will tell your
    worship more of the wart the next time we have
    confidence; and of other wooers.
  • Fenton. Well, farewell; I am in great haste now. 560
  • Hostess Quickly. Farewell to your worship.
    [Exit FENTON]
    Truly, an honest gentleman: but Anne loves him not;
    for I know Anne's mind as well as another does. Out
    upon't! what have I forgot? 565



Act II, Scene 1

Before PAGE’S house.


[Enter MISTRESS PAGE, with a letter]

  • Mistress Page. What, have I scaped love-letters in the holiday-
    time of my beauty, and am I now a subject for them?
    Let me see. 570
    'Ask me no reason why I love you; for though
    Love use Reason for his physician, he admits him
    not for his counsellor. You are not young, no more
    am I; go to then, there's sympathy: you are merry, 575
    so am I; ha, ha! then there's more sympathy: you
    love sack, and so do I; would you desire better
    sympathy? Let it suffice thee, Mistress Page,—at
    the least, if the love of soldier can suffice,—
    that I love thee. I will not say, pity me; 'tis 580
    not a soldier-like phrase: but I say, love me. By me,
    Thine own true knight,
    By day or night,
    Or any kind of light,
    With all his might 585
    For thee to fight, JOHN FALSTAFF'
    What a Herod of Jewry is this! O wicked
    world! One that is well-nigh worn to pieces with
    age to show himself a young gallant! What an
    unweighed behavior hath this Flemish drunkard 590
    picked—with the devil's name!—out of my
    conversation, that he dares in this manner assay me?
    Why, he hath not been thrice in my company! What
    should I say to him? I was then frugal of my
    mirth: Heaven forgive me! Why, I'll exhibit a bill 595
    in the parliament for the putting down of men. How
    shall I be revenged on him? for revenged I will be,
    as sure as his guts are made of puddings.


  • Mistress Ford. Mistress Page! trust me, I was going to your house. 600
  • Mistress Page. And, trust me, I was coming to you. You look very
  • Mistress Ford. Nay, I'll ne'er believe that; I have to show to the contrary.
  • Mistress Page. Faith, but you do, in my mind.
  • Mistress Ford. Well, I do then; yet I say I could show you to the 605
    contrary. O Mistress Page, give me some counsel!
  • Mistress Page. What's the matter, woman?
  • Mistress Ford. O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I
    could come to such honour!
  • Mistress Page. Hang the trifle, woman! take the honour. What is 610
    it? dispense with trifles; what is it?
  • Mistress Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or so,
    I could be knighted.
  • Mistress Page. What? thou liest! Sir Alice Ford! These knights
    will hack; and so thou shouldst not alter the 615
    article of thy gentry.
  • Mistress Ford. We burn daylight: here, read, read; perceive how I
    might be knighted. I shall think the worse of fat
    men, as long as I have an eye to make difference of
    men's liking: and yet he would not swear; praised 620
    women's modesty; and gave such orderly and
    well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I
    would have sworn his disposition would have gone to
    the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere
    and keep place together than the Hundredth Psalm to 625
    the tune of 'Green Sleeves.' What tempest, I trow,
    threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his
    belly, ashore at Windsor? How shall I be revenged
    on him? I think the best way were to entertain him
    with hope, till the wicked fire of lust have melted 630
    him in his own grease. Did you ever hear the like?
  • Mistress Page. Letter for letter, but that the name of Page and
    Ford differs! To thy great comfort in this mystery
    of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy
    letter: but let thine inherit first; for, I 635
    protest, mine never shall. I warrant he hath a
    thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for
    different names—sure, more,—and these are of the
    second edition: he will print them, out of doubt;
    for he cares not what he puts into the press, when 640
    he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess,
    and lie under Mount Pelion. Well, I will find you
    twenty lascivious turtles ere one chaste man.
  • Mistress Ford. Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the very
    words. What doth he think of us? 645
  • Mistress Page. Nay, I know not: it makes me almost ready to
    wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain
    myself like one that I am not acquainted withal;
    for, sure, unless he know some strain in me, that I
    know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury. 650
  • Mistress Ford. 'Boarding,' call you it? I'll be sure to keep him
    above deck.
  • Mistress Page. So will I. if he come under my hatches, I'll never
    to sea again. Let's be revenged on him: let's
    appoint him a meeting; give him a show of comfort in 655
    his suit and lead him on with a fine-baited delay,
    till he hath pawned his horses to mine host of the Garter.
  • Mistress Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villany against him,
    that may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O,
    that my husband saw this letter! it would give 660
    eternal food to his jealousy.
  • Mistress Page. Why, look where he comes; and my good man too: he's
    as far from jealousy as I am from giving him cause;
    and that I hope is an unmeasurable distance.
  • Mistress Ford. You are the happier woman. 665
  • Mistress Page. Let's consult together against this greasy knight.
    Come hither.

[They retire]

[Enter FORD with PISTOL, and PAGE with NYM]

  • Ford. Well, I hope it be not so. 670
  • 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; 675
    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! 680
  • Ford. What name, sir?
  • Pistol. The horn, I say. Farewell.
    Take heed, have open eye, for thieves do foot by night:
    Take heed, ere summer comes or cuckoo-birds do sing.
    Away, Sir Corporal Nym! 685
    Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.


  • Ford. [Aside] I will be patient; I will find out this.
  • Nym. [To PAGE] And this is true; I like not the humour
    of lying. He hath wronged me in some humours: I 690
    should have borne the humoured letter to her; but I
    have a sword and it shall bite upon my necessity.
    He loves your wife; there's the short and the long.
    My name is Corporal Nym; I speak and I avouch; 'tis
    true: my name is Nym and Falstaff loves your wife. 695
    Adieu. I love not the humour of bread and cheese,
    and there's the humour of it. Adieu.


  • Page. 'The humour of it,' quoth a'! here's a fellow
    frights English out of his wits. 700
  • 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. 705
  • Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow: well.
  • Page. How now, Meg!


  • Mistress Page. Whither go you, George? Hark you.
  • Mistress Ford. How now, sweet Frank! why art thou melancholy? 710
  • Ford. I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.
  • Mistress Ford. Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head. Now,
    will you go, Mistress Page?
  • Mistress Page. Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George.
    [Aside to MISTRESS FORD] 715
    Look who comes yonder: she shall be our messenger
    to this paltry knight.
  • Mistress Ford. [Aside to MISTRESS PAGE] Trust me, I thought on her:
    she'll fit it.


  • Mistress Page. You are come to see my daughter Anne?
  • Hostess Quickly. Ay, forsooth; and, I pray, how does good Mistress Anne?
  • Mistress Page. Go in with us and see: we have an hour's talk with


  • 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 730
    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. 735
  • 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 740
    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.
  • Page. Look where my ranting host of the Garter comes: 745
    there is either liquor in his pate or money in his
    purse when he looks so merrily.
    [Enter Host]
    How now, mine host!
  • Host. How now, bully-rook! thou'rt a gentleman. 750
    Cavaleiro-justice, I say!


  • Robert Shallow. I follow, mine host, I follow. Good even and
    twenty, good Master Page! Master Page, will you go
    with us? we have sport in hand. 755
  • Host. Tell him, cavaleiro-justice; tell him, bully-rook.
  • 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.

[Drawing him aside]

  • Host. What sayest thou, my bully-rook?
  • Robert Shallow. [To PAGE] Will you go with us to behold it? My
    merry host hath had the measuring of their weapons;
    and, I think, hath appointed them contrary places;
    for, believe me, I hear the parson is no jester. 765
    Hark, I will tell you what our sport shall be.

[They converse apart]

  • Host. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my
  • Ford. None, I protest: but I'll give you a pottle of 770
    burnt sack to give me recourse to him and tell him
    my name is Brook; only for a jest.
  • Host. My hand, bully; thou shalt have egress and regress;
    —said I well?—and thy name shall be Brook. It is
    a merry knight. Will you go, An-heires? 775
  • Robert Shallow. Have with you, mine host.
  • Page. I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in
    his rapier.
  • Robert Shallow. Tut, sir, I could have told you more. In these times
    you stand on distance, your passes, stoccadoes, and 780
    I know not what: 'tis the heart, Master Page; 'tis
    here, 'tis here. I have seen the time, with my long
    sword I would have made you four tall fellows skip like rats.
  • Host. Here, boys, here, here! shall we wag?
  • Page. Have with you. I would rather hear them scold than fight. 785

[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, 790
    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.



Act II, Scene 2

A room in the Garter Inn.



  • 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 800
    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 805
    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 810
    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 815
    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 820
    looks, your red-lattice phrases, and your
    bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your
    honour! You will not do it, you!
  • Pistol. I do relent: what would thou more of man?

[Enter ROBIN]

  • 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. 830
  • 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? 835
  • 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 840
    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 845
    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 850
    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 855
    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 860
    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 865
    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 870
    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 875
    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, 880
    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 885
    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 890
    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 895
    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 900
    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 905
    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 910
    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 915
    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, 920
    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.
    [Exeunt MISTRESS QUICKLY and ROBIN] 925
    This news distracts me!
  • Pistol. This punk is one of Cupid's carriers:
    Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights:
    Give fire: she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all!


  • 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 935
    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. 940
  • Falstaff. Brook is his name?
  • Bardolph. Ay, sir.
  • Falstaff. Call him in.
    [Exit BARDOLPH]
    Such Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such 945
    liquor. Ah, ha! Mistress Ford and Mistress Page
    have I encompassed you? go to; via!

[Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised]

  • Ford. Bless you, sir!
  • Falstaff. And you, sir! Would you speak with me? 950
  • 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. 955
  • 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 960
    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 965
    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. 970
  • 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 975
    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. 980
  • 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, 985
    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 990
    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 995
    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? 1000
  • 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 1005
    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 1010
    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 1015
    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 1020
    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
    any. 1025
  • 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 1030
    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, 1035
    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 1040
    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 1045
    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 1050
    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: 1055
    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. 1060
  • 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 1065
    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 1070
    cuckold. Come to me soon at night.


  • 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 1075
    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 1080
    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 1085
    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 1090
    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. 1095
    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!



Act II, Scene 3

A field near Windsor.



  • Doctor Caius. Jack Rugby!
  • Rugby. Sir?
  • Doctor Caius. Vat is de clock, Jack?
  • Rugby. 'Tis past the hour, sir, that Sir Hugh promised to meet. 1105
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, he has save his soul, dat he is no come; he
    has pray his Pible well, dat he is no come: by gar,
    Jack Rugby, he is dead already, if he be come.
  • Rugby. He is wise, sir; he knew your worship would kill
    him, if he came. 1110
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, de herring is no dead so as I vill kill him.
    Take your rapier, Jack; I vill tell you how I vill kill him.
  • Rugby. Alas, sir, I cannot fence.
  • Doctor Caius. Villany, take your rapier.
  • Rugby. Forbear; here's company. 1115

[Enter Host, SHALLOW, SLENDER, and PAGE]

  • Host. Bless thee, bully doctor!
  • Robert Shallow. Save you, Master Doctor Caius!
  • Page. Now, good master doctor!
  • Slender. Give you good morrow, sir. 1120
  • Doctor Caius. Vat be all you, one, two, tree, four, come for?
  • Host. To see thee fight, to see thee foin, to see thee
    traverse; to see thee here, to see thee there; to
    see thee pass thy punto, thy stock, thy reverse, thy
    distance, thy montant. Is he dead, my Ethiopian? is 1125
    he dead, my Francisco? ha, bully! What says my
    AEsculapius? my Galen? my heart of elder? ha! is
    he dead, bully stale? is he dead?
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, he is de coward Jack priest of de vorld; he
    is not show his face. 1130
  • Host. Thou art a Castalion-King-Urinal. Hector of Greece, my boy!
  • Doctor Caius. I pray you, bear vitness that me have stay six or
    seven, two, tree hours for him, and he is no come.
  • Robert Shallow. He is the wiser man, master doctor: he is a curer of
    souls, and you a curer of bodies; if you should 1135
    fight, you go against the hair of your professions.
    Is it not true, Master Page?
  • Page. Master Shallow, you have yourself been a great
    fighter, though now a man of peace.
  • Robert Shallow. Bodykins, Master Page, though I now be old and of 1140
    the peace, if I see a sword out, my finger itches to
    make one. Though we are justices and doctors and
    churchmen, Master Page, we have some salt of our
    youth in us; we are the sons of women, Master Page.
  • Page. 'Tis true, Master Shallow. 1145
  • Robert Shallow. It will be found so, Master Page. Master Doctor
    Caius, I am come to fetch you home. I am sworn of
    the peace: you have showed yourself a wise
    physician, and Sir Hugh hath shown himself a wise
    and patient churchman. You must go with me, master doctor. 1150
  • Host. Pardon, guest-justice. A word, Mounseur Mockwater.
  • Doctor Caius. Mock-vater! vat is dat?
  • Host. Mock-water, in our English tongue, is valour, bully.
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, den, I have as mush mock-vater as de
    Englishman. Scurvy jack-dog priest! by gar, me 1155
    vill cut his ears.
  • Host. He will clapper-claw thee tightly, bully.
  • Doctor Caius. Clapper-de-claw! vat is dat?
  • Host. That is, he will make thee amends.
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, me do look he shall clapper-de-claw me; 1160
    for, by gar, me vill have it.
  • Host. And I will provoke him to't, or let him wag.
  • Doctor Caius. Me tank you for dat.
  • Host. And, moreover, bully,—but first, master guest, and
    Master Page, and eke Cavaleiro Slender, go you 1165
    through the town to Frogmore.

[Aside to them]

  • Page. Sir Hugh is there, is he?
  • Host. He is there: see what humour he is in; and I will
    bring the doctor about by the fields. Will it do well? 1170
  • Robert Shallow. We will do it.
  • Page. [with Shallow and Slender] Adieu, good master doctor.


  • Doctor Caius. By gar, me vill kill de priest; for he speak for a
    jack-an-ape to Anne Page. 1175
  • Host. Let him die: sheathe thy impatience, throw cold
    water on thy choler: go about the fields with me
    through Frogmore: I will bring thee where Mistress
    Anne Page is, at a farm-house a-feasting; and thou
    shalt woo her. Cried I aim? said I well? 1180
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, me dank you for dat: by gar, I love you;
    and I shall procure-a you de good guest, de earl,
    de knight, de lords, de gentlemen, my patients.
  • Host. For the which I will be thy adversary toward Anne
    Page. Said I well? 1185
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, 'tis good; vell said.
  • Host. Let us wag, then.
  • Doctor Caius. Come at my heels, Jack Rugby.



Act III, Scene 1

A field near Frogmore.



  • Sir Hugh Evans. I pray you now, good master Slender's serving-man,
    and friend Simple by your name, which way have you
    looked for Master Caius, that calls himself doctor of physic?
  • Simple. Marry, sir, the pittie-ward, the park-ward, every
    way; old Windsor way, and every way but the town 1195
  • Sir Hugh Evans. I most fehemently desire you you will also look that
  • Simple. I will, sir.


  • Sir Hugh Evans. 'Pless my soul, how full of chollors I am, and
    trempling of mind! I shall be glad if he have
    deceived me. How melancholies I am! I will knog
    his urinals about his knave's costard when I have
    good opportunities for the ork. 'Pless my soul! 1205
    To shallow rivers, to whose falls
    Melodious birds sings madrigals;
    There will we make our peds of roses,
    And a thousand fragrant posies. 1210
    To shallow—
    Mercy on me! I have a great dispositions to cry.
    Melodious birds sing madrigals—
    When as I sat in Pabylon— 1215
    And a thousand vagram posies.
    To shallow &c.

[Re-enter SIMPLE]

  • Simple. Yonder he is coming, this way, Sir Hugh.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. He's welcome. 1220
    To shallow rivers, to whose falls-
    Heaven prosper the right! What weapons is he?
  • Simple. No weapons, sir. There comes my master, Master
    Shallow, and another gentleman, from Frogmore, over 1225
    the stile, this way.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Pray you, give me my gown; or else keep it in your arms.


  • Robert Shallow. How now, master Parson! Good morrow, good Sir Hugh.
    Keep a gamester from the dice, and a good student 1230
    from his book, and it is wonderful.
  • Slender. [Aside] Ah, sweet Anne Page!
  • Page. 'Save you, good Sir Hugh!
  • Sir Hugh Evans. 'Pless you from his mercy sake, all of you!
  • Robert Shallow. What, the sword and the word! do you study them 1235
    both, master parson?
  • Page. And youthful still! in your doublet and hose this
    raw rheumatic day!
  • Sir Hugh Evans. There is reasons and causes for it.
  • Page. We are come to you to do a good office, master parson. 1240
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Fery well: what is it?
  • Page. Yonder is a most reverend gentleman, who, belike
    having received wrong by some person, is at most
    odds with his own gravity and patience that ever you
    saw. 1245
  • Robert Shallow. I have lived fourscore years and upward; I never
    heard a man of his place, gravity and learning, so
    wide of his own respect.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. What is he?
  • Page. I think you know him; Master Doctor Caius, the 1250
    renowned French physician.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Got's will, and his passion of my heart! I had as
    lief you would tell me of a mess of porridge.
  • Page. Why?
  • Sir Hugh Evans. He has no more knowledge in Hibocrates and Galen, 1255
    —and he is a knave besides; a cowardly knave as you
    would desires to be acquainted withal.
  • Page. I warrant you, he's the man should fight with him.
  • Robert Shallow. [Aside] O sweet Anne Page!
  • Robert Shallow. It appears so by his weapons. Keep them asunder: 1260
    here comes Doctor Caius.

[Enter Host, DOCTOR CAIUS, and RUGBY]

  • Page. Nay, good master parson, keep in your weapon.
  • Robert Shallow. So do you, good master doctor.
  • Host. Disarm them, and let them question: let them keep 1265
    their limbs whole and hack our English.
  • Doctor Caius. I pray you, let-a me speak a word with your ear.
    Vherefore vill you not meet-a me?
  • Sir Hugh Evans. [Aside to DOCTOR CAIUS] Pray you, use your patience:
    in good time. 1270
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, you are de coward, de Jack dog, John ape.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. [Aside to DOCTOR CAIUS] Pray you let us not be
    laughing-stocks to other men's humours; I desire you
    in friendship, and I will one way or other make you amends.
    [Aloud] 1275
    I will knog your urinals about your knave's cockscomb
    for missing your meetings and appointments.
  • Doctor Caius. Diable! Jack Rugby,—mine host de Jarteer,—have I
    not stay for him to kill him? have I not, at de place
    I did appoint? 1280
  • Sir Hugh Evans. As I am a Christians soul now, look you, this is the
    place appointed: I'll be judgement by mine host of
    the Garter.
  • Host. Peace, I say, Gallia and Gaul, French and Welsh,
    soul-curer and body-curer! 1285
  • Doctor Caius. Ay, dat is very good; excellent.
  • Host. Peace, I say! hear mine host of the Garter. Am I
    politic? am I subtle? am I a Machiavel? Shall I
    lose my doctor? no; he gives me the potions and the
    motions. Shall I lose my parson, my priest, my Sir 1290
    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 1295
    whole, and let burnt sack be the issue. Come, lay
    their swords to pawn. Follow me, lads of peace;
    follow, follow, follow.
  • Robert Shallow. Trust me, a mad host. Follow, gentlemen, follow.
  • Slender. [Aside] O sweet Anne Page! 1300

[Exeunt SHALLOW, SLENDER, PAGE, and Host]

  • Doctor Caius. Ha, do I perceive dat? have you make-a de sot of
    us, ha, ha?
  • Sir Hugh Evans. This is well; he has made us his vlouting-stog. I
    desire you that we may be friends; and let us knog 1305
    our prains together to be revenge on this same
    scall, scurvy cogging companion, the host of the Garter.
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, with all my heart. He promise to bring me
    where is Anne Page; by gar, he deceive me too.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Well, I will smite his noddles. Pray you, follow. 1310



Act III, Scene 2

A street.



  • Mistress 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 eye your master's heels? 1315
  • Robin. I had rather, forsooth, go before you like a man
    than follow him like a dwarf.
  • Mistress Page. O, you are a flattering boy: now I see you'll be a courtier.

[Enter FORD]

  • Ford. Well met, Mistress Page. Whither go you? 1320
  • 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. 1325
  • Ford. Where had you this pretty weather-cock?
  • Mistress Page. I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my
    husband had him of. What do you call your knight's
    name, sirrah?
  • Robin. Sir John Falstaff. 1330
  • 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. 1335
  • Mistress Page. By your leave, sir: I am sick till I see her.


  • 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 1340
    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 1345
    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 1350
    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 1355
    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,]
  • 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.
  • Robert Shallow. I must excuse myself, Master Ford.
  • Slender. And so must I, sir: we have appointed to dine with 1365
    Mistress Anne, and I would not break with her for
    more money than I'll speak of.
  • Robert Shallow. We have lingered about a match between Anne Page and
    my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our answer.
  • Slender. I hope I have your good will, father Page. 1370
  • Page. You have, Master Slender; I stand wholly for you:
    but my wife, master doctor, is for you altogether.
  • Doctor Caius. Ay, be-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 1375
    dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he
    speaks holiday, 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 1380
    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 1385
    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. 1390
  • Robert Shallow. Well, fare you well: we shall have the freer wooing
    at Master Page's.


  • Doctor Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon.

[Exit RUGBY]

  • Host. Farewell, my hearts: I will to my honest knight
    Falstaff, and drink canary with him.


  • Ford. [Aside] I think I shall drink in pipe wine first
    with him; I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles? 1400
  • All. Have with you to see this monster.



Act III, Scene 3

A room in FORD’S house.



  • Mistress Ford. What, John! What, Robert!
  • Mistress Page. Quickly, quickly! is the buck-basket— 1405
  • Mistress Ford. I warrant. What, Robin, I say!

[Enter Servants with a basket]

  • Mistress Page. Come, come, come.
  • Mistress Ford. Here, set it down.
  • Mistress Page. Give your men the charge; we must be brief. 1410
  • Mistress Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John and Robert, be
    ready here hard by in the brew-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 1415
    it among the whitsters in Datchet-mead, and there
    empty it in the muddy ditch close by the Thames side.
  • Mistress Page. You will do it?
  • Mistress Ford. I ha' told them over and over; they lack no
    direction. Be gone, and come when you are called. 1420

[Exeunt Servants]

  • Mistress Page. Here comes little Robin.

[Enter ROBIN]

  • Mistress Ford. How now, my eyas-musket! what news with you?
  • Robin. My master, Sir John, is come in at your back-door, 1425
    Mistress Ford, and requests your company.
  • Mistress Page. You little Jack-a-Lent, have you been true to us?
  • Robin. 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 1430
    swears he'll turn me away.
  • Mistress Page. Thou'rt a good boy: this secrecy of thine shall be
    a tailor to thee and shall make thee a new doublet
    and hose. I'll go hide me.
  • Mistress Ford. Do so. Go tell thy master I am alone. 1435
    [Exit ROBIN]
    Mistress Page, remember you your cue.
  • Mistress Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me.


  • Mistress Ford. Go to, then: we'll use this unwholesome humidity, 1440
    this gross watery pumpion; we'll teach him to know
    turtles from jays.


  • Falstaff. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? Why, now let
    me die, for I have lived long enough: this is the 1445
    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 1450
    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 1455
    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 1460
    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. 1465
  • 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 1470
    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 1475
    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. 1480
  • Mistress Ford. Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could not
    be in that mind.
  • 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. 1485
  • Falstaff. She shall not see me: I will ensconce me behind the arras.
  • Mistress Ford. Pray you, do so: she's a very tattling woman.
    [FALSTAFF hides himself]
    [Re-enter MISTRESS PAGE and ROBIN]
    What's the matter? how now! 1490
  • Mistress Page. O Mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed,
    you're overthrown, you're undone for ever!
  • Mistress Ford. What's the matter, good Mistress Page?
  • Mistress Page. O well-a-day, Mistress Ford! having an honest man
    to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion! 1495
  • Mistress Ford. What cause of suspicion?
  • Mistress Page. What cause of suspicion! Out pon you! how am I
    mistook in you!
  • Mistress Ford. Why, alas, what's the matter?
  • Mistress Page. Your husband's coming hither, woman, with all the 1500
    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 assence: you are undone.
  • Mistress Ford. 'Tis not so, I hope.
  • Mistress Page. Pray heaven it be not so, that you have such a man 1505
    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 1510
    amazed; call all your senses to you; defend your
    reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.
  • Mistress 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 1515
    out of the house.
  • Mistress 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 1520
    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.
  • Mistress Ford. He's too big to go in there. What shall I do? 1525
  • 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. 1530
    I'll never—

[Gets into the basket; they cover him with foul linen]

  • Mistress Page. Help to cover your master, boy. Call your men,
    Mistress Ford. You dissembling knight!
  • Mistress Ford. What, John! Robert! John! 1535
    [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-meat; quickly, come. 1540


  • 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?
  • Servant. To the laundress, forsooth. 1545
  • 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. 1550
    [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. 1555
    [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. 1560


  • Sir Hugh Evans. This is fery fantastical humours and jealousies.
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, 'tis no the fashion of France; it is not
    jealous in France.
  • Page. Nay, follow him, gentlemen; see the issue of his search. 1565


  • Mistress Page. Is there not a double excellency in this?
  • Mistress Ford. I know not which pleases me better, that my husband
    is deceived, or Sir John.
  • Mistress Page. What a taking was he in when your husband asked who 1570
    was in the basket!
  • Mistress Ford. I am half afraid he will have need of washing; so
    throwing him into the water will do him a benefit.
  • Mistress Page. Hang him, dishonest rascal! I would all of the same
    strain were in the same distress. 1575
  • Mistress 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.
  • Mistress Page. I will lay a plot to try that; and we will yet have
    more tricks with Falstaff: his dissolute disease will 1580
    scarce obey this medicine.
  • Mistress 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? 1585
  • Mistress Page. We will do it: let him be sent for to-morrow,
    eight o'clock, to have amends.


  • Ford. I cannot find him: may be the knave bragged of that
    he could not compass. 1590
  • Mistress Page. [Aside to MISTRESS FORD] Heard you that?
  • 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! 1595
  • Mistress Page. You do yourself mighty wrong, Master Ford.
  • Ford. Ay, ay; I must bear it.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. 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! 1600
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, nor I too: there is no bodies.
  • 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. 1605
  • Ford. 'Tis my fault, Master Page: I suffer for it.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. You suffer for a pad conscience: your wife is as
    honest a 'omans as I will desires among five
    thousand, and five hundred too.
  • Doctor Caius. By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman. 1610
  • 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. 1615
  • 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. 1620
  • Sir Hugh Evans. If there is one, I shall make two in the company.
  • Doctor Caius. If dere be one or two, I shall make-a the turd.
  • Ford. Pray you, go, Master Page.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. I pray you now, remembrance tomorrow on the lousy
    knave, mine host. 1625
  • Doctor Caius. Dat is good; by gar, with all my heart!
  • Sir Hugh Evans. A lousy knave, to have his gibes and his mockeries!



Act III, Scene 4

A room in PAGE’S house.



  • Fenton. I see I cannot get thy father's love; 1630
    Therefore no more turn me to him, sweet Nan.
  • Anne Page. Alas, how then?
  • Fenton. Why, thou must be thyself.
    He doth object I am too great of birth—,
    And that, my state being gall'd with my expense, 1635
    I seek to heal it only by his wealth:
    Besides these, other bars he lays before me,
    My riots past, my wild societies;
    And tells me 'tis a thing impossible
    I should love thee but as a property. 1640
  • Anne Page. May be he tells you true.
  • Fenton. No, heaven so speed me in my time to come!
    Albeit I will confess thy father's wealth
    Was the first motive that I woo'd thee, Anne:
    Yet, wooing thee, I found thee of more value 1645
    Than stamps in gold or sums in sealed bags;
    And 'tis the very riches of thyself
    That now I aim at.
  • Anne Page. Gentle Master Fenton,
    Yet seek my father's love; still seek it, sir: 1650
    If opportunity and humblest suit
    Cannot attain it, why, then,—hark you hither!

[They converse apart]


  • Robert Shallow. Break their talk, Mistress Quickly: my kinsman shall 1655
    speak for himself.
  • Slender. I'll make a shaft or a bolt on't: 'slid, 'tis but
  • Robert Shallow. Be not dismayed.
  • Slender. No, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that, 1660
    but that I am afeard.
  • Hostess Quickly. Hark ye; Master Slender would speak a word with you.
  • Anne Page. I come to him.
    This is my father's choice. 1665
    O, what a world of vile ill-favor'd faults
    Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a-year!
  • Hostess Quickly. And how does good Master Fenton? Pray you, a word with you.
  • Robert Shallow. She's coming; to her, coz. O boy, thou hadst a father!
  • Slender. I had a father, Mistress Anne; my uncle can tell you 1670
    good jests of him. Pray you, uncle, tell Mistress
    Anne the jest, how my father stole two geese out of
    a pen, good uncle.
  • Robert Shallow. Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.
  • Slender. Ay, that I do; as well as I love any woman in 1675
  • Robert Shallow. He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.
  • Slender. Ay, that I will, come cut and long-tail, under the
    degree of a squire.
  • Robert Shallow. He will make you a hundred and fifty pounds jointure. 1680
  • Anne Page. Good Master Shallow, let him woo for himself.
  • Robert Shallow. Marry, I thank you for it; I thank you for that good
    comfort. She calls you, coz: I'll leave you.
  • Anne Page. Now, Master Slender,—
  • Slender. Now, good Mistress Anne,— 1685
  • Anne Page. What is your will?
  • Slender. 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 Page. I mean, Master Slender, what would you with me? 1690
  • Slender. Truly, for mine own part, I would little or nothing
    with you. Your father and my uncle hath made
    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 he comes. 1695


  • Page. Now, Master Slender: love him, daughter Anne.
    Why, how now! what does Master Fenton here?
    You wrong me, sir, thus still to haunt my house:
    I told you, sir, my daughter is disposed of. 1700
  • Fenton. Nay, Master Page, be not impatient.
  • Mistress Page. Good Master Fenton, come not to my child.
  • Page. She is no match for you.
  • Fenton. Sir, will you hear me?
  • Page. No, good Master Fenton. 1705
    Come, Master Shallow; come, son Slender, in.
    Knowing my mind, you wrong me, Master Fenton.


  • Hostess Quickly. Speak to Mistress Page.
  • Fenton. Good Mistress Page, for that I love your daughter 1710
    In such a righteous fashion as I do,
    Perforce, against all cheques, rebukes and manners,
    I must advance the colours of my love
    And not retire: let me have your good will.
  • Anne Page. Good mother, do not marry me to yond fool. 1715
  • Mistress Page. I mean it not; I seek you a better husband.
  • Hostess Quickly. That's my master, master doctor.
  • Anne Page. Alas, I had rather be set quick i' the earth
    And bowl'd to death with turnips!
  • Mistress Page. Come, trouble not yourself. Good Master Fenton, 1720
    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. 1725
  • Fenton. Farewell, gentle mistress: farewell, Nan.


  • Hostess Quickly. 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. 1730
  • Fenton. I thank thee; and I pray thee, once to-night
    Give my sweet Nan this ring: there's for thy pains.
  • Hostess Quickly. Now heaven send thee good fortune!
    [Exit FENTON]
    A kind heart he hath: a woman would run through 1735
    fire and water for such a kind heart. But yet I
    would my master had Mistress Anne; or I would
    Master Slender had her; or, in sooth, I would Master
    Fenton had her; I will do what I can for them all
    three; for so I have promised, and I'll be as good 1740
    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!



Act III, Scene 5

A room in the Garter Inn.



  • Falstaff. Bardolph, I say,—
  • Bardolph. Here, sir.
  • Falstaff. Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast in't.
    [Exit BARDOLPH]
    Have I lived to be carried in a basket, like a 1750
    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 1755
    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 1760
    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.

[Re-enter BARDOLPH with sack]

  • Bardolph. Here's Mistress Quickly, sir, to speak with you. 1765
  • 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.
  • Bardolph. Come in, woman!


  • 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? 1775
  • Falstaff. Simple of itself; I'll no pullet-sperm in my brewage.
    [Exit BARDOLPH]
    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 1780
    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 1785
    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 1790
    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. 1795
  • Falstaff. Well, be gone: I will not miss her.
  • Hostess Quickly. Peace be with you, sir.


  • 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. 1800

[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. 1805
  • 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? 1810
  • 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; 1815
    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. 1820
  • 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. 1825
  • 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. 1830
  • 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 1835
    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 1840
    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 1845
    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 1850
    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 1855
    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 1860
    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 1865
    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 1870
    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.


  • 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 1880
    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 1885
    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.



Act IV, Scene 1

A street.



  • Mistress Page. Is he at Master Ford's already, think'st thou?
  • Hostess Quickly. Sure he is by this, or will be presently: but,
    truly, he is very courageous mad about his throwing
    into the water. Mistress Ford desires you to come suddenly. 1895
  • Mistress Page. I'll be with her by and by; I'll but bring my young
    man here to school. Look, where his master comes;
    'tis a playing-day, I see.
    [Enter SIR HUGH EVANS]
    How now, Sir Hugh! no school to-day? 1900
  • Sir Hugh Evans. No; Master Slender is let the boys leave to play.
  • Hostess Quickly. Blessing of his heart!
  • Mistress Page. Sir Hugh, my husband says my son profits nothing in
    the world at his book. I pray you, ask him some
    questions in his accidence. 1905
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Come hither, William; hold up your head; come.
  • Mistress Page. Come on, sirrah; hold up your head; answer your
    master, be not afraid.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. William, how many numbers is in nouns?
  • William Page. Two. 1910
  • Hostess Quickly. Truly, I thought there had been one number more,
    because they say, 'Od's nouns.'
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Peace your tattlings! What is 'fair,' William?
  • William Page. Pulcher.
  • Hostess Quickly. Polecats! there are fairer things than polecats, sure. 1915
  • Sir Hugh Evans. You are a very simplicity 'oman: I pray you peace.
    What is 'lapis,' William?
  • William Page. A stone.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. And what is 'a stone,' William?
  • William Page. A pebble. 1920
  • Sir Hugh Evans. No, it is 'lapis:' I pray you, remember in your prain.
  • William Page. Lapis.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. That is a good William. What is he, William, that
    does lend articles?
  • William Page. Articles are borrowed of the pronoun, and be thus 1925
    declined, Singulariter, nominativo, hic, haec, hoc.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Nominativo, hig, hag, hog; pray you, mark:
    genitivo, hujus. Well, what is your accusative case?
  • William Page. Accusativo, hinc.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. I pray you, have your remembrance, child, 1930
    accusative, hung, hang, hog.
  • Hostess Quickly. 'Hang-hog' is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Leave your prabbles, 'oman. What is the focative
    case, William?
  • William Page. O,—vocativo, O. 1935
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Remember, William; focative is caret.
  • Hostess Quickly. And that's a good root.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. 'Oman, forbear.
  • Mistress Page. Peace!
  • Sir Hugh Evans. What is your genitive case plural, William? 1940
  • William Page. Genitive case!
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Ay.
  • William Page. Genitive,—horum, harum, horum.
  • Hostess Quickly. Vengeance of Jenny's case! fie on her! never name
    her, child, if she be a whore. 1945
  • Sir Hugh Evans. For shame, 'oman.
  • Hostess Quickly. You do ill to teach the child such words: he
    teaches him to hick and to hack, which they'll do
    fast enough of themselves, and to call 'horum:' fie upon you!
  • Sir Hugh Evans. 'Oman, art thou lunatics? hast thou no 1950
    understandings for thy cases and the numbers of the
    genders? Thou art as foolish Christian creatures as
    I would desires.
  • Mistress Page. Prithee, hold thy peace.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Show me now, William, some declensions of your pronouns. 1955
  • William Page. Forsooth, I have forgot.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. It is qui, quae, quod: if you forget your 'quies,'
    your 'quaes,' and your 'quods,' you must be
    preeches. Go your ways, and play; go.
  • Mistress Page. He is a better scholar than I thought he was. 1960
  • Sir Hugh Evans. He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, Mistress Page.
  • Mistress Page. Adieu, good Sir Hugh.
    Get you home, boy. Come, we stay too long.



Act IV, Scene 2

A room in FORD’S house.



  • 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 1970
    office of love, but in all the accoutrement,
    complement and ceremony of it. But are you
    sure of your husband now?
  • Mistress Ford. He's a-birding, sweet Sir John.
  • Mistress Page. [Within] What, ho, gossip Ford! what, ho! 1975
  • Mistress Ford. Step into the chamber, Sir John.



  • Mistress Page. How now, sweetheart! who's at home besides yourself?
  • Mistress Ford. Why, none but mine own people. 1980
  • Mistress Page. Indeed!
  • Mistress Ford. No, certainly.
    [Aside to her]
    Speak louder.
  • Mistress Page. Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here. 1985
  • Mistress Ford. Why?
  • Mistress Page. Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes again:
    he so takes on yonder with my husband; so rails
    against all married mankind; so curses all Eve's
    daughters, of what complexion soever; and so buffets 1990
    himself on the forehead, crying, 'Peer out, peer
    out!' that any madness I ever yet beheld seemed but
    tameness, civility and patience, to this his
    distemper he is in now: I am glad the fat knight is not here.
  • Mistress Ford. Why, does he talk of him? 1995
  • Mistress Page. Of none but him; and swears he was carried out, the
    last time he searched for him, in a basket; protests
    to my husband he is now here, and hath drawn him and
    the rest of their company from their sport, to make
    another experiment of his suspicion: but I am glad 2000
    the knight is not here; now he shall see his own foolery.
  • Mistress Ford. How near is he, Mistress Page?
  • Mistress Page. Hard by; at street end; he will be here anon.
  • Mistress Ford. I am undone! The knight is here.
  • Mistress Page. Why then you are utterly shamed, and he's but a dead 2005
    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?

[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? 2015
  • 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, 2020
    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. If you go out in your own semblance, you die, Sir 2025
    John. Unless you go out disguised—
  • Mistress Ford. How might we disguise him?
  • 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. 2030
  • Falstaff. Good hearts, devise something: any extremity rather
    than a mischief.
  • Mistress Ford. My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brentford, has a
    gown above.
  • Mistress Page. On my word, it will serve him; she's as big as he 2035
    is: and there's her thrummed hat and her muffler
    too. Run up, Sir John.
  • Mistress Ford. Go, go, sweet Sir John: Mistress Page and I will
    look some linen for your head.
  • Mistress Page. Quick, quick! we'll come dress you straight: put 2040
    on the gown the while.


  • Mistress Ford. I would my husband would meet him in this shape: he
    cannot abide the old woman of Brentford; he swears
    she's a witch; forbade her my house and hath 2045
    threatened to beat her.
  • Mistress Page. Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel, and the
    devil guide his cudgel afterwards!
  • Mistress Ford. But is my husband coming?
  • Mistress Page. Ah, in good sadness, is he; and talks of the basket 2050
    too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.
  • Mistress Ford. We'll try that; for I'll appoint my men to carry the
    basket again, to meet him at the door with it, as
    they did last time.
  • Mistress Page. Nay, but he'll be here presently: let's go dress him 2055
    like the witch of Brentford.
  • Mistress Ford. I'll first direct my men what they shall do with the
    basket. Go up; I'll bring linen for him straight.


  • Mistress Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot misuse him enough. 2060
    We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
    Wives may be merry, and yet honest too:
    We do not act that often jest and laugh;
    'Tis old, but true, Still swine eat all the draff.


[Re-enter MISTRESS FORD with two Servants]

  • Mistress Ford. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders:
    your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it
    down, obey him: quickly, dispatch.


  • First Servant. Come, come, take it up.
  • Second Servant. Pray heaven it be not full of knight again.
  • First Servant. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead.


  • Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page, have you any 2075
    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! 2080
    Behold what honest clothes you send forth to bleaching!
  • Page. Why, this passes, Master Ford; you are not to go
    loose any longer; you must be pinioned.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as a mad dog!
  • Robert Shallow. Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well, indeed. 2085
  • Ford. So say I too, sir.
    [Re-enter MISTRESS FORD]
    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 2090
    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!

[Pulling clothes out of the basket]

  • Page. This passes!
  • 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. 2100
  • 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: 2105
    my intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable.
    Pluck me out all the linen.
  • Mistress Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death.
  • Page. Here's no man.
  • Robert Shallow. By my fidelity, this is not well, Master Ford; this 2110
    wrongs you.
  • 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. 2115
  • 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; 2120
    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. 2125
  • 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, 2130
    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 Ford. Nay, good, sweet husband! Good gentlemen, let him
    not strike the old woman. 2135

[Re-enter FALSTAFF in woman's clothes, and MISTRESS PAGE]

  • 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 2140
    polecat, you runyon! out, out! I'll conjure you,
    I'll fortune-tell you.


  • Mistress Page. Are you not ashamed? I think you have killed the
    poor woman. 2145
  • 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. 2150
  • 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.
  • Page. Let's obey his humour a little further: come,
    gentlemen. 2155


  • Mistress Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.
  • Mistress Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most
    unpitifully, methought.
  • Mistress Page. I'll have the cudgel hallowed and hung o'er the 2160
    altar; it hath done meritorious service.
  • Mistress Ford. What think you? may we, with the warrant of
    womanhood and the witness of a good conscience,
    pursue him with any further revenge?
  • Mistress Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of 2165
    him: if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with
    fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the
    way of waste, attempt us again.
  • Mistress Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him?
  • Mistress Page. Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the 2170
    figures out of your husband's brains. If they can
    find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight
    shall be any further afflicted, we two will still be
    the ministers.
  • Mistress Ford. I'll warrant they'll have him publicly shamed: and 2175
    methinks there would be no period to the jest,
    should he not be publicly shamed.
  • Mistress Page. Come, to the forge with it then; shape it: I would
    not have things cool.



Act IV, Scene 3

A room in the Garter Inn.


[Enter Host and BARDOLPH]

  • Bardolph. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your
    horses: the duke himself will be to-morrow at
    court, and they are going to meet him.
  • Host. What duke should that be comes so secretly? I hear 2185
    not of him in the court. Let me speak with the
    gentlemen: they speak English?
  • Bardolph. Ay, sir; I'll call them to you.
  • Host. They shall have my horses; but I'll make them pay;
    I'll sauce them: they have had my house a week at 2190
    command; I have turned away my other guests: they
    must come off; I'll sauce them. Come.



Act IV, Scene 4

A room in FORD’S house.



  • Sir Hugh Evans. 'Tis one of the best discretions of a 'oman as ever
    I did look upon.
  • Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant?
  • Mistress Page. Within a quarter of an hour.
  • Ford. Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou wilt; 2200
    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: 2205
    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, 2210
    Where we may take him and disgrace him for it.
  • Ford. There is no better way than that they spoke of.
  • Page. How? to send him word they'll meet him in the park
    at midnight? Fie, fie! he'll never come.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. You say he has been thrown in the rivers and has 2215
    been grievously peaten as an old 'oman: methinks
    there should be terrors in him that he should not
    come; methinks his flesh is punished, he shall have
    no desires.
  • Page. So think I too. 2220
  • Mistress Ford. Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,
    And let us two devise to bring him thither.
  • Mistress Page. There is an old tale goes that Herne the hunter,
    Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest,
    Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight, 2225
    Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
    And there he blasts the tree and takes the cattle
    And makes milch-kine yield blood and shakes a chain
    In a most hideous and dreadful manner:
    You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know 2230
    The superstitious idle-headed eld
    Received and did deliver to our age
    This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth.
  • Page. Why, yet there want not many that do fear
    In deep of night to walk by this Herne's oak: 2235
    But what of this?
  • Mistress Ford. Marry, this is our device;
    That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us.
  • Page. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come:
    And in this shape when you have brought him thither, 2240
    What shall be done with him? what is your plot?
  • Mistress Page. That likewise have we thought upon, and thus:
    Nan Page my daughter and my little son
    And three or four more of their growth we'll dress
    Like urchins, ouphes and fairies, green and white, 2245
    With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
    And rattles in their hands: upon a sudden,
    As Falstaff, she and I, are newly met,
    Let them from forth a sawpit rush at once
    With some diffused song: upon their sight, 2250
    We two in great amazedness will fly:
    Then let them all encircle him about
    And, fairy-like, to-pinch the unclean knight,
    And ask him why, that hour of fairy revel,
    In their so sacred paths he dares to tread 2255
    In shape profane.
  • Mistress Ford. And till he tell the truth,
    Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound
    And burn him with their tapers.
  • Mistress Page. The truth being known, 2260
    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 2265
    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.
  • Mistress Page. My Nan shall be the queen of all the fairies,
    Finely attired in a robe of white. 2270
  • 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. 2275
  • Ford. Nay I'll to him again in name of Brook
    He'll tell me all his purpose: sure, he'll come.
  • Mistress Page. Fear not you that. Go get us properties
    And tricking for our fairies.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Let us about it: it is admirable pleasures and fery 2280
    honest knaveries.


  • Mistress Page. Go, Mistress Ford,
    Send quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.
    [Exit MISTRESS FORD] 2285
    I'll to the doctor: he hath my good will,
    And none but he, to marry with Nan Page.
    That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot;
    And he my husband best of all affects.
    The doctor is well money'd, and his friends 2290
    Potent at court: he, none but he, shall have her,
    Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.



Act IV, Scene 5

A room in the Garter Inn.


[Enter Host and SIMPLE]

  • Host. What wouldst thou have, boor? what: thick-skin? 2295
    speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.
  • Simple. Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff
    from Master Slender.
  • Host. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his
    standing-bed and truckle-bed; 'tis painted about 2300
    with the story of the Prodigal, fresh and new. Go
    knock and call; hell speak like an Anthropophaginian
    unto thee: knock, I say.
  • Simple. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his
    chamber: I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come 2305
    down; I come to speak with her, indeed.
  • 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. 2310
  • Falstaff. [Above] How now, mine host!
  • Host. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of
    thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let her
    descend; my chambers are honourable: fie! privacy?
    fie! 2315


  • 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
    Brentford? 2320
  • 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. 2325
  • 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
    it. 2330
  • 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.
  • Host. Ay, come; quick. 2335
  • Simple. I may not conceal them, sir.
  • Host. Conceal them, or thou diest.
  • 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. 2340
  • 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. 2345
  • Simple. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad
    with these tidings.


  • Host. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was
    there a wise woman with thee? 2350
  • 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.


  • Bardolph. Out, alas, sir! cozenage, mere cozenage!
  • Host. Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.
  • Bardolph. Run away with the cozeners; for so soon as I came
    beyond Eton, they threw me off from behind one of
    them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs and away, 2360
    like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.
  • Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain: do not
    say they be fled; Germans are honest men.


  • Sir Hugh Evans. Where is mine host? 2365
  • Host. What is the matter, sir?
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a
    friend of mine come to town tells me there is three
    cozen-germans that has cozened all the hosts of
    Readins, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and 2370
    money. I tell you for good will, look you: you
    are wise and full of gibes and vlouting-stocks, and
    'tis not convenient you should be cozened. Fare you well.



  • Doctor Caius. Vere is mine host de Jarteer?
  • Host. Here, master doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma.
  • Doctor Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a me dat
    you make grand preparation for a duke de Jamany: by
    my trot, dere is no duke dat the court is know to 2380
    come. I tell you for good vill: adieu.


  • Host. Hue and cry, villain, go! Assist me, knight. I am
    undone! Fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone!

[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 2390
    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. 2395
    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 2400
    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 2405
    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, 2410
    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 2415
    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. 2420



Act IV, Scene 6

Another room in the Garter Inn.


[Enter FENTON and Host]

  • Host. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy: I
    will give over all.
  • Fenton. Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose, 2425
    And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee
    A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.
  • Host. I will hear you, Master Fenton; and I will at the
    least keep your counsel.
  • Fenton. From time to time I have acquainted you 2430
    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; 2435
    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. 2440
    To-night 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 2445
    Away with Slender and with him at Eton
    Immediately to marry: she hath consented: Now, sir,
    Her mother, ever strong against that match
    And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
    That he shall likewise shuffle her away, 2450
    While other sports are tasking of their minds,
    And at the deanery, 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: 2455
    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, 2460
    For they must all be mask'd and vizarded,
    That quaint in green she shall be loose enrobed,
    With ribands pendent, flaring 'bout her head;
    And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
    To pinch her by the hand, and, on that token, 2465
    The maid hath given consent to go with him.
  • Host. Which means she to deceive, father or mother?
  • Fenton. 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, 2470
    And, in the lawful name of marrying,
    To give our hearts united ceremony.
  • Host. Well, husband your device; I'll to the vicar:
    Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
  • Fenton. So shall I evermore be bound to thee; 2475
    Besides, I'll make a present recompense.



Act V, Scene 1

A room in the Garter Inn.



  • Falstaff. Prithee, no more prattling; go. I'll hold. This is
    the third time; I hope good luck lies in odd 2480
    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. 2485
    [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 2490
    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 2495
    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 2500
    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 2505
    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.



Act V, Scene 2

Windsor Park.



  • Page. Come, come; we'll couch i' the castle-ditch till we
    see the light of our fairies. Remember, son Slender,
    my daughter.
  • Slender. Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her and we have a 2515
    nay-word how to know one another: I come to her in
    white, and cry 'mum;' she cries 'budget;' and by
    that we know one another.
  • Robert Shallow. That's good too: but what needs either your 'mum'
    or her 'budget?' the white will decipher her well 2520
    enough. It hath struck ten o'clock.
  • Page. The night is dark; light and spirits will become it
    well. Heaven prosper our sport! No man means evil
    but the devil, and we shall know him by his horns.
    Let's away; follow me. 2525



Act V, Scene 3

A street leading to the Park.



  • Mistress Page. Master doctor, my daughter is in green: when you
    see your time, take her by the band, away with her
    to the deanery, and dispatch it quickly. Go before 2530
    into the Park: we two must go together.
  • Doctor Caius. I know vat I have to do. Adieu.
  • Mistress Page. Fare you well, sir.
    My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of 2535
    Falstaff as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying
    my daughter: but 'tis no matter; better a little
    chiding than a great deal of heart-break.
  • Mistress Ford. Where is Nan now and her troop of fairies, and the
    Welsh devil Hugh? 2540
  • Mistress Page. They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak,
    with obscured lights; which, at the very instant of
    Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once
    display to the night.
  • Mistress Ford. That cannot choose but amaze him. 2545
  • Mistress Page. If he be not amazed, he will be mocked; if he be
    amazed, he will every way be mocked.
  • Mistress Ford. We'll betray him finely.
  • Mistress Page. Against such lewdsters and their lechery
    Those that betray them do no treachery. 2550
  • Mistress Ford. The hour draws on. To the oak, to the oak!



Act V, Scene 4

Windsor Park.


[Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, disguised, with others as Fairies]

  • Sir Hugh Evans. Trib, trib, fairies; come; and remember your parts:
    be pold, I pray you; follow me into the pit; and 2555
    when I give the watch-'ords, do as I pid you:
    come, come; trib, trib.



Act V, Scene 5

Another part of the Park.


[Enter FALSTAFF disguised as Herne]

  • Falstaff. The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute 2560
    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 2565
    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 2570
    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
    doe? 2575


  • 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 2580
    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. 2585
    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!

[Noise within]

  • Mistress Page. Alas, what noise? 2590
  • Mistress Ford. Heaven forgive our sins
  • Falstaff. What should this be?
  • Mistress Ford. [with Mistress Page] Away, away!

[They run off]

  • Falstaff. I think the devil will not have me damned, lest the 2595
    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,]
    as Hobgoblin; MISTRESS QUICKLY, ANNE PAGE, and
    others, as Fairies, with tapers] 2600
  • Hostess Quickly. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
    You moonshine revellers and shades of night,
    You orphan heirs of fixed destiny,
    Attend your office and your quality.
    Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes. 2605
  • 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. 2610
  • Falstaff. They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die:
    I'll wink and couch: no man their works must eye.

[Lies down upon his face]

  • Sir Hugh Evans. Where's Bede? Go you, and where you find a maid
    That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said, 2615
    Raise up the organs of her fantasy;
    Sleep she as sound as careless infancy:
    But those as sleep and think not on their sins,
    Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides and shins.
  • Hostess Quickly. About, about; 2620
    Search Windsor Castle, elves, within and out:
    Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room:. That it may stand till the perpetual doom,
    In state as wholesome as in state 'tis fit,
    Worthy the owner, and the owner it.
    The several chairs of order look you scour 2625
    With juice of balm and every precious flower:
    Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest,
    With loyal blazon, evermore be blest!
    And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing,
    Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring: 2630
    The expressure that it bears, green let it be,
    More fertile-fresh than all the field to see;
    And 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' write
    In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue and white;
    Let sapphire, pearl and rich embroidery, 2635
    Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee:
    Fairies use flowers for their charactery.
    Away; disperse: but till 'tis one o'clock,
    Our dance of custom round about the oak
    Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget. 2640
  • 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 2645
    transform me to a piece of cheese!
  • Pistol. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even in thy birth.
  • Hostess Quickly. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end:
    If he be chaste, the flame will back descend
    And turn him to no pain; but if he start, 2650
    It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.
  • Pistol. A trial, come.
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Come, will this wood take fire?

[They burn him with their tapers]

  • Falstaff. Oh, Oh, Oh! 2655
  • Hostess Quickly. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!
    About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhyme;
    And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
    Fie on sinful fantasy! 2660
    Fie on lust and luxury!
    Lust is but a bloody fire,
    Kindled with unchaste desire,
    Fed in heart, whose flames aspire
    As thoughts do blow them, higher and higher. 2665
    Pinch him, fairies, mutually;
    Pinch him for his villany;
    Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
    Till candles and starlight and moonshine be out.
    [During this song they pinch FALSTAFF. DOCTOR CAIUS] 2670
    comes one way, and steals away a boy in green;
    SLENDER another way, and takes off a boy in white;
    and FENTON comes and steals away ANN PAGE.
    A noise of hunting is heard within. All the
    Fairies run away. FALSTAFF pulls off his buck's 2675
    head, and rises]


  • Page. Nay, do not fly; I think we have watch'd you now
    Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn?
  • Mistress Page. I pray you, come, hold up the jest no higher 2680
    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 2685
    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. 2690
  • 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. 2695
  • 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 2700
    rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now
    how wit may be made a Jack-a-Lent, when 'tis upon
    ill employment!
  • Sir Hugh Evans. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your
    desires, and fairies will not pinse you. 2705
  • 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.
  • Falstaff. Have I laid my brain in the sun and dried it, that 2710
    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. 2715
  • 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.
  • Mistress Page. Why Sir John, do you think, though we would have the 2720
    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?
  • Mistress Page. A puffed man? 2725
  • 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?
  • Sir Hugh Evans. And given to fornications, and to taverns and sack 2730
    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 2735
    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 2740
    will be a biting affliction.
  • Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt eat a posset
    to-night at my house; where I will desire thee to
    laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee: tell her
    Master Slender hath married her daughter. 2745
  • Mistress Page. [Aside] Doctors doubt that: if Anne Page be my
    daughter, she is, by this, Doctor Caius' wife.


  • Slender. Whoa ho! ho, father Page!
  • Page. Son, how now! how now, son! have you dispatched? 2750
  • Slender. Dispatched! I'll make the best in Gloucestershire
    know on't; would I were hanged, la, else.
  • Page. Of what, son?
  • Slender. I came yonder at Eton to marry Mistress Anne Page,
    and she's a great lubberly boy. If it had not been 2755
    i' the church, I would have swinged him, or he
    should have swinged me. If I did not think it had
    been Anne Page, would I might never stir!—and 'tis
    a postmaster's boy.
  • Page. Upon my life, then, you took the wrong. 2760
  • Slender. What need you tell me that? I think so, when I took
    a boy for a girl. If I had been married to him, for
    all he was in woman's apparel, I would not have had
  • Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you how 2765
    you should know my daughter by her garments?
  • Slender. I went to her in white, and cried 'mum,' and she
    cried 'budget,' as Anne and I had appointed; and yet
    it was not Anne, but a postmaster's boy.
  • Mistress Page. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose; 2770
    turned my daughter into green; and, indeed, she is
    now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.


  • Doctor Caius. Vere is Mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened: I ha'
    married un garcon, a boy; un paysan, by gar, a boy; 2775
    it is not Anne Page: by gar, I am cozened.
  • Mistress Page. Why, did you take her in green?
  • Doctor Caius. Ay, by gar, and 'tis a boy: by gar, I'll raise all Windsor.


  • Ford. This is strange. Who hath got the right Anne? 2780
  • Page. My heart misgives me: here comes Master Fenton.
    [Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE]
    How now, Master Fenton!
  • Anne Page. Pardon, good father! good my mother, pardon!
  • Page. Now, mistress, how chance you went not with Master Slender? 2785
  • Mistress Page. Why went you not with master doctor, maid?
  • 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, 2790
    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 2795
    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. 2800
  • 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. 2805
  • 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. 2810
  • Ford. Let it be so. Sir John,
    To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word
    For he tonight shall lie with Mistress Ford.