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The Merry Wives of Windsor

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Act I, Scene 3

A room in the Garter Inn.



  • 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
  • Host. Thou'rt an emperor, Caesar, Keisar, and Pheezar. I
    will entertain Bardolph; he shall draw, he shall
    tap: said I well, bully Hector?
  • 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.
  • Nym. By welkin and her star! 390
  • 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.