Open Source Shakespeare

The Merry Wives of Windsor

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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.