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The Merry Wives of Windsor

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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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Slender. No, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that, 1660
    but that I am afeard.
  • 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.
  • Slender. Ay, that I do; as well as I love any woman in 1675
  • 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.
  • Slender. Now, good Mistress Anne,— 1685
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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
  • 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!