Open Source Shakespeare

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Act IV

Scene 1. A street.

Scene 2. A room in FORD’S house.

Scene 3. A room in the Garter Inn.

Scene 4. A room in FORD’S house.

Scene 5. A room in the Garter Inn.

Scene 6. Another room in the Garter Inn.

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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.