SCENE IBefore PAGE'S house.
Enter MISTRESS PAGE, with a letter.
What, have I scaped love-letters
in the holiday-time of my beauty, and am
I now a subject for them? Let me see.
'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, 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
not a soldier-like phrase: but I say, love me.
Thine own true knight,
By day or night,
Or any kind of light,
With all his might
For thee to fight, JOHN FALSTAFF.'
What a Herod of Jewry is this! O wicked,
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 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
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
Enter MISTRESS FORD.
Mistress Page! trust me, I was
going to your house.
And, trust me, I was coming to
you. You look very ill.
Nay, I'll ne'er believe that; I
have to show to the contrary.
Faith, but you do, in my mind.
Well, I do then; yet I say I
could show you to the contrary. O Mistress
Page, give me some counsel!
What's the matter, woman?
O woman, if it were not for
one trifling respect, I could come to such
Hang the trifle, woman! take
the honor. What is it? dispense with trifles;
what is it?
If I would but go to hell for an (50)
eternal moment or so, I could be knighted.
What? thou liest! Sir Alice
Ford! These knights will hack; and so thou
shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.
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
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 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 him in his own grease. Did you (70)
ever hear the like?
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 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
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
Why, this is the very same;
the very hand, the very words. What doth he
think of us?
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
'Boarding,' call you it? I'll be
sure to keep him above deck.
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 his suit and lead
him on with a fine-baited delay, till
he hath pawned his horses to mine host of (100)
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 eternal food to
Why, look where he comes;
and my good man too: he's as far from jealousy
as I am from giving him cause; and (109)
that I hope is an unmeasurable distance.
You are the happier woman.
Let's consult together against
this greasy knight. Come hither. [They retire. Enter FORD with PISTOL, and PAGE with NYM.
Well, I hope it be not so.
Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs:
Sir John affects thy wife.
Why, sir, my wife is not young.
He wooes both high and low, both rich and poor.
Both young and old, one with another, Ford;
He loves the gallimaufry: Ford, perpend. (120)
Love my wife!
With liver burning hot. Prevent, or go thou,
Like Sir Actaeon he, with Ringwood at thy heels:
O, odious is the name!
What name, sir?
The horn, I say. Farewell.
Take heed, have open eyes, for thieves do foot by night:
Take heed, ere summer comes or cuckoo-birds do sing.
Away, Sir Corporal Nym!
Believe it, Page; he speaks sense. [Exit.
I will be patient; I will find (131)
And this is true; I like
not the humor of lying. He hath wronged me
in some humors: I should have borne the humored
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. Adieu. I love not the humor of bread
and cheese, and there's the humor of it. (141)
'The humor of it,' quoth a'! here's
a fellow frights English out of his wits.
I will seek out Falstaff.
I never heard such a drawling, affecting
If I do find it; well.
I will not believe such a Cataian,
though the priest o' the town commended him (150)
for a true man.
'Twas a good sensible fellow: well.
How now, Meg!
[Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford come forward.
Whither go you, George?
How now, sweet Frank! why
art thou melancholy?
I melancholy! I am not melancholy.
Get you home, go.
Faith, thou has some crotchets
in thy head. Now, will you go, Mistress Page?
Have with you, You'll come to
dinner, George. [Aside to Mrs. Ford] Look
who comes yonder; she shall be our messenger
to this paltry knight.
[Aside to Mrs. Page] Trust me,
I thought on her: she'll fit it.
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
You are come to see my
Ay, forsooth; and, I pray, how does (170)
good Mistress Anne?
Go in with us and see: we
have an hour's talk with you.
[Exeunt Mrs. Page, Mrs. Ford, and Mrs. Quickly.
How now, Master Ford!
You heard what this knave told me,
did you not?
Yes: and you heard what the other
Do you think there is truth in them?
Hang 'em, slaves! I do not think the
knight would 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.
Were they his men?
Marry, were they.
I like it never the better for that.
Does he lie at the Garter?
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 lie on my head.
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.
Look where my ranting host of the
Garter comes: there is either liquor in his
pate or money in his purse when he looks so
How now, mine host!
How now, bully-rook! thou'rt a gentleman. (201)
Cavaleiro-justice, I say!
I follow, mine host, I follow. Good
even and twenty, good Master Page! Master
Page, will you go with us? we have sport in
Tell him, cavaleiro-justice; tell him,
Sir, there is a fray to be fought between
Sir Hugh the Welsh priest and Caius the (210)
Good mine host o' the Garter, a
word with you. [Drawing him aside.
What sayest thou, my bully-rook?
[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. Hark, I will tell
you what our sport shall be.
[They converse apart.
Hast thou no suit against my knight, (221)
None, I protest: but I'll give you a
pottle of burnt sack to give me recourse to
him and tell him my name is Brook; only
for a jest.
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?
Have with you, mine host.
I have heard the Frenchman hath (231)
good skill in his rapier.
Tut, sir, I could have told you more.
In these times you stand on distance, your
passes, stoccadoes. and 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
Here, boys, here, here shall we wag?
Have with you. I had rather hear
them scold than fight.
[Exeunt Host, Shal., and Page.
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, I will look
further into't; and I have a disguise to sound
Falstaff. If I find her honest, I lose not my
labor; if she be otherwise, 'tis labour well
SCENE IIA room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL.
I will not lend thee a penny.
Why, then the world's mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open.
Not a penny. I have been content, sir,
you should lay my countenance to pawn: I
have grated upon my 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 Bridget lost the handle of her
fan, I took 't upon mine honor thou hadst it not.
Didst not thou share? hadst thou not fifteen pence?
Reason, you rogue, reason: thinkest
thou I'll endanger my soul gratis? At a word,
hang no more 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
honor! Why, thou unconfinable baseness, it
is as much as I can do to keep the terms of
my honor precise: I, I, I myself sometimes,
leaving the fear of God on the left hand and
hiding mine honor in my necessity, am fain to
shuffle, to hedge and to lurch; and yet you,
rogue, will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain
looks, your red-lattice phrases, and
your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of (30)
your honour! You will not do it, you!
I do relent: what would thou more of man?
Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.
Let her approach.
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
Give your worship good morrow.
Good morrow, good wife.
Not so, an 't please your worship.
Good maid, then.
I'll be sworn,
As my mother was, the first hour I was born.
I do believe the swearer. What with me?
Shall I vouchsafe your worship a
word or two?
Two thousand, fair woman: and I'll
vouchsafe thee the hearing.
There is one Mistress Ford, sir:--
I pray come a little nearer this ways:--I myself
dwell with Master Doctor Caius,--
Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say,--
Your worship says very true: I
pray your worship, come a little nearer this
I warrant thee, nobody hears; mine
own people, mine own people.
Are they so? God bless them and
make them his servants!
Well, Mistress Ford; what of her?
Why, sir, she's a good creature.
Lord, Lord! your worship's a wanton! Well,
heaven forgive you and all of us, I pray!
Mistress Ford; come, Mistress Ford,--
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 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 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 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 is more, pensioners; but, I (80)
warrant you, all is one with her.
But what says she to me? be brief,
my good she-Mercury.
Marry, she hath received your letter,
for the which she thanks you a thousand
times; and she gives you to notify that her
husband will be absence from his house between
ten and eleven.
Ten and eleven?
Ay, forsooth; and then you may
come and see the picture, she says, that you
wot of: Master Ford, 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
Ten and eleven. Woman, commend
me to her; I will not fail her.
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 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 a man: surely
I think you have charms, la; yes, in truth.
Not I, I assure thee: setting the attraction
of my good parts aside I have no (111)
Blessing on your heart for't!
But, I pray thee, tell me this: has
Ford's wife and Page's wife acquainted each
other how they love me?
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 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 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.
Why, I will.
Nay, but do so, then: and, look
you, he may come and 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,
as they say, and know the world.
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.] This news
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! [Exit.
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 fairly
done, no matter.
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.
Brook is his name?
Call him in. [Exit Bardolph.] Such
Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such
liquor. Ah, ha! Mistress Ford and Mistress
Page, have I encompassed you? go to; via!
Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised. (160)
Bless you, sir!
And you, sir! Would you speak with me?
I make bold to press with so little
preparation upon you.
You're welcome. What's your will?
Give us leave, drawer. [Exit Bardolph.
Sir, I am a gentleman that have
spent much: my name is Brook.
Good Master Brook, I desire more
acquaintance of you.
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 emboldened
me to this unseasoned intrusion; for
they say, if money go before, all ways do lie
Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on.
Troth, and I have a bag of money
here troubles me: if you will help to bear it,
Sir John, take all, or half, for easing me of
Sir, I know not how I may deserve to (181)
be your porter.
I will tell you, sir, if you will give
me the hearing.
Speak, good Master Brook: I shall
be glad to be your servant.
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 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.
Very well, sir; proceed.
There is a gentlewoman in this
town; her husband's name is Ford. (200)
I have long loved her, and, I protest
to you, 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
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 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.
Have you received no promise of satisfaction
at her hands?
Have you importuned her to such a purpose?
Of what quality was your love, then?
Like a fair house built on another
man's ground; so that I have lost my edifice
by mistaking the place where I erected it.
To what purpose have you unfolded
this to me?
When I have told you that, I have
told you all. Some say, that though she appear
honest to me, yet in 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
place and person, generally allowed for your
many war-like, court-like, and learned preparations. (239)
Believe it, for you know it. There
is money; spend it, spend it; spend more;
spend all I have; only 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
Would it apply well to the vehemency
of your affection, that I should win what you
would enjoy? Methinks you prescribe by yourself (250)
O, understand my drift. She dwells
so securely on the excellency of her honor,
that the folly of my soul dares not present itself:
she is too bright to be looked against.
Now, could I 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, her reputation,
her marriage-vow, and a thousand
other her defences, which now are too too
strongly embattled against me. What say you (261)
to't, Sir John?
Master Brook, I will first make bold
with your money; next, give me your hand;
and last, as I am a gentleman, you shall, if
you will, enjoy Ford's wife.
O good sir!
I say you shall.
Want no money, Sir John; you shall
Want no Mistress Ford, Master
Brook: you shall want 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
will be forth. Come you to me at night; you
shall know how I speed.
I am blest in your acquaintance. Do (280)
you know Ford, sir?
Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I
know him not: 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
I would you knew Ford, sir, that
you might avoid him if you saw him.
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 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
cuckold. Come to me soon at night. [Exit.
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 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 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 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 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. 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! [Exit.
SCENE IIIA field near Windsor.
Enter CAIUS and RUGBY.
Vat is de clock, Jack?
'Tis past the hour, sir, that Sir Hugh
promised to meet.
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.
He is wise, sir; he knew your worship (11)
would kill him, if he came.
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.
Alas, sir, I cannot fence.
Villany, take your rapier.
Forbear; here's company.
Enter HOST, SHALLOW, SLENDER, and PAGE.
Bless thee, bully doctor!
Save you, Master Doctor Caius! (20)
Now, good master doctor!
Give you good morrow, sir.
Vat be all you, one, two, tree, four,
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 he dead, my Francisco?
ha, bully! What says my AEsculapius?
my Galen? my heart of elder? ha! is he dead, (31)
bully stale? is he dead?
By gar, he is de coward Jack priest
of de vorld; he is not show his face.
Thou art a Castalion-King-Urinal.
Hector of Greece, my boy!
I pray you, bear vitness that me
have stay six or seven, two, tree hours for him,
and he is no come.
He is the wiser man, master doctor:
he is a curer of souls, and you a curer of
bodies; if you should fight, you go against the
hair of your professions. Is it not true, Master
Master Shallow, you have yourself
been a great fighter, though now a man of
Bodykins, Master Page, though I now
be old and of 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; (51)
we are the sons of women, Master
'Tis true, Master 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
Pardon, guest-justice. A word, Mounseur (60)
Mock-vater! vat is dat?
Mock-water, in our English tongue,
is valor, bully.
By gar, den, I have as mush mockvater
as de Englishman. Scurvy jack-dog
priest! by gar, me vill cut his ears.
He will clapper-claw thee tightly,
Clapper-de-claw! vat is dat?
That is, he will make thee amends.
By gar, me do look he shall clapper-de-claw
me; for, by gar, me vill have it.
And I will provoke him to't, or let
Me tank you for dat.
And, moreover, bully,--but first,
master guest, and Master Page, and eke Cavaleiro
Slender, go you through the town to
Frogmore. [Aside to them.
Sir Hugh is there, is he?
He is there: see what humor he is
in; and I will bring the doctor about by the
fields. Will it do well?
We will do it.
Page., Shal., and Slen.
Adieu, good master doctor.
[Exeunt Page, Shal., and Slen.
By gar, me vill kill de priest; for
he speak for a jack-an-ape to Anne Page.
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?
By gar, me dank you vor 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.
For the which I will be thy adversary
toward Anne Page. Said I well? (100)
By gar, 'tis good; veil said.
Let us wag, then.
Come at my heels, Jack Rugby.