SCENE IA field near Frogmore.
Enter SIR HUGH EVANS and SIMPLE.
I pray you now, good Master Slender's
serving-man, and friend Simple by your
name, which way have you looked for Master
Caius, that calls himself doctor of physic?
Marry, sir, the pittie-ward, the park-ward,
every way; old Windsor way, and
every way but the town way.
I most fehemently desire you you
will also look that way. (10)
I will, sir.
'Pless my soul, how full of chollors
I am, and trempling of mind! I shall be
glad if he have deceived me. How melancholies
I am! I will knog his urinals about
his knave's costard when I have good opportunities
for the ork. 'Pless my soul!
To shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sings madrigals;
There will we make our peds of roses, (20)
And a thousand fragrant posies.
Mercy on me! I have a great dispositions to
Melodious birds sing madrigals--
When as I sat in Pabylon--
And a thousand vagram posies.
To shallow, &c.
Yonder he is coming, this way, Sir
To shallow rivers, to whose falls--
Heaven prosper the right! What weapons is he?
No weapons, sir. There comes my
master, Master Shallow, and another gentle-
man, from Frogmore, over the stile, this way.
Pray you, give me my gown; or
else keep it in your arms.
Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER.
How now, master Parson! Good
morrow, good Sir Hugh. Keep a gamester
from the dice, and a good student from his
book, and it is wonderful. (40)
[Aside] Ah, sweet Anne Page!
'Save you, good Sir Hugh!
'Pless you from his mercy sake, all
What, the sword and the word! do
you study them both, master parson?
And youthful still! in your doublet
and hose this raw rheumatic day!
There is reasons and causes for it.
We are come to you to do a good (50)
office, master parson.
Fery well: what is it?
Yonder is a most reverend gentleman,
who, belike having received wrong by
some person, is at most odds with his own
gravity and patience that ever you saw.
I have lived fourscore years and upward;
I never heard a man of his place, gravity
and learning, so wide of his own respect.
What is he?
I think you know him; Master Doctor
Caius, the renowned French physician. 61
Got's will, and his passion of my
heart! I had as lief you would tell me of a
mess of porridge.
He has no more knowledge in Hibocrates
and Galen, and he is a knave besides;
a cowardly knave as you would desires
to be acquainted withal.
I warrant you, he's the man should (71)
fight with him.
[Aside] O sweet Anne Page!
It appears so by his weapons. Keep
them asunder; here comes Doctor Caius. Enter HOST, CAIUS and RUGBY.
Nay, good master parson, keep in
So do you, good master doctor.
Disarm them, and let them question:
let them keep their limbs whole and hack our (80)
I pray you, let-a me speak a word
with your ear. Vherefore vill you not meet-
[Aside to Caius] Pray you, use
your patience: in good time.
By gar, you are de coward, de Jack
dog, John ape.
[Aside to Caius]
Pray you, let us
not be laughing-stocks to other men's humours;
I desire you in friendship and will one way
or other make you amends. [Aloud] I will
knog your urinals about your knave's cogs-
comb for missing your meetings and appointments.
Diable! Jack Rugby,--mine host
de Jarteer,--have I not stay for him to kill
him? have I not, at de place I did appoint?
As I am a Christians soul now,
look you, this is the place appointed: I'll be
judgement by mine host of the Garter.
Peace, I say, Gallia and Gaul,
French and Welsh, soul-curer and body-curer!
Ay, dat is very good; excellent.
Peace, I say! hear mine host of the
Garter. Am I politic? am I subtle? am I
a Machiavel? Shall I lose my doctor? no;
he gives me the potions and the motions.
Shall I lose my parson, my priest, my Sir
Hugh? no: he gives me the proverbs and the
no-verbs. Give me thy hand, terrestrial; so.
Give me thy hand, celestial; so. Boys of art,
I have deceived you both; I have directed you
to wrong places: your hearts are mighty, your
skins are whole, and let burnt sack be the issue.
Come, lay their swords to pawn. Follow
me, lads of peace; follow, follow, follow.
Trust me, a mad host. Follow, gentlemen,
O sweet Anne Page!
Exeunt Shal., Slen., Page, and Host.
Ha, do I perceive dat? have you (119)
make-a de sot of us, ha, ha?
This is well; he has made us his
vlouting-stog. I desire you that we may be
friends; and let us knog our prains together
to be revenge on this same scall, scurvy, cogging
companion, the host of the Garter.
By gar, with all my heart. He
promise to bring me where is Anne Page; by
gar, he deceive me too.
Well, I will smite his noddles.
Pray you, follow.
SCENE IIA street. Enter MISTRESS PAGE and ROBIN.
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?
I had rather, forsooth, go before you
like a man than follow him like a dwarf.
O, you are a flattering boy:
now I see you'll be a courtier.
Well met, Mistress Page. Whither
Truly, sir, to see your wife. Is
she at home?
Ay; and as idle as she may hang
together, for want of company. I think, if
your husbands were dead, you two would
Be sure of that,--two other
Where had you this pretty weather-cock?
I cannot tell what the dickens
his name is my husband had him of. What (21)
do you call your knight's name, sirrah?
Sir John Falstaff.
Sir John Falstaff!
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 she is.
By your leave, sir: I am sick
till I see her.
[Exeunt Mrs. Page and Robin.
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 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
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
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
rather praised for this than mocked; for it is
as positive as the earth is firm that Falstaff is (50)
there: I will go.
Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, SLENDER, HOST, SIR HUGH EVANS, CAIUS, and RUGBY.
Shal., Page, &c.
Well met, Master Ford.
Trust me a good knot: I have good
cheer at home; and I pray you all go with me.
I must excuse myself, Master Ford.
And so must I, sir: we have appointed
to dine with Mistress Anne, and I
would not break with her for more money
than I'll speak of.
We have lingered about a match between
Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and (60)
this day we shall have our answer.
I hope I have your good will, father
You have, Master Slender; I stand
wholly for you: but my wife, master doctor,
is for you altogether.
Ay, be-gar; and de maid is love-a
me: my nursh-a-Quickly tell me so mush.
What say you to young Master Fenton?
he capers, he 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 (71)
Not by my consent, I promise you.
The gentleman is 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 takes her, let
him take her simply; the wealth I have waits
on my consent, and my consent goes not that
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.
Well, fare you well: we shall have
the freer wooing at Master Page's.
[Exeunt Shal. and Slen.
Go home, John Rugby: I come anon.
Farewell, my hearts: I will to my
honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with
I think I shall drink in
pipe-wine first with him: I'll make him dance.
Will you go, gentles?
Have with you to see this monster.
SCENE IIIA room in FORD'S house.
Enter MISTRESS FORD and MISTRESS PAGE.
What, John! What, Robert!
Quickly, quickly! Is the buck-basket--
I warrant. What, Robin, I say! Enter SERVANTS with a basket.
Come, come, come.
Here, set it down.
Give your men the charge; we
must be brief.
Marry, as I told you before,
John and Robert, be ready here hard by in
the brew-house: and when I suddenly call
you, come forth, and without any pause or
staggering take this basket on your shoulders:
that done, trudge with it in all haste, and
carry it among the whitsters in Datchet-mead,
and there empty it in the muddy ditch close
by the Thames side.
You will do it?
I ha' told them over and over;
they lack no direction. Be gone, and come (20)
when you are called.
Here comes little Robin.
How now, my eyas-musket!
what news with you?
My master, Sir John, is come in at
your back-door, Mistress Ford, and requests
You little Jack-a-Lent, have
you been true to us?
Ay, I'll be sworn. My master knows
not of your being here and hath threatened to
put me into everlasting liberty if I tell you of
it; for he swears he'll turn me away.
Thou'rt a good boy: this secrecy
of thine shall be a tailor to thee and
shall make thee a new doublet and hose. I'll
go hide me.
Do so. Go tell thy master I
am alone. [Exit Robin. Mistress Page, remember
you your cue.
I warrant thee; if I do not act (41)
it, hiss me.
Go to, then: we'll use this
unwholesome humidity, this gross watery
pumpion; we'll teach him to know turtles
Have I caught thee, my heavenly
jewel? Why, now let me die, for I have lived
long enough: this is the period of my ambition:
O this blessed hour!
O sweet Sir John!
Mistress Ford, I cannot cog, I cannot
prate, Mistress Ford. Now shall I sin in my
wish: I would thy husband were dead: I'll
speak it before the best lord; I would make
thee my lady.
I your lady, Sir John! alas, I
should be a pitiful lady!
Let the court of France show me
such another. I see how thine eye would emulate
the diamond: thou hast the right arched
beauty of the brow that becomes the ship-tire,
the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian (61)
A plain kerchief, Sir John:
my brows become nothing else; nor that well
By the Lord. thou art a traitor to say
so: thou wouldst make an absolute courtier;
and the firm fixture of thy foot would give an
excellent motion to thy gait in a semi-circled
farthingale. I see what thou wert, if Fortune
thy foe were not, Nature thy friend. Come, (71)
thou canst not hide it.
Believe me, there's no such
thing in me.
What made me love thee? let that
persuade thee there's something extraordinary
in thee. Come, I cannot cog and cay thou art
this and that, like a many of these lisping
hawthorn-buds, that come like women in men's
apparel, and smell like Bucklersbury in simple
time; I cannot: but I love thee; none but (81)
thee; and thou deserves it.
Do not betray me, sir. I fear
you love Mistress Page.
Thou mightst as well say I love to
walk by the Counter-gate, which is as hateful
to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.
Well, heaven knows how I
love you; and you shall one day find it.
Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it.
Nay, I must tell you, so you (91)
do; or else I could not be in that mind.
[Within] Mistress Ford, Mistress
Ford! here's Mistress Page at the door sweating
and blowing and looking wildly, and
would needs speak with you presently.
She shall not see me: I will ensconce
me behind the arras.
Pray you, do so: she's a very
[Falstaff hides himself.
Re-enter MISTRESS PAGE and ROBIN. (100)
What's the matter? how now!
O Mistress Ford, what have
you done? You're shamed, you're over-
thrown, you're undone for ever!
What's the matter, good Mistress Page?
O well-a-day, Mistress Ford!
having an honest man to your husband, to
give him such cause of suspicion!
What cause of suspicion?
What cause of suspicion! Out (111)
upon you! how am I mistook in you.
Why, alas, what's the matter?
Your husband's coming hither,
woman, with all the officers in Windsor, to
search for a gentleman that he says is here
now in the house by your consent, to take an
ill advantage of his absence: you are undone.
'Tis not so, I hope.
Pray heaven it be not so, that
you have such a man here! but 'tis most certain
your husband's coming, with half Windsor
at his heels, to search for such a one. I
come before to tell you. If you know yourself
clear, why, I am glad of it; but if you
have a friend here, convey, convey him out.
Be not amazed; call all your senses to you;
defend your reputation, or bid farewell to
your good life for ever.
What shall I do? There is a
gentleman my dear friend; and I fear not
mine own shame so much as his peril: I had
rather than a thousand pound he were out of
For shame! never stand 'you
had rather' and 'you had rather:' your husband's
here at hand; bethink you of some
conveyance; in the house you cannot hide him.
O, how have you deceived me! Look, here is
a basket: if he be of any reasonable stature,
he may creep in here; and throw foul linen
upon him, as if it were going to bucking: or--
it is whiting time--send him by your two men (141)
He's too big to go in there.
What shall I do?
Let me see't, let
me see't, O, let me see't! I'll in, I'll in.
Follow your friend's counsel. I'll in.
What, Sir John Falstaff! Are
these your letters, knight?
I love thee. Help me away. Let me (150)
creep in here. I'll never--
[Gets into the basket; they cover him with foul linen.
Help to cover your master,
boy. Call your men, Mistress Ford. You
What, John! Robert! John!
Go take up these clothes here quickly. Where's
the cowl-staff? look, how you drumble!
Carry them to the laundress in Datchet-mead;
Enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS.
Pray you, come near: if I suspect
without cause, why then make sport at me;
then let me be your jest; I deserve it. How
now! whither bear you this?
To the laundress, forsooth.
Why, what have you to do
whither they bear it? You were best meddle
Buck! I would I could wash myself
of the buck! Buck, buck, buck! Ay,
buck; I warrant you, buck; and of the season
too, it shall appear.
[Exeunt Servants with the basket.]
Gentlemen, I have dreamed tonight;
I'll tell you my dream. Here, here,
here be my keys: ascend my chambers;
search, seek, find out: I'll warrant we'll unkennel
the fox. Let me stop this way first. [Locking the door.]
So, now uncape.
Good Master Ford, be contented;
you wrong yourself too much.
True, Master Page. Up, gentlemen;
you shall see sport anon: follow me.
This is fery fantastical humours
By gar, 'tis no the fashion of
France; it is not jealous in France.
Nay, follow him, gentlemen; see
the issue of his search.
[Exeunt Page, Caius and Evans.
Is there not a double excellency
I know not which pleases me
better, that my husband is deceived, or Sir
What a taking was he in when
your husband asked who was in the basket!
I am half afraid he will have
need of washing; so throwing him into the
water will do him a benefit.
Hang him, dishonest rascal! I
would all of the same strain were in the same
I think my husband hath some
special suspicion of Falstaff's being here; for
I never saw him so gross in his jealousy till
I will lay a plot to try that;
and we will yet have more tricks with Falstaff:
his dissolute disease will scarce obey
Shall we send that foolish carrion,
Mistress Quickly, to him, and excuse his
throwing ipto the water; and give him another
hope, to betray him to another punishment?
We will do it: let him be sent
for to-morrow, eight o'clock, to have amends.
Re-enter FORD, PAGE, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS.
I cannot find him: may be the knave
bragged of that he could not compass.
[Aside to Mrs. Ford]
Heard you that?
You use me well, Master Ford, do you?
Ay, I do so.
Heaven make you better than
sour thoughts! (220)
You do yourself mighty wrong,
Ay, ay; I must bear it.
If there be any pody in the house
and in the chambers, and in the coffers, and
in the presses, heaven forgive my sins at
the day of judgement!
By gar, nor I too: there is no
Fie, fie, Master Ford! are you not
ashamed? What spirit, what devil suggests
this imagination? I would not ha' your distemper
in this kind for the wealth of Windsor
'Tis my fault, Master Page: I suffer
You suffer for a pad conscience:
your wife is as honest a 'omans as I will desires
among five thousand, and five hundred
By gar, I see 'tis an honest woman.
Well, I promised you a dinner.
Come, come back in the Park: I pray you,
pardon me; I will hereafter make known to
you why I have done this. Come, wife;
come, Mistress Page. I pray you pardon me;
pray heartily, pardon me.
Let's go in, gentlemen; but, trust
me, we'll mock him. I do invite you to-morrow
morning to my house to breakfast: after,
we'll a-birding together; I have a fine hawk
for the bush. Shall it be so?
If there is one, I shall make two in (251)
If dere be one or two, I shall make-
a the turd.
Pray you, go, Master Page.
I pray you now, remembrance to-morrow
on the lousy knave, mine host.
Dat is good; by gar, with all my
A lousy knave, to have his gibes
and his mockeries!
SCENE IVA room in PAGE'S house.
Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE.
I see I cannot get thy father's love;
Therefore no more turn me to him, sweet Nan.
Alas, how then?
Why, thou must be thyself.
He doth object I am too great of birth;
And that, my state being gall'd with my expense,
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 (10)
I should love thee but as a property.
May be he tells you true.
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
Than stamps in gold or sums in sealed bags;
And 'tis the very riches of thyself
That now I aim at.
Gentle Master Fenton,
Yet seek my father's love; still seek it, sir: (20)
If opportunity and humblest suit
Cannot attain it, why, then,--hark you hither!
[They converse apart.
Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and MISTRESS QUICKLY.
Break their talk, Mistress Quickly:
my kinsman shall speak for himself.
I'll make a shaft or a bolt on't:
'slid, 'tis but venturing.
Be not dismayed.
No, she shall not dismay me: I care
not for that, but that I am afeard.
Hark ye; Master Slender would (30)
speak a word with you.
I come to him. Aside
This is my father's choice.
O, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
Looks handsome in three hundred pounds ayear!
And how does good Master Fenton?
Pray you, a word with you.
She's coming; to her, coz. O boy,
thou hadst a father!
I had a father, Mistress Anne; my
uncle can tell you good jests of him. Pray
you, uncle, tell Mistress Anne the jest, how
my father stole two geese out of a pen, good (41)
Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.
Ay, that I do: as well as I love any
woman in Gloucestershire.
He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.
Ay, that I will, come cut and long-tail,
under the degree of a squire.
He will make you a hundred and (50)
fifty pounds jointure.
Good Master Shallow, let him woo
Marry, I thank you for it; I thank
you for that good comfort. She calls you,
coz: I'll leave you.
Now, Master Slender,--
Now, good Mistress Anne,--
What is your will?
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, (62)
I give heaven praise.
I mean, Master Slender, what would
you with me?
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 (70)
may ask your father; here he comes.
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.
Nay, Master Page, be not impatient.
Good Master Fenton, come not to my child.
She is no match for you.
Sir, will you hear me?
No, good Master Fenton.
Come, Master Shallow; come, son Slender in.
Knowing my mind, you wrong me, Master Fenton.
[Exeunt Page, Shal., and Slen.
Speak to Mistress Page.
Good Mistress Page, for that I love your daughter
In such a righteous fashion as I do,
Perforce, against all checks, rebukes and manners,
I must advance the colours of my love
And not retire: let me have your good will.
Good mother, do not marry me to yond fool.
I mean it not; I seek you a better husband.
That's my master, master doctor. (90)
Alas, I had rather be set quick i' the earth
And bowl'd to death with turnips!
Come, trouble not yourself. Good Master Fenton,
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.
Farewell, gentle mistress; farewell, Nan.
[Exeunt Mrs. Page and Anne.
This is my doing, now: 'Nay,' said
I, 'will you cast away your child on a fool,
and a physician? Look on Master Fenton:' (102)
this is my doing
I thank thee; and I pray thee, once to-night
Give my sweet Nan this ring: there's for thy pains.
Now heaven send thee good fortune!
[Exit Fenton.] A kind heart he hath;
a woman would run through 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 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!
SCENE VA room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH.
Bardolph, I say,--
Go fetch me a quart of sack'; put a
toast in't. [Exit Bard.] Have I lived to be
carried in a basket, like a barrow of butcher's
offal, and to be thrown in the Thames? Well,
if I be served such another trick, I'll have my
brains ta'en out and buttered, and give them
to a dog for a new-year's gift. The rogues
slighted me into the river with as little remorse
as they would have drowned a blind
bitch's puppies, fifteen i' the litter: and you
may know by my size that I have a kind of
alacrity in sinking; if the bottom were as
deep as hell, I should down. I had been
drowned, but that the shore was shelvy and
shallow,--a death that I abhor; for the water
swells a man; and what a thing should I
have been when I had been swelled! I
should have been a mountain of mummy. Re-enter BARDOLPH with sack.
Here's Mistress Quickly, sir, to (21)
speak with you.
Come, let me pour in some sack to
the Thames water; for my belly's as cold
as if I had swallowed snowballs for pills to
cool the reins. Call her in.
Come in, woman!
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
By your leave; I cry you mercy:
give your worship good morrow.
Take away these chalices. Go brew (30)
me a pottle of sack finely.
With eggs, sir?
Simple of itself; I'll no pullet-sperm
in my brewage. [Exit Bardolph.] How now!
Marry, sir, I come to your worship
from Mistress Ford.
Mistress Ford! I have had ford
enough; I was thrown into the ford; I have
my belly full of ford.
Alas the day! good heart, that
was not her fault: she does so take on with (41)
her men; they mistook their erection.
So did I mine, to build upon a foolish
Well, she laments, sir, for it, that
it would yearn your heart to see it. Her
husband goes this morning a-birding; she desires
you once more to come to her between
eight and nine: I must carry her word
quickly: she'll make you amends, I warrant
Well, I will visit her: tell her so;
and bid her think what a man is: let her consider
his frailty, and then judge of my merit.
I will tell her.
Do so. Between nine and ten, sayest
Eight and nine, sir.
Well, be gone: I will not miss her.
Peace be with you, sir.
I marvel I hear not of Master Brook;
he sent me word to stay within: i like his (60)
money well. O, here he comes.
Bless you, sir!
Now, Master Brook, you come to
know what hath passed between me and
That, indeed, Sir John, is my business.
Master Brook, I will not lie to you;
I was at her house the hour she appointed me.
And sped you, sir?
Very ill-favouredly, Master Brook.
How so, sir? Did she change her (70)
No, Master Brook; but the peaking
Cornuto her husband, Master Brook, dwelling
in a continual 'larum of jealousy, comes
me in the instant of our encounter, after we
had embraced, kissed, protested, and, as it
were, spoke the prologue of our comedy; and
at his heels a rabble of his companions, thither
provoked and instigated by his distemper,
and, forsooth, to search his house for his wife's
What, while you were there?
While I was there.
And did he search for you, and
could not find you?
You shall hear. As good luck would
have it, comes in one Mistress Page; gives intelligence
of Ford's approach; and, in her invention
and Ford's wife's distraction, they conveyed
me into a buck-basket. (39)
By the Lord, a buck-basket! rammed
me in with foul shirts and smocks, socks, foul
stockings, greasy napkins; that, Master Brook,
there was the rankest compound of villanous
smell that ever offended nostril.
And how long lay you there?
Nay, you shall hear, Master Brook,
what I have suffered to bring this woman to
evil for your good. Being thus crammed in the
basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds,
were called forth by their mistress to carry me
in the name of foul clothes to Datchet-lane:
they took me on their shoulders; met the jealous
knave their master in the door, who asked
them once or twice what they had in their basket:
I quaked for fear, lest the lunatic knave
would have searched it; but fate, ordaining he
should be a cuckold, held his hand. Well: on
went he for a search, and away went I for foul
clothes. But mark the sequel, Master Brook:
I suffered the pangs of three several deaths;
first, an intolerable fright, to be detected with a
jealous rotten bell-wether; next, to be compassed,
like a good bilbo, in the circumference of
a peck, hilt to point, heel to head; and then,
to be stopped in, like a strong distillation, with
stinking clothes that fretted in their own grease.
think of that,--a man of my kidney,--think of
that,--that am as subject to heat as butter; a
man of continual dissolution and thaw: it was
a miracle to 'scape suffocation. And in the
height of this bath, when I was more than half
stewed in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be
thrown into the Thames, and cooled, glowing
hot, in that surge, like a horse-shoe; think of
that,--hissing hot,--think of that, Master
In good sadness, sir, I am sorry that
for my sake you have suffered all this. My suit
then is desperate; you'll undertake her no
Master Brook, I will be thrown into
Etna, as I have been into Thames, ere I will
leave her thus. Her husband is this morning
gone a-birding: I have received from her another
embassy of meeting; 'twixt eight and
nine is the hour, Master Brook.
'Tis past eight already, sir.
Is it? I will then address me to my appointment.
Come to me at your convenient
leisure, and you shall know how I speed; and
the conclusion shall be crowned with your enjoying
her. Adieu. You shall have her, Master
Brook; Master Brook, you shall cuckold Ford. [Exit.
Hum! ha! is this a vision? is this a
dream? do I sleep? Master Ford, awake!
awake, Master Ford! there's a hole made in
your best coat, Master Ford. This 'tis to be
married! this 'tis to have linen and buck-baskets!
Well, I will proclaim myself what I am:
I will now take the lecher; he is at my house;
he cannot 'scape me; 'tis impossible he should;
he cannot creep into a halfpenny purse, nor into
a pepper-box: but, lest the devil that guides
him should aid him, I will search impossible
places. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet
to be what I would not shall not make me tame:
if I have horns to make one mad, let the proverb
go with me: I'll be horn-mad.