SCENE IA street.
Enter MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS QUICKLY, and WILLIAM.
Is he at Master Ford's already,
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.
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,
Enter SIR HUGH EVANS. (10)
How now. Sir Hugh! no school to-day?
No; Master Slender is let the boys
leave to play.
Blessing of his heart!
Sir Hugh, my husband says
my son profits nothing in the world at his
book. I pray you, ask him some questions in
Come hither, William; hold up
your head; come.
Come on, sirrah; hold up your (20)
head; answer your master, be not afraid.
William, how many numbers is in
Truly. I thought there had been one
number more, because they say, ''Od's nouns.'
Peace your tattlings! What is 'fair,'
Polecats! there are fairer things (30)
than polecats, sure.
You are a very simplicity 'oman; I
pray you, peace. What is 'lapis,' William?
And what is 'a stone,' William?
No, it is 'lapis:' I pray you, remember
in your prain.
That is a good William. What is (40)
he, William, that does lend articles?
Articles are borrowed of the pronoun,
and be thus declined, Singulariter, nominativo,
hic, haec, hoc.
Nominativo, hig, hag, hog; pray
you, mark: genitivo, hujus. Well what is
your accusative case?
I pray you, have your remembrance,
child; accusative, hung, hang, hog.
'Hang-hog' is Latin for bacon, I (51)
Leave your prabbles. 'oman. What
is the focative case, William?
Remember, William; focative is
And that's a good root.
What is your genitive case plural, (60)
Genitive,--horum, harum, horum.
Vengeance of Jenny's case! fie on
her! never name her, child, if she be a whore.
For shame, 'oman.
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 (70)
to call 'horum:' fie upon you!
'Oman, art thou lunatics? hast thou
no understandings for thy cases and the numbers
of the genders? Thou art as foolish
Christian creatures as I would desires.
Prithee, hold thy peace.
Show me now, William, some declensions
of your pronouns.
Forsooth, I have forgot.
It is qui, quae, quod: if you forget
your 'quies,' your 'quaes,' and your 'quods,'
you must be preeches. Go your ways, and
He is a better scholar than I
thought he was.
He is a good sprag memory. Fare-
well, Mistress Page.
Adieu, good Sir Hugh. [Exit Sir Hugh.]
Get you home, boy. Come, we stay
SCENE IIA room in FORD'S house.
Enter FALSTAFF and MISTRESS FORD.
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
office of love, but in all the accoutrement,
complement and ceremony of it. But are you
sure of your husband now?
He's a-birding, sweet Sir John.
What, ho, gossip (10)
Ford! what, ho!
Step into the chamber, Sir John.
Enter MISTRESS PAGE.
How now, sweetheart! who's at
home besides yourself?
Why, none but mine own people.
No, certainly. [Aside to her]
Truly, I am so glad you have
nobody here. (20)
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 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. (30)
Why, does he talk of him?
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 the knight is not here; now he shall
see his own foolery.
How near is he, Mistress Page?
Hard by; at street end; he will (41)
be here anon.
I am undone! The knight is here.
Why then you are utterly
shamed, and he's but a dead man. What a
woman are yo!--Away with him, away with
him! better shame than murder.
Which way should he go? how
should I bestow him? Shall I put him into
the basket again?
No, I'll come no more i' the basket. (51)
May I not go out ere he come?
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?
What shall I do? I'll creep up into
There they always use to discharge
their birding-pieces. Creep into the
Where is it?
He will seek there, on my word.
Neither press, 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.
I'll go out then.
If you go out in your own semblance,
you die, Sir John. Unless you go out (69)
How might we disguise him?
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.
Good hearts, devise something; any
extremity rather than a mischief.
My maid's aunt, the fat woman
of Brentford, has a gown above.
On my word, it will serve him;
she's as big as he is: and there's her thrummed
hat and her muffler too. Run up, Sir John.
Go, go, sweet Sir John: Mistress
Page and I will look some linen for your head.
Quick, quick! we'll come dress (81)
you straight: put on the gown the while.
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 threatened to
Heaven guide him to thy husband's
cudgel, and the devil guide his cudgel
But is my husband coming?
Ay, in good sadness, is he; and
talks of the basket too, howsoever he hath had
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.
Nay, but he'll be here presently:
let's go dress him like the witch of Brentford.
I'll first direct my men what
they shall do with the basket. Go up; I'll
bring linen for him straight.
Hang him, dishonest varlet! we
cannot misuse him enough.
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 eats all the draff.
Re-enter MISTRESS FORD with two Servants.
Go, sirs, take the basket again
on your shoulders: your master is hard at
door; if he bid you set it down, obey him:
Come, come, take it up.
Pray heaven it be not full of
I hope not; I had as lief bear
so much lead.
Enter FORD, PAGE, SHALLOW, CAIUS, and SIR HUGH EVANS.
Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page,
have you any way then to unfool me again?
Set down the basket, villain! Somebody call
my wife. Youth in a basket! O you pandarly
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! Behold what honest clothes you send
forth to bleaching!
Why, this passes, Master Ford; you
are not to go loose any longer; you must be
Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as (131)
a mad dog.
Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well,
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 without cause, mistress, do I?
Heaven be my witness you do, (140)
if you suspect me in any dishonesty.
Well said, brazen-face! hold it out.
Come forth, sirrah!
[Pulling clothes out of the basket.
Are you not ashamed? let the
I shall find you anon.
'Tis unreasonable! Will you take
up your wife's clothes? Come away.
Empty the basket, I say! (150)
Why, man, why?
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: my intelligence
is true; my jealousy is reasonable. Pluck me
out all the linen.
If you find a man there, he shall
die a flea's death.
Here's no man.
By my fidelity, this is not well, Master (161)
Ford; this wrongs you.
Master Ford, you must pray, and
not follow the imaginations of your own heart:
this is jealousies.
No, nor nowhere else but in your
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, that searched a hollow walnut for his
wife's leman.' Satisfy me once more; once
more search with me.
What, ho, Mistress Page! come
you and the old woman down; my husband
will come into the chamber.
Old woman! what old woman's that?
Why, it is my maid's aunt of (179)
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, 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!
Nay, good, sweet husband! Good
gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman.
Re-enter FALSTAFF in woman's clothes, and MISTRESS PAGE.
Come, Mother Prat; come, give
me your hand.
I'll prat her. [Beating him] Out of
my door, you witch, you hag, you baggage,
you polecat, you ronyon! out, out! I'll conjure
you, I'll fortune-tell you.
Are you not ashamed? I think
you have killed the poor woman.
Nay, he will do it. 'Tis a (200)
goodly credit for you
Hang her, witch!
By 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
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.
Let's obey his humour a little further: (211)
[Exeunt Ford, Page, Shal., Caius, and Evans.
Trust me, he beat him most
Nay, by the mass, that he did
not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought.
I'll have the cudgel hallowed
and hung o'er the altar; it hath done meritorious
What think you? may we, with
the warrant of womanhood and the witness of
a good conscience, pursue him with any
The spirit of wantonness is,
sure, scared out of 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
Shall we tell our husbands how (229)
we have served him?
Yes, by all means; if it be but
to scrape the 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
I'll warrant they'll have him
publicly shamed: and methinks there would be
no period to the jest, should he not be publicly
Come, to the forge with it then;
shape it: I would not have things cool.
SCENE IIIA room in the Garter Inn.
Enter HOST and 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
What duke should that be comes so
secretly? I hear not of him in the court. Let
me speak with the gentlemen: they speak
Ay, sir; I'll call them to you.
They shall have my horses; but I'll
make them pay; I'll sauce them: they have
had my house a week at command; I have
turned away my other guests: they must come
off; I'll sauce them. Come.
SCENE IVA room in FORD'S house.
Enter PAGE, FORD, MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS FORD, and SIR HUGH EVANS.
'Tis one of the best discretions of a
'oman as ever I did look upon.
And did he send you both these letters
at an instant?
Within a quarter of an hour.
Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou wilt;
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. (10)
'Tis well, 'tis well; no more:
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,
Where we may take him and disgrace him for it.
There is no better way than that
they spoke of.
How? to send him word they'll meet
him in the park at midnight? Fie, fie! he'll
You say he has been thrown in the
rivers and has 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.
So think I too.
Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,
And let us two devise to bring him thither.
There is an old tale goes that Herne the hunter,
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest, (30)
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
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
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Received and did deliver to our age
This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth.
Why, yet there want not many that do fear
In deep of night to walk by this Herne's oak:
But what of this?
Marry, this is our device;
That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us.
Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come:
And in this shape when you have brought him thither,
What shall be done with him? what is your plot?
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, (50)
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,
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
In shape profane. (60)
And till he tell the truth,
Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound
And burn him with their tapers.
The truth being known,
We'll all present ourselves, dis-horn the spirit,
And mock him home to Windsor.
The children must
Be practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.
I will teach the children their behaviours;
and I will be like a jack-an-apes
also, to burn the knight with my taber.
That will be excellent. I'll go buy (70)
My Nan shall be the queen of all the fairies,
Finely attired in a robe of white.
That silk will I go buy. [Aside]
And in that time
Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away
And marry her at Eton. Go send to Falstaff straight.
Nay, I'll to him again in name of Brook:
He'll tell me all his purpose: sure, he'll come.
Fear not you that. Go get us properties
And tricking for our fairies.
Let us about it: it is admirable (81)
pleasures and fery honest knaveries.
[Exeunt Page, Ford, and Evans.
Go, Mistress Ford,
Send quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.
[Exit Mrs. Ford.
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
Potent at court: he, none but he, shall have her, (90)
Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.
SCENE VA room in the Garter Inn.
Enter HOST and SIMPLE.
What wouldst thou have, boor? what,
thick-skin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief,
short, quick, snap.
Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir
John Falstaff from Master Slender.
There's his chamber, his house, his
castle, his standing-bed and truckle-bed; 'tis
painted about with the story of the Prodigal,
fresh and new. Go knock and call; he'll
speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee: (11)
knock, I say.
There's an old woman, a fat woman,
gone up into his chamber. I'll be so bold as
stay, sir, till she come down; I come to speak
with her, indeed.
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. (20)
[Above] How now, mine 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!
There was, mine host, an old fat woman
even now with me! but she's gone.
Pray you, sir, was't not the wise wom-
an of Brentford?
Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell: what (30)
would you with her?
My master, sir, Master Slender, sent
to her, seeing her go thorough the streets, to
know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled
him of a chain, had the chain or no.
I spake with the old woman about it.
And what says she, I pray, sir?
Marry, she says that the very same
man that beguiled Master Slender of his
chain cozened him of it.
I would I could have spoken with the
woman herself; I had other things to have (42)
spoken with her too from him.
What are they? let us know.
Ay, come; quick.
I may not conceal them, sir.
Conceal them, or thou diest.
Why, sir, they were nothing but about
Mistress Anne Page; to know if it were my
master's fortune to have her or no. (50)
'Tis, 'tis his fortune.
To have her, or no. Go; say the
woman told me so.
May I be bold to say so, sir?
Ay, sir; like who more bold.
I thank your worship: I shall make
my master glad with these tidings.
Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir
John. Was there a wise woman with thee?
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.
Out, alas, sir! cozenage, mere cozenage!
Where be my horses? speak well of
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, like three German (71)
devils, three Doctor Faustuses.
They are gone but to meet the duke,
villain: do not say they be fled; Germans are
Enter SIR HUGH EVANS.
Where is mine host?
What is the matter, sir?
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 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.
Enter DOCTOR CAIUS.
Vere is mine host de Jarteer?
Here, master doctor, in perplexity
and doubtful dilemma.
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 come. I tell you (91)
for good vill: adieu.
Hue and cry, villain, go! Assist me,
knight, I am undone! Fly, run, hue and cry,
villain! I am undone!
[Exeunt Host and Bard.
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 drop and liquor
fishermen's boots with me: I warrant they would
whip me with their fine wits till I were as
crestfallen 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.
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
Now, whence come you?
From the two parties, forsooth.
The devil take one party and his dam
the other! and so they shall be both bestowed.
I have suffered more for their sakes, more than
the villanous inconstancy of man's disposition
is able to bear.
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 white spot about her.
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, 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.
Sir, let me speak with you in your
chamber: you shall hear how things go; and, I
warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will
say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado here is to
bring you together! Sure, one of you does not (130)
serve heaven well, that you are so crossed.
Come up into my chamber.
SCENE VIAnother room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FENTON and HOST.
Master Fenton, talk not to me; my
mind is heavy: I will give over all.
Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose,
And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee
A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.
I will hear you, Master Fenton; and
I will at the least keep your counsel.
From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page; (10)
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;
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.
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
Away with Slender and with him at Eton
Immediately to marry: she hath consented:
Her mother, ever strong against that match
And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away, (30)
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:
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, (40)
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,
The maid hath given consent to go with him.
Which means she to deceive, father or mother?
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, (50)
And, in the lawful name of marrying,
To give our hearts united ceremony.
Well, husband your device; I'll to the vicar:
Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
So shall I evermore be bound to thee;
Besides, I'll make a present recompense.