A room in the Garter Inn.

Prithee, no more prattling; go, I'll
hold. This is the third time; I hope good
luck lies in odd numbers. Away! go. They
say there is divinity in odd numbers, either in
nativity, chance, or death. Away!

I'll provide you a chain; and I'll
do what I can to get you a pair of horns.

Away, I say; time wears: hold up
your head, and mince. [Exit Mrs Quickly.
Enter FORD.
How now, Master Brook! Master Brook, the
matter will be known to-night, or never. Be
you in the Park about midnight, at Herne's
oak, and you shall see wonders.

Went you not to her yesterday, sir,
as you told me you had appointed?

I went to her, Master Brook, as you
see, like a poor old man: but I came from
her, Master Brook, like a poor old woman.
That same knave Ford, her husband, hath the
finest mad devil of jealousy in him, Master
Brook, that ever governed frenzy. I will tell
you: he beat me grievously, in the shape of a
woman; for in the shape of man, Master
Brook, I fear not Goliath with a weaver's
beam; because I know also life is a shuttle.
I am in haste; go along with me; I'll tell you
all, Master Brook. Since I plucked geese,
played truant and whipped top, I knew not
what 'twas to be beaten till lately. Follow
me: I'll tell you strange things of this knave
Ford, on whom to-night I will be revenged,
and I will deliver his wife into your hand. Follow.
Strange things in hand, Master Brook! Follow.


Windsor Park.

Come, come; we'll couch i' the castle-ditch
till we see the light of our fairies,
Remember, son Slender, my daughter.

Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her
and we have a nay-word how to know one
another: I come to her in white, and cry
'mum;' she cries 'budget;' and by that we
know one another.

That's good too: but what needs
either your 'mum' or her 'budget?' the white
will decipher her well enough. It hath struck
ten o'clock.

The night is dark; light and spirits
will become it well. Heaven prosper our
sport! No man means evil but the devil, and
we shall know him by his horns. Let's away;
follow me.


A street leading to the Park.

Mrs. Page.
Master doctor, my daughter is
in green: when you see your time, take her by
the hand, away with her to the deanery, and
dispatch it quickly. Go before into the Park:
we two must go together.

I know vat I have to do. Adieu.

Mrs. Page.
Fare you well, sir. [Exit Caius.]
My husband will not rejoice so much
at the abuse of Falstaff as he will chafe at
the doctor's marrying my daughter: but 'tis no
matter; better a little chiding than a great deal (11)
of heart-break.

Mrs. Ford.
Where is Nan now and her
troop of fairies, and the Welsh devil Hugh?

Mrs. Page.
They are all couched in a pit
hard by Herne's oak, with obscured lights;
which, at the very instant of Falstaff's and our
meeting, they will at once display to the night.

Mrs. Ford.
That cannot choose but amaze

Mrs. Page.
If he be not amazed, he will be
mocked; if he be amazed, he will every way (21)
be mocked.

Mrs. Ford.
We'll betray him finely.

Mrs. Page.
Against such lewdsters and their lechery

Those that betray them do no treachery.

Mrs. Ford.
The hour draws on. To the
oak, to the oak!


Windsor Park.
Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, disguised, with others as Fairies.

Trib, trib, fairies; come; and remember
your parts: be pold, I pray you; follow
me into the pit; and when I give the
watch-'ords, do as I pid you: come, come;
trib, trib.


Another part of the Park.
Enter FALSTAFF disguised as Herne.

The Windsor bell hath struck twelve;
the minute draws on. Now, the hot-blooded
gods assist me! Remember, Jove, thou wast a
bull for thy Europa; love set on thy horns.
O powerful love! that, in some respects, makes
a beast a man, in some other, a man a beast.
You were also, Jupiter, a swan for the love of
Leda. O omnipotent Love! how near the
god drew to the complexion of a goose! A
fault done first in the form of a beast. O
Jove, a beastly fault! And then another fault
in the semblance of a fowl; think on't, Jove;
a foul fault! When gods have hot backs,
what shall poor men do? For me, I am here
a Windsor stag; and the fattest, I think, i'
the forest. Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or
who can blame me to piss my tallow? Who
comes here? my doe?

Mrs. Ford.
Sir John! art thou there, my
deer? my male deer?

My doe with the black scut! Let the
sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of
Green Sleeves, hail kissing-comfits and snow
eringoes; let there come a tempest of provocation,
I will shelter me here.

Mrs. Ford.
Mistress Page is come with
me, sweetheart.

Divide me like a bribe buck, each a
haunch: I will keep my sides to myself, my
shoulders for the fellow of this walk, and my
horns I bequeath your husbands. Am I a
woodman, ha? Speak I like Herne the hunter?
Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience;
he makes restitution. As I am a
true spirit, welcome! [Noise within.

Mrs. Page.
Alas, what noise?

Mrs. Ford.
Heaven forgive our sins!

What should this be?

Mrs. Page. Mrs. Ford
Away, away! [They run off.

I think the devil will not have me
damned, lest the oil that's in me should set
hell on fire; he would never else cross me (40)
Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, disguised as before; PISTOL, as Hobgoblin; MISTRESS QUICKLY, ANNE PAGE, and others, as Fairies, with tapers.

Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,

You moonshine revellers, and shades of night,

You orphan heirs of fixed destiny,

Attend your office and your quality.

Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes.

Elves, list your names; silence, you airy toys.

Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap:

Where fires thou find'st unraked and hearts unswept,

There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry: (50)

Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery.

They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die:

I'll wink and couch: no man their works must eye.
[Lies down upon his face.

Where's Bede? Go you, and where you find a maid

That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said,

Raise up the organs of her fantasy;

Sleep she as sound as careless infancy:

But those as sleep and think not on their sins,

Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides and shins. (59)

About, about;

Search Windsor Castle, elves, within and out:

Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room:

That it may stand till the perpetual doom,

In state as wholesome as in state 'tis fit,

Worthy the owner, and the owner it.

The several chairs of order look you scour

With juice of balm and every precious flower:

Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest,

With loyal blazon, evermore be blest!

And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing, (70)

Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring:

The expressure that it bears, green let it be,

More fertile-fresh than all the field to see;

And 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' write

In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white;

Like sapphire, pearl and rich embroidery,

Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee:

Fairies use flowers for their charactery.

Away; disperse: but till 'tis one o'clock,

Our dance of custom round about the oak (80)

Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget.

Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves in order set;

And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,

To guide our measure round about the tree.

But, stay; I smell a man of middle-earth.

Heavens defend me from that Welsh
fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of

Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even in thy birth.

With trial-fire touch me his fingerend:

If he be chaste, the flame will back descend (90)

And turn him to no pain; but if he start,

It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.

A trial, come.

Come, will this wood take fire?
[They burn him with their tapers.

Oh, Oh, Oh!

Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!

About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhyme;

And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.


Fie on sinful fantasy!

Fie on lust and luxury!

Lust is but a bloody fire, (100)

Kindled with unchaste desire.

Fed in heart, whose flames aspire

As thoughts do blow them, higher and higher.

Pinch him, fairies, mutually;

Pinch him for his villany;

Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,

Till candles and starlight and moonshine be out.

During this song they pinch FALSTAFF. DOCTOR CAIUS comes one way, and steals away a boy in green; SLENDER another way, and takes off a boy in white; and FENTON comes, and steals away MRS ANNE PAGE. A noise of hunting is heard within. All the Fairies run away. FALSTAFF pulls off his buck's head, and rises.


Nay, do not fly; I think we have watch'd you now:

Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn?

Mrs. Page.
I pray you, come, hold up the jest no higher. (110)

Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives?

See you these, husband? do not these fair yokes

Become the forest better than the town?

Now, sir, who's a cuckold now?
Master Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly
knave; here are his horns, Master Brook: and,
Master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of
Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and
twenty pounds of money, which must be paid
to Master Brook; his horses are arrested for (119)
it, Master Brook.

Mrs. Ford.
Sir John, we have had ill
luck; we could never meet. I will never take
you for my love again; but I will always
count you my deer.

I do begin to perceive that I am made
an ass.

Ay, and an ox too: both the proofs
are extant.

And these are not fairies? I was
three or four times in the thought they were
not fairies: and yet the guiltiness of my mind,
the sudden surprise of my powers, drove the
grossness of the foppery into a received belief,
in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and
reason, that they were fairies. See now how
wit may be made a Jack-a-Lent, when 'tis
upon ill employment!

Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and
leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse

Well, said, fairy Hugh.

And leave your jealousies too, I (140)
pray you.

I will never mistrust my wife again,
till thou art able to woo her in good English.

Have I laid my brain in the sun and
dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so
gross o'erreaching as this? Am I ridden with
a Welsh goat too? shall I have a coxcomb of
frize? 'Tis time I were choked with a piece
of toasted cheese.

Seese is not good to give putter; (149)
your belly is all putter.

'Seese' and 'putter'! have I lived to
stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of
English? This is enough to be the decay of
lust and late-walking through the realm.

Mrs. Page.
Why, Sir John, do you think,
though we would have thrust virtue out of our
hearts by the head and shoulders and have
given ourselves without scruple to hell, that
ever the devil could have made you our

What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax! (160)

Mrs. Page.
A puffed man?

Old, cold, withered and of intolera-
ble entrails?

And one that is as slanderous as

And as poor as Job?

And as wicked as his wife?

And given to fornications, and to
taverns and sack and wine and metheglins,
and to drinkings and swearings and starings, (169)
pribbles and prabbles?

Well, I am your theme: you have the
start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to
answer the Welsh flannel: ignorance itself is
a plummet o'er me: use me as you will.

Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor,
to one Master Brook, that you have cozened
of money, to whom you should have
been a pandar: over and above that you have
suffered, I think to repay that money will be
a biting affliction.

Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt
eat a posset to-night at my house; where I will
desire thee to laugh at my wife, that now
laughs at thee: tell her Master Slender hath
married her daughter.

Mrs. Page.
[Aside] Doctors doubt that:
if Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this,
Doctor Caius' wife.

Whoa, ho! ho, father Page!

Son, how now! how now, son! have (189)
you dispatched?

Dispatched! I'll make the best in
Gloucestershire know on't; would I were
hanged, la, else!

Of what, son?

I came yonder at Eton to marry Mistress
Anne Page, and she's a great lubberly
boy. If it had not been i' the church, I would
have swinged him, or he should have swinged
me. If I did not think it had been Anne
Page, would I might never stir--and 'tis a
postmaster's boy.

Upon my life, then, you took the (201)

What need you tell me that? I
think so, when I took a boy for a girl. If I
had been married to him, for all he was in
woman's apparel, I would not have had him.

Why, this is your own folly. Did
not I tell you how you should know my
daughter by her garments?

I went to her in white, and cried
'mum,' and she cried 'budget,' as Anne and I
had appointed; and yet it was not Anne, but
a postmaster's boy.

Mrs. Page.
Good George, be not angry: I
knew of your purpose; turned my daughter
into green; and, indeed, she is now with the
doctor at the deanery, and there married.
Enter CAIUS.

Vere is Mistress Page? By gar, I
am cozened: I ha' married un garcon, a boy;
un paysan, by gar, a boy; it is not Anne (220)
Page: by gar, I am cozened.

Mrs. Page.
Why, did you take her in

Ay, by gar, and 'tis a boy: by gar,

I'll raise all Windsor.

This is strange. Who hath got the
right Anne?

My heart misgives me: here comes
Master Fenton. Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE.
How now, Master Fenton!

Pardon, good father! good my mother, pardon!

Now, mistress, how chance you (231)
went not with Master Slender?

Mrs. Page.
Why went you not with master doctor, maid?

You do amaze: hear the truth of it.

You would have married her most shamefully,

Where there was no proportion held in love.

The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,

Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve us.

The offence is holy that she hath committed;

And this deceit loses the name of craft, (240)

Of disobedience, or unduteous title,

Since therein she doth evitate and shun

A thousand irreligious cursed hours,

Which forced marriage would have brought upon her.

Stand not amazed; here is no remedy:

In love the heavens themselves do guide the state;

Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.

I am glad, though you have ta'en a
special stand to strike at me, that your arrow
hath glanced. (250)

Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give thee joy!

'What cannot be eschew'd must be embraced.

When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are chased.

Mrs. Page.
Well, I will must no further, Master Fenton,

Heaven give you many, many merry days!

Good husband, let us every one go home,

And laugh this sport o'er by a country fire;
Sir John and all.

Let it be so, Sir John,

To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word;

For he to-night shall lie with Mistress Ford.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: