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Fal. Why, I will.
Quick. 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. Fal. Fare thee well: commend me to them both: there's my purse; I am yet thy debtor. Boy, go along with this woman. This news distracts me. [Exeunt QUICKLY and ROBIN. Pist. This 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 PISTOL. Fal. Say'st 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 expence of so much money, be now a gainer?
Fal. Brook, is his name? Bard. Ay, sir.
Fal. Call him in. [Erit BARDOLPH.] Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such
liquor. Ah! ha! mistress Ford and mistress Page, have I encompassed you? go to; via! 5
Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised.
Fal. And you, sir: Would you speak with me? Ford. I make bold, to press with so little preparation upon you.
Fal. You're welcome; What's your will? Give us leave, drawer. [Exit BARDOLPH. Ford. Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name is Brook.
Fal. Good master Brook, I desire more acquaintance of you.
Ford. 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 embolden'd me to this unseason'd intrusion: for they say, if money go before, all ways do lie open.
Fal. Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on. Ford. Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me: if you will help me to bear it, sir John, take all, or half, for easing me of the carriage. Fal. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter.
Ford. I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing.
Fal. Speak, good master Brook; I shall be glad to be your servant.
Ford. 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. 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.
Fal. Very well, sir; proceed.
Ford. There is a gentlewoman in this town, her husband's name is Ford.
Fal. Well, sir.
Ford. 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 purchas'd 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.
tion at her hands? Fal. Have you received no promise of satisfac
Fal. Have you importun'd her to such a purpose?
Fal. Of what quality was your love then?
man's ground; so that I have lost my edifice, by mistaking the place where I erected it.
Ford. Like a fair house, built upon another
Fal. To what purpose have you unfolded this to me? Ford. When I have told you that, I have told to me, yet, in other places, she enlargeth her mirth Some say, that, though she appear honest you all. 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 7, authentic in your place and person, generally allowed for your many warlike, courtlike, and learned preparations. Fal. O, sir!.
may as soon as any.
Fal. Would it apply well to the vehemency of your affection, that I should win what you would enjoy? Methinks you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.
Ford. O, understand my drift! she dwells so securely on the excellency of her honour, that the folly of my soul dares not present itself; she is too to her with any detection in my hand, my desires bright to be looked against. Now, could I come I could drive her then from the ward of her purity, had instance and argument to commend themselves; her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now are too strongly embattled against me: What say you to't, sir John?
Fal. Master Brook, I will first make bold with your money; next, give me your hand; and last, Ford's wife. as I am a gentleman, you shall, if you will, have
7 In the greatest companies. • Approved
Ford. O good sir!
Fal. Master Brook, I say you shall.
Fal. 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.
Ford. I am blest in your acquaintance. Do you know Ford, sir?
Fal. Hang him, poor knave! I know him not: yet I wrong him to call him poor; they say, the jealous knave hath masses of money; for the which his wife seems to me well-favoured. I will use her as the key of the rogue's coffer; and there's my harvest-home.
Ford. I would you knew Ford, sir; that you might avoid him, if you saw him.
Fal. 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 his horns: master Brook, thou shalt know, I will predominate o'er the peasant, and thou shalt have his wife. Come to me soon at night: - Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his stile 9; thou, master Brook, shalt know him for a knave and cuckold:. to me soon at night.
[Exit. Ford. What an 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 curse of having a false woman! my bed shall be abused, my coffers ransacked, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not only receive this villainous wrong, but stand under the adoption of abominable terms, and by him that does me this wrong. 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-vitæ 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. Heaven 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!
Rug. 'Tis past the hour, sir, that sir Hugh promised to meet.
Caius. By gar, he has save his soul, dat he is no come; he has pray his Pible vell, dat he is no come by gar, Jack Rugby, he is dead already, if he be come.
9 Add to his titles.
Rug. He is wise, sir; he knew, your worship would kill him, if he came.
Caius. 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.
Rug. Alas, sir, I cannot fence.
Enter HOST, SHALLOW, SLENDEr, and Page.
Caius. Vat be all you, one, two, tree, four, come for. Host. 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 montánt. Is he dead, my Ethiopian? is he dead, my Francisco? ha, bully! What says my Esculapius? my Galen? my heart of elder? ha! is he dead, bully Stale? is he dead?
Caius. By gar, he is de coward Jack priest of the vorld; he is not show his face.
Host. Thou art a Castilian king! a Hector of Greece, my boy!
Caius. I pray you, bear vitness that me have stay six or seven, two, tree hours for him, and he is no come.
Shal. 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 Page?
Page. Master Shallow, you have yourself been a great fighter, though now a man of peace.
Shal. 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; we are the sons of women, master Page.
Page. 'Tis true, master Shallow. Shal. It will be found so, master Page. doctor Caius, I am come to fetch you home. 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 doctor.
Host. Pardon, guest justice: A word, monsieur. Caius. Scurvy Jack-dog priest! by gar, me vill cut his ears.
Host. He will clapper-claw thee tightly, bully. Caius. Clapper-de-claw! vat is dat? Host. That is, he will make thee amends. Caius. By gar, me do look, he shall clapper-declaw me; for by gar, me vill have it.
Host. And I will provoke him to't, or let him wag. Caius. Me tank you for dat.
Host. And moreover, bully, But first, master guest, and master Page, and eke cavalero Slender, go you through the town to Frogmore.
[Aside to them.
Page. Sir Hugh is there, is he? Host. He is there: see what humour he is in; and I will bring the doctor about by the fields: will it do well?
Mercy on me! I have a great dispositions to cry.
Melodious birds sing madrigals;
When as I sat in Pabylon,
And a thousand vagram posies.
Sim. Yonder he is coming, this way, sir Hugh.
To shallow rivers, to whose falls
Eva. Pray you, give me my gown; or else keep
Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER.
Page. Save you, good sir Hugh!
Eva. 'Pless you from his mercy sake, all of you! Shal. What! the sword and the word! do you study them both, master parson?
who belike, having received wrong by some person, is at most odds with his own gravity and patience, that ever you saw.
Shal. I have lived fourscore years and upwards; I never heard a man of his place, gravity, and learning, so wide of his own respect.
Ena. What is he?
Caius, the renowned French physician.
Era. I had as lief you would tell me of a mess of porridge.
and Galen, - and he is a knave besides; a cowardly Eva. He has no more knowledge in Hibocrates knave, as you would desires to be acquainted withal. Page. I warrant you he's the man should fight with
Slen. O, sweet Anne Page!
Shal. It appears so, by his weapons: - Keep them asunder; - here comes doctor Caius.
Enter Host, CAIUS, and RUGBY.
Page. Nay, good master parson, keep in your
Shal. So do you, good master doctor. Host. Disarm them, and let them question : let them keep their limbs whole, and hack our English. Caius. I pray you, let-a me speak a word vit your ear: Verefore vill you not meet a-me?
Eva. Pray you, use your patience: In good time. Caius. By gar, you are de coward, de Jack dog, John ape.
Eva. Pray you, let us not be laughing-stogs to other men's humours; I desire you in friendship, and I will one way or other make you amends: and I will knog your knave's cogscomb, for missing your meetings and appointments.
Caius. Diable! - Jack Rugby,-mine Host de Jarterre, have I not stay for him, to kill him? have I not, at de place I did appoint?
Eva. As I am a christians soul, now, look you, this is the place appointed; I'll be judgment by mine host of the Garter.
Host. Peace, I say, Guallia, and Gaul, French and Welsh; soul-curer and body-curer.
Caius. Ay, dat is very good! excellent!
Page. And youthful still, in your doublet and hose, this raw rheumatic day?
Eva. There is reasons and causes for it.
Eva. Fery well: What is it?
me thy hand, celestial; so. Boys of art, 1 have deceived you both; I have directed you to wrong Page. Yonder is a most reverend gentleman, places: your hearts are mighty, your skins are whole, and let burnt sack be the issue. Come
lay their swords to pawn: peace; follow, follow, follow. Shal. Trust me, a mad host: men, follow.
Slen. O, sweet Anne Page!
Follow me, lad of
[Exeunt SHAL. SLEN. PAGE, and Host. Caius. Ha! do I perceive dat? have you make-a de sot of us? ha, ha!
Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, SLENDER, Host, Sir HUGH
Shal. Page, &c. Well met, master Ford.
Eva. This is well; he has made us his vlouting-dine with mistress Anne, and I would not break
Ford. Well met, mistress Page: Whither go you? Mrs. Page. Truly, sir, to see your wife: Is she at home?
Ford. Ay; and as idle as she may hang together, for want of company: I think if your husbands were dead, you two would marry.
Mrs. Page. Be sure of that, -two other husbands. Ford. Where had you this pretty weather-cock? Mrs. Page. I cannot tell what his name is my husband had him of: What do you call your knight's name, sirrah?
Ford. 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 miles, 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 Actæon; and to these violent proceedings all my neighbours shall cry aim.+ [Clock strikes.] 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 there I will go. :
4 Shall encourage.
with her for more money than I'll speak of.
Shal. We have lingered about a match between Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our answer.
Slen. I hope I have your good-will, father Page. Page. You have, master Slender; I stand wholly for you: — but my wife, master doctor, is for you altogether,
Caius. Ay, by gar; and de maid is love-a me; my nursh-a Quickly tell me so mush.
Host. What say you to young master Fenton? writes verses, he speaks holyday 5; he smells April he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he and May he will carry't, he will carry't.
Page. Not by my consent, I promise you. The the wild Prince and Poins; he is of too high a gentleman is of no having: he kept company with knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my region, he knows too much. No, he shall not substance: if he take her, let him take her simply; the wealth I have, waits on my consent, and my consent goes not that way.
Ford. 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.
:- we shall have the
Shal. Well, fare you well: freer wooing at master Page's.
[Exeunt SHALLOW and SLENDer. Caius. Go home, John Rugby; I come anon. [Exit RUGBY. Host. Farewell, my hearts: I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink canary with him.
Ford. [Aside.] I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with him; I'll make him dance. Will you go, gentles?
Enter Servants with a basket.
Mrs. Page. Give your men the charge; we must
Mrs. Ford. Marry, as I told you before, John and Robert, be ready here hard by in the brewhouse; 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 5 Out of the common style.
Datchet-mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch, close by the Thames' side.
Mrs. Page. You will do it?
Mrs. Ford. I have told them over and over; they lack no direction: Begone, and come when you are called. [Ereunt Servants.
Mrs. Page. Here comes little Robin.
Mrs. Ford. How now, my eyas-musket? what news with you?
Rob. My master sir John is come in at your backdoor, mistress Ford; and requests your company. Mrs. Page. You little Jack-a-lent 7, have you been true to us?
Rob. 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.
Mrs. Page. 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.
Mrs. Ford. Do so: - Go tell thy master, I am alone. Mistress Page, remember you your cue. [Exit ROBIN. Mrs. Page. I warrant thee; if I do not act it, hiss me. [Erit Mrs. PAGE. Mrs. Ford. Go to then; we'll use this gross watery pumpion; we'll teach him to know turtles from jays.
Mrs. Ford. O sweet sir John!
Fal. 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.
Mrs. Ford. I your lady, sir John! alas, I should be a pitiful lady.
Fal. Let the court of France show me such an
other: I see how thine eye would emulate the diamond: Thou hast the right arched bent of the brow, that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any
tire of Venetian admittance.
Mrs. Ford. A plain kerchief, sir John: my brows become nothing else; nor that well neither.
Fal. Thou art a traitor to say so: thou would'st 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 is thy friend: Come, thou canst not hide it.
Mrs. Ford. Believe me, there's no such thing in
Fal. What made me love thee? let that persuade thee, there's something extraordinary in thee. Come, I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping haw-thorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklers-bury in simple-time; I cannot: but I love thee; none but thee; and thou deservest it. Mrs. Ford. Do not betray me, sir; I fear, you love mistress Page.
6 A young small hawk,
7 A puppet thrown at in Lent, like shrove-cocks.
8 Formerly chiefly inhabited by druggists.
Fal. Thou might'st as well say, I love to walk by the Counter-gate; which is as hateful to me as the reek of a lime-kiln.
Mrs. Ford. Well heaven knows, how I love you; and you shall one day find it.
Fal. Keep in that mind; I'll deserve it. Mrs Ford. Nay, I must tell you, so you do; or else I could not be in that mind.
Rob. [within.] Mistress Ford, mistress Ford! here's mistress Page at the door, sweating, and Oblowing, and looking wildly, and would needs speak with you presently.
Fal. She shall not see me; I will ensconce 9 me behind the arras.
Mrs. Ford. Pray you, do so; she's a very tattling woman. [FALSTAFF hides himself.
Enter Mrs. PAGE and ROBIN. What's the matter? how now?
Mrs. Page. O mistress Ford, what have you done? You're shamed, you are overthrown, you
are undone for ever.
Mrs. Ford. What's the matter, good mistress Page?
Mrs. Page. O well-a-day, mistress Ford! having an honest man to your husband, to give him such cause of suspicion!
Mrs. Ford. What cause of suspicion? Mrs. Page. What cause of suspicion! - Out upon you! how am I mistook in you?
Mrs. Ford. Why, alas! what's the matter? Mrs. Page. 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.
Mrs. Ford. Speak louder, [Aside.] - 'Tis not so, I hope.
have such a man here; but 'tis most certain your Mrs. Page. Pray heaven it be not so, that you 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 Be not amazed; call all your senses to you: defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever.
tleman, my dear friend; and I fear not mine own Mrs. Ford. What shall I do? - There is a genshame, so much as his peril: I had rather than a thousand pound, he were out of the house.
Mrs. Page. 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 to Datchet-mead.
Mrs. Ford. He's too big to go in there: What shall I do?