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Fal. Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say,— Quick. Your worship says very true; worship, come a little nearer this ways. Fal. I warrant thee, nobody hears: people, mine own people.
Quick. Are they so? Heaven bless them, and make them his servants!
-I pray your - mine own
Fal. Well: Mistress Ford;-what of her? Quick. Why sir, she's a good creature. Lord, lord! your worship's a wanton: well, heaven forgive you, and all of us, I pray!
Fal. Mistress Ford ;-come, mistress Ford,Quick. Marry, this is the short and the long of it. You have brought her into such a canaries, as 't is 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 of a morning3; 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 warrant you, all is one with her.
Fal. But what says she to me? be brief, my good she Mercury.
Quick. 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.
Fal. Ten and eleven?
Quick. Ay, forsooth; and then you may come and see the picture, she says, what 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 heart.
Fal. Ten and eleven.-Woman, commend me to her; I will not fail her.
Quick. 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.
Fal. Not I, I assure thee: setting the attraction of my good parts aside, I have no other charms.
Quick. Blessing on your heart for 't!
Fal. But I pray thee, tell me this: has Ford's wife, and Page's wife, acquainted each other how they love me? Quick. 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.
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 nayword,' that you may know one another's mind, and the boy never need to understand any thing: for 't is 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 Mrs. QUICKLY and ROBIN. Pist. 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 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 expense of so much money, be now a gainer? Good body, I thank thee: let them say, 't is grossly done; so it be fairly done, no matter.
Bard. 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.9
Fal. Brook, is his name?
Bard. Ay, sir.
Fal. 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. Ford. Bless you, sir.
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.
1 Ale-house. 2 Mr. Dyce suggests bear-baiting. 3 given me this morning: in f. e. 4 Elizabeth's band of pensioners wore a splendid uniform, and so perhaps excited Dame Quickly's admiration. They were also men of fortune. 5 Vexatious. 6 By all means. 7 Watchword. 8 Coverts of some kind put up to protect the men in an engagement. 9 It was a common custom to bestow presents of wine in Shakespeare's day.
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. 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.
Fal. 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. Ford. O good sir! Fal. I say you shall.
Ford. Want no money, sir John; you shall want none.
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 Ford. There is a gentlewoman in this town, her the jealous rascally knave, her husband, will be forth. husband's name is Ford. 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. Very well, sir; proceed.
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 purchased at an infinite rate, and that hath taught me to say this:
Love like a shadow flies, when substance love pursues;
Ford. 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 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 suit' 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 to 't, sir John?
Fal. Have you importuned her to such a purpose?
Fal. Of what quality was your love then? Ford. Like a fair house, built upon another man's ground; so that I have lost my edifice, by mistaking the place where I erected it.
Fal. 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-favoured. I will use her as the key of the cuckoldly 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 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 a knave and cuckold.-Come to me soon at night. [Exit.
Ford. 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 villainous 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 vitæ bottle, or a thief to walk
Fal. To what purpose have you unfolded this to me? Ford. 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.
Fal. O, sir!
1 take all, or half: in f. e. 2 soul in f. e. 3 Knowing himself one.
my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself: then Shal. Bodykins, master Page, though I now be old, she plots, then she ruminates, then she devises; and and of the peace, if I see a sword out, my finger itches what they think in their hearts they may effect, they to make one. Though we are justices, and doctors, will break their hearts but they will effect. Heaven and churchmen, master Page, we have some salt of our be praised for my jealousy !—Eleven o'clock the hour: youth in us: we are the sons of women, master Page. I will prevent this, detect my wife, be revenged on Page. 'Tis true, master Shallow. 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!
Shal. 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 doctor.
SCENE III.-Windsor Park.
Caius. Jack Rugby!
Caius. Vat is de clock, Jack?
Rug. 'Tis past the hour, sir, that sir Hugh promised
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.
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. [Runs back afraid.1
Enter Host, SHALLOW, SLENDER, and PAGE.
Host. Bless thee, bully doctor.
Slen. Give you good-morrow, sir.
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 montant. Is he dead, my Ethiopian? is he dead, my Francisco? ha, bully! What says my Esculapius? my Galen? my heart of elder ?2 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 Castalian-king-Urinal: 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.
SCENE I-A Field near Frogmore.
Enter Sir HUGH EVANS, with a book, and SIMPLE. Eva. I pray you now, good master Slender's servingman, and friend Simple by your name, which way have you looked for master Caius, that calls himself Doctor of Physic?
Sim. Marry, sir, the pit-way, the park-way," old Windsor way, and every way, but the town way.
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?
Shal. We will do it.
Page. Shal. and Slen. Adieu, good master doctor. [Exeunt PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER. Caius. By gar, me vill kill de priest, for he speak for a jack-an-ape to Anne Page.
Host. 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 shall woo her. Curds and cream, said I well?
Eva. I most fehemently desire you, you will also look that way.
Sim. I will, sir.
[Retiring. Eva. Pless my soul, how full of cholers 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!
1 This direction is not in f. e. 2 The elder has a soft pith. 3 Knight reads, Castilian, King-Urinal. The Spaniards were, of course, in great disfavour with the English when this play was written. 4 cried game in f. e. 5 the petty-ward, the park-ward, every way: in f. e.