Page images
PDF
EPUB

Slen. I had rather than forty shillings, I had my book of Songs and Sonnets here:

Enter SIMPLE.

How now, Simple! Were have you been? I must wait on myself, must I? You have not The Book of Riddles about you, have you?

Sim. Book of Riddles! why, did not you lend it to Alice Shortcake upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas?

Shal. Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with you, coz: marry, this, coz; There is, as 'twere, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by sir Hugh here - Do you understand me?

Slen. Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so, I shall do that that is reason.

Shal. Nay, but understand me. Sien. So I do, sir.

Eva. Give ear to his motions, master Slender: I will description the matter to you, if you be capacity of it.

Slen. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says: I pray you, pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his country, simple though I stand here.

Eva. But this is not the question; the question is concerning your marriage.

Shal. Ay, there's the point, sir.

Eva. Marry, is it; the very point of it; to mistress Anne Page.

Sten. Why, if it be so, I will marry her, upon any reasonable demands.

Eva. But can you affection the 'oman? Let us command to know that of your mouth, or of your lips; for divers philosophers hold, that the lips is parcel of the mouth;- Therefore, precisely, can you carry your good will to the maid?

Shal. Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her?

Slen. I hope, sir,—I will do, as it shall become one that would do reason.

Eva. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies, you must speak possitable, if you can carry her your desires towards her.

Shal. That you must: Will you, upon good dowry, marry her?

Slen. I will do a greater thing than that, upon your request, cousin, in any reason.

Shal. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz ; what I do, is to pleasure you, coz: Can you love the maid?

Slen. I will marry her, sir, at your request; but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are married, and have more occasion to know one another: I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt: but if you say, marry her, I will marry her, that I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely.

Era. It is a fery discretion answer; save, the faul' is in the 'ort dissolutely: the 'ort is, according to our meaning, resolutely;-his meaning is good. Shal. Ay, I think my cousin meant well. Slen. Ay, or else I would I might be hanged, la. Re-enter ANNE PAGE.

Shal. Here comes fair mistress Anne:- Would I were young, for your sake, mistress Anne!

Anne. The dinner is on the table; my father desires your worships' company.

Shal. I will wait on him, fair mistress Anne.

[blocks in formation]

of.

Slen. I love the sport well; but I shall as soon quarrel at it, as any man in England: - You are afraid, if you see the bear loose, are you not? Anne. Ay, indeed, sir.

Slen. That's meat and drink to me now: I have seen Sackerson loose twenty times; and have taken him by the chain: but, I warrant you, the women have so cried and shriek'd at it, that it pass'd:-but women, indeed, cannot abide 'em; they are very ill favoured rough things.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Pist. Young ravens must have food.

Fal. Which of you know Ford of this town? Pist. I ken the wight; he is of substance good. Fal. My honest lads, I will tell you what I am about.

Pist. Two yards, and more.

Fal. No quips now, Pistol; Indeed I am in the waist two yards about: but I am now about no waste; I am about thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make love to Ford's wife; I spy entertainment in her; she discourses, she carves, she gives the leer of invitation: I can construe the action of her familiar style; and the hardest, voice of her behaviour, to be English'd rightly, is, I am sir John Falstaff's.

Pist. He hath studied her well, and translated her well; out of honesty into English.

Nym. The anchor is deep: Will that humour pass?

Fal. Now, the report goes, she has all the rule of her husband's purse; she hath legions of angels. Pist. As many devils entertain; and, To her, boy,

Say I.

Nym. The humour rises; it is good: humour me the angels.

Fal. I have writ me here a letter to her and here another to Page's wife; who even now gave me good eyes too, examin'd my parts with most judicious eyliads: sometimes the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes my portly belly.

Pist. Then did the sun on dunghill shine.

Nym. I thank thee for that humour.

Fal. O, she did so course o'er my exteriors with such a greedy intention, that the appetite of her eye did seem to scorch me up like a burning glass! Here's another letter to her: she bears the purse too; she is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty. I will be cheater to them both, and they shall be exchequers to me; they shall be my East and West Indies, and I will trade to them both. Go, bear thou this letter to mistress Page; and thou this to mistress Ford: we will thrive, lads, we will thrive.

Pist. Shall I sir Pandarus of Troy become,
And by my side wear steel? then, Lucifer take all'

Nym. I will run no base humour: here, take the humour letter; I will keep the 'haviour of reputation. Fal. Hold, sirrah, [to ROB.] bear you these letters tightly;

[blocks in formation]

Nym. With both the humours, I:

I will discuss the humour of this love to Page.
Pist. And I to Ford shall eke unfold,

How Falstaff, varlet vile,

His dove will prove, his gold will held,
And his soft couch defile.

Nym. My humour shall not cool: I will incense Page to deal with poison; I will possess him with yellowness, for the revolt of mien is dangerous: that is my true humour.

Pist. Thou art the Mars of malcontents: I second thee; troop on. [Exeunt. SCENE IV. — A Room in Dr. Caius's House. Enter Mrs. QUICKLY, SIMPLE, and RUGBY. Quick. What: John Rugby! I pray thee, go to the casement, and see if you can see my master, master Doctor Caius, coming: if he do, i'faith, and find any body in the house, here will be an old abusing of God's patience, and the king's English. [Exit RUGBY. Quick. Go; and we'll have a posset for't soon at night, in faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal fire. An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant shall come in house withal; and, I warrant you, no tell-tale, nor no breed-bate: his worst fault is, that he is given to prayer; he is something peevish that way; but nobody but has his fault; but let that pass. Peter Simple, you say your name is? Sim. Ay, for fault of a better.

Rug. I'll go watch.

Quick. And master Slender's your master?
Sim. Ay, forsooth.

Quick. Does he not wear a great round bearo, like a glover's paring knife?

Sim. No, forsooth: he hath but a little wee face, with a little yellow beard; a Cain-coloured beard.

Quick. A softly-sprighted man, is he not? Sim. Ay, forsooth: but he is as tall a man of his hands, as any is between this and his head; he hath fought with a warrener.

Quick. How say you?-O, I should remember him; Does he not hold up his head, as it were? and strut in his gait?

Sim. Yes, indeed, does he.

Quick. Well, heaven send Anne Page no worse fortune! Tell master parson Evans, I will do what I can for your master: Anne is a good girl, and I wish

Re-enter RUGBY.

Rug. Out, alas! here comes my master. Quick. We shall all be shent: Run in here, good young man; go into this closet. [Shuts SIMFLE in the closet.] He will not stay long. What, John Rugby! John, what John, I say! Go, John, go enquire for my master; I doubt, he be not well, that he comes not home: - and down, down, adown-a, &c.

[Sings.

Enter Doctor CAIUS.

Caius. Vat is you sing? I do not like dese toys; Pray you, go and vetch me in my closet un boitier verd; a box, a green-a box; Do intend vat I speak? a green-a box.

[ocr errors]

Quick. Ay, forsooth, I'll fetch it you. I am glad he went not in himself: if he had found the young man, he would have been horn-mad. [Aside.

Caius. Fe, fe, fe, fe! ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je m'en vais à la Cour, -la grande affaire. Quick. Is it this, sir?

Caius. Ouy; mette le au mon pocket; Depeche, quickly: Vere is dat knave Rugby? Quick. What, John Rugby! John! Rug. Here, sir.

Caius. You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby: Come, take-a your rapier, and come after my heel to de court.

Rug. 'Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.

Caius. By my trot, I tarry too long: - Od's me! Qu'ay j'oublié ? dere is some simples in my closet, dat I vill not for the varld I shall leave behind.

[blocks in formation]

:

Quick. I am glad he is so quiet if he had been thoroughly moved, you should have heard him so loud, and so melancholy ; — But notwithstanding,

man, I'll do your master what good I can: and the very yea and the no is, the French doctor, my master,- - I may call him my master, look you, for I keep his house; and I wash, wring, brew, bake, scour, dress meat and drink, make the beds, and do all myself:

tale.

Sim. To desire this honest gentlewoman, your maid, to speak a good word to Mrs. Anne Page for my master, in the way of marriage.

Quick. This is all, indeed, la; but I'll ne'er put my finger in the fire, and need not.

――

Caius. Sir Hugh send-a you? - Rugby, baillez me some paper: Tarry you a little-a while. [Writes.

Sim. 'Tis a great charge, to come under one body's hand.

Quick. Are you avis'd o'that? you shall find it a great charge: and to be up early and down late; but notwithstanding, (to tell you in your ear; I would have no words of it ;) my master himself is in love with mistress Anne Page: but notwithstanding that, I know Anne's mind, - that's neither here nor there.

Caius. You jack'nape; give-a dis letter to sir Hugh; by gar, it is a shallenge: I will cut his troat in de park; and I vill teach a scurvy jack-a-nape priest to meddle or make: - you may be gone; it is not good you tarry here: I vill cut all his by gar, two stones; by gar, he shall not have a stone to trow at his dog. [Exit SIMPLE. Quick. Alas, he speaks but for his friend. Caius. It is no matter-a for dat: :- do not you tell-a me dat I shall have Anne Page for myself? by gar, I will kill de Jack Priest; and I have appointed mine host of de Jarterre to measure our weapon: - by gar, I vill myself have Anne Page. Quick. Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall be well we must give folks leave to prate: What, the good-jer!

Caius. Rugby, come to de court vit me: - By gar, if I have not Anne Page, I shall turn your head out of my door :- Follow my heels, Rugby.

own.

[Exeunt CAIUS and RUGBY. Quick. You shall have An fools-head of your No, I know Anne's mind for that: never a woman in Windsor knows more of Anne's mind, than I do nor can do more than I do with her, I thank heaven.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Fent. Yes, marry, have I; what of that?

Quick. Well, thereby hangs a tale; - good faith, it is such another Nan; but, I detest, an honest maid as ever broke bread : We had an hour's talk of that wart: I shall never laugh but in that maid's company! But, indeed, she is given too much to allicholly, and musing: But for youWell, go to.

[blocks in formation]

ACT II.

Ask me no reason why I love you; for though love use reason for his precisian, he admits him not for his counsellor: You are not young, no more am I; go to then, there's sympathy: you are merry, so am I ; Ha! ha! then there's more sympathy: you love sack, and so do I; Would you desire better sympathy? Let it suffice thee, mistress Page, (at the least, if the love of a soldier can suffice,) that I love thee. I will not say, pity me, 'tis not a soldier-like phrase; but I say, love me. By me,

Thine own true knight,
By day or night,
Or

any kind of light,
With all his might,
For thee to fight,

John Falstaff.

What a Herod of Jewry is this?—O wicked, wicked world! -one that is well nigh worn to pieces with age, to show himself a young gallant! What an unweighed behaviour hath this Flemish drunkard picked (with the devil's name) out of my conversation, that he dares in this manner assay me? Why, he hath not been thrice in my company! What should I say to him? — I was then frugal of my mirth: - heaven forgive me! Why I'll exhibit a bill in the parliament for the putting down of men. How shall I be revenged on him? for revenged I will be, as sure as his guts are made of puddings.

[blocks in formation]

Fent. Well, farewell; I am in great haste now. [Exit. Quick. Farewell to your worship. - Truly, an honest gentleman; but Anne loves him not; for I Out know Anne's mind as well as another does: upon't! what have I forgot? [Exit.

Mrs. Page. What's the matter, woman?

Mrs. Ford. O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I could come to such honour!

Mrs. Page. Hang the trifle, woman; take the honour: What is it?- dispense with trifles; what is it?

Mrs. Ford. If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment, or so, I could be knighted.

Mrs. Page. What? thou liest!-Sir Alice Ford! These knights will hack; and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.

-

:

Mrs. Ford. We burn day-light: :- here, read, read; perceive how I might be knighted. — I shall think the worse of fat men, as long as I have an eye to make difference of men's liking: And yet he would not swear; praised women's modesty And gave such orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words: but they do no more adhere and keep place together than the hundredth psalm to the tune of Green sleeves. What tempest, I trow, threw this whale with so many tuns of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor? How shall I be revenged on him? I think the best way were to entertain him with hope, till the wicked fire of lust have melted him in his own grease. - Did you ever hear the like?

Mrs. Page. Letter for letter; but that the name of Page and Ford differs! To thy great comfort in this mystery of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy letter: but let thine inherit first; for, I protest, mine never shall. I warrant he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for different names, (sure more,) and these are of the second edition: He will print them out of doubt; for he cares not what he puts into the press when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles, ere one chaste man.

Mrs. Ford. Why this is the very same; the very hand, the very words: What doth he think of us?

Mrs. Page. Nay, I know not: It makes me almost ready to wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal; for, sure, unless he know some strain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.

Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call you it? I'll be sure to keep him above deck.

Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never to sea again. Let's be reveng'd on him: let's appoint him a meeting; give him a show of comfort in his suit; and lead him on with a fine baited delay, till he hath pawn'd his horses to mine Host of the Garter.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him, that may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O, that my husband saw this letter! it would give eternal food to his jealousy.

Mrs. Page. Why, look, where he comes; and my good man too; he's as far from jealousy, as I am from giving him cause; and that, I hope, is an unmeasurable distance.

Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman. Mrs. Page. Let's consult together against this greasy knight: Come hither. [They retire. Enter FORD, PISTOL, PAGE, and NYм. Ford. Well, I hope, it be not so

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Pist. Hope is a curtail dog in some affairs: Sir John affects thy wife.

Ford. Do you think there is truth in them? Page. Hang 'em, slaves; I do not think the knight would offer it: but these that accuse him in

Ford. Why, sir, my wife is not young.

Pist. He wooes both high and low, both rich and his intent towards our wives, are a yoke of his discarded men: very rogues, now they be out of service. Ford. Were they his men?

1

poor,

Both young and old, one with another, Ford; He loves thy gally-mawfry; Ford, perpend. Ford. Love my wife?

Pist. With liver burning hot: Prevent, or go thou, Like sir Actæon he, with Ring-wood at thy heels:O, odious is the name!

Ford. What name, sir?

Pist. The horn, I say: Farewell. Take heed; have open eye; for thieves do foot by night:

Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo birds do
sing. -
Away, sir corporal Nym.·
Believe it, Page; he speaks sense. [Exit PISTOL.
Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this.

Nym. And this is true; [to PAGE.] I like not the humour of lying. He hath wronged me in some humours: I should have borne the humoured letter to her; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves your wife; there's the short and the long. My name is corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch. 'Tis true: -my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife. — Adieu! I love not the humour of bread and cheese; and there's the humour of it. Adieu. [Exit NYM. Page. The humour of it, quoth 'a! here's a fellow frights humour out of his wits.

Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.

Puge. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.

Ford. If I do find it, well.

Page. I will not believe such a Cataian, though the priest o' the town commended him for a true

man.

[ocr errors]

Ford. 'Twas a good sensible fellow: Well.
Page. How now, Meg?

Mrs. Page. Whither go you, George? Hark

you.

Mrs. Ford. How now, sweet Frank? why art thou melancholy?

Ford. I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home, go..

Mrs. Ford. 'Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now. - - Will you go, mistress Page?

―――

Mrs. Page. Have with you.. You'll come to dinner, George? Look, who comes yonder: she shall be our messenger to this paltry knight.

[Aside to Mrs. FORD. Enter Mrs. QUICKLY.

:

Mrs. Ford. Trust me, I thought on her she'll fit it.

Mrs. Page. You are come to see my daughter Anne?

Quick. Ay, forsooth; And, I pray, how does good mistress Anne?

Mrs. Page. Go in with us, and see; we have an hour's talk with you.

[Exeunt Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. FORD, and Mrs. QUICKLY. Page. How now, master Ford? Ford. You heard what this knave told me; did you not?

Page. Yes; And you heard what the other told

me?

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

you.

Host. What say'st thou, bully-rook?

Shal. Sir, there is a fray to be fought, between sir Hugh the Welch priest, and Caius the French doctor.

Ford. Good mine host o' the Garter, a word with

[They go aside. Shal. Will you [to PAGE.] go with us to behold it? My merry host hath had the measuring of their weapons; and, I think, he hath appointed them contrary places: for, believe me, I hear, the parson is no jester. Hark, I will tell you what our sport

shall be.

Host. Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guest-cavalier?

Ford. None, I protest: but I'll give you a pottle of burnt sack to give me recourse to him, and tell him, my name is Brook; only for a jest.

Host. My hand, bully: thou shalt have egress and regress; said I well? and thy name shall be Brook: It is a merry knight. - Will you go on, hearts?

Shal. Have with you, mine host.

Page. I have heard, the Frenchman hath good skill in his rapier.

Shal. Tut, sir, I could have told you more: In these times you stand on distance, your passes, stoccadoes, and I know not what: 'tis the heart, master Page; 'tis here, 'tis here. I have seen the time, with my long sword, I would have made you four tall fellows skip like rats.

Host. Here, boys, here, here! shall we wag? Page. Have with you::- - I had rather hear them scold than fight.

[Exeunt Host, SHALLOW, and PAGE. Ford. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on his wife's frailty, yet I cannot put off my opinion so easily: She was in his company at Page's house; and, what they made there, I know not. Well, I will look further into't: and I have a disguise to sound Falstaff: If I find her honest, I

« PreviousContinue »