Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Mrs. Ford. 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.

Fal. I'll go out then.

Mrs. Page. If you go out in your own semblance, you die, sir John. Unless you go out disguised,

Mrs. Ford. How might we disguise him? Mrs. Page. 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.

Fal. Good hearts, devise something: any extremity, rather than a mischief.

Mrs. Ford. My maid's aunt, the fat woman of Brentford, has a gown above.

Mrs. Page. On my word, it will serve him; she's as big as he is: and there's her thrum'd hat, and her muffler too: Run up, sir John. Mrs. Ford. Go, go, sweet sir John: mistress Page and I, will look some linen for your head. Mrs. Page. Quick, quick; we'll come dress you straight put on the gown the while.

[Erit FALSTAFF. Mrs. Ford. 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 beat her.

Mrs. Page. Heaven guide him to thy husband's cudgel; and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards! Mrs. Ford. But is my husband coming? Mrs. Page. Ay, in good sadness, is he; and he talks of the basket too, howsoever he hath had intelligence.

Mrs. Ford. 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.

shall do with the basket. Go up, I'll bring linen
for him straight.
[Erit.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet! we can-
not 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 eat all the draff. [Exit.

Mrs. Page. Nay, but he'll be here presently: let's go dress him like the witch of Brentford.

Mrs. Ford. I'll first direct my men, what they

[blocks in formation]

:

Ford. 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: You, youth in a basket, come out here! — O, you panderly 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.

Page. Why, this passes! Master Ford, you are not to go loose any longer; you must be pinioned. Eva. Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as a mad dog!

Shal. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well; indeed.

Enter Mrs. FORD.

Ford. So say I too, sir. O 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?

Mrs. Ford. Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty.

Ford. Well said, brazen-face; hold it out. Come forth, sirrah.

[blocks in formation]

Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.

Page. No, nor no where else, but in your brain. Ford. Help to search my house this one time: if I Sed 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.

Mrs. Ford. What hoa, mistress Page! come you, and the old woman, down; my husband will come into the chamber.

Ford. Old woman! What old woman's that? Mrs. Ford. Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brentford.

Ford. 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. Mrs. Ford. Nay, good, sweet husband; -good gentlemen, let him not strike the old woman.

[blocks in formation]

Mrs. Ford. What think you? May we, with the warrant of womanhood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any further revenge?

Mrs. Page. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scared out of him; if the devil have him not in feesimple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.

Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we nave served him?

Mrs. Page. 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 ministers.

Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant, they'll have him publickly shamed: and, methinks, there would be no period to the jest, should he not be publickly shamed.

Mrs. Page. Come, to the forge with it then, shape it: I would not have things cool. [Exeunt.

1

SCENE III. - A Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter Host and BARDOLPH.

Bard. 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 him.

Host. What duke should that be, comes so secretly? I hear not of him in the court: Let me speak with the gentlemen; they speak English?

Bard. Ay, sir; I'll call them to you.

Host. They shall have my horses; but I'll make them pay, I'll sauce them: they have had my houses a week at command; I have turned away my other guests: they must come off; I'll sauce them: Come. [Excunt. SCENE IV. -A Room in Ford's House.

[blocks in formation]

Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest,
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 stakes 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.

Page. Why, yet there want not many, that do fear

In deep of night to walk by this Herne's oak: But what of this?

Mrs. Ford. Marry, this is our device; That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us, Disguised like Herne, with huge horns on his head. Page. 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? Mrs. Page. 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,
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 saw-pit 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.

Mrs. Ford. And till he tell the truth, Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound, And burn him with their tapers.

Mrs. Page. The truth being known, We'll all present ourselves; dis-horn the spirit, And mock him home to Windsor.

Ford. The children must Be practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do't. Eva. I will teach the children their behaviours; and I will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the knight with my taber.

Ford. That will be excellent. vizards.

I'll go buy them

the queen of all

Mrs. Page. My Nan shall be the fairies, Finely attired in a robe of white.

Page. That silk will I go buy; and in that time Shall master Slender steal my Nan away, [Aside. And marry her at Eton. Go, send to Falstaff straight.

[ocr errors]

Ford. Nay, I'll to him again, in name of Brook; He'll tell me all his purpose: Sure, he'll come. Mrs. Page. Fear not you that: Go, get us properties, And tricking for our fairies.

Eva. Let us about it: It is admirable pleasures, and fery honest knaveries.

[Exeunt PAGE, FORD, and EVANS. Mrs. Page. Go, mistress Ford, Send quickly to Sir John, to know his mind. [Erit 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, Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.

[Exit. - A Room in the Garter Inn.

---

SCENE V.
Enter Host and SIMPLE.

Host. What would'st thou have, boor? what, thick-skin? speak, breathe, discuss; brief short, quick, snap.

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

spurs, and away, like three German devils, three | together! Sure, one of you does not serve heaven Doctor Faustuses.

well, that you are so crossed.

Fal. Come up into my chamber.

[Exeunt.

SCENE VI. - Another Room in the Garter Inu.
Enter FENTON and Host.

Host. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy, I will give over all.

Fent. Yet hear me speak: Assist me in my pur

Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain: do not say, they be fled; Germans are honest

men.

Enter Sir HUGH EVANS.

Eva. Where is mine host?
Host. What is the matter, sir?

Eva. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town, tells me, there is three couzin germans, that has cozened all the hosts of Readings, 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-stogs; and 'tis not convenient you should be cozened: Fare you well.

[Exit.

Enter Dr. CAIUS.

Caius. Vere is mine Host de Jarterre? Host. Here, master doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma.

Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat: But it is tell-a me, dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Jarmany: by my trot, dere is no duke, dat de court is know to come: I tell you for good vill: adieu. [Exit. Host. Hue and cry, villain, go:-assist me, knight; I am undone: fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone !

[Exeunt Host and BARDOLPH. Fal. 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 cudgeled, 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 crest-fallen 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?

Quick. From the two parties, forsooth. Fal. The devil take one party, and dam the other, and so they shall be both bestowed! I have suffered more for their sakes, more, than the villainous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to

bear.

Quick. 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.

Fal. What tell'st 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, deliver'd me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.

Quick. 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

pose,

And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give thee

A hundred pound in gold, more than your loss.
Host. I will hear you, master Fenton; and I
will, at the least, keep your counsel.

Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
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; wherein fat Falstaff
Hath a great scene: the image of the jest
[Showing the letter.
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:
Now, sir,

Her mother, even strong against that match,
And firm for doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
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,

(For they must all be mask'd and vizarded,)
That, quaint in green, she shall be loose enrob'd,
With ribbands pendant, 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.

Host. Which means she to deceive? father or
mother?

Fent. 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,
And, in the lawful name of marrying,
To give our hearts united ceremony.

Host. Well, husband your device; I'll to the

vicar :

Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.

Fent. So shall I ever more be bound to thee; Besides, I'll make a present recompense. [Exeunt.

SCENE I.

[ocr errors]

A Room in the Garter Inn.

Enter FALSTAFF and Mrs. QUICKLY. Fal. Pr'ythee, no more prattling: -go. I'll hold This is the third time; I hope, good luck lics in odd numbers. Away, go; they say, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death. Away.

―――

Quick. I'll provide you a chain: and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns. Fal. Away, I say; time wears: hold up your head, and mince. [Exit Mrs. QUICKLY.

ACT V.

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.

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

Fal. 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 pluck'd geese, play'd truant, and whipp'd top, I knew not what it was 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. [Exeunt.

SCENE II.—Windsor Park.

Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLender.

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

Slen. 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.

Shal. 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.

Page. 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 horus. Let's away; follow me. [Exeunt.

SCENE III. The Street in Windsor. Enter Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. FORD, and Dr. CAIUS. 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 despatch it quickly: Go before into the park; we two must go together.

Cuius. I know vat I have to do; Adieu.

[blocks in formation]

SCENE V. Another part of the Park. Enter FALSTAFF disguised, with a buck's head on.

Fal. 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?

Enter Mrs. FORD and Mrs. PAGE.

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

Fal. 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. [Embracing her. Mrs. Ford. Mistress Page is come with me, sweetheart.

Fal. 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

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! [Exeunt.

SCENE IV. -Windsor Park.

Enter Sir HUGH EVANS, and Fairies.

Eva. 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. [Exeunt.

[ocr errors]

--

« PreviousContinue »