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Home > Merry Wives of Windsor > ACT II - SCENE I. Before PAGE'S house.

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ACT II - SCENE I. Before PAGE'S house.
Enter MISTRESS PAGE, with a letter

MISTRESS PAGE
1    What, have I scaped love-letters in the holiday-
2    time of my beauty, and am I now a subject for them?
3    Let me see.
Reads
4    'Ask me no reason why I love you; for though
5    Love use Reason for his physician, he admits him
6    not for his counsellor. You are not young, no more
7    am I; go to then, there's sympathy: you are merry,
8    so am I; ha, ha! then there's more sympathy: you
9    love sack, and so do I; would you desire better
10   sympathy? Let it suffice thee, Mistress Page,--at
11   the least, if the love of soldier can suffice,--
12   that I love thee. I will not say, pity me; 'tis
13   not a soldier-like phrase: but I say, love me. By me,
14   Thine own true knight,
15   By day or night,
16   Or any kind of light,
17   With all his might
18   For thee to fight, JOHN FALSTAFF'
19   What a Herod of Jewry is this! O wicked
20   world! One that is well-nigh worn to pieces with
21   age to show himself a young gallant! What an
22   unweighed behavior hath this Flemish drunkard
23   picked--with the devil's name!--out of my
24   conversation, that he dares in this manner assay me?
25   Why, he hath not been thrice in my company! What
26   should I say to him? I was then frugal of my
27   mirth: Heaven forgive me! Why, I'll exhibit a bill
28   in the parliament for the putting down of men. How
29   shall I be revenged on him? for revenged I will be,
30   as sure as his guts are made of puddings.
Enter MISTRESS FORD

MISTRESS FORD
31   Mistress Page! trust me, I was going to your house.
MISTRESS PAGE
32   And, trust me, I was coming to you. You look very
33   ill.
MISTRESS FORD
34   Nay, I'll ne'er believe that; I have to show to the contrary.
MISTRESS PAGE
35   Faith, but you do, in my mind.
MISTRESS FORD
36   Well, I do then; yet I say I could show you to the
37   contrary. O Mistress Page, give me some counsel!
MISTRESS PAGE
38   What's the matter, woman?
MISTRESS FORD
39   O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I
40   could come to such honour!
MISTRESS PAGE
41   Hang the trifle, woman! take the honour. What is
42   it? dispense with trifles; what is it?
MISTRESS FORD
43   If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or so,
44   I could be knighted.
MISTRESS PAGE
45   What? thou liest! Sir Alice Ford! These knights
46   will hack; and so thou shouldst not alter the
47   article of thy gentry.
MISTRESS FORD
48   We burn daylight: here, read, read; perceive how I
49   might be knighted. I shall think the worse of fat
50   men, as long as I have an eye to make difference of
51   men's liking: and yet he would not swear; praised
52   women's modesty; and gave such orderly and
53   well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I
54   would have sworn his disposition would have gone to
55   the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere
56   and keep place together than the Hundredth Psalm to
57   the tune of 'Green Sleeves.' What tempest, I trow,
58   threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his
59   belly, ashore at Windsor? How shall I be revenged
60   on him? I think the best way were to entertain him
61   with hope, till the wicked fire of lust have melted
62   him in his own grease. Did you ever hear the like?
MISTRESS PAGE
63   Letter for letter, but that the name of Page and
64   Ford differs! To thy great comfort in this mystery
65   of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy
66   letter: but let thine inherit first; for, I
67   protest, mine never shall. I warrant he hath a
68   thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for
69   different names--sure, more,--and these are of the
70   second edition: he will print them, out of doubt;
71   for he cares not what he puts into the press, when
72   he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess,
73   and lie under Mount Pelion. Well, I will find you
74   twenty lascivious turtles ere one chaste man.
MISTRESS FORD
75   Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the very
76   words. What doth he think of us?
MISTRESS PAGE
77   Nay, I know not: it makes me almost ready to
78   wrangle with mine own honesty. I'll entertain
79   myself like one that I am not acquainted withal;
80   for, sure, unless he know some strain in me, that I
81   know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.
MISTRESS FORD
82   'Boarding,' call you it? I'll be sure to keep him
83   above deck.
MISTRESS PAGE
84   So will I if he come under my hatches, I'll never
85   to sea again. Let's be revenged on him: let's
86   appoint him a meeting; give him a show of comfort in
87   his suit and lead him on with a fine-baited delay,
88   till he hath pawned his horses to mine host of the Garter.
MISTRESS FORD
89   Nay, I will consent to act any villany against him,
90   that may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O,
91   that my husband saw this letter! it would give
92   eternal food to his jealousy.
MISTRESS PAGE
93   Why, look where he comes; and my good man too: he's
94   as far from jealousy as I am from giving him cause;
95   and that I hope is an unmeasurable distance.
MISTRESS FORD
96   You are the happier woman.
MISTRESS PAGE
97   Let's consult together against this greasy knight.
98   Come hither.
They retire

Enter FORD with PISTOL, and PAGE with NYM

FORD
99   Well, I hope it be not so.
PISTOL
100  Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs:
101  Sir John affects thy wife.
FORD
102  Why, sir, my wife is not young.
PISTOL
103  He wooes both high and low, both rich and poor,
104  Both young and old, one with another, Ford;
105  He loves the gallimaufry: Ford, perpend.
FORD
106  Love my wife!
PISTOL
107  With liver burning hot. Prevent, or go thou,
108  Like Sir Actaeon he, with Ringwood at thy heels:
109  O, odious is the name!
FORD
110  What name, sir?
PISTOL
111  The horn, I say. Farewell.
112  Take heed, have open eye, for thieves do foot by night:
113  Take heed, ere summer comes or cuckoo-birds do sing.
114  Away, Sir Corporal Nym!
115  Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.
Exit

FORD
Aside
116   I will be patient; I will find out this.
NYM
To PAGE
117   And this is true; I like not the humour
118  of lying. He hath wronged me in some humours: I
119  should have borne the humoured letter to her; but I
120  have a sword and it shall bite upon my necessity.
121  He loves your wife; there's the short and the long.
122  My name is Corporal Nym; I speak and I avouch; 'tis
123  true: my name is Nym and Falstaff loves your wife.
124  Adieu. I love not the humour of bread and cheese,
125  and there's the humour of it. Adieu.
Exit

PAGE
126  'The humour of it,' quoth a'! here's a fellow
127  frights English out of his wits.
FORD
128  I will seek out Falstaff.
PAGE
129  I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.
FORD
130  If I do find it: well.
PAGE
131  I will not believe such a Cataian, though the priest
132  o' the town commended him for a true man.
FORD
133  'Twas a good sensible fellow: well.
PAGE
134  How now, Meg!
MISTRESS PAGE and MISTRESS FORD come forward

MISTRESS PAGE
135  Whither go you, George? Hark you.
MISTRESS FORD
136  How now, sweet Frank! why art thou melancholy?
FORD
137  I melancholy! I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.
MISTRESS FORD
138  Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head. Now,
139  will you go, Mistress Page?
MISTRESS PAGE
140  Have with you. You'll come to dinner, George.
Aside to MISTRESS FORD
141  Look who comes yonder: she shall be our messenger
142  to this paltry knight.
MISTRESS FORD
Aside to MISTRESS PAGE
143   Trust me, I thought on her:
144  she'll fit it.
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

MISTRESS PAGE
145  You are come to see my daughter Anne?
MISTRESS QUICKLY
146  Ay, forsooth; and, I pray, how does good Mistress Anne?
MISTRESS PAGE
147  Go in with us and see: we have an hour's talk with
148  you.
Exeunt MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS FORD, and MISTRESS QUICKLY

PAGE
149  How now, Master Ford!
FORD
150  You heard what this knave told me, did you not?
PAGE
151  Yes: and you heard what the other told me?
FORD
152  Do you think there is truth in them?
PAGE
153  Hang 'em, slaves! I do not think the knight would
154  offer it: but these that accuse him in his intent
155  towards our wives are a yoke of his discarded men;
156  very rogues, now they be out of service.
FORD
157  Were they his men?
PAGE
158  Marry, were they.
FORD
159  I like it never the better for that. Does he lie at
160  the Garter?
PAGE
161  Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage
162  towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and
163  what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it
164  lie on my head.
FORD
165  I do not misdoubt my wife; but I would be loath to
166  turn them together. A man may be too confident: I
167  would have nothing lie on my head: I cannot be thus satisfied.
PAGE
168  Look where my ranting host of the Garter comes:
169  there is either liquor in his pate or money in his
170  purse when he looks so merrily.
Enter Host
171  How now, mine host!
Host
172  How now, bully-rook! thou'rt a gentleman.
173  Cavaleiro-justice, I say!
Enter SHALLOW

SHALLOW
174  I follow, mine host, I follow. Good even and
175  twenty, good Master Page! Master Page, will you go
176  with us? we have sport in hand.
Host
177  Tell him, cavaleiro-justice; tell him, bully-rook.
SHALLOW
178  Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir Hugh
179  the Welsh priest and Caius the French doctor.
FORD
180  Good mine host o' the Garter, a word with you.
Drawing him aside

Host
181  What sayest thou, my bully-rook?
SHALLOW
To PAGE
182   Will you go with us to behold it? My
183  merry host hath had the measuring of their weapons;
184  and, I think, hath appointed them contrary places;
185  for, believe me, I hear the parson is no jester.
186  Hark, I will tell you what our sport shall be.
They converse apart

Host
187  Hast thou no suit against my knight, my
188  guest-cavaleire?
FORD
189  None, I protest: but I'll give you a pottle of
190  burnt sack to give me recourse to him and tell him
191  my name is Brook; only for a jest.
Host
192  My hand, bully; thou shalt have egress and regress;
193  --said I well?--and thy name shall be Brook. It is
194  a merry knight. Will you go, An-heires?
SHALLOW
195  Have with you, mine host.
PAGE
196  I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in
197  his rapier.
SHALLOW
198  Tut, sir, I could have told you more. In these times
199  you stand on distance, your passes, stoccadoes, and
200  I know not what: 'tis the heart, Master Page; 'tis
201  here, 'tis here. I have seen the time, with my long
202  sword I would have made you four tall fellows skip like rats.
Host
203  Here, boys, here, here! shall we wag?
PAGE
204  Have with you. I would rather hear them scold than fight.
Exeunt Host, SHALLOW, and PAGE

FORD
205  Though Page be a secure fool, an stands so firmly
206  on his wife's frailty, yet I cannot put off my
207  opinion so easily: she was in his company at Page's
208  house; and what they made there, I know not. Well,
209  I will look further into't: and I have a disguise
210  to sound Falstaff. If I find her honest, I lose not
211  my labour; if she be otherwise, 'tis labour well bestowed.
Exit

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IVACT II, SCENE II (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V

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