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Home > Merry Wives of Windsor > ACT IV - SCENE IV. A room in FORD'S house.

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ACT IV - SCENE IV. A room in FORD'S house.
SIR HUGH EVANS
1    'Tis one of the best discretions of a 'oman as ever
2    I did look upon.
PAGE
3    And did he send you both these letters at an instant?
MISTRESS PAGE
4    Within a quarter of an hour.
FORD
5    Pardon me, wife. Henceforth do what thou wilt;
6    I rather will suspect the sun with cold
7    Than thee with wantonness: now doth thy honour stand
8    In him that was of late an heretic,
9    As firm as faith.
PAGE
10   'Tis well, 'tis well; no more:
11   Be not as extreme in submission
12   As in offence.
13   But let our plot go forward: let our wives
14   Yet once again, to make us public sport,
15   Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow,
16   Where we may take him and disgrace him for it.
FORD
17   There is no better way than that they spoke of.
PAGE
18   How? to send him word they'll meet him in the park
19   at midnight? Fie, fie! he'll never come.
SIR HUGH EVANS
20   You say he has been thrown in the rivers and has
21   been grievously peaten as an old 'oman: methinks
22   there should be terrors in him that he should not
23   come; methinks his flesh is punished, he shall have
24   no desires.
PAGE
25   So think I too.
MISTRESS FORD
26   Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,
27   And let us two devise to bring him thither.
MISTRESS PAGE
28   There is an old tale goes that Herne the hunter,
29   Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest,
30   Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
31   Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
32   And there he blasts the tree and takes the cattle
33   And makes milch-kine yield blood and shakes a chain
34   In a most hideous and dreadful manner:
35   You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
36   The superstitious idle-headed eld
37   Received and did deliver to our age
38   This tale of Herne the hunter for a truth.
PAGE
39   Why, yet there want not many that do fear
40   In deep of night to walk by this Herne's oak:
41   But what of this?
MISTRESS FORD
42   Marry, this is our device;
43   That Falstaff at that oak shall meet with us.
PAGE
44   Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come:
45   And in this shape when you have brought him thither,
46   What shall be done with him? what is your plot?
MISTRESS PAGE
47   That likewise have we thought upon, and thus:
48   Nan Page my daughter and my little son
49   And three or four more of their growth we'll dress
50   Like urchins, ouphes and fairies, green and white,
51   With rounds of waxen tapers on their heads,
52   And rattles in their hands: upon a sudden,
53   As Falstaff, she and I, are newly met,
54   Let them from forth a sawpit rush at once
55   With some diffused song: upon their sight,
56   We two in great amazedness will fly:
57   Then let them all encircle him about
58   And, fairy-like, to-pinch the unclean knight,
59   And ask him why, that hour of fairy revel,
60   In their so sacred paths he dares to tread
61   In shape profane.
MISTRESS FORD
62   And till he tell the truth,
63   Let the supposed fairies pinch him sound
64   And burn him with their tapers.
MISTRESS PAGE
65   The truth being known,
66   We'll all present ourselves, dis-horn the spirit,
67   And mock him home to Windsor.
FORD
68   The children must
69   Be practised well to this, or they'll ne'er do't.
SIR HUGH EVANS
70   I will teach the children their behaviors; and I
71   will be like a jack-an-apes also, to burn the
72   knight with my taber.
FORD
73   That will be excellent. I'll go and buy them vizards.
MISTRESS PAGE
74   My Nan shall be the queen of all the fairies,
75   Finely attired in a robe of white.
PAGE
76   That silk will I go buy.
Aside
77   And in that time
78   Shall Master Slender steal my Nan away
79   And marry her at Eton. Go send to Falstaff straight.
FORD
80   Nay I'll to him again in name of Brook
81   He'll tell me all his purpose: sure, he'll come.
MISTRESS PAGE
82   Fear not you that. Go get us properties
83   And tricking for our fairies.
SIR HUGH EVANS
84   Let us about it: it is admirable pleasures and fery
85   honest knaveries.
Exeunt PAGE, FORD, and SIR HUGH EVANS

MISTRESS PAGE
86   Go, Mistress Ford,
87   Send quickly to Sir John, to know his mind.
Exit MISTRESS FORD
88   I'll to the doctor: he hath my good will,
89   And none but he, to marry with Nan Page.
90   That Slender, though well landed, is an idiot;
91   And he my husband best of all affects.
92   The doctor is well money'd, and his friends
93   Potent at court: he, none but he, shall have her,
94   Though twenty thousand worthier come to crave her.
Exit

< (Previous) ACT IV, SCENE IIIACT IV, SCENE V (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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