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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.
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 plucked geese, played truant, and whipped 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 wise into your hand.—Follow: Strange things in hand, master Brook! follow.
SCENE II. Windsor Park.
Enter Page, Shallow, and SLENDER. Page. Come, come; we'll couch i’ the castle-ditch, till we see 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 horns. Let's away; follow me. [Exeunt.
SCENE III. The Street in Windsor.
Enter Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. FORD, and Dr. CAJUS.
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.
Caius. I know vat I have to do : Adieu.
Mrs. Page. Fare you well, sir. [Exit Caius.] My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff, as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter: but 'tis no matter; better a little chiding, than a great deal of heart-break.
Mrs. Ford. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies ? and the Welsh devil, Hugh?
Mrs. Page. They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscured lights; which, at the very instant of Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once display to the night.
Mrs. Ford. That cannot choose but amaze him.
Mrs. Page. If he be not amazed, he will be mocked ; if he be amazed, he will every way be mocked.
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!
1 Page indirectly alludes to Falstaff, who was to have horns on his head. 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.
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—0 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 ;–0—omnipotent love! how near the god drew to the complexion of a goose !-A fault done first in the form of a beast ;-0 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 3 of this walk, and my horns I bequeath your husbands. Am I a woodman ? 4 ha! Speak I like Herne the hunter ?—Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience; he makes restitution. As I am a true spirit, welcome!
[Noise within. Mrs. Page. Alas! What noise ? Mrs. Ford. Heaven forgive our sins ! Fal. What should this be? Mrs. Ford. Mrs. Page.
Away, away! [They run off Fal. I think, the devil will not have me damned, lest the oil that is in me should set, hell on fire; he would never else cross me thus.
Enter Sir Hugh Evans, like a satyr; Mrs. Quickly,
and Pistol; ANNE PAGE, as the Fairy Queen, attended by her brother and others, dressed like fuiries, with waxen tapers on their heads.
Quick. Fairies, black, gray, green, and white,
1 The sweet potato was used in England as a delicacy long before the introduction of the common potato by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1586. It was imported in considerable quantities from Spain and the Canaries, and was supposed to possess the power of restoring decayed vigor. The kissing-comfits were principally made of these and eringo roots, and were perfumed to make the breath sweet. Gerarde attributes the same virtues to the common potato, which he distinguishes as the Virginian sort.
2 i. e. like a buck sent as a bribe. 3 The keeper. The shoulders of the buck were among his perquisites.
4 The woodman was an attendant on the forester. It is here, however, used in a wanton sense, for one who chooses female game for the object of his pursuit
5 The old copy reads orphan-heirs. Warburton reads ouphen.
Pist. Elves, list your names; silence, you airy toys. Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap: Where fires thou find'st unraked, and hearths unswept, There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry: Our radiant queen hates sluts, and sluttery. Fal. They are fairies; he that speaks to them
shall die : I'll wink and couch: No man their works must eye.
[Lies down upon his face. Eva. Where's Pede?-Go you, and where you
find a maid,
1 It was an article of ancient luxury to rub tables, &c. with aromatic herbs. Pliny informs us that the Romans did so to drive away evil spirits.
2“ Charactery is a writing by characters, or by strange marks."--Bullokar's English Exposilor, 12mo. 1656.