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Go up, I'll bring linen [Erit. Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot misuse him enough.

in a basket: protests to my husband, he is now here; | shall do with the basket. and hath drawn him and the rest of their company for him straight. from their sport, to make another experiment of his suspicion; but I am glad the knight is not here; now he shall see his own foolery.

Mrs. Ford. How near is he, mistress Page? Mrs. Page. Hard by; at street end; he will be here anon.

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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.

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[Exit 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.

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

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.

Re-enter Mrs. FORD, with two Servants. Mrs. Ford. Go, sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders; your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him: quickly, despatch. [Exit.

1 Serv. Come, come, take it up.

2 Serv. Pray heaven, it be not full of the knight 1 Serv. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much

again.

lead.

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You, youth in a basket, come out here! - 0,

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. Evu. Why, this is lunatics! this is mad as a mad dog!

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

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Ford. So say I too, sir. 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.

[Pulls the clothes out of the basket. Page. This passes!

Mrs. Ford. Are you not ashamed? let the clothes alone.

Ford. I shall find you anon.

Eva. 'Tis unreasonable! Will you take up your wife's clothes? Come away.

Ford. Empty the basket, I say.
Mrs. Ford. Why, man, why,-

Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed out of my house yesterday in this basket: Why may not he be there again? In my house I am sure he is my intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable: Pluck me out all the linen.

Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death.

Page. Here's no man.

Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford; this wrongs you.

Eva. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies.

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. Enter FALSTAFF in women's clothes, led by Mrs. PAGE. Mrs. Page. Come, mother Prat, come, give me your hand.

Ford. I'll prat her: Out of my door, you witch, [beats him.] you rag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon! out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you. [Exit FALSTAFF.

Mrs. Page. Are you not ashamed? I think, you have killed the poor woman.

Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it :-'Tis a goodly credit for you.

Ford. Hang her, witch!

Eva. By yea and no, I think, the 'oman is a witch indeed: I like not when a 'oman has a great peard; I spy a great peard under her muffler.

Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, follow; see but the issue of my jealousy: if I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust me when I open gain.

Page. Let's obey his humour a little further: Come, gentlemen.

[Exeunt PAGE, FORD, SHALLOW, and EVANS. Mrs. Page. Trust me, he beat him most pitifully. Mrs. Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought.

Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallowed, and hung o'er the altar; it hath done meritorious service.

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.

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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. Enter PAGE, FORD, Mrs. PAGE, Mrs. FORD, and Sir HUGH EVANS.

Eva. 'Tis one of the pest discretions of a 'oman as ever I did look upon.

Page. And did he send you both these letters at an instant?

Mrs. Page. Within a quarter of an hour. Ford. Pardon me, wife: Henceforth do what thou wilt;

I rather will suspect the sun with cold,
Than thee with wantonness: now doth thy honour
stand,

In him that was of late an heretick,
As firm as faith.

Page.
'Tis well, 'tis well; no more.
Be not as éxtreme in submission,
As in offence;

But let our plot go forward: let our wives
Yet once again, to make us publick sport,
Appoint a meeting with this old fat fellow,
Where we may take him, and disgrace him for it.
Ford. There is no better way than that they

spoke of.

Page. How to send him word they'll meet him in the park at midnight; fie, fie; he'll never come.

Eva. You say, he has been thrown into the rivers; and has been grievously peaten, as an old 'oman; methinks, there should be terrors in him, that he should not come; methinks, his flesh is punished, he shall have no desires.

Page. So think I too.

Mrs. Ford. Devise but how you'll use him when he comes,

And let us two devise to bring him thither.
Mrs. Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne
the hunter,

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

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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.

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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. [Exit 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.

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Sim. Marry, sir, I come to speak with sir John Falstaff from master Slender.

Host. There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-bed, and truckle-bed; 'tis painted about with the story of the prodigal, fresh and new: Go, knock and call; he'll speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee: Knock, I say.

Sim. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber; I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down; I come to speak with her, indeed.

Host. Ha! a fat woman! the knight may be robbed: I'll call. — Bully knight! Bully sir John ! speak from thy lungs military: Art thou there? it is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls.

Fal. [above.] How now, mine host?

Host. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman; Let her descend, bully, let her descend; my chambers are honourable : Fye! privacy? fye!

Enter FALSTAFF.

Fal. There was, mine host, an old fat woman, even now with me; but she's gone.

Sim. Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman of Brentford?

Fal. Ay, marry, was it, muscle-shell; What would you with her?

Sim. My master, sir, my master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go thorough the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain, or no.

Fal. I spake with the old woman about it.
Sim. And what says she, I pray, sir?

Fal. Marry, she says, that the very same man, that beguiled master Slender of his chain, cozened him of it.

Sim. I would, I could have spoken with the woman herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too, from him.

Fal. What are they? let us know.
Host. Ay, come; quick.

Sim. I may not conceal them, sir.
Fal. Conceal them, or thou diest.

Sim. Why, sir, they were nothing but about mistress Anne Page; to know if it were my master's fortune to have her, or no.

Fal. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.

Sim. What, sir?

told me so.

Fal. To have her,·

-or no: Go; say, the woman

Sim. May I be so bold to say so, sir? Fal. Ay, sir Tike; who more bold? Sim. I thank your worship: I shall make my master glad with these tidings. [Exit SIMPLE. Host. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, sir John : Was there a wise woman with thee?

Fal. Ay, that there was, mine host; one that hath taught me more wit than ever I learned before in my life and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning.

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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.

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.

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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

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SCENE VI. — Another Room in the Garter Inn. 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 purpose,

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

I'll show you here at large.
To-night at Herne's oak,

one,

[Showing the letter. Hark, good mine host: just 'twixt twelve and

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?

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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

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ACT V.

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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.

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Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER. Page. Come, come; we'll couch i' the castleditch, 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 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.

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 Welch 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 arnazed, 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! [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.

me:

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 - 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?

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