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The Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 1, scene 3
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Navigate this workThe Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 1, scene 3
Act 1, scene 3
Falstaff, in desperate need of funds, dismisses his servant Bardolph, who enters the employ of the Host of the Garter. Falstaff plans to seduce Mistress Ford and Mistress Page to gain access to their husbands’ wealth. When Pistol and Nym refuse to act as his go-betweens, he dismisses them from his service. They plot revenge against him.Enter ⌜Sir John⌝ Falstaff, Host, Bardolph, Nym, Pistol,
⌜and Robin, Falstaff’s⌝ Page.
FALSTAFF 0321 Mine Host of the Garter!
HOST 0322 What says my bullyrook? Speak scholarly and
FALSTAFF 0324 Truly, mine Host, I must turn away some of
0325 5 my followers.
HOST 0326 Discard, bully Hercules, cashier. Let them wag;
0327 trot, trot.
FALSTAFF 0328 I sit at ten pounds a week.
HOST 0329 Thou ’rt an emperor—Caesar, Keiser, and
0330 10 Pheazar. I will entertain Bardolph. He shall draw,
0331 he shall tap. Said I well, bully Hector?
FALSTAFF 0332 Do so, good mine Host.
HOST 0333 I have spoke. Let him follow.—Let me see thee
0334 froth and ⌜lime.⌝ I am at a word. Follow.
FALSTAFF 0335 15Bardolph, follow him. A tapster is a good
0336 trade. An old cloak makes a new jerkin, a withered
0337 servingman a fresh tapster. Go. Adieu.
BARDOLPH 0338 It is a life that I have desired. I will thrive.
PISTOL 0339 O base Hungarian wight, wilt thou the spigot
0340 20 wield?⌜Bardolph exits.⌝
NYM 0341 He was gotten in drink. Is not the humor
FALSTAFF 0343 I am glad I am so acquit of this tinderbox.
0344 His thefts were too open. His filching was like an
0345 25 unskillful singer; he kept not time.
NYM 0346 The good humor is to steal at a minute’s rest.
PISTOL 0347 “Convey,” the wise it call. “Steal”? Foh, a fico
0348 for the phrase!
FALSTAFF 0349 Well, sirs, I am almost out at heels.
PISTOL 0350 30Why, then, let kibes ensue.
FALSTAFF 0351 There is no remedy. I must cony-catch, I
0352 must shift.
p. 29PISTOL 0353 Young ravens must have food.
FALSTAFF 0354 Which of you know Ford of this town?
PISTOL 0355 35I ken the wight. He is of substance good.
FALSTAFF 0356 My honest lads, I will tell you what I am
PISTOL 0358 Two yards and more.
FALSTAFF 0359 No quips now, Pistol. Indeed, I am in the
0360 40 waist two yards about, but I am now about no
0361 waste; I am about thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make
0362 love to Ford’s wife. I spy entertainment in her. She
0363 discourses; she carves; she gives the leer of invitation.
0364 I can construe the action of her familiar style;
0365 45 and the hardest voice of her behavior, to be Englished
0366 rightly, is “I am Sir John Falstaff’s.”
PISTOL, ⌜aside to Nym⌝ 0367 He hath studied her will and
0368 translated her will—out of honesty into English.
NYM, ⌜aside to Pistol⌝ 0369 The anchor is deep. Will that
0370 50 humor pass?
FALSTAFF 0371 Now, the report goes, she has all the rule of
0372 her husband’s purse. He hath a ⌜legion⌝ of angels.
PISTOL, ⌜aside to Nym⌝ 0373 As many devils entertain, and
0374 “To her, boy,” say I.
NYM, ⌜aside to Pistol⌝ 0375 55The humor rises; it is good.
0376 Humor me the angels.
FALSTAFF, ⌜showing two papers⌝ 0377 I have writ me here a
0378 letter to her; and here another to Page’s wife, who
0379 even now gave me good eyes too, examined my
0380 60 parts with most judicious ⌜oeillades.⌝ Sometimes
0381 the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes
0382 my portly belly.
PISTOL, ⌜aside to Nym⌝ 0383 Then did the sun on dunghill
NYM, ⌜aside to Pistol⌝ 0385 65I thank thee for that humor.
FALSTAFF 0386 O, she did so course o’er my exteriors with
0387 such a greedy intention that the appetite of her
0388 eye did seem to scorch me up like a burning-glass.
p. 310389 Here’s another letter to her. She bears the purse
0390 70 too; she is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty.
0391 I will be cheaters to them both, and they shall be
0392 exchequers to me; they shall be my East and West
0393 Indies, and I will trade to them both. Go bear thou
0394 this letter to Mistress Page—and thou this to Mistress
0395 75 Ford. We will thrive, lads, we will thrive.
0396 Shall I Sir Pandarus of Troy become,
0397 And by my side wear steel? Then Lucifer take all!
NYM, ⌜to Falstaff⌝ 0398 I will run no base humor. Here, take
0399 the humor-letter. I will keep the havior of
0400 80 reputation.
FALSTAFF, ⌜giving papers to Robin⌝
0401 Hold, sirrah, bear you these letters tightly;
0402 Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores.—
0403 Rogues, hence, avaunt, vanish like hailstones, go,
0404 Trudge, plod away i’ th’ hoof, seek shelter, pack!
0405 85 Falstaff will learn the ⌜humor⌝ of the age:
0406 French thrift, you rogues—myself and skirted page.
⌜Falstaff and Robin exit.⌝
0407 Let vultures gripe thy guts! For gourd and fullam
0409 And high and low beguiles the rich and poor.
0410 90 Tester I’ll have in pouch when thou shalt lack,
0411 Base Phrygian Turk!
NYM 0412 I have operations which be humors of revenge.
PISTOL 0413 Wilt thou revenge?
NYM 0414 By welkin and her star!
PISTOL 0415 95With wit or steel?
NYM 0416 With both the humors, I. I will discuss the
0417 humor of this love to Ford.
0418 And I to Page shall eke unfold
0419 How Falstaff, varlet vile,
p. 330420 100 His dove will prove, his gold will hold,
0421 And his soft couch defile.
NYM 0422 My humor shall not cool. I will incense Ford to
0423 deal with poison. I will possess him with yellowness,
0424 for the revolt of mine is dangerous. That is
0425 105 my true humor.
PISTOL 0426 Thou art the Mars of malcontents. I second
0427 thee. Troop on.