Back to main page
The Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 4, scene 2
Download The Merry Wives of Windsor
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
- PDF Download as PDF
- DOC (for MS Word, Apple Pages, Open Office, etc.) without line numbers Download as DOC (for MS Word, Apple Pages, Open Office, etc.) without line numbers
- DOC (for MS Word, Apple Pages, Open Office, etc.) with line numbers Download as DOC (for MS Word, Apple Pages, Open Office, etc.) with line numbers
- HTML Download as HTML
- TXT Download as TXT
- XML Download as XML
- TEISimple XML (annotated with MorphAdorner for part-of-speech analysis) Download as TEISimple XML (annotated with MorphAdorner for part-of-speech analysis)
Navigate this workThe Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 4, scene 2
Act 4, scene 2
Visiting Mistress Ford, Falstaff is again interrupted by Mistress Page, again with news of Ford’s threatening approach. This time the women effect Falstaff’s escape by dressing him as an old woman hated by Ford. This disguise gains Falstaff a beating from Ford.Enter ⌜Sir John⌝ Falstaff ⌜and⌝ Mistress Ford.
FALSTAFF 2065 Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up
2066 my sufferance. I see you are obsequious in your
2067 love, and I profess requital to a hair’s breadth, not
p. 1452068 only, Mistress Ford, in the simple office of love,
2069 5 but in all the accoutrement, compliment, and ceremony
2070 of it. But are you sure of your husband now?
MISTRESS FORD 2071 He’s a-birding, sweet Sir John.
MISTRESS PAGE, ⌜within⌝ 2072 What ho, gossip Ford! What
MISTRESS FORD 2074 10Step into th’ chamber, Sir John.
Enter Mistress Page.
MISTRESS PAGE 2075 How now, sweetheart, who’s at home
2076 besides yourself?
MISTRESS FORD 2077 Why, none but mine own people.
MISTRESS PAGE 2078 Indeed?
MISTRESS FORD 2079 15No, certainly. ⌜Aside to her.⌝ Speak
MISTRESS PAGE 2081 Truly, I am so glad you have nobody
MISTRESS FORD 2083 Why?
MISTRESS PAGE 2084 20Why, woman, your husband is in his
2085 old ⌜lunes⌝ again. He so takes on yonder with my
2086 husband, so rails against all married mankind, so
2087 curses all Eve’s daughters of what complexion soever,
2088 and so buffets himself on the forehead, crying
2089 25 “Peer out, peer out!” that any madness I ever yet
2090 beheld seemed but tameness, civility, and patience
2091 to this his distemper he is in now. I am glad the fat
2092 knight is not here.
MISTRESS FORD 2093 Why, does he talk of him?
MISTRESS PAGE 2094 30Of none but him, and swears he was
2095 carried out, the last time he searched for him, in a
2096 basket; protests to my husband he is now here;
2097 and hath drawn him and the rest of their company
2098 from their sport to make another experiment of
2099 35 his suspicion. But I am glad the knight is not here.
2100 Now he shall see his own foolery.
p. 147MISTRESS FORD 2101 How near is he, Mistress Page?
MISTRESS PAGE 2102 Hard by, at street end. He will be here
MISTRESS FORD 2104 40I am undone! The knight is here.
MISTRESS PAGE 2105 Why then, you are utterly shamed, and
2106 he’s but a dead man. What a woman are you! Away
2107 with him, away with him! Better shame than
MISTRESS FORD 2109 45Which way should he go? How should
2110 I bestow him? Shall I put him into the basket
⌜Enter Sir John Falstaff.⌝
FALSTAFF 2112 No, I’ll come no more i’ th’ basket. May I not
2113 go out ere he come?
MISTRESS PAGE 2114 50Alas, three of Master Ford’s brothers
2115 watch the door with pistols, that none shall issue
2116 out. Otherwise you might slip away ere he came.
2117 But what make you here?
FALSTAFF 2118 What shall I do? I’ll creep up into the
2119 55 chimney.
MISTRESS FORD 2120 There they always use to discharge
2121 their birding pieces.
⌜MISTRESS PAGE⌝ 2122 Creep into the kiln-hole.
FALSTAFF 2123 Where is it?
MISTRESS FORD 2124 60He will seek there, on my word. Neither
2125 press, coffer, chest, trunk, well, vault, but he
2126 hath an abstract for the remembrance of such
2127 places, and goes to them by his note. There is no
2128 hiding you in the house.
FALSTAFF 2129 65I’ll go out, then.
MISTRESS ⌜PAGE⌝ 2130 If you go out in your own semblance,
2131 you die, Sir John—unless you go out disguised.
MISTRESS FORD 2132 How might we disguise him?
MISTRESS PAGE 2133 Alas the day, I know not. There is no
2134 70 woman’s gown big enough for him; otherwise he
p. 1492135 might put on a hat, a muffler, and a kerchief, and
2136 so escape.
FALSTAFF 2137 Good hearts, devise something. Any extremity
2138 rather than a mischief.
MISTRESS FORD 2139 75My maid’s aunt, the fat woman of
2140 Brentford, has a gown above.
MISTRESS PAGE 2141 On my word, it will serve him. She’s as
2142 big as he is. And there’s her thrummed hat and her
2143 muffler too.—Run up, Sir John.
MISTRESS FORD 2144 80Go, go, sweet Sir John. Mistress Page
2145 and I will look some linen for your head.
MISTRESS PAGE 2146 Quick, quick! We’ll come dress you
2147 straight. Put on the gown the while.
MISTRESS FORD 2148 I would my husband would meet him
2149 85 in this shape. He cannot abide the old woman of
2150 Brentford. He swears she’s a witch, forbade her my
2151 house, and hath threatened to beat her.
MISTRESS PAGE 2152 Heaven guide him to thy husband’s
2153 cudgel, and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards!
MISTRESS FORD 2154 90But is my husband coming?
MISTRESS PAGE 2155 Ay, in good sadness is he, and talks of
2156 the basket too, howsoever he hath had
MISTRESS FORD 2158 We’ll try that; for I’ll appoint my men
2159 95 to carry the basket again, to meet him at the door
2160 with it as they did last time.
MISTRESS PAGE 2161 Nay, but he’ll be here presently. Let’s go
2162 dress him like the witch of Brentford.
MISTRESS FORD 2163 I’ll first direct my men what they shall
2164 100 do with the basket. Go up. I’ll bring linen for him
2165 straight.⌜She exits.⌝
MISTRESS PAGE 2166 Hang him, dishonest varlet! We cannot
2167 misuse ⌜him⌝ enough.
2168 We’ll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
2169 105 Wives may be merry and yet honest too.
p. 1512170 We do not act that often jest and laugh;
2171 ’Tis old but true: “Still swine eats all the draff.”
⌜Enter Mistress Ford with Robert and John,
who bring the buck-basket.⌝
MISTRESS FORD 2172 Go, sirs, take the basket again on your
2173 shoulders. Your master is hard at door. If he bid
2174 110 you set it down, obey him. Quickly, dispatch.
⌜ROBERT⌝ 2175 Come, come, take it up.
⌜JOHN⌝ 2176 Pray heaven it be not full of knight again.
⌜ROBERT⌝ 2177 I hope not. I had lief as bear so much lead.
⌜They pick up the basket.⌝
Enter Ford, Page, ⌜Doctor⌝ Caius, ⌜Sir Hugh⌝
Evans, ⌜and⌝ Shallow.
FORD 2178 Ay, but if it prove true, Master Page, have you
2179 115 any way then to unfool me again?—Set down the
2180 basket, villain. ⌜They put the basket down.⌝ Somebody
2181 call my wife. Youth in a basket! O, you panderly
2182 rascals! There’s a knot, a ⌜gang,⌝ a pack, a
2183 conspiracy against me. Now shall the devil be
2184 120 shamed.—What, wife, I say! Come, come forth!
2185 Behold what honest clothes you send forth to
PAGE 2187 Why, this passes, Master Ford! You are not to go
2188 loose any longer; you must be pinioned.
SIR HUGH 2189 125Why, this is lunatics. This is mad as a mad
SHALLOW 2191 Indeed, Master Ford, this is not well, indeed.
FORD 2192 So say I too, sir.
⌜Enter Mistress Ford.⌝
2193 Come hither, Mistress Ford.—Mistress Ford, the
2194 130 honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature,
p. 1532195 that hath the jealous fool to her husband!—I
2196 suspect without cause, mistress, do I?
MISTRESS FORD 2197 Heaven be my witness you do, if you
2198 suspect me in any dishonesty.
FORD 2199 135Well said, brazen-face. Hold it out.—Come
2200 forth, sirrah.⌜He pulls clothes out of the basket.⌝
PAGE 2201 This passes.
MISTRESS FORD 2202 Are you not ashamed? Let the clothes
FORD 2204 140I shall find you anon.
SIR HUGH 2205 ’Tis unreasonable. Will you take up your
2206 wife’s clothes? Come, away.
FORD, ⌜to the Servants⌝ 2207 Empty the basket, I say.
MISTRESS FORD 2208 Why, man, why?
FORD 2209 145Master Page, as I am a man, there was one conveyed
2210 out of my house yesterday in this basket.
2211 Why may not he be there again? In my house I am
2212 sure he is. My intelligence is true, my jealousy is
2213 reasonable.—Pluck me out all the linen.
MISTRESS FORD 2214 150If you find a man there, he shall die a
2215 flea’s death.⌜Robert and John empty the basket.⌝
PAGE 2216 Here’s no man.
SHALLOW 2217 By my fidelity, this is not well, Master Ford.
2218 This wrongs you.
SIR HUGH 2219 155Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow
2220 the imaginations of your own heart. This is
FORD 2222 Well, he’s not here I seek for.
PAGE 2223 No, nor nowhere else but in your brain.
FORD 2224 160Help to search my house this one time. If I find
2225 not what I seek, show no color for my extremity.
2226 Let me forever be your table-sport. Let them say of
2227 me “As jealous as Ford, that searched a hollow
2228 walnut for his wife’s leman.” Satisfy me once
2229 165 more. Once more search with me.
⌜Robert and John refill the basket and carry it off.⌝
p. 155MISTRESS FORD, ⌜calling offstage⌝ 2230 What ho, Mistress
2231 Page! Come you and the old woman down. My
2232 husband will come into the chamber.
FORD 2233 “Old woman”? What old woman’s that?
MISTRESS FORD 2234 170Why, it is my maid’s aunt of Brentford.
FORD 2235 A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean! Have
2236 I not forbid her my house? She comes of errands,
2237 does she? We are simple men; we do not know
2238 what’s brought to pass under the profession of
2239 175 fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by
2240 th’ figure, and such daubery as this is, beyond our
2241 element. We know nothing.— Come down, you
2242 witch, you hag, you! Come down, I say!
⌜Ford seizes a cudgel.⌝
MISTRESS FORD 2243 Nay, good sweet husband!—Good gentlemen,
2244 180 let him ⌜not⌝ strike the old woman.
⌜Enter Mistress Page and Sir John Falstaff disguised
as an old woman.⌝
MISTRESS PAGE 2245 Come, Mother Pratt; come, give me
2246 your hand.
FORD 2247 I’ll pratt her. ⌜(He beats Falstaff.)⌝ Out of my
2248 door, you witch, you rag, you baggage, you polecat,
2249 185 you runnion! Out, out! I’ll conjure you, I’ll
2250 fortune-tell you!⌜Falstaff exits.⌝
MISTRESS PAGE 2251 Are you not ashamed? I think you have
2252 killed the poor woman.
MISTRESS FORD 2253 Nay, he will do it.—’Tis a goodly credit
2254 190 for you.
FORD 2255 Hang her, witch!
SIR HUGH 2256 By yea and no, I think the ’oman is a witch
2257 indeed. I like not when a ’oman has a great peard.
2258 I spy a great peard under ⌜her⌝ muffler.
FORD 2259 195Will you follow, gentlemen? I beseech you, follow.
2260 See but the issue of my jealousy. If I cry out
2261 thus upon no trail, never trust me when I open
p. 157PAGE 2263 Let’s obey his humor a little further. Come,
2264 200 gentlemen.
⌜Ford, Page, Caius, Sir Hugh, and Shallow exit.⌝
MISTRESS PAGE 2265 Trust me, he beat him most pitifully.
MISTRESS FORD 2266 Nay, by th’ Mass, that he did not; he
2267 beat him most unpitifully, methought.
MISTRESS PAGE 2268 I’ll have the cudgel hallowed and hung
2269 205 o’er the altar. It hath done meritorious service.
MISTRESS FORD 2270 What think you? May we, with the
2271 warrant of womanhood and the witness of a good
2272 conscience, pursue him with any further revenge?
MISTRESS PAGE 2273 The spirit of wantonness is, sure,
2274 210 scared out of him. If the devil have him not in fee
2275 simple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I
2276 think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.
MISTRESS FORD 2277 Shall we tell our husbands how we
2278 have served him?
MISTRESS PAGE 2279 215Yes, by all means—if it be but to scrape
2280 the figures out of your husband’s brains. If they
2281 can find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat
2282 knight shall be any further afflicted, we two will
2283 still be the ministers.
MISTRESS FORD 2284 220I’ll warrant they’ll have him publicly
2285 shamed, and methinks there would be no period to
2286 the jest should he not be publicly shamed.
MISTRESS PAGE 2287 Come, to the forge with it, then shape
2288 it. I would not have things cool.