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The Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 4, scene 6
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Navigate this workThe Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 4, scene 6
Act 4, scene 6
The Host is asked to arrange for a vicar to marry Anne to Fenton that night.Enter Fenton ⌜and⌝ Host.
HOST 2526 Master Fenton, talk not to me. My mind is
2527 heavy. I will give over all.
2528 Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose,
2529 And, as I am a gentleman, I’ll give thee
2530 5 A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.
HOST 2531 I will hear you, Master Fenton, and I will, at the
2532 least, keep your counsel.
2533 From time to time I have acquainted you
2534 With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page,
2535 10 Who mutually hath answered my affection,
2536 So far forth as herself might be her chooser,
p. 1752537 Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
2538 Of such contents as you will wonder at,
2539 The mirth whereof so larded with my matter
2540 15 That neither singly can be manifested
2541 Without the show of both. Fat Falstaff
2542 Hath a great scene; the image of the jest
2543 I’ll show you here at large. ⌜He shows the Host a
paper.⌝ 2544 Hark, good mine Host:
2545 20 Tonight at Herne’s oak, just ’twixt twelve and one,
2546 Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen—
2547 The purpose why is here—in which disguise,
2548 While other jests are something rank on foot,
2549 Her father hath commanded her to slip
2550 25 Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
2551 Immediately to marry. She hath consented. Now, sir,
2552 Her mother, ⌜ever⌝ strong against that match
2553 And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
2554 That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
2555 30 While other sports are tasking of their minds,
2556 And at the dean’ry, where a priest attends,
2557 Straight marry her. To this her mother’s plot
2558 She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
2559 Made promise to the doctor. Now, thus it rests:
2560 35 Her father means she shall be all in white,
2561 And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
2562 To take her by the hand and bid her go,
2563 She shall go with him. Her mother hath intended
2564 The better to ⌜denote⌝ her to the doctor—
2565 40 For they must all be masked and vizarded—
2566 That quaint in green she shall be loose enrobed,
2567 With ribbons pendent flaring ’bout her head;
2568 And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
2569 To pinch her by the hand, and on that token
2570 45 The maid hath given consent to go with him.
2571 Which means she to deceive, father or mother?
2572 Both, my good Host, to go along with me.
2573 And here it rests, that you’ll procure the vicar
2574 To stay for me at church ’twixt twelve and one,
2575 50 And, in the lawful name of marrying,
2576 To give our hearts united ceremony.
2577 Well, husband your device. I’ll to the vicar.
2578 Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
2579 So shall I evermore be bound to thee;
2580 55 Besides, I’ll make a present recompense.