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The Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 5, scene 5
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Navigate this workThe Merry Wives of Windsor - Act 5, scene 5
Act 5, scene 5
Falstaff is tormented by the “fairies” and then publicly humiliated. Slender and Dr. Caius enter in turn to report that each has been deceived into eloping with a disguised boy instead of Anne Page. Finally Fenton and Anne Page enter, married. Fenton and Falstaff are forgiven, and the party moves to the home of Master and Mistress Page.Enter ⌜Sir John⌝ Falstaff ⌜wearing a buck’s head.⌝
FALSTAFF 2657 The Windsor bell hath struck twelve. The
2658 minute draws on. Now, the ⌜hot-blooded⌝ gods assist
2659 me! Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy
2660 Europa; love set on thy horns. O powerful love,
2661 5 that in some respects makes a beast a man, in
2662 some other a man a beast! You were also, Jupiter,
2663 a swan for the love of Leda. O omnipotent love,
2664 how near the god drew to the complexion of a
2665 goose! A fault done first in the form of a beast; O
2666 10 Jove, a beastly fault! And then another fault in the
2667 semblance of a fowl; think on ’t, Jove, a foul fault.
2668 When gods have hot backs, what shall poor men
2669 do? For me, I am here a Windsor stag, and the fattest,
2670 I think, i’ th’ forest. Send me a cool rut-time,
2671 15 Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow?
Enter Mistress Page ⌜and⌝ Mistress Ford.
2672 Who comes here? My doe?
MISTRESS FORD 2673 Sir John? Art thou there, my deer, my
2674 male deer?
FALSTAFF 2675 My doe with the black scut! Let the sky rain
2676 20 potatoes, let it thunder to the tune of “Greensleeves,”
2677 hail kissing-comfits, and snow eryngoes; let there
2678 come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me
2679 here.⌜He embraces her.⌝
MISTRESS FORD 2680 Mistress Page is come with me,
2681 25 sweetheart.
FALSTAFF 2682 Divide me like a bribed buck, each a haunch.
2683 I will keep my sides to myself, my shoulders for
2684 the fellow of this walk, and my horns I bequeath
2685 your husbands. Am I a woodman, ha? Speak I like
2686 30 Herne the Hunter? Why, now is Cupid a child of
2687 conscience; he makes restitution. As I am a true
2688 spirit, welcome.⌜A noise of horns within.⌝
p. 189MISTRESS PAGE 2689 Alas, what noise?
MISTRESS FORD 2690 Heaven forgive our sins!
FALSTAFF 2691 35What should this be?
MISTRESS FORD and MISTRESS PAGE 2692 Away, away.
⌜The two women run off.⌝
FALSTAFF 2693 I think the devil will not have me damned,
2694 lest the oil that’s in me should set hell on fire. He
2695 would never else cross me thus.
Enter ⌜Mistress⌝ Quickly, Pistol, ⌜Sir Hugh⌝ Evans,
Anne Page ⌜and boys, all disguised as⌝ Fairies ⌜and
MISTRESS QUICKLY, ⌜as Fairy Queen⌝
2696 40 Fairies black, gray, green, and white,
2697 You moonshine revelers and shades of night,
2698 You orphan heirs of fixèd destiny,
2699 Attend your office and your quality.
2700 Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes.
PISTOL, ⌜as Hobgoblin⌝
2701 45 Elves, list your names. Silence, you airy toys!—
2702 Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap,
2703 Where fires thou find’st unraked and hearths
2705 There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry.
2706 50 Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery.
2707 They are fairies. He that speaks to them shall die.
2708 I’ll wink and couch. No man their works must eye.
⌜He crouches down and covers his eyes.⌝
SIR HUGH, ⌜as a fairy⌝
2709 Where’s Bead? Go you, and where you find a maid
2710 That ere she sleep has thrice her prayers said,
2711 55 Raise up the organs of her fantasy;
2712 Sleep she as sound as careless infancy.
2713 But those as sleep and think not on their sins,
2714 Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides, and
p. 191MISTRESS QUICKLY, ⌜as Fairy Queen⌝ 2716 60About, about!
2717 Search Windsor Castle, elves, within and out.
2718 Strew good luck, aufs, on every sacred room,
2719 That it may stand till the perpetual doom
2720 In state as wholesome as in state ’tis fit,
2721 65 Worthy the owner, and the owner it.
2722 The several chairs of order look you scour
2723 With juice of balm and every precious flower.
2724 Each fair installment, coat, and sev’ral crest
2725 With loyal blazon evermore be blest!
2726 70 And nightly, meadow fairies, look you sing,
2727 Like to the Garter’s compass, in a ring.
2728 Th’ expressure that it bears, green let it be,
2729 ⌜More⌝ fertile-fresh than all the field to see;
2730 And Honi soit qui mal y pense write
2731 75 In em’rald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white,
2732 Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
2733 Buckled below fair knighthood’s bending knee.
2734 Fairies use flowers for their charactery.
2735 Away, disperse! But till ’tis one o’clock,
2736 80 Our dance of custom round about the oak
2737 Of Herne the Hunter let us not forget.
SIR HUGH, ⌜as a fairy⌝
2738 Pray you, lock hand in hand. Yourselves in order set;
2739 And twenty glowworms shall our lanterns be,
2740 To guide our measure round about the tree.
2741 85 But stay! I smell a man of Middle Earth.
FALSTAFF, ⌜aside⌝ 2742 Heavens defend me from that Welsh
2743 fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese.
PISTOL, ⌜as Hobgoblin, to Falstaff⌝
2744 Vile worm, thou wast o’erlooked even in thy birth.
MISTRESS QUICKLY, ⌜as Fairy Queen, to Sir Hugh⌝
2745 With trial-fire touch me his finger-end.
2746 90 If he be chaste, the flame will back descend
2747 And turn him to no pain. But if he start,
2748 It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.
p. 193PISTOL, ⌜as Hobgoblin⌝
2749 A trial, come!
SIR HUGH, ⌜as a fairy⌝ 2750 Come, will this wood take fire?
⌜Sir Hugh puts a taper to Falstaff’s finger, and he starts.⌝
FALSTAFF 2751 95O, O, O!
MISTRESS QUICKLY, ⌜as Fairy Queen⌝
2752 Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!
2753 About him, fairies. Sing a scornful rhyme,
2754 And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
⌜Here they pinch him and sing about him, and Doctor
Caius comes one way and steals away a boy in white.
And Slender comes another way; he takes a boy in
green. And Fenton steals Mistress Anne Page.⌝
2755 Fie on sinful fantasy!
2756 100 Fie on lust and luxury!
2757 Lust is but a bloody fire
2758 Kindled with unchaste desire,
2759 Fed in heart whose flames aspire
2760 As thoughts do blow them higher and higher.
2761 105 Pinch him, fairies, mutually;
2762 Pinch him for his villainy.
2763 Pinch him and burn him and turn him about,
2764 Till candles and starlight and moonshine be out.
⌜A noise of hunting is made within, and all the fairies
run away from Falstaff, who pulls off his buck’s head
and rises up.⌝ Enter Page, ⌜Mistress Page,
Mistress Ford and⌝ Ford.
PAGE, ⌜to Falstaff⌝
2765 Nay, do not fly. I think we have watched you now.
2766 110 Will none but Herne the Hunter serve your turn?
2767 I pray you, come, hold up the jest no higher.—
2768 Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives?
p. 195⌜She points to the horns.⌝
2769 See you these, husband? Do not these fair yokes
2770 Become the forest better than the town?
FORD, ⌜to Falstaff⌝ 2771 115Now, sir, who’s a cuckold now?
2772 Master ⌜Brook,⌝ Falstaff’s a knave, a cuckoldly
2773 knave. Here are his horns, Master ⌜Brook.⌝ And,
2774 Master ⌜Brook,⌝ he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford’s
2775 but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty
2776 120 pounds of money, which must be paid to Master
2777 ⌜Brook.⌝ His horses are arrested for it, Master
MISTRESS FORD 2779 Sir John, we have had ill luck. We
2780 could never meet. I will never take you for my love
2781 125 again, but I will always count you my deer.
FALSTAFF 2782 I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass.
FORD 2783 Ay, and an ox too. Both the proofs are extant.
FALSTAFF 2784 And these are not fairies. I was three or four
2785 times in the thought they were not fairies; and yet
2786 130 the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of
2787 my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into
2788 a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all
2789 rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now
2790 how wit may be made a Jack-a-Lent when ’tis upon
2791 135 ill employment.
SIR HUGH 2792 Sir John Falstaff, serve Got and leave your
2793 desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
FORD 2794 Well said, Fairy Hugh.
SIR HUGH 2795 And leave you your jealousies too, I pray
2796 140 you.
FORD 2797 I will never mistrust my wife again till thou art
2798 able to woo her in good English.
FALSTAFF 2799 Have I laid my brain in the sun and dried it,
2800 that it wants matter to prevent so gross o’erreaching
2801 145 as this? Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too?
2802 Shall I have a coxcomb of frieze? ’Tis time I were
2803 choked with a piece of toasted cheese.
p. 197SIR HUGH 2804 Seese is not good to give putter. Your belly is
2805 all putter.
FALSTAFF 2806 150“Seese” and “putter”? Have I lived to stand at
2807 the taunt of one that makes fritters of English?
2808 This is enough to be the decay of lust and late
2809 walking through the realm.
MISTRESS PAGE 2810 Why, Sir John, do you think though we
2811 155 would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the
2812 head and shoulders, and have given ourselves
2813 without scruple to hell, that ever the devil could
2814 have made you our delight?
FORD 2815 What, a hodge-pudding? A bag of flax?
MISTRESS PAGE 2816 160A puffed man?
PAGE 2817 Old, cold, withered, and of intolerable entrails?
FORD 2818 And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
PAGE 2819 And as poor as Job?
FORD 2820 And as wicked as his wife?
SIR HUGH 2821 165And given to fornications, and to taverns,
2822 and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings
2823 and swearings and starings, pribbles and
FALSTAFF 2825 Well, I am your theme. You have the start of
2826 170 me. I am dejected. I am not able to answer the
2827 Welsh flannel. Ignorance itself is a plummet o’er
2828 me. Use me as you will.
FORD 2829 Marry, sir, we’ll bring you to Windsor to one
2830 Master ⌜Brook,⌝ that you have cozened of money,
2831 175 to whom you should have been a pander. Over and
2832 above that you have suffered, I think to repay that
2833 money will be a biting affliction.
PAGE 2834 Yet be cheerful, knight. Thou shalt eat a posset
2835 tonight at my house, where I will desire thee to
2836 180 laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee. Tell her
2837 Master Slender hath married her daughter.
MISTRESS PAGE, ⌜aside⌝ 2838 Doctors doubt that. If Anne
2839 Page be my daughter, she is, by this, Doctor Caius’
p. 199Enter Slender.
SLENDER 2841 185Whoa, ho, ho, Father Page!
PAGE 2842 Son, how now! How now, son! Have you
SLENDER 2844 “Dispatched”? I’ll make the best in Gloucestershire
2845 know on ’t. Would I were hanged, la, else!
PAGE 2846 190Of what, son?
SLENDER 2847 I came yonder at Eton to marry Mistress
2848 Anne Page, and she’s a great lubberly boy. If it had
2849 not been i’ th’ church, I would have swinged him,
2850 or he should have swinged me. If I did not think it
2851 195 had been Anne Page, would I might never stir! And
2852 ’tis a post-master’s boy.
PAGE 2853 Upon my life, then, you took the wrong—
SLENDER 2854 What need you tell me that? I think so, when
2855 I took a boy for a girl. If I had been married to him,
2856 200 for all he was in woman’s apparel, I would not
2857 have had him.
PAGE 2858 Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you
2859 how you should know my daughter by her
SLENDER 2861 205I went to her in ⌜white,⌝ and cried “mum,”
2862 and she cried “budget,” as Anne and I had appointed,
2863 and yet it was not Anne, but a post-master’s
MISTRESS PAGE 2865 Good George, be not angry. I knew of
2866 210 your purpose, turned my daughter into ⌜green,⌝
2867 and indeed she is now with the doctor at the deanery,
2868 and there married.
Enter ⌜Doctor⌝ Caius.
DOCTOR CAIUS 2869 Vere is Mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened!
2870 I ha’ married un garçon, a boy; un paysan, by
2871 215 gar, a boy. It is not Anne Page. By gar, I am
p. 201MISTRESS PAGE 2873 Why? Did you take her in ⌜green?⌝
DOCTOR CAIUS 2874 Ay, be gar, and ’tis a boy. Be gar, I’ll raise
2875 all Windsor.
FORD 2876 220This is strange. Who hath got the right Anne?
Enter Fenton and Anne Page.
PAGE 2877 My heart misgives me. Here comes Master Fenton.—
2878 How now, Master Fenton!
ANNE 2879 Pardon, good father. Good my mother, pardon.
PAGE 2880 Now, mistress, how chance you went not with
2881 225 Master Slender?
2882 Why went you not with Master Doctor, maid?
2883 You do amaze her. Hear the truth of it.
2884 You would have married her most shamefully,
2885 Where there was no proportion held in love.
2886 230 The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,
2887 Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve us.
2888 Th’ offense is holy that she hath committed,
2889 And this deceit loses the name of craft,
2890 Of disobedience, or unduteous title,
2891 235 Since therein she doth evitate and shun
2892 A thousand irreligious cursèd hours
2893 Which forcèd marriage would have brought upon her.
FORD, ⌜to Page and Mistress Page⌝
2894 Stand not amazed. Here is no remedy.
2895 In love the heavens themselves do guide the state.
2896 240 Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.
FALSTAFF 2897 I am glad, though you have ta’en a special
2898 stand to strike at me, that your arrow hath
2900 Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give thee joy.
2901 245 What cannot be eschewed must be embraced.
2902 When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are chased.
2903 Well, I will muse no further.—Master Fenton,
2904 Heaven give you many, many merry days.—
2905 Good husband, let us every one go home
2906 250 And laugh this sport o’er by a country fire—
2907 Sir John and all.
FORD 2908 Let it be so, Sir John.
2909 To Master ⌜Brook⌝ you yet shall hold your word,
2910 For he tonight shall lie with Mistress Ford.