William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor in the complete original text.
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The Merry Wives of Windsor

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Act I. Scene III.

Scene III.—A Room in the Garter Inn.


Fal. Mine host of the Garter!
Host. What says my bully-rook? Speak scho-
larly and wisely.
Fal. Truly, mine host, I must turn away
some of my followers.
Host. Discard, bully Hercules; cashier: let
them wag; trot, trot.
Fal. I sit at ten pounds a week.
Host. Thou'rt an emperor, Cæsar, Keisar, and
Pheezar. I will entertain Bardolph; he shall
draw. he shall tap: said I well, bully Hector?
Fal. Do so, good mine host.
Host. I have spoke; let him follow. [To BARD.]
Let me see thee froth and lime: I am at a word;
follow. [Exit.
Fal. Bardolph, follow him. A tapster is a
good trade: an old cloak makes a new jerkin; a
withered serving-man, a fresh tapster. Go; adieu.
Bard. It is a life that I have desired. I will
Pist. O base Hungarian wight! wilt thou the
spigot wield? [Exit BARD.
Nym. He was gotten in drink; is not the
humour conceited?
Fal. I am glad I am so acquit of this tinder-
box; his thefts were too open; his filching was
like an unskilful singer; he kept not time.
Nym. The good humour is to steal at a
minim's rest.
Pist. 'Convey,' the wise it call. 'Steal!' foh!
a fico for the phrase!
Fal. Well, sirs, I am almost out at heels.
Pist. Why, then, let kibes ensue.
Fal. There is no remedy; I must cony-
catch, I must shift.
Pist. Young ravens must have food.
Fal. Which of you know Ford of this town?
Pist. I ken the wight: he is of substance
Fal. My honest lads, I will tell you what I
am about.
Pist. Two yards, and more.
Fal. No quips now. Pistol! Indeed, I am in
the waist two yards about; but I am now about
no waste; I am about thrift. Briefly, I do mean
to make love to Ford's wife: I spy entertainment
in her; she discourses, she carves, she gives the
leer of invitation: I can construe the action of
her familiar style; and the hardest voice of her
behaviour, to be Englished rightly, is, 'I am Sir
John Falstaff's.'
Pist. He hath studied her well, and translated
her well, out of honesty into English.
Nym. The anchor is deep: will that humour
Fal. Now, the report goes she has all the rule
of her husband's purse; he hath a legion of
Pist. As many devils entertain, and 'To her,
boy,' say I.
Nym. The humour rises; it is good: humour
me the angels.
Fal. I have writ me here a letter to her; and
here another to Page's wife, who even now gave
me good eyes too, examined my parts with most
judicious œilliades: sometimes the beam of her
view gilded my foot, sometimes my portly belly.
Pist. Then did the sun on dunghill shine.
Nym. I thank thee for that humour.
Fal. O! she did so course o'er my exteriors
with such a greedy intention, that the appetite
of her eye did seem to scorch me up like a burn-
ing-glass. Here's another letter to her: she
bears the purse too; she is a region in Guiana,
all gold and bounty. I will be 'cheater to them
both, and they shall be exchequers to me: they
shall be my East and West Indies, and I will
trade to them both. Go bear thou this letter to
Mistress Page; and thou this to Mistress Ford.
We will thrive, lads, we will thrive.
Pist. Shall I Sir Pandarus of Troy become,
And by my side wear steel? then, Lucifer
take all!
Nym. I will run no base humour: here, take
the humour-letter. I will keep the haviour of
Fal. [To ROBIN.] Hold, sirrah, bear you these
letters tightly:
Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores.
[Exit ROBIN.
Rogues, hence! avaunt! vanish like hailstones, go;
Trudge, plod away o' the hoof; seek shelter, pack!
Falstaff will learn the humour of this age,
French thrift, you rogues: myself and skirted
page. [Exeunt FALSTAFF and ROBIN.
Pist. Let vultures gripe thy guts! for gourd
and fullam holds,
And high and low beguile the rich and poor.
Tester I'll have in pouch when thou shalt lack,
Base Phrygian Turk!
Nym. I have operations in my head, which
be humours of revenge.
Pist. Wilt thou revenge?
Nym. By welkin and her star!
Pist. With wit or steel?
Nym. With both the humours, I:
I will discuss the humour of this love to Page.
Pist. And I to Ford shall eke unfold
How Falstaff, varlet vile,
His dove will prove, his gold will hold,
And his soft couch defile.
Nym. My humour shall not cool: I will
incense Page to deal with poison; I will possess
him with yellowness, for the revolt of mine is
dangerous: that is my true humour.
Pist. Thou art the Mars of malcontents: I
second thee; troop on. [Exeunt.
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