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 V. Scene V.

Scene V.—Another part of the Park.

Enter FALSTAFF disguised as Herne, with a
buck's head on.

Fal. The Windsor bell hath struck twelve;
the minute draws on. Now, the hot-blooded
gods assist me! Remember, Jove, thou wast a
bull for thy Europa; love set on thy horns. O
powerful love! that, in some respects, makes a
beast a man; in some other, a man a beast. You
were also, Jupiter, a swan for the love of Leda;
O omnipotent love! how near the god drew to
the complexion of a goose! A fault done first in
the form of a beast; O Jove, a beastly fault I
and then another fault in the semblance of a
fowl: think on't, Jove; a foul fault! When gods
have hot backs, what shall poor men do? For
me, I am here a Windsor stag; and the fattest,
I think, i' the forest: send me a cool rut-time,
Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow?
Who comes here? my doe?

Mrs. Ford. Sir John! art thou there, my deer?
my male deer?
Fal. My doe with the black scut! Let the
sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of
'Green Sleeves;' hail kissing-comfits and snow
eringoes; let there come a tempest of provoca-
tion, I will shelter me here. [Embracing her,
Mrs. Ford. Mistress Page is come with me,
Fal. Divide me like a brib'd buck, each a
haunch: I will keep my sides to myself, my
shoulders for the fellow of this walk, and my
horns I bequeath your husbands. Am I a wood-
man, ha? Speak I like Herne the hunter?
Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience; he
makes restitution. As I am a true spirit, wel-
come! [Noise within.
Mrs. Page. Alas! what noise?
Mrs. Ford. Heaven forgive our sins!
Fal. What should this be?
Mrs. Ford. & Mrs. Page.} Away, away! [They run off.
Fal. I think the devil will not have me
damned, lest the oil that is in me should set
hell on fire; he would never else cross me

Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, like a Satyr; PISTOL as
Hobgoblin; ANNE PAGE, as the Fairy Queen,
attended by her Brother and Others, as Fairies,
with waxen tapers on their heads.
Anne. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
You moonshine revellers, and shades of night,
You orphan heirs of fixed destiny,
Attend your office and your quality.
Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes.
Pist. Elves, list your names: silence, you
airy toys!
Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap:
Where fires thou find'st unrak'd and hearths
There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry:
Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery.
Fal. They are fairies; he that speaks to them
shall die:
I'll wink and couch: no man their works must
eye. [Lies down upon his face.
Eva. Where's Bede? Go you, and where you
find a maid
That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said,
Rein up the organs of her fantasy,
Sleep she as sound as careless infancy;
But those that sleep and think not on their sins,
Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides,
and shins.
Anne. About, about!
Search Windsor castle, elves, within and out:
Strew good luck, ouphs, on every sacred room,
That it may stand till the perpetual doom,
In seat as wholesome as in state 'tis fit,
Worthy the owner, and the owner it.
The several chairs of order look you scour
With juice of balm and every precious flower:
Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest,
With loyal blazon, ever more be blest!
And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing,
Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring:
The expressure that it bears, green let it be,
More fertile-fresh than all the field to see;
And, Honi soit qui mal y pense write
In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white;
Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee:
Fairies use flowers for their charactery.
Away! disperse! But, till 'tis one o'clock,
Our dance of custom round about the oak
Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget.
Eva. Pray you, lock hand in hand; your-
selves in order set;
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanthorns be,
To guide our measure round about the tree.
But, stay; I smell a man of middle-earth.
Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welsh
fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!
Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even
in thy birth.
Anne. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end:
If he be chaste, the flame will back descend
And turn him to no pain; but if he start,
It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.
Pist. A trial! come.
Eva. Come, will this wood take fire?
[They burn him with their tapers.
Fal. Oh, oh, oh!
Anne. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in
About him, fairies, sing a scornful rime;
And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
Pie on sinful fantasy!
Fie on lust and luxury!
Lust is but a bloody fire,
Kindled with unchaste desire,
Fed in heart, whose flames aspire,
As thoughts do blow them higher and higher,
Pinch him, fairies, mutually;
Pinch him for his villany;
Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
Till caudles and star-light and moonshine be out.
During this song, the Fairies pinch FALSTAFF.
DOCTOR CAIUS comes one way, and steals
away a Fairy in green; SLENDER another
way, and takes off a Fairy in white; and
FENTON comes, and steals away ANNE
PAGE. A noise of hunting is heard within.
The Fairies run away. FALSTAFF pulls
off his buck's head, and rises.

FORD. They lay hold on FALSTAFF.
Page. Nay, do not fly: I think we have
watch'd you now:
Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn?
Mrs. Page. I pray you, come, hold up the
jest no higher.
Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor
See you these, husband? do not these fair yokes
Become the forest better than the town?
Ford. Now sir, who's a cuckold now? Mas-
ter Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave;
here are his horns, Master Brook: and, Master
Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but
his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds
of money, which must be paid too. Master Brook;
his horses are arrested for it. Master Brook.
Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck;
we could never meet. I will never take you for
my love again, but I will always count you my
Fal. I do begin to perceive that I am made
an ass.
Ford. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs
are extant.
Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three
or four times in the thought they were not
fairies; and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the
sudden surprise of my powers, drove the gross-
ness of the foppery into a received belief, in
despite of the teeth of all rime and reason, that
they were fairies. See now how wit may be
made a Jack-a-lent, when 'tis upon ill employ-
Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave
your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.
Eva. And leave you your jealousies too, I
pray you.
Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again,
till thou art able to woo her in good English.
Fal. Have I laid my brain in the sun and
dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross
o'er-reaching as this? Am I ridden with a
Welsh goat too? shall I have a coxcomb of
frize? 'Tis time I were choked with a piece of
toasted cheese.
Eva. Seese is not goot to give putter: your
pelly is all putter.
Fal. ' Seese' and 'putter!' have I lived to stand
at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English?
This is enough to be the decay of lust and late-
walking through the realm.
Mrs. Page. Why, Sir John, do you think,
though we would have thrust virtue out of our
hearts by the head and shoulders, and have
given ourselves without scruple to hell, that ever
the devil could have made you our delight?
Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax?
Mrs. Page. A puffed man?
Page. Old, cold, withered, and of intolerable
Ford. And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
Page. And as poor as Job?
Ford. And as wicked as his wife?
Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns,
and sack and wine and metheglins, and to
drinkings and swearings and starings, pribbles
and prabbles?
Fal. Well, I am your theme: you have the
start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to
answer the Welsh flannel. Ignorance itself is
a plummet o'er me: use me as you will.
Ford. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor,
to one Master Brook, that you have cozened of
money, to whom you should have been a pander:
over and above that you have suffered, I think,
to repay that money will be a biting affliction.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, let that go to make
Forgive that sum, and so we'll all be friends.
Ford. Well, here's my hand: all is forgiven at
Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt
eat a posset to-night at my house; where I will
desire thee to laugh at my wife, that now laughs
at thee, Tell her, Master Slender hath married
her daughter.
Mrs. Page. [Aside.] Doctors doubt that: if
Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this
Doctor Caius' wife.

Slen. Whoa, ho! ho! father Page!
Page. Son, how now! how now, son! have
you dispatched?
Slen. Dispatched! I'll make the best in
Gloster-shire know on't; would I were hanged,
la, else!
Page. Of what, son?
Slen. I came yonder at Eton to marry Mistress
Anne Page, and she's a great lubberly boy: if it
had not been i' the church, I would have swinged
him, or he should have swinged me. If I did
not think it had been Anne Page, would I might
never stir! and 'tis a postmaster's boy.
Page. Upon my life, then, you took the wrong.
Slen. What need you tell me that? I think
so, when I took a boy for a girl If I had been
married to him, for all he was in woman's ap-
parel, I would not have had him.
Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not
I tell you how you should know my daughter by
her garments?
Slen. I went to her in white, and cried,
'mum,' and she cried 'budget,' as Anne and I
had appointed; and yet it was not Anne, but a
postmaster's boy.
Eva. Jeshu! Master Slender, cannot you see
put marry poys?
Page. O I am vexed at heart: what shall
I do?
Mrs. Page. Good George, be not angry: I
knew of your purpose; turned my daughter into
green; and, indeed, she is now with the doctor
at the deanery, and there married.

Caius. Vere is Mistress Page? By gar, I am.
cozened: I ha' married un garçon, a boy; un
paysan, by gar, a boy; it is not Anne Page: by
gar, I am cozened.
Mrs. Page. Why, did you not take her in green?
Caius. Ay, by gar, and 'tis a boy: by gar, I'll
raise all Windsor. [Exit.
Ford. This is strange. Who hath got the
right Anne?
page. My heart misgives me: here comes
Master Fenton.

How now, Master Fenton!
Anne. Pardon, good father! good my mother,
Page. Now, mistress, how chance you went
not with Master Slender?
Mrs. Page. Why went you not with Master
Doctor, maid?
Fent. You do amaze her: hear the truth of it.
You would have married her most shamefully,
Where there was no proportion held in love.
The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,
Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve us.
The offence is holy that she hath committed,
And this deceit loses the name of craft,
Of disobedience, or unduteous title,
Since therein she doth evitate and shun
A thousand irreligious cursed hours,
Which forced marriage would have brought
upon her.
Ford. Stand not amaz'd: here is no remedy:
In love the heavens themselves do guide the
Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.
Fal. I am glad, though you have ta'en a
special stand to strike at me, that your arrow
hath glanced.
Page. Well, what remedy?—Fenton, heaven
give thee joy!
What cannot be eschew'd must be embrac'd.
Fal. When night dogs run all sorts of deer
are chas'd.
Mrs. Page. Well, I will muse no further.
Master Fenton,
Heaven give you many, many merry days!
Good husband, let us every one go home,
And laugh this sport o'er by a country fire;
Sir John and all.
Ford. Let it be so. Sir John,
To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word;
For he to-night shall lie with Mistress Ford.
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