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Host. Thou art clerkly,* thou art clerkly, Sir John: Was there a wise woman with thee?
Fal. Ay, that there was, mine host; one, that hath taught me more wit than ever I learned before in my life: and I paid nothing for it, neither, but was paid for my learning.
Bard. Run away with the cozeners: for so soon as I came beyond Eton, they threw me off from behind one of them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs, and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.
Host. They are gone but to meet the duke, villain : do not say, they be fled ;-Germans are honest men.
Enter SIR HUGH EVANS.
Eva. Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town, tells me, there is three couzin germans, that has cozened all the hosts of 'Readings, of Maidenhead, of 'Colebrook, of horses and money: I tell you for good-will, look you: you are wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-stogs; and 'tis not convenient you should be cozened : Fare you well. [Exit.
Enter DOCTOR CAIUS. Caius. Vere is mine Host de Jarterre ? Host. Here, master doctor, in perplexity, and doubtful dilemma.
Caius. I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a me, dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Jarmany : by my trot, dere is no duke, dat the court is know to come; I tell you for good vill: adieú.
[Exit. Host. Hue and cry, villain, go:-assist me, knight; I am undone :-fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone!
[Exeunt Host and BARDOLPH. Fal. I would, all the world might be cozened; for I have been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court, how I have been transformed, and how my transformation hath been washed and cudgelled, they would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor fishermen's boots with me; I warrant, they would whip me with their fine wits, till I were as crestfallen as a dried pear. I never prospered since I forswore my. self at Primero.t" Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.
Enter MRS. QUICKLY. Now! whence come you?
Quick. From the two parties, forsooth.
Fal. The devil take one party and his dam the other, and so they shall be both bestowed. I have suffered more for their sakes, * Scholar-like.
† A game at cards
more than the villanous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.
Quick. And have not they suffered? Yes, I warrant; speciously one of them; mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.
Fal. What tellist thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow, and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford; but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman, delivered me, the knave constable had set me i'the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.
Quick. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber: you shall hear how things go; and I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado here is to bring you together! Sure one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so crossed. Fal. Come up into my chamber.
[Exeunt. SCENE VI.-Another Room in the Garter Inn.
Enter FENTON and Host. Host. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy, 1 will give over all.
Fent. Yet hear me speak: Assist me in my purpose,
Host. I will hear you, master Fenton; and I will, at the least, keep your counsel.
Fent. From time to time I have acquainted you With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page; Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection (So far forth as herself might be her chooser), Even to my wish: I have a letter from her Of such contents as you will wonder at; The mirth whereof so larded with my matter, That neither, singly, can be manifested, Without the show of both :-wherein fát Falstaff Hath a great scene: the image of the jest. [Showing the letter I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host: To-night at Herne's oak, just 'twixt twelve and one, Must my sweet Nan present the fairy queen; The purpose why, is here ;* in which disguise, While other jests are something rank on foot, Her father hath commanded her to slip Away with Slender, and with him at Eton Immediately to marry: she hath consented: Now, Sir, Her mother, even strong against that match, And firm for doctor Caius, hath appointed That he shall likewise shuffle her away, While other sports are tasking of their minds, And at the deanery, where a priest attends,
* In the letter.
Straight marry her: to this her niother's plot
Host. Which means she to deceive ? father or mother?
Fent. Both, my good host, to go along with me:
Host. Well, husband your device; I'll to the vicar:
Fent. So shall I evermore be bound to thee; Besides, I'll make a present recompense
Enter FALSTAFF and MRS. QUICKLY. Fal. Prythee, no more prattling;-go. I'll hold:f This is the third time; I hope, good luck lies in odd numbers. Away, go; they say there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.-Away.
Quick. I'll provide you a chain; and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns. Fal. Away, I say; time wears: hold up your head, and mince
[Exit MRS. QUICKLY.
Enter FORD. How now, master Brook? Master Brook, the matter will be known to-night, or never. Be you in the Park about midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall see wonders.
Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, Sir, as you told me you had appointed ?
Fal. I went to her, master Brook, as you see, like a poor old man: but I came from her, master Brook, like a poor old woman. That same knave, Ford, her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, master Brook, that ever governed frenzy. I will tell * Fantastically.
+ Keep to the time.
you.-He beat me grievously, in the shape of a woman; for in the shape of man, master Brook, I fear not Goliah with a weaver's beam; because I know also, life is a shuttle. I am in haste; go along with me; I'll tell you
all, master Brook. Since Î plucked geese, played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what it was to be beaten, till lately. Follow me; I'll tell you strange things of this knave Ford: on whom to-night I will be revenged, and I will deliver his wife into your hand.-Follow: Strange things in hand, master Brook! follow.
SCENE II.-Windsor Park.
Enter PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER. Page. Come, come; we'll couch i' the castle ditch, till we see the light of our fairies.-Remember, son Slender, my daughter.
Slen. Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her, and we have a nay, word,* how to know one another. I come to her in white, and cry, mum; she cries, budget; and by that we know one another.
Shal. That's good too. But what needs either your mum, or her budget? the white will decipher her well enough.-It hath struck ten o'clock.
Page. The night is dark; light and spirits will become it well. Heaven prosper our sport! No man means evil but the devil, and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away; follow me.
[Exeunt. SCENE III.-The Street in Windsor. Enter MRS. PAGE, MRS. FORD, and DR. CAJUS. Mrs. Page. Master doctor, my daughter is in green: when you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the deanery, and despatch it quickly: go before into the park; we two must go together.
Caius. I know vat I have to do; Adieu. Mrs. Page. Fare you well, Sir. [Exit CAIUS.] My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff, as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter: but’tis no matter; better a little chiding
than a great deal of heart-break. Mrs. Ford. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies ? and the Welsh devil, Hugh?
Mrs. Page. They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscured lights; which, at the very instant of Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once display to the night.
Mrs. Ford. That cannot choose but amaze him.
Mrs. Page. If he be not amazed, Ine will be mocked; if he be amazed, he will every way be mocked.
Mrs. Ford. We'll betray him finely.
Mrs. Page. Against such lewdsters, and their lechery,
(Exeunt. * Watch-word.
SCENE IV.-Windsor Park.
Enter SIR HUGH Evans and FAIRIES. Eva. Trib, trib, fairies; come; and remember your parts; be pold, I pray you; follow me into the pit; and when I give the watch-'ords, do as I pid you; Come, come; trib, trib. [Exeunt.
SCENE V.-Another part of the Park. Enter FALSTAFF disguised, 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.-0 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;- Jove, a beastly fault! 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?
Enter MRS. FORD and MRS. PAGE. 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 provocation, I will shelter me here.
[Embracing her. Mrs. Ford. Mistress Page is come with me, sweetheart.
Fal. Divide me like a bribe-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 woodman ha! Speak I like Herne the hunter ?-Why,
now is Cupid a child of conscience; he makes restitution. As I am a true spirit, welcome!
[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 thus. Enter SIR HUGH EVANS, like a satyr ; MRS. QUICKLY, and
PISTOL; ANNE PAGE, as the Fairy Queen, attended by her brother and others, dressed like fairies, with waxen tapers on their heads. Quick. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white, You moon-shine revellers, and shades of night,
* Keeper of the forest.