The Merry Wives of Windsor


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Mistress Quickly and Simple


MISTRESS QUICKLY

(calling)

What, John Rugby!

Enter Rugby
casement (n.) 1 window [on hinges and able to be opened]

I pray thee, go to the casement and see if you can see

my master, Master Doctor Caius, coming. If he do,

i'faith, and find anybody in the house, here will be an

old abusing of God's patience and the King's English.
old (adj.) 4 plenty of, abundant, more than enough


RUGBY

I'll go watch.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Go; and we'll have a posset for't
posset (n.) restorative hot drink, made of milk, liquor, and other ingredients

soon at night, in faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal
sea-coal (adj.) mined coal of high quality brought by sea

fire.

Exit Rugby

An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant shall

come in house withal; and, I warrant you, no tell-tale,
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

nor no breed-bate. His worst fault is that he is given to
breed-bate (n.) trouble-maker, one who makes mischief

prayer. He is something peevish that way, but nobody
peevish (adj.) 1 silly, foolish; or: headstrong, impulsive
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count

but has his fault. But let that pass. – Peter Simple you

say your name is?


SIMPLE

Ay, for fault of a better.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

And Master Slender's your master?


SIMPLE

Ay, forsooth.
forsooth (adv.) in truth, certainly, truly, indeed See Topics: Frequency count


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Does he not wear a great round

beard like a glover's paring-knife?
glover (n.) glove-maker, leather-worker


SIMPLE

No, forsooth. He hath but a little wee face, with a

little yellow beard – a Cain-coloured beard.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

A softly-sprighted man, is he not?
softly-sprighted (adj.) mild-tempered, gentle-spirited


SIMPLE

Ay, forsooth. But he is as tall a man of his hands
tall (adj.) 1 brave, valiant, bold

as any is between this and his head. He hath fought with

a warrener.
warrener (n.) keeper of a rabbit warren


MISTRESS QUICKLY

How say you? – O, I should remember

him. Does he not hold up his head, as it were,

and strut in his gait?
gait (n.) 1 manner of walking, bearing, movement


SIMPLE

Yes, indeed, does he.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Well, heaven send Anne Page no

worse fortune. Tell Master Parson Evans I will do

what I can for your master. Anne is a good girl, and I

wish –

Enter Rugby


RUGBY

Out, alas! Here comes my master.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

We shall all be shent. Run in here,
shent (v.) 1 [from obsolete verb ‘shend’] blamed, rebuked, reproached

good young man; go into this closet. He will not stay
closet (n.) 1 private chamber, study, own room

long.

She shuts Simple in the closet

What, John Rugby! John, what, John, I say! Go, John,

go inquire for my master. I doubt he be not well, that
doubt (v.) 2 suspect, have suspicions about, fear

he comes not home.

Exit Rugby

She sings

And down, down, adown-a, etc.

Enter Doctor Caius
toy (n.) 1 whim, caprice, trifling matter


CAIUS

Vat is you sing? I do not like dese toys. Pray you go

and vetch me in my closet un boîtier vert – a box, a

green-a box. Do intend vat I speak? A green-a box.
intend (v.) 7 [translation of French ‘entendre’] understand


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Ay, forsooth, I'll fetch it you.

(Aside) I am glad he went not in himself. If he had

found the young man, he would have been horn-mad.
horn-mad (adj.) [as of horned beasts] furious, enraged, raving mad

Exit to the closet


CAIUS

Fe, fe, fe, fe! Ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je m'en

vais à la cour – la grande affaire.

Enter Mistress Quickly with the box


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Is it this, sir?


CAIUS

Oui, mette-le au mon pocket. Dépêche, quickly. Vere

is dat knave Rugby?
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count


MISTRESS QUICKLY

What, John Rugby! John!

Enter Rugby


RUGBY

Here, sir.


CAIUS

You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby.

Come, take-a your rapier, and come after my heel to the

court.


RUGBY

'Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.


CAIUS

By my trot, I tarry too long. 'Od's me! Qu'ai-je

oublié? Dere is some simples in my closet, dat I vill not
simple (n.) 2 medicinal herb, medicine

for the varld I shall leave behind.

Exit to the closet


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Ay me, he'll find the young man

there, and be mad.
mad (adj.) 1 wild, uncontrollable, excitable, high-spirited


CAIUS

(within)

O, diable, diable! Vat is in my closet?

Villainy! Larron!

Enter Caius, pulling Simple out of the closet

Rugby, my rapier!


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Good master, be content.
content (adj.) 3 satisfied, calm, easy in mind


CAIUS

Wherefore shall I be content-a?


MISTRESS QUICKLY

The young man is an honest man.


CAIUS

What shall de honest man do in my closet? Dere is

no honest man dat shall come in my closet.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic.
phlegmatic (adj.) malapropism for ‘choleric’ [= angry]

Hear the truth of it. He came of an errand to me from

Parson Hugh.


CAIUS

Vell?


SIMPLE

Ay, forsooth, to desire her to –


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Peace, I pray you.


CAIUS

Peace-a your tongue. (To Simple) Speak-a your

tale.


SIMPLE

To desire this honest gentlewoman, your maid,

to speak a good word to Mistress Anne Page for my

master in the way of marriage.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

This is all, indeed, la! But I'll

ne'er put my finger in the fire, and need not.


CAIUS

Sir Hugh send-a you? Rugby, baille me some

paper. (To Simple) Tarry you a little-a while.

He writes


MISTRESS QUICKLY

(aside to Simple)

I am glad he is so

quiet. If he had been throughly moved, you should have
moved (adj.) 1 upset, agitated, distressed
throughly (adv.) thoroughly, fully, completely

heard him so loud and so melancholy. But notwithstanding,

man, I'll do you your master what good I can.

And the very yea and the no is, the French doctor, my

master – I may call him my master, look you, for I keep

his house; and I wash, wring, brew, bake, scour, dress
dress (v.) 1 prepare, make ready

meat and drink, make the beds, and do all myself –
meat (n.) 1 food, nourishment


SIMPLE

(aside to Mistress Quickly)
charge (n.) 3 task, responsibility, duty

'Tis a great charge to

come under one body's hand.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

(aside to Simple)
advise, avise (v.) 3 inform, be aware, apprise

Are you avised

o' that? You shall find it a great charge – and to be up
charge (n.) 3 task, responsibility, duty

early and down late. But notwithstanding – to tell you

in your ear, I would have no words of it – my master

himself is in love with Mistress Anne Page. But notwithstanding

that, I know Anne's mind. That's neither

here nor there.


CAIUS

You, jack'nape, give-a this letter to Sir Hugh. By
jackanapes, jackanape, jack'nape (n.) upstart, buffoon, monkey

gar, it is a shallenge. I will cut his troat in de park, and I will

teach a scurvy jackanape priest to meddle or make. You
jackanapes, jackanape, jack'nape (n.) upstart, buffoon, monkey
meddle or make interfere, butt in
scurvy (adj.) 1 contemptible, despicable, wretched

Exit Simple

may be gone. It is not good you tarry here. Exit Simple

By gar, I will cut all his two stones. By gar, he shall not
stone (n.) 4 testicle

have a stone to throw at his dog.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Alas, he speaks but for his friend.


CAIUS

It is no matter-a ver dat. Do not you tell-a me dat

I shall have Anne Page for myself? By gar, I vill kill de

Jack priest. And I have appointed mine host of de
Jack (n.) 1 Jack-in-office, ill-mannered fellow, lout, knave

Jarteer to measure our weapon. By gar, I will myself
measure (v.) 4 check that the length of two weapons is the same [before beginning a duel]

have Anne Page.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall

be well. We must give folks leave to prate. What the
prate (v.) prattle, chatter, blather See Topics: Frequency count

good-year!
good-year / goodyear, what the [expression of impatience] what the deuce See Topics: Swearing


CAIUS

Rugby, come to the court with me. (To Mistress

Quickly) By gar, if I have not Anne Page, I shall turn

your head out of my door. Follow my heels, Rugby.

Exeunt Caius and Rugby


MISTRESS QUICKLY

You shall have An – fool's-head of

your own. No, I know Anne's mind for that. Never a

woman in Windsor knows more of Anne's mind than

I do, nor can do more than I do with her, I thank heaven.


FENTON

(off stage)

Who's within there, ho?


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Who's there, I trow? Come near
come near (v.) 1 enter, come in/into

the house, I pray you.

Enter Fenton


FENTON

How now, good woman, how dost thou?


MISTRESS QUICKLY

The better that it pleases your good

worship to ask.


FENTON

What news? How does pretty Mistress Anne?


MISTRESS QUICKLY

In truth, sir, and she is pretty, and

honest, and gentle – and one that is your friend. I can
friend (n.) 3 well-wisher, favourer
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind
honest (adj.) 1 chaste, pure, virtuous

tell you that by the way, I praise heaven for it.


FENTON

Shall I do any good, thinkest thou? Shall I not

lose my suit?
suit (n.) 2 wooing, courtship


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Troth, sir, all is in His hands above.

But notwithstanding, Master Fenton, I'll be sworn on a

book she loves you. Have not your worship a wart
book (n.) 3 Bible, prayer-book

above your eye?


FENTON

Yes, marry, have I. What of that?


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Well, thereby hangs a tale. Good

faith, it is such another Nan – but, I detest, an honest
detest (v.) 2 malapropism for ‘protest’

maid as ever broke bread. We had an hour's talk of that

wart. I shall never laugh but in that maid's company.

But, indeed, she is given too much to allicholy and
allicholy, allycholly (adj./n.) malapropism for ‘melancholy’

musing. But for you – well – go to –


FENTON

Well, I shall see her today. Hold, there's money

for thee; let me have thy voice in my behalf. If thou
voice (n.) 1 vote, official support See Topics: Frequency count
voice (n.) 2 support, approval, good word

seest her before me, commend me –
commend (v.) 3 present, introduce, bring [for favourable acceptance]


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Will I? I'faith, that we will. And I

will tell your worship more of the wart the next time

we have confidence, and of other wooers.
confidence (n.) 3 malapropism for ‘conference’


FENTON

Well, farewell. I am in great haste now.


MISTRESS QUICKLY

Farewell to your worship.

Exit Fenton

Truly, an honest gentleman. But Anne loves him not,

for I know Anne's mind as well as another does. Out

upon't! What have I forgot?

Exit

 
  Previous scene     Next scene
--%>