The Merry Wives of Windsor


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Mistress Page and Robin
gallant (n.) 1 fine gentleman, man of fashion See Topics: Address forms
keep your way keep going, don't stop


MISTRESS PAGE

Nay, keep your way, little gallant. You

were wont to be a follower, but now you are a leader.
wont (v.) be accustomed, used [to], be in the habit of See Topics: Frequency count

Whether had you rather, lead mine eyes, or eye your
whether (pron.) which of the two

master's heels?


ROBIN

I had rather, forsooth, go before you like a man
forsooth (adv.) in truth, certainly, truly, indeed See Topics: Frequency count

than follow him like a dwarf.


MISTRESS PAGE

O, you are a flattering boy. Now I see

you'll be a courtier.

Enter Ford


FORD

Well met, Mistress Page. Whither go you?


MISTRESS PAGE

Truly, sir, to see your wife. Is she at

home?


FORD

Ay; and as idle as she may hang together, for want
hang together (v.) keep in one piece, carry on existing
idle (adj.) 9 bored, jaded, wearied

of company. I think, if your husbands were dead, you

two would marry.


MISTRESS PAGE

Be sure of that – two other husbands.


FORD

Where had you this pretty weathercock?


MISTRESS PAGE

I cannot tell what the dickens his name

is that my husband had him of. What do you call your

knight's name, sirrah?


ROBIN

Sir John Falstaff.


FORD

Sir John Falstaff?


MISTRESS PAGE

He, he. I can never hit on's name. There

is such a league between my good man and he. Is your
goodman (adj.) 1 title for a person under the rank of gentleman, yeoman See Topics: Address forms
league (n.) 1 compact, alliance, treaty, bond of friendship

wife at home indeed?


FORD

Indeed she is.


MISTRESS PAGE

By your leave, sir. I am sick till I see her.
sick (adj.) 1 longing, pining, avid

Exeunt Mistress Page and Robin


FORD

Has Page any brains? Hath he any eyes? Hath he

any thinking? Sure, they sleep; he hath no use of them.

Why, this boy will carry a letter twenty mile as easy as a

cannon will shoot point-blank twelve score. He pieces
piece out (v.) 1 augment, increase, supplement
point-blank (adv.) 1 straight, with a direct aim

out his wife's inclination. He gives her folly motion and
folly (n.) wantonness, lewdness
motion (n.) 5 urging, prompting, encouragement

advantage. And now she's going to my wife, and
advantage (n.) 1 right moment, favourable opportunity

Falstaff's boy with her. A man may hear this shower sing
sing (v.) 1 anticipate trouble, see storm-clouds brewing

in the wind. And Falstaff's boy with her! Good plots!

They are laid; and our revolted wives share damnation
revolted (adj.) 2 faithless, disloyal, inconstant

together. Well, I will take him, then torture my wife,
take (v.) 19 catch out, take by surprise
torture (v.) torment, afflict, plague

pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the

so-seeming Mistress Page, divulge Page himself for a
divulge (v.) 1 proclaim, reveal, make publicly known
seeming (adj.) apparent, convincing in appearance

secure and wilful Actaeon; and to these violent
secure (adj.) 2 over-confident, unsuspecting, too self-confident

proceedings all my neighbours shall cry aim.
aim, cry [archery] show applause, shout approval [of]

The town clock strikes

The clock gives me my cue, and my assurance bids me

search. There I shall find Falstaff. I shall be rather

praised for this than mocked, for it is as positive as the

earth is firm that Falstaff is there. I will go.

Enter Page, Shallow, Slender, Host, Evans, Caius,

and Rugby


ALL

Well met, Master Ford.


FORD

Trust me, a good knot. I have good cheer at home,
cheer (n.) 1 entertainment, fare, food and drink
knot (n.) 1 company, band, assembly
trust me believe me See Topics: Discourse markers

and I pray you all go with me.


SHALLOW

I must excuse myself, Master Ford.


SLENDER

And so must I, sir. We have appointed to dine
appoint (v.) 5 agree, arrange, make an appointment

with Mistress Anne, and I would not break with her for
break (v.) 6 break one's promise, not keep one's word

more money than I'll speak of.


SHALLOW

We have lingered about a match between Anne
linger (v.) 3 stay on [in town], wait around

Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have

our answer.


SLENDER

I hope I have your good will, father Page.


PAGE

You have, Master Slender – I stand wholly for you.
stand (v.) 2 continue, remain, wait, stay put

But my wife, Master Doctor, is for you altogether.


CAIUS

Ay, be-gar, and de maid is love-a me – my nursh-a

Quickly tell me so mush.


HOST

What say you to young Master Fenton? He capers,
caper (v.) 1 be lively, show high spirits

he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he

speaks holiday, he smells April and May. He will
speak holiday speak entertainingly; or: talk in a refined way

carry't, he will carry't. 'Tis in his buttons he will
buttons, in one's [unclear meaning] very plain, easy to see
carry it (away) [from a falconry term ‘to fly away with the game’] win the day, have the advantage, succeed

carry't.


PAGE

Not by my consent, I promise you. The gentleman

is of no having. He kept company with the wild Prince
having (n.) 1 fortune, estate, means

and Poins. He is of too high a region, he knows too
region (n.) 2 rank, sphere, social standing

much. No, he shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with
knit, knit up (v.) 1 tie, fasten [by means of a knot]

the finger of my substance. If he take her, let him take

her simply. The wealth I have waits on my consent, and
simply (adv.) 3 as is, without dowry
wait on / upon (v.) 5 depend on, be subject to

my consent goes not that way.


FORD

I beseech you heartily, some of you go home with

me to dinner. Besides your cheer, you shall have sport –
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

I will show you a monster. Master Doctor, you shall go.

So shall you, Master Page, and you, Sir Hugh.


SHALLOW

Well, fare you well. We shall have the freer

wooing at Master Page's.

Exeunt Shallow and Slender


CAIUS

Go home, John Rugby. I come anon.
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count

Exit Rugby


HOST

Farewell, my hearts. I will to my honest knight

Falstaff, and drink canary with him.
canary, canaries (n.) 1 variety of sweet wine from the Canary Islands

Exit


FORD

(aside) I think I shall drink in pipe-wine first with

him; I'll make him dance. – Will you go, gentles?
gentle (n.) 3 (plural) gentlemen


ALL

Have with you to see this monster.

Exeunt

 
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