Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Merry Wives of Windsor > Act I, scene I

Jump to: the first appearance of songs_and_sonnets_here.




	[Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR HUGH EVANS]

SHALLOW: Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Star-
	chamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir John
	Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.

SLENDER: In the county of Gloucester, justice of peace and
	'Coram.'

SHALLOW: Ay, cousin Slender, and 'Custalourum.

SLENDER: Ay, and 'Rato-lorum' too; and a gentleman born,
	master parson; who writes himself 'Armigero,' in any
	bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, 'Armigero.'

SHALLOW: Ay, that I do; and have done any time these three
	hundred years.

SLENDER: All his successors gone before him hath done't; and
	all his ancestors that come after him may: they may
	give the dozen white luces in their coat.

SHALLOW: It is an old coat.

SIR HUGH EVANS: The dozen white louses do become an old coat well;
	it agrees well, passant; it is a familiar beast to
	man, and signifies love.

SHALLOW: The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat.

SLENDER: I may quarter, coz.

SHALLOW: You may, by marrying.

SIR HUGH EVANS: It is marring indeed, if he quarter it.

SHALLOW: Not a whit.

SIR HUGH EVANS: Yes, py'r lady; if he has a quarter of your coat,
	there is but three skirts for yourself, in my
	simple conjectures: but that is all one. If Sir
	John Falstaff have committed disparagements unto
	you, I am of the church, and will be glad to do my
	benevolence to make atonements and compremises
	between you.

SHALLOW: The council shall bear it; it is a riot.

SIR HUGH EVANS: It is not meet the council hear a riot; there is no
	fear of Got in a riot: the council, look you, shall
	desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a
	riot; take your vizaments in that.

SHALLOW: Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the sword
	should end it.

SIR HUGH EVANS: It is petter that friends is the sword, and end it:
	and there is also another device in my prain, which
	peradventure prings goot discretions with it: there
	is Anne Page, which is daughter to Master Thomas
	Page, which is pretty virginity.

SLENDER: Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and speaks
	small like a woman.

SIR HUGH EVANS: It is that fery person for all the orld, as just as
	you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of moneys,
	and gold and silver, is her grandsire upon his
	death's-bed--Got deliver to a joyful resurrections!
	--give, when she is able to overtake seventeen years
	old: it were a goot motion if we leave our pribbles
	and prabbles, and desire a marriage between Master
	Abraham and Mistress Anne Page.

SLENDER: Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound?

SIR HUGH EVANS: Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny.

SLENDER: I know the young gentlewoman; she has good gifts.

SIR HUGH EVANS: Seven hundred pounds and possibilities is goot gifts.

SHALLOW: Well, let us see honest Master Page. Is Falstaff there?

SIR HUGH EVANS: Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar as I do
	despise one that is false, or as I despise one that
	is not true. The knight, Sir John, is there; and, I
	beseech you, be ruled by your well-willers. I will
	peat the door for Master Page.

	[Knocks]

	What, hoa! Got pless your house here!

PAGE: [Within]  Who's there?

	[Enter PAGE]

SIR HUGH EVANS: Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and Justice
	Shallow; and here young Master Slender, that
	peradventures shall tell you another tale, if
	matters grow to your likings.

PAGE: I am glad to see your worships well.
	I thank you for my venison, Master Shallow.

SHALLOW: Master Page, I am glad to see you: much good do it
	your good heart! I wished your venison better; it
	was ill killed. How doth good Mistress Page?--and I
	thank you always with my heart, la! with my heart.

PAGE: Sir, I thank you.

SHALLOW: Sir, I thank you; by yea and no, I do.

PAGE: I am glad to see you, good Master Slender.

SLENDER: How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say he
	was outrun on Cotsall.

PAGE: It could not be judged, sir.

SLENDER: You'll not confess, you'll not confess.

SHALLOW: That he will not. 'Tis your fault, 'tis your fault;
	'tis a good dog.

PAGE: A cur, sir.

SHALLOW: Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog: can there be
	more said? he is good and fair. Is Sir John
	Falstaff here?

PAGE: Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a good
	office between you.

SIR HUGH EVANS: It is spoke as a Christians ought to speak.

SHALLOW: He hath wronged me, Master Page.

PAGE: Sir, he doth in some sort confess it.

SHALLOW: If it be confessed, it is not redress'd: is not that
	so, Master Page? He hath wronged me; indeed he
	hath, at a word, he hath, believe me: Robert
	Shallow, esquire, saith, he is wronged.

PAGE: Here comes Sir John.

	[Enter FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYM, and PISTOL]

FALSTAFF: Now, Master Shallow, you'll complain of me to the king?

SHALLOW: Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, and
	broke open my lodge.

FALSTAFF: But not kissed your keeper's daughter?

SHALLOW: Tut, a pin! this shall be answered.

FALSTAFF: I will answer it straight; I have done all this.
	That is now answered.

SHALLOW: The council shall know this.

FALSTAFF: 'Twere better for you if it were known in counsel:
	you'll be laughed at.

SIR HUGH EVANS: Pauca verba, Sir John; goot worts.

FALSTAFF: Good worts! good cabbage. Slender, I broke your
	head: what matter have you against me?

SLENDER: Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you;
	and against your cony-catching rascals, Bardolph,
	Nym, and Pistol.

BARDOLPH: You Banbury cheese!

SLENDER: Ay, it is no matter.

PISTOL: How now, Mephostophilus!

SLENDER: Ay, it is no matter.

NYM: Slice, I say! pauca, pauca: slice! that's my humour.

SLENDER: Where's Simple, my man? Can you tell, cousin?

SIR HUGH EVANS: Peace, I pray you. Now let us understand. There is
	three umpires in this matter, as I understand; that
	is, Master Page, fidelicet Master Page; and there is
	myself, fidelicet myself; and the three party is,
	lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.

PAGE: We three, to hear it and end it between them.

SIR HUGH EVANS: Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-
	book; and we will afterwards ork upon the cause with
	as great discreetly as we can.

FALSTAFF: Pistol!

PISTOL: He hears with ears.

SIR HUGH EVANS: The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, 'He
	hears with ear'? why, it is affectations.

FALSTAFF: Pistol, did you pick Master Slender's purse?

SLENDER: Ay, by these gloves, did he, or I would I might
	never come in mine own great chamber again else, of
	seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward
	shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two
	pence apiece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.

FALSTAFF: Is this true, Pistol?

SIR HUGH EVANS: No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.

PISTOL: Ha, thou mountain-foreigner! Sir John and Master mine,
	I combat challenge of this latten bilbo.
	Word of denial in thy labras here!
	Word of denial: froth and scum, thou liest!

SLENDER: By these gloves, then, 'twas he.

NYM: Be avised, sir, and pass good humours: I will say
	'marry trap' with you, if you run the nuthook's
	humour on me; that is the very note of it.

SLENDER: By this hat, then, he in the red face had it; for
	though I cannot remember what I did when you made me
	drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.

FALSTAFF: What say you, Scarlet and John?

BARDOLPH: Why, sir, for my part I say the gentleman had drunk
	himself out of his five sentences.

SIR HUGH EVANS: It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is!

BARDOLPH: And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashiered; and
	so conclusions passed the careires.

SLENDER: Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis no
	matter: I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again,
	but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick:
	if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have
	the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.

SIR HUGH EVANS: So Got udge me, that is a virtuous mind.

FALSTAFF: You hear all these matters denied, gentlemen; you hear it.

	[Enter ANNE PAGE, with wine; MISTRESS FORD
	and MISTRESS PAGE, following]

PAGE: Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll drink within.

	[Exit ANNE PAGE]

SLENDER: O heaven! this is Mistress Anne Page.

PAGE: How now, Mistress Ford!

FALSTAFF: Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met:
	by your leave, good mistress.

	[Kisses her]

PAGE: Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome. Come, we have a
	hot venison pasty to dinner: come, gentlemen, I hope
	we shall drink down all unkindness.

	[Exeunt all except SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR HUGH EVANS]

SLENDER: I had rather than forty shillings I had my Book of
	Songs and Sonnets here.

	[Enter SIMPLE]

	How now, Simple! where have you been? I must wait
	on myself, must I? You have not the Book of Riddles
	about you, have you?

SIMPLE: Book of Riddles! why, did you not lend it to Alice
	Shortcake upon All-hallowmas last, a fortnight
	afore Michaelmas?

SHALLOW: Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with
	you, coz; marry, this, coz: there is, as 'twere, a
	tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by Sir Hugh
	here. Do you understand me?

SLENDER: Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so,
	I shall do that that is reason.

SHALLOW: Nay, but understand me.

SLENDER: So I do, sir.

SIR HUGH EVANS: Give ear to his motions, Master Slender: I will
	description the matter to you, if you be capacity of it.

SLENDER: Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says: I pray
	you, pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his
	country, simple though I stand here.

SIR HUGH EVANS: But that is not the question: the question is
	concerning your marriage.

SHALLOW: Ay, there's the point, sir.

SIR HUGH EVANS: Marry, is it; the very point of it; to Mistress Anne Page.

SLENDER: Why, if it be so, I will marry her upon any
	reasonable demands.

SIR HUGH EVANS: But can you affection the 'oman? Let us command to
	know that of your mouth or of your lips; for divers
	philosophers hold that the lips is parcel of the
	mouth. Therefore, precisely, can you carry your
	good will to the maid?

SHALLOW: Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her?

SLENDER: I hope, sir, I will do as it shall become one that
	would do reason.

SIR HUGH EVANS: Nay, Got's lords and his ladies! you must speak
	possitable, if you can carry her your desires
	towards her.

SHALLOW: That you must. Will you, upon good dowry, marry her?

SLENDER: I will do a greater thing than that, upon your
	request, cousin, in any reason.

SHALLOW: Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz: what I do
	is to pleasure you, coz. Can you love the maid?

SLENDER: I will marry her, sir, at your request: but if there
	be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may
	decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are
	married and have more occasion to know one another;
	I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt:
	but if you say, 'Marry her,' I will marry her; that
	I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely.

SIR HUGH EVANS: It is a fery discretion answer; save the fall is in
	the ort 'dissolutely:' the ort is, according to our
	meaning, 'resolutely:' his meaning is good.

SHALLOW: Ay, I think my cousin meant well.

SLENDER: Ay, or else I would I might be hanged, la!

SHALLOW: Here comes fair Mistress Anne.

	[Re-enter ANNE PAGE]

	Would I were young for your sake, Mistress Anne!

ANNE PAGE: The dinner is on the table; my father desires your
	worships' company.

SHALLOW: I will wait on him, fair Mistress Anne.

SIR HUGH EVANS: Od's plessed will! I will not be absence at the grace.

	[Exeunt SHALLOW and SIR HUGH EVANS]

ANNE PAGE: Will't please your worship to come in, sir?

SLENDER: No, I thank you, forsooth, heartily; I am very well.

ANNE PAGE: The dinner attends you, sir.

SLENDER: I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forsooth. Go,
	sirrah, for all you are my man, go wait upon my
	cousin Shallow.

	[Exit SIMPLE]

	A justice of peace sometimes may be beholding to his
	friend for a man. I keep but three men and a boy
	yet, till my mother be dead: but what though? Yet I
	live like a poor gentleman born.

ANNE PAGE: I may not go in without your worship: they will not
	sit till you come.

SLENDER: I' faith, I'll eat nothing; I thank you as much as
	though I did.

ANNE PAGE: I pray you, sir, walk in.

SLENDER: I had rather walk here, I thank you. I bruised
	my shin th' other day with playing at sword and
	dagger with a master of fence; three veneys for a
	dish of stewed prunes; and, by my troth, I cannot
	abide the smell of hot meat since. Why do your
	dogs bark so? be there bears i' the town?

ANNE PAGE: I think there are, sir; I heard them talked of.

SLENDER: I love the sport well but I shall as soon quarrel at
	it as any man in England. You are afraid, if you see
	the bear loose, are you not?

ANNE PAGE: Ay, indeed, sir.

SLENDER: That's meat and drink to me, now. I have seen
	Sackerson loose twenty times, and have taken him by
	the chain; but, I warrant you, the women have so
	cried and shrieked at it, that it passed: but women,
	indeed, cannot abide 'em; they are very ill-favored
	rough things.

	[Re-enter PAGE]

PAGE: Come, gentle Master Slender, come; we stay for you.

SLENDER: I'll eat nothing, I thank you, sir.

PAGE: By cock and pie, you shall not choose, sir! come, come.

SLENDER: Nay, pray you, lead the way.

PAGE: Come on, sir.

SLENDER: Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first.

ANNE PAGE: Not I, sir; pray you, keep on.

SLENDER: I'll rather be unmannerly than troublesome.
	You do yourself wrong, indeed, la!

	[Exeunt]




	THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR






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