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The Merry Wives of Windsor

 

ACT I SCENE IIIA room in the Garter Inn.
[ Enter FALSTAFF, Host, BARDOLPH, NYM, PISTOL, and ROBIN ]
FALSTAFFMine host of the Garter!
HostWhat says my bully-rook? speak scholarly and wisely.
FALSTAFFTruly, mine host, I must turn away some of my
followers.
HostDiscard, bully Hercules; cashier: let them wag; trot, trot.5
FALSTAFFI sit at ten pounds a week.
HostThou’rt an emperor, Caesar, Keisar, and Pheezar. I
will entertain Bardolph; he shall draw, he shall
tap: said I well, bully Hector?
FALSTAFFDo so, good mine host.10
HostI have spoke; let him follow.
[To BARDOLPH]
Let me see thee froth and lime: I am at a word; follow.
[Exit]
FALSTAFFBardolph, follow him. A tapster is a good trade:
an old cloak makes a new jerkin; a withered
serving-man a fresh tapster. Go; adieu.15
BARDOLPHIt is a life that I have desired: I will thrive.
PISTOLO base Hungarian wight! wilt thou the spigot wield?
[Exit BARDOLPH]
NYMHe was gotten in drink: is not the humour conceited?
FALSTAFFI am glad I am so acquit of this tinderbox: his
thefts were too open; his filching was like an20
unskilful singer; he kept not time.
NYMThe good humour is to steal at a minute’s rest.
PISTOL‘Convey,’ the wise it call. ‘Steal!’ foh! a fico
for the phrase!
FALSTAFFWell, sirs, I am almost out at heels.25
PISTOLWhy, then, let kibes ensue.
FALSTAFFThere is no remedy; I must cony-catch; I must shift.
PISTOLYoung ravens must have food.
FALSTAFFWhich of you know Ford of this town?
PISTOLI ken the wight: he is of substance good.30
FALSTAFFMy honest lads, I will tell you what I am about.
PISTOLTwo yards, and more.
FALSTAFFNo quips now, Pistol! Indeed, I am in the waist two
yards about; but I am now about no waste; I am about
thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make love to Ford’s35
wife: I spy entertainment in her; she discourses,
she carves, she gives the leer of invitation: I
can construe the action of her familiar style; and
the hardest voice of her behavior, to be Englished
rightly, is, ‘I am Sir John Falstaff’s.’40
PISTOLHe hath studied her will, and translated her will,
out of honesty into English.
NYMThe anchor is deep: will that humour pass?
FALSTAFFNow, the report goes she has all the rule of her
husband’s purse: he hath a legion of angels.45
PISTOLAs many devils entertain; and ‘To her, boy,’ say I.
NYMThe humour rises; it is good: humour me the angels.
FALSTAFFI have writ me here a letter to her: and here
another to Page’s wife, who even now gave me good
eyes too, examined my parts with most judicious50
oeillades; sometimes the beam of her view gilded my
foot, sometimes my portly belly.
PISTOLThen did the sun on dunghill shine.
NYMI thank thee for that humour.
FALSTAFFO, she did so course o’er my exteriors with such a55
greedy intention, that the appetite of her eye did
seem to scorch me up like a burning-glass! Here’s
another letter to her: she bears the purse too; she
is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty. I will
be cheater to them both, and they shall be60
exchequers to me; they shall be my East and West
Indies, and I will trade to them both. Go bear thou
this letter to Mistress Page; and thou this to
Mistress Ford: we will thrive, lads, we will thrive.
PISTOLShall I Sir Pandarus of Troy become,65
And by my side wear steel? then, Lucifer take all!
NYMI will run no base humour: here, take the
humour-letter: I will keep the havior of reputation.
FALSTAFF[To ROBIN] Hold, sirrah, bear you these letters tightly;
Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores.70
Rogues, hence, avaunt! vanish like hailstones, go;
Trudge, plod away o’ the hoof; seek shelter, pack!
Falstaff will learn the humour of the age,
French thrift, you rogues; myself and skirted page.
[Exeunt FALSTAFF and ROBIN]
PISTOLLet vultures gripe thy guts! for gourd and fullam holds,75
And high and low beguiles the rich and poor:
Tester I’ll have in pouch when thou shalt lack,
Base Phrygian Turk!
NYMI have operations which be humours of revenge.
PISTOLWilt thou revenge?80
NYMBy welkin and her star!
PISTOLWith wit or steel?
NYMWith both the humours, I:
I will discuss the humour of this love to Page.
PISTOLAnd I to Ford shall eke unfold85
How Falstaff, varlet vile,
His dove will prove, his gold will hold,
And his soft couch defile.
NYMMy humour shall not cool: I will incense Page to
deal with poison; I will possess him with90
yellowness, for the revolt of mine is dangerous:
that is my true humour.
PISTOLThou art the Mars of malecontents: I second thee; troop on.
[Exeunt]

Next: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 1, Scene 4

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