« PreviousContinue »
Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget. [order set :
Eva. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves in
Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he transforin me to a piece of cheese!
Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even in thy birth.
Quick. With trial-fre touch me his finger-end :
Pist. A trial, come.
Come, will this wood take fire?
[They burn him with their Tapers.
Eva. It is right; indeed he is full of lecheries and iniquity.
Pinch him for his villany;
Till candles, and star-light, and moonshine, be out.
Caius comes one Way, and steals away a Fairy in green; Slender another Way, and takes off a Fairy in white; and Fenton comes, and steals away Mrs. Anne Page. A Noise of Hunting is made within. All the Fairies run away. Falstaff pulls off his Buck's Head, and rises.
Enter Page, FORD, Mrs. Page, and Mrs. FORD.
They lay hold on him. Page. Nay, do not fly: I think, we have watch'd you
now; Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn? Mrs. Page. I pray you, come; hold up the jest no
Ford. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now?-Master Brook, Falstaff's á knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns, master Brook: And, master Brook, be hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his huck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money; which must be paid
to master Brook; his horses are arrested for it, master Brook.
Mrs. Ford. Sir John, we have bad ill luck; we could never meet. I will never take you for my love again, but I will always count you my deer.
Fal. I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass. Ford. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs are extant.
Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies: and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now, low wit may be made a jack-a-lent, when 'tis upon ill employment !
Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.
Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able to woo her in good English.
Fal. Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross o'er-reaching as this? Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too? Shall I
have a coxcomb of frize? "Tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.
Eva. Seese is not good to give putter; your pelly is all putter.
Fal. Seese and putter! Have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This is enough to be the decay of lust and late-walking, through the realm.
Mrs. Page. Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?
Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax?
Page. Old, cold, withered, and of intolerable entrails?
Ford. And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings, and starings, pribbles and prabbles?
Fal. Well, I am your theme: you have the start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welch flannel; ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me : use me as you will
Ford. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one master Brook, that you have cozened of money, to whom you should have been a pander: over and above that you bave suffered, I think, to repay that money will be a biting affliction.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, let that go to make amends : Forgive that sum, and so we'll all be friends.
Ford. Well, here's my hand; all's forgiven at last.
Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt eat a posset to-night at my house; where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee: Tell her, master Slender hath married her daughter.
Mrs. Page. Doctors doubt that: If Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this, doctor Caius' wife.
[Aside. Enter SLENDER. Slen. Whoo, ho! ho! father Page!
Page. Son! how now? how now, son? have you despatched?
Slen. Despatched—I'll make the best in Glocestershire know on't; would I. were hanged, la, else.
Page. Of what, son? Slen. I came yonder at Eton to marry mistress Anne Page, and she's a great lubberly boy: If it had not been'i'the church, I would have swinged him, or le should have swinged me.
If I did not think it had been Anne Page, would I might never stir, and 'tis a post-master's boy.
Page. Upon iny life then you took the wrong.
Slen. What need you tell me that? I think so, when I took a boy for a girl: If I had been married to him, for all he was in womau's apparel, I would not have had him.
Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tellyou, how you should know my daughter by her gar-. ments?
Slen. I went to her in white, and cry'd mum, and she cry'd budget, as Anne and I had appointed; and yet it was not Anne, but a post-master's boy.
Eva. Jeshu! Master Slender, cannot you see but Page. O, I am vexed at heart: What shall I do?
Mrs. Page. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose; turned my daughter into green; and, indeed, she is now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.
Enter CAIUS. Caius. Vere is mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened; I ha' married un garçon, a boy; un paisan, by gar, a boy; it is not Anne Page : by gar, I am cozened.
Mrs. Page. Why, did you take her in green? Caius. Ay, be gar, and 'tis a boy: be gar, I'll raise all Windsor.
[Exit Caius. Ford. This is strange : Who hath got the right Anne?
Page. My heart misgives me: Here comes master Fenton.
Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE. How now, master Fenton?
Anne. Pardon, good father, good my mother, pardon! Page. Now, mistress? how chance you went not with master Slender?
Mrs. Page. Why went you not with master doctor, maid?
Fent. You do amaze her: Hear the truth of it.
Are now so sure, that nothing can dissolve us. . The offence is holy, that she hath committed :
And this deceit loses the name of craft, r Of disobedience, or unduteous title;
Since therein she doth evitate and shun t!! A thousand irreligious cursed hours, Which forced marriage would have brought upon her.
Ford. Stand not amaz’d: here is no remedy:
Fal. I am glad, though you have ta’en a special stand to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanced. Page. Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give
thee joy! What cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac'd. Fal. When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are