Pist. Didst not thou share? hadst thou not fifteene pence? Fal. Reason, you roague, reason: thinkst thou Ile endanger my soule, gratis? at a word, hang no more about mee, I am no gibbet for you: goe, a short knife, and a throng, to your Mannor of Pickt-hatch: goe, you'll not beare a Letter for mee you roague? you stand vpon your honor: why, (thou vnconfinable basenesse) it is as much as I can doe to keepe the termes of my honor precise: I, I, I my selfe sometimes, leauing the feare of heauen on the left hand, and hiding mine honor in my necessity, am faine to shufflle: to hedge, and to lurch, and yet, you Rogue, will en-sconce your raggs; your Cat-a-Mountaine-lookes, your red-lattice phrases, and your boldbeating-oathes, vnder the shelter of your honor? you will not doe it? you?

Pist. I doe relent: what would thou more of man?

Robin. Sir, here's a woman would speake with you

Fal. Let her approach

Qui. Giue your worship good morrow

Fal. Good-morrow, good-wife

Qui. Not so, and't please your worship

Fal. Good maid then

Qui. Ile be sworne, As my mother was the first houre I was borne

Fal. I doe beleeue the swearer; what with me?

Qui. Shall I vouch-safe your worship a word, or two?

Fal. Two thousand (faire woman) and ile vouchsafe thee the hearing

Qui. There is one Mistresse Ford, (Sir) I pray come a little neerer this waies: I my selfe dwell with M[aster]. Doctor Caius: Fal. Well, on; Mistresse Ford, you say

Qui. Your worship saies very true: I pray your worship come a little neerer this waies

Fal. I warrant thee, no-bodie heares: mine owne people, mine owne people

Qui. Are they so? heauen-blesse them, and make them his Seruants

Fal. Well; Mistresse Ford, what of her?

Qui. Why, Sir; shee's a good-creature; Lord, Lord, your Worship's a wanton: well: heauen forgiue you, and all of vs, I pray -

Fal. Mistresse Ford: come, Mistresse Ford

Qui. Marry this is the short, and the long of it: you haue brought her into such a Canaries, as 'tis wonderfull: the best Courtier of them all (when the Court lay at Windsor) could neuer haue brought her to such a Canarie: yet there has beene Knights, and Lords, and Gentlemen, with their Coaches; I warrant you Coach after Coach, letter after letter, gift after gift, smelling so sweetly; all Muske, and so rushling, I warrant you, in silke and golde, and in such alligant termes, and in such wine and suger of the best, and the fairest, that would haue wonne any womans heart: and I warrant you, they could neuer get an eye-winke of her: I had my selfe twentie Angels giuen me this morning, but I defie all Angels (in any such sort, as they say) but in the way of honesty: and I warrant you, they could neuer get her so much as sippe on a cup with the prowdest of them all, and yet there has beene Earles: nay, (which is more) Pentioners, but I warrant you all is one with her

Fal. But what saies shee to mee? be briefe my good sheeMercurie

Qui. Marry, she hath receiu'd your Letter: for the which she thankes you a thousand times; and she giues you to notifie, that her husband will be absence from his house, betweene ten and eleuen

Fal. Ten, and eleuen

Qui. I, forsooth: and then you may come and see the picture (she sayes) that you wot of: Master Ford her husband will be from home: alas, the sweet woman leades an ill life with him: hee's a very iealousie-man; she leads a very frampold life with him, (good hart.)

The Merry Wiues of Windsor Page 13

William Shakespeare Plays

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book