Scena Quarta.

Enter Page, Ford, Mistris Page, Mistris Ford, and Euans.

Eua. 'Tis one of the best discretions of a o'man as euer I did looke vpon

Page. And did he send you both these Letters at an instant? Mist.Page. Within a quarter of an houre

Ford. Pardon me (wife) henceforth do what y wilt: I rather will suspect the Sunne with gold, Then thee with wantonnes: Now doth thy honor stand (In him that was of late an Heretike) As firme as faith

Page. 'Tis well, 'tis well, no more: Be not as extreme in submission, as in offence, But let our plot go forward: Let our wiues Yet once againe (to make vs publike sport) Appoint a meeting with this old fat-fellow, Where we may take him, and disgrace him for it

Ford. There is no better way then that they spoke of

Page. How? to send him word they'll meete him in the Parke at midnight? Fie, fie, he'll neuer come

Eu. You say he has bin throwne in the Riuers: and has bin greeuously peaten, as an old o'man: me-thinkes there should be terrors in him, that he should not come: Me-thinkes his flesh is punish'd, hee shall haue no desires

Page. So thinke I too

M.Ford. Deuise but how you'l vse him whe[n] he comes, And let vs two deuise to bring him thether

Mis.Page. There is an old tale goes, that Herne the Hunter (sometime a keeper heere in Windsor Forrest) Doth all the winter time, at still midnight Walke round about an Oake, with great rag'd-hornes, And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle, And make milch-kine yeeld blood, and shakes a chaine In a most hideous and dreadfull manner. You haue heard of such a Spirit, and well you know The superstitious idle-headed-Eld Receiu'd, and did deliuer to our age This tale of Herne the Hunter, for a truth

Page. Why yet there want not many that do feare In deepe of night to walke by this Hernes Oake: But what of this? Mist.Ford. Marry this is our deuise, That Falstaffe at that Oake shall meete with vs

Page. Well, let it not be doubted but he'll come, And in this shape, when you haue brought him thether, What shall be done with him? What is your plot? Mist.Pa. That likewise haue we thoght vpon: & thus: Nan Page (my daughter) and my little sonne, And three or foure more of their growth, wee'l dresse Like Vrchins, Ouphes, and Fairies, greene and white, With rounds of waxen Tapers on their heads, And rattles in their hands; vpon a sodaine, As Falstaffe, she, and I, are newly met, Let them from forth a saw-pit rush at once With some diffused song: Vpon their sight We two, in great amazednesse will flye: Then let them all encircle him about, And Fairy-like to pinch the vncleane Knight; And aske him why that houre of Fairy Reuell, In their so sacred pathes, he dares to tread In shape prophane

Ford. And till he tell the truth, Let the supposed Fairies pinch him, sound, And burne him with their Tapers

Mist.Page. The truth being knowne, We'll all present our selues; dis-horne the spirit, And mocke him home to Windsor

Ford. The children must Be practis'd well to this, or they'll neu'r doo't

Eua. I will teach the children their behauiours: and I will be like a Iacke-an-Apes also, to burne the Knight with my Taber

Ford. That will be excellent, Ile go buy them vizards

Mist.Page. My Nan shall be the Queene of all the Fairies, finely attired in a robe of white

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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