List iconThe Merry Wives of WindsorList icon

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 1, scene 3

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Entire Play

In The Merry Wives of Windsor, fat, disreputable Sir John Falstaff pursues two housewives, Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, who outwit…

Act 1, scene 1

Justice Shallow and his nephew Slender accompany Sir Hugh the parson to the Pages’ home. There they meet Sir John…

Act 1, scene 2

Sir Hugh sends Slender’s servant Simple with a letter to Mistress Quickly asking her to intercede with Anne Page on…

Act 1, scene 3

Falstaff, in desperate need of funds, dismisses his servant Bardolph, who enters the employ of the Host of the Garter….

Act 1, scene 4

Delivering Sir Hugh’s letter to Mistress Quickly, Simple is discovered by her employer Dr. Caius (another of Anne’s suitors). Furious…

Act 2, scene 1

Mistress Page and Mistress Ford compare their love letters from Falstaff and plot revenge against him. Pistol and Nym tell…

Act 2, scene 2

Falstaff receives Mistress Ford’s invitation to visit; he then accepts “Brook’s” money in exchange for his promise to compromise Mistress…

Act 2, scene 3

Dr. Caius responds furiously when Sir Hugh fails to meet him for their duel. The Host calms his anger by…

Act 3, scene 1

Page, Shallow, and Slender join Sir Hugh, who is waiting to fight Dr. Caius. When the Host brings Dr. Caius…

Act 3, scene 2

Ford, knowing of Falstaff’s visit to Mistress Ford, gathers as many men as he can to go with him to…

Act 3, scene 3

Mistress Ford and Mistress Page begin their revenge against Falstaff. As Falstaff joins Mistress Ford, Mistress Page enters with news…

Act 3, scene 4

Attempting to court Anne Page, Fenton is interrupted first by his rival Slender and then by a hostile Master and…

Act 3, scene 5

Falstaff agrees once again to visit Mistress Ford and again informs “Brook” of his plans.

Act 4, scene 1

William, the young son of Master and Mistress Page, is briefly tested on his Latin by Sir Hugh.

Act 4, scene 2

Visiting Mistress Ford, Falstaff is again interrupted by Mistress Page, again with news of Ford’s threatening approach. This time the…

Act 4, scene 3

Some Germans want to hire the Host’s horses.

Act 4, scene 4

Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, having fully disclosed their dealings with Falstaff to their husbands, conspire with them to humiliate…

Act 4, scene 5

The Host learns his horses have been stolen. Mistress Quickly approaches Falstaff with another invitation, this time to meet Mistress…

Act 4, scene 6

The Host is asked to arrange for a vicar to marry Anne to Fenton that night.

Act 5, scene 1

Falstaff, having agreed to meet Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, promises success to “Brook.”

Act 5, scene 2

Slender prepares to elope with Anne Page.

Act 5, scene 3

Dr. Caius waits to elope with Anne Page. Mistress Page and Mistress Ford follow their plan to torment Falstaff.

Act 5, scene 4

Sir Hugh and the “fairies” approach.

Act 5, scene 5

Falstaff is tormented by the “fairies” and then publicly humiliated. Slender and Dr. Caius enter in turn to report that…

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Scene 3
Enter Sir John Falstaff, Host, Bardolph, Nym, Pistol,
and Robin, Falstaff’s Page.


FALSTAFF Mine Host of the Garter!
HOST What says my bullyrook? Speak scholarly and
 wisely.
FALSTAFF Truly, mine Host, I must turn away some of
5 my followers.
HOST Discard, bully Hercules, cashier. Let them wag;
 trot, trot.
FALSTAFF I sit at ten pounds a week.
HOST Thou ’rt an emperor—Caesar, Keiser, and
10 Pheazar. I will entertain Bardolph. He shall draw,
 he shall tap. Said I well, bully Hector?
FALSTAFF Do so, good mine Host.
HOST I have spoke. Let him follow.—Let me see thee
 froth and lime. I am at a word. Follow.
Host exits.
FALSTAFF 15Bardolph, follow him. A tapster is a good
 trade. An old cloak makes a new jerkin, a withered
 servingman a fresh tapster. Go. Adieu.
BARDOLPH It is a life that I have desired. I will thrive.
PISTOL O base Hungarian wight, wilt thou the spigot
20 wield?Bardolph exits.
NYM He was gotten in drink. Is not the humor
 conceited?
FALSTAFF I am glad I am so acquit of this tinderbox.
 His thefts were too open. His filching was like an
25 unskillful singer; he kept not time.
NYM The good humor is to steal at a minute’s rest.
PISTOL “Convey,” the wise it call. “Steal”? Foh, a fico
 for the phrase!
FALSTAFF Well, sirs, I am almost out at heels.
PISTOL 30Why, then, let kibes ensue.
FALSTAFF There is no remedy. I must cony-catch, I
 must shift.

29
The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 1. SC. 3

PISTOL Young ravens must have food.
FALSTAFF Which of you know Ford of this town?
PISTOL 35I ken the wight. He is of substance good.
FALSTAFF My honest lads, I will tell you what I am
 about.
PISTOL Two yards and more.
FALSTAFF No quips now, Pistol. Indeed, I am in the
40 waist two yards about, but I am now about no
 waste; I am about thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make
 love to Ford’s 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;
45 and the hardest voice of her behavior, to be Englished
 rightly, is “I am Sir John Falstaff’s.”
PISTOL, aside to Nym He hath studied her will and
 translated her will—out of honesty into English.
NYM, aside to Pistol The anchor is deep. Will that
50 humor pass?
FALSTAFF Now, the report goes, she has all the rule of
 her husband’s purse. He hath a legion of angels.
PISTOL, aside to Nym As many devils entertain, and
 “To her, boy,” say I.
NYM, aside to Pistol 55The humor rises; it is good.
 Humor me the angels.
FALSTAFF, showing two papers I 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
60 parts with most judicious oeillades. Sometimes
 the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes
 my portly belly.
PISTOL, aside to Nym Then did the sun on dunghill
 shine.
NYM, aside to Pistol 65I thank thee for that humor.
FALSTAFF O, she did so course o’er my exteriors with
 such a greedy intention that the appetite of her
 eye did seem to scorch me up like a burning-glass.

31
The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Here’s another letter to her. She bears the purse
70 too; she is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty.
 I will be cheaters to them both, and they shall be
 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
75 Ford. We will thrive, lads, we will thrive.
PISTOL 
 Shall I Sir Pandarus of Troy become,
 And by my side wear steel? Then Lucifer take all!
NYM, to Falstaff I will run no base humor. Here, take
 the humor-letter. I will keep the havior of
80 reputation.
FALSTAFF, giving papers to Robin 
 Hold, sirrah, bear you these letters tightly;
 Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores.—
 Rogues, hence, avaunt, vanish like hailstones, go,
 Trudge, plod away i’ th’ hoof, seek shelter, pack!
85 Falstaff will learn the humor of the age:
 French thrift, you rogues—myself and skirted page.
Falstaff and Robin exit.
PISTOL 
 Let vultures gripe thy guts! For gourd and fullam
 holds,
 And high and low beguiles the rich and poor.
90 Tester I’ll have in pouch when thou shalt lack,
 Base Phrygian Turk!
NYM I have operations which be humors of revenge.
PISTOL Wilt thou revenge?
NYM By welkin and her star!
PISTOL 95With wit or steel?
NYM With both the humors, I. I will discuss the
 humor of this love to Ford.
PISTOL 
 And I to Page shall eke unfold
  How Falstaff, varlet vile,

33
The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 1. SC. 4

100 His dove will prove, his gold will hold,
  And his soft couch defile.
NYM My humor shall not cool. I will incense Ford to
 deal with poison. I will possess him with yellowness,
 for the revolt of mine is dangerous. That is
105 my true humor.
PISTOL Thou art the Mars of malcontents. I second
 thee. Troop on.
They exit.