List iconThe Merry Wives of Windsor:
Act 1, scene 4
List icon

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 1, scene 4



Characters in the Play

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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Quill icon
Scene 4
Enter Mistress Quickly and Simple.

MISTRESS QUICKLY What, John Rugby! (Enter John
I pray thee, go to the casement and see if
 you can see my master, Master Doctor Caius, coming.
 If he do, i’ faith, and find anybody in the
5 house, here will be an old abusing of God’s patience
 and the King’s English.
RUGBY I’ll go watch.
MISTRESS QUICKLY Go, and we’ll have a posset for ’t
 soon at night, in faith, at the latter end of a seacoal
10 fire. (Rugby exits.) An honest, willing, kind fellow
 as ever servant shall come in house withal; and, I
 warrant you, no telltale nor no breed-bate. His
 worst fault is that he is given to prayer. He is something
 peevish that way, but nobody but has his
15 fault. But let that pass. Peter Simple you say your
 name is?
SIMPLE Ay, for fault of a better.
MISTRESS QUICKLY And Master Slender’s your master?
SIMPLE Ay, forsooth.
MISTRESS QUICKLY 20Does he not wear a great round
 beard like a glover’s paring knife?
SIMPLE No, forsooth. He hath but a little wee face,
 with a little yellow beard, a Cain-colored beard.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 1. SC. 4

MISTRESS QUICKLY A softly-sprited man, is he not?
SIMPLE 25Ay, forsooth. But he is as tall a man of his
 hands as any is between this and his head. He hath
 fought with a warrener.
MISTRESS QUICKLY How say you? O, I should remember
 him. Does he not hold up his head, as it were,
30 and strut in his gait?
SIMPLE Yes, indeed, does he.
MISTRESS QUICKLY Well, heaven send Anne Page no
 worse fortune! Tell Master Parson Evans I will do
 what I can for your master. Anne is a good girl, and
35 I wish—

Enter Rugby.

RUGBY Out, alas! Here comes my master.
MISTRESS QUICKLY We shall all be shent.—Run in here,
 good young man. Go into this closet. He will not
 stay long. (Simple exits.) What, John Rugby!
40 John! What, John, I say! Go, John, go enquire for
 my master. I doubt he be not well, that he comes
 not home.Rugby exits.
 (She sings.) And down, down, adown ’a, etc.

Enter Doctor Caius.

DOCTOR CAIUS Vat is you sing? I do not like dese toys.
45 Pray you, go and vetch me in my closet un boîtier
, a box, a green-a box. Do intend vat I speak?
 A green-a box.
MISTRESS QUICKLY Ay, forsooth. I’ll fetch it you.
 (Aside.) I am glad he went not in himself. If he
50 had found the young man, he would have been
 horn-mad.She exits.
DOCTOR CAIUS Fe, fe, fe, fe! Ma foi, il fait fort chaud. Je
 m’en vais à la cour—la grande affaire.

Enter Mistress Quickly with a small box.

MISTRESS QUICKLY Is it this, sir?
DOCTOR CAIUS 55Oui, mets-le à mon pocket. Dépêche,
 quickly. Vere is dat knave Rugby?

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 1. SC. 4

MISTRESS QUICKLY What, John Rugby, John!

Enter Rugby.

RUGBY Here, sir.
DOCTOR CAIUS You are John Rugby, and you are Jack
60 Rugby. Come, take-a your rapier, and come after
 my heel to the court.
RUGBY ’Tis ready, sir, here in the porch.
DOCTOR CAIUS By my trot, I tarry too long. Od’s
 me! Qu’ai-j’oublié? Dere is some simples in my
65 closet dat I vill not for the varld I shall leave
 behind.He exits.
MISTRESS QUICKLY Ay me! He’ll find the young man
 there, and be mad!

Enter Doctor Caius.

DOCTOR CAIUS O diable, diable! Vat is in my closet? Villainy!
70 Larron! (Pulling out Simple.) Rugby, my
MISTRESS QUICKLY Good master, be content.
DOCTOR CAIUS Wherefore shall I be content-a?
MISTRESS QUICKLY The young man is an honest man.
DOCTOR CAIUS 75What shall de honest man do in my
 closet? Dere is no honest man dat shall come in
 my closet.
MISTRESS QUICKLY I beseech you, be not so phlegmatic.
 Hear the truth of it. He came of an errand to me
80 from Parson Hugh.
SIMPLE Ay, forsooth. To desire her to—
MISTRESS QUICKLY Peace, I pray you.
DOCTOR CAIUS Peace-a your tongue.—Speak-a your
85 tale.
SIMPLE To desire this honest gentlewoman, your
 maid, to speak a good word to Mistress Anne Page
 for my master in the way of marriage.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 1. SC. 4

MISTRESS QUICKLY This is all, indeed, la! But I’ll ne’er
90 put my finger in the fire, and need not.
DOCTOR CAIUS, to Simple Sir Hugh send-a you?—
 Rugby, baille me some paper.—Tarry you a little-a

Rugby brings paper, and Doctor Caius writes.

MISTRESS QUICKLY, aside to Simple I am glad he is so
95 quiet. If he had been throughly moved, you should
 have heard him so loud and so melancholy. But
 notwithstanding, man, I’ll do you your master
 what good I can. And the very yea and the no is,
 the French doctor, my master—I may call him my
100 master, look you, for I keep his house, and I wash,
 wring, brew, bake, scour, dress meat and drink,
 make the beds, and do all myself—
SIMPLE, aside to Quickly ’Tis a great charge to come
 under one body’s hand.
MISTRESS QUICKLY, aside to Simple 105Are you advised o’
 that? You shall find it a great charge. And to be up
 early and down late. But notwithstanding—to tell
 you in your ear; I would have no words of it—my
 master himself is in love with Mistress Anne Page.
110 But notwithstanding that, I know Anne’s mind.
 That’s neither here nor there.
DOCTOR CAIUS, handing paper to Simple You, jack’nape,
 give-a this letter to Sir Hugh. By gar, it is a
 shallenge. I will cut his troat in de park, and I will
115 teach a scurvy jackanape priest to meddle or
 make. You may be gone. It is not good you tarry
 here.—By gar, I will cut all his two stones. By gar,
 he shall not have a stone to throw at his dog.
Simple exits.
MISTRESS QUICKLY Alas, he speaks but for his friend.
DOCTOR CAIUS 120It is no matter-a ver dat. Do not you tell-a
 me dat I shall have Anne Page for myself? By gar, I
 vill kill de jack priest; and I have appointed mine

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 1. SC. 4

 Host of de Jarteer to measure our weapon. By gar,
 I will myself have Anne Page.
MISTRESS QUICKLY 125Sir, the maid loves you, and all shall
 be well. We must give folks leave to prate. What
 the goodyear!
DOCTOR CAIUS Rugby, come to the court with me. (To
 Mistress Quickly.) 
By gar, if I have not Anne Page,
130 I shall turn your head out of my door.—Follow my
 heels, Rugby.
MISTRESS QUICKLY You shall have Anne—
Caius and Rugby exit.
 fool’s head of your own. No, I know Anne’s mind
 for that. Never a woman in Windsor knows more
135 of Anne’s mind than I do, nor can do more than I
 do with her, I thank heaven.
FENTON, within Who’s within there, ho?
MISTRESS QUICKLY Who’s there, I trow? Come near the
 house, I pray you.

Enter Fenton.

FENTON 140How now, good woman? How dost thou?
MISTRESS QUICKLY The better that it pleases your good
 Worship to ask.
FENTON What news? How does pretty Mistress Anne?
MISTRESS QUICKLY In truth, sir, and she is pretty, and
145 honest, and gentle; and one that is your friend, I
 can tell you that by the way, I praise heaven for it.
FENTON Shall I do any good, think’st thou? Shall I not
 lose my suit?
MISTRESS QUICKLY Troth, sir, all is in His hands above.
150 But notwithstanding, Master Fenton, I’ll be sworn
 on a book she loves you. Have not your Worship a
 wart above your eye?
FENTON Yes, marry, have I. What of that?
MISTRESS QUICKLY Well, thereby hangs a tale. Good
155 faith, it is such another Nan! But, I detest, an honest

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 1. SC. 4

 maid as ever broke bread. We had an hour’s
 talk of that wart. I shall never laugh but in that
 maid’s company. But, indeed, she is given too
 much to allicholy and musing. But, for you,—well,
160 go to.
FENTON Well, I shall see her today. Hold, there’s
 money for thee. (He hands her money.) Let me
 have thy voice in my behalf. If thou see’st her before
 me, commend me.
MISTRESS QUICKLY 165Will I? I’ faith, that we will. And I
 will tell your Worship more of the wart the next
 time we have confidence, and of other wooers.
FENTON Well, farewell. I am in great haste now.
MISTRESS QUICKLY Farewell to your Worship.
(Fenton exits.)
170 Truly an honest gentleman—but Anne loves him
 not, for I know Anne’s mind as well as another
 does. Out upon ’t! What have I forgot?
She exits.