List iconThe Merry Wives of Windsor:
Act 3, scene 5
List icon

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 3, scene 5



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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Scene 5
Enter Sir John Falstaff.

FALSTAFF Bardolph, I say!

Enter Bardolph.

BARDOLPH Here, sir.
FALSTAFF Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast in ’t.
Bardolph exits.
 Have I lived to be carried in a basket like a barrow
5 of butcher’s offal, and to be thrown in the Thames?
 Well, if I be served such another trick, I’ll have my
 brains ta’en out and buttered, and give them to a
 dog for a New Year’s gift. ’Sblood, the rogues

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 3. SC. 5

 slighted me into the river with as little remorse as
10 they would have drowned a blind bitch’s puppies,
 fifteen i’ th’ litter! And you may know by my size
 that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking; if the bottom
 were as deep as hell, I should down. I had
 been drowned, but that the shore was shelvy and
15 shallow—a death that I abhor, for the water swells
 a man, and what a thing should I have been when
 I had been swelled! By the Lord, I should have
 been a mountain of mummy.

Enter Bardolph with cups of sack.

BARDOLPH Here’s Mistress Quickly, sir, to speak with
20 you.
FALSTAFF Come, let me pour in some sack to the
 Thames water, for my belly’s as cold as if I had
 swallowed snowballs for pills to cool the reins. He
Call her in.
BARDOLPH 25Come in, woman.

Enter Mistress Quickly.

MISTRESS QUICKLY By your leave, I cry you mercy. Give
 your Worship good morrow.
FALSTAFF, to Bardolph Take away these chalices. Go
 brew me a pottle of sack finely.
BARDOLPH 30With eggs, sir?
FALSTAFF Simple of itself. I’ll no pullet sperm in my
 brewage.Bardolph exits.
 How now?
MISTRESS QUICKLY Marry, sir, I come to your Worship
35 from Mistress Ford.
FALSTAFF Mistress Ford? I have had ford enough. I
 was thrown into the ford, I have my belly full of
MISTRESS QUICKLY Alas the day, good heart, that was
40 not her fault. She does so take on with her men;
 they mistook their erection.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 3. SC. 5

FALSTAFF So did I mine, to build upon a foolish
 woman’s promise.
MISTRESS QUICKLY Well, she laments, sir, for it, that it
45 would yearn your heart to see it. Her husband goes
 this morning a-birding; she desires you once more
 to come to her, between eight and nine. I must
 carry her word quickly. She’ll make you amends, I
 warrant you.
FALSTAFF 50Well, I will visit her. Tell her so. And bid her
 think what a man is. Let her consider his frailty,
 and then judge of my merit.
MISTRESS QUICKLY I will tell her.
FALSTAFF Do so. Between nine and ten, say’st thou?
MISTRESS QUICKLY 55Eight and nine, sir.
FALSTAFF Well, be gone. I will not miss her.
MISTRESS QUICKLY Peace be with you, sir.
Mistress Quickly exits.
FALSTAFF I marvel I hear not of Master Brook. He
 sent me word to stay within. I like his money well.

Enter Ford disguised as Brook.

60 O, here he comes.
FORD, as Brook God bless you, sir.
FALSTAFF Now, Master Brook, you come to know
 what hath passed between me and Ford’s wife.
FORD, as Brook That indeed, Sir John, is my
65 business.
FALSTAFF Master Brook, I will not lie to you. I was at
 her house the hour she appointed me.
FORD, as Brook And sped you, sir?
FALSTAFF Very ill-favoredly, Master Brook.
FORD, as Brook 70How so, sir? Did she change her
FALSTAFF No, Master Brook, but the peaking cornuto
 her husband, Master Brook, dwelling in a continual
 ’larum of jealousy, comes me in the instant of

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 3. SC. 5

75 our encounter, after we had embraced, kissed,
 protested, and, as it were, spoke the prologue of
 our comedy, and, at his heels, a rabble of his companions,
 thither provoked and instigated by his
 distemper, and, forsooth, to search his house for
80 his wife’s love.
FORD, as Brook What, while you were there?
FALSTAFF While I was there.
FORD, as Brook And did he search for you and could
 not find you?
FALSTAFF 85You shall hear. As good luck would have it,
 comes in one Mistress Page, gives intelligence of
 Ford’s approach, and, in her invention and Ford’s
 wife’s distraction, they conveyed me into a
FORD, as Brook 90A buck-basket!
FALSTAFF By the Lord, a buck-basket! Rammed me
 in with foul shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings,
 greasy napkins, that, Master Brook, there
 was the rankest compound of villainous smell that
95 ever offended nostril.
FORD, as Brook And how long lay you there?
FALSTAFF Nay, you shall hear, Master Brook, what I
 have suffered to bring this woman to evil for your
 good. Being thus crammed in the basket, a couple
100 of Ford’s knaves, his hinds, were called forth by
 their mistress to carry me in the name of foul
 clothes to Datchet Lane. They took me on their
 shoulders, met the jealous knave their master in
 the door, who asked them once or twice what they
105 had in their basket. I quaked for fear lest the lunatic
 knave would have searched it, but fate, ordaining
 he should be a cuckold, held his hand.
 Well, on went he for a search, and away went I for
 foul clothes. But mark the sequel, Master Brook.
110 I suffered the pangs of three several deaths: first,

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 3. SC. 5

 an intolerable fright to be detected with a jealous
 rotten bellwether; next, to be compassed, like a
 good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to
 point, heel to head; and then, to be stopped in, like
115 a strong distillation, with stinking clothes that fretted
 in their own grease. Think of that, a man of my
 kidney—think of that—that am as subject to heat
 as butter; a man of continual dissolution and thaw.
 It was a miracle to ’scape suffocation. And in
120 the height of this bath, when I was more than half-stewed
 in grease, like a Dutch dish, to be thrown
 into the Thames and cooled, glowing hot, in that
 surge, like a horseshoe! Think of that—hissing
 hot—think of that, Master Brook.
FORD, as Brook 125In good sadness, sir, I am sorry that
 for my sake you have suffered all this. My suit,
 then, is desperate. You’ll undertake her no more?
FALSTAFF Master Brook, I will be thrown into Etna,
 as I have been into Thames, ere I will leave her
130 thus. Her husband is this morning gone a-birding.
 I have received from her another embassy of meeting.
 ’Twixt eight and nine is the hour, Master
FORD, as Brook ’Tis past eight already, sir.
FALSTAFF 135Is it? I will then address me to my appointment.
 Come to me at your convenient leisure,
 and you shall know how I speed; and the conclusion
 shall be crowned with your enjoying her.
 Adieu. You shall have her, Master Brook. Master
140 Brook, you shall cuckold Ford.Falstaff exits.
FORD Hum! Ha! Is this a vision? Is this a dream? Do I
 sleep? Master Ford, awake! Awake, Master Ford!
 There’s a hole made in your best coat, Master
 Ford. This ’tis to be married; this ’tis to have linen
145 and buck-baskets! Well, I will proclaim myself
 what I am. I will now take the lecher. He is at my

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 3. SC. 5

 house. He cannot ’scape me. ’Tis impossible he
 should. He cannot creep into a half-penny purse,
 nor into a pepper-box. But lest the devil that
150 guides him should aid him, I will search impossible
 places. Though what I am I cannot avoid, yet to
 be what I would not shall not make me tame. If I
 have horns to make one mad, let the proverb go
 with me: I’ll be horn-mad.
He exits.