List iconThe Merry Wives of Windsor:
Act 4, scene 5
List icon

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 4, 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 Host and Simple.

HOST What wouldst thou have, boor? What, thickskin?
 Speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick,
SIMPLE Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstaff
5 from Master Slender.
HOST There’s his chamber, his house, his castle, his
 standing-bed and truckle-bed. ’Tis painted about
 with the story of the Prodigal, fresh and new. Go,
 knock and call. He’ll speak like an Anthropophaginian
10 unto thee. Knock, I say.
SIMPLE There’s an old woman, a fat woman, gone up
 into his chamber. I’ll be so bold as stay, sir, till she
 come down. I come to speak with her, indeed.
HOST Ha? A fat woman? The knight may be robbed.
15 I’ll call.—Bully knight! Bully Sir John! Speak from

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 4. SC. 5

 thy lungs military. Art thou there? It is thine Host,
 thine Ephesian, calls.
FALSTAFF, within How now, mine Host?
HOST Here’s a Bohemian Tartar tarries the coming
20 down of thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let
 her descend. My chambers are honorable. Fie! Privacy?

Enter Sir John Falstaff.

FALSTAFF There was, mine Host, an old fat woman
 even now with me, but she’s gone.
SIMPLE 25Pray you, sir, was ’t not the wise woman of
FALSTAFF Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell. What would
 you with her?
SIMPLE My master, sir, my Master Slender, sent to her,
30 seeing her go through the streets, to know, sir,
 whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain,
 had the chain or no.
FALSTAFF I spake with the old woman about it.
SIMPLE And what says she, I pray, sir?
FALSTAFF 35Marry, she says that the very same man that
 beguiled Master Slender of his chain cozened him
 of it.
SIMPLE I would I could have spoken with the woman
 herself. I had other things to have spoken with her
40 too from him.
FALSTAFF What are they? Let us know.
HOST Ay, come. Quick!
SIMPLE I may not conceal them, sir.
HOST Conceal them, or thou diest.
SIMPLE 45Why, sir, they were nothing but about Mistress
 Anne Page, to know if it were my master’s fortune
 to have her or no.
FALSTAFF ’Tis; ’tis his fortune.
SIMPLE What, sir?

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 4. SC. 5

FALSTAFF 50To have her or no. Go. Say the woman told
 me so.
SIMPLE May I be bold to say so, sir?
FALSTAFF Ay, sir; like who more bold.
SIMPLE I thank your Worship. I shall make my master
55 glad with these tidings.He exits.
HOST Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was
 there a wise woman with thee?
FALSTAFF Ay, that there was, mine Host, one that hath
 taught me more wit than ever I learned before in
60 my life. And I paid nothing for it neither, but was
 paid for my learning.

Enter Bardolph.

BARDOLPH, to Host Out, alas, sir, cozenage, mere
HOST Where be my horses? Speak well of them,
65 varletto.
BARDOLPH Run away with the cozeners. For so soon as
 I came beyond Eton, they threw me off from behind
 one of them in a slough of mire, and set
 spurs, and away, like three German devils, three
70 Doctor Faustuses.
HOST They are gone but to meet the Duke, villain. Do
 not say they be fled. Germans are honest men.

Enter Sir Hugh Evans.

SIR HUGH Where is mine Host?
HOST What is the matter, sir?
SIR HUGH 75Have a care of your entertainments. There is
 a friend of mine come to town tells me there is
 three cozen-Germans that has cozened all the
 hosts of Readings, of Maidenhead, of Colnbrook,
 of horses and money. I tell you for good will, look
80 you. You are wise, and full of gibes and vlouting-stocks,
 and ’tis not convenient you should be cozened.
 Fare you well.He exits.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 4. SC. 5

Enter Doctor Caius.

DOCTOR CAIUS Vere is mine Host de Jarteer?
HOST Here, Master Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful
85 dilemma.
DOCTOR CAIUS I cannot tell vat is dat. But it is tell-a me
 dat you make grand preparation for a duke de
 Jamanie. By my trot, dere is no duke that the court
 is know to come. I tell you for good will. Adieu.
He exits.
HOST, to Bardolph 90Hue and cry, villain, go!—Assist
 me, knight. I am undone.—Fly, run; hue and cry,
 villain! I am undone.Host and Bardolph exit.
FALSTAFF I would all the world might be cozened, for I
 have been cozened and beaten too. If it should
95 come to the ear of the court how I have been transformed,
 and how my transformation hath been
 washed and cudgeled, they would melt me out of
 my fat drop by drop, and liquor fishermen’s boots
 with me. I warrant they would whip me with their
100 fine wits till I were as crestfallen as a dried pear. I
 never prospered since I forswore myself at
 primero. Well, if my wind were but long enough, I
 would repent.

Enter Mistress Quickly.

 Now, whence come you?
MISTRESS QUICKLY 105From the two parties, forsooth.
FALSTAFF The devil take one party, and his dam the
 other, and so they shall be both bestowed. I have
 suffered more for their sakes, more than the villainous
 inconstancy of man’s disposition is able to
110 bear.
MISTRESS QUICKLY And have not they suffered? Yes, I
 warrant, speciously one of them. Mistress Ford,

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 4. SC. 6

 good heart, is beaten black and blue that you cannot
 see a white spot about her.
FALSTAFF 115What tell’st thou me of black and blue? I was
 beaten myself into all the colors of the rainbow,
 and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of
 Brentford. But that my admirable dexterity of wit,
 my counterfeiting the action of an old woman, delivered
120 me, the knave constable had set me i’ th’
 stocks, i’ th’ common stocks, for a witch.
MISTRESS QUICKLY Sir, let me speak with you in your
 chamber. You shall hear how things go, and, I warrant,
 to your content. Here is a letter will say
125 somewhat. She gives him a paper. Good hearts,
 what ado here is to bring you together! Sure, one
 of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so
FALSTAFF Come up into my chamber.
They exit.