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

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 5, 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…

Include links to:

Quill icon
Scene 5
Enter Sir John Falstaff wearing a buck’s head.

FALSTAFF The Windsor bell hath struck twelve. The
 minute draws on. Now, the hot-blooded gods assist
 me! Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy
 Europa; love set on thy horns. O powerful love,
5 that in some respects makes a beast a man, in
 some other a man a beast! You were also, Jupiter,
 a swan for the love of Leda. O omnipotent love,
 how near the god drew to the complexion of a
 goose! A fault done first in the form of a beast; O
10 Jove, a beastly fault! And then another fault in the
 semblance of a fowl; think on ’t, Jove, a foul fault.
 When gods have hot backs, what shall poor men
 do? For me, I am here a Windsor stag, and the fattest,
 I think, i’ th’ forest. Send me a cool rut-time,
15 Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow?

Enter Mistress Page and Mistress Ford.

 Who comes here? My doe?
MISTRESS FORD Sir John? Art thou there, my deer, my
 male deer?
FALSTAFF My doe with the black scut! Let the sky rain
20 potatoes, let it thunder to the tune of “Greensleeves,”
 hail kissing-comfits, and snow eryngoes; let there
 come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me
 here.He embraces her.
MISTRESS FORD Mistress Page is come with me,
25 sweetheart.
FALSTAFF Divide me like a bribed buck, each a haunch.
 I will keep my sides to myself, my shoulders for
 the fellow of this walk, and my horns I bequeath
 your husbands. Am I a woodman, ha? Speak I like
30 Herne the Hunter? Why, now is Cupid a child of
 conscience; he makes restitution. As I am a true
 spirit, welcome.A noise of horns within.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 5. SC. 5

MISTRESS PAGE Alas, what noise?
MISTRESS FORD Heaven forgive our sins!
FALSTAFF 35What should this be?
The two women run off.
FALSTAFF I think the devil will not have me damned,
 lest the oil that’s in me should set hell on fire. He
 would never else cross me thus.

Enter Mistress Quickly, Pistol, Sir Hugh Evans,
Anne Page and boys, all disguised as Fairies and
carrying tapers.

40 Fairies black, gray, green, and white,
 You moonshine revelers and shades of night,
 You orphan heirs of fixèd destiny,
 Attend your office and your quality.
 Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes.
PISTOL, as Hobgoblin 
45 Elves, list your names. Silence, you airy toys!—
 Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap,
 Where fires thou find’st unraked and hearths
 There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry.
50 Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery.
FALSTAFF, aside 
 They are fairies. He that speaks to them shall die.
 I’ll wink and couch. No man their works must eye.
He crouches down and covers his eyes.
SIR HUGH, as a fairy 
 Where’s Bead? Go you, and where you find a maid
 That ere she sleep has thrice her prayers said,
55 Raise up the organs of her fantasy;
 Sleep she as sound as careless infancy.
 But those as sleep and think not on their sins,
 Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides, and

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 5. SC. 5

MISTRESS QUICKLY, as Fairy Queen 60About, about!
 Search Windsor Castle, elves, within and out.
 Strew good luck, aufs, on every sacred room,
 That it may stand till the perpetual doom
 In state as wholesome as in state ’tis fit,
65 Worthy the owner, and the owner it.
 The several chairs of order look you scour
 With juice of balm and every precious flower.
 Each fair installment, coat, and sev’ral crest
 With loyal blazon evermore be blest!
70 And nightly, meadow fairies, look you sing,
 Like to the Garter’s compass, in a ring.
 Th’ expressure that it bears, green let it be,
 More fertile-fresh than all the field to see;
 And Honi soit qui mal y pense write
75 In em’rald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white,
 Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
 Buckled below fair knighthood’s bending knee.
 Fairies use flowers for their charactery.
 Away, disperse! But till ’tis one o’clock,
80 Our dance of custom round about the oak
 Of Herne the Hunter let us not forget.
SIR HUGH, as a fairy 
 Pray you, lock hand in hand. Yourselves in order set;
 And twenty glowworms shall our lanterns be,
 To guide our measure round about the tree.
85 But stay! I smell a man of Middle Earth.
FALSTAFF, aside Heavens defend me from that Welsh
 fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese.
PISTOL, as Hobgoblin, to Falstaff 
 Vile worm, thou wast o’erlooked even in thy birth.
MISTRESS QUICKLY, as Fairy Queen, to Sir Hugh 
 With trial-fire touch me his finger-end.
90 If he be chaste, the flame will back descend
 And turn him to no pain. But if he start,
 It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 5. SC. 5

PISTOL, as Hobgoblin 
 A trial, come!
SIR HUGH, as a fairy  Come, will this wood take fire?
Sir Hugh puts a taper to Falstaff’s finger, and he starts.
 Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!
 About him, fairies. Sing a scornful rhyme,
 And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.

Here they pinch him and sing about him, and Doctor
Caius comes one way and steals away a boy in white.
And Slender comes another way; he takes a boy in
green. And Fenton
 steals Mistress Anne Page.

 Fie on sinful fantasy!
100 Fie on lust and luxury!
 Lust is but a bloody fire
 Kindled with unchaste desire,
 Fed in heart whose flames aspire
 As thoughts do blow them higher and higher.
105 Pinch him, fairies, mutually;
 Pinch him for his villainy.

 Pinch him and burn him and turn him about,
 Till candles and starlight and moonshine be out.

A noise of hunting is made within, and all the fairies
run away from Falstaff, who pulls off his buck’s head
and rises up.
 Enter Page, Mistress Page,
Mistress Ford and Ford.

PAGE, to Falstaff 
 Nay, do not fly. I think we have watched you now.
110 Will none but Herne the Hunter serve your turn?
 I pray you, come, hold up the jest no higher.—
 Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives?

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 5. SC. 5

She points to the horns.
 See you these, husband? Do not these fair yokes
 Become the forest better than the town?
FORD, to Falstaff 115Now, sir, who’s a cuckold now?
 Master Brook, Falstaff’s a knave, a cuckoldly
 knave. Here are his horns, Master Brook. And,
 Master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford’s
 but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty
120 pounds of money, which must be paid to Master
 Brook. His horses are arrested for it, Master
MISTRESS FORD Sir John, we have had ill luck. We
 could never meet. I will never take you for my love
125 again, but I will always count you my deer.
FALSTAFF I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass.
FORD Ay, and an ox too. Both the proofs are extant.
FALSTAFF And these are not fairies. I was three or four
 times in the thought they were not fairies; and yet
130 the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of
 my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into
 a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all
 rhyme and reason, that they were fairies. See now
 how wit may be made a Jack-a-Lent when ’tis upon
135 ill employment.
SIR HUGH Sir John Falstaff, serve Got and leave your
 desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
FORD Well said, Fairy Hugh.
SIR HUGH And leave you your jealousies too, I pray
140 you.
FORD I will never mistrust my wife again till thou art
 able to woo her in good English.
FALSTAFF Have I laid my brain in the sun and dried it,
 that it wants matter to prevent so gross o’erreaching
145 as this? Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too?
 Shall I have a coxcomb of frieze? ’Tis time I were
 choked with a piece of toasted cheese.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 5. SC. 5

SIR HUGH Seese is not good to give putter. Your belly is
 all putter.
FALSTAFF 150“Seese” and “putter”? Have I lived to stand at
 the taunt of one that makes fritters of English?
 This is enough to be the decay of lust and late
 walking through the realm.
MISTRESS PAGE Why, Sir John, do you think though we
155 would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the
 head and shoulders, and have given ourselves
 without scruple to hell, that ever the devil could
 have made you our delight?
FORD What, a hodge-pudding? A bag of flax?
MISTRESS PAGE 160A puffed man?
PAGE Old, cold, withered, and of intolerable entrails?
FORD And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
PAGE And as poor as Job?
FORD And as wicked as his wife?
SIR HUGH 165And given to fornications, and to taverns,
 and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings
 and swearings and starings, pribbles and
FALSTAFF Well, I am your theme. You have the start of
170 me. I am dejected. I am not able to answer the
 Welsh flannel. Ignorance itself is a plummet o’er
 me. Use me as you will.
FORD Marry, sir, we’ll bring you to Windsor to one
 Master Brook, that you have cozened of money,
175 to whom you should have been a pander. Over and
 above that you have suffered, I think to repay that
 money will be a biting affliction.
PAGE Yet be cheerful, knight. Thou shalt eat a posset
 tonight at my house, where I will desire thee to
180 laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee. Tell her
 Master Slender hath married her daughter.
MISTRESS PAGE, aside Doctors doubt that. If Anne
 Page be my daughter, she is, by this, Doctor Caius’

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 5. SC. 5

Enter Slender.

SLENDER 185Whoa, ho, ho, Father Page!
PAGE Son, how now! How now, son! Have you
SLENDER “Dispatched”? I’ll make the best in Gloucestershire
 know on ’t. Would I were hanged, la, else!
PAGE 190Of what, son?
SLENDER I came yonder at Eton to marry Mistress
 Anne Page, and she’s a great lubberly boy. If it had
 not been i’ th’ church, I would have swinged him,
 or he should have swinged me. If I did not think it
195 had been Anne Page, would I might never stir! And
 ’tis a post-master’s boy.
PAGE Upon my life, then, you took the wrong—
SLENDER What need you tell me that? I think so, when
 I took a boy for a girl. If I had been married to him,
200 for all he was in woman’s apparel, I would not
 have had him.
PAGE Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you
 how you should know my daughter by her
SLENDER 205I went to her in white, and cried “mum,”
 and she cried “budget,” as Anne and I had appointed,
 and yet it was not Anne, but a post-master’s
MISTRESS PAGE Good George, be not angry. I knew of
210 your purpose, turned my daughter into green,
 and indeed she is now with the doctor at the deanery,
 and there married.

Enter Doctor Caius.

DOCTOR CAIUS Vere is Mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened!
 I ha’ married un garçon, a boy; un paysan, by
215 gar, a boy. It is not Anne Page. By gar, I am

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 5. SC. 5

MISTRESS PAGE Why? Did you take her in green?
DOCTOR CAIUS Ay, be gar, and ’tis a boy. Be gar, I’ll raise
 all Windsor.
FORD 220This is strange. Who hath got the right Anne?

Enter Fenton and Anne Page.

PAGE My heart misgives me. Here comes Master Fenton.—
 How now, Master Fenton!
ANNE Pardon, good father. Good my mother, pardon.
PAGE Now, mistress, how chance you went not with
225 Master Slender?
 Why went you not with Master Doctor, maid?
 You do amaze her. Hear the truth of it.
 You would have married her most shamefully,
 Where there was no proportion held in love.
230 The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,
 Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve us.
 Th’ offense is holy that she hath committed,
 And this deceit loses the name of craft,
 Of disobedience, or unduteous title,
235 Since therein she doth evitate and shun
 A thousand irreligious cursèd hours
 Which forcèd marriage would have brought upon her.
FORD, to Page and Mistress Page 
 Stand not amazed. Here is no remedy.
 In love the heavens themselves do guide the state.
240 Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.
FALSTAFF I am glad, though you have ta’en a special
 stand to strike at me, that your arrow hath
 Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give thee joy.
245 What cannot be eschewed must be embraced.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 5. SC. 5

 When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are chased.
 Well, I will muse no further.—Master Fenton,
 Heaven give you many, many merry days.—
 Good husband, let us every one go home
250 And laugh this sport o’er by a country fire—
 Sir John and all.
FORD  Let it be so, Sir John.
 To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word,
 For he tonight shall lie with Mistress Ford.
They exit.