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The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR HUGH EVANS

SHALLOW

Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Star- chamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir John Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.

SHALLOW

Sir Hugh, don't try to talk me out of it. I will take the case to the highest court in the land: if Sir John Falstaff had twenty times as much social status, I wouldn't let him abuse me, Robert Shallow, esquire.

SLENDER

In the county of Gloucester, justice of peace and'Coram.'

SLENDER

You, who are a justice of the peace in the county of Gloucester, and a judge with authority to try criminals

SHALLOW

Ay, cousin Slender, and 'Custalourum.

SHALLOW

Yes, nephew Slender, and I'm also the principal judge in the county.

SLENDER

Ay, and 'Rato-lorum' too; and a gentleman born, master parson; who writes himself 'Armigero,' in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, 'Armigero.'

SLENDER

Yes, the principal judge.

[To SIR HUGH EVANS] And he was born a gentleman, Master Parson. He signs his name "Esquire," whenever he signs an indictment, a warrant for arrest, a discharge from debt, or a contract, he signs "Esquire." 

SHALLOW

Ay, that I do; and have done any time these threehundred years.

SHALLOW

Yes, I do, and my family has done the same thing for the last three hundred years. 

SLENDER

All his successors gone before him hath done't; and all his ancestors that come after him may: they may give the dozen white luces in their coat.

SLENDER

All his descendants before him have signed their name that way, and all his ancestors who come after him can do the same thing. They can bear the coat of arms that has the twelve white pikes.

SHALLOW

It is an old coat.

SHALLOW

It is an old coat of arms. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

The dozen white louses do become an old coat well; it agrees well, passant; it is a familiar beast to man, and signifies love.

SIR HUGH EVANS

The twelve white pikes look very appropriate on an old coat of arms. They look extremely fitting. The pike is an animal that humans are well acquainted with, and it symbolizes love.

SHALLOW

The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat.

SHALLOW

The pike is a fresh-water fish. An old cod lives in salt water.

SLENDER

I may quarter, coz.

SLENDER

I might divide my coat of arms into four pieces, cousin. 

SHALLOW

You may, by marrying.

SHALLOW

You might, if you get married

SIR HUGH EVANS

It is marring indeed, if he quarter it.

SIR HUGH EVANS

He will definitely mar his coat, if he cuts it up into four pieces. 

SHALLOW

Not a whit.

SHALLOW

Not at all. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

Yes, py'r lady; if he has a quarter of your coat, there is but three skirts for yourself, in my simple conjectures: but that is all one. If Sir John Falstaff have committed disparagements unto you, I am of the church, and will be glad to do my benevolence to make atonements and compromises between you.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Yes, I'm telling you. If he has a quarter of your coat, then there's only three quarters left for you, in my opinion, but it doesn't matter. If Sir John Falstaff has mistreated you, I'll be glad to act as a friendly intermediary to help make things right between you, since I work for the church. 

SHALLOW

The council shall bear it; it is a riot.

SHALLOW

The council will hear about it. It's a disturbance of the peace. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

It is not meet the council hear a riot; there is no fear of Got in a riot: the council, look you, shall desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your vizaments in that.

SIR HUGH EVANS

It isn't appropriate for the church council to witness a disturbance of the peace. There's no fear of God in disturbing the peace. The council, I'm telling you, wants to see people fearing God, not disturbing the peace. I'm giving you fair warning. 

SHALLOW

Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the swordshould end it.

SHALLOW

Ha! I swear, if I were young again, I'd use a sword to end this dispute.

SIR HUGH EVANS

It is petter that friends is the sword, and end it: and there is also another device in my prain, which peradventure prings goot discretions with it: there is Anne Page, which is daughter to Master Thomas Page, which is pretty virginity.

SIR HUGH EVANS

It is better to end disputes through friends, not through violence—and I have another idea in my mind, which might perhaps be a sensible one. You know Anne Page, daughter of Master Thomas Page, who is a pretty young woman. 

SLENDER

Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and speakssmall like a woman.

SLENDER

Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and a high voice like most women do. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

It is that fery person for all the orld, as just as you will desire; and seven hundred pounds of moneys, and gold and silver, is her grandsire upon his death's-bed—Got deliver to a joyful resurrections! —give, when she is able to overtake seventeen years old: it were a goot motion if we leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage between Master Abraham and Mistress Anne Page.

SIR HUGH EVANS

That's the very person I'm talking about. Her grandfather left her seven hundred pounds in cash, and gold and silver, on his death-bed—may God give him a joyful resurrection—which Anne will be able to take possession of when she turns seventeen. It would be a good idea if we stopped bickering and planned a marriage between Master Abraham and Mistress Anne Page.

SLENDER

Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound?

SLENDER

Did her grandfather leave her seven hundred pounds?

SIR HUGH EVANS

Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Yes, and her father is going to give her a lot more.

SLENDER

I know the young gentlewoman; she has good gifts.

SLENDER

I know the young gentlewoman. She has good qualities. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

Seven hundred pounds and possibilities is goot gifts.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Seven hundred pounds and the possibility of getting more money are good qualities. 

SHALLOW

Well, let us see honest Master Page. Is Falstaff there?

SHALLOW

Well, let's go see good Master Page. Is Falstaff there?

SIR HUGH EVANS

Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar as I do despise one that is false, or as I despise one that is not true. The knight, Sir John, is there; and, I beseech you, be ruled by your well-willers. I will peat the door for Master Page.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Will I lie to you? I hate liars as much as I hate people who say false things, or people who aren't honest. The knight, Sir John, is there—and I'm asking you, please listen to the people who are trying to help you. I will knock on Master Page's door. 

Knocks

SIR HUGH EVANS

What, hoa! Got pless your house here!

SIR HUGH EVANS

Hello, there! God bless your house!

PAGE

[Within] Who's there?

PAGE

[Offstage] Who's there?

Enter PAGE

SIR HUGH EVANS

Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and JusticeShallow; and here young Master Slender, thatperadventures shall tell you another tale, ifmatters grow to your likings.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Here's your friend the parson, and Justice Shallow, and here's young Master Slender, who perhaps might discuss something with you, if you like the sound of it. 

PAGE

I am glad to see your worships well.I thank you for my venison, Master Shallow.

PAGE

I'm glad to see you honorable gentlemen are doing well. Thank you for my venison, Master Shallow.

SHALLOW

Master Page, I am glad to see you: much good do it your good heart! I wished your venison better; it was ill killed. How doth good Mistress Page?—and I thank you always with my heart, la! with my heart.

SHALLOW

Master Page, I'm glad to see you, and I hope you enjoyed it! I wish your venison had tasted better, but the deer wasn't killed very skillfully. How is Mistress Page doing? And I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

PAGE

Sir, I thank you.

PAGE

Sir, I thank you.

SHALLOW

Sir, I thank you; by yea and no, I do.

SHALLOW

Sir, I thank you. I promise, I do. 

PAGE

I am glad to see you, good Master Slender.

PAGE

I'm glad to see you, good Master Slender.

SLENDER

How does your fallow greyhound, sir? I heard say hewas outrun on Cotsall.

SLENDER

How is your light brown greyhound, sir? I heard that he lost the race at the Cotswold hills.

PAGE

It could not be judged, sir.

PAGE

The race couldn't be decided, sir. 

SLENDER

You'll not confess, you'll not confess.

SLENDER

You won't admit he lost, you won't admit it. 

SHALLOW

That he will not. 'Tis your fault, 'tis your fault;'tis a good dog.

SHALLOW

[To SLENDER] No, he won't. You're in the wrong, you're in the wrong. 

[To PAGE]
 It's a good dog.

PAGE

A cur, sir.

PAGE

He's a low-bred dog, sir.

SHALLOW

Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog: can there be more said? he is good and fair. Is Sir John Falstaff here?

SHALLOW

Sir, he's a good dog, and a handsome dog. What more could you want? He's good and handsome. Is Sir John Falstaff here? 

PAGE

Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a goodoffice between you.

PAGE

Sir, he's inside, and I wish I could do something helpful to mediate between you.

SIR HUGH EVANS

It is spoke as a Christians ought to speak.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Spoken like a Christian. 

SHALLOW

He hath wronged me, Master Page.

SHALLOW

He has mistreated me, Master Page. 

PAGE

Sir, he doth in some sort confess it.

PAGE

Sir, he does sort of admit it. 

SHALLOW

If it be confessed, it is not redress'd: is not that so, Master Page? He hath wronged me; indeed he hath, at a word, he hath, believe me: Robert Shallow, esquire, saith, he is wronged.

SHALLOW

If he has admitted it, he hasn't made up for it. Isn't that true, Master Page? He has mistreated me, really he has, in short, he has, believe me. Robert Shallow, esquire, says he has been mistreated. 

PAGE

Here comes Sir John.

PAGE

Here comes Sir John.

Enter FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYM, and PISTOL

FALSTAFF

Now, Master Shallow, you'll complain of me to the king?

FALSTAFF

Now, Master Shallow, you're going to complain to the king about me?

SHALLOW

Knight, you have beaten my men, killed my deer, andbroke open my lodge.

SHALLOW

Knight, you have beat up my servants, killed my deer, and broken into my gamekeeper's lodge.

FALSTAFF

But not kissed your keeper's daughter?

FALSTAFF

But I didn't kiss your gamekeeper's daughter? 

SHALLOW

Tut, a pin! this shall be answered.

SHALLOW

Ha, what nonsense! You'll answer for what you've done.

FALSTAFF

I will answer it straight; I have done all this.That is now answered.

FALSTAFF

I'll answer right away: I did do all that. Now I've answered you. 

SHALLOW

The council shall know this.

SHALLOW

The court will know about this. 

FALSTAFF

'Twere better for you if it were known in counsel:you'll be laughed at.

FALSTAFF

It would be better for you if no one knew about this. People will laugh at you.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Pauca verba, Sir John; goot worts.

SIR HUGH EVANS

A few good words, Sir John, good words.

FALSTAFF

Good worts! Good cabbage. Slender, I broke yourhead: what matter have you against me?

FALSTAFF

Good words! Good cabbage. Slender, I hit you on the head. What is your complaint about me?

SLENDER

Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your cony-catching rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol.

SLENDER

Well, sir, I do have a complaint in mind about you, and about your cheating scoundrels, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. 

BARDOLPH

You Banbury cheese!

BARDOLPH

You thin slice of cheese!

SLENDER

Ay, it is no matter.

SLENDER

Well, it doesn't matter. 

PISTOL

How now, Mephostophilus!

PISTOL

What's this, you devil?

SLENDER

Ay, it is no matter.

SLENDER

I said, it doesn't matter.

NYM

Slice, I say! pauca, pauca: slice! that's my humour.

NYM

Slice, I say! Fewer words, fewer words: slice! That's my mood.

SLENDER

Where's Simple, my man? Can you tell, cousin?

SLENDER

Where's Simple, my servant? Do you know, cousin? 

SIR HUGH EVANS

Peace, I pray you. Now let us understand. There is three umpires in this matter, as I understand; that is, Master Page, fidelicet Master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Be quiet, please. Now let's get this straight. There are three judges about this dispute, as I take it. There's Master Page, that is to say, Master Page; and there's myself, that is to say, myself; and the third judge is, last and finally, the host of the Garter Inn.

PAGE

We three, to hear it and end it between them.

PAGE

The three of us will hear the case and put an end to this dispute between them. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note- book; and we will afterwards ork upon the cause with as great discreetly as we can.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Very good. I'll write up a summary of it in my notebook, and we'll work on this case later as sensibly as we can. 

FALSTAFF

Pistol!

FALSTAFF

Pistol!

PISTOL

He hears with ears.

PISTOL

I hear you with my ears.

SIR HUGH EVANS

The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, 'Hehears with ear'? why, it is affectations.

SIR HUGH EVANS

The devil and his mother! What kind of language is that, "He hears you with his ears?" That is so pretentious. 

FALSTAFF

Pistol, did you pick Master Slender's purse?

FALSTAFF

Pistol, did you steal from Master Slender's wallet? 

SLENDER

Ay, by these gloves, did he, or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else, of seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two pence apiece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.

SLENDER

Yes, I swear by these gloves, he did, and if he didn't, I'll never enter my own bedroom again. He stole seven four-penny coins, new coins, and two old shillings, that cost me two shillings and two pennies each from Yead Miller, I swear by these gloves.

FALSTAFF

Is this true, Pistol?

FALSTAFF

Is this true, Pistol? 

SIR HUGH EVANS

No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.

SIR HUGH EVANS

No, Pistol isn't a true man, if he's a pick-pocket. 

PISTOL

Ha, thou mountain-foreigner! Sir John and Master mine, I combat challenge of this latten bilbo. Word of denial in thy labras here! Word of denial: froth and scum, thou liest!

PISTOL

Ha, you foreigner from the mountains! Sir John, my master, I challenge this skinny coward to a duel. Try to say no to me! Try to say no, you piece of scum, you lie! 

SLENDER

By these gloves, then, 'twas he.

SLENDER

I swear by these gloves, it was him. 

NYM

Be advised, sir, and pass good humours: I will say 'marry trap' with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on me; that is the very note of it.

NYM

Be careful, sir, and behave properly. I'll tell you to get lost if you start acting like a policeman and accusing me of crimes—that's a fact. 

SLENDER

By this hat, then, he in the red face had it; for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.

SLENDER

I swear by my hat, the one with the red face [Pointing to BARDOLPH] had my purse. Even though I can't remember what I did when you got me drunk, still, I'm not a complete fool. 

FALSTAFF

What say you, Scarlet and John?

FALSTAFF

What do you have to say to that, you red-faced man?

BARDOLPH

Why, sir, for my part I say the gentleman had drunkhimself out of his five sentences.

BARDOLPH

Well, sir, speaking for myself, I can tell you that the man got so drunk that he lost the use of his five sentences. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is!

SIR HUGH EVANS

It's five senses. My goodness, how stupid he is! 

BARDOLPH

And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashiered; andso conclusions passed the careers.

BARDOLPH

And since he was drunk, sir, he was kicked out of the tavern, and that's how things got out of hand.

SLENDER

Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis no matter: I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again, but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick: if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.

SLENDER

Yes, your language was incomprehensible then, too, but it doesn't matter. I'll never get drunk again as long as I live except with people who are honest and well-behaved, because of this trick. If I get drunk, I'll get drunk with people who are God-fearing, and not with drunken scoundrels. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

So Got udge me, that is a virtuous mind.

SIR HUGH EVANS

By God, he is a virtuous person. 

FALSTAFF

You hear all these matters denied, gentlemen; you hear it.

FALSTAFF

You see that they deny all these accusations, gentlemen, you see. 

Enter ANNE PAGE, with wine; MISTRESS FORD and MISTRESS PAGE, following

PAGE

Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll drink within.

PAGE

No, daughter, carry the wine inside, we'll drink inside.

Exit ANNE PAGE

SLENDER

O heaven! this is Mistress Anne Page.

SLENDER

Oh heaven! That's Mistress Anne Page.

PAGE

How now, Mistress Ford!

PAGE

How are you, Mistress Ford?

FALSTAFF

Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met:by your leave, good mistress.

FALSTAFF

Mistress Ford, I declare, it's very good to see you. Let me do this with your permission, good lady.

Kisses her

PAGE

Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome. Come, we have a hot venison pasty to dinner: come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.

PAGE

Wife, tell these gentlemen that they are welcome here. Come on, we have a hot meat pie for dinner: come on, gentlemen, I hope we'll forget all this unpleasantness over drinks. 

Exeunt all except SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR HUGH EVANS

SLENDER

I had rather than forty shillings I had my Book ofSongs and Sonnets here.

SLENDER

I'd give forty shillings to have my Book of Songs and Sonnets with me. 

Enter SIMPLE

SLENDER

How now, Simple! where have you been? I must wait on myself, must I? You have not the Book of Riddles about you, have you?

SLENDER

Hello there, Simple! Where have you been? I should be my own servant, is that it? You don't have the Book of Riddles with you, do you?

SIMPLE

Book of Riddles! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake upon All-hallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas?

SIMPLE

Book of Riddles! Why, didn't you lend it to Alice Shortcake last All Saint's Day, fourteen days before Michaelmas?

SHALLOW

Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with you, coz; marry, this, coz: there is, as 'twere, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by Sir Hugh here. Do you understand me?

SHALLOW

Come on, cousin, come on, cousin, we're waiting for you. Let me have a word with you, cousin. Well, it's like this, cousin: Sir Hugh is going to make an indirect proposal, a proposal of some kind. Do you understand what I'm saying? 

SLENDER

Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so,I shall do that that is reason.

SLENDER

Yes, sir, you'll see that I'll behave reasonably. If the proposal is reasonable, I'll be reasonable too. 

SHALLOW

Nay, but understand me.

SHALLOW

No, try to understand what I'm saying.

SLENDER

So I do, sir.

SLENDER

I do, sir.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Give ear to his motions, Master Slender: I willdescription the matter to you, if you be capacity of it.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Listen to his idea, Master Slender. I'll describe what's going on to you, if you're capable of understanding it. 

SLENDER

Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says: I pray you, pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his country, simple though I stand here.

SLENDER

No, really, I'll do what my cousin Shallow tells me to do, please, excuse me. Even though I'm foolish, I do know that he's a judge in this county.

SIR HUGH EVANS

But that is not the question: the question isconcerning your marriage.

SIR HUGH EVANS

But that's not what we're talking about: we're talking about your marriage. 

SHALLOW

Ay, there's the point, sir.

SHALLOW

Yes, that's the idea, sir. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

Marry, is it; the very point of it; to Mistress Anne Page.

SIR HUGH EVANS

Indeed, it is, that's exactly it, to Mistress Anne Page.

SLENDER

Why, if it be so, I will marry her upon anyreasonable demands.

SLENDER

Why, if that's it, I'll marry her if the proposal is reasonable. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

But can you affection the 'oman? Let us command to know that of your mouth or of your lips; for divers philosophers hold that the lips is parcel of the mouth. Therefore, precisely, can you carry your good will to the maid?

SIR HUGH EVANS

But can you love the woman? Tell us that with your own mouth or lips, for many thinkers say that the lips are part of the mouth. So, to be clear, can you have affection for the young woman? 

SHALLOW

Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her?

SHALLOW

Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her? 

SLENDER

I hope, sir, I will do as it shall become one thatwould do reason.

SLENDER

I hope, sir, that I'll do anything that a reasonable person would do. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

Nay, Got's lords and his ladies! you must speak possitable, if you can carry her your desires towards her.

SIR HUGH EVANS

No, by God! You must give a positive answer, about whether you can have love for her. 

SHALLOW

That you must. Will you, upon good dowry, marry her?

SHALLOW

Yes, you must. Will you marry her, if her father gives her a good dowry?

SLENDER

I will do a greater thing than that, upon yourrequest, cousin, in any reason.

SLENDER

I'll do a bigger thing than that, if you ask me to, uncle, if it's reasonable. 

SHALLOW

Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz: what I dois to pleasure you, coz. Can you love the maid?

SHALLOW

No, try to understand me, understand me, good nephew. I'm doing this for your own good, nephew. Can you love the young woman? 

SLENDER

I will marry her, sir, at your request: but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are married and have more occasion to know one another; I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt: but if you say, 'Marry her,' I will marry her; that I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely.

SLENDER

I will marry her, sir, if you ask me to. But if we don't love each other very much at first, still, God may increase our love as we spend more time together, when we are married and have more of a chance to get to know one another. I hope that spending time together will make us more content: but if you say, 'Marry her,' I will marry her. I'm determined to do that, and resolutely.

SIR HUGH EVANS

It is a fery discretion answer; save the fall is in the ort 'dissolutely:' the ort is, according to our meaning, 'resolutely:' his meaning is good.

SIR HUGH EVANS

That's a very sensible answer, except for your mistake in using the word "dissolutely." The word is, the way we use it, "resolutely." That's the word you want. 

SHALLOW

Ay, I think my cousin meant well.

SHALLOW

Yes, I think that's what my cousin meant.

SLENDER

Ay, or else I would I might be hanged, la!

SLENDER

Yes, or hang me! 

SHALLOW

Here comes fair Mistress Anne.

SHALLOW

Here comes pretty Mistress Anne.

Re-enter ANNE PAGE

SHALLOW

Would I were young for your sake, Mistress Anne!

SHALLOW

I wish I were a young man so that you might find me attractive, Mistress Anne!

ANNE PAGE

The dinner is on the table; my father desires yourworships' company.

ANNE PAGE

Dinner's on the table, and my father would like you good gentlemen to join him. 

SHALLOW

I will wait on him, fair Mistress Anne.

SHALLOW

I'll be there, fair Mistress Anne. 

SIR HUGH EVANS

Od's plessed will! I will not be absence at the grace.

SIR HUGH EVANS

God bless me! I don't want to miss grace.

Exeunt SHALLOW and SIR HUGH EVANS

ANNE PAGE

Will't please your worship to come in, sir?

ANNE PAGE

Will you come inside, good sir?

SLENDER

No, I thank you, forsooth, heartily; I am very well.

SLENDER

No, thank you, really, truly, I'm just fine. 

ANNE PAGE

The dinner attends you, sir.

ANNE PAGE

They're waiting for you to start dinner, sir.

SLENDER

I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forsooth. Go, sirrah, for all you are my man, go wait upon my cousin Shallow.

SLENDER

I'm not hungry, thanks, truly.

[To SIMPLE]
Go, young man, even though you're my servant, I want you to serve my cousin Shallow.

Exit SIMPLE

SLENDER

A justice of peace sometimes may be beholding to his friend for a man. I keep but three men and a boy yet, till my mother be dead: but what though? Yet I live like a poor gentleman born.

SLENDER

A judge can sometimes owe his friend for letting him borrow his servant. I employ only three adult male servants and one young male servant, and I will until my mother dies, but what does that matter? I still live like a someone who was born a gentleman.

ANNE PAGE

I may not go in without your worship: they will notsit till you come.

ANNE PAGE

I can't go in without you, sir. They won't sit down to dinner until you come in.

SLENDER

I' faith, I'll eat nothing; I thank you as much asthough I did.

SLENDER

Really, I won't eat anything. I thank you as much as if I were going to eat.

ANNE PAGE

I pray you, sir, walk in.

ANNE PAGE

Please, sir, come in. 

SLENDER

I had rather walk here, I thank you. I bruised my shin th' other day with playing at sword and dagger with a master of fence; three veneys for a dish of stewed prunes; and, by my troth, I cannot abide the smell of hot meat since. Why do your dogs bark so? be there bears i' the town?

SLENDER

I'd rather walk outside, thank you. I bruised my shin the other day when I was practicing sword-fighting with a fencing teacher. We played three rounds and the winner got a dish of stewed prunes, and, I'm telling you, I haven't been able to stand the smell of hot food since then. Why do your dogs bark so much? Are there bears in the town?

ANNE PAGE

I think there are, sir; I heard them talked of.

ANNE PAGE

I think so, sir. I've heard people talk about them. 

SLENDER

I love the sport well but I shall as soon quarrel at it as any man in England. You are afraid, if you see the bear loose, are you not?

SLENDER

I love bear-baiting, but I'll object to it as soon as any other person in England. You're scared if you see a bear walking around, aren't you?

ANNE PAGE

Ay, indeed, sir.

ANNE PAGE

Yes, indeed, sir. 

SLENDER

That's meat and drink to me, now. I have seen Sackerson loose twenty times, and have taken him by the chain; but, I warrant you, the women have so cried and shrieked at it, that it passed: but women, indeed, cannot abide 'em; they are very ill-favored rough things.

SLENDER

That's a perfectly ordinary thing for me. I have seen Sackerson loose twenty times, and I've grabbed him by the chain. But, let me tell you, women cried and shrieked so much at the bear, it was unbelievable. But you know, women can't stand bears—they're very ugly, brutal animals. 

Re-enter PAGE

PAGE

Come, gentle Master Slender, come; we stay for you.

PAGE

Come on, good Master Slender, come on. We're waiting for you.

SLENDER

I'll eat nothing, I thank you, sir.

SLENDER

I won't eat anything, thank you, sir.

PAGE

By cock and pie, you shall not choose, sir! come, come.

PAGE

I swear, you must, sir! Come in, come in. 

SLENDER

Nay, pray you, lead the way.

SLENDER

No, please, you go first.

PAGE

Come on, sir.

PAGE

Come on, sir.

SLENDER

Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first.

SLENDER

Mistress Anne, you should go first.

ANNE PAGE

Not I, sir; pray you, keep on.

ANNE PAGE

Not me, sir, please, keep moving. 

SLENDER

I'll rather be unmannerly than troublesome.You do yourself wrong, indeed, la!

SLENDER

I'd rather be rude than cause trouble. You're not being fair to yourself, really! 

Exeunt

The merry wives of windsor
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Maria devlin
About the Translator: Maria Devlin

Maria Devlin received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Harvard University, where she specialized in Renaissance drama. She has worked as a bibliographical and editorial assistant for The Norton Anthology of English Literature and for The Norton Shakespeare. She is currently working with Stephen Greenblatt to design online courses on Shakespeare, including the modules "Hamlet's Ghost" and "Shylock's Bond" offered through HarvardX. She is writing a book on Renaissance comedy.

Maria Devlin wishes to credit the following sources, which she consulted extensively in composing her translations and annotations:

William Shakespeare. The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition. Eds. Gary Taylor et al. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

William Shakespeare. The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd ed. Eds. Stephen Greenblatt et al. New York: W.W. Norton& Company, Inc., 2016.