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The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor Translation Act 2, Scene 2

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Enter FALSTAFF and PISTOL

FALSTAFF

I will not lend thee a penny.

FALSTAFF

I won't lend you a penny.

PISTOL

Why, then the world's mine oyster.Which I with sword will open.

PISTOL

[Drawing his sword] Well, then I'll get money from you by force.

FALSTAFF

Not a penny. I have been content, sir, you should lay my countenance to pawn; I have grated upon my good friends for three reprieves for you and your coach-fellow Nym; or else you had looked through the grate, like a geminy of baboons. I am damned in hell for swearing to gentlemen my friends, you were good soldiers and tall fellows; and when Mistress Bridget lost the handle of her fan, I took't upon mine honour thou hadst it not.

FALSTAFF

Not a penny. I didn't mind that you used my good reputation to get people to lend you money. I bothered my friends until the officials let you and your friend Nym off the hook three times, and if I hadn't, you would have been trapped behind the bars of a prison cell like a pair of monkeys. I damned my soul by swearing to friends of mine that you were good soldiers and brave men, and when Mistress Bridget lost the handle of her fan, I swore on my honor that you hadn't stolen it. 

PISTOL

Didst not thou share? hadst thou not fifteen pence?

PISTOL

Didn't you get a share? Didn't I give you fifteen pence for covering for me?

FALSTAFF

Reason, you rogue, reason: thinkest thou I'll endanger my soul gratis? At a word, hang no more about me, I am no gibbet for you. Go. A short knife and a throng! To your manor of Pickt-hatch! Go. You'll not bear a letter for me, you rogue! you stand upon your honour! Why, thou unconfinable baseness, it is as much as I can do to keep the terms of my honour precise: I, I, I myself sometimes, leaving the fear of God on the left hand and hiding mine honour in my necessity, am fain to shuffle, to hedge and to lurch; and yet you, rogue, will ensconce your rags, your cat-a-mountain looks, your red-lattice phrases, and your bold-beating oaths, under the shelter of your honour! You will not do it, you!

FALSTAFF

And you had a good reason to do that, you scoundrel, you had a good reason. Do you think I'd put my soul in danger for nothing? In short, don't hang around me anymore, don't try to pin any more of your crimes on me. Go away. Find a short knife and a crowd of people! Go to Pickt-hatch! Go. You won't carry a letter to someone for me, you scoundrel! You claim it's because you have so much honor. Why, you unspeakably dishonorable person, even I sometimes have trouble keeping my honor pure. I, I, I myself sometimes, have to put aside my fear of God and sacrifice my honor when it becomes necessary. I have to cheat, use cunning, and steal, and yet you, scoundrel, try to cover up your rags, your wild looks, the words you learn at the tavern, and your brash swearing, by pretending to have honor! I won't allow it!

PISTOL

I do relent: what would thou more of man?

PISTOL

I give up. What more could you ask of anybody?

Enter ROBIN

ROBIN

Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.

ROBIN

Sir, there's a woman here who wants to talk to you.

FALSTAFF

Let her approach.

FALSTAFF

Tell her to come in.

Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Give your worship good morrow.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Good day to you.

FALSTAFF

Good morrow, good wife.

FALSTAFF

Good day, good wife.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Not so, an't please your worship.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

I'm not a wife, if you'll excuse me for saying so.

FALSTAFF

Good maid, then.

FALSTAFF

Well, then, you're a good girl.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

I'll be sworn,As my mother was, the first hour I was born.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

I swear I am, I'm just like my mother was when I was born. 

FALSTAFF

I do believe the swearer. What with me?

FALSTAFF

I believe you. What do you want?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Shall I vouchsafe your worship a word or two?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Can I have a word with you?

FALSTAFF

Two thousand, fair woman: and I'll vouchsafe theethe hearing.

FALSTAFF

Two thousand words, my good lady, and I'll listen.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

There is one Mistress Ford, sir:—I pray, come alittle nearer this ways:—I myself dwell with masterDoctor Caius,—

MISTRESS QUICKLY

There's a woman named Mistress Ford, sir—Please, come a little further this way—I live with master Doctor Caius—

FALSTAFF

Well, on: Mistress Ford, you say,—

FALSTAFF

Well, go on. Mistress Ford, you were saying—

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Your worship says very true: I pray your worship,come a little nearer this ways.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Sir, that's correct. Please, come a little further this way.

FALSTAFF

I warrant thee, nobody hears; mine own people, mineown people.

FALSTAFF

I promise you, no one can hear us. These men are my own servants, my own servants.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Are they so? God bless them and make them his servants!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Are they really? God bless them and may they serve God!

FALSTAFF

Well, Mistress Ford; what of her?

FALSTAFF

Well, Mistress Ford, what about her?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Why, sir, she's a good creature. Lord Lord! yourworship's a wanton! Well, heaven forgive you and allof us, I pray!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Well, sir, she's a good person. Good lord! You are a reckless man! Well, God forgive you and everyone, I pray!

FALSTAFF

Mistress Ford; come, Mistress Ford,—

FALSTAFF

Mistress Ford, come on, what about Mistress Ford—

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Marry, this is the short and the long of it; you have brought her into such a canaries as 'tis wonderful. The best courtier of them all, when the court lay at Windsor, could never have brought her to such a canary. Yet there has been knights, and lords, and gentlemen, with their coaches, I warrant you, coach after coach, letter after letter, gift after gift; smelling so sweetly, all musk, and so rushling, I warrant you, in silk and gold; and in such alligant terms; and in such wine and sugar of the best and the fairest, that would have won any woman's heart; and, I warrant you, they could never get an eye-wink of her: I had myself twenty angels given me this morning; but I defy all angels, in any such sort, as they say, but in the way of honesty: and, I warrant you, they could never get her so much as sip on a cup with the proudest of them all: and yet there has been earls, nay, which is more, pensioners; but, I warrant you, all is one with her.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Well, here's the long and the short of it. You have put her into such a terrible dilemma. The best courtier there was, when the court was here in Windsor, couldn't have put her into such a dilemma. But there used to be knights, and lords, and gentlemen, with their coaches, I'm telling you, coach after coach, letter after letter, gift after gift. They all smelled so sweetly, full of perfume, and wrapped, I promise you, in silk and gold, and the letters were written so elegantly and they were so flattering, saying she was the best and the prettiest woman, that any woman would have been won over by letters like that. And I promise you, they could never even get her to look at them: someone offered me twenty gold coins this morning. But I'm not interested in any gold coins at all, except when I can get them honestly—and, I'm telling you, they couldn't even get her to have a drink with the handsomest man in the bunch, and some of them were earls, and even better, gentleman in the royal bodyguard. But, I'm telling you, none of that matters to her. 

FALSTAFF

But what says she to me? be brief, my goodshe-Mercury.

FALSTAFF

But what's her response to my offer? Give a short answer, my good female messenger.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Marry, she hath received your letter, for the which she thanks you a thousand times; and she gives you to notify that her husband will be absence from his house between ten and eleven.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Well, she got your letter, and she thanks you a thousand times for it, and she wants me to tell you that her husband will be out of the house between ten and eleven o'clock.

FALSTAFF

Ten and eleven?

FALSTAFF

Ten and eleven?

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Ay, forsooth; and then you may come and see the picture, she says, that you wot of: Master Ford, her husband, will be from home. Alas! the sweet woman leads an ill life with him: he's a very jealousy man: she leads a very frampold life with him, good heart.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Yes, that's right, and then you can come over and do the thing that's on your mind. Master Ford, her husband, will be out of the house. It's too bad! The sweet woman has a very unhappy life with him. He's a very jealous man. She has a very unpleasant life with him, the good lady. 

FALSTAFF

Ten and eleven. Woman, commend me to her; I willnot fail her.

FALSTAFF

Ten and eleven. Woman, give her my regards. I won't fail to turn up. 

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Why, you say well. But I have another messenger to your worship. Mistress Page hath her hearty commendations to you too: and let me tell you in your ear, she's as fartuous a civil modest wife, and one, I tell you, that will not miss you morning nor evening prayer, as any is in Windsor, whoe'er be the other: and she bade me tell your worship that her husband is seldom from home; but she hopes there will come a time. I never knew a woman so dote upon a man: surely I think you have charms, la; yes, in truth.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Well, that's a nice thing to say. But I have another message for you. Mistress Page sends her best wishes to you too, and let me tell you, she's a virtuous and well-behaved, chaste wife, and, I tell you, she's not someone who will miss morning or evening prayer, not more than anyone else in Windsor, anyone at all. And she told me to tell you that her husband isn't out of the house very often, but she hopes there will be a time when he's away. I never knew a woman who was so fond of a man. I think you must be really charming, yes, really. 

FALSTAFF

Not I, I assure thee: setting the attractions of mygood parts aside I have no other charms.

FALSTAFF

Not me, I promise you. If you ignore my sexual prowess, I don't have any other good qualities. 

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Blessing on your heart for't!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Bless your heart for that!

FALSTAFF

But, I pray thee, tell me this: has Ford's wife andPage's wife acquainted each other how they love me?

FALSTAFF

But, please, tell me this: have Ford's wife and Page's wife told each other that they love me? 

MISTRESS QUICKLY

That were a jest indeed! they have not so little grace, I hope: that were a trick indeed! but Mistress Page would desire you to send her your little page, of all loves: her husband has a marvellous infection to the little page; and truly Master Page is an honest man. Never a wife in Windsor leads a better life than she does: do what she will, say what she will, take all, pay all, go to bed when she list, rise when she list, all is as she will: and truly she deserves it; for if there be a kind woman in Windsor, she is one. You must send her your page; no remedy.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

That would really be a good joke! They don't have such bad manners, I hope. That would be quite a joke! But Mistress Page would like you to send her your young servant, for the sake of your love for her. Her husband has a great affection for the young servant, and Master Page is certainly a good man. No woman in Windsor leads a better life than she does. She can do what she likes, say what she likes, have what she likes, go to bed when she likes, get up when she likes, everything is the way she likes; and she deserves it, because there isn't a kinder woman in Windsor. You must send her your servant, there's no way out of it. 

FALSTAFF

Why, I will.

FALSTAFF

Well, I will. 

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Nay, but do so, then: and, look you, he may come and go between you both; and in any case have a nay-word, that you may know one another's mind, and the boy never need to understand any thing; for 'tis not good that children should know any wickedness: old folks, you know, have discretion, as they say, and know the world.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

No, but really do it, and, you see, he can come and go between you both, and he can carry codewords back and forth, so that you can communicate with each other, and the boy won't know what's going on, because it isn't good for children to know about bad behavior. Older people, you know, have good judgment, people say, and know what the world is like. 

FALSTAFF

Fare thee well: commend me to them both: there'smy purse; I am yet thy debtor. Boy, go along withthis woman.

FALSTAFF

Goodbye. Send my regards to both of them. Here's some money, I'm in your debt. Boy, go with this woman.

Exeunt MISTRESS QUICKLY and ROBIN

FALSTAFF

This news distracts me!

FALSTAFF

This news is bewildering!

PISTOL

This punk is one of Cupid's carriers: Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights: Give fire: she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all!

PISTOL

This whore carries messages of love. Set the sail, chase her, get ready for battle, arm yourselves: may we lose everything if I don't catch her!

Exit

FALSTAFF

Sayest thou so, old Jack? go thy ways; I'll make more of thy old body than I have done. Will they yet look after thee? Wilt thou, after the expense of so much money, be now a gainer? Good body, I thank thee. Let them say 'tis grossly done; so it be fairly done, no matter.

FALSTAFF

[To himself] What do you think about all this, old Jack? Go ahead with it. I'll make better use of my old body than I've done in the past. Will these women take care of you? After spending so much money, will you make a profit now? Handsome body, I thank you. People might say it's a dishonorable thing to do. I don't care, as long as it's successful. 

Enter BARDOLPH

BARDOLPH

Sir John, there's one Master Brook below would fainspeak with you, and be acquainted with you; and hathsent your worship a morning's draught of sack.

BARDOLPH

Sir John, there's a man named Master Brook downstairs who would like to meet you and talk to you, and he's sent you a drink of Spanish wine.

FALSTAFF

Brook is his name?

FALSTAFF

His name is Brook?

BARDOLPH

Ay, sir.

BARDOLPH

Yes, sir.

FALSTAFF

Call him in.

FALSTAFF

Call him in.

Exit BARDOLPH

FALSTAFF

Such Brooks are welcome to me, that o'erflow such liquor. Ah, ha! Mistress Ford and Mistress Page have I encompassed you? go to; via!

FALSTAFF

[To himself] Anyone who buys me liquor is welcome. Ah, ha! Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, have I won you over? Go, go!

Re-enter BARDOLPH, with FORD disguised

FORD

Bless you, sir!

FORD

I wish you well, sir!

FALSTAFF

And you, sir! Would you speak with me?

FALSTAFF

And you, sir! You want to talk to me?

FORD

I make bold to press with so little preparation uponyou.

FORD

I know I'm being forward, to force myself on you without giving you any prior notice.

FALSTAFF

You're welcome. What's your will? Give us leave, drawer.

FALSTAFF

You're welcome to talk to me. What do you want? Leave us alone, servant.

Exit BARDOLPH

FORD

Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name is Brook.

FORD

Sir, I'm a man who has spent a lot of money. My name is Brook.

FALSTAFF

Good Master Brook, I desire more acquaintance of you.

FALSTAFF

Good Master Brook, I'd like to get to know you better.

FORD

Good Sir John, I sue for yours: not to charge you; for I must let you understand I think myself in better plight for a lender than you are: the which hath something embolden'd me to this unseasoned intrusion; for they say, if money go before, all ways do lie open.

FORD

Good Sir John, I'd like to get to know you better—not to ask you for money, because you should know that I think I'm in a better position to lend money than you are. But this makes me feel comfortable approaching you without warning, for, as people say, if you offer people money, no one will turn you away.

FALSTAFF

Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on.

FALSTAFF

Money is very good at persuading people. 

FORD

Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me: if you will help to bear it, Sir John, take all, or half, for easing me of the carriage.

FORD

True, and I have a bag of money here that's a lot of trouble to carry around. If you'll help me carry it, Sir John, I'll give you all of it, or half of it, as a reward for taking this heavy burden off my hands.

FALSTAFF

Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your porter.

FALSTAFF

Sir, I don't know why you would give me money.

FORD

I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing.

FORD

I'll tell you, sir, if you'll listen to me.

FALSTAFF

Speak, good Master Brook: I shall be glad to beyour servant.

FALSTAFF

Tell me, Master Brook. I'll be glad to do something for you.

FORD

Sir, I hear you are a scholar,—I will be brief with you,—and you have been a man long known to me, though I had never so good means, as desire, to make myself acquainted with you. I shall discover a thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine own imperfection: but, good Sir John, as you have one eye upon my follies, as you hear them unfolded, turn another into the register of your own; that I may pass with a reproof the easier, sith you yourself know how easy it is to be such an offender.

FORD

Sir, I hear you are an educated person—I'll come to the point quickly—I've known about you for a long time, although I've never had such a good chance as I wanted to meet you. I'm going to tell you something that will make me look like a very flawed person—but, good Sir John, even as you're hearing about my faults, as I'm telling you about them, please think about your own faults also, so you'll be more likely to excuse my faults, since you know yourself that it's easy to have them. 

FALSTAFF

Very well, sir; proceed.

FALSTAFF

Okay, then, go on. 

FORD

There is a gentlewoman in this town; her husband'sname is Ford.

FORD

There's a gentlewoman in this town. Her husband's name is Ford. 

FALSTAFF

Well, sir.

FALSTAFF

Go on, sir.

FORD

I have long loved her, and, I protest to you, bestowed much on her; followed her with a doting observance; engrossed opportunities to meet her; fee'd every slight occasion that could but niggardly give me sight of her; not only bought many presents to give her, but have given largely to many to know what she would have given; briefly, I have pursued her as love hath pursued me; which hath been on the wing of all occasions. But whatsoever I have merited, either in my mind or, in my means, meed, I am sure, I have received none; unless experience be a jewel that I have purchased at an infinite rate, and that hath taught me to say this: 'Love like a shadow flies when substance love pursues; Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.'

FORD

I have been in love with her for a long time, and, I'm telling you, I've given her a lot of money. I've been very attentive to her, I've tried to find a lot of opportunities to meet her, and taken advantage of every opportunity to get even a brief glimpse of her. Not only have I bought her many presents, I've given presents to a lot of other people so they would tell me what gifts she would like. In short, I've chased her just like love has chased me—constantly. But whatever I've deserved from her, thanks either to my feelings or my gifts, she hasn't given me anything in return—unless it's the gift of learning from experience, which I've purchased at a huge cost, and the lesson is this: "the beloved runs away when the lover chases her; love chases what runs away from it, and it runs away from what chases it."

FALSTAFF

Have you received no promise of satisfaction at her hands?

FALSTAFF

She hasn't promised to satisfy you?

FORD

Never.

FORD

Never.

FALSTAFF

Have you importuned her to such a purpose?

FALSTAFF

Have you asked her to?

FORD

Never.

FORD

Never.

FALSTAFF

Of what quality was your love, then?

FALSTAFF

What kind of love do you have for her, then?

FORD

Like a fair house built on another man's ground; so that I have lost my edifice by mistaking the place where I erected it.

FORD

It's love for someone who already belongs to someone else. So I've wasted all my time trying to get something that wasn't available. 

FALSTAFF

To what purpose have you unfolded this to me?

FALSTAFF

Why are you telling me all this?

FORD

When I have told you that, I have told you all. Some say, that though she appear honest to me, yet in other places she enlargeth her mirth so far that there is shrewd construction made of her. Now, Sir John, here is the heart of my purpose: you are a gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable discourse, of great admittance, authentic in your place and person, generally allowed for your many war-like, court-like, and learned preparations.

FORD

When I answer that question, then I've told you everything. Some people say that even though she seems chaste to me, she's so flirtatious with other men that some people have strong suspicions about her fidelity. Now, Sir John, here's the thing I really want: you're a gentleman with very good manners, you speak well, you mix with people in the highest social circles, you have authority because of your status and your appearance, and everyone agrees that you have a lot of accomplishments, in war, at court, and in your studies. 

FALSTAFF

O, sir!

FALSTAFF

O, sir!

FORD

Believe it, for you know it. There is money; spend it, spend it; spend more; spend all I have; only give me so much of your time in exchange of it, as to lay an amiable siege to the honesty of this Ford's wife: use your art of wooing; win her to consent to you: if any man may, you may as soon as any.

FORD

Believe me, because you know it's true. [He hands FALSTAFF money] Here's some money; spend it, spend it, spend more than that, spend all the money I have In exchange, I want you to try and overcome Mistress Ford's chastity. Use your skills in seducing women. Get her to agree to have an affair with you. If any one can do it, you can. 

FALSTAFF

Would it apply well to the vehemency of your affection, that I should win what you would enjoy? Methinks you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.

FALSTAFF

Given that you love her so much, would it do you any good if I won the woman that you want for yourself? I think you're making an absurd request. 

FORD

O, understand my drift. She dwells so securely on the excellency of her honour, that the folly of my soul dares not present itself: she is too bright to be looked against. Now, could I could come to her with any detection in my hand, my desires had instance and argument to commend themselves: I could drive her then from the ward of her purity, her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now are too too strongly embattled against me. What say you to't, Sir John?

FORD

Oh, pay attention to my plan. She's so confident that she's perfectly chaste that I don't dare to approach her. She's too pure for me to get near her. Now, if I could go to her and accuse her of having had an affair, then I would have a better argument for why she should give in to my desires, too—then I could convince her to stop caring about her purity, her reputation, her marriage vow, and all the other things that prevent her from giving in to me and that block me so effectively right now. What do you say to that plan, Sir John?

FALSTAFF

Master Brook, I will first make bold with yourmoney; next, give me your hand; and last, as I am agentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife.

FALSTAFF

Master Brook, first, I will freely take your money; then, give me your hand; [They shake hands] and finally, I promise, as a gentleman, that you will get to sleep with Ford's wife if you so desire.

FORD

O good sir!

FORD

Oh, good sir!

FALSTAFF

I say you shall.

FALSTAFF

I'm telling you, you will. 

FORD

Want no money, Sir John; you shall want none.

FORD

You won't be short of money, Sir John, you'll have all the money you want.

FALSTAFF

Want no Mistress Ford, Master Brook; you shall want none. I shall be with her, I may tell you, by her own appointment; even as you came in to me, her assistant or go-between parted from me: I say I shall be with her between ten and eleven; for at that time the jealous rascally knave her husband will be forth. Come you to me at night; you shall know how I speed.

FALSTAFF

You won't be short of Mistress Ford, you'll have her. I'm going to meet her, in fact, because she has actually asked me to come and see her—just before you came in to see me, her messenger left my room. I will see her between ten and eleven, because at that time, her jealous scoundrel of a husband won't be at home. Come see me tonight and I'll tell you how things went. 

FORD

I am blest in your acquaintance. Do you know Ford,sir?

FORD

I'm very lucky to have met you. Do you know Ford, sir?

FALSTAFF

Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave! I know him not: yet I wrong him to call him poor; they say the jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money; for the which his wife seems to me well-favored. I will use her as the key of the cuckoldly rogue's coffer; and there's my harvest-home.

FALSTAFF

I don't give a damn about him, that poor lowlife cuckold! I don't know him, but I shouldn't call him poor. People say that that jealous willing cuckold has tons of money, which is why I find his wife attractive. I'll use her to get access to that foolish scoundrel's money, and that will be a huge profit to me. 

FORD

I would you knew Ford, sir, that you might avoid himif you saw him.

FORD

I wish you knew Ford, sir, so that if you saw him, you could avoid him.

FALSTAFF

Hang him, mechanical salt-butter rogue! I will stare him out of his wits; I will awe him with my cudgel: it shall hang like a meteor o'er the cuckold's horns. Master Brook, thou shalt know I will predominate over the peasant, and thou shalt lie with his wife. Come to me soon at night. Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his style; thou, Master Brook, shalt know him for knave and cuckold. Come to me soon at night.

FALSTAFF

I don't give a damn about him, that cheap, lower-class scoundrel! I'll stare him down until he's scared out of his wits. I'll frighten him with my club—it will be a bad omen for that cuckold. Master Brook, I will defeat this lower-class man, and you will sleep with his wife. Come see me tonight. Ford's a lowlife, and I'll make it so that you can call him worse names than that. You, Master Brook, will learn that he's a lowlife and a cuckold. Come see me tonight.  

Exit

FORD

What a damned Epicurean rascal is this! My heart is ready to crack with impatience. Who says this is improvident jealousy? my wife hath sent to him; the hour is fixed; the match is made. Would any man have thought this? See the hell of having a false woman! My bed shall be abused, my coffers ransacked, my reputation gnawn at; and I shall not only receive this villanous wrong, but stand under the adoption of abominable terms, and by him that does me this wrong. Terms! names! Amaimon sounds well; Lucifer, well; Barbason, well; yet they are devils' additions, the names of fiends: but Cuckold! Wittol!—Cuckold! the devil himself hath not such a name. Page is an ass, a secure ass: he will trust his wife; he will not be jealous. I will rather trust a Fleming with my butter, Parson Hugh the Welshman with my cheese, an Irishman with my aqua-vitae bottle, or a thief to walk my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself; then she plots, then she ruminates, then she devises; and what they think in their hearts they may effect, they will break their hearts but they will effect. God be praised for my jealousy! Eleven o'clock the hour. I will prevent this, detect my wife, be revenged on Falstaff, and laugh at Page. I will about it; better three hours too soon than a minute too late. Fie, fie, fie! cuckold! cuckold! cuckold!

FORD

What a damned, pleasure-seeking scoundrel this man is! I'm ready to burst with anger. Who says that I have no reason to be jealous? My wife asked him to come see her: they picked a time; they made an appointment. Would any man have thought this would happen? It's so terrible to have an unfaithful wife! She will sleep with another man, she will steal my money, she will ruin my reputation, and not only will she do all these terrible things to me, but I'm also being called terrible names by the man who's ruining me. Names! Names! Amaimon is a good name; Lucifer is another good name; Barbason is another good name; and they are all devils' names, the names of demons. But cuckold! willing cuckold!—Cuckold! Even the devil doesn't have such a bad name as that. Page is a fool, an overconfident fool. He trusts his wife, he won't be jealous. I'd rather trust a Flemish person not to eat my butter, or Parson Hugh the Welshman not to eat my cheese, or an Irishman not to drink my liquor, or a thief not to steal my horse, than to trust my wife to behave herself when she's unsupervised. When she's alone, she plots, she thinks, then she comes up with a plan, and women will carry out the plans they come up with. Even if it means doing themselves a lot of harm, they'll still carry out their plans. Thank God I'm a jealous man! They're meeting at eleven o'clock. I'll stop this, I'll expose my wife, get revenge on Falstaff, and laugh at Page. I'll get to work. It would be better to be three hours too early than a minute too late. Ugh, ugh, ugh! Cuckold! Cuckold! Cuckold! 

Exit

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.