A line-by-line translation

The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor Translation Act 3, Scene 4

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Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE

FENTON

I see I cannot get thy father's love;Therefore no more turn me to him, sweet Nan.

FENTON

I see that I can't get your father to approve of me, so don't ask me to speak with him again, sweet Nan.

ANNE PAGE

Alas, how then?

ANNE PAGE

Oh dear, what will we do then?

FENTON

Why, thou must be thyself. He doth object I am too great of birth—, And that, my state being gall'd with my expense, I seek to heal it only by his wealth: Besides these, other bars he lays before me, My riots past, my wild societies; And tells me 'tis a thing impossible I should love thee but as a property.

FENTON

Well, you have to make your own choice. He objects that my social class is too high. He's also afraid that, since I'm in trouble from spending too much, my only goal is to help myself by getting hold of his money. Besides that, he also objects to my wild behavior in my youth and my wild companions, and he says that it's impossible that I could love you except as a source of income.

ANNE PAGE

May be he tells you true.

ANNE PAGE

Maybe what he says is true. 

FENTON

No, heaven so speed me in my time to come! Albeit I will confess thy father's wealth Was the first motive that I woo'd thee, Anne: Yet, wooing thee, I found thee of more value Than stamps in gold or sums in sealed bags; And 'tis the very riches of thyself That now I aim at.

FENTON

No, I swear by my future salvation in heaven! I admit that your father's money was the reason I wanted to marry you at first, Anne. Still, when I started wooing you, I learned that you are worth more than gold coins or bags of money. What I want now is you, yourself. 

ANNE PAGE

Gentle Master Fenton, Yet seek my father's love; still seek it, sir: If opportunity and humblest suit Cannot attain it, why, then,—hark you hither!

ANNE PAGE

Good Master Fenton, I'd still like to you to try and get my father's approval. Keep trying, sir. If you can't get his approval even if you have a good opportunity to ask and you ask very humbly, well—come back and talk to me then.

They converse apart

Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and MISTRESS QUICKLY

SHALLOW

Break their talk, Mistress Quickly: my kinsman shallspeak for himself.

SHALLOW

Interrupt their conversation, Mistress Quickly. My nephew wants to speak to her himself.

SLENDER

I'll make a shaft or a bolt on't: 'slid, 'tis butventuring.

SLENDER

I'll speak to her one way or another. Good grief, I just have to give it a try. 

SHALLOW

Be not dismayed.

SHALLOW

Don't be discouraged. 

SLENDER

No, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that,but that I am afeard.

SLENDER

No, she won't discourage me. I don't care about that, except that I'm nervous. 

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Hark ye; Master Slender would speak a word with you.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Hey there, Master Slender would like to speak with you. 

ANNE PAGE

I come to him.

ANNE PAGE

I'm coming. 

Aside

ANNE PAGE

This is my father's choice.O, what a world of vile ill-favor'd faultsLooks handsome in three hundred pounds a-year!

ANNE PAGE

This is the man my father wants me to marry. Even someone full of repulsive flaws can seem attractive if he has an income of three hundred pounds a year!  

MISTRESS QUICKLY

And how does good Master Fenton? Pray you, a word with you.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

And how are you, good Master Fenton? Please, let me speak to you for a moment. 

SHALLOW

She's coming; to her, coz. O boy, thou hadst a father!

SHALLOW

She's coming. Go up to her, nephew. Come on, you had a father—be a man! 

SLENDER

I had a father, Mistress Anne; my uncle can tell you good jests of him. Pray you, uncle, tell Mistress Anne the jest, how my father stole two geese out of a pen, good uncle.

SLENDER

I had a father, Mistress Anne, my uncle can tell you funny stories about him. Please, uncle, tell Mistress Anne that funny story about how my father stole two geese from a pen, good uncle. 

SHALLOW

Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.

SHALLOW

Mistress Anne, my nephew loves you. 

SLENDER

Ay, that I do; as well as I love any woman inGloucestershire.

SLENDER

Yes, I do, as much as I love any woman in Gloucestershire. 

SHALLOW

He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.

SHALLOW

He will support you financially as if you were a gentlewoman. 

SLENDER

Ay, that I will, come cut and long-tail, under thedegree of a squire.

SLENDER

Yes, I will, no matter what, as if I had the rank of a squire.

SHALLOW

He will make you a hundred and fifty pounds jointure.

SHALLOW

He will agree to leave you one hundred and fifty pounds after he dies.

ANNE PAGE

Good Master Shallow, let him woo for himself.

ANNE PAGE

Good Master Shallow, let him speak for himself. 

SHALLOW

Marry, I thank you for it; I thank you for that goodcomfort. She calls you, coz: I'll leave you.

SHALLOW

Well now, I thank for that, I thank you for those comforting words. She wants to speak to you, nephew. I'll leave you.

ANNE PAGE

Now, Master Slender,—

ANNE PAGE

Now, Master Slender—

SLENDER

Now, good Mistress Anne,—

SLENDER

Now, good Mistress Anne—

ANNE PAGE

What is your will?

ANNE PAGE

What is your will?

SLENDER

My will! 'od's heartlings, that's a pretty jest indeed! I ne'er made my will yet, I thank heaven; I am not such a sickly creature, I give heaven praise.

SLENDER

My will! By God, that's a funny thing to say! I haven't made my will yet, thank God. I'm not so sick that I'm close to dying, thank God. 

ANNE PAGE

I mean, Master Slender, what would you with me?

ANNE PAGE

I mean, what do you want with me, Master Slender? 

SLENDER

Truly, for mine own part, I would little or nothing with you. Your father and my uncle hath made motions: if it be my luck, so; if not, happy man be his dole! They can tell you how things go better than I can: you may ask your father; here he comes.

SLENDER

Honestly, speaking for myself, I don't want anything from you. Your father and my uncle have come up with a plan for us to marry. If it's my luck to marry you, I'll take it. If not, good luck to everyone! They can tell you what's going on better than I can. You can ask your father, here he comes. 

Enter PAGE and MISTRESS PAGE

PAGE

Now, Master Slender: love him, daughter Anne. Why, how now! what does Master Fenton here? You wrong me, sir, thus still to haunt my house: I told you, sir, my daughter is disposed of.

PAGE

Now, Master Slender—love him, daughter Anne. Why, what's going on here? What's Master Fenton doing here? It's wrong of you to keep hanging around my house. I told you, my daughter's already engaged. 

FENTON

Nay, Master Page, be not impatient.

FENTON

Now, Master Page, don't get upset. 

MISTRESS PAGE

Good Master Fenton, come not to my child.

MISTRESS PAGE

Good Master Fenton, don't come here to see my daughter. 

PAGE

She is no match for you.

PAGE

She's not going to marry you.

FENTON

Sir, will you hear me?

FENTON

Sir, will you listen to me? 

PAGE

No, good Master Fenton.Come, Master Shallow; come, son Slender, in.Knowing my mind, you wrong me, Master Fenton.

PAGE

No, good Master Fenton. Come in, son-in-law Slender, come in. Since you know my decision, your behavior is inappropriate, Master Fenton.

Exeunt PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Speak to Mistress Page.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Speak to Mistress Page.

FENTON

Good Mistress Page, for that I love your daughter In such a righteous fashion as I do, Perforce, against all cheques, rebukes and manners, I must advance the colours of my love And not retire: let me have your good will.

FENTON

Good Mistress Page, because I love your daughter with such honorable intentions, I can't help trying to win her, in spite of restraints, disapproval, and other people's behavior. I can't back down. Please support me. 

ANNE PAGE

Good mother, do not marry me to yond fool.

ANNE PAGE

Good mother, don't let me marry that fool over there.

MISTRESS PAGE

I mean it not; I seek you a better husband.

MISTRESS PAGE

I don't want you to. I'm looking for a better husband for you. 

MISTRESS QUICKLY

That's my master, master doctor.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

That's my master, Master Doctor Caius.

ANNE PAGE

Alas, I had rather be set quick i' the earthAnd bowl'd to death with turnips!

ANNE PAGE

Oh no, I'd rather be half-buried in the earth and have people kill me by bowling at my head with turnips!

MISTRESS PAGE

Come, trouble not yourself. Good Master Fenton, I will not be your friend nor enemy: My daughter will I question how she loves you, And as I find her, so am I affected. Till then farewell, sir: she must needs go in; Her father will be angry.

MISTRESS PAGE

Come on, don't get upset. Good Master Fenton, I won't decide ahead of time to work either for you or against you. Instead, I'll ask my daughter if she loves you, and I'll go along with whatever she wants. Until then, good-bye, sir. She has to come inside, or her father will get upset. 

FENTON

Farewell, gentle mistress: farewell, Nan.

FENTON

Good-bye, good lady. Good-bye, Nan.

Exeunt MISTRESS PAGE and ANNE PAGE

MISTRESS QUICKLY

This is my doing, now: 'Nay,' said I, 'will you castaway your child on a fool, and a physician? Look onMaster Fenton:' this is my doing.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

I brought this about, you see. "No," I said, "will you throw away your child on a fool, and a doctor? Think about Master Fenton." I brought this about.

FENTON

I thank thee; and I pray thee, once to-nightGive my sweet Nan this ring: there's for thy pains.

FENTON

Thank you, and please, at some point tonight, give my sweet Nan this ring. [He hands her a ring] And here's something for your troubles. [He hands her money]

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Now heaven send thee good fortune!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

I hope God blesses you!

Exit FENTON

MISTRESS QUICKLY

A kind heart he hath: a woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart. But yet I would my master had Mistress Anne; or I would Master Slender had her; or, in sooth, I would Master Fenton had her; I will do what I can for them all three; for so I have promised, and I'll be as good as my word; but speciously for Master Fenton. Well, I must of another errand to Sir John Falstaff from my two mistresses: what a beast am I to slack it!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

He has a kind heart. A woman would endure any pains for a man with such a kind heart. But I still wish that my master would marry Mistress Anne; or I wish that Master Slender would marry her; or, in fact, I wish Master Fenton would marry her. I'll do what I can to help all three of them, because I've promised to do so and I'll keep my promise, but I'll especially help Master Fenton. Well, I have to take another message to Sir John Falstaff from my two mistresses. It's terrible of me to delay!

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.