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

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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

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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

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They converse apart

Enter SHALLOW, SLENDER, and MISTRESS QUICKLY

SHALLOW

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

SHALLOW

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SLENDER

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

SLENDER

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SHALLOW

Be not dismayed.

SHALLOW

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SLENDER

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

SLENDER

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MISTRESS QUICKLY

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

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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ANNE PAGE

I come to him.

ANNE PAGE

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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

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MISTRESS QUICKLY

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

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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SHALLOW

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

SHALLOW

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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

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SHALLOW

Mistress Anne, my cousin loves you.

SHALLOW

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SLENDER

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

SLENDER

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SHALLOW

He will maintain you like a gentlewoman.

SHALLOW

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SLENDER

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

SLENDER

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SHALLOW

He will make you a hundred and fifty pounds jointure.

SHALLOW

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ANNE PAGE

Good Master Shallow, let him woo for himself.

ANNE PAGE

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SHALLOW

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

SHALLOW

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ANNE PAGE

Now, Master Slender,—

ANNE PAGE

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SLENDER

Now, good Mistress Anne,—

SLENDER

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ANNE PAGE

What is your will?

ANNE PAGE

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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

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ANNE PAGE

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

ANNE PAGE

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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

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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

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FENTON

Nay, Master Page, be not impatient.

FENTON

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MISTRESS PAGE

Good Master Fenton, come not to my child.

MISTRESS PAGE

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PAGE

She is no match for you.

PAGE

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FENTON

Sir, will you hear me?

FENTON

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PAGE

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

PAGE

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Exeunt PAGE, SHALLOW, and SLENDER

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Speak to Mistress Page.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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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

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ANNE PAGE

Good mother, do not marry me to yond fool.

ANNE PAGE

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MISTRESS PAGE

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

MISTRESS PAGE

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MISTRESS QUICKLY

That's my master, master doctor.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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ANNE PAGE

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

ANNE PAGE

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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

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FENTON

Farewell, gentle mistress: farewell, Nan.

FENTON

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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

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FENTON

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

FENTON

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MISTRESS QUICKLY

Now heaven send thee good fortune!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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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

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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.