A line-by-line translation

The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor Translation Act 4, Scene 5

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Enter Host and SIMPLE

HOST

What wouldst thou have, boor? what: thick-skin?speak, breathe, discuss; brief, short, quick, snap.

HOST

What do you want, you buffoon? What is it, you stupid man? Speak, breathe, talk. Be brief, short, quick, snappy. 

SIMPLE

Marry, sir, I come to speak with Sir John Falstafffrom Master Slender.

SIMPLE

Well, sir, I have a message for Sir John Falstaff from Master Slender.

HOST

There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-bed and truckle-bed; 'tis painted about with the story of the Prodigal, fresh and new. Go knock and call; hell speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee: knock, I say.

HOST

There's his bedroom, his house, his castle, his full-size bed and his camp bed. It's freshly painted with the story of the Prodigal Son. Go knock on the door and call him. He'll talk to you like a cannibal. Knock, I'm telling you. 

SIMPLE

There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into his chamber: I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down; I come to speak with her, indeed.

SIMPLE

There's an old woman, a fat woman, who just went into his room. I'll invite myself to stay, if I may, until she comes downstairs. I'd like to speak with her, in fact. 

HOST

Ha! a fat woman! the knight may be robbed: I'll call. Bully knight! bully Sir John! speak from thy lungs military: art thou there? it is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls.

HOST

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FALSTAFF

[Above] How now, mine host!

FALSTAFF

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HOST

Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let her descend; my chambers are honourable: fie! privacy? fie!

HOST

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Enter FALSTAFF

FALSTAFF

There was, mine host, an old fat woman even now withme; but she's gone.

FALSTAFF

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SIMPLE

Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman ofBrentford?

SIMPLE

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FALSTAFF

Ay, marry, was it, mussel-shell: what would you with her?

FALSTAFF

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SIMPLE

My master, sir, Master Slender, sent to her, seeing her go through the streets, to know, sir, whether one Nym, sir, that beguiled him of a chain, had the chain or no.

SIMPLE

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FALSTAFF

I spake with the old woman about it.

FALSTAFF

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SIMPLE

And what says she, I pray, sir?

SIMPLE

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FALSTAFF

Marry, she says that the very same man thatbeguiled Master Slender of his chain cozened him ofit.

FALSTAFF

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SIMPLE

I would I could have spoken with the woman herself;I had other things to have spoken with her too fromhim.

SIMPLE

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FALSTAFF

What are they? let us know.

FALSTAFF

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HOST

Ay, come; quick.

HOST

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SIMPLE

I may not conceal them, sir.

SIMPLE

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HOST

Conceal them, or thou diest.

HOST

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SIMPLE

Why, sir, they were nothing but about Mistress AnnePage; to know if it were my master's fortune tohave her or no.

SIMPLE

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FALSTAFF

'Tis, 'tis his fortune.

FALSTAFF

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SIMPLE

What, sir?

SIMPLE

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FALSTAFF

To have her, or no. Go; say the woman told me so.

FALSTAFF

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SIMPLE

May I be bold to say so, sir?

SIMPLE

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FALSTAFF

Ay, sir; like who more bold.

FALSTAFF

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SIMPLE

I thank your worship: I shall make my master gladwith these tidings.

SIMPLE

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Exit

HOST

Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Wasthere a wise woman with thee?

HOST

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FALSTAFF

Ay, that there was, mine host; one that hath taught me more wit than ever I learned before in my life; and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my learning.

FALSTAFF

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Enter BARDOLPH

BARDOLPH

Out, alas, sir! cozenage, mere cozenage!

BARDOLPH

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HOST

Where be my horses? speak well of them, varletto.

HOST

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BARDOLPH

Run away with the cozeners; for so soon as I came beyond Eton, they threw me off from behind one of them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.

BARDOLPH

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HOST

They are gone but to meet the duke, villain: do notsay they be fled; Germans are honest men.

HOST

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Enter SIR HUGH EVANS

SIR HUGH EVANS

Where is mine host?

SIR HUGH EVANS

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HOST

What is the matter, sir?

HOST

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SIR HUGH EVANS

Have a care of your entertainments: there is a friend of mine come to town tells me there is three cozen-germans that has cozened all the hosts of Readins, of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell you for good will, look you: you are wise and full of gibes and vlouting-stocks, and 'tis not convenient you should be cozened. Fare you well.

SIR HUGH EVANS

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Exit

Enter DOCTOR CAIUS

DOCTOR CAIUS

Vere is mine host de Jarteer?

DOCTOR CAIUS

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HOST

Here, master doctor, in perplexity and doubtful dilemma.

HOST

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DOCTOR CAIUS

I cannot tell vat is dat: but it is tell-a me dat you make grand preparation for a duke de Jamany: by my trot, dere is no duke dat the court is know to come. I tell you for good vill: adieu.

DOCTOR CAIUS

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Exit

HOST

Hue and cry, villain, go! Assist me, knight. I amundone! Fly, run, hue and cry, villain! I am undone!

HOST

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Exeunt Host and BARDOLPH

FALSTAFF

I would all the world might be cozened; for I have been cozened and beaten too. If it should come to the ear of the court, how I have been transformed and how my transformation hath been washed and cudgelled, they would melt me out of my fat drop by drop and liquor fishermen's boots with me; I warrant they would whip me with their fine wits till I were as crest-fallen as a dried pear. I never prospered since I forswore myself at primero. Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.

FALSTAFF

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Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY

FALSTAFF

Now, whence come you?

FALSTAFF

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MISTRESS QUICKLY

From the two parties, forsooth.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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FALSTAFF

The devil take one party and his dam the other! and so they shall be both bestowed. I have suffered more for their sakes, more than the villanous inconstancy of man's disposition is able to bear.

FALSTAFF

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MISTRESS QUICKLY

And have not they suffered? Yes, I warrant;speciously one of them; Mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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FALSTAFF

What tellest thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford: but that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the action of an old woman, delivered me, the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the common stocks, for a witch.

FALSTAFF

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MISTRESS QUICKLY

Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber: you shall hear how things go; and, I warrant, to your content. Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado here is to bring you together! Sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so crossed.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

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FALSTAFF

Come up into my chamber.

FALSTAFF

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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.