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The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor Translation Act 5, Scene 2

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Come, come; we'll couch i' the castle-ditch till we see the light of our fairies. Remember, son Slender, my daughter.


Come on, come on. We'll lie in the ditch near the castle until we see the light from our fairies. Son-in-law Slender, don't forget about my daughter.


Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her and we have a nay-word how to know one another: I come to her in white, and cry 'mum;' she cries 'budget;' and by that we know one another.


Yes, indeed. I've talked to her and we have a password so we'll recognize each other: she'll be wearing white, I'll come to her and say, "mum," she'll say "budget," and that's how we'll recognize each other. 


That's good too: but what needs either your 'mum' or her 'budget?' the white will decipher her well enough. It hath struck ten o'clock.


That's a good idea, too, but why do you need to say "mum," and why does she need to say "budget"? You'll recognize her because she'll be wearing white. The clock has struck ten o'clock. 


The night is dark; light and spirits will become it well. Heaven prosper our sport! No man means evil but the devil, and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away; follow me.


It's a dark night, a fitting night for candles and fairies. May God give us good luck carrying out our plot! No one intends to do anything evil except the devil, and we'll recognize him by his horns. Let's go, follow me. 


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.