A line-by-line translation

The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor Translation Act 5, Scene 3

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Enter MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS FORD, and DOCTOR CAIUS

MISTRESS PAGE

Master doctor, my daughter is in green: when you see your time, take her by the band, away with her to the deanery, and dispatch it quickly. Go before into the Park: we two must go together.

MISTRESS PAGE

Master Doctor, my daughter will be wearing green. When you see a good opportunity, take her by the hand, lead her away to the dean's house, and get the marriage over with quickly. Go into the Park ahead of us: the two of us have to go in together.

DOCTOR CAIUS

I know vat I have to do. Adieu.

DOCTOR CAIUS

I know what I need to do. Good-bye.

MISTRESS PAGE

Fare you well, sir.

MISTRESS PAGE

Good luck, sir.

Exit DOCTOR CAIUS

MISTRESS PAGE

My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter: but 'tis no matter; better a little chiding than a great deal of heart-break.

MISTRESS PAGE

My husband won't be as happy at our tricking Falstaff as he'll be upset about the doctor marrying his daughter, but it doesn't matter. It's better to be scolded a little than to endure a big catastrophe.

MISTRESS FORD

Where is Nan now and her troop of fairies, and theWelsh devil Hugh?

MISTRESS FORD

Where is Nan right now and her group of fairies, and the Sir Hugh, the Welsh devil?

MISTRESS PAGE

They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscured lights; which, at the very instant of Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once display to the night.

MISTRESS PAGE

They're all lying in a pit right near Herne's oak, with their candles hidden. They'll shine them out the moment we meet Falstaff.

MISTRESS FORD

That cannot choose but amaze him.

MISTRESS FORD

Falstaff will be surprised.

MISTRESS PAGE

If he be not amazed, he will be mocked; if he beamazed, he will every way be mocked.

MISTRESS PAGE

If he's not surprised, he'll be made fun of—and if he is surprised, he'll be made fun of even more.

MISTRESS FORD

We'll betray him finely.

MISTRESS FORD

We'll betray him skillfully. 

MISTRESS PAGE

Against such lewdsters and their lecheryThose that betray them do no treachery.

MISTRESS PAGE

When it comes to lustful men like him, people who betray them don't do anything wrong. 

MISTRESS FORD

The hour draws on. To the oak, to the oak!

MISTRESS FORD

It's almost time. Let's go to the oak!

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.