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Now, the hot-blooded gods assist me!-remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa; love set on thy horns :-O powerful love! that, in some respects, makes a beast a man; in some other, a man a beast. You were also, Jupiter, a swan for the love of Leda :-O omnipotent love! how near the god drew to the complexion of a goose!-A fault done first in the form of a beast ;-O Jove, a beastly fault and then another fault in the semblance of a fowl: think on 't, Jove; a foul fault.—When gods have hot backs, what shall poor men do? For me, I am here a Windsor stag; and the fattest, I think, i' the forest. Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow?-Who comes here? my doe?
Enter Mrs FORD and Mrs PAGE.
Mrs Ford. Sir John! art thou there, my deer? my male deer? Fal. My doe with the black scut!-Let the sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of "Green Sleeves;" hail kissing-comfits, and snow eringoes; let there come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me here. [Embracing her.
Mrs Ford. Mistress Page is come with me, sweetheart. Fal. Divide me like a bribed buck, each a haunch: I will keep my sides to myself, my shoulders for the fellow of this walk, and my horns I bequeath your husbands. Am I a woodman, ha? Speak I like Herne the hunter - Why, now is Cupid a child of conscience; he makes restitution. As I am a true spirit, welcome! [Noise within.
Mrs Page. Alas! what noise?
Mrs Ford. Heaven forgive our sins!
Fal. What should this be?
} Away, away!
[They run off.
Fal. I think the devil will not have me damned, lest the oil that is in me should set hell on fire; he would never else cross me thus.
Enter Sir HUGH EVANS, as a Satyr; PISTOL, as Hobgoblin; ANNE PAGE, as the Fairy Queen, attended by her brother and others, as fairies, with waxen tapers on their heads.
Queen. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
You moonshine revellers, and shades of night,
Attend your office and your quality.—
Pist. Elves, list your names; silence, you airy toys!
Fal. They are fairies; he that speaks to them, shall die :
Raise up the organs of her fantasy,
Sleep she as sound as careless infancy:
But those that sleep, and think not on their sins,
Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides, and shins. Queen. About, about!
Search Windsor castle, elves, within and out :
Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room;
In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white;
Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee :-
Our dance of custom round about the oak
Eva. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves in order set;
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
To guide our measure round about the tree.
But, stay! I smell a man of middle earth.
Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!
Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'er-look'd, even in thy birth.
Queen. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end:
If he be chaste, the flame will back descend,
Come, will this wood take fire?
[They burn him with their tapers.
Fal. Oh, oh, oh!
Queen. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!--
Fie on sinful fantasy!
Lust is but a bloody fire,
Kindled with unchaste desire,
Fed in heart; whose flames aspire,
As thoughts do blow them higher and higher.
Pinch him, fairies, mutually;
Pinch him for his villainy;
Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
Till candles, and star-light, and moonshine be out.
During this song, the fairies pinch FALSTAFF. Doctor CAIUS comes one way, and steals away a fairy in green; SLENDER another way, and takes off a fairy in white; and FENTON comes, and steals away ANNE PAGE. A noise of hunting is made within. The fairies run away. FALSTAFF pulls off his buck's head, and rises.
Enter PAGE, FORD, Mrs PAGE, and Mrs FORD. They lay hold on FALSTAFF.
Mrs Page. I pray you come; hold up the jest no higher.-
Ford. Now, Sir, who's a cuckold now?-Master Brook, Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns, master Brook : and, master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds of money, which must be paid to master Brook; his horses are arrested for it, master Brook.
Mrs Ford. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never meet. I will never take you for my love again; but I will always count you my deer.
Fal. I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass.
Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies: and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason,
that they were fairies. See now, how wit may be made a Jack-a-lent, when 'tis upon ill employment!
Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.
Eva. And leave you your jealousies too, I pray you.
Ford. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able to woo her in good English.
Fal. Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that it wants matter to prevent so gross o'er-reaching as this? Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too? shall I have a coxcomb of frize? "Tis time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.
Eva. Seese is not goot to give putter; your pelly is all putter.
Fal. Seese and putter! have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This is enough to be the decay of lust, and late-walking, through the realm.
Mrs Page. Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?
Ford. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax?
Mrs Page. A puffed man?
Page. Old, cold, withered, and of intolerable entrails?
Ford. And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
Page. And as poor as Job?
Ford. And as wicked as his wife?
Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings and starings, pribbles and prabbles?
Fal. Well, I am your theme: you have the start of me; I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welsh flannel; ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me: use me as you will.
Ford. Marry, Sir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one master Brook, that you have cozened of money, to whom you should have been a pander over and above that you have suffered, I think, to repay that money will be a biting affliction.
Page. Yet be cheerful, knight: thou shalt eat a posset to-night at my house; where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife, that now laughs at thee: tell her, master Slender hath married her daughter.
Mrs Page. [Aside.] Doctors doubt that: if Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this, doctor Caius' wife.
Slen. Whoo, ho! ho! father Page!
Page. Son, how now! how now, son! have you despatched? Slen. Despatched!-I'll make the best in Gloucestershire know on't; would I were hanged, la, else!
Page. Of what, son?
Slen. I came yonder at she's a great lubberly boy. have swinged him, or he
Eton to marry mistress Anne Page, and If it had not been i' the church, I would should have swinged me. If I did not think it had been Anne Page, would I might never stir!—and 'tis a post-master's boy.
Page. Upon my life, then, you took the wrong.
Slen. What need you tell me that? I think so, when I took a boy him, for all he was in woman's
for a girl. If I had been married to apparel, I would not have had him.
Page. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you how you should know my daughter by her garments?
Slen. I went to her in white, and cried "mum,” and she cried "budget," as Anne and I had appointed; and yet it was not Anne, but a post-master's boy.
Mrs Page. Good George, be not angry: I knew of your purpose; turned my daughter into green; and indeed, she is now with the doctor at the deanery, and there married.
Enter Doctor CAIUS.
Caius. Vere is mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened: I ha' married un garçon, a boy; un paisan, by gar, a boy; it is not Anne Page: by gar, I am cozened.
Mrs Page. Why, did you take her in green?
Caius. Ay, by gar, and 'tis a boy: by gar, I'll raise all Windsor.
Ford. This is strange. Who hath got the right Anne?
Enter FENTON and ANNE PAGE.
How now, master Fenton !
Anne. Pardon, good father!-good my mother, pardon! Page. Now, mistress,-how chance you went not with master Slender?
Mrs Page. Why went you not with master doctor, maid?
You would have married her most shamefully,