Abbildungen der Seite












Intolerable, not to be endur'd !

Kath. Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unSirrah Grumio, go to your mistress;

kind brow, Say, I command her come to me.

And dart not scornful glances from those eyes,

[Exit Grumio. To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor. Hor. I know her answer.

It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads, What?

Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair Hor.

She will not.

buds, Pet. The fouler fortune mine, and there an And in no sense is meet or amiable. end.

A woman mov'd is like a fountain troubled, Re-enter KATHERINA.

Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty'; /

And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty Bap. Now, by my holidame, here comes Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.' Katherina?

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, Kath. What is your will, sir, that you send Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for for me?

thee, Pet. Where is your sister, and Hortensio's And for thy maintenance commits his body wife?

To painful labour both by sea and land, Kath. They sit conferring by the parlour fire. To watch the night in storms, the day in cold, Pet. Go, fetch them hither. If they deny to Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe; come,

And craves no other tribute at thy hands Swinge me them soundly forth unto their hus- But love, fair looks, and true obedience ; bands.

Too little payment for so great a debt.' Away, I say, and bring them hither straight. Such duty as the subject owes the prince

(Exit Katherina.] Even such a woman oweth to her husband; Luc. Here is a wonder, if you talk of a won

And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour, der,

And not obedient to his honest will,
Hor. And so it is; I wonder what it bodes. What is she but a foul contending rebel
Pet. Marry, peace it bodes, and love, and And graceless traitor to her loving lord ?
quiet life,

I am asham'd that women are so simple
And awful rule, and right supremacy ;

To offer war where they should kneel for peace, And, to be short, what not, that's sweet and Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway, happy.

When they are bound to serve, love, and obey. Bap. Now, fair befall thee, good Petruchio! Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth, The wager thou hast won; and I will add Unapt to toil and trouble in the world, Unto their losses twenty thousand crowns, But that our soft conditions and our hearts Another dowry to another daughter,

Should well agree with our external parts ? For she is chang'd, as she had never been. Come, come, you froward and unable worms !

Pet. Nay, I will win my wager better yet My mind hath been as big as one of yours, And show more sign of her obedience,

My heart as great, my reason haply more, Her new-built virtue and obedience.

To bandy word for word and frown for frown; Re-enter KATHERINA, with BIANCA and

But now I see our lances are but straws,

Our strength as weak, our weakness past com

pare, See where she comes and brings your froward That seeming to be most which we indeed least

wives As prisoners to her womanly persuasion. Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot, Katherine, that cap of yours becomes you not ; And place your hands below your husband's foot; Off with that bauble, throw it under-foot. In token of which duty, if he please,

(Kate throws down her cap.] My hand is ready; may it do him ease. Wid. Lord, let me never have cause to sigh, Pet. Why, there's a wench! Come on, and Till I be brought to such a silly pass !

kiss me, Kate. Bian. Fie! what a foolish duty call you this? Luc. Well, go thy ways, old lad; for thou Luc. I would your duty were as foolish too.

shalt ha't. The wisdom of your duty, fair Bianca,

Vin. 'Tis a good hearing when children are Hath cost me an hundred crowns since supper

toward. time.

Luc. But a harsh hearing when women are Bian. The more fool you, for laying on my froward. duty.

Pet. Come, Kate, we 'll to bed. Pet. Katherine, I charge thee, tell these We three are married, but you two are sped. 185 headstrong women

(To Luc.] 'T was I won the wager, though you Whatduty they doowe their lords and husbands.

hit the white; Wid. Come, come, you're mocking; we will And, being a winner, God give you good night! have no telling.

(Exeunt Petruchio (and Katherina). Pet. Come on, I say; and first begin with Hor. Now, go thy ways; thou hast tam'd a her.

curst shrew. Wid. She shall not.

Luc. 'Tis a wonder, by your leave, she will Pet. I say she shall; and first begin with her.

be tam'd so.












The earliest known mention of The Merry Wives of Windsor is an entry in the books of the Stationers' Company for January 18, 16042. Later in the same year appeared a much garbled and abbreviated edition, now known as the First Quarto, and this was reprinted with a new titlepage in 1619. The version in the First Folio is much longer and immeasurably more accurate, and forms the basis of all modern texts.

The relation of these two versions is still a matter of debate. The theory, however, that the First Quarto represents an earlier sketch is being abandoned by an increasing number of modern critics in favor of the belief that it is derived from the same version of the play as we have in the First Folio, but shortened for acting purposes, and corrupted by the short-hand writer who reported it for a piratical publisher. But the uninterrupted bungling of the lines leaves room for all the possible methods of debasing a text, and it may be suggested that the report was made from a performance in which the actors had a very imperfect knowledge of their parts. The Folio text itself shows signs of having been tampered with, notably in the omission of the working out of the plot of Caius and Evans against the Host (a device whose culmination may be preserved in the episode of the loss of the horses), and in the loss of a few passages wbich can be restored with a fair amount of certainty from the Quarto. It has been suggested that some of the flaws may be accounted for by supposing that passages omitted for acting purposes hare been unskilfully restored.

A tradition, first recorded by John Dennis in 1702, says that the comedy was written in a fortnight to the order of Queen Elizabeth, who wished to see Falstaff in love. There is nothing improbable in this, and the suggestion of haste receives corroboration from the fact that so much of the dialogue is in prose. It implies, moreover, what would be inferred on other grounds, that Henry IV had already been performed, and so fixes 1598 as the earliest possible date. The only objection to this as an earlier limit has arisen from the desire of some older editors to bring it nearer to 1592, the date of the visit of Count Mömpelgard, alluded to in iv. v.; but these allusions would still have point six or seven years later. The question as to whether it preceded or followed Henry V is more difficult. That Falstaff dies in that play does not, of course, affect the question, since it is plainly indicated that the future Henry V is still "the mad Prince of Wales” (Quarto, Sc. 18), so that the period in which the plot is laid cannot come after 2 Henry IV, in the fifth act of which the Prince becomes King. If Nym be regarded, like the rest of Falstaff's followers, as a revival, the play must be later than Henry V, the only other play in which he appears. But the evidence is not conclusive, and the variation in date between the two theories is merely from 1598 to the latter part of 1599.

The main plot of the Merry Wives is thought to have been suggested by The Tale of the Two Lovers of Pisa in Tarlton's Newes out of Purgatorie (1590). This is an adaptation of the story of Nerisio of Portugal from Straparola's Tredici Piacevoli Notte (1569). The resemblance is only general, and the few similarities of phrase that have been pointed out are insignificant. In the Italian story, which is of a common type, a lover is repeatedly surprised in the house of his lady by her husband, of whom he has unwittingly made a confidant; and on one occasion he is hidden in a vat of feathers, on another carried out in a chest of papers. In the play, the initial betrayal of Falstaff by Pistol and Nym, the disguise as Mother Prat, the pinching by the fairies, the underplot of the triple wooing of Anne Page, and all the characters save the commonplace of the jealous husband, seem to be original. A story similar to Straparola's is found in Ser Giovanni Fiorentino's Il Pecorone, second tale, first day, but this was not translated till after Shakespeare's death. The fourth tale of the second night of Straparola tells of the concerted vengeance of three ladies on a would-be lover who made advances to all of them on the same evening. But the resemblance goes no farther. The Fishwife's Tale of Brainford in Westward for Smelts was suggested by Malone as a source, but has no claim to be so considered.

[ocr errors]



FENTOx, a gentleman.

PISTOL, followers of Falstaff.
SHALLOW, a country justice.

ABRAHAM SLENDER, cousin to Shallow.

ROBIN, page to Falstaff.

PETER SIMPLE, servant to Slender.
PAGE, gentlemen of Windsor.

JOHN RUGBY, servant to Doctor Caius.
WILLIAM PAGE, a boy, son to Page.
SIB HUGH Evans, a Welsh parson.

DOCTOR CAIUB, a French pbysician.

Host of the Garter Inn.

MISTRESS ANNE PAGE, her daughter.

MISTRESS QUICKLY, servant to Doctor Caius. Servants to Page, Ford, etc.




SCENE : Windsor, and the neighbourhood.]

Evans. It is not meet the council hear a riot;

there is no fear of Got in a riot. The council, SCENE I. (Windsor. Before Page's house.] look


shall desire to hear the fear of Got,

and not to hear a riot. Take your vizaments in Enter JUSTICE SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR

that. Hugh EVANS.

Shal. Ha! O'my life, if I were young again, Shal. Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will the sword should end it. make a Star-chamber matter of it. If he were Evans. It is petter that friends is the sword, twenty Sir John Falstaffs, he shall not abuse and end it; and there is also another device in Robert Shallow, esquire.

my prain, which peradventure prings goot [44 Slen. In the county of Gloucester, justice of discretions with it: there is Anne Page, which peace and " Coram."

is daughter to Master George Page, which is Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and “ Custa

pretty virginity. lorum."

Slen. Mistress Anne Page? She has brown Slen. Ay, and "Rato-lorum” too; and a hair, and speaks small like a woman. gentleman born, master parson ; whó writes Evans. It is that fery person for all the himself Armigero," in any, bill, warrant, orld, as just as you will desire; and seven (60 quittance, or obligation, Armigero."

hundred pounds of moneys, and gold and silver, Shal. Ay, that I do; and have done any is her grandsire upon his death's-bed - Got time these three hundred years.

deliver to a joyful resurrections ! - give, when Slen. All his successors gone before him hath she is able to overtake seventeen years old. It done 't; and all his ancestors that come after were a goot motion if we leave our pribbles [55 him may. They may give the dozen white (15 and prabbles, and desire a marriage between luces in their coat.

Master Abraham and Mistress Anne Page. Shal. It is an old coat.

Shal. Did her grandsire leave her seven hun. Evans. The dozen white louses do become an dred pound? old coat well ; it agrees well, passant. It is a Evans. Ay, and her father is make her a familiar beast to man, and signifies love.

petter penny. Shal. The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish Shal. I know the young gentlewoman; she is an old coat.

has good gifts. Slen. I may quarter, coz.

Evans. Seven hundred pounds and possibilShal. You may, by marrying.

ities is goot gifts. Evans. It is marring indeed, if he quarter it. Shal. Well, let us see honest Master Page. Shal. Not a whit.

Is Falstaff there? Evans. Yes, py ’r lady. If he has a quarter Evans. Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise of your coat, there is but three skirts for your- a liar as I do despise one that is false, or as I seli, in my simple conjectures. But that is all despise one that is not true. The knight, Sir [70 one. If Sir John Falstaff have committed [20 | John, is there; and, I beseech you, be ruled disparagements unto


I am of the church, by your well-willers. I will peat the door for and will be glad to do my benevolence to make Master Page. [Knocks.] What, hoa! Got pless atonements and compremises between you. your house here

Skal. The council shall hear it; it is a riot. Page. (Within.] Who's there?

[ocr errors]












purse ?

[ocr errors]




(Enter Page.] Evans. Here is Got's plessing, and your friend, and Justice Shallow; and here young Master Slender, that peradventures shall tell you another tale, if matters grow to your likings.

Page. I am glad to see your worships well. I thank you for my venison, Master Shallow. 81

Shal. Master Page, I am glad to see you. Much good do it your good heart! I wish'd your venison better; it was ill kill'd. How doth good Mistress Page ? – and I thank you always with my heart, la ! with my heart.

Page. Sir, I thank you.

Shal. Sir, I thank you ; by yea and no, I do.

Page. I am glad to see you, good Master Slender.

Slen. How does your fallow greyhound, sir ? I heard say he was outrun on Cotsall.

Page. It could not be judg’d, sir,

Slen. You 'll not confess, you 'll not confess.

Shal. That he will not. 'Tis your fault, 't is your fault; 't is a good dog.

Page. A cur, sir.

Shal. Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog; can there be more said ? He is good and fair. Is Sir John Falstaff here?

Page. Sir, he is within; and I would I could do a good office between you.

Evans. It is spoke as a Christians ought to speak.

Shal. He hath wrong'd me, Master Page. 105 Page. Sir, he doth in some sort confess it.

Shal. If it be confessed, it is not redressed. Is not that so, Master Page ? He hath wrong'd me; indeed he hath ; at a word, he hath. Believe me, Robert Shallow, esquire, saith he is wrong'd.

Page. Here comes Sir John. (Enter SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYM,

and Pistol.) Fal. Now, Master Shallow, you 'll complain of me to the King ?

Shal. Knight, you have beaten my men, kill'd my deer, and broke open my lodge.

Fal. But not kiss'd your keeper's daughter ? Shal. Tut, a pin! This shall be answer'd. Fal. I will answer it straight; I have done

all this. That is now answer'd.

Shal. The council shall know this.

Fal. 'T were better for you if it were known in counsel. You 'll be laugh'd at.

Evans. Pauca verba, Sir John; goot worts.

Fal. Good worts! good cabbage. Slender, I broke your head ; what matter have you against me?

Slen. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your cony-catching rascals, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. [They carried me to the tavern and made me drunk, and afterward picked my pocket.]

Bard. You Banbury cheese!

Slen. Ay, it is no matter.
Pist. How now, Mephostophilus !
Slen. Ay, it is no matter.

Nym. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca. Slice ! that's my humour.

Slen. Where's Simple, my man? Can you tell, cousin ?

Evans. Peace, I pray you. Now let us understand. There is three umpires in this matter, as I understand; that is, Master Page, fide licet Master Page ; and there is myself, fide- (149 licet myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, miné host of the Garter.

Page. We three to hear it and end it between them.

Evans. Fery goot. I will make a prief of it in my note-book, and we will afterwards ork upon the cause with as great discreetly as we

Fal. Pistol!
Pist. He hears with ears.

Evans. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, “He hears with ear"? Why, it is affec tations.

Fal. Pistol, did you pick Master Slender's

Slen. Ay, by these gloves, did he, or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else, of seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two shilling and two pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves. Fal. Is this true, Pistol ? Evans. No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse. Pist. Ha, thon mountain-foreigner! Sir

John and master mine, I combat challenge of this latten bilbo. Word of denial in thy labras here! Word of denial! Froth and scum, thou liest!

Slen. By these gloves, then, 't was he.

Nym. Be avis'd, sir, and pass good humours. I will say

marry trap

with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on me. That' (196 is the very note of it.

Slen. By this hat, then, he in the red face had it; for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.

Fal. What say you, Scarlet and John ?

Bard. Why, sir, for my part, I say the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences.

Evans. It is his five senses. Fie, what the ignorance is!

Bard. And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashier'd ; and so conclusions pass'd the ca

Slen. Ay, you spake in Latin then too. But 't is no matter; I'll ne'er be drunk whilst I live again, but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick. If I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.

Evans. So Got udge me, that is a virtuous mind.

Fal. You hear all these matters deni’d, genr tlemen; you hear it.

[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]












[Enter ANNE PAGE, with wine ; MISTRESS FORD

and MISTRESS Page, following.] Page. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in ; we'll drink within. [ Exit Anne Page.] 196

Slen. O heaven! this is Mistress Anne Page. Page. How now, Mistress Ford !

Fal. Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met. By your leave, good mistress.

[Kisses her. Page. Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome. Come, we bave a hot venison pasty to dinner. Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.

(Exeunt all except Shal., Slen., and

Evans.) Slen. I had rather than forty shillings I [205 had my Book of Songs and Sonnets here.

[Enter SIMPLE.) How now, Simple ! where have you been? I must wait on myself, must I? You have not the Book of Riddles about you, have you ?

Sim. Book of Riddles ! Why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake upon All-hallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ?

Shal. Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with you, coz; marry, this, coz: there is, as 't were, á tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by Sir Hugh here. Do you understand me?

Slen. Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable. If it be


I shall do that that is reason.
Shal. Nay, but understand me.
Slen. So I'do, sir.

Evans. Give ear to his motions, Master Slender. I will description the matter to you, if you be capacity of it.

Slen. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says. I pray you, pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his country, simple though I stand here.

Erans. But that is not the question: the question is concerning your marriage.

Shal. Ay, there's the point, sir.

Evans. Marry, is it; the very point of it; to Mistress Anne Page.

Slen. Why, if it be so, I will marry her upon any reasonable demands.

Evans. But can you affection the 'oman? Let us command to know that of your mouth of of your lips; for divers philosophers hold (235 that the lips is parcel of the mouth. Therefore, precisely, can you carry your good will to the maid ?

Shal. Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her ?

Slen. I hope, sir, I will do as it shall become one that would do reason.

Evans. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies! You must speak possitable, if you can carry her your desires towards her.

Shal. That you must. Will you, upon good dowry, marry her ?

Slen. I will do a greater thing than that, upon your request, cousin, in any reason. Shal. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet

coz; what I do is to pleasure you, coz. Can you love the maid ?

Slen. I will marry her, sir, at your request; but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are married and have (265 more occasion to know one another. I hope, upon familiarity will grow more content. But if you say, “Marry her," I will marry her ; that I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely. 266

Evans. It is a fery discretion answer, save the fall is in the ort “dissolutely.” The ort is, according to our meaning, "resolutely." His meaning is good.

Shal. Ay, I think my cousin meant well. 285

Slen. Ay, or else I would I might be hang'd, la ! Shal. Here comes fair Mistress Anne.

(Re-enter ANNE PAGE.) Would I were young for your sake, Mistress Anne !

Anne. The dinner is on the table. My father desires your worships' company.

Shal. I will wait on him, fair Mistress Anne.

Evans. Od's plessed will, I will not be absence at the grace.

[Exeunt Shallow and Evans.] Anne. Will 't please your worship to come in, sir?

Slen. No, I thank you, forsooth, heartily; I am very well.

Anne. The dinner attends you, sir.

Slen. I am not a-hungry; I thank you, 280 forsooth. Go, sirrah, for all you are my man, go wait upon my cousin Shallow. (Exit Simple.) A justice of peace sometime may be beholding to his friend for a man. I keep but three men and a boy yet, till my mother be dead. But [256 what though? Yet I live like a poor gentleman born.

Anne. I may not go in without your worship. They will not sit till you come.

Slen. I' faith, I'll eat nothing. I thank you as much as though I did.

Anne. I pray you, sir, walk in.

Slen. I had rather walk here, I thank you. I bruis'd my shin the other day with playing at sword and dagger with a master of fence; three veneys for a dish of stew'd prunes; [206 and, by my troth, I cannot abide the smell of hot meat since. Why do your dogs bark so? Be there bears i' the town?

Anne. I think there are, sir ; I heard them talk'd of.

Slen. I love the sport well; but I shall as soon quarrel at it as any man in England. You are afraid, if you see the bear loose, are you not?

Anne. Ay, indeed, sir.

Slen. That's meat and drink to me, now. I have seen Sackerson loose twenty times, and have taken him by the chain; but, I warrant you, the women have so cri'd and shriek'd at it, that it pass'd. But women, indeed, cannot (310 abide 'em; they are very ill-favour'd rough things.







[ocr errors]



« ZurückWeiter »