ACT I
Scene 1
 

Windsor. Before PAGE'S house

Enter JUSTICE SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR HUGH EVANS

SHALLOW
Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Star
Chamber matter of it; if he were twenty Sir John Falstaffs,
he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.

SLENDER
In the county of Gloucester, Justice of Peace, and
Coram.

SHALLOW
Ay, cousin Slender, and Custalorum.

SLENDER
Ay, and Ratolorum too; and a gentleman born,
Master Parson, who writes himself 'Armigero' in any bill,
warrant, quittance, or obligation-'Armigero.'

SHALLOW
Ay, that I do; and have done any time these three
hundred years.

SLENDER
All his successors, gone before him, hath done't;
and all his ancestors, that come after him, may: they may
give the dozen white luces in their coat.

SHALLOW
It is an old coat.

EVANS
The dozen white louses do become an old coat well;
it agrees well, passant; it is a familiar beast to man, and
signifies love.

SHALLOW
The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old
coat.

SLENDER
I may quarter, coz.

SHALLOW
You may, by marrying.

EVANS
It is marring indeed, if he quarter it.

SHALLOW
Not a whit.

EVANS
Yes, py'r lady! If he has a quarter of your coat, there
is but three skirts for yourself, in my simple conjectures;
but that is all one. If Sir John Falstaff have committed
disparagements unto you, I am of the church, and will be
glad to do my benevolence, to make atonements and
compremises between you.

SHALLOW
The Council shall hear it; it is a riot.

EVANS
It is not meet the Council hear a riot; there is no
fear of Got in a riot; the Council, look you, shall desire
to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your
vizaments in that.

SHALLOW
Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the sword
should end it.

EVANS
It is petter that friends is the sword and end it;
and there is also another device in my prain, which
peradventure prings goot discretions with it. There is Anne
Page, which is daughter to Master George Page, which is
pretty virginity.

SLENDER
Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and
speaks small like a woman.

EVANS
It is that fery person for all the orld, as just as you
will desire; and seven hundred pounds of moneys, and
gold, and silver, is her grandsire upon his death's-bed-Got
deliver to a joyful resurrections!-give, when she is able to
overtake seventeen years old. It were a goot motion if we
leave our pribbles and prabbles, and desire a marriage
between Master Abraham and Mistress Anne Page.

SHALLOW
Did her grandsire leave her seven hundred pound?

EVANS
Ay, and her father is make her a petter penny.

SHALLOW
I know the young gentlewoman; she has good
gifts.

EVANS
Seven hundred pounds, and possibilities, is goot gifts.

SHALLOW
Well, let us see honest Master Page. Is Falstaff
there?

EVANS
Shall I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar as I do
despise one that is false; or as I despise one that is not
true. The knight Sir John is there; and, I beseech you, be
ruled by your well-willers. I will peat the door for Master
Page.

[Knocks] What, hoa! Got pless your house here!

PAGE
[Within] Who's there?

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.

SHALLOW
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.

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

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

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

PAGE
It could not be judg'd, sir.

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

SHALLOW
That he will not. 'Tis your fault; 'tis your fault;
'tis a good dog.

PAGE
A cur, sir.

SHALLOW
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.

SHALLOW
He hath wrong'd me, Master Page.

PAGE
Sir, he doth in some sort confess it.

SHALLOW
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 wronged.

PAGE
Here comes Sir John.

Enter SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, BARDOLPH, NYM, and PISTOL

FALSTAFF
Now, Master Shallow, you'll complain of me to
the King?

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

FALSTAFF
But not kiss'd your keeper's daughter.

SHALLOW
Tut, a pin! this shall be answer'd.

FALSTAFF
I will answer it straight: I have done all this.
That is now answer'd.

SHALLOW
The Council shall know this.

FALSTAFF
'Twere better for you if it were known in counsel:
you'll be laugh'd at.

EVANS
Pauca verba, Sir John; goot worts.

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

SLENDER
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 afterwards pick'd my pocket.

BARDOLPH
You Banbury cheese!

SLENDER
Ay, it is no matter.

PISTOL
How now, Mephostophilus!

SLENDER
Ay, it is no matter.

NYM
Slice, I say! pauca, pauca; slice! That's my humour.

SLENDER
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, fidelicet Master Page; and there is myself,
fidelicet myself; and the three party is, lastly and
finally, mine 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 can.

FALSTAFF
Pistol!

PISTOL
He hears with ears.

EVANS
The tevil and his tam! What phrase is this, 'He hears
with ear'? Why, it is affectations.

FALSTAFF
Pistol, did you pick Master Slender's purse?

SLENDER
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 apiece
of Yead Miller, by these gloves.

FALSTAFF
Is this true, Pistol?

EVANS
No, it is false, if it is a pick-purse.

PISTOL
Ha, thou 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.

SLENDER
By these gloves, then, 'twas 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 is the very note of it.

SLENDER
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.

FALSTAFF
What say you, Scarlet and John?

BARDOLPH
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!

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

SLENDER
Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis 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.

FALSTAFF
You hear all these matters deni'd, gentlemen; you
hear it.

Enter MISTRESS ANNE PAGE with wine; MISTRESS FORD
and MISTRESS PAGE, following

PAGE
Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll drink within.

Exit ANNE PAGE

SLENDER
O heaven! this is Mistress Anne Page.

PAGE
How now, Mistress Ford!

FALSTAFF
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 have a
hot venison pasty to dinner; come, gentlemen, I hope we
shall drink down all unkindness.

Exeunt all but SHALLOW, SLENDER, and EVANS

SLENDER
I had rather than forty shillings I had my Book of
Songs and Sonnets here.

Enter SIMPLE

How, Simple! Where have you been? I must wait on
myself, must I? You have not the Book of Riddles about you,
have you?

SIMPLE
Book of Riddles! Why, did you not lend it to Alice
Shortcake upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore
Michaelmas?

SHALLOW
Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word
with you, coz; marry, this, coz: there is, as 'twere, a
tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by Sir Hugh here. Do
you understand me?

SLENDER
Ay, sir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so, I
shall do that that is reason.

SHALLOW
Nay, but understand me.

SLENDER
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.

SLENDER
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.

EVANS
But that is not the question. The question is
concerning your marriage.

SHALLOW
Ay, there's the point, sir.

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

SLENDER
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 or of your lips; for divers
philosophers hold that the lips is parcel of the mouth. Therefore,
precisely, can you carry your good will to the maid?

SHALLOW
Cousin Abraham Slender, can you love her?

SLENDER
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.

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

SLENDER
I will do a greater thing than that upon your request,
cousin, in any reason.

SHALLOW
Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz; what
I do is to pleasure you, coz. Can you love the maid?

SLENDER
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 more occasion to know one another. I hope upon
familiarity will grow more contempt. But if you say
'marry her,' I will marry her; that I am freely dissolved,
and dissolutely.

EVANS
It is a fery discretion answer, save the fall is in the
ord 'dissolutely': the ort is, according to our meaning,
'resolutely'; his meaning is good.

SHALLOW
Ay, I think my cousin meant well.

SLENDER
Ay, or else I would I might be hang'd, la!

Re-enter ANNE PAGE

SHALLOW
Here comes fair Mistress Anne. Would I were
young for your sake, Mistress Anne!

ANNE
The dinner is on the table; my father desires your
worships' company.

SHALLOW
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?

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

ANNE
The dinner attends you, sir.

SLENDER
I am not a-hungry, I thank you, 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 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.

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

ANNE
I pray you, sir, walk in.

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

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

SLENDER
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.

SLENDER
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 cried and
shriek'd at it that it pass'd; but women, indeed, cannot
abide 'em; they are very ill-favour'd rough things.

Re-enter PAGE

PAGE
Come, gentle Master Slender, come; we stay for you.

SLENDER
I'll eat nothing, I thank you, sir.

PAGE
By cock and pie, you shall not choose, sir! Come,
come.

SLENDER
Nay, pray you lead the way.

PAGE
Come on, sir.

SLENDER
Mistress Anne, yourself shall go first.

ANNE
Not I, sir; pray you keep on.

SLENDER
Truly, I will not go first; truly, la! I will not do
you that wrong.

ANNE
I pray you, sir.

SLENDER
I'll rather be unmannerly than troublesome. You
do yourself wrong indeed, la!

Exeunt