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Dramatis Personae
Act 1
Scene I
Scene II
Scene III
Scene IV
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
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/ Home / Library / Complete Shakespeare / The Merry Wives of Windsor / Act I Scene III

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The Merry Wives of Windsor: Act 1 Scene 3

Scene III A room in the Garter Inn.

[Enter FALSTAFF, Host, BARDOLPH, NYM, PISTOL,
and ROBIN]

FALSTAFF
Mine host of the Garter!

HOST
What says my bully-rook? speak scholarly and wisely.

FALSTAFF
Truly, mine host, I must turn away some of my
followers.

HOST
Discard, bully Hercules; cashier: let them wag; trot, trot.

FALSTAFF
I sit at ten pounds a week.

HOST
Thou'rt an emperor, Caesar, Keisar, and Pheezar. I
will entertain Bardolph; he shall draw, he shall
tap: said I well, bully Hector?

FALSTAFF
Do so, good mine host.

HOST
I have spoke; let him follow.

[To BARDOLPH]

Let me see thee froth and lime: I am at a word; follow.

[Exit]

FALSTAFF
Bardolph, follow him. A tapster is a good trade:
an old cloak makes a new jerkin; a withered
serving-man a fresh tapster. Go; adieu.

BARDOLPH
It is a life that I have desired: I will thrive.

PISTOL
O base Hungarian wight! wilt thou the spigot wield?

[Exit BARDOLPH]

NYM
He was gotten in drink: is not the humour conceited?

FALSTAFF
I am glad I am so acquit of this tinderbox: his
thefts were too open; his filching was like an
unskilful singer; he kept not time.

NYM
The good humour is to steal at a minute's rest.

PISTOL
'Convey,' the wise it call. 'Steal!' foh! a fico
for the phrase!

FALSTAFF
Well, sirs, I am almost out at heels.

PISTOL
Why, then, let kibes ensue.

FALSTAFF
There is no remedy; I must cony-catch; I must shift.

PISTOL
Young ravens must have food.

FALSTAFF
Which of you know Ford of this town?

PISTOL
I ken the wight: he is of substance good.

FALSTAFF
My honest lads, I will tell you what I am about.

PISTOL
Two yards, and more.

FALSTAFF
No quips now, Pistol! Indeed, I am in the waist two
yards about; but I am now about no waste; I am about
thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make love to Ford's
wife: I spy entertainment in her; she discourses,
she carves, she gives the leer of invitation: I
can construe the action of her familiar style; and
the hardest voice of her behavior, to be Englished
rightly, is, 'I am Sir John Falstaff's.'

PISTOL
He hath studied her will, and translated her will,
out of honesty into English.

NYM
The anchor is deep: will that humour pass?

FALSTAFF
Now, the report goes she has all the rule of her
husband's purse: he hath a legion of angels.

PISTOL
As many devils entertain; and 'To her, boy,' say I.

NYM
The humour rises; it is good: humour me the angels.

FALSTAFF
I have writ me here a letter to her: and here
another to Page's wife, who even now gave me good
eyes too, examined my parts with most judicious
oeillades; sometimes the beam of her view gilded my
foot, sometimes my portly belly.

PISTOL
Then did the sun on dunghill shine.

NYM
I thank thee for that humour.

FALSTAFF
O, she did so course o'er my exteriors with such a
greedy intention, that the appetite of her eye did
seem to scorch me up like a burning-glass! Here's
another letter to her: she bears the purse too; she
is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty. I will
be cheater to them both, and they shall be
exchequers to me; they shall be my East and West
Indies, and I will trade to them both. Go bear thou
this letter to Mistress Page; and thou this to
Mistress Ford: we will thrive, lads, we will thrive.

PISTOL
Shall I Sir Pandarus of Troy become,
And by my side wear steel? then, Lucifer take all!

NYM
I will run no base humour: here, take the
humour-letter: I will keep the havior of reputation.

FALSTAFF
[To ROBIN] Hold, sirrah, bear you these letters tightly;
Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores.
Rogues, hence, avaunt! vanish like hailstones, go;
Trudge, plod away o' the hoof; seek shelter, pack!
Falstaff will learn the humour of the age,
French thrift, you rogues; myself and skirted page.

[Exeunt FALSTAFF and ROBIN]

PISTOL
Let vultures gripe thy guts! for gourd and fullam holds,
And high and low beguiles the rich and poor:
Tester I'll have in pouch when thou shalt lack,
Base Phrygian Turk!

NYM
I have operations which be humours of revenge.

PISTOL
Wilt thou revenge?

NYM
By welkin and her star!

PISTOL
With wit or steel?

NYM
With both the humours, I:
I will discuss the humour of this love to Page.

PISTOL
And I to Ford shall eke unfold
How Falstaff, varlet vile,
His dove will prove, his gold will hold,
And his soft couch defile.

NYM
My humour shall not cool: I will incense Page to
deal with poison; I will possess him with
yellowness, for the revolt of mine is dangerous:
that is my true humour.

PISTOL
Thou art the Mars of malecontents: I second thee; troop on.

[Exeunt]

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