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Attend your office, and your quality.1
Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap: Where fires thou find'st unrak'd, and hearths unswept,
There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry :2
Fal. They are fairies; he, that speaks to them, shall die.
I'll wink and couch: No man their works must eye. [Lies down upon his face. Eva. Where's Pede ?--Go you, and where you find a maid,
That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said,
Quick. About, about;
Search Windsor castle, elves, within and out:
Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
Eva. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves in order set:
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welch fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese! Pist. Vile worm, thou wast o'er-look'd even in thy birth.
Quick. With trial-fire touch me his finger end:
Pist. A trial, come.
Come, will this wood take fire? [They burn him with their tapers. Fal. Oh, oh, oh!
Quick. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire! About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhyme: And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time. Eva. It is right; indeed he is full of lecheries and iniquity.
Fie on sinful fantasy!
(1) The letters,
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 Mrs. Anne Page. A noise of hunting is made within. All 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 him.
Page. Nay, do not fly: I think, we have watch'd you now;
Mrs. Page. I pray you, come; hold no higher;
Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn? up the jest Now, good sir John, how like you Windsor wives? See you these, husband? do not these fair yokes! Become the forest better than the town?
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 buckbasket, 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
Ford. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs are
Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought, they were not fairies:
(1) Horns which Falstaff had.
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
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'erreaching as this? Am I ridden with a Welch goat too? Shall I have a coxcomb of frize? 'tis time I were choaked with a piece of toasted cheese.
Eva. Seese is not good 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 latewalking, 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 drink
(1) A fool's cap of Welch materials.
ings, 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 Welch 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.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, husband, let that go to make amends:
Forgive that sum, and so we'll all be friends. Ford. Well, here's my hand; all's forgiven at last.
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. Doctors doubt that: If Anne Page be my daughter, she is, by this, doctor Caius' wife. [Aside.
Slen. Whoo, ho! ho! father Page! Page. Son! how now? how now, son? have you despatched?
Slen. Despatched-I'll make the best in Glocestershire know on't; would I were hanged, la, else. Page. Of what, son?
Slen. I came yonder at Eton to marry mistress Anne Page, and she's a great lubberly boy: If it had not been i' the church, I would have swinged him, or he 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.