The Merry Wives of Windsor By William Shakespeare Act V: Scenes 1-5

EVANS.
And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack and wine, and
metheglins, and to drinkings and swearings and starings, pribbles
and prabbles?

FALSTAFF.
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.

MRS. FORD.
Nay, husband, let that go to make amends;
Forget that sum, so we'll all be friends.

FORD.
Well, here's my hand: all is forgiven at last.

PAGE.
Yet be cheerful, knight; thou shalt eat a posset tonight 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.

[Enter SLENDER.]

SLENDER.
Whoa, ho! ho! father Page!

PAGE.
Son, how now! how now, son! have you dispatched?

SLENDER.
Dispatched! I'll make the best in Gloucestershire know on't;
would I were hanged, la, else!

PAGE.
Of what, son?

SLENDER.
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 postmaster's boy.

PAGE.
Upon my life, then, you took the wrong.

SLENDER.
What need you tell me that? I think so, when I took a boy for a
girl. If I had been married to him, for all he was in woman's
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?

SLENDER.
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
postmaster's boy.

EVANS.
Jeshu! Master Slender, cannot you see put marry poys?

PAGE.
O I am vexed at heart: what shall I do?

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
garcon, a boy; un paysan, 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.

[Exit.]

FORD.
This is strange. Who hath got the right Anne?

PAGE.
My heart misgives me; here comes Master Fenton.

[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?

FENTON.
You do amaze her: hear the truth of it.
You would have married her most shamefully,
Where there was no proportion held in love.
The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,
Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve us.
The offence is holy that she hath committed,
And this deceit loses the name of craft,
Of disobedience, or unduteous title,
Since therein she doth evitate and shun
A thousand irreligious cursed hours,
Which forced marriage would have brought upon her.

FORD.
Stand not amaz'd: here is no remedy:
In love, the heavens themselves do guide the state:
Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.

FALSTAFF.
I am glad, though you have ta'en a special stand
to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanced.

PAGE.
Well, what remedy? — Fenton, heaven give thee joy!
What cannot be eschew'd must be embrac'd.

FALSTAFF.
When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are chas'd.

MRS. PAGE.
Well, I will muse no further. Master Fenton,
Heaven give you many, many merry days!
Good husband, let us every one go home,
And laugh this sport o'er by a country fire;
Sir John and all.

FORD.
Let it be so. Sir John,
To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word;
For he, to-night, shall lie with Mistress Ford.

[Exeunt.]

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