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About him, fairies ; sing a scornful rhyme;
Pinch him for his villainy;
Till candles, and starlight, 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: Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn? Mrs. Page. I pray you, come; hold up the jest no
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 buck-basket, 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 ass. Ford. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs are extant,
Fal. And these are not fairies? I was three or four times in the thought they were not fairies : 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.
how wit may be made a Jack-a-lent, when 't is upon ill employment.
Eva. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires, and fairies will not pinse you.
Ford. Well said, fairy Hugh.
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 Welsh goat too? Shall I have a coxcomb of frize? "T is time I were choked with a piece of toasted cheese.
Eva. Seese is not good to give putter; your pelly is
Fal. Seese and putter! have I lived to stand at the taunts of one that makes fritters of English? This is enough to be the decay of lust and late-walking 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 ?
Ford. And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
Eva. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack, and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, 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 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.
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.
Enter SLENDER. 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 is 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 it is a postmaster's boy.
Page. Upon my life then you took the wrong.
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?
Slen. 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.
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 Caius. Caius. Vere is mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened; I ha' married un garçon, a boy ; un paisan, 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, be gar, and 't is a boy; be gar, I'll raise all Windsor.
[Exit Caius. 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? Fent. You do amaze her: Hear the truth of it. You would have married her most shamefully,
Where there was no proportion held in love.
Ford. Stand not amaz’d: here is no remedy:
Fal. 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. Fal. When night-dogs run all sorts of deer are
chas'd. Mrs. Page. Well, I will muse no further : master
Ford. Let it be so :—Sir John,
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.