Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

Find Location in text

Main Text

pg 17762.1Sc.5

Enter Mistress Page
Editor’s Note1

mistress page What, have I 'scaped love letters in the holiday time of 2my beauty, and am I now a subject for them? Let me see.

[She reads]

3'Ask me no reason why I love you, for though Love use Reason for his Editor’s Note4precisian, he admits him not for his counsellor. You are not young; no 5more am I. Go to, then, there's sympathy. You are merry; so am I. Ha, ha, Editor’s Note6then, there's more sympathy. You love sack, and so do I. Would you Editor’s Note7desire better sympathy? Let it suffice thee, Mistress Page, at the least, if 8the love of soldier can suffice, that I love thee. I will not say "pity me"—9'tis not a soldier-like phrase—but I say "love me".

10        By me, thine own true knight,

11        By day or night

12        Or any kind of light,

13        With all his might

14        For thee to fight,

15                John Falstaff.'

Editor’s Note16What a Herod of Jewry is this? O, wicked, wicked world! One that is Editor’s Note17well-nigh worn to pieces with age, to show himself a young gallant? Editor’s Note18What an unweighed behaviour hath this Flemish drunkard picked, i'th' Editor’s Note19devil's name, out of my conversation, that he dares in this manner assay 20me? Why, he hath not been thrice in my company. What should I say 21to him? I was then frugal of my mirth, God forgive me! Why, I'll Editor’s Note22exhibit a bill in the Parliament for the putting down of men. O God, 23that I knew how to be revenged on him! For revenged I will be, as sure Editor’s Note24as his guts are made of puddings.

[Enter Mistress Ford]

mistress ford Mistress Page! Trust me, I was going to your house.


mistress page And trust me, I was coming to you. You look very ill.

Editor’s Note27

mistress ford Nay, I'll ne'er believe that: I have to show to the 28contrary.


mistress page 'Faith, but you do, in my mind.


mistress ford Well, I do then. Yet I say I could show you to the 31contrary. O Mistress Page, give me some counsel.


mistress page What's the matter, woman?

Editor’s Note33

mistress ford O woman, if it were not for one trifling respect, I could Editor’s Note34come to such honour!


mistress page Hang the trifle, woman; take the honour. What is it? 36Dispense with trifles. What is it?


mistress ford If I would but go to hell for an eternal moment or so, I Editor’s Note38could be knighted.

pg 1777 39

mistress page What? Thou liest! Sir Alice Ford? These knights will Editor’s Note40hack, and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry.

Editor’s Note41

mistress ford We burn daylight. Here: read, read!

[She gives Mistress Page a letter, who reads it]

42Perceive how I might be knighted. I shall think the worse of fat men Editor’s Note43as long as I have an eye to make difference of men's liking. And yet he Link 44would not swear, praised women's modesty, and gave such orderly Editor’s Note45and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness that I would have sworn Editor’s Note46his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words. But they do Editor’s Note47no more adhere and keep place together than the 150 Psalms to the tune Editor’s Note48of 'Greensleeves'. What tempest, I trow, threw this whale, with so Editor’s Note49many tuns of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor? How shall I be 50revenged on him? I think the best way were to entertain him with Editor’s Note51hope, till the wicked fire of lust have melted him in his own grease. 52Did you ever hear the like?


mistress page Letter for letter; but that the name of Page and Ford Editor’s Note54differs. [Showing her letter] To thy great comfort in this mystery of ill Editor’s Note55opinions, here's the twin brother of thy letter. But let thine inherit first, 56for I protest mine never shall. I warrant he hath a thousand of these 57letters, writ with blank space for different names—sure, more, and Editor’s Note58these are of the second edition. He will print them, out of doubt—for he Editor’s Note59cares not what he puts into the press when he would put us two. I had Editor’s Note60rather be a giantess and lie under Mount Pelion. Well, I will find you Editor’s Note61twenty lascivious turtles ere one chaste man.


mistress ford [comparing the two letters] Why this is the very same: 63the very hand, the very words. What doth he think of us?

Editor’s Note64

mistress page Nay, I know not. It makes me almost ready to wrangle Editor’s Note65with mine own honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not Editor’s Note66acquainted withal; for, sure unless he know some strain in me that Editor’s Note67I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.

Editor’s Note68

mistress ford 'Boarding', call you it? I'll be sure to keep him above 69deck.


mistress page So will I. If he come under my hatches, I'll never to sea 71again. Let's be revenged on him. Let's appoint him a meeting, give him Editor’s Note72a show of comfort in his suit, and lead him on with a fine-baited delay, Editor’s Note73till he hath pawned his horses to mine Host of the Garter.

pg 1778 74

mistress ford Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him that Editor’s Note75may not sully the chariness of our honesty. O that my husband saw 76this letter! It would give eternal food to his jealousy.

[Enter Master Ford with Pistol, and Master Page with Nim]
Editor’s Note77

mistress page Why, look where he comes, and my goodman too. He's 78as far from jealousy as I am from giving him cause; and that, I hope, 79is an unmeasurable distance.


mistress ford You are the happier woman.

Editor’s Note81

mistress page Let's consult together against this greasy knight. Come 82hither.

[They withdraw]

ford Well, I hope it be not so.

Editor’s Note84

pistol Hope is a curtal dog in some affairs.

Editor’s Note85Sir John affects thy wife.


ford Why, sir, my wife is not young.

Editor’s Note87

pistol He woos both high and low, both rich and poor,

Editor’s Note88Both young and old, one with another, Ford.

Editor’s Note89He loves the gallimaufry, Ford. Perpend.


ford Love my wife?

Editor’s Note91

pistol With liver burning hot. Prevent,

Editor’s Note92Or go thou like Sir Actaeon, he,

Editor’s Note93With Ringwood at thy heels.

94O, odious is the name!


ford What name, sir?

Editor’s Note96

pistol The horn, I say. Farewell.

Editor’s Note97Take heed; have open eye; for thieves do foot by night.

Editor’s Note98Take heed, ere summer comes, or cuckoo-birds do sing.—

Editor’s Note99Away, Sir Corporal Nim!—Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.

Editor’s Note[Exit]
Editor’s Note100

ford [aside] I will be patient. I will find out this.


nim [to Page] And this is true. I like not the humour of lying. He hath Editor’s Note102wronged me in some humours. I should have borne the humoured letter Editor’s Note103to her; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity. He loves Editor’s Note104your wife. There's the short and the long.

105My name is Corporal Nim. I speak and I avouch. 'Tis true:

106My name is Nim, and Falstaff loves your wife. Adieu.

Editor’s Note107I love not the humour of bread and cheese. Adieu.

pg 1779 Editor’s Note108

page [aside] The humour of it, quoth a? Here's a fellow frights English Editor’s Note109out of his wits.

Editor’s Note110

ford [aside] I will seek out Falstaff.

Editor’s Note111

page [aside] I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.

Editor’s Note112

ford [aside] If I do find it—well.

Editor’s Note113

page [aside] I will not believe such a Cathayan, though the priest o'th' Editor’s Note114town commended him for a true man.


ford [aside] 'Twas a good, sensible fellow—well.

[Mistress Page and Mistress Ford come forward]

page How now, Meg?


mistress page Whither go you, George? Hark you.

[They talk apart]

mistress ford How now, sweet Frank? Why art thou melancholy?


ford I melancholy? I am not melancholy. Get you home, go.

Editor’s Note120

mistress ford Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now. Will Editor’s Note121you go, Mistress Page?

Editor’s Note122

mistress page Have with you.—You'll come to dinner, George?

[Enter Mistress Quickly] [Aside to Mistress Ford]

123Look who comes yonder. She shall be our 124messenger to this paltry knight.


mistress ford [aside to Mistress Page] Trust me, I thought on her. Editor’s Note126She'll fit it.


mistress page [to Mistress Quickly] You are come to see my daughter 128Anne?


mistress quickly Ay, forsooth; and I pray how does good Mistress 130Anne?


mistress page Go in with us and see. We have an hour's talk with you.

[Exeunt Mistress Page, Mistress Ford, and Mistress Quickly]

page How now, Master Ford?


ford You heard what this knave told me, did you not?


page Yes, and you heard what the other told me?


ford Do you think there is truth in them?

Editor’s Note136

page Hang 'em, slaves! I do not think the knight would offer it. But Editor’s Note137these that accuse him in his intent towards our wives are a yoke 138of his discarded men—very rogues, now they be out of service.


ford Were they his men?


page Marry, were they.

Editor’s Note141

ford I like it never the better for that. Does he lie at the Garter?


page Ay, marry, does he. If he should intend this voyage toward my Editor’s Note143wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than Editor’s Note144sharp words, let it lie on my head.

pg 1780 Editor’s Note145

ford I do not misdoubt my wife, but I would be loath to turn them 146together. A man may be too confident. I would have nothing lie on my 147head. I cannot be thus satisfied.

Editor’s Note[Enter Host, followed by Justice Shallow]

page Look where my ranting Host of the Garter comes. There is either 149liquor in his pate or money in his purse when he looks so merrily.—150How now, mine Host?


host God bless you, my bully rooks, God bless you! [To Shallow] Thou'rt Editor’s Note152a gentleman, Cavaliero Justice, I say.

Editor’s Note153

shallow I follow, mine Host, I follow.—Good even and twenty, good 154Master Page. Master Page, will you go with us? We have sport in hand.


host Tell him, Cavaliero Justice, tell him, bully rook.


shallow Sir, there is a fray to be fought between Sir Hugh, the Welsh 157priest, and Caius, the French doctor.

Link 158

ford Good mine Host o'th' Garter, a word with you.


host What sayst thou, my bully rook?

[They talk apart]

shallow [to Page] Will you go with us to behold it? My merry Host Editor’s Note161hath had the measuring of their weapons, and, I think, hath appointed Editor’s Note162them contrary places. For, believe me, I hear the parson is no jester. 163Hark, I will tell you what our sport shall be.

[They talk apart]
Editor’s Note164

host [to Ford] Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guest cavaliero?

Editor’s Note165

ford None, I protest. But I'll give you a pottle of burnt sack to give Editor’s Note166me recourse to him and tell him my name is Brooke—only for a jest.

Editor’s Note167

host My hand, bully. Thou shalt have egress and regress—said I well?—168and thy name shall be Brooke. It is a merry knight. [To Shallow and Editor’s Note169Page] Will you go, mijn'heers?


shallow Have with you, mine Host.


page I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in his rapier.

Editor’s Note172

shallow Tut, sir, I could have told you more. In these times you stand Editor’s Note173on distance—your passes, stoccados, and I know not what. 'Tis the Editor’s Note174heart, Master Page; 'tis here, 'tis here. I have seen the time with my Editor’s Note175long sword I would have made you four tall fellows skip like rats.

Editor’s Note176

host Here, boys; here, here! Shall we wag?


page Have with you. I had rather hear them scold than fight.

[Exeunt Host, Shallow, and Page]
Editor’s Note178

ford Though Page be a secure fool and stands so firmly on his wife's Editor’s Note179frailty, yet I cannot put off my opinion so easily. She was in his company pg 1781Editor’s Note180at Page's house, and what they made there I know not. Well, I will look 181further into't; and I have a disguise to sound Falstaff. If I find her honest, Editor’s Note182I lose not my labour; if she be otherwise, 'tis labour well bestowed.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2.1.1 holiday time festive time, heyday
Editor’s Note
2.1.4 precisian Puritan minister (a source of strict spiritual guidance)
Editor’s Note
2.1.4 counsellor legal advocate; personal adviser
Editor’s Note
2.1.6 sack (type of usually white wine from Spain and the Canaries)
Editor’s Note
2.1.7 sympathy agreement, common ground
Editor’s Note
2.1.16 Herod of Jewry (portrayed as a bragging villain in miracle plays)
Editor’s Note
2.1.16 Jewry Judea
Editor’s Note
2.1.17 to show himself with showing himself to be
Editor’s Note
2.1.18 unweighed ill-considered; unbalanced
Editor’s Note
2.1.18 Flemish of an inhabitant of Flanders (said to be heavy drinkers)
Editor’s Note
2.1.19 assay attempt to seduce
Editor’s Note
2.1.22 exhibit introduce
Editor’s Note
2.1.22 putting down suppression (with a quibble on 'banning erections')
Editor’s Note
2.1.24 puddings (themselves being guts filled with stuffing)
Editor’s Note
2.1.27 have have something
Editor’s Note
2.1.27–8 I have to show to the contrary Mistress Ford may reveal the letter at any time before l. 41.
Editor’s Note
2.1.33 respect consideration
Editor’s Note
2.1.34 come to such honour attain such dignity
Editor’s Note
2.1.38 knighted provided with a knight; conferred with knighthood
Editor’s Note
2.1.40 hack (perhaps 'behave promiscuously')
Editor’s Note
2.1.40 article terms, conditions
Editor’s Note
2.1.41 burn daylight waste time (proverbial)
Editor’s Note
2.1.43 make difference of discriminate between
Editor’s Note
2.1.43 liking physical appearance
Editor’s Note
2.1.45 uncomeliness improper behaviour
Editor’s Note
2.1.46 gone to accorded with
Editor’s Note
2.1.47 adhere go together
Editor’s Note
2.1.48 Greensleeves (a popular love-song)
Editor’s Note
2.1.48 trow wonder
Editor’s Note
2.1.49 tuns casks
Editor’s Note
2.1.51 melted … grease (from the proverb 'to fry in one's own grease')
Editor’s Note
2.1.54 ill opinions (Falstaff's belief that the wives are promiscuous)
Editor’s Note
2.1.55 inherit come into possession (of Falstaff's offer)
Editor’s Note
2.1.58 out of doubt undoubtedly
Editor’s Note
2.1.59 press printing press; pressing of sexual intercourse
Editor’s Note
2.1.60–1 a … Pelion In Greek mythology the giant Titans failed in their attempt to assault the home of the Olympian gods by piling Mount Pelion on Mount Ossa and were buried under Pelion.
Editor’s Note
2.1.61 turtles turtle-doves (proverbially true to their mate)
Editor’s Note
2.1.64–5 wrangle with dispute
Editor’s Note
2.1.65 honesty sexual fidelity
Editor’s Note
2.1.65 entertain treat; think of
Editor’s Note
2.1.66 withal with
Editor’s Note
2.1.66 strain disposition
Editor’s Note
2.1.67 boarded a nautical metaphor: accosted, approached; sexually entered. The second sense is continued in 'come under my hatches' (2.170) and (by way of refutation) in 'keep him above deck' (2.1.68–9).
Editor’s Note
2.1.68–9 keep him above deck gesturing at her skirts? her neck?
Editor’s Note
2.1.72 comfort encouragement
Editor’s Note
2.1.72 fine-baited temptingly alluring
Editor’s Note
2.1.73–4 till … Garter (to pay for the costs of courting)
Editor’s Note
2.1.75 chariness scrupulous integrity
Editor’s Note
2.1.77 goodman husband
Editor’s Note
2.1.81 consult devise
Editor’s Note
2.1.84 curtal dog dog with docked tail (hence less reliable for hunting)
Editor’s Note
2.1.85 affects loves; aims at
Editor’s Note
2.1.87 both … poor (another echo of Psalm 49:2; see note to 1.3.67)
Editor’s Note
2.1.88 one with another indiscriminately
Editor’s Note
2.1.89 the gallimaufry a mixture of everything (literally 'hash, ragout')
Editor’s Note
2.1.89 Perpend consider
Editor’s Note
2.1.91 liver (the supposed seat of the passions)
Editor’s Note
2.1.92 Sir Actaeon In Greek myth, the hunter Actaeon was turned into a stag and so pursued and killed by his own dogs. Because of its horns the stag was considered an emblem of a cuckold.
Editor’s Note
2.1.93 Ringwood (supposed name of one of Actaeon's dogs)
Editor’s Note
2.1.96 The horn (horns were imagined to grow on the heads of cuckolds)
Editor’s Note
2.1.97 foot (quibbling on foutre, 'fuck')
Editor’s Note
2.1.98 cuckoo-birds Because cuckoos trick other birds into raising their young, they and their songs were associated with cuckoldry.
Editor’s Note
2.1.99 Away come along
Editor’s Note Exit Alternatively, Pistol may remain to exit with Nim at l. 107.
Editor’s Note
2.1.100 find out investigate
Editor’s Note
2.1.102–3 should have borne i.e. was expected to bear
Editor’s Note
2.1.103–4 I … necessity (unclear, but apparently indicating his disdain for dishonourable deeds)
Editor’s Note
2.1.104 short and the long the whole truth
Editor’s Note
2.1.107 bread and cheese Perhaps this indicates Nim's poverty, but it was also a popular name for wood-sorrel, an edible plant also known as cuckoo-bread or cuckoo-cheese, hence an allusion to cuckolding.
Editor’s Note
2.1.108 a he
Editor’s Note
2.1.109 his its
Editor’s Note
2.1.110 seek out investigate, test (perhaps also 'pursue in order to attack')
Editor’s Note
2.1.111 affecting affectedly-speaking
Editor’s Note
2.1.112 find ascertain
Editor’s Note
2.1.113 Cathayan someone not to be believed (because travellers returning from the East told unbelievable stories about Cathay in Asia)
Editor’s Note
2.1.114 for as
Editor’s Note
2.1.120 crotchets strange notions
Editor’s Note
2.1.121 go come with me
Editor’s Note
2.1.122 Have with you I'm coming
Editor’s Note
2.1.126 fit it fit the part
Editor’s Note
2.1.136 offer attempt
Editor’s Note
2.1.137 yoke pair
Editor’s Note
2.1.141 lie lodge
Editor’s Note
2.1.143 turn her loose (suggesting animals brought together for mating, or for fighting)
Editor’s Note
2.1.144–5 lie on my head be my responsibility (but Ford understands as 'appear on my head', an allusion to the cuckold's horns)
Editor’s Note
2.1.145 misdoubt mistrust
Editor’s Note Enter Host, followed by Justice Shallow Shallow may be behind, trying to keep up; if the Host enters alone, Shallow enters after l. 151.
Editor’s Note
2.1.152 Cavaliero gallant knight (from Spanish; here used as a jocular title)
Editor’s Note
2.1.153 follow (as of a hunter staying with the course, hence 'sport' (2.1.163)
Editor’s Note
2.1.153–4 and twenty twenty times over
Editor’s Note
2.1.161 had … weapons been appointed umpire
Editor’s Note
2.1.162 contrary different
Editor’s Note
2.1.164 Hast thou are you sure you have
Editor’s Note
2.1.165 a pottle two quarts (= half a gallon)
Editor’s Note
2.1.165–6 burnt sack mulled and sweetened or spiced sherry wine
Editor’s Note
2.1.166 Brooke (family name of Lord Cobham, who had objected to the characterization of Oldcastle in 1 Henry IV; see Textual Introduction)
Editor’s Note
2.1.167–8 egress and regress free access to exit and enter (legal language)
Editor’s Note
2.1.169 mijn'heers gentlemen (from Dutch)
Editor’s Note
2.1.172 stand rely
Editor’s Note
2.1.173 distance (between duellists)
Editor’s Note
2.1.173 passes, stoccados lunges, thrusts (technical fencing terms)
Editor’s Note
2.1.174 heart essence
Editor’s Note
2.1.174 here thus
Editor’s Note
2.1.175 long sword (an old-fashioned, heavy weapon)
Editor’s Note
2.1.175 tall valiant
Editor’s Note
2.1.175 skip like rats an opportunity for Shallow to resume the enthusiastic demonstrations he began in 1.1; author Charles Dickens was particularly commended for his vigorous rendition of this speech in an amateur performance in 1848.
Editor’s Note
2.1.176 wag go
Editor’s Note
2.1.178 secure overconfident
Editor’s Note
2.1.179 frailty weakest part (meaning her fidelity)
Editor’s Note
2.1.180 made got up to
Editor’s Note
2.1.182 lose waste
logo-footer Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
Access is brought to you by Log out