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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act III. Scene I.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

A Field near Frogmore.


Eva.I pray you now, good Master Slender’s serving-man, and friend Simple by your name, which way have you looked for Master Caius, that calls himself doctor of physic?

Sim.Marry, sir, the pittie-ward, the park-ward, every way; old Windsor way, and every way but the town way.

Eva.I most fehemently desire you you will also look that way.

Sim.I will, sir.[Exit.

Eva.Pless my soul! how full of chollors I am, and trempling of mind! I shall be glad if he have deceived me. How melancholies I am! I will knog his urinals about his knave’s costard when I have goot opportunities for the ’ork: pless my soul![Sings.

  • To shallow rivers, to whose falls
  • Melodious birds sing madrigals;
  • There will we make our peds of roses,
  • And a thousand fragrant posies.
  • To shallow—
  • Mercy on me! I have a great dispositions to cry.[Sings.

  • Melodious birds sing madrigals,—
  • When as I sat in Pabylon,—
  • And a thousand vagram posies.
  • To shallow,—
  • Re-enter SIMPLE.

    Sim.Yonder he is coming, this way, Sir Hugh.

    Eva.He’s welcome.[Sings.

  • To shallow rivers, to whose falls—
  • Heaven prosper the right!—what weapons is he?

    Sim.No weapons, sir. There comes my master, Master Shallow, and another gentleman, from Frogmore, over the stile, this way.

    Eva.Pray you, give me my gown; or else keep it in your arms.[Reads in a book.


    Shal.How now, Master Parson! Good morrow, good Sir Hugh. Keep a gamester from the dice, and a good student from his book, and it is wonderful.

    Slen.[Aside.]Ah, sweet Anne Page!

    Page.Save you, good Sir Hugh!

    Eva.Pless you from His mercy sake, all of you!

    Shal.What, the sword and the word! do you study them both, Master Parson?

    Page.And youthful still in your doublet and hose! this raw rheumatic day?

    Eva.There is reasons and causes for it.

    Page.We are come to you to do a good office, Master parson.

    Eva.Fery well: what is it?

    Page.Yonder is a most reverend gentleman, who, belike having received wrong by some person, is at most odds with his own gravity and patience that ever you saw.

    Shal.I have lived fourscore years and upward; I never heard a man of his place, gravity, and learning, so wide of his own respect.

    Eva.What is he?

    Page.I think you know him; Master Doctor Caius, the renowned French physician.

    Eva.Got’s will, and his passion of my heart! I had as lief you would tell me of a mess of porridge.


    Eva.He has no more knowledge in Hibbocrates and Galen,—and he is a knave besides; a cowardly knave as you would desires to be acquainted withal.

    Page.I warrant you, he’s the man should fight with him.

    Slen.[Aside.]O, sweet Anne Page!

    Shal.It appears so, by his weapons. Keep them asunder: here comes Doctor Caius.

    Enter Host, CAIUS, and RUGBY.

    Page.Nay, good Master parson, keep in your weapon.

    Shal.So do you, good Master doctor.

    Host.Disarm them, and let them question: let them keep their limbs whole and hack our English.

    Caius.I pray you, let-a me speak a word vit your ear: verefore vill you not meet-a me?

    Eva.[Aside to Caius.]Pray you, use your patience: in good time.

    Caius.By gar, you are de coward, de Jack dog, John ape.

    Eva.[Aside to Caius.]Pray you, let us not be laughing-stogs to other men’s humours; I desire you in friendship, and I will one way or other make you amends:[Aloud.]I will knog your urinals about your knave’s cogscomb for missing your meetings and appointments.

    Caius.Diable!—Jack Rugby,—mine host de Jarretierre,—have I not stay for him to kill him? have I not, at de place I did appoint?

    Eva.As I am a Christians soul, now, look you, this is the place appointed: I’ll be judgment by mine host of the Garter.

    Host.Peace, I say, Gallia and Guallia; French and Welsh, soul-curer and body-curer!

    Caius.Ay, dat is very good; excellent.

    Host.Peace, I say! hear mine host of the Garter. Am I politic? am I subtle? am I a Machiavel? Shall I lose my doctor? no; he gives me the potions and the motions. Shall I lose my parson, my priest, my Sir Hugh? no; he gives me the proverbs and the no-verbs. Give me thy hand, terrestrial; so;—give me thy hand celestial; so. Boys of art, I have deceived you both; I have directed you to wrong places: your hearts are mighty, your skins are whole, and let burnt sack be the issue. Come, lay their swords to pawn. Follow me, lads of peace; follow, follow, follow.

    Shal.Trust me, a mad host!—Follow, gentlemen, follow.

    Slen.[Aside.]O, sweet Anne Page![Exeunt SHALLOW, SLENDER, PAGE, and Host.

    Caius.Ha! do I perceive dat? have you make-a de sot of us, ha, ha?

    Eva.This is well; he has made us his vlouting-stog. I desire you that we may be friends and let us knog our prains together to be revenge on this same scall, scurvy, cogging companion, the host of the Garter.

    Caius.By gar, vit all my heart. He promise to bring me vere is Anne Page: by gar, he deceive me too.

    Eva.Well, I will smite his noddles. Pray you, follow.[Exeunt.