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Fal. Sir, I know not how I may deserve to be your portera
Ford. I will tell you, Sir, if you will give me the hearing
Fal. Speak, good master Brook, I shall be glad to be your
fervant. Ford. Sir, I hear, you are a scholar; (I will be brief with you) and you have been a man long known to me, tho I had never so good means, as desire, to make myself acquainted with you: I shall discover a thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine own imperfections; but, good Sir John, have one eye upon my follies, as you
hear them unfolded, turn another into the register of your own, that I may pass with a reproof the easier; fith you yourself know, how easy it is to be such an offender.
Fal. Very well: Sir, proceed.
Ford. There is a gentlewoman in this town, her husband's name is Ford.
Fal. Well, Sir,
Ford. I have long lov'd her; and, I protest to you, bestow'd much on her ; follow'd her with a doating observance; ingrofs'd opportunities to meet her; feed every flight occasion, that could but niggardly give me fight of her; not only bought many presents to give her, but have given largely to many, to know what she would have given: briefly, I have pursued her, as love hath pursu'd me, which hath been on the wing of all occasions. But whatfoevever I have merited, either in my mind, or in my means; meed, I am sure, I have received none; unless experience be a jewel; That I have purchas'd at an infinite rate, and That hath taught me to say this;
Love like a shadow flies, when substance love pursues ;
Fal. Have you receiv'd no promise of satisfaction at her hands ?
Ford. Like a fair house, built on another man's ground ; so that I have lost my edifice, by mistaking the place where I erected it.
Fal. To what purpose have you unfolded this to
Ford. When I have told you that. I have told you all. Some say, that tho she appear honeft to me, yet in other places she enlargeth her mirth so far, that there is shrewd construction made of her. Now, Sir John, here is the heart of my purpose : You are a gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable discourse, of great admittance, authentic in your place : and person, generally allow'd for your many warlike, court-like, and learned preparations.
Fal. O Sir!
Ford. Believe it, for you know it; there is money, spend it, spend it; spend more, spend all I have, only give me so much of your time in exchange of it, as to lay an amiable fiege to the honesty of this Ford's wife ; use your art of wooing, win her to consent to you;
if any man may, you may, as soon as any. Fal. Would it apply well to the vehemence of your affection, that I should win what you would enjoy ? methinks, you prescribe to yourself very preposterously.
Ford. O, understand my drift ; fhe dwells fo fecurely on the excellency of her honour, that the folly of my soul dares not present itself ; she is too bright to be look'd against. Now, could I come to her with any detection in my hand, my desires had instance and argument to commend themselves ; I could drive her then from the ward of her purity,
her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a thousand other her defences, which now are too too strongly embattel'd against me. What say you to't, Sir John ? Fal. Master Brook, I will first make bold with
your money; next, give me your hand; and last, as I am a gentleman, you shall, if you will, enjoy Ford's wife.
Ford. O good Sir!
Fal. Want no mistress Ford, master Brook,
sball want none ;
I shall be with her, I may tell her own appointment. Even as you came in to me, her assistant, or go-between, parted from me; I say, I shall be with her between ten and eleven ; for at that time the jealous rascally knave, her hulband, * will be forth ; come you to me at night, you
shall know how I speed.
Ford. I'am bleft in your acquaintance : do you know Ford, Sir ?
Fal. Hang him, poor cuckoldly knave, I know him not: yet I wrong him, to call himn poor; they say, the jealous wittolly knave hath masses of money,
for the which his wife seems to be well-favour'd. I will use her as the key of the cuckoldly-rogue's coifer ; and there's my harveft-home.
Ford. I would you knew Ford, Sir, that you might avoid him, if you saw him.
Fal. Hang him, mechanical falt-butter rogue ; I will ftare him out of his wits ; I will awe him with my cudgel; it shall hang like a meteor o'er the Cuckold's horns. Master Brook, thou shalt know, I will predominate over the peasant ; and thou shalt lie with his wife : Come to me soon at night ; Ford's a knave, and I will aggravate his stile : thou, master Brook, shalt know him for knave and cuckold : come to me foon at night.
S CE N E X.
THAT a damn`d Epicurean rascal is this ! my
heart is ready to crack with impatience. Who says, this is improvident jealousy? my wife hath sent to him, the hour is fixt, the match is made; would any man have thought this ? see the hell of having a false woman! my bed shall be abusod, my
coffers ransack'd, my reputation gnawn at ; and I shall not only receive this villainous wrong, but stand under the adoption of abominable terms, and by him that does me the wrong.
Terms, names ; Amaimon founds well; Lucifer, well ; Barbason, well ; yet they are devils' additions, the names of fiends : but cuckold, wittol, cuckold! the devil himself hath not such a name. Page is an ass, a secure ass, he will trust his wife; he will not be jealous : I will rather trust a Fleming with my butter, parson Hugh the Welchman with my cheese, an Irishman with my Aquavitre bottle, or a thicf to walk my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself : then she plots, then she ruminates, then she devises : and what they think in their hearts they may effect, they will break their hearts but they will effect. Heav'n be prais'd for my jealousy! Eleven o'clock the hour ; I will
prevent this, detect my wife, be reveng'd on Falstaff, and laugh at Page : I will about it : better three hours too soon, than a minute too late. Fie, fie, fie; cucka old, cuckold, cuckold !
S CE N E XI.
Changes to Windsor Park.
Enter Caius and Rugby.
Rug. 'Tis past the hour, Sir, that Sir Hugh promis'd to meet.
Caius. By gar, he has fave his soul, dat he is no come; he has pray his pible well, dat he is no come : by gar, Jack Rugby, he is dead already, if he be come.
Rug. He is wise, Sir; he knew, your worship would kill him, if he came.
Caius. By gar, de herring is not so dead as me vill make him. Take your rapier, Jack ; I vill tell you how I vill kill him.
Rug. Alas, Sir, I cannot fence.
Enter Hoft, Shallow, Slender and Page,
Caius. Vat be all you, one, two, tree, four, come for ?
Hoft. To see thee fight, to see thee foigne, to see thee traverse, to see thee here, to see thee there, to see thee pass thy punđo, thy stock, thy reverse, thy distance, thy montant.
Is he dead, my Ethiopian? Is he dead, my Francoyes ? ha, bully? what says my Æsculapius ? my Galen? my heart of elder ? ha ? is he dead, bully-ftale ? is he dead ?
Caius. By gar, he is de coward Jack-Priest of de vorld; he is not show his face.
Hoft. Thou art a Castalion-king-Urinal : Hector of Greece, my boy.
Caius. I pray you bear witness, that me have stay six or seven, two, tree hours for him, and he is no
Shal. He is the wifer man, Mr. Doctor ; he is a curer of souls, and you a curer of bodies if