Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
Act 2 - Scene 2
A room in the Garter Inn.
Robin : Sir, here's a woman would speak with you.
Bardolph : Sir John, there's one Master Brook below would fain
[p]speak with you,
and be acquainted with you; and hath [p]sent your worship a morning's
draught of sack.
Bardolph : Ay, sir.
Ford : Bless you, sir!
Ford : I make bold to press with so little preparation upon
Ford : Sir, I am a gentleman that have spent much; my name is Brook.
Ford : Good Sir John, I sue for yours: not to charge you;
[p]for I must let
you understand I think myself in [p]better plight for a lender than
you are: the which [p]hath something embolden'd me to this
unseasoned [p]intrusion; for they say, if money go before, all [p]ways
do lie open.
Ford : Troth, and I have a bag of money here troubles me:
[p]if you will help
to bear it, Sir John, take all, or [p]half, for easing me of the
Ford : I will tell you, sir, if you will give me the hearing.
Ford : Sir, I hear you are a scholar,--I will be brief
[p]with you,--and you
have been a man long known to me, [p]though I had never so good means,
as desire, to make [p]myself acquainted with you. I shall discover
a [p]thing to you, wherein I must very much lay open mine [p]own
imperfection: but, good Sir John, as you have [p]one eye upon my
follies, as you hear them unfolded, [p]turn another into the register
of your own; that I [p]may pass with a reproof the easier, sith
you [p]yourself know how easy it is to be such an offender.
Ford : There is a gentlewoman in this town; her husband's
[p]name is Ford.
Ford : I have long loved her, and, I protest to you,
[p]bestowed much on her;
followed her with a doting [p]observance; engrossed opportunities to
meet her; [p]fee'd every slight occasion that could but
niggardly [p]give me sight of her; not only bought many presents [p]to
give her, but have given largely to many to know [p]what she would
have given; briefly, I have pursued [p]her as love hath pursued me;
which hath been on the [p]wing of all occasions. But whatsoever I
have [p]merited, either in my mind or, in my means, meed, [p]I am
sure, I have received none; unless experience [p]be a jewel that I
have purchased at an infinite [p]rate, and that hath taught me to say
this: [p]'Love like a shadow flies when substance love
pursues; [p]Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.'
Ford : Never.
Ford : Never.
Ford : Like a fair house built on another man's ground; so
[p]that I have
lost my edifice by mistaking the place [p]where I erected it.
Ford : When I have told you that, I have told you all.
[p]Some say, that
though she appear honest to me, yet in [p]other places she enlargeth
her mirth so far that [p]there is shrewd construction made of her.
Now, Sir [p]John, here is the heart of my purpose: you are
a [p]gentleman of excellent breeding, admirable [p]discourse, of great
admittance, authentic in your [p]place and person, generally allowed
for your many [p]war-like, court-like, and learned preparations.
Ford : Believe it, for you know it. There is money; spend
[p]it, spend it;
spend more; spend all I have; only [p]give me so much of your time in
exchange of it, as [p]to lay an amiable siege to the honesty of
this [p]Ford's wife: use your art of wooing; win her to [p]consent to
you: if any man may, you may as soon as [p]any.
Ford : O, understand my drift. She dwells so securely on
[p]the excellency of
her honour, that the folly of my [p]soul dares not present itself: she
is too bright to [p]be looked against. Now, could I could come to
her [p]with any detection in my hand, my desires had [p]instance and
argument to commend themselves: I [p]could drive her then from the
ward of her purity, [p]her reputation, her marriage-vow, and a
thousand [p]other her defences, which now are too too
strongly [p]embattled against me. What say you to't, Sir John?
Ford : O good sir!
Ford : Want no money, Sir John; you shall want none.
Ford : I am blest in your acquaintance. Do you know Ford,
Ford : I would you knew Ford, sir, that you might avoid him
[p]if you saw
Ford : What a damned Epicurean rascal is this! My heart is
[p]ready to crack
with impatience. Who says this is [p]improvident jealousy? my wife
hath sent to him; the [p]hour is fixed; the match is made. Would any
man [p]have thought this? See the hell of having a false [p]woman! My
bed shall be abused, my coffers [p]ransacked, my reputation gnawn at;
and I shall not [p]only receive this villanous wrong, but stand
under [p]the adoption of abominable terms, and by him that [p]does me
this wrong. Terms! names! Amaimon sounds [p]well; Lucifer, well;
Barbason, well; yet they are [p]devils' additions, the names of
fiends: but [p]Cuckold! Wittol!--Cuckold! the devil himself
hath [p]not such a name. Page is an ass, a secure ass: he [p]will
trust his wife; he will not be jealous. I will [p]rather trust a
Fleming with my butter, Parson Hugh [p]the Welshman with my cheese, an
Irishman with my [p]aqua-vitae bottle, or a thief to walk my
ambling [p]gelding, than my wife with herself; then she plots, [p]then
she ruminates, then she devises; and what they [p]think in their
hearts they may effect, they will [p]break their hearts but they will
effect. God be [p]praised for my jealousy! Eleven o'clock the
hour. [p]I will prevent this, detect my wife, be revenged
on [p]Falstaff, and laugh at Page. I will about it; [p]better three
hours too soon than a minute too late. [p]Fie, fie, fie! cuckold!
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