The Merry Wives of Windsor Act IV
by William Shakespeare

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Act IV, Scene 1

ACT IV.

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SCENE I. The street.

[Enter MISTRESS PAGE, MISTRESS QUICKLY, and WILLIAM.]

MRS. PAGE.
Is he at Master Ford's already, think'st thou?

QUICKLY.
Sure he is by this; or will be presently; but truly he is very
courageous mad about his throwing into the water. Mistress Ford
desires you to come suddenly.

MRS. PAGE.
I'll be with her by and by; I'll but bring my young man here to
school. Look where his master comes; 'tis a playing day, I see.

[Enter SIR HUGH EVANS.]

How now, Sir Hugh, no school to-day?

EVANS.
No; Master Slender is let the boys leave to play.

QUICKLY.
Blessing of his heart!

MRS. PAGE.
Sir Hugh, my husband says my son profits nothing in the world at
his book; I pray you ask him some questions in his accidence.

EVANS.
Come hither, William; hold up your head; come.

MRS. PAGE.
Come on, sirrah; hold up your head; answer your master; be not afraid.

EVANS.
William, how many numbers is in nouns?

WILLIAM.
Two.

QUICKLY.
Truly, I thought there had been one number more, because they say
'Od's nouns.'

EVANS.
Peace your tattlings! What is 'fair,' William?

WILLIAM.
Pulcher.

QUICKLY.
Polecats! There are fairer things than polecats, sure.

EVANS.
You are a very simplicity 'oman; I pray you, peace. What is
'lapis,' William?

WILLIAM.
A stone.

EVANS.
And what is 'a stone,' William?

WILLIAM.
A pebble.

EVANS.
No, it is 'lapis'; I pray you remember in your prain.

WILLIAM.
Lapis.

EVANS.
That is a good William. What is he, William, that does lend articles?

WILLIAM.
Articles are borrowed of the pronoun, and be thus declined:
Singulariter, nominativo; hic, haec, hoc.

EVANS.
Nominativo, hig, hag, hog; pray you, mark: genitivo, hujus. Well,
what is your accusative case?

WILLIAM.
Accusativo, hinc.

EVANS.
I pray you, have your remembrance, child. Accusativo, hung, hang, hog.

QUICKLY.
'Hang-hog' is Latin for bacon, I warrant you.

EVANS.
Leave your prabbles, 'oman. What is the focative case, William?

WILLIAM.
O vocativo, O.

EVANS.
Remember, William: focative is caret.

QUICKLY.
And that's a good root.

EVANS.
'Oman, forbear.

MRS. PAGE.
Peace.

EVANS.
What is your genitive case plural, William?

WILLIAM.
Genitive case?

EVANS.
Ay.

WILLIAM.
Genitive: horum, harum, horum.

QUICKLY.
Vengeance of Jenny's case; fie on her! Never name her, child, if
she be a whore.

EVANS.
For shame, 'oman.

QUICKLY.
You do ill to teach the child such words. He teaches him to hick
and to hack, which they'll do fast enough of themselves; and to
call 'horum;' fie upon you!

EVANS.
'Oman, art thou lunatics? Hast thou no understandings for thy cases,
and the numbers of the genders? Thou art as foolish Christian
creatures as I would desires.

MRS. PAGE.
Prithee, hold thy peace.

EVANS.
Show me now, William, some declensions of your pronouns.

WILLIAM.
Forsooth, I have forgot.

EVANS.
It is qui, quae, quod; if you forget your 'quis', your 'quaes',
and your 'quods', you must be preeches. Go your ways and play; go.

MRS. PAGE.
He is a better scholar than I thought he was.

EVANS.
He is a good sprag memory. Farewell, Mistress Page.

MRS. PAGE.
Adieu, good Sir Hugh.

[Exit SIR HUGH.]

Get you home, boy. Come, we stay too long.

[Exeunt.]

Act IV, Scene 2

SCENE 2. A room in FORD'S house.

[Enter FALSTAFF and MISTRESS FORD.]

FALSTAFF.
Mistress Ford, your sorrow hath eaten up my sufferance. I see you
are obsequious in your love, and I profess requital to a hair's
breadth; not only, Mistress Ford, in the simple office of love,
but in all the accoutrement, complement, and ceremony of it. But
are you sure of your husband now?

MRS. FORD.
He's a-birding, sweet Sir John.

MRS. PAGE.
[Within.] What ho! gossip Ford, what ho!

MRS. FORD.
Step into the chamber, Sir John.

[Exit FALSTAFF.]

[Enter MISTRESS PAGE.]

MRS. PAGE.
How now, sweetheart! who's at home besides yourself?

MRS. FORD.
Why, none but mine own people.

MRS. PAGE.
Indeed!

MRS. FORD.
No, certainly.--[Aside to her.] Speak louder.

MRS. PAGE.
Truly, I am so glad you have nobody here.

MRS. FORD.
Why?

MRS. PAGE.
Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes again. He so takes
on yonder with my husband; so rails against all married mankind;
so curses all Eve's daughters, of what complexion soever; and so
buffets himself...

(The entire section is 4,713 words.)