– Falstaff! – Hey there!
– Sir John Falstaff! – Oh! What’s this shouting? – You have thrashed all my servants.
– Landlord! Another bottle of sherry. Then you rode my grey mare until she staggered.
You broke into my house, sir! – But not into your housemaid.
– Oh, I’m grateful! Poor old thing must be ninety. Master Colossus, if you had twenty titles, John Falstaff,
high and mighty, I’d still insist you answer me. Well, you may have my answer.
The plea of this defendant… – Is what?
– Is that he’s guilty. – Then, monsieur, I shall see you in court.
– Very unwise, sir, for you’ll be made a fool of.
Leave well alone, I advise, sir. – That will not do, sir. – To hell with you!
– And Bardolph! – Yes, good doctor. – Last night you took me drinking.
– Indeed sir! How I regret it! I’m sick. Prescribe some pills to make me better.
I have an aching stomach. A curse on landlords who lace their
sack with brimstone! – See this bright shining comet?
– I see it. – You’ll find it glows a rosier red in the evening.
– Well, I prescribe they hang you. You made me drink, you rascal, while he…
…made foolish speeches. Soon I was drunk, beyond recall,
then you burgled my breeches. – Not I.
– Then who? – Pistol!
– Master? – Could it be you who has picked the Doctor’s pockets?
– Yes, it was you! Observe him! That look will get him nowhere,
his ugly face betrays him. I know that I had two silver shillings in my pocket,
and six golden half-sovereigns. Now they’ve completely vanished. – Sir John, if I am guilty, have me beaten up and banished.
– You’re a liar! – You peasant, beware how you address me.
– Idiot! – You beggar! – Varlet! – Dog! – Pig!
– You scarecrow! – Midget! – Your odour is so poisonous!
– Who? – You! – You mean it?
– Yes! – By thunder! Hey stop! Pistol, don’t fire your guns in here. Bardolph,
who was it rifled this gentleman’s breeches? It must be one of them! He was drinking, more than he ought to.
Then when he’d lost his senses, he invents something plausible, which he had dreamt
while lying asleep, under the table. You must control yourself. The truth is now established.
Your claims are unfounded, so go and sin no more. Right, then! If in future you wish to drink with Dr Caius,
I swear you must be honest, well-mannered and pious. Amen. Spare me the counterpoint, that awful intertwining. Artists respect this axiom:
‘One steals with grace and good timing.’ – You are such clumsy craftsmen.
– A… – Sshh! Six pullets: six shillings. Thirty bottles of sherry: two pounds. Three turkeys…Count the funds in my purse. – A brace of pheasants, and an anchovy.
– A groat, a groat, a penny. – Rummage!
– I have rummaged. – Look if you don’t believe me.
– Thanks to you, I am ruined! I spend at least ten pounds a week to keep you,
you tosspot! Ambling along each evening,
from tavern to tavern, with your glowing nose so luminous,
I need no other beacon. But what that saves in candles,
you squander without blinking. It is thirty long years
since first I subsidised your drinking. You don’t earn it. You’re no better!
Landlord, another bottle! You’re devouring my substance. If Falstaff were more slender,
he’d not be me, and who would love him? My belly’s ringing, with a chorus of voices,
who praise my name in singing! – Hail, mighty Falstaff!
– All hail, great Falstaff! This is my empire,
it grows and grows. Almighty Falstaff! – But now, we must have our wits about us.
– We have them here. – Are you acquainted with a merchant
whose name is Ford? – Yes! – A man who’s made of money.
– He’s wealthier than Croesus. – Quite so. – His wife’s perfection.
– And spends his money. – Exactly! Oh, love! Sparkling her eyes, swan-like her neck, her lips like… a flower that blooms in laughter. Her name is Alice. One morning as I was passing by,
she was at her window, smiling. Desire sprang up from the depths of my heart. The goddess shot so blinding a glance
of passion at me, at me, this manly figure of fine proportion, this well-turned leg, this noble bearing, stately, imposing. And I could see from deep within her eyes how much she loved me, that they seemed to say – ‘I’m waiting for you, Falstaff ’.
– Full stop! – New chapter. – Another.
– Another? – And this one’s name is Margherita.
– They call her Meg. She’s another who’s insisting I meet her,
and she’s another wife who spends the money. These beauties shall soon become
my bankers and my Eldorado. Together we shall enjoy a spell of smiling weather,
my Indian summer. So now, convey these scorching letters. You take this one to Meg; her virtue is untried. I see your eager nose burns with excitement. – And you carry this one to Alice.
– I am an honest soldier, – I won’t be cast as Pandarus. No, never.
– Hoity-toity! Sir John, you won’t persuade me
to play the part of go-between. – I have my…
– What? – My honour. Hey, page boy!
You two, go hang yourselves, but not on me. Two letters, take them to these two ladies.
Run off like lightning. Hurry, quickly, go, go, go! Your honour?
Vermin! You are forbidden by your honour, you? You stink of pure hypocrisy, when you both know
full well, we all have human failings. We all do, yes, I do, I do. Sometimes I choose to wander,
risking the wrath of heaven, and find myself astray without my honour.
My stratagem is being equivocal, enigmatic and elusive. But you, you tattered scroungers,
with your offensive, twisted and catlike glances, and ghastly sneering laughter, can boast of honour. Honour indeed! What honour? What nonsense! Can this honour put a meal in your belly?
No. Can it mend an arm or a leg that is broken?
Not so. An ankle? No. A finger? No.
Or a whisker? No. Then honour’s not a surgeon.
What is it? It’s an expression. And what is in this expression? Just a passing impression.
Most ingenious. Does honour help him who died last Wednesday?
No. Lives it with the living?
That neither, because it’s falsely puffed up by human flattery.
It is pride that corrupts it, and calumny pollutes it. As for me, I don’t want it. No! But getting back to you, you villains,
I’ve had enough now, I’ll do without you. Get out! It’s the rope that will suit you the best.
Villains! Out you go! – Dear Alice! – Meg!
– Nannetta! I had to find you, to share a little joke. – Good day, dear neighbour.
– May good fortune be with you, my pretty rosebud. You won’t believe this.
The strangest thing has happened to me today. – And to me.
– What? – What is it? – Tell us your story. – Tell us yours.
– Tell us, tell us. – You swear not to breathe a word?
– Well, would I? – My dear, how could I? Well then, if I were tempted
to entertain proposals from the devil, I might achieve a title, as a knight’s fair lady. – Me too. – You’re joking! – Don’t waste the morning.
Come over here and I’ll tell you about it. – I’ve a letter here…
– …and me too. – Read it. ‘Heavenly Alice, let me love you…’
Good gracious! What does he mean? But for the names there is no difference. – ‘Heavenly Meg, let me love you…
– …and adore you.’ Here ‘Meg’, there ‘Alice’.
Identical phrases. ‘Don’t ask the reason why, but say you…
…love me.’ – I’ve never given him cause.
– This is a strange situation. Let’s read them calmly. – The same exactly. – Ink in the same colour.
– Writing no different. – Nor is the paper. You are merry and charming, I’ll be your
merry companion, and we will make a lovely couple.’ – Ah! – Him, her, you!
– Ménage à trois ! ‘Let us be coupled in an affair of laughter:
a lovely lady, a man… …of such virility.’ ‘Your radiant image will shed its light on me, just as the starlight, just as the starlight on infinity.’ Ha, ha, ha! ‘From your inamorata, John Falstaff,
Knight of the Garter.’ Monster! – He needs a lesson. – We’ll teach it to him.
– And find a way to catch him. – Oh, yes! Undo him!
– How exciting! – Then dispatch him! That barrel, that vandal, that mountain of batter,
by trying to flatter, he’s causing a scandal. The sweat must be dripping out, in rivulets running,
while he goes on tripping out, his verses and punning. If you plan to tease him, let’s do it together.
I’m sure we can seize him, by cunning endeavour. His cannon is loaded, the battle’s beginning,
but we shall be winning, when it has exploded. He’s a scoundrel, thief and vandal!
He’s a Turk, a cheat, a hooligan. Yesterday he caused a scandal,
when he made me look a fool again. Master Ford, respect my
warning, try to trap that man depraved. You must make your plans this morning,
as you’re only now half-saved. Be alert, alert, alert!
For your honour is at stake. Four men talk and this one listens.
Which of them shall I believe? If you wouldn’t talk together,
then perhaps I’d understand. – Again, please.
– To put it briefly, the glutton’s lust is chiefly
for dark and devious doings. He’ll penetrate your palace, and ravish Mistress Alice,
and… smash your bed into pieces! – Scandalous!
– Help me, God! And he’s written a letter. – Which I was to deliver. I refused.
– I refused. – You must beware.
– Be careful! His appetite’s voracious,
for anything curvaceous, – young girls or married ladies.
– Widows. – Virgins. Even now I can see the crown that Actaeon wore,
sprouting from your forehead What do you mean by that? – The horns.
– Terrible thought! He’ll gobble the lot, if he can. I’ll keep a watch on Alice.
I’ll look out for that Falstaff. I’ll keep my
household free from lechery and sin. – It’s her!
– It’s him! – If he discovered… – Trouble!
– He really mustn’t see us. – Ford’s very jealous? – Extremely!
– Quiet! – We must away. – Pst, pst, Nannetta. Come here.
– Sshh! Quiet! What is it? – Two kisses.
– Then hurry. – Lips that are burning… – Lips that are flowers…
– Lips that are learning Love’s magic powers. Lips that delight me, laughing and smiling,
sweetly beguiling, how they excite me! – Kisses so tender… – Mischievous fingers!
– Ah, let me linger, and then surrender. I love you!
No, you mustn’t, no! – Yes, two kisses. – Stop it!
– Ah, how I love you! – They’re coming! – Kisses may fade, but the memory lingers.
– Ever returning as the moon to heaven. – Falstaff has dared to mock me!
– And he deserves to suffer. – Maybe I’ll write an answer.
– A messenger would be better. – Yes! You go and see him, alone. I think we’ll offer him
a secret encounter with me. – That is the answer.
– Yes, very funny. – First you can flatter him, and sweetly captivate him.
– And then? – And then we will deflate him nicely.
– We’ll merrily frustrate him. That schemer! Unscrupulous blasphemer!
In one move check-mate him! We’ll have him at our mercy. He’s a glutton who’s blown up
by his inflated boasting. – We’ll chuck him in the water.
– We’ll give him quite a roasting! – How funny!
– We’ll enjoy it! Make sure the woodcock falls into the gin-trap. – Who’s coming?
– I think there’s someone watching. – Back to the jousting…
– Back to the tilting. – Attack me! – Parry!
– The target’s higher. Ah love, the agile one in battle, he has decided
the fragile one conquers the stronger. Love
is an archer, who never misses. Lips are his bow strings.
His shafts are kisses. Careful, I’m aiming my fatal caresses,
swift as an arrow, at your fair tresses. – Now I have caught you.
– Now let me kiss you. I can’t resist you,
but you’re my captive. – Forgive, forgive, I beg you for mercy, and then…
– …and then? Perhaps, back to the fighting! – Sweet are the battles, that soon are over. Stop now!
– But I love you. They’re coming! No more now. – Kisses may fade, but the memory lingers…
– Ever returning as the moon to heaven. You’ll gather from his boasting,
he’s certain no one’s smarter. – You know where I can find him? Tell me.
– You’ll find him at the Garter. You must introduce me, but with a different surname.
You’ll see him falling headlong, into the trap that’s waiting. – But you must keep it secret.
– Rely on my discretion, – or my name isn’t Bardolph…
– …or my name isn’t Pistol – We’re agreed, then.
– Your secret is safe with us. – I won’t say nothing. – You know what to do?
– Yes. – Here’s my hand. It may be that your predicament
is a problem that’s unthinkable. My advice you’ll have to follow,
if you want to know the truth. Master Ford, you are in
danger, and you face a great calamity. Fat Sir John pursues your lady,
in a manner far from right. There’s a flock of women chattering,
and there’s mystery in the air. But Nannetta, my heart is fluttering,
how my love is overflowing. We shall be like stars that shine in the heavens,
with our true love to share. As a willow bends to water,
so Sir John inclines to wine. When his paunch is full of sherry,
you’ll discover his design. – Enough of this chattering.
– Run off and prepare your part. I want him yowling
like an amorous tom-cat. – Remember! – Yes!
– We’re ready. -Till later… – Good day, Meg.
– Nannetta, good day! – Good day You’ll see how that belly, that billowing belly…
is blown up until it bursts! ‘My radiant image will shine for all to see,
just as the starlight on infinity.’ Ha, ha! We’re converted, we’ve reverted. Rascals return to vice
like cats to the larder… And we’re returning to your service. – Sir John, here at the door a certain lady is waiting,
hoping you will receive her. – Admit her. – Sir, your servant!
– Good morning, my good woman. If it should please your worship, I’d like, perhaps
in private, to give you a little message. And I will hear you.
Skedaddle! Sir, your servant! I’m sent by Mistress Ford. – Oh, yes?
– Alas! Lord, how she suffers! – You’re a mighty seducer!
– I know. Continue. Alice is suffering from a desperate passion for you. She had received your note. I’m here to thank you and to tell you her husband is always out from two till three. From two till three. And at that time of the morning, your grace may enter,
and Alice will receive you into her chamber. Lord, how she suffers! You won’t believe
she’s so unhappy! Master Ford is so jealous! From two till three.
Tell the lady I await that hour with impatience. – Where duty calls, I never fail.
– That’s perfect. – I’ve another commission to bring your worship.
– Tell me. The lovely Meg,
an angel all men adore when they see her, and she too sends me here with such loving greeting.
But since her husband’s seldom out… Lord, how she suffers,
that pure white lily of sweetness and truth! How you bewitch all women! I weave no magic spell,
but find I charm them easily, as I am. – Tell me, do they know about each other?
– Oh no! We women can conceal things, don’t you worry. – Let me now repay my debt.
– The sower of bounty shall reap true love. Take this, mercurial messenger. – Please greet my two admirers.
– With pleasure. Alice is mine! Go, old Sir Jack, go, follow your calling. This ancient battered body can still arise,
to answer the voice of love. Beautiful women everywhere desire me,
and risk their lives for me. Good body of Sir John, how well I’ve fed you, go,
I am grateful. Sir John, outside there is a certain Master Brook,
who is anxious to speak with you. He’s brought you a handsome demi-john of sherry,
in the hope that you will agree to see him. – Did you say Master Brook?
– Yes. Bring him in, such brooks are always welcome,
that overflow with sparkling liquor. Get him! Go, old Sir Jack, follow your calling. – Good sir, may God be with you!
– I hope He is with you too, sir. I hope you’ll forgive this indiscretion,
and I ask for your pardon if, somewhat unexpectedly,
I venture to approach you without further formality. You are extremely welcome. In me, you see a man who has a great abundance
of every worldly treasure. A man who is prepared to spend and squander
his money, just… just as his fancy takes him. – Master Brook at your service.
– Dear Master Brook, I greet you. – I desire to make your excellent acquaintance.
– I’d like to have a word with you in private. – Look, Pistol! – Quiet! We’ll get him,
into the ambush that we have set him! – He won’t get out of it. – Quiet!
– You two, shog off! I’m listening. Sir John, if I may be so bold,
let me quote you a proverb old as Time; To the man that has money every door opens. For
money’s like a charm, and he who has it conquers all. Money’s an excellent captain,
who’s first into battle. Well said, sir. This bag is full of money,
which frankly weighs me down. Sir John, would you agree,
to help me bear this heavy burden? With pleasure, but I’m not sure,
why I deserve to be your porter? I’ll tell you why. In Windsor there’s a lady, lovely and so enchanting.
Her name is Alice, her husband, a certain Ford. I’m listening. I love her, she does not love me.
I write to her, she won’t answer. I watch her, she ignores me,
pursue her, and she avoids me. I’ve squandered my fortune,
on her I’ve lavished treasure. I have devised with trepidation,
whatever might give pleasure. Alas, all came to nothing. I loiter on her doorstep, neglected
and empty-handed, and sing a madrigal. Ah love, ah love, that will give no respite,
until this life is over.’ Love’s like a shadow… He who flees it…
Pursues it… And who pursues it… Flees it. Ah love… – This madrigal I sing her I’ve learnt at bitter cost.
– And that’s the price for him who’s loved and lost. ‘Oh love, oh love,
that will give no respite…’ – She sent you no promise of satisfaction?
– No. – Then why do you confide in me?
– I’ll tell you why! You are a man of breeding, charming,
quick- witted and gallant. You are a fearsome fighter,
you are a man of talent. Yes, I mean it, and offer you this sack of money. Spend all of it, go and spend it and squander it, I offer you my fortune! You’ll be rich, you’ll be happy. But you must earn it. – Do all you can to conquer Alice.
– Curious request. I mean it. This cruel beauty has a reputation,
of true innocence and chastity. And as I watch her flaunt her impregnable morality,
this paragon of virtue seems to say, ‘No, do not touch me!’ But if you would seduce her,
then maybe I could hope. For one fall brings another, and then…
What do you say? Well, first of all, without a hesitation,
I will accept your money. Then, gentleman’s word of honour, here’s my hand, sir.
I shall succeed where you have failed! – You, I’m sure, will enjoy the wife of Master Ford.
– Thank you! I know I’ll be successful.
I see no need to keep this from you, in half-an-hour these arms will be around her. – Who?
– Your Alice. Only just now she sent a message, discreetly,
to tell me that her stupid blockhead of a husband – is absent from two till three.
– From from two till three! And do you know him? I hope the devil will take him to hell,
to join Menelaus, his ancestor! That idiot, you’ll see, you’ll see!
Yes, I will cuckold him neatly, neatly! If he disturbs me, a hurricane of blows
between the horns will send him reeling. That Master Ford is a donkey, you’ll see how I shall
trick him. Yes, I shall cuckold him neatly, that idiot! But it’s late. You wait for me here.
I must prepare my person. I’m dreaming! Or is this true? Two ghastly horns are bursting out of my forehead.
I’m dreaming! Master Ford! Sleeping?
Rouse yourself, quick, get going! Your wife’s unfaithful, destruction stalks your
household, and your honour, even your bedroom. The hour is decided; she means to betray you.
You are mocked and derided! My friends will tell me,
that a husband who’s jealous is a madman. Behind my back, slander and scandal follow,
dogging my footsteps, murmuring and sneering. Who would be married? What madness! Woman, I curse you! Trust in your wife and you’ll soon be proved an idiot. Would I entrust my beer to a German? Open my larder to a Belgian glutton? Unlock my cellar to an Irish drunkard? No! My wife can’t be trusted. A filthy scandal!
And it’s here in my heart that word re-echoes: a cuckold! Donkey, old goat, how could she do it!
Ah, a cuckold! But you will not escape, no!
Lecher, glutton, be damned, you hulk of mutton! First let them couple.
I’ll catch them at it, I’m choking! I will avenge this outrage! I swear with all my heart,
I’m thankful evermore that I am jealous. How do I look? I’m ready. – So, shall we go together?
– I’ll show you where to find her. – After you. – After you.
– No, no, you’re a guest in my house. – I’ll follow. – You go.
– It’s late though, my rendezvous is urgent. – Of course, I understand.
– You first! – Please! All right. We’ll go together. I think we should propose a bill, down at the
House of Commons, for a tax on fat men. – Hello there!
– You’re back! – Success? – It will be easy!
– Brava! – We’ll teach him how to cut a caper.
– Splendid! – He fell headlong into our booby trap.
– Tell us what happened, tell us. I hurry down the river to the Garter, and I ask to be shown into the room
of our Cavalier, on confidential business. Sir John himself graciously deigns to see me.
He welcomes me in a pompous condescending fashion: ‘Good morning, my good woman.’
‘Sir, your servant!’ And then I curtseyed, giving my obsequious greeting,
then gave the tempting invitation. The bait was swallowed, you should have seen him,
bursting with anticipation. It’s really very simple; he’s utterly persuaded that you are
both besotted, with his enormous assets. – And soon you’ll have him falling at your feet.
– When? – This morning, here, from two till three.
– From two till three. – It’s that already! Come here! Ned! Will! I’ve planned it out already.
Bring in that basket full of dirty linen. We’ll catch him good and proper. Nannetta, why aren’t you laughing? What’s wrong? You’re weeping.
What’s wrong? Come, tell your mother. – My father…
– Well, what? My father tells me I have to marry Dr Caius. – That pompous pedant?
– Oh, no! – Not that bonehead! – He’s so boring!
– And much too old for me! – No, no! – I’d rather die of suffocation…
– …under a mountain of smelly old turnip heads! – That’s settled! – Brava!
– Don’t you worry. – Thank heavens. To Dr Caius, I shall answer ‘No!’ Put it down there. Then when you hear me call you,
collect the basket and empty it in the river. – Yes!
– Quiet. That’s all now. Windsor will be flooded! Set the scene for the seduction. Put the chair there. Use my lute. The screen looks better open. That’s perfect, like that! A little wider. The comedy is only just beginning! Witty young women of Windsor, the time has come!
Time to raise the roof with torrents of laughter. Laughter that bubbles and crackles and dances; that blazes so brightly with darts and with lances. Witty young women, you sisters in laughter, banish grimaces, brighten your faces. Get to your places, the moment has come, the
fireworks are starting, the fun has begun! – Now Meg, you must do it all, just as we planned it.
– I hope you’ll be safe, with your great paramour! – I’ll be on the look-out.
– Come quick if I whistle. I’ll wait on the stairs,
keeping watch by the door. It’s time we showed these men that honest women gently provoke them only for honest reasons. But the woman who won’t join in the joking,
she is the wife who’s cheating. Witty young women of Windsor…
We’ll raise all the rafters with torrents of laughter. – Off you go! He’s here! – You’re sure?
– Just at the corner. – Hurry! – He’s about to come up.
– You, in there. Meg, in there. Get ready! At last I’ve caught you, my heavenly jewel,
I’ve caught you! Were I to die now, I’d be happy. I need to live no longer,
after this single hour of ecstasy. – Oh, my dearest Sir John!
– My lovely Alice! I am lacking in elegance.
I cannot flatter with flowery phrases, – but there’s one wicked thought which
I’ll confess to you. – Which is? Which is…
I wish that Master Ford was on his way to heaven. – But why?
– But why? You know why. So you might be my Lady,
and Falstaff be your Lord. – Pitiful Lady indeed!
– Fit for a king! I see you now, emblazoned with my coat of arms, decked out with pearls and rubies,
to enhance your snow-white breasts. The fire that flashes in your eyes
is brighter to me than diamonds. Those little feet so delicate,
peeping from velvet slippers. You’d shine for me more dazzlingly
than any shooting star. I know that precious jewels don’t suit me,
and gold’s a power that I abhor. I’ll wear this veil so resolutely, perhaps a flower,
I ask no more. – Enchantress!
– You are too bold! We are alone,
and no one can disturb us. – And so?
– I love you! – Adultery is sinful!
– To be in love is not a sin, you know it. – Sir John!
– And I am not afraid to show it. – I love you! And at last I’ve found you.
– If I could only get my arms around you. When I was page to the Duke of York, I was so tender.
I was a vision, a mirage, a spirit so slender. Those were the days of merriment and splendour,
those were the days I happily remember I was so quick and so supple and nimble,
that I could have hidden myself in a thimble. When I was young I was tender, so tender,
I was a vision, a mirage, a spirit so slender. You’re making fun of me! I fear I cannot trust you. – You love another.
– Who? – Meg. Not Meg! I cannot bear the sight of her. Don’t deceive me, Sir John. It seems I’ve waited all these years
to hold you. – I love you!
– Please let me go! – Angel! – Oh, Mistress Alice!
– Who is that? – Oh, Mistress Alice!
– I’m here! – Mistress Alice, it’s Mistress Meg, she wants to see you.
Huffing, puffing, in a panic… – Talk of the devil!
– She’s coming up. I did my best to stop her. – Where can I hide?
– Quick, behind that screen. Oh, Alice! You are shamed,
overthrown, undone for ever. – You dare not lose a moment, quickly!
– O God in heaven! What’s happened? Your husband’s on his way.
He’s ranting and raving, saying… – Speak a bit louder.
– He’ll hunt him down and kill him! – Stop laughing! And he is possessed by furious, burning indignation,
cursing loudly all the daughters of Eve! Oh, God in heaven! He says you’re entertaining a lover.
He knows you have a man in your room! Oh, Mistress Alice! Your husband’s here!
Go, save yourself! He’s raging like a tempest! Billowing, screaming, bellowing!
He’s gone out of his mind. – You mean it or you’re joking?
– I mean it. and he trampled the hydrangea. Behind him there’s a great crowd of people.
You are in danger. – Indeed, I think I hear his arrival.
– Bloody villain! The devil’s on the war-path,
I fear for my survival. Lock all of the doorways and bolt all the windows.
Come, follow me quickly and track down the vermin! – Run after the fox and destroy him!
Search all of the passages! – We’ll catch him! Don’t let him escape!
Put a man at the doorway. – My dear, are you crazy? What’s wrong?
– Who’s hiding in the basket? It’s the laundry. You harlot, you trollop! You, take all my keys.
Go and empty the cupboards. You have deceived me! To hell with the laundry!
Lock all of the gates in the garden! Suspenders… and stockings…
Just you wait till I catch you! Dirty napkins, out! Out! Dirty nightshirts… I’ll get him! The bedclothes…
Disgusting old nightcaps…not here! What a whirlwind! Let’s search in the kitchen, the cellar, the attic,
the parlour, the chimneys, the bedroom! – He’s delirious! – Now’s our chance.
– How is he going to escape? – In the basket.
– No! I think he would break it. He’s much too heavy. Let’s see, – yes, that’s it, that’s it!
– I’ll run and fetch the servants. – Sir John! What’s this? You?
– Darling! You and you only! Rescue me! – Hurry!
– Help him! – Ow! Ow! I’m in. Now cover me.
– Hurry! Fill up the basket. – Come here! – A riot!
– Mad as a hatter! – This way, but quiet. – Madmen don’t matter.
– Passion around us, passion above. – They’re mad with fury…
– …and we with love. – This way, but slowly.
– They’ll never find us. – We’re safe in our harbour!
– Our lovers’ harbour. – Stay quiet, I’ve told you.
– Come, let me hold you. Here we may hide as my arms enfold you. – Where’s that vandal?
– I’ll kill him. Yes? – Have you found him? – No.
– Well? – Not yet, no. – Search through the house, top to bottom.
– There’s no one up here. I’ll swear that he’s hiding
right under our noses. I know it! Sir John, I’ll be happy to have the last laugh,
when you hang from the gallows. – Come out, you seducer, or I’ll tear up the floorboards!
– Surrender! – Come out, you fat coward, we’re waiting.
– Can’t find him! – Well, carry on looking!
– You’ve had it! Not here! Bloody drunkard! Fat pig! We are near!
You scoundrel! You bastard! You scoundrel! You dog! There! – When I catch you… – I’ll unseat you.
– When I snatch you… – How I’ll beat you – You’ll regret it. – I will whip you like a dog.
– I’ll smash your face in. – Say your prayers. – I’ll make you sorry!
– Though we are pretending to sort out the linen, we’ll keep a sharp eye
on the man we’re
defending. Among the confusion, we’ll keep him protected,
but if we’re suspected, keep calm and collected. If Ford can discover the truth of the game,
we’ll laugh at his madness and put him to shame. Until we are sure that the game has been won,
the greater the danger, the greater the fun. – I can’t find him. – He has vanished.
– Sshh! Come closer. I have found him!
He’s in there with Mistress Alice. – Dirty, godforsaken drunkard!
– Silence! Save that for later. – I’m gasping! – Get back there!
– You’re risking your neck if you surface. Can’t you hear their lustful kisses? We can catch the greedy glutton,
while he’s gobbling up your Missus! When you are smiling at me so sweetly,
you are completely divine, beguiling. I fell in love with you at first sight,
and in your smile both our hearts unite. While all the others battle around us,
we can be kissing while they surround us. Here with our love, we’re deaf to confusion.
In our seclusion we’ll fly to heaven above. You approach them from the far side,
while we three can hold the nearer. And you others go behind them,
so they’re finished when we find them. – What a wonderful tactician!
– We are ready in position. – I’m roasting! I’m melting!
– Stay under! – He is gasping for someone to fan him.
– I’m sweating so much that I fear I will drown. – If you don’t keep quiet, I’ll gag you!
– Down! When he falls he won’t escape us,
we have caught the infidel. When he runs into the devil,
he’ll be on his way to hell. – Softly we’ll murmur our love.
– Tell me you love me. – So much I love you, love you. – This is the moment. Quiet, get ready.
– This stinking laundry! I’m dying! Please take me away! – Give the word! – Help!
– One… two… three! – It’s not him! – Ah!
– We have been cheated! How often must I tell you? Get out to save your life!
She’ll never be your wife! – He’s there, stop him! – Where?
– There on the staircase. – Get hold of him! – We’ll catch him!
– You’ll catch him in Hades! Ned! Will! Tom! Alexander!
Come, quickly, quickly! Take the basket and tip it out of the window,
and into the river. – There, by that group of women down on the bank,
who are washing out their linen. – Yes! We have a lot of washing. Run down and call my husband.
Then we can prove that we were only joking. So when he sees poor Falstaff cold and soaking,
he’ll know he has no reason to be jealous. – Heave-ho! – Together.
– The bottom’s going to crack! – Heave!
– He’s going! Ha, ha! What a crash! Hey! Landlord! Treacherous world! Evil world!
Dreadful world! Landlord, bring me a pint of mulled wine. Appalling that, after years of adventure,
a knight so bold, and so distinguished, should find himself trussed up inside a basket, to be swathed in foul linen while silly women titter,
and flung into the river like some mongrel’s litter. Without this mighty belly, which floated to the surface,
I would have perished. Brutal ending,
bloated to bursting. Evil world, where is virtue now? Your world is crumbling. Go, go, old Jack, go. You must continue,
keep stumbling towards your tombstone. With you, the last great flower
of true English chivalry will vanish. Oh, what a day of blackness. Oh, help me, God! I’m far too fat.
I am growing old. I’ll mix a pint of wine with this barrel of river water. Better, to drink good wine, and take one’s ease
in the sunshine. Sweet employment! or good wine dispels all the gloomy vapours of
our depression, brightens the eye, sharpens the wit. From the mouth, it flies to the brain,
and there wakes a little demon cricket who is trilling. Its first vibration brings us exhilaration. Trilling with heart and soul
the air about us thrills with expectation. Then with mad elation, the trill travels through
every nation till music fills the world! – Sir, your servant! Good Mistress Ford…
– To hell with you and with Mistress Ford! I was thrown into the ford!
My belly’s full of ford! – You are mistaken.
– A plague on you! I can still hear the ranting,
of that mad, jealous husband. My body’s black and blue and aching,
from being twisted and pushed and pummelled about,
squashed up double under that dirty, stinking laundry. Think of that! Think of that! A man of my proportion,
reducing just like butter in the heat of such contortion. Then, when I was nicely sweating, and toasting and almost roasting, I was dumped in the river. Those bitches! – Ah, do not blame her. You are mistaken.
– Off with you! You ought to blame those stupid, hamfisted servants!
Alice is weeping, wailing, prays to the virgin. Lord, how she suffers! She loves you.
This letter… – He’s reading.
– He’ll take another tumble. – Men never learn their lessons!
– Conceal yourself! – Still reading.
– Still reading. We’ve caught him. ‘I shall wait for you at midnight in Windsor Great Park. You must come disguised as the Black Huntsman…
to Herne’s oak tree.’ How love loves the mysterious! Alice has made a plan
for your meeting, using a tale that old wives tell. At that oak, the witches hold their Sabbaths. There
the Hunter hanged himself, upon its ancient branches. – There are those who believe that he haunts it still.
– Come with me. Inside we can talk more freely. Tell me the whole story. – Just as the chimes of midnight are resounding,
– (We’ve got him!) echoing through the dark and silent gloom,
up come the spirits from their graves and wander… then, through the park,
comes the ghost of Herne himself. He glides along so slowly, slowly, slowly, with the lethargic step of one who’s sleeping. – His face is colourless…
– Oh, I’ll be frightened! I am already shivering with fear. It’s only a fairy tale, that nannies tell children at bedtime,
to settle them, and to send them to sleep. Beware, for our vengeance will make grown men weep! and as he approaches the tree,
on which he breathed his final farewell, fairies surround him, and upon his forehead,
the antlers rising, rising. Splendid! How the sight of those antlers
will delight me. – Careful! You should apologise. I let you off too lightly.
– Forgive me, I have suffered for my jealousy. Beware, lest you’re discovered,
searching in manic fury, every nook, every cranny of the house,
for an imaginary lover. The sun is setting. It’s time to get things ready. – What’s the plan?
– We should decide on our disguises. – Nannetta.
– What shall I wear? You will appear, as the Queen of all the Fairies, white as
a lily, with a veil, and a gown circled with roses. And I shall sing a song sweetly harmonious. You’ll be dressed all in green, as nymph of the forest.
And what shall we make Quickly? Give her a broomstick. That will do nicely! You bring the Windsor children. Dress them up as
elves and pixies, imps and devils and hobgoblins. – And when they see the ghost of Herne the Hunter,
they’ll jump on him and mock him. – Mock him. They’ll tease him and torment him, until he has confessed, and agreed to mend his ways. Then we’ll reveal ourselves to him, and when the dawn is breaking, our happy band hurries off home to bed. – It’s twilight, we should go.
– Remember, meet by the oak tree at midnight. – We’ll be there.
– Oh yes, we’ll be there. What a scary adventure! Till midnight. Don’t you forget the lanterns. Caius, my friend, soon you shall have my daughter.
Do you remember what she will be disguised as? Queen of the Fairies, with a garland made of roses. – Don’t you forget the costumes.
– Of course not, don’t you forget the rattles. I have already devised my triumph. When the fooling is over, you come to me.
But keep your faces covered, she with the veil, you hooded like a friar.
And I will bless you both as bride and bridegroom. – We’ll be married!
– (That’s what you think. ) – Nannetta, hey!
– What now? – The fairy song, do you know it already?
– Of course I know it. – Do not be late.
– Whoever’s first must wait. From lover’s lips a happy song is flying,
through the still of the night it glides to heaven. And from another’s lips the song re-echoes, responding with the same ecstatic sighing. And then the song which is alone no longer,
vibrates with joy in secret celebration, it fills the scented air with sweetest passion,
returning faithful to its first inspiration. So it begins once more, but its sole purpose
is to ever unite all that’s discordant. Thus have I kissed the lips of my beloved. Kisses may fade, but the memory lingers. – Ever returning as the moon to heaven.
– The song soon dies on lips that are united. Master Fenton, put on this friar’s habit. – What’s going on?
– Do as she tells you. – The hood, too. He looks exactly like a truant Trappist. Now that we know the betrayal which Ford has planned,
we’ll turn it around to our advantage. – Explain yourself.
– Trappists don’t ask questions, be silent. When opportunity comes knocking, take it.
Who will pretend to be Nannetta? A rogue with a purple nose
who despises Dr Caius. – I have hidden the goblins in the hedgerows.
We’re ready. – Listen! – Those are fat man’s footsteps.
– Vanish! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven chimes;
eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve; it is midnight. This is the oak tree. Help me, O you ancient Gods. Jupiter! You, who transformed yourself into a bull,
for love of fair Europa, you wore the horns too. I’m happy to follow your example. For love transforms a man,
into a rampant beast of passion. I hear a nimble footstep… Alice! Your lover’s calling! – Come then, love has no fear.
– Sir John! – You are my dearest! – You are my deer.
– What sparkling wit, my buck! – Come then, trembling and fervent…
– Sir John! I am your servant!
I am the dish served up before you, with a garnish of truffles, radishes and borage.
For they shall be my fodder, and love my forage. – We’re alone here.
– No. There in the woods behind me, I can see Meg. A double assignation!
Bring her as well! Divide
me up, just like a haunch of venison. Dismember me!
At last the God of Love rewards me! I love you! – Oh, help me! Here come the goblins!
– What screaming, alas! – Escape them! – Save me!
– Oh God, have mercy! The devil surely will not come to claim me! Wood-nymphs, elfins, naiads, leprechauns and sirens!
See how the star of sorcery is now ascending. – Awaken, shadowy creatures!
– Here come the fairies, it is death to see them. – Follow me.
– He is there. – On the ground.
– He is rigid with fear. – He’s not looking.
– Don’t you laugh. – I am ready to sing. Gather round.
– In a ring. Upon a breath of night, come spirits gently gliding.
How the moon, with light, summons you out of hiding. With dancing, your nimble footsteps will echo the song,
and with our elfin magic, we’ll mark our fairy ring. The woods are sleeping, and full of strange enchantment. The shade is is deep as any sea. Your queen bids you attend her. Gather your flowers
by moonlight, perfume they will surrender. Bring lilies, roses and violets, and weave them into garlands. Writing a secret message, in words unknown to mortals, read their concealed
inscriptions. Written in words of gold. We glide with silent footsteps, footsteps of elfin folk,
follow the Queen of Fairies, to Herne the Hunter’s oak. – Written in words of gold.
– follow the Queen of Fairies, to Herne the Hunter’s oak. – Who goes there?
– Who would dare? – Have pity!
– A man! – He’s antlered like a reindeer!
– He’s paunchy as a pumpkin! – Gigantic as a galleon!
– Up you get! Come on! – You’ll need a block and tackle! I cannot.
– He’s much too heavy. – He’s corrupted! – And perverted!
– I’ll exorcise the devil! Here you are in great danger,
for Dr Caius is after you. – We’ll find a place to hide in.
– You must return here quickly when I call you. Apparitions! Hobgoblins! Vampires!
Poisonous bats, infernal spirits, come hither. Sting him and swear at him! Tweak him and tear at him, with your sharp nippers! Oh God! You stink!
You stink like an elephant! Rattle him! Pinch him and burn him, and turn him about, until
candles and starlight and moonlight be blotted out. We’ll poke him and prickle
him, provoke him and batter him, explode him and shatter him,
attack him and tickle him. We’ll jump up and land on him.
We’ll dance on his belly, and then we’ll abandon him,
when he’s turned to jelly. With spiders and bats,
to bombard him and fling him mosquitoes and gnats,
to attack him and sting him. Pinch him and burn him, and turn him about, until candles and starlight and moonlight be blotted out. Thump him and thrash him,
and tear with your claws at him. Bump him and bash him,
and bite with your jaws at him. – Attack him! Rattle him!
– Ow! Ow! – Buffoon! – Baboon!
– Poltroon! – Now, meet your doom! – Monstrous offender! – Wicked pretender!
– Mountainous bubble! – Maker of trouble!
– Sedulous drinker! – Gluttonous winker! – Stealer of chattels!
– Causer of battles! – Are you repentant?
– Ow! Ow! I’m repentant! – Wicked pretender! – Are you repentant?
– Ow! Ow! I’m repentant! – Poltroon!
– Balloon! – Buffoon! – Lord, never save his soul from sin!
– Lord, never liberate him! – Prickle him! – But Lord, preserve my abdomen!
– Stickle him! – Lord, never liberate him! – Lord, truly castigate him! – Gluttonous winker!
– But Lord, preserve my abdomen. – Mountainous lump of fat, your answer!
– You are right! – Monstrous seducing rat, your answer!
– You are right! – Lustful deceiving cat, your answer!
– Yes, so be it! – King of the gobblers! King of the squabblers!
– Away! You stinker! – Dirty old deadbeat! We’ll make you mincemeat!
– Yes, so be it! – Now all you furies, consign him to hell fire!
– Fire and brimstone! That’s no devil, it’s Bardolph! Nose incandescent! Nozzle rubescent! Phosphorous handle! Blistering candle! Salamander! Ignis fatuus! Snout of damnation! Proboscis of carnation!
Fire of St Elmo! Scarlet volcano! Rubiginous snorter! Crimson poker!
Blood sucker! I’ve spoken, and if I wrong him, may every bone
in this great frame be broken! – Bravo! – Enough! I’m exhausted. Let me rest.
– Bardolph, I will disguise you with a veil. And now, while you recover from your nightmare,
Sir John, tell me, which of us wears the horns? – We’re waiting for your answer.
– Dear Master Brook, I greet you. Sir John, you are mistaken.
This is Ford. He’s my husband. – Sir, your servant!
– Could you think that two ladies were so foolish, and so deluded, to fall, body and soul,
into the hands of the devil, – for one who’s balding, drunk and rather shabby?
– Well said, ladies. It begins to occur to me,
I’ve behaved like a donkey. A donkey…
…with antlers. Ha, ha! So the commonest rabble have collected,
to mock me, and they enjoy it. But, thanks to me, I think you will observe,
that life can be a lot more fun than you expected. It’s I, it’s I, it’s I who make the running. My wit inspires you,
I am the source of your cunning. – Well said, sir! – And if I had not
been laughing, I’d have struck you down! Enough, though, now lend your ears to my proposal. I shall conclude our masquerade this evening,
with the betrothal of the Queen of all the Fairies. Now the bride is approaching with her bridegroom.
How charming! Look at her! A crown of roses surrounds the veil,
which hides her radiant beauty. Ready beside her bridegroom, he whom I have chosen.
Gather round them, you fairies. Another couple have asked if they may join us. They
wish to be married, hoping you’ll bless their betrothal. With pleasure, we’ll have a double wedding. Bring over all the lanterns. May heaven bless you! Now take off your disguises. Apotheosis! – Ha, ha! – Disaster!
– You’ve deceived me! – Apotheosis! – Fenton with my daughter!
– I am married to Bardolph! Disaster! Ha, ha! A triumph! Stupendous! A man may fall into the trap
he’s set just for his own wicked purpose. Dearest, good Master Ford, my turn to ask you,
who’s the foolish one now? – Him. – You.
– No. – Yes. – Them. – Us. – Both together.
– No! All three of you. – Look on these children and pity their confusion.
– Dearest father, forgive us. A man who receives his just deserts,
must accept them with good grace. – Dear children, I embrace you, and I give you
my blessing. – All God bless you! One final song, if we are able…
Then with John Falstaff, we’ll rejoice at table. Life is a burst of laughter,
so, be happy hereafter. Your mind is a tempest whirling,
always this way and that. Life is a burst of laughter,
so, be happy hereafter. Everyone mocks you, whether you’re thin, or whether you’re fat.
But it is best for him who has the last laugh of all! Life is a burst of laughter,
so, be happy hereafter. Everyone mocks you, ha! Whether you’re thin, or whether you’re fat.
But it is best for him who has the last laugh of all! Everyone mocks you! Ah, ah!