Merry Wives of Windsor in a nutshell

A welshman, preacher, merry met
A frenchman, hot of temper, yet
A while they stood, and wagged a jaw,
Ere stag betwixt the trees they saw.

A beauty fair, and lover poor,
Adorned her hair with faun and flor
And caught thereby, in flaxen net
Three suitors, ill fish, none a pet.
One lover, penny-pinching flop,
One foreign boor, one drunken fop.

Two sires at odds, jealous of dam,
Convinced of cuckoldry and scam,
Employed the service of this beast
Hoping to convict at least the one
If not the brace. But yet, mistook
In faces fair the lusty humour
That their trials shook.

And in the end, as oft is true,
All well, all broke, all mended too.

Shakespearean Spoof

After ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ the Musical, by the RSC:

Since what I am to say must be
But that which shocks this company
It shall scarce boot me to say
I liked it – for fear they cry
‘Alas! Alack! ’tis pity she’s a fool.’

But thus, if workers do befit
the ownership of poor opinion, thus
Why then, anon, I’ll state my case
And cry aloud ‘Egad! ’tis true,
I liked this stew.
Tho’ mush and mash and rant and rave,
The hero too did need a shave
And heroine a trim.

But Merry Wives, without a beard?
But foolishness, I am afear’d.


A mother hen – yet not a mum,
Took ducklings travelling for fun,
A day away she did devise,
And all the trip did organize,
‘We’ll go abroad’, she crowed, ‘Wahey!’
‘And later on, we’ll see a play…’
So fix’d was she upon this path
Her charges scarce did dare to laugh
At bawdy farce that after pud’
Turn’d out, Alas! to be no good.
In truth it was a sad affair,
A musical, with no tune there,
A play without a bit of fun,
But laboured jokes and scaffold’s hum.
The little ducks could scarce contain
Their disappointment at this shame
And thereof, loudly, did complain.
To which, the hen repayed in coin
And long and loud did scold and scorn
The ducks for having dared express
Opinions they ought not possess.