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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Songs and Their Settings
Falstaff Tormented by the Supposed Fairies
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
From the ‘Merry Wives of Windsor

EVANS—Lock hand in hand; yourselves in order set;
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
To guide our measure round about the tree.
But stay! I smell a man of middle earth.
  Falstaff  [to himself]—Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!        5
  Pistol—Vile worm, thou wast o’erlooked even in thy birth.
  Queen—With trial-fire touch me his finger-end:
If he be chaste, the flame will back descend,
And turn him to no pain; but if he start,
It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.        10
  Pistol—A trial! come.
  Evans—            Come, will this wood take fire?
[They burn Falstaff with their tapers.]
  Falstaff—Oh, oh, oh!
  Queen—          Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!
About him, fairies, sing a scornful rhyme;
And as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
 
SONG BY ONE
          Fie on sinful fantasy!
        15
          Fie on lust and luxury!
          Lust is but a bloody fire,
          Kindled with unchaste desire,
      Fed in heart; whose flames aspire,
  As thoughts do blow them higher and higher.        20
 
CHORUS
          Pinch him, fairies, mutually;
          Pinch him for his villainy;
  Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
  Till candles, and starlight, and moonshine be out!
 
 
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