The Merry Wives of Windsor
How we cite our quotes:
Sir John affects thy wife.
Why, sir, my wife is not young.
He wooes both high and low, both rich and poor, Both young and old, one with another, Ford; He loves the gallimaufry: Ford, perpend.
Love my wife! (2.1.97-103)
At first, Ford thinks it's impossible for another man to fall for his wife because she's "not young" (aka she's too old for romance). Obviously, Ford is a jerk. But, this raises an interesting question: is romance really a young person's game? According to this play, it is. Fenton and Anne are the only ones who get a happily ever after. Middle-aged women have to resign themselves to playing tricks.
What say you to young Master Fenton? he capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holiday, he smells April and May: he will carry't, he will carry't; 'tis in his buttons; he will carry't. (3.2.56-60)
The Host thinks Fenton is the best candidate for Anne and we have to agree. What's not to like about a guy who's young, likes to dance, writes poetry, is fun to talk with, and smells yummy?
Albeit I will confess thy father's wealth Was the first motive that I woo'd thee, Anne: Yet, wooing thee, I found thee of more value Than stamps in gold or sums in sealed bags; And 'tis the very riches of thyself That now I aim at. (3.4.13)
Anne Page is quite the meal ticket. Both Slender and Fenton have already told us they want to marry Anne because she's rich. (This is a lot like what goes down in The Merchant of Venice, where Bassanio goes after wealthy Portia.) But here, Fenton confesses that he's actually fallen in love with Anne and "values" her more than her dad's cash. This is the first time we've seen anything that remotely resembles romantic love. Although it's still not as catchy as "Baby."