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I never dealt better since I was a man: all would not do. A plague of all cowards! Let them speak: if they speak more or less than truth, they are villains and the sons of darkness. Prince. Speak, sirs; how was it? Gads. We four set upon some dozen,Fal. Sixteen, at least, my lord. Gads. And bound them.
Peto. No, no, they were not bound.
could'st not see thy hand? come, tell us your reason what sayest thou to this?
Poins. Come, your reason, Jack, your reason. Fal. What upon compulsion? 'Zounds! an I were at the strappado, or all the racks in the 190 world, I would not tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on compulsion! if reasons were as plenty as blackberries I would give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.
Fal. You rogue, they were bound, every man of them; or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew. Gads. As we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men set upon us,
Fal. And unbound the rest, and then come in the other.
Prince. What fought you with them all? 200 Fal. All I know not what you call all; but if I fought not with fifty of them, I am a bunch of radish: if there were not two or three and fifty upon poor old Jack, then am I no twolegged creature.
Prince. Pray God you have not murdered some of them.
Fal. Nay, that's past praying for: I have peppered two of them: two I am sure I have paid, two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee what, Hal, if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me horse. Thou knowest my old ward; here I lay, and thus I bore my point. Four rogues in buckram let drive at me,
Prince. What! four? thou said'st but two
Fal. Dost thou hear me, Hal? Prince. Ay, and mark thee too, Jack. Fal. Do so, for it is worth the listening to. These nine in buckram that I told thee of,Prince. So, two more already. Fal. Their points being broken,— Poins. Down fell their hose.
Fal. Began to give me ground; but I followed me close, came in foot and hand, and with a thought seven of the eleven I paid.
Prince. O monstrous ! eleven buckram men grown out of two.
Fal. But, as the devil would have it, three misbegotten knaves in Kendal-green came at my back and let drive at me; for it was so dark, Hal, that thou could'st not see thy hand.
Prince. These lies are like their father that begets them; gross as a mountain, open, palpable. Why, thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson, obscene, greasy tallowketch,250
Fal. What! art thou mad? art thou mad? is not the truth the truth?
Prince. Why, how could'st thou know these men in Kendal-green, when it was so dark thou
Prince. I'll be no longer guilty of this sin: this sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker, this huge hill of flesh;
Fal. 'Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat's-tongue, you bull's-pizzle, you stockfish! O! for breath to utter what is like thee; you tailor's-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck ;
Prince. Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again; and when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this.
Poins. Mark, Jack.
Prince. We two saw you four set on four and bound them, and were masters of their wealth. Mark now, how a plain tale shall put you down. Then did we two set on you four, and, with a word, out-faced you from your prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you here in the house. And, Falstaff, you carried your guts away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roared for mercy, and still ran and roared, as ever I heard bull-calf. What a slave art thou, to hack thy sword as thou hast done, and then say it was in fight! What trick, what device, what startinghole canst thou now find out to hide thee from this open and apparent shame ?
Poins. Come, let's hear, Jack; what trick hast thou now?
Fal. By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that made ye. Why, hear you, my masters: was it for me to kill the heir apparent? should I turn upon the true prince? why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Hercules; but beware instinct: the lion will not touch the true prince. Instinct is a great matter, I was a coward on instinct. I shall think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads, I am glad you have the money. Hostess, clap to the doors: watch to-night, pray to-morrow. Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles of good fellowship come to you! What! shall we be merry? shall we have a play extempore?
Prince. Content; and the argument shall be thy running away.
Fal. Ah! no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me. Enter Mistress QUICKLY.
Fal. My own knee! when I was about thy years, Hal, I was not an eagle's talon in the waist; I could have crept into any alderman's thumb-ring. A plague of sighing and grief! it blows a man up like a bladder. There's villanous news abroad: here was Sir John Bracy from your father: you must to the court in the morning That same mad fellow of the north, Percy, and he of Wales, that gave Amaimon the bastinado and made Lucifer cuckold, and swore the devil his true liegeman upon the cross of a Welsh hook-what a plague call you him? Poins. O Glendower.
Prince. Why then, it is like, if there come a hot June and this civil buffeting hold, we shall buy maidenheads as they buy hob-nails, by the hundreds.
Fal. By the mass, lad, thou sayest true; it is like we shall have good trading that way. But tell me, Hal, art thou not horrible afeard? thou being heir apparent, could the world pick thee out three such enemies again as that fiend Douglas, that spirit Percy, and that devil Glendower? Art thou not horribly afraid? doth not thy blood thrill at it?
Prince. Not a whit, i' faith; I lack some of thy instinct.
Fal. Well, thou wilt be horribly chid to-morrow when thou comest to thy father: if thou love me, practise an answer.
Prince. Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon the particulars of my life. a Fal. Shall I content: this chair shall be my state, this dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my crown.
Prince. Thy state is taken for a joint-stool, thy golden sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown for a pitiful bald crown!
Fal. Well, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee, now shalt thou be moved. Give me a cup of sack to make mine eyes look red, that it may be thought I have wept; for I must speak in passion, and I will do it in King Cambyses' vein. Prince. Well, here is my leg.
Fal. And here is my speech. Stand aside, nobility.
Quick. O Jesu! this is excellent sport, i' faith, Fal. Weep not, sweet queen, for trickling tears are vain.
Quick. O, the father! how he holds his countenance.
Fal. For God's sake, lords, convey my tristful
For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes. Quick. O Jesu he doth it as like one of these harlotry players as ever I see.
Fal. Peace, good pint-pot! peace, good ticklebrain! Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also how thou art accom. panied for though the camomile, the more it is trodden on the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted the sooner it wears. That thou Fal. Owen, Owen; the same; and his son-in-art my son, I have partly thy mother's word, law Mortimer, and old Northumberland; and that sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas, that runs o' horseback up a hill perpendicular. Prince. He that rides at high speed and with his pistol kills a sparrow flying. Fal. You have hit it.
Prince. So did he never the sparrow.
Fal. Well, that rascal hath good mettle in him; he will not run.
Prince. Why, what a rascal art thou then, praise him so for running!
partly my own opinion; but chiefly a villanous trick of thine eye and a foolish hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant me. If then thou be son to me, here lies the point; why, being son to me, art thou so pointed at? Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher and eat blackberries? a question not to be asked. Shall the son of England prove a thief and take purses? a question to be asked. There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard of, and it is known to many in our land by the name of pitch:
Fal. O' horseback, ye cuckoo! but afoot he this pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth will not budge a foot.
Prince. Yes, Jack, upon instinct.
Fal. I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too, and one Mordake, and a thousand blue-caps more. Worcester is stolen away tonight; thy father's beard is turned white with
defile; so doth the company thou keepest; for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee in drink but in tears, not in pleasure but in passion, not in words only, but in woes also. And yet there is a virtuous man whom I have often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.
Prince. I do, I will.
Prince. What manner of man, an it like your majesty ?
Fal. A goodly portly man, i' faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage; and, as I think, his age some fifty, or, by 'r lady, inclining to threescore; and now I remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man should be lewdly given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see.virtue in his looks. If then the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then, peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff: him keep with, the rest banish. And tell me now, thou naughty varlet, tell me, where hast thou been this month?
Prince. Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for me, and I'll play my father.
Fal. Depose me? if thou dost it half so gravely, so majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for a rabbit-sucker or a poulter's hare.
Prince. Well, here I am set.
Fal. And here I stand. Judge, my masters. Prince. Now, Harry! whence come you? Fal. My noble lord, from Eastcheap. Prince. The complaints I hear of thee are grievous.
Fal. 'Sblood, my lord, they are false: nay, I'll tickle ye for a young prince, i' faith.
Prince. Swearest thou, ungracious boy? henceforth ne'er look on me. Thou art violently carried away from grace: there is a devil haunts thee in the likeness of an old fat man; a tun of man is thy companion. Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swoln parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years? Wherein is he good but to taste sack and drink it? wherein neat and cleanly but to carve a capon and eat it? wherein cunning but in craft? wherein crafty but in villany? wherein villanous but in all things? wherein worthy but in nothing?
Fal. I would your grace would take me with you: whom means your grace?
Prince. That villanous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.
Fal. My lord, the man I know.
Fal. But to say I know more harm in him than in myself were to say more than I know. That he is old, the more the pity, his white hairs do witness it: but that he is, saving your reverence, a whoremaster, that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked! If to be old and merry be a sin, then many an old host that I know is damned if to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh's lean kine are to be loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins; but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry's company, banish not him thy Harry's company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.
A knocking heard.
Exeunt Mistress QUICKLY, FRANCIS, and BARDOLPH.
Re-enter BARDOLPH, running.
Bard. O my lord, my lord, the sheriff with a most monstrous watch is at the door. Fal. Out, ye rogue! Play out the play: I have much to say in the behalf of that Falstaff.
Re-enter Mistress QUICKLY.
Quick. O Jesu! my lord, my lord! Prince. Heigh, heigh! the devil rides upon a fiddle-stick: what's the matter?
Quick. The sheriff and all the watch are at the door: they are come to search the house. Shall I let them in?
Fal. Dost thou hear, Hal? never call a true piece of gold a counterfeit thou art essentially mad without seeming so.
Car. As fat as butter. Prince. The man, I do assure you, is not here, For I myself at this time have employ'd him. And, sheriff, I will engage my word to thee, That I will, by to-morrow dinner-time, Send him to answer thee, or any man, For any thing he shall be charg'd withal: And so let me entreat you leave the house.
Sher. I will, my lord. There are two gentlemen Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks. Prince. It may be so: if he have robb'd these
Prince. O monstrous! but one half-pennyworth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack! What there is else, keep close; we'll read it at more advantage. There let him sleep till day. I'll to the court in the morning. We must all to the wars, and thy place shall be honourable. I'll procure this fat rogue a charge of foot; and I know his death will be a march of twelvescore. The money shall be paid back again with advantage. Be with me betimes in the morning; and so, good morrow, Peto. Peto. Good morrow, good my lord.
To tell you once again that at my birth
Which calls me pupil, or hath read to me?
Hot. I think there's no man speaks better
I'll to dinner.
Mort. Peace, cousin Percy! you will make him
Glend. I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Hot. And you in hell, as oft as he hears Owen
Glend. I cannot blame him: at my nativity
Hot. Why, so it would have done at the same season, if your mother's cat had but kittened, though yourself had never been born.
Glend. I say the earth did shake when I was born. Hot. And I say the earth was not of my mind, If you suppose as fearing you it shook.
Glend. The heavens were all on fire, the earth did tremble.
Hot. And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the
By telling truth: tell truth and shame the devil.
O! while you live, tell truth and shame the devil.
No more of this unprofitable chat.
Glend. Three times hath Henry Bolingbroke
Against my power; thrice from the banks of Wye
Hot. Home without boots, and in foul weather
How 'scapes he agues, in the devil's name?
According to our threefold order ta'en?
Hot. O then the earth shook to see the A business that this night may execute,
heavens on fire,
To-morrow, cousin Percy, you and I
And my good Lord of Worcester will set forth
My father Glendower is not ready yet,
Glend. A shorter time shall send me to you, lords;
And in my conduct shall your ladies come, From whom you now must steal and take no leave;
For there will be a world of water shed
In quantity equals not one of yours:
It shall not wind with such a deep indent,
To rob me of so rich a bottom here.
As puts me from my faith. I tell you what;
But mark'd him not a word. O he's as tedious
Worse than a smoky house. I had rather live
Glend. Not wind! it shall, it must; you see In strange concealments, valiant as a lion
Mort. Yea, but
I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew
Glend. Come, you shall have Trent turn'd.
To any well-deserving friend;
But in the way of bargain, mark ye me,
Are the indentures drawn? shall we be gone? 140
I'll haste the writer and withal
Break with your wives of your departure hence:
And wondrous affable, and as bountiful
Wor. In faith, my lord, you are too wilful-
And since your coming hither have done enough
And that's the dearest grace it renders you,
Hot. Well, I am school'd; good manners be your speed!
Here come our wives, and let us take our leave.
Re-enter GLENDOWER with the Ladies.
She'll be a soldier too: she 'll to the wars.
Shall follow in your conduct speedily.
GLENDOWER speaks to her in Welsh, and she answers him in the same. Glend. She is desperate here; a peevish selfwilled harlotry, one that no persuasion can do good upon. She speaks to MORTIMER in Welsh.
Mort. I understand thy looks: that pretty