The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Part 17 out of 63
Enter SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, with his PAGE bearing his sword and buckler
FALSTAFF. Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water?
PAGE. He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy water; but
for the party that owed it, he might have moe diseases than he
FALSTAFF. Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me. The brain of
this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent anything
that intends to laughter, more than I invent or is invented on
me. I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in
other men. I do here walk before thee like a sow that hath
overwhelm'd all her litter but one. If the Prince put thee into
my service for any other reason than to set me off, why then I
have no judgment. Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to be
worn in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never mann'd with
an agate till now; but I will inset you neither in gold nor
silver, but in vile apparel, and send you back again to your
master, for a jewel- the juvenal, the Prince your master, whose
chin is not yet fledge. I will sooner have a beard grow in the
palm of my hand than he shall get one off his cheek; and yet he
will not stick to say his face is a face-royal. God may finish it
when he will, 'tis not a hair amiss yet. He may keep it still at
a face-royal, for a barber shall never earn sixpence out of it;
and yet he'll be crowing as if he had writ man ever since his
father was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace, but he's almost
out of mine, I can assure him. What said Master Dommelton about
the satin for my short cloak and my slops?
PAGE. He said, sir, you should procure him better assurance than
Bardolph. He would not take his band and yours; he liked not the
FALSTAFF. Let him be damn'd, like the Glutton; pray God his tongue
be hotter! A whoreson Achitophel! A rascal-yea-forsooth knave, to
bear a gentleman in hand, and then stand upon security! The
whoreson smooth-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes, and
bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is through with
them in honest taking-up, then they must stand upon security. I
had as lief they would put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to stop
it with security. I look'd 'a should have sent me two and twenty
yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and he sends me security.
Well, he may sleep in security; for he hath the horn of
abundance, and the lightness of his wife shines through it; and
yet cannot he see, though he have his own lanthorn to light him.
PAGE. He's gone into Smithfield to buy your worship horse.
FALSTAFF. I bought him in Paul's, and he'll buy me a horse in
Smithfield. An I could get me but a wife in the stews, I were
mann'd, hors'd, and wiv'd.
Enter the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE and SERVANT
PAGE. Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the
Prince for striking him about Bardolph.
FALSTAFF. Wait close; I will not see him.
CHIEF JUSTICE. What's he that goes there?
SERVANT. Falstaff, an't please your lordship.
CHIEF JUSTICE. He that was in question for the robb'ry?
SERVANT. He, my lord; but he hath since done good service at
Shrewsbury, and, as I hear, is now going with some charge to the
Lord John of Lancaster.
CHIEF JUSTICE. What, to York? Call him back again.
SERVANT. Sir John Falstaff!
FALSTAFF. Boy, tell him I am deaf.
PAGE. You must speak louder; my master is deaf.
CHIEF JUSTICE. I am sure he is, to the hearing of anything good.
Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him.
SERVANT. Sir John!
FALSTAFF. What! a young knave, and begging! Is there not wars? Is
there not employment? Doth not the King lack subjects? Do not the
rebels need soldiers? Though it be a shame to be on any side but
one, it is worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side, were
it worse than the name of rebellion can tell how to make it.
SERVANT. You mistake me, sir.
FALSTAFF. Why, sir, did I say you were an honest man? Setting my
knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied in my throat if I
had said so.
SERVANT. I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and your
soldiership aside; and give me leave to tell you you in your
throat, if you say I am any other than an honest man.
FALSTAFF. I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that which
grows to me! If thou get'st any leave of me, hang me; if thou
tak'st leave, thou wert better be hang'd. You hunt counter.
SERVANT. Sir, my lord would speak with you.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.
FALSTAFF. My good lord! God give your lordship good time of day. I
am glad to see your lordship abroad. I heard say your lordship
was sick; I hope your lordship goes abroad by advice. Your
lordship, though not clean past your youth, hath yet some smack
of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I most
humbly beseech your lordship to have a reverend care of your
CHIEF JUSTICE. Sir John, I sent for you before your expedition to
FALSTAFF. An't please your lordship, I hear his Majesty is return'd
with some discomfort from Wales.
CHIEF JUSTICE. I talk not of his Majesty. You would not come when I
sent for you.
FALSTAFF. And I hear, moreover, his Highness is fall'n into this
same whoreson apoplexy.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Well God mend him! I pray you let me speak with you.
FALSTAFF. This apoplexy, as I take it, is a kind of lethargy, an't
please your lordship, a kind of sleeping in the blood, a whoreson
CHIEF JUSTICE. What tell you me of it? Be it as it is.
FALSTAFF. It hath it original from much grief, from study, and
perturbation of the brain. I have read the cause of his effects
in Galen; it is a kind of deafness.
CHIEF JUSTICE. I think you are fall'n into the disease, for you
hear not what I say to you.
FALSTAFF. Very well, my lord, very well. Rather an't please you, it
is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that
I am troubled withal.
CHIEF JUSTICE. To punish you by the heels would amend the attention
of your ears; and I care not if I do become your physician.
FALSTAFF. I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient. Your
lordship may minister the potion of imprisonment to me in respect
of poverty; but how I should be your patient to follow your
prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a scruple, or
indeed a scruple itself.
CHIEF JUSTICE. I sent for you, when there were matters against you
for your life, to come speak with me.
FALSTAFF. As I was then advis'd by my learned counsel in the laws
of this land-service, I did not come.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in great
FALSTAFF. He that buckles himself in my belt cannot live in less.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Your means are very slender, and your waste is
FALSTAFF. I would it were otherwise; I would my means were greater
and my waist slenderer.
CHIEF JUSTICE. You have misled the youthful Prince.
FALSTAFF. The young Prince hath misled me. I am the fellow with the
great belly, and he my dog.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Well, I am loath to gall a new-heal'd wound. Your
day's service at Shrewsbury hath a little gilded over your
night's exploit on Gadshill. You may thank th' unquiet time for
your quiet o'erposting that action.
FALSTAFF. My lord-
CHIEF JUSTICE. But since all is well, keep it so: wake not a
FALSTAFF. To wake a wolf is as bad as smell a fox.
CHIEF JUSTICE. What! you are as a candle, the better part burnt
FALSTAFF. A wassail candle, my lord- all tallow; if I did say of
wax, my growth would approve the truth.
CHIEF JUSTICE. There is not a white hair in your face but should
have his effect of gravity.
FALSTAFF. His effect of gravy, gravy,
CHIEF JUSTICE. You follow the young Prince up and down, like his
FALSTAFF. Not so, my lord. Your ill angel is light; but hope he
that looks upon me will take me without weighing. And yet in some
respects, I grant, I cannot go- I cannot tell. Virtue is of so
little regard in these costermongers' times that true valour is
turn'd berod; pregnancy is made a tapster, and his quick wit
wasted in giving reckonings; all the other gifts appertinent to
man, as the malice of this age shapes them, are not worth a
gooseberry. You that are old consider not the capacities of us
that are young; you do measure the heat of our livers with the
bitterness of your galls; and we that are in the vaward of our
youth, must confess, are wags too.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth,
that are written down old with all the characters of age? Have
you not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard, a
decreasing leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken,
your wind short, your chin double, your wit single, and every
part about you blasted with antiquity? And will you yet call
yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John!
FALSTAFF. My lord, I was born about three of the clock in the
afternoon, with a white head and something a round belly. For my
voice- I have lost it with hallooing and singing of anthems. To
approve my youth further, I will not. The truth is, I am only old
in judgment and understanding; and he that will caper with me for
a thousand marks, let him lend me the money, and have at him. For
the box of the ear that the Prince gave you- he gave it like a
rude prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have check'd
him for it; and the young lion repents- marry, not in ashes and
sackcloth, but in new silk and old sack.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Well, God send the Prince a better companion!
FALSTAFF. God send the companion a better prince! I cannot rid my
hands of him.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Well, the King hath sever'd you. I hear you are
going with Lord John of Lancaster against the Archbishop and the
Earl of Northumberland.
FALSTAFF. Yea; I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look you
pray, all you that kiss my Lady Peace at home, that our armies
join not in a hot day; for, by the Lord, I take but two shirts
out with me, and I mean not to sweat extraordinarily. If it be a
hot day, and I brandish anything but a bottle, I would I might
never spit white again. There is not a dangerous action can peep
out his head but I am thrust upon it. Well, I cannot last ever;
but it was alway yet the trick of our English nation, if they
have a good thing, to make it too common. If ye will needs say I
am an old man, you should give me rest. I would to God my name
were not so terrible to the enemy as it is. I were better to be
eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with
CHIEF JUSTICE. Well, be honest, be honest; and God bless your
FALSTAFF. Will your lordship lend me a thousand pound to furnish me
CHIEF JUSTICE. Not a penny, not a penny; you are too impatient to
bear crosses. Fare you well. Commend me to my cousin
Exeunt CHIEF JUSTICE and SERVANT
FALSTAFF. If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A man can no
more separate age and covetousness than 'a can part young limbs
and lechery; but the gout galls the one, and the pox pinches the
other; and so both the degrees prevent my curses. Boy!
FALSTAFF. What money is in my purse?
PAGE. Seven groats and two pence.
FALSTAFF. I can get no remedy against this consumption of the
purse; borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the disease
is incurable. Go bear this letter to my Lord of Lancaster; this
to the Prince; this to the Earl of Westmoreland; and this to old
Mistress Ursula, whom I have weekly sworn to marry since I
perceiv'd the first white hair of my chin. About it; you know
where to find me. [Exit PAGE] A pox of this gout! or, a gout of
this pox! for the one or the other plays the rogue with my great
toe. 'Tis no matter if I do halt; I have the wars for my colour,
and my pension shall seem the more reasonable. A good wit will
make use of anything. I will turn diseases to commodity.
York. The ARCHBISHOP'S palace
Enter the ARCHBISHOP, THOMAS MOWBRAY the EARL MARSHAL, LORD HASTINGS,
and LORD BARDOLPH
ARCHBISHOP. Thus have you heard our cause and known our means;
And, my most noble friends, I pray you all
Speak plainly your opinions of our hopes-
And first, Lord Marshal, what say you to it?
MOWBRAY. I well allow the occasion of our amis;
But gladly would be better satisfied
How, in our means, we should advance ourselves
To look with forehead bold and big enough
Upon the power and puissance of the King.
HASTINGS. Our present musters grow upon the file
To five and twenty thousand men of choice;
And our supplies live largely in the hope
Of great Northumberland, whose bosom burns
With an incensed fire of injuries.
LORD BARDOLPH. The question then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus:
Whether our present five and twenty thousand
May hold up head without Northumberland?
HASTINGS. With him, we may.
LORD BARDOLPH. Yea, marry, there's the point;
But if without him we be thought too feeble,
My judgment is we should not step too far
Till we had his assistance by the hand;
For, in a theme so bloody-fac'd as this,
Conjecture, expectation, and surmise
Of aids incertain, should not be admitted.
ARCHBISHOP. 'Tis very true, Lord Bardolph; for indeed
It was young Hotspur's case at Shrewsbury.
LORD BARDOLPH. It was, my lord; who lin'd himself with hope,
Eating the air and promise of supply,
Flatt'ring himself in project of a power
Much smaller than the smallest of his thoughts;
And so, with great imagination
Proper to madmen, led his powers to death,
And, winking, leapt into destruction.
HASTINGS. But, by your leave, it never yet did hurt
To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope.
LORD BARDOLPH. Yes, if this present quality of war-
Indeed the instant action, a cause on foot-
Lives so in hope, as in an early spring
We see th' appearing buds; which to prove fruit
Hope gives not so much warrant, as despair
That frosts will bite them. When we mean to build,
We first survey the plot, then draw the model;
And when we see the figure of the house,
Then we must rate the cost of the erection;
Which if we find outweighs ability,
What do we then but draw anew the model
In fewer offices, or at least desist
To build at all? Much more, in this great work-
Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down
And set another up- should we survey
The plot of situation and the model,
Consent upon a sure foundation,
Question surveyors, know our own estate
How able such a work to undergo-
To weigh against his opposite; or else
We fortify in paper and in figures,
Using the names of men instead of men;
Like one that draws the model of a house
Beyond his power to build it; who, half through,
Gives o'er and leaves his part-created cost
A naked subject to the weeping clouds
And waste for churlish winter's tyranny.
HASTINGS. Grant that our hopes- yet likely of fair birth-
Should be still-born, and that we now possess'd
The utmost man of expectation,
I think we are so a body strong enough,
Even as we are, to equal with the King.
LORD BARDOLPH. What, is the King but five and twenty thousand?
HASTINGS. To us no more; nay, not so much, Lord Bardolph;
For his divisions, as the times do brawl,
Are in three heads: one power against the French,
And one against Glendower; perforce a third
Must take up us. So is the unfirm King
In three divided; and his coffers sound
With hollow poverty and emptiness.
ARCHBISHOP. That he should draw his several strengths together
And come against us in full puissance
Need not be dreaded.
HASTINGS. If he should do so,
He leaves his back unarm'd, the French and Welsh
Baying at his heels. Never fear that.
LORD BARDOLPH. Who is it like should lead his forces hither?
HASTINGS. The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland;
Against the Welsh, himself and Harry Monmouth;
But who is substituted against the French
I have no certain notice.
ARCHBISHOP. Let us on,
And publish the occasion of our arms.
The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
Their over-greedy love hath surfeited.
An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.
O thou fond many, with what loud applause
Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke
Before he was what thou wouldst have him be!
And being now trimm'd in thine own desires,
Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him
That thou provok'st thyself to cast him up.
So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge
Thy glutton bosom of the royal Richard;
And now thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up,
And howl'st to find it. What trust is in these times?
They that, when Richard liv'd, would have him die
Are now become enamour'd on his grave.
Thou that threw'st dust upon his goodly head,
When through proud London he came sighing on
After th' admired heels of Bolingbroke,
Criest now 'O earth, yield us that king again,
And take thou this!' O thoughts of men accurs'd!
Past and to come seems best; things present, worst.
MOWBRAY. Shall we go draw our numbers, and set on?
HASTINGS. We are time's subjects, and time bids be gone.
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ACT II. SCENE I.
London. A street
Enter HOSTESS with two officers, FANG and SNARE
HOSTESS. Master Fang, have you ent'red the action?
FANG. It is ent'red.
HOSTESS. Where's your yeoman? Is't a lusty yeoman? Will 'a stand
FANG. Sirrah, where's Snare?
HOSTESS. O Lord, ay! good Master Snare.
SNARE. Here, here.
FANG. Snare, we must arrest Sir John Falstaff.
HOSTESS. Yea, good Master Snare; I have ent'red him and all.
SNARE. It may chance cost some of our lives, for he will stab.
HOSTESS. Alas the day! take heed of him; he stabb'd me in mine own
house, and that most beastly. In good faith, 'a cares not what
mischief he does, if his weapon be out; he will foin like any
devil; he will spare neither man, woman, nor child.
FANG. If I can close with him, I care not for his thrust.
HOSTESS. No, nor I neither; I'll be at your elbow.
FANG. An I but fist him once; an 'a come but within my vice!
HOSTESS. I am undone by his going; I warrant you, he's an
infinitive thing upon my score. Good Master Fang, hold him sure.
Good Master Snare, let him not scape. 'A comes continuantly to
Pie-corner- saving your manhoods- to buy a saddle; and he is
indited to dinner to the Lubber's Head in Lumbert Street, to
Master Smooth's the silkman. I pray you, since my exion is
ent'red, and my case so openly known to the world, let him be
brought in to his answer. A hundred mark is a long one for a poor
lone woman to bear; and I have borne, and borne, and borne; and
have been fubb'd off, and fubb'd off, and fubb'd off, from this
day to that day, that it is a shame to be thought on. There is no
honesty in such dealing; unless a woman should be made an ass and
a beast, to bear every knave's wrong.
Enter SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, PAGE, and BARDOLPH
Yonder he comes; and that arrant malmsey-nose knave, Bardolph,
with him. Do your offices, do your offices, Master Fang and
Master Snare; do me, do me, do me your offices.
FALSTAFF. How now! whose mare's dead? What's the matter?
FANG. Sir John, I arrest you at the suit of Mistress Quickly.
FALSTAFF. Away, varlets! Draw, Bardolph. Cut me off the villian's
head. Throw the quean in the channel.
HOSTESS. Throw me in the channel! I'll throw thee in the channel.
Wilt thou? wilt thou? thou bastardly rogue! Murder, murder! Ah,
thou honeysuckle villain! wilt thou kill God's officers and the
King's? Ah, thou honey-seed rogue! thou art a honey-seed; a
man-queller and a woman-queller.
FALSTAFF. Keep them off, Bardolph.
FANG. A rescue! a rescue!
HOSTESS. Good people, bring a rescue or two. Thou wot, wot thou!
thou wot, wot ta? Do, do, thou rogue! do, thou hemp-seed!
PAGE. Away, you scullion! you rampallian! you fustilarian!
I'll tickle your catastrophe.
Enter the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE and his men
CHIEF JUSTICE. What is the matter? Keep the peace here, ho!
HOSTESS. Good my lord, be good to me. I beseech you, stand to me.
CHIEF JUSTICE. How now, Sir John! what, are you brawling here?
Doth this become your place, your time, and business?
You should have been well on your way to York.
Stand from him, fellow; wherefore hang'st thou upon him?
HOSTESS. O My most worshipful lord, an't please your Grace, I am a
poor widow of Eastcheap, and he is arrested at my suit.
CHIEF JUSTICE. For what sum?
HOSTESS. It is more than for some, my lord; it is for all- all I
have. He hath eaten me out of house and home; he hath put all my
substance into that fat belly of his. But I will have some of it
out again, or I will ride thee a nights like a mare.
FALSTAFF. I think I am as like to ride the mare, if I have any
vantage of ground to get up.
CHIEF JUSTICE. How comes this, Sir John? Fie! What man of good
temper would endure this tempest of exclamation? Are you not
ashamed to enforce a poor widow to so rough a course to come by
FALSTAFF. What is the gross sum that I owe thee?
HOSTESS. Marry, if thou wert an honest man, thyself and the money
too. Thou didst swear to me upon a parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in
my Dolphin chamber, at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, upon
Wednesday in Wheeson week, when the Prince broke thy head for
liking his father to singing-man of Windsor- thou didst swear to
me then, as I was washing thy wound, to marry me and make me my
lady thy wife. Canst thou deny it? Did not goodwife Keech, the
butcher's wife, come in then and call me gossip Quickly? Coming
in to borrow a mess of vinegar, telling us she had a good dish of
prawns, whereby thou didst desire to eat some, whereby I told
thee they were ill for green wound? And didst thou not, when she
was gone down stairs, desire me to be no more so familiarity with
such poor people, saying that ere long they should call me madam?
And didst thou not kiss me, and bid me fetch the thirty
shillings? I put thee now to thy book-oath. Deny it, if thou
FALSTAFF. My lord, this is a poor mad soul, and she says up and
down the town that her eldest son is like you. She hath been in
good case, and, the truth is, poverty hath distracted her. But
for these foolish officers, I beseech you I may have redress
CHIEF JUSTICE. Sir John, Sir John, I am well acquainted with your
manner of wrenching the true cause the false way. It is not a
confident brow, nor the throng of words that come with such more
than impudent sauciness from you, can thrust me from a level
consideration. You have, as it appears to me, practis'd upon the
easy yielding spirit of this woman, and made her serve your uses
both in purse and in person.
HOSTESS. Yea, in truth, my lord.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Pray thee, peace. Pay her the debt you owe her, and
unpay the villainy you have done with her; the one you may do
with sterling money, and the other with current repentance.
FALSTAFF. My lord, I will not undergo this sneap without reply. You
call honourable boldness impudent sauciness; if a man will make
curtsy and say nothing, he is virtuous. No, my lord, my humble
duty rememb'red, I will not be your suitor. I say to you I do
desire deliverance from these officers, being upon hasty
employment in the King's affairs.
CHIEF JUSTICE. You speak as having power to do wrong; but answer in
th' effect of your reputation, and satisfy the poor woman.
FALSTAFF. Come hither, hostess.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Now, Master Gower, what news?
GOWER. The King, my lord, and Harry Prince of Wales
Are near at hand. The rest the paper tells. [Gives a letter]
FALSTAFF. As I am a gentleman!
HOSTESS. Faith, you said so before.
FALSTAFF. As I am a gentleman! Come, no more words of it.
HOSTESS. By this heavenly ground I tread on, I must be fain to pawn
both my plate and the tapestry of my dining-chambers.
FALSTAFF. Glasses, glasses, is the only drinking; and for thy
walls, a pretty slight drollery, or the story of the Prodigal, or
the German hunting, in water-work, is worth a thousand of these
bed-hangers and these fly-bitten tapestries. Let it be ten pound,
if thou canst. Come, and 'twere not for thy humours, there's not
a better wench in England. Go, wash thy face, and draw the
action. Come, thou must not be in this humour with me; dost not
know me? Come, come, I know thou wast set on to this.
HOSTESS. Pray thee, Sir John, let it be but twenty nobles;
i' faith, I am loath to pawn my plate, so God save me, la!
FALSTAFF. Let it alone; I'll make other shift. You'll be a fool
HOSTESS. Well, you shall have it, though I pawn my gown.
I hope you'll come to supper. you'll pay me all together?
FALSTAFF. Will I live? [To BARDOLPH] Go, with her, with her; hook
on, hook on.
HOSTESS. Will you have Doll Tearsheet meet you at supper?
FALSTAFF. No more words; let's have her.
Exeunt HOSTESS, BARDOLPH, and OFFICERS
CHIEF JUSTICE. I have heard better news.
FALSTAFF. What's the news, my lord?
CHIEF JUSTICE. Where lay the King to-night?
GOWER. At Basingstoke, my lord.
FALSTAFF. I hope, my lord, all's well. What is the news, my lord?
CHIEF JUSTICE. Come all his forces back?
GOWER. No; fifteen hundred foot, five hundred horse,
Are march'd up to my Lord of Lancaster,
Against Northumberland and the Archbishop.
FALSTAFF. Comes the King back from Wales, my noble lord?
CHIEF JUSTICE. You shall have letters of me presently.
Come, go along with me, good Master Gower.
FALSTAFF. My lord!
CHIEF JUSTICE. What's the matter?
FALSTAFF. Master Gower, shall I entreat you with me to dinner?
GOWER. I must wait upon my good lord here, I thank you, good Sir
CHIEF JUSTICE. Sir John, you loiter here too long, being you are to
take soldiers up in counties as you go.
FALSTAFF. Will you sup with me, Master Gower?
CHIEF JUSTICE. What foolish master taught you these manners, Sir
FALSTAFF. Master Gower, if they become me not, he was a fool that
taught them me. This is the right fencing grace, my lord; tap for
tap, and so part fair.
CHIEF JUSTICE. Now, the Lord lighten thee! Thou art a great fool.
London. Another street
Enter PRINCE HENRY and POINS
PRINCE. Before God, I am exceeding weary.
POINS. Is't come to that? I had thought weariness durst not have
attach'd one of so high blood.
PRINCE. Faith, it does me; though it discolours the complexion of
my greatness to acknowledge it. Doth it not show vilely in me to
desire small beer?
POINS. Why, a prince should not be so loosely studied as to
remember so weak a composition.
PRINCE. Belike then my appetite was not-princely got; for, by my
troth, I do now remember the poor creature, small beer. But
indeed these humble considerations make me out of love with my
greatness. What a disgrace is it to me to remember thy name, or
to know thy face to-morrow, or to take note how many pair of silk
stockings thou hast- viz., these, and those that were thy
peach-colour'd ones- or to bear the inventory of thy shirts- as,
one for superfluity, and another for use! But that the
tennis-court-keeper knows better than I; for it is a low ebb of
linen with thee when thou keepest not racket there; as thou hast
not done a great while, because the rest of thy low countries
have made a shift to eat up thy holland. And God knows whether
those that bawl out of the ruins of thy linen shall inherit his
kingdom; but the midwives say the children are not in the fault;
whereupon the world increases, and kindreds are mightily
POINS. How ill it follows, after you have laboured so hard, you
should talk so idly! Tell me, how many good young princes would
do so, their fathers being so sick as yours at this time is?
PRINCE. Shall I tell thee one thing, Poins?
POINS. Yes, faith; and let it be an excellent good thing.
PRINCE. It shall serve among wits of no higher breeding than thine.
POINS. Go to; I stand the push of your one thing that you will
PRINCE. Marry, I tell thee it is not meet that I should be sad, now
my father is sick; albeit I could tell to thee- as to one it
pleases me, for fault of a better, to call my friend- I could be
sad and sad indeed too.
POINS. Very hardly upon such a subject.
PRINCE. By this hand, thou thinkest me as far in the devil's book
as thou and Falstaff for obduracy and persistency: let the end
try the man. But I tell thee my heart bleeds inwardly that my
father is so sick; and keeping such vile company as thou art hath
in reason taken from me all ostentation of sorrow.
POINS. The reason?
PRINCE. What wouldst thou think of me if I should weep?
POINS. I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.
PRINCE. It would be every man's thought; and thou art a blessed
fellow to think as every man thinks. Never a man's thought in the
world keeps the road-way better than thine. Every man would think
me an hypocrite indeed. And what accites your most worshipful
thought to think so?
POINS. Why, because you have been so lewd and so much engraffed to
PRINCE. And to thee.
POINS. By this light, I am well spoke on; I can hear it with mine
own ears. The worst that they can say of me is that I am a second
brother and that I am a proper fellow of my hands; and those two
things, I confess, I cannot help. By the mass, here comes
Enter BARDOLPH and PAGE
PRINCE. And the boy that I gave Falstaff. 'A had him from me
Christian; and look if the fat villain have not transform'd him
BARDOLPH. God save your Grace!
PRINCE. And yours, most noble Bardolph!
POINS. Come, you virtuous ass, you bashful fool, must you be
blushing? Wherefore blush you now? What a maidenly man-at-arms
are you become! Is't such a matter to get a pottle-pot's
PAGE. 'A calls me e'en now, my lord, through a red lattice, and I
could discern no part of his face from the window. At last I
spied his eyes; and methought he had made two holes in the
alewife's new petticoat, and so peep'd through.
PRINCE. Has not the boy profited?
BARDOLPH. Away, you whoreson upright rabbit, away!
PAGE. Away, you rascally Althaea's dream, away!
PRINCE. Instruct us, boy; what dream, boy?
PAGE. Marry, my lord, Althaea dreamt she was delivered of a
firebrand; and therefore I call him her dream.
PRINCE. A crown's worth of good interpretation. There 'tis, boy.
[Giving a crown]
POINS. O that this blossom could be kept from cankers!
Well, there is sixpence to preserve thee.
BARDOLPH. An you do not make him be hang'd among you, the gallows
shall have wrong.
PRINCE. And how doth thy master, Bardolph?
BARDOLPH. Well, my lord. He heard of your Grace's coming to town.
There's a letter for you.
POINS. Deliver'd with good respect. And how doth the martlemas,
BARDOLPH. In bodily health, sir.
POINS. Marry, the immortal part needs a physician; but that moves
not him. Though that be sick, it dies not.
PRINCE. I do allow this well to be as familiar with me as my dog;
and he holds his place, for look you how he writes.
POINS. [Reads] 'John Falstaff, knight'- Every man must know that
as oft as he has occasion to name himself, even like those that
are kin to the King; for they never prick their finger but they
say 'There's some of the King's blood spilt.' 'How comes that?'
says he that takes upon him not to conceive. The answer is as
ready as a borrower's cap: 'I am the King's poor cousin, sir.'
PRINCE. Nay, they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it from
Japhet. But the letter: [Reads] 'Sir John Falstaff, knight, to
the son of the King nearest his father, Harry Prince of Wales,
POINS. Why, this is a certificate.
PRINCE. Peace! [Reads] 'I will imitate the honourable Romans in
POINS. He sure means brevity in breath, short-winded.
PRINCE. [Reads] 'I commend me to thee, I commend thee, and I
leave thee. Be not too familiar with Poins; for he misuses thy
favours so much that he swears thou art to marry his sister Nell.
Repent at idle times as thou mayst, and so farewell.
Thine, by yea and no- which is as much as to say as
thou usest him- JACK FALSTAFF with my familiars,
JOHN with my brothers and sisters, and SIR JOHN with
POINS. My lord, I'll steep this letter in sack and make him eat it.
PRINCE. That's to make him eat twenty of his words. But do you use
me thus, Ned? Must I marry your sister?
POINS. God send the wench no worse fortune! But I never said so.
PRINCE. Well, thus we play the fools with the time, and the spirits
of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us. Is your master here in
BARDOLPH. Yea, my lord.
PRINCE. Where sups he? Doth the old boar feed in the old frank?
BARDOLPH. At the old place, my lord, in Eastcheap.
PRINCE. What company?
PAGE. Ephesians, my lord, of the old church.
PRINCE. Sup any women with him?
PAGE. None, my lord, but old Mistress Quickly and Mistress Doll
PRINCE. What pagan may that be?
PAGE. A proper gentlewoman, sir, and a kinswoman of my master's.
PRINCE. Even such kin as the parish heifers are to the town bull.
Shall we steal upon them, Ned, at supper?
POINS. I am your shadow, my lord; I'll follow you.
PRINCE. Sirrah, you boy, and Bardolph, no word to your master that
I am yet come to town. There's for your silence.
BARDOLPH. I have no tongue, sir.
PAGE. And for mine, sir, I will govern it.
PRINCE. Fare you well; go. Exeunt BARDOLPH and PAGE
This Doll Tearsheet should be some road.
POINS. I warrant you, as common as the way between Saint Albans and
PRINCE. How might we see Falstaff bestow himself to-night in his
true colours, and not ourselves be seen?
POINS. Put on two leathern jerkins and aprons, and wait upon him at
his table as drawers.
PRINCE. From a god to a bull? A heavy descension! It was Jove's
case. From a prince to a prentice? A low transformation! That
shall be mine; for in everything the purpose must weigh with the
folly. Follow me, Ned.
Warkworth. Before the castle
Enter NORTHUMBERLAND, LADY NORTHUMBERLAND, and LADY PERCY
NORTHUMBERLAND. I pray thee, loving wife, and gentle daughter,
Give even way unto my rough affairs;
Put not you on the visage of the times
And be, like them, to Percy troublesome.
LADY NORTHUMBERLAND. I have given over, I will speak no more.
Do what you will; your wisdom be your guide.
NORTHUMBERLAND. Alas, sweet wife, my honour is at pawn;
And but my going nothing can redeem it.
LADY PERCY. O, yet, for God's sake, go not to these wars!
The time was, father, that you broke your word,
When you were more endear'd to it than now;
When your own Percy, when my heart's dear Harry,
Threw many a northward look to see his father
Bring up his powers; but he did long in vain.
Who then persuaded you to stay at home?
There were two honours lost, yours and your son's.
For yours, the God of heaven brighten it!
For his, it stuck upon him as the sun
In the grey vault of heaven; and by his light
Did all the chivalry of England move
To do brave acts. He was indeed the glass
Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves.
He had no legs that practis'd not his gait;
And speaking thick, which nature made his blemish,
Became the accents of the valiant;
For those who could speak low and tardily
Would turn their own perfection to abuse
To seem like him: so that in speech, in gait,
In diet, in affections of delight,
In military rules, humours of blood,
He was the mark and glass, copy and book,
That fashion'd others. And him- O wondrous him!
O miracle of men!- him did you leave-
Second to none, unseconded by you-
To look upon the hideous god of war
In disadvantage, to abide a field
Where nothing but the sound of Hotspur's name
Did seem defensible. So you left him.
Never, O never, do his ghost the wrong
To hold your honour more precise and nice
With others than with him! Let them alone.
The Marshal and the Archbishop are strong.
Had my sweet Harry had but half their numbers,
To-day might I, hanging on Hotspur's neck,
Have talk'd of Monmouth's grave.
NORTHUMBERLAND. Beshrew your heart,
Fair daughter, you do draw my spirits from me
With new lamenting ancient oversights.
But I must go and meet with danger there,
Or it will seek me in another place,
And find me worse provided.
LADY NORTHUMBERLAND. O, fly to Scotland
Till that the nobles and the armed commons
Have of their puissance made a little taste.
LADY PERCY. If they get ground and vantage of the King,
Then join you with them, like a rib of steel,
To make strength stronger; but, for all our loves,
First let them try themselves. So did your son;
He was so suff'red; so came I a widow;
And never shall have length of life enough
To rain upon remembrance with mine eyes,
That it may grow and sprout as high as heaven,
For recordation to my noble husband.
NORTHUMBERLAND. Come, come, go in with me. 'Tis with my mind
As with the tide swell'd up unto his height,
That makes a still-stand, running neither way.
Fain would I go to meet the Archbishop,
But many thousand reasons hold me back.
I will resolve for Scotland. There am I,
Till time and vantage crave my company. Exeunt
London. The Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap
Enter FRANCIS and another DRAWER
FRANCIS. What the devil hast thou brought there-apple-johns? Thou
knowest Sir John cannot endure an apple-john.
SECOND DRAWER. Mass, thou say'st true. The Prince once set a dish
of apple-johns before him, and told him there were five more Sir
Johns; and, putting off his hat, said 'I will now take my leave
of these six dry, round, old, withered knights.' It ang'red him
to the heart; but he hath forgot that.
FRANCIS. Why, then, cover and set them down; and see if thou canst
find out Sneak's noise; Mistress Tearsheet would fain hear some
Enter third DRAWER
THIRD DRAWER. Dispatch! The room where they supp'd is too hot;
they'll come in straight.
FRANCIS. Sirrah, here will be the Prince and Master Poins anon; and
they will put on two of our jerkins and aprons; and Sir John must
not know of it. Bardolph hath brought word.
THIRD DRAWER. By the mass, here will be old uds; it will be an
SECOND DRAWER. I'll see if I can find out Sneak.
Exeunt second and third DRAWERS
Enter HOSTESS and DOLL TEARSHEET
HOSTESS. I' faith, sweetheart, methinks now you are in an excellent
good temperality. Your pulsidge beats as extraordinarily as heart
would desire; and your colour, I warrant you, is as red as any
rose, in good truth, la! But, i' faith, you have drunk too much
canaries; and that's a marvellous searching wine, and it perfumes
the blood ere one can say 'What's this?' How do you now?
DOLL. Better than I was- hem.
HOSTESS. Why, that's well said; a good heart's worth gold.
Lo, here comes Sir John.
FALSTAFF. [Singing] 'When Arthur first in court'- Empty the
jordan. [Exit FRANCIS]- [Singing] 'And was a worthy king'- How
now, Mistress Doll!
HOSTESS. Sick of a calm; yea, good faith.
FALSTAFF. So is all her sect; and they be once in a calm, they are
DOLL. A pox damn you, you muddy rascal! Is that all the comfort you
FALSTAFF. You make fat rascals, Mistress Doll.
DOLL. I make them! Gluttony and diseases make them: I make them
FALSTAFF. If the cook help to make the gluttony, you help to make
the diseases, Doll. We catch of you, Doll, we catch of you; grant
that, my poor virtue, grant that.
DOLL. Yea, joy, our chains and our jewels.
FALSTAFF. 'Your brooches, pearls, and ouches.' For to serve bravely
is to come halting off; you know, to come off the breach with his
pike bent bravely, and to surgery bravely; to venture upon the
charg'd chambers bravely-
DOLL. Hang yourself, you muddy conger, hang yourself!
HOSTESS. By my troth, this is the old fashion; you two never meet
but you fall to some discord. You are both, i' good truth, as
rheumatic as two dry toasts; you cannot one bear with another's
confirmities. What the good-year! one must bear, and that must be
you. You are the weaker vessel, as as they say, the emptier
DOLL. Can a weak empty vessel bear such a huge full hogs-head?
There's a whole merchant's venture of Bourdeaux stuff in him; you
have not seen a hulk better stuff'd in the hold. Come, I'll be
friends with thee, Jack. Thou art going to the wars; and whether
I shall ever see thee again or no, there is nobody cares.
FRANCIS. Sir, Ancient Pistol's below and would speak with you.
DOLL. Hang him, swaggering rascal! Let him not come hither; it is
the foul-mouth'dst rogue in England.
HOSTESS. If he swagger, let him not come here. No, by my faith! I
must live among my neighbours; I'll no swaggerers. I am in good
name and fame with the very best. Shut the door. There comes no
swaggerers here; I have not liv'd all this while to have
swaggering now. Shut the door, I pray you.
FALSTAFF. Dost thou hear, hostess?
HOSTESS. Pray ye, pacify yourself, Sir John; there comes no
FALSTAFF. Dost thou hear? It is mine ancient.
HOSTESS. Tilly-fally, Sir John, ne'er tell me; and your ancient
swagg'rer comes not in my doors. I was before Master Tisick, the
debuty, t' other day; and, as he said to me- 'twas no longer ago
than Wednesday last, i' good faith!- 'Neighbour Quickly,' says
he- Master Dumbe, our minister, was by then- 'Neighbour Quickly,'
says he 'receive those that are civil, for' said he 'you are in
an ill name.' Now 'a said so, I can tell whereupon. 'For' says he
'you are an honest woman and well thought on, therefore take heed
what guests you receive. Receive' says he 'no swaggering
companions.' There comes none here. You would bless you to hear
what he said. No, I'll no swagg'rers.
FALSTAFF. He's no swagg'rer, hostess; a tame cheater, i' faith; you
may stroke him as gently as a puppy greyhound. He'll not swagger
with a Barbary hen, if her feathers turn back in any show of
resistance. Call him up, drawer.
HOSTESS. Cheater, call you him? I will bar no honest man my house,
nor no cheater; but I do not love swaggering, by my troth. I am
the worse when one says 'swagger.' Feel, masters, how I shake;
look you, I warrant you.
DOLL. So you do, hostess.
HOSTESS. Do I? Yea, in very truth, do I, an 'twere an aspen leaf. I
cannot abide swagg'rers.
Enter PISTOL, BARDOLPH, and PAGE
PISTOL. God save you, Sir John!
FALSTAFF. Welcome, Ancient Pistol. Here, Pistol, I charge you with
a cup of sack; do you discharge upon mine hostess.
PISTOL. I will discharge upon her, Sir John, with two bullets.
FALSTAFF. She is pistol-proof, sir; you shall not hardly offend
HOSTESS. Come, I'll drink no proofs nor no bullets. I'll drink no
more than will do me good, for no man's pleasure, I.
PISTOL. Then to you, Mistress Dorothy; I will charge you.
DOLL. Charge me! I scorn you, scurvy companion. What! you poor,
base, rascally, cheating, lack-linen mate! Away, you mouldy
rogue, away! I am meat for your master.
PISTOL. I know you, Mistress Dorothy.
DOLL. Away, you cut-purse rascal! you filthy bung, away! By this
wine, I'll thrust my knife in your mouldy chaps, an you play the
saucy cuttle with me. Away, you bottle-ale rascal! you
basket-hilt stale juggler, you! Since when, I pray you, sir?
God's light, with two points on your shoulder? Much!
PISTOL. God let me not live but I will murder your ruff for this.
FALSTAFF. No more, Pistol; I would not have you go off here.
Discharge yourself of our company, Pistol.
HOSTESS. No, good Captain Pistol; not here, sweet captain.
DOLL. Captain! Thou abominable damn'd cheater, art thou not ashamed
to be called captain? An captains were of my mind, they would
truncheon you out, for taking their names upon you before you
have earn'd them. You a captain! you slave, for what? For tearing
a poor whore's ruff in a bawdy-house? He a captain! hang him,
rogue! He lives upon mouldy stew'd prunes and dried cakes. A
captain! God's light, these villains will make the word as odious
as the word 'occupy'; which was an excellent good word before it
was ill sorted. Therefore captains had need look to't.
BARDOLPH. Pray thee go down, good ancient.
FALSTAFF. Hark thee hither, Mistress Doll.
PISTOL. Not I! I tell thee what, Corporal Bardolph, I could tear
her; I'll be reveng'd of her.
PAGE. Pray thee go down.
PISTOL. I'll see her damn'd first; to Pluto's damn'd lake, by this
hand, to th' infernal deep, with Erebus and tortures vile also.
Hold hook and line, say I. Down, down, dogs! down, faitors! Have
we not Hiren here?
HOSTESS. Good Captain Peesel, be quiet; 'tis very late, i' faith; I
beseek you now, aggravate your choler.
PISTOL. These be good humours, indeed! Shall packhorses,
And hollow pamper'd jades of Asia,
Which cannot go but thirty mile a day,
Compare with Caesars, and with Cannibals,
And Troiant Greeks? Nay, rather damn them with
King Cerberus; and let the welkin roar.
Shall we fall foul for toys?
HOSTESS. By my troth, Captain, these are very bitter words.
BARDOLPH. Be gone, good ancient; this will grow to a brawl anon.
PISTOL. Die men like dogs! Give crowns like pins! Have we not Hiren
HOSTESS. O' my word, Captain, there's none such here. What the
good-year! do you think I would deny her? For God's sake, be
PISTOL. Then feed and be fat, my fair Calipolis.
Come, give's some sack.
'Si fortune me tormente sperato me contento.'
Fear we broadsides? No, let the fiend give fire.
Give me some sack; and, sweetheart, lie thou there.
[Laying down his sword]
Come we to full points here, and are etceteras nothings?
FALSTAFF. Pistol, I would be quiet.
PISTOL. Sweet knight, I kiss thy neaf. What! we have seen the seven
DOLL. For God's sake thrust him down stairs; I cannot endure such a
PISTOL. Thrust him down stairs! Know we not Galloway nags?
FALSTAFF. Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat shilling.
Nay, an 'a do nothing but speak nothing, 'a shall be nothing
BARDOLPH. Come, get you down stairs.
PISTOL. What! shall we have incision? Shall we imbrue?
[Snatching up his sword]
Then death rock me asleep, abridge my doleful days!
Why, then, let grievous, ghastly, gaping wounds
Untwine the Sisters Three! Come, Atropos, I say!
HOSTESS. Here's goodly stuff toward!
FALSTAFF. Give me my rapier, boy.
DOLL. I pray thee, Jack, I pray thee, do not draw.
FALSTAFF. Get you down stairs.
[Drawing and driving PISTOL out]
HOSTESS. Here's a goodly tumult! I'll forswear keeping house afore
I'll be in these tirrits and frights. So; murder, I warrant now.
Alas, alas! put up your naked weapons, put up your naked weapons.
Exeunt PISTOL and BARDOLPH
DOLL. I pray thee, Jack, be quiet; the rascal's gone. Ah, you
whoreson little valiant villain, you!
HOSTESS. Are you not hurt i' th' groin? Methought 'a made a shrewd
thrust at your belly.
FALSTAFF. Have you turn'd him out a doors?
BARDOLPH. Yea, sir. The rascal's drunk. You have hurt him, sir, i'
FALSTAFF. A rascal! to brave me!
DOLL. Ah, you sweet little rogue, you! Alas, poor ape, how thou
sweat'st! Come, let me wipe thy face. Come on, you whoreson
chops. Ah, rogue! i' faith, I love thee. Thou art as valorous as
Hector of Troy, worth five of Agamemnon, and ten times better
than the Nine Worthies. Ah, villain!
FALSTAFF. A rascally slave! I will toss the rogue in a blanket.
DOLL. Do, an thou dar'st for thy heart. An thou dost, I'll canvass
thee between a pair of sheets.
PAGE. The music is come, sir.
FALSTAFF. Let them play. Play, sirs. Sit on my knee, Don. A rascal
bragging slave! The rogue fled from me like quick-silver.
DOLL. I' faith, and thou follow'dst him like a church. Thou
whoreson little tidy Bartholomew boar-pig, when wilt thou leave
fighting a days and foining a nights, and begin to patch up thine
old body for heaven?
Enter, behind, PRINCE HENRY and POINS disguised as drawers
FALSTAFF. Peace, good Doll! Do not speak like a death's-head; do
not bid me remember mine end.
DOLL. Sirrah, what humour's the Prince of?
FALSTAFF. A good shallow young fellow. 'A would have made a good
pantler; 'a would ha' chipp'd bread well.
DOLL. They say Poins has a good wit.
FALSTAFF. He a good wit! hang him, baboon! His wit's as thick as
Tewksbury mustard; there's no more conceit in him than is in a
DOLL. Why does the Prince love him so, then?
FALSTAFF. Because their legs are both of a bigness, and 'a plays at
quoits well, and eats conger and fennel, and drinks off candles'
ends for flap-dragons, and rides the wild mare with the boys, and
jumps upon join'd-stools, and swears with a good grace, and wears
his boots very smooth, like unto the sign of the Leg, and breeds
no bate with telling of discreet stories; and such other gambol
faculties 'a has, that show a weak mind and an able body, for the
which the Prince admits him. For the Prince himself is such
another; the weight of a hair will turn the scales between their
PRINCE. Would not this nave of a wheel have his ears cut off?
POINS. Let's beat him before his whore.
PRINCE. Look whe'er the wither'd elder hath not his poll claw'd
like a parrot.
POINS. Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive
FALSTAFF. Kiss me, Doll.
PRINCE. Saturn and Venus this year in conjunction! What says th'
almanac to that?
POINS. And look whether the fiery Trigon, his man, be not lisping
to his master's old tables, his note-book, his counsel-keeper.
FALSTAFF. Thou dost give me flattering busses.
DOLL. By my troth, I kiss thee with a most constant heart.
FALSTAFF. I am old, I am old.
DOLL. I love thee better than I love e'er a scurvy young boy of
FALSTAFF. What stuff wilt have a kirtle of? I shall receive money a
Thursday. Shalt have a cap to-morrow. A merry song, come. 'A
grows late; we'll to bed. Thou't forget me when I am gone.
DOLL. By my troth, thou't set me a-weeping, an thou say'st so.
Prove that ever I dress myself handsome till thy return. Well,
hearken a' th' end.
FALSTAFF. Some sack, Francis.
PRINCE & POINS. Anon, anon, sir. [Advancing]
FALSTAFF. Ha! a bastard son of the King's? And art thou not Poins
PRINCE. Why, thou globe of sinful continents, what a life dost thou
FALSTAFF. A better than thou. I am a gentleman: thou art a drawer.
PRINCE. Very true, sir, and I come to draw you out by the ears.
HOSTESS. O, the Lord preserve thy Grace! By my troth, welcome to
London. Now the Lord bless that sweet face of thine. O Jesu, are
you come from Wales?
FALSTAFF. Thou whoreson mad compound of majesty, by this light
flesh and corrupt blood, thou art welcome.
[Leaning his band upon DOLL]
DOLL. How, you fat fool! I scorn you.
POINS. My lord, he will drive you out of your revenge and turn all
to a merriment, if you take not the heat.
PRINCE. YOU whoreson candle-mine, you, how vilely did you speak of
me even now before this honest, virtuous, civil gentlewoman!
HOSTESS. God's blessing of your good heart! and so she is, by my
FALSTAFF. Didst thou hear me?
PRINCE. Yea; and you knew me, as you did when you ran away by
Gadshill. You knew I was at your back, and spoke it on purpose to
try my patience.
FALSTAFF. No, no, no; not so; I did not think thou wast within
PRINCE. I shall drive you then to confess the wilful abuse, and
then I know how to handle you.
FALSTAFF. No abuse, Hal, o' mine honour; no abuse.
PRINCE. Not- to dispraise me, and call me pander, and
bread-chipper, and I know not what!
FALSTAFF. No abuse, Hal.
POINS. No abuse!
FALSTAFF. No abuse, Ned, i' th' world; honest Ned, none. I
disprais'd him before the wicked- that the wicked might not fall
in love with thee; in which doing, I have done the part of a
careful friend and a true subject; and thy father is to give me
thanks for it. No abuse, Hal; none, Ned, none; no, faith, boys,
PRINCE. See now, whether pure fear and entire cowardice doth not
make thee wrong this virtuous gentlewoman to close with us? Is
she of the wicked? Is thine hostess here of the wicked? Or is thy
boy of the wicked? Or honest Bardolph, whose zeal burns in his
nose, of the wicked?
POINS. Answer, thou dead elm, answer.
FALSTAFF. The fiend hath prick'd down Bardolph irrecoverable; and
his face is Lucifer's privy-kitchen, where he doth nothing but
roast malt-worms. For the boy- there is a good angel about him;
but the devil outbids him too.
PRINCE. For the women?
FALSTAFF. For one of them- she's in hell already, and burns poor
souls. For th' other- I owe her money; and whether she be damn'd
for that, I know not.
HOSTESS. No, I warrant you.
FALSTAFF. No, I think thou art not; I think thou art quit for that.
Marry, there is another indictment upon thee for suffering flesh
to be eaten in thy house, contrary to the law; for the which I
think thou wilt howl.
HOSTESS. All vict'lers do so. What's a joint of mutton or two in a
PRINCE. You, gentlewoman-
DOLL. What says your Grace?
FALSTAFF. His Grace says that which his flesh rebels against.
HOSTESS. Who knocks so loud at door? Look to th' door there,
PRINCE. Peto, how now! What news?
PETO. The King your father is at Westminster;
And there are twenty weak and wearied posts
Come from the north; and as I came along
I met and overtook a dozen captains,
Bare-headed, sweating, knocking at the taverns,
And asking every one for Sir John Falstaff.
PRINCE. By heaven, Poins, I feel me much to blame
So idly to profane the precious time,
When tempest of commotion, like the south,
Borne with black vapour, doth begin to melt
And drop upon our bare unarmed heads.
Give me my sword and cloak. Falstaff, good night.
Exeunt PRINCE, POINS, PETO, and BARDOLPH
FALSTAFF. Now comes in the sweetest morsel of the night, and we
must hence, and leave it unpick'd. [Knocking within] More
knocking at the door!
How now! What's the matter?
BARDOLPH. You must away to court, sir, presently;
A dozen captains stay at door for you.
FALSTAFF. [To the PAGE]. Pay the musicians, sirrah.- Farewell,
hostess; farewell, Doll. You see, my good wenches, how men of
merit are sought after; the undeserver may sleep, when the man of
action is call'd on. Farewell, good wenches. If I be not sent
away post, I will see you again ere I go.
DOLL. I cannot speak. If my heart be not ready to burst!
Well, sweet Jack, have a care of thyself.
FALSTAFF. Farewell, farewell.
Exeunt FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH
HOSTESS. Well, fare thee well. I have known thee these twenty-nine
years, come peascod-time; but an honester and truer-hearted man
-well fare thee well.
BARDOLPH. [ Within] Mistress Tearsheet!
HOSTESS. What's the matter?
BARDOLPH. [ Within] Bid Mistress Tearsheet come to my master.
HOSTESS. O, run Doll, run, run, good Come. [To BARDOLPH] She
comes blubber'd.- Yea, will you come, Doll? Exeunt
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ACT III. SCENE I.
Westminster. The palace
Enter the KING in his nightgown, with a page
KING. Go call the Earls of Surrey and of Warwick;
But, ere they come, bid them o'er-read these letters
And well consider of them. Make good speed. Exit page
How many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee,
That thou no more will weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sound of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch
A watch-case or a common 'larum-bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge,
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafing clamour in the slippery clouds,
That with the hurly death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude;
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
Enter WARWICK and Surrey
WARWICK. Many good morrows to your Majesty!
KING. Is it good morrow, lords?
WARWICK. 'Tis one o'clock, and past.
KING. Why then, good morrow to you all, my lords.
Have you read o'er the letters that I sent you?
WARWICK. We have, my liege.
KING. Then you perceive the body of our kingdom
How foul it is; what rank diseases grow,
And with what danger, near the heart of it.
WARWICK. It is but as a body yet distempered;
Which to his former strength may be restored
With good advice and little medicine.
My Lord Northumberland will soon be cool'd.
KING. O God! that one might read the book of fate,
And see the revolution of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent,
Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
Into the sea; and other times to see
The beachy girdle of the ocean
Too wide for Neptune's hips; how chances mock,
And changes fill the cup of alteration
With divers liquors! O, if this were seen,
The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,
What perils past, what crosses to ensue,
Would shut the book and sit him down and die.
'Tis not ten years gone
Since Richard and Northumberland, great friends,
Did feast together, and in two years after
Were they at wars. It is but eight years since
This Percy was the man nearest my soul;
Who like a brother toil'd in my affairs
And laid his love and life under my foot;
Yea, for my sake, even to the eyes of Richard
Gave him defiance. But which of you was by-
[To WARWICK] You, cousin Nevil, as I may remember-
When Richard, with his eye brim full of tears,
Then check'd and rated by Northumberland,
Did speak these words, now prov'd a prophecy?
'Northumberland, thou ladder by the which
My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my throne'-
Though then, God knows, I had no such intent
But that necessity so bow'd the state
That I and greatness were compell'd to kiss-
'The time shall come'- thus did he follow it-
'The time will come that foul sin, gathering head,
Shall break into corruption' so went on,
Foretelling this same time's condition
And the division of our amity.
WARWICK. There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the natures of the times deceas'd;
The which observ'd, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, who in their seeds
And weak beginning lie intreasured.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time;
And, by the necessary form of this,
King Richard might create a perfect guess
That great Northumberland, then false to him,
Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness;
Which should not find a ground to root upon
Unless on you.
KING. Are these things then necessities?
Then let us meet them like necessities;
And that same word even now cries out on us.
They say the Bishop and Northumberland
Are fifty thousand strong.
WARWICK. It cannot be, my lord.
Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo,
The numbers of the feared. Please it your Grace
To go to bed. Upon my soul, my lord,
The powers that you already have sent forth
Shall bring this prize in very easily.
To comfort you the more, I have receiv'd
A certain instance that Glendower is dead.
Your Majesty hath been this fortnight ill;
And these unseasoned hours perforce must ad
Unto your sickness.
KING. I will take your counsel.
And, were these inward wars once out of hand,
We would, dear lords, unto the Holy Land. Exeunt
Gloucestershire. Before Justice, SHALLOW'S house
Enter SHALLOW and SILENCE, meeting; MOULDY, SHADOW, WART, FEEBLE, BULLCALF,
and servants behind
SHALLOW. Come on, come on, come on; give me your hand, sir; give me
your hand, sir. An early stirrer, by the rood! And how doth my
good cousin Silence?
SILENCE. Good morrow, good cousin Shallow.
SHALLOW. And how doth my cousin, your bed-fellow? and your fairest
daughter and mine, my god-daughter Ellen?
SILENCE. Alas, a black ousel, cousin Shallow!
SHALLOW. By yea and no, sir. I dare say my cousin William is become
a good scholar; he is at Oxford still, is he not?
SILENCE. Indeed, sir, to my cost.
SHALLOW. 'A must, then, to the Inns o' Court shortly. I was once of
Clement's Inn; where I think they will talk of mad Shallow yet.
SILENCE. You were call'd 'lusty Shallow' then, cousin.
SHALLOW. By the mass, I was call'd anything; and I would have done
anything indeed too, and roundly too. There was I, and little
John Doit of Staffordshire, and black George Barnes, and Francis
Pickbone, and Will Squele a Cotsole man- you had not four such
swinge-bucklers in all the Inns of Court again. And I may say to
you we knew where the bona-robas were, and had the best of them
all at commandment. Then was Jack Falstaff, now Sir John, boy,
and page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
SILENCE. This Sir John, cousin, that comes hither anon about
SHALLOW. The same Sir John, the very same. I see him break
Scoggin's head at the court gate, when 'a was a crack not thus
high; and the very same day did I fight with one Sampson
Stockfish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's Inn. Jesu, Jesu, the mad
days that I have spent! and to see how many of my old
acquaintance are dead!
SILENCE. We shall all follow, cousin.
SHALLOW. Certain, 'tis certain; very sure, very sure. Death, as the
Psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall die. How a good yoke
of bullocks at Stamford fair?
SILENCE. By my troth, I was not there.
SHALLOW. Death is certain. Is old Double of your town living yet?
SILENCE. Dead, sir.
SHALLOW. Jesu, Jesu, dead! drew a good bow; and dead! 'A shot a
fine shoot. John a Gaunt loved him well, and betted much money on
his head. Dead! 'A would have clapp'd i' th' clout at twelve
score, and carried you a forehand shaft a fourteen and fourteen
and a half, that it would have done a man's heart good to see.
How a score of ewes now?
SILENCE. Thereafter as they be- a score of good ewes may be worth
SHALLOW. And is old Double dead?
Enter BARDOLPH, and one with him
SILENCE. Here come two of Sir John Falstaffs men, as I think.
SHALLOW. Good morrow, honest gentlemen.
BARDOLPH. I beseech you, which is Justice Shallow?
SHALLOW. I am Robert Shallow, sir, a poor esquire of this county,
and one of the King's justices of the peace. What is your good
pleasure with me?
BARDOLPH. My captain, sir, commends him to you; my captain, Sir
John Falstaff- a tall gentleman, by heaven, and a most gallant
SHALLOW. He greets me well, sir; I knew him a good back-sword man.
How doth the good knight? May I ask how my lady his wife doth?
BARDOLPH. Sir, pardon; a soldier is better accommodated than with a
SHALLOW. It is well said, in faith, sir; and it is well said indeed
too. 'Better accommodated!' It is good; yea, indeed, is it. Good
phrases are surely, and ever were, very commendable.
'Accommodated!' It comes of accommodo. Very good; a good phrase.
BARDOLPH. Pardon, sir; I have heard the word. 'Phrase' call you it?
By this day, I know not the phrase; but I will maintain the word
with my sword to be a soldier-like word, and a word of exceeding
good command, by heaven. Accommodated: that is, when a man is, as
they say, accommodated; or, when a man is being-whereby 'a may be
thought to be accommodated; which is an excellent thing.
SHALLOW. It is very just. Look, here comes good Sir John. Give me
your good hand, give me your worship's good hand. By my troth,
you like well and bear your years very well. Welcome, good Sir
FALSTAFF. I am glad to see you well, good Master Robert Shallow.
Master Surecard, as I think?
SHALLOW. No, Sir John; it is my cousin Silence, in commission with
FALSTAFF. Good Master Silence, it well befits you should be of the
SILENCE. Your good worship is welcome.
FALSTAFF. Fie! this is hot weather. Gentlemen, have you provided me
here half a dozen sufficient men?
SHALLOW. Marry, have we, sir. Will you sit?
FALSTAFF. Let me see them, I beseech you.
SHALLOW. Where's the roll? Where's the roll? Where's the roll? Let
me see, let me see, let me see. So, so, so, so,- so, so- yea,
marry, sir. Rafe Mouldy! Let them appear as I call; let them do
so, let them do so. Let me see; where is Mouldy?
MOULDY. Here, an't please you.
SHALLOW. What think you, Sir John? A good-limb'd fellow; young,
strong, and of good friends.
FALSTAFF. Is thy name Mouldy?
MOULDY. Yea, an't please you.
FALSTAFF. 'Tis the more time thou wert us'd.
SHALLOW. Ha, ha, ha! most excellent, i' faith! Things that are
mouldy lack use. Very singular good! In faith, well said, Sir
John; very well said.
FALSTAFF. Prick him.
MOULDY. I was prick'd well enough before, an you could have let me
alone. My old dame will be undone now for one to do her husbandry
and her drudgery. You need not to have prick'd me; there are
other men fitter to go out than I.
FALSTAFF. Go to; peace, Mouldy; you shall go. Mouldy, it is time
you were spent.
SHALLOW. Peace, fellow, peace; stand aside; know you where you are?
For th' other, Sir John- let me see. Simon Shadow!
FALSTAFF. Yea, marry, let me have him to sit under. He's like to be
a cold soldier.
SHALLOW. Where's Shadow?
SHADOW. Here, sir.
FALSTAFF. Shadow, whose son art thou?
SHADOW. My mother's son, sir.
FALSTAFF. Thy mother's son! Like enough; and thy father's shadow.
So the son of the female is the shadow of the male. It is often
so indeed; but much of the father's substance!
SHALLOW. Do you like him, Sir John?
FALSTAFF. Shadow will serve for summer. Prick him; for we have a
number of shadows fill up the muster-book.
SHALLOW. Thomas Wart!
FALSTAFF. Where's he?
WART. Here, sir.
FALSTAFF. Is thy name Wart?
WART. Yea, sir.
FALSTAFF. Thou art a very ragged wart.
SHALLOW. Shall I prick him, Sir John?
FALSTAFF. It were superfluous; for his apparel is built upon his
back, and the whole frame stands upon pins. Prick him no more.
SHALLOW. Ha, ha, ha! You can do it, sir; you can do it. I commend
you well. Francis Feeble!
FEEBLE. Here, sir.
FALSTAFF. What trade art thou, Feeble?
FEEBLE. A woman's tailor, sir.
SHALLOW. Shall I prick him, sir?
FALSTAFF. You may; but if he had been a man's tailor, he'd ha'
prick'd you. Wilt thou make as many holes in an enemy's battle as
thou hast done in a woman's petticoat?
FEEBLE. I will do my good will, sir; you can have no more.
FALSTAFF. Well said, good woman's tailor! well said, courageous
Feeble! Thou wilt be as valiant as the wrathful dove or most
magnanimous mouse. Prick the woman's tailor- well, Master
Shallow, deep, Master Shallow.
FEEBLE. I would Wart might have gone, sir.
FALSTAFF. I would thou wert a man's tailor, that thou mightst mend
him and make him fit to go. I cannot put him to a private
soldier, that is the leader of so many thousands. Let that
suffice, most forcible Feeble.
FEEBLE. It shall suffice, sir.
FALSTAFF. I am bound to thee, reverend Feeble. Who is next?
SHALLOW. Peter Bullcalf o' th' green!
FALSTAFF. Yea, marry, let's see Bullcalf.
BULLCALF. Here, sir.
FALSTAFF. Fore God, a likely fellow! Come, prick me Bullcalf till
he roar again.
BULLCALF. O Lord! good my lord captain-
FALSTAFF. What, dost thou roar before thou art prick'd?
BULLCALF. O Lord, sir! I am a diseased man.
FALSTAFF. What disease hast thou?
BULLCALF. A whoreson cold, sir, a cough, sir, which I caught with
ringing in the King's affairs upon his coronation day, sir.
FALSTAFF. Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown. We will have
away thy cold; and I will take such order that thy friends shall
ring for thee. Is here all?
SHALLOW. Here is two more call'd than your number. You must have
but four here, sir; and so, I pray you, go in with me to dinner.
FALSTAFF. Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot tarry
dinner. I am glad to see you, by my troth, Master Shallow.
SHALLOW. O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all night in the
windmill in Saint George's Field?
FALSTAFF. No more of that, Master Shallow, no more of that.
SHALLOW. Ha, 'twas a merry night. And is Jane Nightwork alive?
FALSTAFF. She lives, Master Shallow.
SHALLOW. She never could away with me.
FALSTAFF. Never, never; she would always say she could not abide
SHALLOW. By the mass, I could anger her to th' heart. She was then
a bona-roba. Doth she hold her own well?
FALSTAFF. Old, old, Master Shallow.
SHALLOW. Nay, she must be old; she cannot choose but be old;
certain she's old; and had Robin Nightwork, by old Nightwork,
before I came to Clement's Inn.
SILENCE. That's fifty-five year ago.
SHALLOW. Ha, cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that that this
knight and I have seen! Ha, Sir John, said I well?
FALSTAFF. We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow.
SHALLOW. That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith, Sir
John, we have. Our watchword was 'Hem, boys!' Come, let's to
dinner; come, let's to dinner. Jesus, the days that we have seen!
Exeunt FALSTAFF and the JUSTICES
BULLCALF. Good Master Corporate Bardolph, stand my friend; and
here's four Harry ten shillings in French crowns for you. In very
truth, sir, I had as lief be hang'd, sir, as go. And yet, for
mine own part, sir, I do not care; but rather because I am
unwilling and, for mine own part, have a desire to stay with my
friends; else, sir, I did not care for mine own part so much.
BARDOLPH. Go to; stand aside.
MOULDY. And, good Master Corporal Captain, for my old dame's sake,
stand my friend. She has nobody to do anything about her when I
am gone; and she is old, and cannot help herself. You shall have
BARDOLPH. Go to; stand aside.
FEEBLE. By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once; we owe God
a death. I'll ne'er bear a base mind. An't be my destiny, so;
an't be not, so. No man's too good to serve 's Prince; and, let
it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for the
BARDOLPH. Well said; th'art a good fellow.
FEEBLE. Faith, I'll bear no base mind.
Re-enter FALSTAFF and the JUSTICES
FALSTAFF. Come, sir, which men shall I have?
SHALLOW. Four of which you please.
BARDOLPH. Sir, a word with you. I have three pound to free Mouldy
FALSTAFF. Go to; well.
SHALLOW. Come, Sir John, which four will you have?
FALSTAFF. Do you choose for me.
SHALLOW. Marry, then- Mouldy, Bullcalf, Feeble, and Shadow.
FALSTAFF. Mouldy and Bullcalf: for you, Mouldy, stay at home till
you are past service; and for your part, Bullcalf, grow you come
unto it. I will none of you.
SHALLOW. Sir John, Sir John, do not yourself wrong. They are your
likeliest men, and I would have you serv'd with the best.
FALSTAFF. Will you tell me, Master Shallow, how to choose a man?
Care I for the limb, the thews, the stature, bulk, and big
assemblance of a man! Give me the spirit, Master Shallow. Here's
Wart; you see what a ragged appearance it is. 'A shall charge you
and discharge you with the motion of a pewterer's hammer, come
off and on swifter than he that gibbets on the brewer's bucket.
And this same half-fac'd fellow, Shadow- give me this man. He
presents no mark to the enemy; the foeman may with as great aim
level at the edge of a penknife. And, for a retreat- how swiftly
will this Feeble, the woman's tailor, run off! O, give me the
spare men, and spare me the great ones. Put me a caliver into
Wart's hand, Bardolph.
BARDOLPH. Hold, Wart. Traverse- thus, thus, thus.
FALSTAFF. Come, manage me your caliver. So- very well. Go to; very
good; exceeding good. O, give me always a little, lean, old,
chopt, bald shot. Well said, i' faith, Wart; th'art a good scab.
Hold, there's a tester for thee.
SHALLOW. He is not his craft's master, he doth not do it right. I
remember at Mile-end Green, when I lay at Clement's Inn- I was
then Sir Dagonet in Arthur's show- there was a little quiver
fellow, and 'a would manage you his piece thus; and 'a would
about and about, and come you in and come you in. 'Rah, tah,
tah!' would 'a say; 'Bounce!' would 'a say; and away again would
'a go, and again would 'a come. I shall ne'er see such a fellow.
FALSTAFF. These fellows will do well. Master Shallow, God keep you!
Master Silence, I will not use many words with you: Fare you
well! Gentlemen both, I thank you. I must a dozen mile to-night.
Bardolph, give the soldiers coats.
SHALLOW. Sir John, the Lord bless you; God prosper your affairs;
God send us peace! At your return, visit our house; let our old
acquaintance be renewed. Peradventure I will with ye to the
FALSTAFF. Fore God, would you would.
SHALLOW. Go to; I have spoke at a word. God keep you.
FALSTAFF. Fare you well, gentle gentlemen. [Exeunt JUSTICES] On,
Bardolph; lead the men away. [Exeunt all but FALSTAFF] As I
return, I will fetch off these justices. I do see the bottom of
justice Shallow. Lord, Lord, how subject we old men are to this
vice of lying! This same starv'd justice hath done nothing but
prate to me of the wildness of his youth and the feats he hath
done about Turnbull Street; and every third word a lie, duer paid
to the hearer than the Turk's tribute. I do remember him at
Clement's Inn, like a man made after supper of a cheese-paring.
When 'a was naked, he was for all the world like a fork'd radish,
with a head fantastically carved upon it with a knife. 'A was so
forlorn that his dimensions to any thick sight were invisible. 'A
was the very genius of famine; yet lecherous as a monkey, and the
whores call'd him mandrake. 'A came ever in the rearward of the
fashion, and sung those tunes to the overscutch'd huswifes that
he heard the carmen whistle, and sware they were his fancies or
his good-nights. And now is this Vice's dagger become a squire,
and talks as familiarly of John a Gaunt as if he had been sworn
brother to him; and I'll be sworn 'a ne'er saw him but once in
the Tiltyard; and then he burst his head for crowding among the
marshal's men. I saw it, and told John a Gaunt he beat his own
name; for you might have thrust him and all his apparel into an
eel-skin; the case of a treble hautboy was a mansion for him, a
court- and now has he land and beeves. Well, I'll be acquainted
with him if I return; and 't shall go hard but I'll make him a
philosopher's two stones to me. If the young dace be a bait for
the old pike, I see no reason in the law of nature but I may snap
at him. Let time shape, and there an end. Exit
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ACT IV. SCENE I.
Yorkshire. Within the Forest of Gaultree
Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, MOWBRAY, HASTINGS, and others
ARCHBISHOP. What is this forest call'd
HASTINGS. 'Tis Gaultree Forest, an't shall please your Grace.
ARCHBISHOP. Here stand, my lords, and send discoverers forth
To know the numbers of our enemies.
HASTINGS. We have sent forth already.
ARCHBISHOP. 'Tis well done.
My friends and brethren in these great affairs,
I must acquaint you that I have receiv'd
New-dated letters from Northumberland;
Their cold intent, tenour, and substance, thus:
Here doth he wish his person, with such powers
As might hold sortance with his quality,
The which he could not levy; whereupon
He is retir'd, to ripe his growing fortunes,
To Scotland; and concludes in hearty prayers
That your attempts may overlive the hazard
And fearful meeting of their opposite.
MOWBRAY. Thus do the hopes we have in him touch ground
And dash themselves to pieces.
Enter A MESSENGER
HASTINGS. Now, what news?
MESSENGER. West of this forest, scarcely off a mile,
In goodly form comes on the enemy;
And, by the ground they hide, I judge their number
Upon or near the rate of thirty thousand.
MOWBRAY. The just proportion that we gave them out.
Let us sway on and face them in the field.
ARCHBISHOP. What well-appointed leader fronts us here?
MOWBRAY. I think it is my Lord of Westmoreland.
WESTMORELAND. Health and fair greeting from our general,
The Prince, Lord John and Duke of Lancaster.
ARCHBISHOP. Say on, my Lord of Westmoreland, in peace,
What doth concern your coming.
WESTMORELAND. Then, my lord,
Unto your Grace do I in chief address
The substance of my speech. If that rebellion
Came like itself, in base and abject routs,
Led on by bloody youth, guarded with rags,
And countenanc'd by boys and beggary-
I say, if damn'd commotion so appear'd
In his true, native, and most proper shape,
You, reverend father, and these noble lords,
Had not been here to dress the ugly form
Of base and bloody insurrection
With your fair honours. You, Lord Archbishop,
Whose see is by a civil peace maintain'd,
Whose beard the silver hand of peace hath touch'd,
Whose learning and good letters peace hath tutor'd,
Whose white investments figure innocence,
The dove, and very blessed spirit of peace-
Wherefore you do so ill translate yourself
Out of the speech of peace, that bears such grace,
Into the harsh and boist'rous tongue of war;
Turning your books to graves, your ink to blood,
Your pens to lances, and your tongue divine
To a loud trumpet and a point of war?
ARCHBISHOP. Wherefore do I this? So the question stands.
Briefly to this end: we are all diseas'd
And with our surfeiting and wanton hours
Have brought ourselves into a burning fever,
And we must bleed for it; of which disease
Our late King, Richard, being infected, died.
But, my most noble Lord of Westmoreland,
I take not on me here as a physician;
Nor do I as an enemy to peace
Troop in the throngs of military men;
But rather show awhile like fearful war
To diet rank minds sick of happiness,
And purge th' obstructions which begin to stop
Our very veins of life. Hear me more plainly.
I have in equal balance justly weigh'd
What wrongs our arms may do, what wrongs we suffer,
And find our griefs heavier than our offences.
We see which way the stream of time doth run
And are enforc'd from our most quiet there
By the rough torrent of occasion;
And have the summary of all our griefs,
When time shall serve, to show in articles;
Which long ere this we offer'd to the King,
And might by no suit gain our audience:
When we are wrong'd, and would unfold our griefs,
We are denied access unto his person,
Even by those men that most have done us wrong.
The dangers of the days but newly gone,
Whose memory is written on the earth
With yet appearing blood, and the examples
Of every minute's instance, present now,
Hath put us in these ill-beseeming arms;
Not to break peace, or any branch of it,
But to establish here a peace indeed,
Concurring both in name and quality.
WESTMORELAND. When ever yet was your appeal denied;
Wherein have you been galled by the King;
What peer hath been suborn'd to grate on you
That you should seal this lawless bloody book
Of forg'd rebellion with a seal divine,
And consecrate commotion's bitter edge?
ARCHBISHOP. My brother general, the commonwealth,
To brother horn an household cruelty,
I make my quarrel in particular.
WESTMORELAND. There is no need of any such redress;
Or if there were, it not belongs to you.
MOWBRAY. Why not to him in part, and to us all
That feel the bruises of the days before,
And suffer the condition of these times
To lay a heavy and unequal hand
Upon our honours?
WESTMORELAND. O my good Lord Mowbray,
Construe the times to their necessities,
And you shall say, indeed, it is the time,
And not the King, that doth you injuries.
Yet, for your part, it not appears to me,
Either from the King or in the present time,
That you should have an inch of any ground
To build a grief on. Were you not restor'd
To all the Duke of Norfolk's signiories,
Your noble and right well-rememb'red father's?
MOWBRAY. What thing, in honour, had my father lost
That need to be reviv'd and breath'd in me?
The King that lov'd him, as the state stood then,
Was force perforce compell'd to banish him,
And then that Henry Bolingbroke and he,
Being mounted and both roused in their seats,
Their neighing coursers daring of the spur,
Their armed staves in charge, their beavers down,
Their eyes of fire sparkling through sights of steel,
And the loud trumpet blowing them together-
Then, then, when there was nothing could have stay'd
My father from the breast of Bolingbroke,
O, when the King did throw his warder down-
His own life hung upon the staff he threw-
Then threw he down himself, and all their lives
That by indictment and by dint of sword
Have since miscarried under Bolingbroke.
WESTMORELAND. You speak, Lord Mowbray, now you know not what.
The Earl of Hereford was reputed then
In England the most valiant gentleman.
Who knows on whom fortune would then have smil'd?
But if your father had been victor there,
He ne'er had borne it out of Coventry;
For all the country, in a general voice,
Cried hate upon him; and all their prayers and love
Were set on Hereford, whom they doted on,
And bless'd and grac'd indeed more than the King.
But this is mere digression from my purpose.
Here come I from our princely general
To know your griefs; to tell you from his Grace
That he will give you audience; and wherein
It shall appear that your demands are just,
You shall enjoy them, everything set off
That might so much as think you enemies.
MOWBRAY. But he hath forc'd us to compel this offer;
And it proceeds from policy, not love.
WESTMORELAND. Mowbray. you overween to take it so.
This offer comes from mercy, not from fear;
For, lo! within a ken our army lies-
Upon mine honour, all too confident
To give admittance to a thought of fear.
Our battle is more full of names than yours,
Our men more perfect in the use of arms,
Our armour all as strong, our cause the best;
Then reason will our hearts should be as good.
Say you not, then, our offer is compell'd.
MOWBRAY. Well, by my will we shall admit no parley.
WESTMORELAND. That argues but the shame of your offence:
A rotten case abides no handling.
HASTINGS. Hath the Prince John a full commission,
In very ample virtue of his father,
To hear and absolutely to determine
Of what conditions we shall stand upon?
WESTMORELAND. That is intended in the general's name.
I muse you make so slight a question.
ARCHBISHOP. Then take, my Lord of Westmoreland, this schedule,
For this contains our general grievances.
Each several article herein redress'd,
All members of our cause, both here and hence,
That are insinewed to this action,
Acquitted by a true substantial form,
And present execution of our wills
To us and to our purposes confin'd-
We come within our awful banks again,
And knit our powers to the arm of peace.
WESTMORELAND. This will I show the general. Please you, lords,
In sight of both our battles we may meet;
And either end in peace- which God so frame!-
Or to the place of diff'rence call the swords
Which must decide it.
ARCHBISHOP. My lord, we will do so. Exit WESTMORELAND
MOWBRAY. There is a thing within my bosom tells me
That no conditions of our peace can stand.
HASTINGS. Fear you not that: if we can make our peace
Upon such large terms and so absolute
As our conditions shall consist upon,
Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky mountains.
MOWBRAY. Yea, but our valuation shall be such
That every slight and false-derived cause,
Yea, every idle, nice, and wanton reason,
Shall to the King taste of this action;
That, were our royal faiths martyrs in love,
We shall be winnow'd with so rough a wind
That even our corn shall seem as light as chaff,
And good from bad find no partition.
ARCHBISHOP. No, no, my lord. Note this: the King is weary
Of dainty and such picking grievances;
For he hath found to end one doubt by death
Revives two greater in the heirs of life;
And therefore will he wipe his tables clean,
And keep no tell-tale to his memory
That may repeat and history his los
To new remembrance. For full well he knows
He cannot so precisely weed this land
As his misdoubts present occasion:
His foes are so enrooted with his friends
That, plucking to unfix an enemy,
He doth unfasten so and shake a friend.
So that this land, like an offensive wife
That hath enrag'd him on to offer strokes,
As he is striking, holds his infant up,
And hangs resolv'd correction in the arm
That was uprear'd to execution.
HASTINGS. Besides, the King hath wasted all his rods
On late offenders, that he now doth lack
The very instruments of chastisement;
So that his power, like to a fangless lion,
May offer, but not hold.
ARCHBISHOP. 'Tis very true;
And therefore be assur'd, my good Lord Marshal,
If we do now make our atonement well,
Our peace will, like a broken limb united,
Grow stronger for the breaking.
MOWBRAY. Be it so.
Here is return'd my Lord of Westmoreland.
WESTMORELAND. The Prince is here at hand. Pleaseth your lordship
To meet his Grace just distance 'tween our armies?
MOWBRAY. Your Grace of York, in God's name then, set forward.
ARCHBISHOP. Before, and greet his Grace. My lord, we come.
Another part of the forest
Enter, from one side, MOWBRAY, attended; afterwards, the ARCHBISHOP,
HASTINGS, and others; from the other side, PRINCE JOHN of LANCASTER,
WESTMORELAND, OFFICERS, and others
PRINCE JOHN. You are well encount'red here, my cousin Mowbray.
Good day to you, gentle Lord Archbishop;
And so to you, Lord Hastings, and to all.
My Lord of York, it better show'd with you
When that your flock, assembled by the bell,
Encircled you to hear with reverence
Your exposition on the holy text
Than now to see you here an iron man,
Cheering a rout of rebels with your drum,
Turning the word to sword, and life to death.
That man that sits within a monarch's heart
And ripens in the sunshine of his favour,
Would he abuse the countenance of the king,
Alack, what mischiefs might he set abroach
In shadow of such greatness! With you, Lord Bishop,
It is even so. Who hath not heard it spoken
How deep you were within the books of God?
To us the speaker in His parliament,
To us th' imagin'd voice of God himself,
The very opener and intelligencer
Between the grace, the sanctities of heaven,
And our dull workings. O, who shall believe
But you misuse the reverence of your place,
Employ the countenance and grace of heav'n
As a false favourite doth his prince's name,
In deeds dishonourable? You have ta'en up,
Under the counterfeited zeal of God,
The subjects of His substitute, my father,
And both against the peace of heaven and him
Have here up-swarm'd them.
ARCHBISHOP. Good my Lord of Lancaster,
I am not here against your father's peace;
But, as I told my Lord of Westmoreland,
The time misord'red doth, in common sense,
Crowd us and crush us to this monstrous form
To hold our safety up. I sent your Grace
The parcels and particulars of our grief,
The which hath been with scorn shov'd from the court,
Whereon this hydra son of war is born;
Whose dangerous eyes may well be charm'd asleep
With grant of our most just and right desires;
And true obedience, of this madness cur'd,
Stoop tamely to the foot of majesty.
MOWBRAY. If not, we ready are to try our fortunes
To the last man.
HASTINGS. And though we here fall down,
We have supplies to second our attempt.
If they miscarry, theirs shall second them;
And so success of mischief shall be born,
And heir from heir shall hold this quarrel up
Whiles England shall have generation.
PRINCE JOHN. YOU are too shallow, Hastings, much to shallow,
To sound the bottom of the after-times.
WESTMORELAND. Pleaseth your Grace to answer them directly
How far forth you do like their articles.
PRINCE JOHN. I like them all and do allow them well;
And swear here, by the honour of my blood,
My father's purposes have been mistook;
And some about him have too lavishly
Wrested his meaning and authority.
My lord, these griefs shall be with speed redress'd;
Upon my soul, they shall. If this may please you,
Discharge your powers unto their several counties,
As we will ours; and here, between the armies,
Let's drink together friendly and embrace,
That all their eyes may bear those tokens home
Of our restored love and amity.
ARCHBISHOP. I take your princely word for these redresses.
PRINCE JOHN. I give it you, and will maintain my word;
And thereupon I drink unto your Grace.
HASTINGS. Go, Captain, and deliver to the army
This news of peace. Let them have pay, and part.
I know it will please them. Hie thee, Captain.
ARCHBISHOP. To you, my noble Lord of Westmoreland.
WESTMORELAND. I pledge your Grace; and if you knew what pains
I have bestow'd to breed this present peace,
You would drink freely; but my love to ye
Shall show itself more openly hereafter.
ARCHBISHOP. I do not doubt you.
WESTMORELAND. I am glad of it.
Health to my lord and gentle cousin, Mowbray.
MOWBRAY. You wish me health in very happy season,
For I am on the sudden something ill.
ARCHBISHOP. Against ill chances men are ever merry;
But heaviness foreruns the good event.
WESTMORELAND. Therefore be merry, coz; since sudden sorrow
Serves to say thus, 'Some good thing comes to-morrow.'
ARCHBISHOP. Believe me, I am passing light in spirit.
MOWBRAY. So much the worse, if your own rule be true.
PRINCE JOHN. The word of peace is rend'red. Hark, how they shout!
MOWBRAY. This had been cheerful after victory.
ARCHBISHOP. A peace is of the nature of a conquest;
For then both parties nobly are subdu'd,
And neither party loser.
PRINCE JOHN. Go, my lord,
And let our army be discharged too.
And, good my lord, so please you let our trains
March by us, that we may peruse the men
We should have cop'd withal.
ARCHBISHOP. Go, good Lord Hastings,
And, ere they be dismiss'd, let them march by.
PRINCE JOHN. I trust, lords, we shall lie to-night together.
Now, cousin, wherefore stands our army still?
WESTMORELAND. The leaders, having charge from you to stand,
Will not go off until they hear you speak.
PRINCE JOHN. They know their duties.
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