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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act V. Scene I.

The Life of King Henry the Fifth

France.An English Court of Guard.


Gow.Nay, that’s right; but why wear you your leek to-day? Saint Davy’s day is past.

Flu.There is occasions and causes why and wherefore in all things: I will tell you, asse my friend, Captain Gower. The rascally, scald, beggarly, lousy, pragging knave, Pistol,—which you and yourself and all the ’orld know to be no petter than a fellow,—look you now, of no merits, he is come to me and prings me pread and salt yesterday, look you, and pid me eat my leek. It was in a place where I could not preed no contention with him; but I will be so pold as to wear it in my cap till I see him once again, and then I will tell him a little piece of my desires.

Gow.Why, here he comes, swelling like a turkey-cock.


Flu.’Tis no matter for his swellings nor his turkey-cocks. God pless you, Aunchient Pistol! you scurvy, lousy knave, God pless you!

Pist.Ha! art thou bedlam? dost thou thirst, base Troyan,

To have me fold up Parca’s fatal web?

Hence! I am qualmish at the smell of leek.

Flu.I peseech you heartily, scurvy lousy knave, at my desires and my requests and my petitions to eat, look you, this leek; pecause, look you, you do not love it, nor your affections and your appetites and your digestions does not agree with it, I would desire you to eat it.

Pist.Not for Cadwallader and all his goats.

Flu.[Strikes him.]There is one goat for you.

Will you be so good, scald knave, as eat it?

Pist.Base Troyan, thou shalt die.

Flu.You say very true, scald knave, when God’s will is. I will desire you to live in the mean time and eat your victuals; come, there is sauce for it.[Strikes him again.]You called me yesterday mountain-squire, but I will make you to-day a squire of low degree. I pray you, fall to: if you can mock a leek you can eat a leek.

Gow.Enough, captain: you have astonished him.

Flu.I say, I will make him eat some part of my leek, or I will peat his pate four days. Bite, I pray you; it is good for your green wound and your ploody coxcomb.

Pist.Must I bite?

Flu.Yes, certainly, and out of doubt and out of question too and ambiguities.

Pist.By this leek, I will most horribly revenge. I eat and eat, I swear—

Flu.Eat, I pray you: will you have some more sauce to your leek? there is not enough leek to swear by.

Pist.Quiet thy cudgel: thou dost see I eat.

Flu.Much good do you, scald knave, heartily. Nay, pray you, throw none away; the skin is good for your broken coxcomb. When you take occasions to see leeks hereafter, I pray you, mock at ’em; that is all.


Flu.Ay, leeks is good. Hold you, there is a groat to heal your pate.

Pist.Me a groat!

Flu.Yes, verily and in truth, you shall take it; or I have another leek in my pocket, which you shall eat.

Pist.I take thy groat in earnest of revenge.

Flu.If I owe you anything I will pay you in cudgels: you shall be a woodmonger, and buy nothing of me but cudgels. God be wi’ you, and keep you, and heal your pate.[Exit.

Pist.All hell shall stir for this.

Gow.Go, go; you are a counterfeit cowardly knave. Will you mock at an ancient tradition, begun upon an honourable respect, and worn as a memorable trophy of predeceased valour, and dare not a vouch in your deeds any of your words? I have seen you gleeking and galling at this gentleman twice or thrice. You thought, because he could not speak English in the native garb, he could not therefore handle and English cudgel: you find it otherwise; and henceforth let a Welsh correction teach you a good English condition. Fare ye well.[Exit.

Pist.Doth Fortune play the huswife with me now?

News have I that my Nell is dead i’ the spital

Of malady of France:

And there my rendezvous is quite cut off.

Old I do wax, and from my weary limbs

Honour is cudgelled. Well, bawd I’ll turn,

And something lean to cutpurse of quick hand.

To England will I steal, and there I’ll steal:

And patches will I get unto these cudgell’d scars,

And swear I got them in the Gallia wars.[Exit.