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

Act II. Scene IV.

The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth

London.A Room in the Boar’s Head Tavern, in Eastcheap.

Enter two Drawers.

First Draw.What the devil hast thou brought there? apple-johns? thou knowest Sir John cannot endure an apple-john.

Sec. Draw.Mass, thou sayst 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 angered him to the heart; but he hath forgot that.

First Draw.Why then, cover, and set them down: and see if thou canst find out Sneak’s noise; Mistress Tearsheet would fain hear some music. Dispatch: the room where they supped is too hot; they’ll come in straight.

Sec. Draw.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.

First Draw.By the mass, here will be old utis: it will be an excellent stratagem.

Sec. Draw.I’ll see if I can find out Sneak.[Exit.


Quick.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?

Dol.Better than I was: hem!

Quick.Why, that’s well said; a good heart’s worth gold. Lo! here comes Sir John.

Enter FALSTAFF, singing.

Fal.When Arthur first in court—Empty the jordan.—[Exit First Drawer.]—And was a worthy king. How now, Mistress Doll!

Quick.Sick of a calm: yea, good sooth.

Fal.So is all her sect; an they be once in a calm they are sick.

Dol.You muddy rascal, is that all the comfort you give me?

Fal.You make fat rascals, Mistress Doll.

Dol.I make them! gluttony and diseases make them; I make them not.

Fal.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.

Dol.Ay, marry; our chains and our jewels.

Fal.‘Your brooches, pearls, and owches:’—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 charged chambers bravely,—

Dol.Hang yourself, you muddy conger, hang yourself!

Quick.By my troth, this is the old fashion; you two never meet but you fall to some discord: you are both, in good troth, 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 they say, the emptier vessel.

Dol.Can a weak empty vessel bear such a huge full hogshead? there’s a whole merchant’s venture of Bourdeaux stuff in him: you have not seen a hulk better stuffed 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.

Re-enter First Drawer.

First Draw.Sir, Ancient Pistol’s below, and would speak with you.

Dol.Hang him, swaggering rascal! let him not come hither: it is the foul-mouthedest rogue in England.

Quick.If he swagger, let him not come here: no, by my faith; I must live amongst 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 lived all this while to have swaggering now: shut the door, I pray you.

Fal.Dost thou hear, hostess?

Quick.Pray you, pacify yourself, Sir John: there comes no swaggerers here.

Fal.Dost thou hear? it is mine ancient.

Quick.Tilly-fally, Sir John, never tell me: your ancient swaggerer comes not in my doors. I was before Master Tisick, the deputy, t’ other day; and, as he said to me,—’twas no longer ago than Wednesday last,—‘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 swaggerers.

Fal.He’s no swaggerer, hostess; a tame cheater, i’ faith; you may stroke him as gently as a puppy greyhound: he will not swagger with a Barbary hen if her feathers turn back in any show of resistance. Call him up, drawer.[Exit First Drawer.

Quick.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.

Dol.So you do, hostess.

Quick.Do I? yea, in very truth, do I, an ’twere an aspen leaf: I cannot abide swaggerers.

Enter PISTOL, BARDOLPH, and Page.

Pist.God save you, Sir John!

Fal.Welcome, Ancient Pistol. Here, Pistol, I charge you with a cup of sack: do you discharge upon mine hostess.

Pist.I will discharge upon her, Sir John, with two bullets.

Fal.She is pistol-proof, sir; you shall hardly offend her.

Quick.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.

Pist.Then to you, Mistress Dorothy; I will charge you.

Dol.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.

Pist.I know you, Mistress Dorothy.

Dol.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!

Pist.God let me not live. I will murder your ruff for this!

Fal.No more, Pistol: I would not have you go off here. Discharge yourself of our company, Pistol.

Quick.No, good captain Pistol; not here, sweet captain.

Dol.Captain! thou abominable damned 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 earned 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 stewed prunes and dried cakes. A captain! God’s light, these villains will make the word captain as odious as the word ‘occupy,’ which was an excellent good word before it was ill sorted: therefore captains had need look to it.

Bard.Pray thee, go down, good ancient.

Fal.Hark thee hither, Mistress Doll.

Pist.Not I; I tell thee what, Corporal Bardolph; I could tear her. I’ll be revenged of her.

Page.Pray thee, go down.

Pist.I’ll see her damned first; to Pluto’s damned lake, by this hand, to the infernal deep, with Erebus and tortures vile also. Hold hook and line, say I. Down, down, dogs! down fates! Have we not Hiren here?

Quick.Good Captain Peesel, be quiet; it is very late, i’ faith. I beseek you now, aggravate your choler.

Pist.These be good humours, indeed! Shall pack-horses,

And hollow pamper’d jades of Asia,

Which cannot go but thirty miles a day,

Compare with Cæsars, and with Cannibals,

And Trojan Greeks? nay, rather damn them with

King Cerberus; and let the welkin roar.

Shall we fall foul for toys?

Quick.By my troth, captain, these are very bitter words.

Bard.Be gone, good ancient: this will grow to a brawl anon.

Pist.Die men like dogs! give crowns like pins! Have we not Hiren here?

Quick.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 quiet.

Pist.Then feed, and be fat, my fair Calipolis.

Come, give’s some sack.

Si fortuna 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 et ceteras nothing?

Fal.Pistol, I would be quiet.

Pist.Sweet knight, I kiss thy neif. What! we have seen the seven stars.

Dol.For God’s sake, thrust him down stairs! I cannot endure such a fustian rascal.

Pist.‘Thrust him down stairs!’ know we not Galloway nags?

Fal.Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat shilling: nay, an a’ do nothing but speak nothing, a’ shall be nothing here.

Bard.Come, get you down stairs.

Pist.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!

Quick.Here’s goodly stuff toward!

Fal.Give me my rapier, boy.

Dol.I pray thee, Jack, I pray thee, do not draw.

Fal.Get you down stairs.[Drawing.

Quick.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 BARDOLPH and PISTOL.

Dol.I pray thee, Jack, be quiet; the rascal’s gone. Ah! you whoreson little valiant villain, you!

Quick.Are you not hurt i’ the groin? methought a’ made a shrewd thrust at your belly.

Re-enter BARDOLPH.

Fal.Have you turned him out o’ doors?

Bard.Yes, sir: the rascal’s drunk. You have hurt him, sir, i’ the shoulder.

Fal.A rascal, to brave me!

Dol.Ah, you sweet little rogue, you! Alas, poor ape, how thou sweatest! 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!

Fal.A rascally slave! I will toss the rogue in a blanket.

Dol.Do, an thou darest for thy heart: an thou dost, I’ll canvass thee between a pair of sheets.

Enter Music.

Page.The music is come, sir.

Fal.Let them play. Play, sirs. Sit on my knee, Doll. A rascal bragging slave! the rogue fled from me like quicksilver.

Dol.I’ faith, and thou followedst him like a church. Thou whoreson little tidy Bartholomew boar-pig, when wilt thou leave fighting o’ days, and foining o’ nights, and begin to patch up thine old body for heaven?

Enter behind the PRINCE and POINS, disguised like Drawers.

Fal.Peace, good Doll! do not speak like a death’s head: do not bid me remember mine end.

Dol.Sirrah, what humour is the prince of?

Fal.A good shallow young fellow: a’ would have made a good pantler, a’ would have chipped bread well.

Dol.They say, Poins has a good wit.

Fal.He a good wit! hang him, baboon! his wit is as thick as Tewksbury mustard: there is no more conceit in him than is in a mallet.

Dol.Why does the prince love him so, then?

Fal.Because their legs are both of a bigness, and he plays at quoits well, and eats conger and fennel, and drinks off candles’ ends for flapdragons, and rides the wild mare with the boys, and jumps upon joint-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 avoirdupois.

Prince.Would not this nave of a wheel have his ears cut off?

Poins.Let’s beat him before his whore.

Prince.Look, whether the withered elder hath not his poll clawed like a parrot.

Poins.Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?

Fal.Kiss me, Doll.

Prince.Saturn and Venus this year in conjunction! what says the almanack 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.

Fal.Thou dost give me flattering busses.

Dol.By my troth, I kiss thee with a most constant heart.

Fal.I am old, I am old.

Dol.I love thee better than I love e’er a scurvy young boy of them all.

Fal.What stuff wilt have a kirtle of? I shall receive money o’ Thursday; thou shalt have a cap to-morrow. A merry song! come: it grows late; we’ll to bed. Thou’lt forget me when I am gone.

Dol.By my troth, thou’lt set me a-weeping an thou sayst so: prove that ever I dress myself handsome till thy return. Well, hearken at the end.

Fal.Some sack, Francis!

Prince & Poins.[Coming forward.]Anon, anon, sir.

Fal.Ha! a bastard son of the king’s? And art not thou Poins his brother?

Prince.Why, thou globe of sinful continents, what a life dost thou lead!

Fal.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.

Quick.O! the Lord preserve thy good Grace; by my troth, welcome to London. Now, the Lord bless that sweet face of thine! O Jesu! are you come from Wales?

Fal.Thou whoreson mad compound of majesty, by this light flesh and corrupt blood[pointing to DOLL], thou art welcome.

Dol.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!

Quick.Blessing on your good heart! and so she is, by my troth.

Fal.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.

Fal.No, no, no; not so; I did not think thou wast within hearing.

Prince.I shall drive you then to confess the wilful abuse; and then I know how to handle you.

Fal.No abuse, Hal, o’ mine honour; no abuse.

Prince.Not to dispraise me, and call me pantler and bread-chipper and I know not what?

Fal.No abuse, Hal.

Poins.No abuse!

Fal.No abuse, Ned, in the world; honest Ned, none. I dispraised him before the wicked, that the wicked might not fall in love with him; 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, none.

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.

Fal.The fiend hath pricked down Bardolph irrecoverable; and his face is Lucifer’s privy-kitchen, where he doth nothing but roast maltworms. For the boy, there is a good angel about him; but the devil outbids him too.

Prince.For the women?

Fal.For one of them, she is in hell already, and burns poor souls. For the other, I owe her money; and whether she be damned for that, I know not.

Quick.No, I warrant you.

Fal.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.

Quick.All victuallers do so: what’s a joint of mutton or two in a whole Lent?

Prince.You, gentlewoman,—

Dol.What says your Grace?

Fal.His Grace says that which his flesh rebels against.[Knocking within.

Quick.Who knocks so loud at door? Look to the door there, Francis.

Enter PETO.

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 the PRINCE, POINS, PETO, and BARDOLPH.

Fal.Now comes in the sweetest morsel of the night, and we must hence and leave it unpicked.[Knocking within.]More knocking at the door!

Re-enter BARDOLPH.

How now! what’s the matter?

Bard.You must away to court, sir, presently;

A dozen captains stay at door for you.

Fal.[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 called on. Farewell, good wenches. If I be not sent away post, I will see you again ere I go.

Dol.I cannot speak; if my heart be not ready to burst,—well, sweet Jack, have a care of thyself.

Fal.Farewell, farewell.[Exeunt FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH.

Quick.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.

Bard.[Within.]Mistress Tearsheet!

Quick.What’s the matter?

Bard.[Within.]Bid Mistress Tearsheet come to my master.

Quick.O! run, Doll, run; run, good Doll.[Exeunt.