Act II - Act II, Scene 4
Scene IV. Eastcheap. A Room in the Boar's-Head Tavern.
[Enter Prince Henry.]
Ned, pr'ythee, come out of that fat room, and lend me thy
hand to laugh a little.
Where hast been, Hal?
With three or four loggerheads amongst three or fourscore
hogsheads. I have sounded the very base-string of humility.
Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers; and can call
them all by their Christian names, as, Tom, Dick, and Francis.
They take it already upon their salvation, that though I be but
Prince of Wales, yet I am the king of courtesy; and tell me flatly
I am no proud Jack, like Falstaff, but a corinthian, a lad of mettle,
a good boy,--by the Lord, so they call me;--and, when I am King
of England, I shall command all the good lads in Eastcheap. They
call drinking deep, dying scarlet; and, when you breathe in your
watering, they cry hem! and bid you play it off. To conclude, I am
so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour, that I can drink with
any tinker in his own language during my life. I tell thee, Ned, thou
hast lost much honour, that thou wert not with me in this action. But,
sweet Ned,--to sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee this pennyworth
of sugar, clapp'd even now into my hand by an under-skinker; one that
never spake other English in his life than Eight shillings and sixpence,
and You are welcome; with this shrill addition, Anon, anon, sir! Score
a pint of bastard in the Half-moon,--or so. But, Ned, to drive away
the time till Falstaff come, I pr'ythee, do thou stand in some by-room,
while I question my puny drawer to what end he gave me the sugar;
and do thou never leave calling Francis! that his tale to me may be
nothing but Anon. Step aside, and I'll show thee a precedent.
Thou art perfect.
Anon, anon, sir.--Look down into the Pomegranate, Ralph.
Come hither, Francis.
How long hast thou to serve, Francis?
Forsooth, five years, and as much as to--
Anon, anon, sir.
Five year! by'r Lady, a long lease for the clinking of
pewter. But, Francis, darest thou be so valiant as to play
the coward with thy indenture and show it a fair pair of heels
and run from it?
O Lord, sir, I'll be sworn upon all the books in England,
I could find in my heart--
Anon, anon, sir.
How old art thou, Francis?
Let me see,--about Michaelmas next I shall be--
Anon, sir.--Pray you, stay a little, my lord.
Nay, but hark you, Francis: for the sugar thou gavest
me, 'twas a pennyworth, was't not?
O Lord, sir, I would it had been two!
I will give thee for it a thousand pound: ask me when
thou wilt, and thou shalt have it.
Anon, Francis? No, Francis; but to-morrow, Francis; or,
Francis, a Thursday; or, indeed, Francis, when thou wilt. But,
--wilt thou rob this leathern-jerkin, crystal-button,
nott-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-garter,
O Lord, sir, who do you mean?
Why, then, your brown bastard is your only drink; for,
look you, Francis, your white canvas doublet will sully: in
Barbary, sir, it cannot come to so much.
Away, you rogue! dost thou not hear them call?
[Here they both call him; Francis stands amazed, not knowing
which way to go.]
What, stand'st thou still, and hear'st such a calling? Look
to the guests within. [Exit Francis.]--My lord, old Sir John,
with half-a-dozen more, are at the door: shall I let them in?
Let them alone awhile, and then open the door.
Anon, anon, sir.
Sirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the thieves are at the
door: shall we be merry?
As merry as crickets, my lad. But hark ye; what cunning
match have you made with this jest of the drawer? Come,
what's the issue?
I am now of all humours that have showed themselves humours
since the old days of goodman Adam to the pupil age of this
present twelve o'clock at midnight.--What's o'clock, Francis?
[Within.] Anon, anon, sir.
That ever this fellow should have fewer words than a parrot, and
yet the son of a woman! His industry is up-stairs and down-stairs;
his eloquence the parcel of a reckoning. I am not yet of Percy's
mind, the Hotspur of the North; he that kills me some six or seven
dozen of Scots at a breakfast, washes his hands, and says to his wife,
Fie upon this quiet life! I want work. O my sweet Harry, says she,
how many hast thou kill'd to-day? Give my roan horse a drench,
says he; and answers, Some fourteen, an hour after,--a trifle, a
I pr'ythee, call in Falstaff: I'll play Percy, and that damn'd
brawn shall play Dame Mortimer his wife. Rivo! says the drunkard.
Call in ribs, call in tallow.
[Enter Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph, and Peto; followed by
Francis with wine.]
Welcome, Jack: where hast thou been?
A plague of all cowards, I say, and a vengeance too! marry, and
Give me a cup of sack, boy.--Ere I lead this life long, I'll sew
nether-stocks, and mend them and foot them too. A plague of all
Give me a cup of sack, rogue.--Is there no virtue extant?
Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter? pitiful-hearted
butter, that melted at the sweet tale of the Sun! if thou didst,
then behold that compound.
You rogue, here's lime in this sack too: there is nothing but roguery
to be found in villainous man: yet a coward is worse than a cup of
sack with lime in it, a villanous coward.--Go thy ways, old Jack: die
when thou wilt, if manhood, good manhood, be not forgot upon the face
of the Earth, then am I a shotten herring. There live not three good
men unhang'd in England; and one of them is fat, and grows old: God
help the while! a bad world, I say.
I would I were a weaver; I could sing psalms or any thing. A plague of
all cowards! I say still.
How now, wool-sack? what mutter you?
A king's son! If I do not beat thee out of thy kingdom with a dagger
of lath, and drive all thy subjects afore thee like a flock of
wild-geese, I'll never wear hair on my face more. You Prince of Wales!
Why, you whoreson round man, what's the matter?
Are not you a coward? answer me to that:--and Pointz there?
Zwounds, ye fat paunch, an ye call me coward, by the Lord, I'll
I call thee coward! I'll see thee damn'd ere I call thee coward:
but I would give a thousand pound, I could run as fast as thou canst.
You are straight enough in the shoulders; you care not who sees your
back: call you that backing of your friends? A plague upon such
backing! give me them that will face me.--Give me a cup of sack:
I am a rogue, if I drunk to-day.
O villain! thy lips are scarce wiped since thou drunk'st last.
All is one for that. A plague of all cowards! still say I.
What's the matter?
What's the matter? there be four of us here have ta'en a thousand
pound this day morning.
Where is it, Jack? where is it?
Where is it! taken from us it is: a hundred upon poor four of us!
What, a hundred, man?
I am a rogue, if I were not at half-sword with a dozen of them two
hours together. I have 'scaped by miracle. I am eight times thrust
through the doublet, four through the hose; my buckler cut through
and through; my sword hack'd like a hand-saw,--ecce signum! I never
dealt better since I was a man: all would not do. A plague of all
cowards! Let them speak: if they speak more or less than truth,
they are villains and the sons of darkness.
Speak, sirs; how was it?
We four set upon some dozen,--
Sixteen at least, my lord.
--and bound them.
No, no; they were not bound.
You rogue, they were bound, every man of them; or I am a Jew
else, an Ebrew Jew.
As we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men sea upon us,--
And unbound the rest, and then come in the other.
What, fought you with them all?
All? I know not what you call all; but if I fought not with fifty
of them, I am a bunch of radish: if there were not two or three
and fifty upon poor old Jack, then am I no two-legged creature.
Pray God you have not murdered some of them.
Nay, that's past praying for: I have pepper'd two of them; two I
am sure I have paid, two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee what,
Hal, if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me horse.
Thou knowest my old ward: here I lay, and thus I bore my point.
Four rogues in buckram let drive at me,--
What, four? thou saidst but two even now.
Four, Hal; I told thee four.
Ay, ay, he said four.
These four came all a-front, and mainly thrust at me. I made me no more
ado but took all their seven points in my target, thus.
Seven? why, there were but four even now.
Ay, four, in buckram suits.
Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.
[aside to Pointz.] Pr'ythee let him alone; we shall have more
Dost thou hear me, Hal?
Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.
Do so, for it is worth the listening to. These nine in buckram
that I told thee of,--
So, two more already.
--their points being broken,--
Down fell their hose.
--began to give me ground: but I followed me close, came in foot
and hand; and with a thought seven of the eleven I paid.
O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two!
But, as the Devil would have it, three misbegotten knaves in Kendal
Green came at my back and let drive at me; for it was so dark, Hal,
that thou couldst not see thy hand.
These lies are like the father that begets them, gross as a mountain,
open, palpable. Why, thou nott-pated fool, thou whoreson, obscene
What, art thou mad? art thou mad? is not the truth the truth?
Why, how couldst thou know these men in Kendal green, when it was
so dark thou couldst not see thy hand? come, tell us your reason:
what sayest thou to this?
Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.
What, upon compulsion? No; were I at the strappado, or all the racks
in the world, I would not tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on
compulsion! if reasons were as plentiful as blackberries, I would
give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.
I'll be no longer guilty of this sin; this sanguine coward, this
bed-presser, this horse-back-breaker, this huge hill of flesh,--
Away, you starveling, you eel-skin, you dried neat's-tongue, you
O, for breath to utter what is like thee!--you tailor's-yard, you
sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck,--
Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again: and, when thou hast
tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this:--
--We two saw you four set on four; you bound them, and were masters of
their wealth.--Mark now, how a plain tale shall put you down.--
Then did we two set on you four; and, with a word, outfaced you from
your prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you here in the house:
and, Falstaff, you carried yourself away as nimbly, with as quick
dexterity, and roared for mercy, and still ran and roar'd, as ever I
heard bull-calf. What a slave art thou, to hack thy sword as thou
hast done, and then say it was in fight!
What trick, what device, what starting-hole canst thou now find
out to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?
Come, let's hear, Jack; what trick hast thou now?
By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that made ye. Why, hear ye,
Was it for me to kill the heir-apparent? should I turn upon the
true Prince? why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Hercules: but
beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true Prince.
Instinct is a great matter; I was now a coward on instinct.
I shall think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a
valiant lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads,
I am glad you have the money.--
[To Hostess within.] Hostess, clap-to the doors: watch
to-night, pray to-morrow.--Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold,
all the titles of good fellowship come to you!
What, shall we be merry? shall we have a play extempore?
Content; and the argument shall be thy running away.
Ah, no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me!
[Enter the Hostess.]
O Jesu, my lord the Prince,--
How now, my lady the hostess! What say'st thou to me?
Marry, my lord, there is a nobleman of the Court at door would
speak with you: he says he comes from your father.
Give him as much as will make him a royal man, and send him back
again to my mother.
What manner of man is he?
An old man.
What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight? Shall I give him
Pr'ythee, do, Jack.
Faith, and I'll send him packing.
Now, sirs:--by'r Lady, you fought fair;--so did you, Peto;--so did you,
Bardolph: you are lions, too, you ran away upon instinct, you will not
touch the true Prince; no,--fie!
Faith, I ran when I saw others run.
Tell me now in earnest, how came Falstaff's sword so hack'd?
Why, he hack'd it with his dagger; and said he would swear truth out of
England, but he would make you believe it was done in fight; and
persuaded us to do the like.
Yea, and to tickle our noses with spear-grass to make them bleed;
and then to beslubber our garments with it, and swear it was the
blood of true men. I did that I did not this seven year before;
I blush'd to hear his monstrous devices.
O villain, thou stolest a cup of sack eighteen years ago, and wert
taken with the manner, and ever since thou hast blush'd extempore.
Thou hadst fire and sword on thy side, and yet thou rann'st away:
what instinct hadst thou for it?
My lord, do you see these meteors? do you behold these
What think you they portend?
Hot livers and cold purses.
Choler, my lord, if rightly taken.
No, if rightly taken, halter.--Here comes lean Jack, here comes
How now, my sweet creature of bombast! How long is't ago, Jack,
since thou saw'st thine own knee?
My own knee! when I was about thy years, Hal, I was not an eagle's
talon in the waist; I could have crept into any alderman's thumb-ring:
a plague of sighing and grief! it blows a man up like a bladder.
There's villanous news abroad: here was Sir John Bracy from your
father; you must to the Court in the morning.
That same mad fellow of the North, Percy; and he of Wales, that gave
Amaimon the bastinado, and swore the Devil his true liegeman upon the
cross of a Welsh hook,--what a plague call you him?
Owen, Owen,--the same; and his son-in-law Mortimer; and old
Northumberland; and that sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas, that
runs o' horseback up a hill perpendicular,--
He that rides at high speed and with his pistol kills a sparrow
You have hit it.
So did he never the sparrow.
Well, that rascal hath good metal in him; he will not run.
Why, what a rascal art thou, then, to praise him so for running!
O' horseback, ye cuckoo! but a-foot he will not budge a foot.
Yes, Jack, upon instinct.
I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too, and one Mordake,
and a thousand blue-caps more:
Worcester is stolen away to-night; thy father's beard is turn'd
white with the news: you may buy land now as cheap as stinking
But, tell me, Hal, art not thou horrible afeard? thou being
heir-apparent, could the world pick thee out three such enemies again
as that fiend Douglas, that spirit Percy, and that devil Glendower?
art thou not horribly afraid? doth not thy blood thrill at it?
Not a whit, i'faith; I lack some of thy instinct.
Well, thou wilt be horribly chid to-morrow when thou comest to
thy father. If thou love life, practise an answer.
Do thou stand for my father and examine me upon the particulars
of my life.
Shall I? content: this chair shall be my state, this dagger my
sceptre, and this cushion my crown.
Thy state is taken for a joint-stool, thy golden sceptre for a
leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown for a pitiful bald crown.
Well, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee, now shalt
thou be moved.--
Give me a cup of sack, to make my eyes look red, that it may be
thought I have wept; for I must speak in passion, and I will do it
in King Cambyses' vein.
Well, here is my leg.
And here is my speech.--Stand aside, nobility.
O Jesu, this is excellent sport, i faith!
Weep not, sweet Queen; for trickling tears are vain.
O, the Father, how he holds his countenance!
For God's sake, lords, convey my tristful Queen;
For tears do stop the floodgates of her eyes.
O Jesu, he doth it as like one of these harlotry players as ever
Peace, good pint-pot; peace, good tickle-brain.--Harry, I do not
only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also how thou art
accompanied: for though the camomile, the more it is trodden on,
the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted, the sooner
it wears. That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother's word,
partly my own opinion; but chiefly a villainous trick of thine eye,
and a foolish hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant me. If,
then, thou be son to me, here lies the point: Why, being son to me,
art thou so pointed at?
Shall the blessed Sun of heaven prove a micher, and eat blackberries?
a question not to be ask'd. Shall the son of England prove a thief,
and take purses? a question to be ask'd.
There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard of, and it is
known to many in our land by the name of pitch: this pitch, as
ancient writers do report, doth defile; so doth the company thou
keepest: for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee in drink, but in
tears; not in pleasure, but in passion; not in words only,
but in woes also. And yet there is a virtuous man whom I have
often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.
What manner of man, an it like your Majesty?
A goodly portly man, i'faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful look,
a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage; and, as I think, his age
some fifty, or, by'r Lady, inclining to threescore; and now I
remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man should be lewdly given,
he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his looks.
If, then, the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree,
then, peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff: him
keep with, the rest banish. And tell me now, thou naughty varlet, tell
me where hast thou been this month?
Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for me, and I'll play
Depose me! if thou dost it half so gravely, so majestically, both
in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for a rabbit-sucker or a
Well, here I am set.
And here I stand.--Judge, my masters.
Now, Harry, whence come you?
My noble lord, from Eastcheap.
The complaints I hear of thee are grievous.
'Sblood, my lord, they are false.--Nay, I'll tickle ye for a
young prince, i'faith.
Swearest thou, ungracious boy? henceforth ne'er look on me. Thou art
violently carried away from grace: there is a devil haunts thee, in
the likeness of an old fat man,--a tun of man is thy companion. Why
dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of
beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of
sack, that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly, that
reverend Vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity
in years? Wherein is he good, but to taste sack and drink it? wherein
neat and cleanly, but to carve a capon and eat it? wherein cunning, but
in craft? wherein crafty, but in villany? wherein villainous, but in
all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing?
I would your Grace would take me with you: whom means your Grace?
That villainous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old
My lord, the man I know.
I know thou dost.
But to say I know more harm in him than in myself, were to say more
than I know. That he is old,--(the more the pity,--his white hairs do
witness it. If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked! if to
be old and merry be a sin, then many an old host that I know is damn'd:
if to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh's lean kine are to be loved.
No, my good lord: banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Pointz; but,
for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff,
valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, being, as he is, old
Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry's company, banish not him thy
Harry's company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.
I do, I will.
[A knocking heard.]
[Exeunt Hostess, Francis, and Bardolph.]
[Enter Bardolph, running.]
O, my lord, my lord! the sheriff with a most monstrous watch is
at the door.
Out, ye rogue!--Play out the play: I have much to say in the
behalf of that Falstaff.
[Re-enter the Hostess, hastily.]
O Jesu, my lord, my lord,--
Heigh, heigh! the Devil rides upon a fiddlestick: what's the matter?
The sheriff and all the watch are at the door: they are come to
search the house. Shall I let them in?
Dost thou hear, Hal? never call a true piece of gold a counterfeit:
thou art essentially mad without seeming so.
And thou a natural coward, without instinct.
I deny your major: if you will deny the sheriff, so; if not, let him
enter: if I become not a cart as well as another man, a plague on my
bringing up! I hope I shall as soon be strangled with a halter as
Go, hide thee behind the arras:--the rest walk, up above. Now,
my masters, for a true face and good conscience.
Both which I have had; but their date is out, and therefore I'll
Call in the sheriff.--
[Exeunt all but the Prince and Pointz.]
[Enter Sheriff and Carrier.]
Now, master sheriff, what's your will with me?
First, pardon me, my lord. A hue-and-cry
Hath followed certain men unto this house.
One of them is well known, my gracious lord,--
A gross fat man.
As fat as butter.
The man, I do assure you, is not here;
For I myself at this time have employ'd him.
And, sheriff, I will engage my word to thee,
That I will, by to-morrow dinner-time,
Send him to answer thee, or any man,
For any thing he shall be charged withal:
And so, let me entreat you leave the house.
I will, my lord. There are two gentlemen
Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks.
It may be so: if he have robb'd these men,
He shall be answerable; and so, farewell.
Good night, my noble lord.
I think it is good morrow, is it not?
Indeed, my lord, I think't be two o'clock.
[Exit Sheriff and Carrier.]
This oily rascal is known as well as Paul's. Go, call him forth.
Falstaff!--fast asleep behind the arras, and snorting like a
Hark, how hard he fetches breath. Search his pockets.
What hast thou found?
Nothing but papers, my lord.
Let's see what they be: read them.
Item, A capon, . . . . . . . . . 2s. 2d.
Item, Sauce, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4d.
Item, Sack two gallons ,. . . 5s. 8d.
Item, Anchovies and sack after supper, 2s. 6d.
Item, Bread, . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ob.
O monstrous! but one half-pennyworth of bread to this intolerable
deal of sack! What there is else, keep close; we'll read it at more
advantage: there let him sleep till day.
I'll to the Court in the morning. We must all to the wars, and thy
place shall be honourable. I'll procure this fat rogue a charge of
foot; and I know his death will be a march of twelve-score. The money
shall be paid back again with advantage. Be with me betimes in the
morning; and so, good morrow, Pointz.
Good morrow, good my lord.