ACT 2, SCENE IV: The Boar's-Head Tavern, Eastcheap.

Enter the PRINCE, and POINS.

PRINCE HENRY: Ned, prithee, come out of that fat room, and
lend me thy hand to laugh a little.

POINS: Where hast been, Hal?

PRINCE HENRY: With three or four loggerheads amongst
three or four score hogsheads. I have sounded the very                 [5]
base-string of humility. Sirrah, I am sworn brother to
a leash of drawers; and can call them all by their
christen names, as Tom, Dick, and Francis. They
take it already upon their salvation, that though I
be but the prince of Wales, yet I am king of courtesy;                        [10]
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 East-
cheap. They call drinking deep, dyeing scarlet; and                          [15]
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                  [20]
wert not with me in this action. But, sweet Ned,
--to sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee this
pennyworth of sugar, clapped even now into my
hand by an under-skinker, one that never spake
other English in his life than 'Eight shillings and                              [25]
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 prithee, do thou stand in
some by-room, while I question my puny drawer to                         [30]
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.

POINS: Francis!                                                                                                      [35]

PRINCE HENRY: Thou art perfect.

POINS: Francis!
[Exit POINS.]

Enter FRANCIS.

FRANCIS: Anon, anon, sir. Look down into the
Pomgarnet, Ralph.

PRINCE HENRY: Come hither, Francis.                                                          [40]

FRANCIS: My lord?

PRINCE HENRY: How long hast thou to serve, Francis?

FRANCIS: Forsooth, five years, and as much as to--

POINS: [Within] Francis!

FRANCIS: Anon, anon, sir.                                                                                 [45]

PRINCE HENRY: 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?

FRANCIS: O Lord, sir, I'll be sworn upon all the books                                [50]
in England, I could find it in my heart.

POINS: [Within] Francis!

FRANCIS: Anon, sir.

PRINCE HENRY: How old art thou, Francis?

FRANCIS: Let me see--about Michaelmas next I shall                                [55]
be--

POINS: [Within] Francis!

FRANCIS: Anon, sir. Pray stay a little, my lord.

PRINCE HENRY: Nay, but hark you, Francis: for the sugar thou
gavest me, 'twas a pennyworth, wast't not?                                         [60]

FRANCIS: O Lord, I would it had been two!

PRINCE HENRY: I will give thee for it a thousand pound: ask
me when thou wilt, and thou shalt have it.

POINS: [Within] Francis!

FRANCIS: Anon, anon.                                                                                       [65]

PRINCE HENRY: Anon, Francis? No, Francis; but to-morrow,
Francis; or, Francis, o' Thursday; or indeed, Francis,
when thou wilt. But, Francis!

FRANCIS: My lord?

PRINCE HENRY: Wilt thou rob this leathern jerkin, crystal-                     [70]
button, not-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-
garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch,--

FRANCIS: O Lord, sir, who do you mean?

PRINCE HENRY: Why, then, your brown bastard is your only
drink; for look you, Francis, your white canvas                                 [75]
doublet will sully: in Barbary, sir, it cannot come to so
much.

FRANCIS: What, sir?

POINS: [Within] Francis!

PRINCE HENRY: Away, you rogue! dost thou not hear them                  [80]
call?

[Here they both call him; the drawer stands amazed, not knowing which way to go.]

Enter Vintner.

Vintner: What, standest thou still, and hearest 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?                                                                   [85]

PRINCE HENRY: Let them alone awhile, and then open the
door.
              [Exit Vintner.]
                           Poins!

                           Re-enter POINS.

POINS: Anon, anon, sir.

PRINCE HENRY: Sirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the thieves are
at the door: shall we be merry?                                                              [90]

POINS: 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?

PRINCE HENRY: I am now of all humours that have showed
themselves humours since the old days of goodman                       [95]
Adam to the pupil age of this present twelve o'clock
at midnight.
Re-enter FRANCIS.
What's o'clock, Francis?

FRANCIS: Anon, anon, sir.
             [Exit.]

PRINCE HENRY: That ever this fellow should have fewer                        [100]
words than a parrot, and yet the son of a woman! His
industry is up-stairs and down-stairs; his eloquence the
parcel of 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,                     [105]
and says to his wife 'Fie upon this quiet life! I want
work.' 'O my sweet Harry,' says she, 'how many
hast thou killed to-day?' 'Give my roan horse a
drench,' says he; and answers 'Some fourteen,' an
hour after; 'a trifle, a trifle.' I prithee, call in Falstaff:                         [110]
I'll play Percy, and that damned brawn shall play
Dame Mortimer his wife. 'Rivo!' says the drunkard.
Call in ribs, call in tallow.

Enter FALSTAFF, GADSHILL, BARDOLPH, and PETO;
FRANCIS following with wine.

POINS: Welcome, Jack: where hast thou been?

FALSTAFF: A plague of all cowards, I say, and a                                            [115]
vengeance too! marry, and amen! 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
cowards! Give me a cup of sack, rogue. Is there no
virtue extant?                                                                                              [120]
[He drinks.]

PRINCE HENRY: Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of
butter? pitiful-hearted Titan, that melted at the sweet
tale of the sun's! if thou didst, then behold that com-
pound.

FALSTAFF: You rogue, here's lime in this sack too:                                     [125]
there is nothing but roguery to be found in villanous
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                              [130]
shotten herring. There live not three good men
unhanged 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.                                              [135]

PRINCE HENRY: How now, wool-sack! what mutter you?

FALSTAFF: 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!                             [140]

PRINCE HENRY: Why, you whoreson round man, what's the
matter?

FALSTAFF: Are not you a coward? answer me to that:
and Poins there?

POINS: 'Zounds, ye fat paunch, an ye call me coward,                                  [145]
by the Lord, I'll stab thee.

FALSTAFF: I call thee coward! I'll see thee damned 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                      [150]
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.

PRINCE HENRY: O villain! thy lips are scarce wiped since thou
drunkest last.                                                                                               [155]

FALSTAFF: All's one for that. [He drinks.] A plague
of all cowards, still say I.

PRINCE HENRY: What's the matter?

FALSTAFF: What's the matter! there be four of us
here have ta'en a thousand pound this day morning.                      [160]

PRINCE HENRY: Where is it, Jack? where is it?

FALSTAFF: Where is it! taken from us it is: a hundred
upon poor four of us.

PRINCE HENRY: What, a hundred, man?

FALSTAFF: I am a rogue, if I were not at half-sword                                    [165]
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 hacked like a hand-
saw--ecce signum! I never dealt better since I was a                        [170]
man: all would not do. A plague of all cowards! Let
them speak: if they speak more or less than truth, they
are villains and the sons of darkness.

PRINCE HENRY: Speak, sirs; how was it?

GADSHILL: We four set upon some dozen--                                                [175]

FALSTAFF: Sixteen at least, my lord.

GADSHILL: And bound them.

PETO: No, no, they were not bound.

FALSTAFF: You rogue, they were bound, every man of
them; or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew.                                                [180]

GADSHILL: As we were sharing, some six or seven
fresh men set upon us--

FALSTAFF: And unbound the rest, and then come in the
other.

PRINCE HENRY: What, fought you with them all?                                     [185]

FALSTAFF: 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.

PRINCE HENRY: Pray God you have not murdered some of                     [190]
them.

FALSTAFF: Nay, that's past praying for: I have pep-
pered 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                  [195]
my old ward; here I lay and thus I bore my point.
Four rogues in buckram let drive at me--

PRINCE HENRY: What, four? thou saidst but two even now.

FALSTAFF: Four, Hal; I told thee four.

POINS: Ay, ay, he said four.                                                                                 [200]

FALSTAFF: 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.

PRINCE HENRY: Seven? why, there were but four even now.

FALSTAFF: In buckram?                                                                                     [205]

POINS: Ay, four, in buckram suits.

FALSTAFF: Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.

PRINCE HENRY: Prithee, let him alone; we
shall have more anon.

FALSTAFF: Dost thou hear me, Hal?                                                               [210]

PRINCE HENRY: Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.

FALSTAFF: Do so, for it is worth the listening to. These
nine in buckram that I told thee of--

PRINCE HENRY: So, two more already.

FALSTAFF: Their points being broken,--                                                       [215]

POINS: Down fell their hose.

FALSTAFF: Began to give me ground: but I followed
me close, came in foot and hand; and with a thought
seven of the eleven I paid.

PRINCE HENRY: O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown                  [220]
out of two!

FALSTAFF: But, as the devil would have it, three mis-
begotten 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.                                                                          [225]

PRINCE HENRY: These lies are like their father that begets them;
gross as a mountain, open, palpable. Why, thou
clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou
whoreson, obscene, greasy tallow-catch,--

FALSTAFF: What, art thou mad? art thou mad? is not                             [230]
the truth the truth?

PRINCE HENRY: 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?                                                                                                          [235]

POINS: Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.

FALSTAFF: What, upon compulsion? 'Zounds, an I
were 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                                  [240]
blackberries, I would give no man a reason upon
compulsion, I.

PRINCE HENRY: I'll be no longer guilty of this sin; this
sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-
breaker, this huge hill of flesh,--                                                           [245]

FALSTAFF: 'Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you
dried neat's tongue, you bull's pizzle, you stock-fish!
O for breath to utter what is like thee! you tailor's-
yard, you sheath, you bowcase; you vile standing-
tuck,--                                                                                                          [250]

PRINCE HENRY: Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again: and
when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear
me speak but this.

POINS: Mark, Jack.

PRINCE HENRY: We two saw you four set on four and bound                 [255]
them, and were masters of their wealth. Mark now,
how a plain tale shall put you down. Then did we
two set on you four; and, with a word, out-faced you
from your prize, and have it; yea, and can show it
you here in the house: and, Falstaff, you carried your                     [260]
guts away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and
roared for mercy and still run and roared, as ever
I heard bull-calf. What a slave art thou, to hack thy
sword as thou hast done, and then say it was in fight!
What trick, what device, what starting-hole, canst                            [265]
thou now find out to hide thee from this open and
apparent shame?

POINS: Come, let's hear, Jack; what trick hast thou
now?

FALSTAFF: By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that                                   [270]
made ye. Why, hear you, my masters: was it for me to
kill the heir-apparent? should I turn upon the true
prince? why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Hercules:
but beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true
prince. Instinct is a great matter; I was now a coward                       [275]
on instinct. I shall think the better of myself and thee
during my life; I for a valiant lion, and thou for a
true prince. But, by the Lord, lads, I am glad you have
the money. Hostess, clap to the doors: watch to-night,
pray to-morrow. Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold,                         [280]
all the titles of good fellowship come to you! What,
shall we be merry? shall we have a play extempore?

PRINCE HENRY: Content; and the argument shall be thy
running away.

FALSTAFF: Ah, no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest                                  [285]
me!

Enter Hostess.

Hostess: O Jesu, my lord the prince!

PRINCE HENRY: How now, my lady the hostess! what sayest
thou to me?

Hostess: Marry, my lord, there is a nobleman of the                                     [290]
court at door would speak with you: he says he comes
from your father.

PRINCE HENRY: Give him as much as will make him a royal
man, and send him back again to my mother.

FALSTAFF: What manner of man is he?                                                        [295]

Hostess: An old man.

FALSTAFF: What doth gravity out of his bed at mid-
night? Shall I give him his answer?

PRINCE HENRY: Prithee, do, Jack.

FALSTAFF: 'Faith, and I'll send him packing.                                                [300]
[Exit FALSTAFF.]

PRINCE HENRY: 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!

BARDOLPH: 'Faith, I ran when I saw others run.                                          [305]

PRINCE HENRY: 'Faith, tell me now in earnest, how came
Falstaff's sword so hacked?

PETO: Why, he hacked 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                           [310]
to do the like.

BARDOLPH: 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                              [315]
blushed to hear his monstrous devices.

PRINCE HENRY: O villain, thou stolest a cup of sack eighteen
years ago, and wert taken with the manner, and ever
since thou hast blushed extempore. Thou hadst fire
and sword on thy side, and yet thou rannest away:                           [320]
what instinct hadst thou for it?

BARDOLPH: My lord, do you see these meteors? Do
you behold these exhalations?

PRINCE HENRY: I do.

BARDOLPH: What think you they portend?                                                  [325]

PRINCE HENRY: Hot livers and cold purses.

BARDOLPH: Choler, my lord, if rightly taken.

PRINCE HENRY: No, if rightly taken, halter.
Re-enter FALSTAFF.
Here comes lean Jack, here comes bare-bone. How
now, my sweet creature of bombast! How long is't                            [330]
ago, Jack, since thou sawest thine own knee?

FALSTAFF: 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                       [335]
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 Amamon the
bastinado and made Lucifer cuckold and swore the                          [340]
devil his true liegeman upon the cross of a Welsh
hook-- what a plague call you him?

POINS: Owen Glendower.

FALSTAFF: Owen, Owen, the same; and his son-in-
law Mortimer, and old Northumberland, and that                           [345]
sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas, that runs o' horseback
up a hill perpendicular,--

PRINCE HENRY: He that rides at high speed and with his pistol
kills a sparrow flying.

FALSTAFF: You have hit it.                                                                                [350]

PRINCE HENRY: So did he never the sparrow.

FALSTAFF: Well, that rascal hath good mettle in him;
he will not run.

PRINCE HENRY: Why, what a rascal art thou then, to praise
him so for running!                                                                                  [355]

FALSTAFF: O' horseback, ye cuckoo; but afoot he will
not budge a foot.

PRINCE HENRY: Yes, Jack, upon instinct.

FALSTAFF: I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there
too, and one Mordake, and a thousand blue-caps more:                  [360]
Worcester is stolen away to-night; thy father's beard is
turned white with the news: you may buy land now as
cheap as stinking mackerel.

PRINCE HENRY: Why, then, it is like, if there come a hot June
and this civil buffeting hold, we shall buy maidenheads                 [365]
as they buy hob-nails, by the hundreds.

FALSTAFF: By the mass, lad, thou sayest true; it is like
we shall have good trading that way. But tell me, Hal,
art not thou horrible afeard? thou being heir-apparent,
could the world pick thee out three such enemies again                 [370]
as that fiend Douglas, that spirit Percy, and that devil
Glendower? Art thou not horribly afraid? doth not
thy blood thrill at it?

PRINCE HENRY: Not a whit, i' faith; I lack some of thy instinct.

FALSTAFF: Well, thou wert be horribly chid tomorrow                             [375]
when thou comest to thy father: if thou love me,
practise an answer.

PRINCE HENRY: Do thou stand for my father, and examine me
upon the particulars of my life.

FALSTAFF: Shall I? content: this chair shall be my                                    [380]
state, this dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my
crown.

PRINCE HENRY: Thy state is taken for a joined-stool, thy
golden sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious
rich crown for a pitiful bald crown!                                                       [385]

FALSTAFF: 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.                                                                       [390]

PRINCE HENRY: Well, here is my leg.

FALSTAFF: And here is my speech. Stand aside,
nobility.

Hostess: O Jesu, this is excellent sport, i' faith!

FALSTAFF: Weep not, sweet queen; for trickling tears are vain.               [395]

Hostess: O, the father, how he holds his counte-
nance!

FALSTAFF: For God's sake, lords, convey my tristful queen;
For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes.

Hostess: O Jesu, he doth it as like one of these                                                [400]
harlotry players as ever I see!

FALSTAFF: 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                        [405]
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 villanous trick of thine eye and a foolish-
hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant me. If                          [410]
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 black-
berries? a question not to be asked. Shall the son
of England prove a thief and take purses? a question                      [415]
to be asked. There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast
often heard of and it is known to many in our land by
the name of pitch: 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                       [420]
tears, not in pleasure but in passion, not in words only,
but in woes also: and yet there is a virtuous man whom
I have often noted in thy company, but I know not his
name.

PRINCE HENRY: What manner of man, an it like your                             [425]
majesty?

FALSTAFF: A goodly portly man, i' faith, and a corpu-
lent; 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 three score; and now I re-                                 [430]
member 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                           [435]
with, the rest banish. And tell me now, thou naughty
varlet, tell me, where hast thou been this month?

PRINCE HENRY: Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand
for me, and I'll play my father.

FALSTAFF: Depose me? if thou dost it half so gravely,                              [440]
so majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up
by the heels for a rabbit-sucker or a poulter's hare.

PRINCE HENRY: Well, here I am set.

FALSTAFF: And here I stand: judge, my masters.

PRINCE HENRY: Now, Harry, whence come you?                                       [445]

FALSTAFF: My noble lord, from Eastcheap.

PRINCE HENRY: The complaints I hear of thee are grievous.

FALSTAFF: 'Sblood, my lord, they are false: nay, I'll
tickle ye for a young prince, i' faith.

PRINCE HENRY: Swearest thou, ungracious boy? henceforth                   [450]
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                        [455]
of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed
cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manning-tree 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?                           [460]
wherein neat and cleanly, but to carve a capon and
eat it? wherein cunning, but in craft? wherein
crafty, but in villany? wherein villanous, but in all
things? wherein worthy, but in nothing?

FALSTAFF: I would your grace would take me with                                    [465]
you: whom means your grace?

PRINCE HENRY: That villanous abominable misleader of
youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.

FALSTAFF: My lord, the man I know.

PRINCE HENRY: I know thou dost.                                                                  [470]

FALSTAFF: But to say I know more harm in him than
in myself, were to say more than I know. That he is
old, the more the pity, his white hairs do witness it;
but that he is, saving your reverence, a whoremaster,
that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault, God                          [475]
help the wicked! if to be old and merry be a sin, then
many an old host that I know is damned: if to be fat
be to be hated, then Pharaoh's lean kine are to be
loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto, banish
Bardolph, banish Poins: but for sweet Jack Falstaff,                          [480]
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.                                                                                  [485]

PRINCE HENRY: I do, I will.

              [A knocking heard.]
             [Exeunt Hostess, FRANCIS, and BARDOLPH.]
Re-enter BARDOLPH, running.

BARDOLPH: O, my lord, my lord! the sheriff with a
most monstrous watch is at the door.

FALSTAFF: Out, ye rogue! Play out the play: I have
much to say in the behalf of that Falstaff.                                             [490]

Re-enter the Hostess.

Hostess: O Jesu, my lord, my lord!

PRINCE HENRY: Heigh, heigh! the devil rides upon a fiddle-
stick: what's the matter?

Hostess: The sheriff and all the watch are at the door:
they are come to search the house. Shall I let them in?                   [495]

FALSTAFF: Dost thou hear, Hal? never call a true
piece of gold a counterfeit: thou art essentially mad,
without seeming so.

PRINCE HENRY: And thou a natural coward, without instinct.

FALSTAFF: I deny your major: if you will deny the                                    [500]
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
another.

PRINCE HENRY: Go, hide thee behind the arras: the rest walk                [505]
up above. Now, my masters, for a true face and good
conscience.

FALSTAFF: Both which I have had: but their date is
out, and therefore I'll hide me.

PRINCE HENRY: Call in the sheriff.                                                                 [510]
[Exeunt all except PRINCE HENRY and PETO.]
Enter Sheriff and the Carrier.
Now, master sheriff, what is your will with me?

Sheriff: First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and cry
Hath follow'd certain men unto this house.

PRINCE HENRY: What men?

Sheriff: One of them is well known, my gracious lord,                                [515]
A gross fat man.

Carrier:                           As fat as butter.

PRINCE HENRY: 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,                                                [520]
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.

Sheriff: I will, my lord. There are two gentlemen
Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks.                                 [525]

PRINCE HENRY: It may be so: if he have robb'd these men,
He shall be answerable; and so farewell.

Sheriff: Good night, my noble lord.

PRINCE HENRY: I think it is good morrow, is it not?

Sheriff: Indeed, my lord, I think it be two o'clock.                                          [530]

[Exeunt Sheriff and Carrier.]

PRINCE HENRY: This oily rascal is known as well as Paul's. Go,
call him forth.

PETO: Falstaff!--Fast asleep behind the arras, and snort-
ing like a horse.

PRINCE HENRY: Hark, how hard he fetches breath. Search                      [535]
his pockets.
[He searcheth his pockets, and findeth certain papers.]
What hast thou found?

PETO: Nothing but papers, my lord.

PRINCE HENRY: Let's see what they be: read them.

PETO:[Reads] Item, A capon,. . . 2s. 2d.                                                           [540]
Item, Sauce,. . . . . 4d.
Item, Sack, two gallons, 5s. 8d.
Item, Anchovies and sack after supper, 2s. 6d.
Item, Bread,. . . . . ob.

PRINCE HENRY: O monstrous! but one half-penny-worth                       [545]
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 honour-
able. I'll procure this fat rogue a charge of foot; and                          [550]
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, Peto.

PETO: Good morrow, good my lord.                                                                 [555]

[Exeunt.]


Go to the next scene.
Go to the previous scene.
Return to the list of scenes