ACT 3, SCENE III: Eastcheap. The Boar's-Head Tavern.


FALSTAFF: Bardolph, am I not fallen away vilely since
this last action? do I not bate? do I not dwindle?
why, my skin hangs about me like an like an old lady's loose
gown; I am withered like an old apple-john. Well,
I'll repent, and that suddenly, while I am in some lik-                     [5]
ing; I shall be out of heart shortly, and then I shall
have no strength to repent. An I have not forgotten
what the inside of a church is made of, I am a
peppercorn, a brewer's horse: the inside of a church!
Company, villanous company, hath been the spoil of                      [10]

BARDOLPH: Sir John, you are so fretful, you cannot
live long.

FALSTAFF: Why, there is it: come sing me a bawdy
song; make me merry. I was as virtuously given as a                      [15]
gentleman need to be; virtuous enough; swore little;
diced not above seven times a week; went to a bawdy-
house not above once in a quarter--of an hour; paid money
that I borrowed, three or four times; lived well and
in good compass: and now I live out of all order, out                       [20]
of all compass.

BARDOLPH: Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you
must needs be out of all compass, out of all reasonable
compass, Sir John.

FALSTAFF: Do thou amend thy face, and I'll amend my                            [25]
life: thou art our admiral, thou bearest the lantern
in the poop, but 'tis in the nose of thee; thou art the
Knight of the Burning Lamp.

BARDOLPH: Why, Sir John, my face does you no
harm.                                                                                                            [30]

FALSTAFF: No, I'll be sworn; I make as good use of it
as many a man doth of a Death's-head or a memento
mori: I never see thy face but I think upon hell-fire
and Dives that lived in purple; for there he is in his
robes, burning, burning. If thou wert any way given                       [35]
to virtue, l would swear by thy face; my oath should
be 'By this fire, that's God's angel:' but thou art
altogether given over; and wert indeed, but for the
light in thy face, the son of utter darkness. When
thou rannest up Gadshill in the night to catch my                            [40]
horse, if I did not think thou hadst been an ignis
fatuus or a ball of wildfire, there's no purchase in
money. O, thou art a perpetual triumph, an ever-
lasting bonfire-light! Thou hast saved me a thousand
marks in links and torches, walking with thee in the                       [45]
night betwixt tavern and tavern: but the sack that
thou hast drunk me would have bought me lights as
good cheap at the dearest chandler's in Europe.
I have maintained that salamander of yours with
fire any time this two and thirty years; God reward                           [50]
me for it!

BARDOLPH: 'Sblood, I would my face were in your

FALSTAFF: God-a-mercy! so should I be sure to be
heart-burned.                                                                                              [55]
              Enter Hostess.
How now, Dame Partlet the hen! have you inquired
yet who picked my pocket?

Hostess: Why, Sir John, what do you think, Sir
John? do you think I keep thieves in my house? I have
searched, I have inquired, so has my husband, man by                    [60]
man, boy by boy, servant by servant: the tithe of a
hair was never lost in my house before.

FALSTAFF: Ye lie, hostess: Bardolph was shaved and
lost many a hair; and I'll be sworn my pocket was
picked. Go to, you are a woman, go.                                                     [65]

Hostess: Who, I? no; I defy thee: God's light, I was
never called so in mine own house before.

FALSTAFF: Go to, I know you well enough.

Hostess: No, Sir John; You do not know me, Sir
John. I know you, Sir John: you owe me money, Sir                       [70]
John; and now you pick a quarrel to beguile me of it:
I bought you a dozen of shirts to your back.

FALSTAFF: Dowlas, filthy dowlas: I have given them
away to bakers' wives, and they have made bolters of
them.                                                                                                             [75]

Hostess: Now, as I am a true woman, holland of
eight shillings an ell. You owe money here besides,
Sir John, for your diet and by-drinkings, and money
lent you, four and twenty pound.

FALSTAFF: He had his part of it; let him pay.                                                [80]

Hostess: He? alas, he is poor; he hath nothing.

FALSTAFF: How! poor? look upon his face; what call
you rich? let them coin his nose, let them coin his
cheeks: I'll not pay a denier. What, will you make a
younker of me? shall I not take mine case in mine                          [85]
inn but I shall have my pocket picked? I have lost a
seal-ring of my grandfather's worth forty mark.

Hostess: O Jesu, I have heard the prince tell him, I
know not how oft, that that ring was copper!

FALSTAFF: How! the prince is a Jack, a sneak-cup:                                      [90]
'sblood, an he were here, I would cudgel him like a
dog, if he would say so.
Enter the PRINCE and PETO, marching, and FALSTAFF
meets them playing on his truncheon like a fife.
How now, lad! is the wind in that door, i' faith?
must we all march?

BARDOLPH: Yea, two and two, Newgate fashion.                                         [95]

Hostess: My lord, I pray you, hear me.

PRINCE HENRY: What sayest thou, Mistress Quickly? How
doth thy husband? I love him well; he is an honest

Hostess: Good my lord, hear me.                                                                        [100]

FALSTAFF: Prithee, let her alone, and list to me.

PRINCE HENRY: What sayest thou, Jack?

FALSTAFF: The other night I fell asleep here behind the
arras and had my pocket picked: this house is turned
bawdy-house; they pick pockets.                                                             [105]

PRINCE HENRY: What didst thou lose, Jack?

FALSTAFF: Wilt thou believe me, Hal? three or four
bonds of forty pound a-piece, and a seal-ring of my

PRINCE HENRY: A trifle, some eight-penny matter.                                   [110]

Hostess: So I told him, my lord; and I said I heard
your grace say so: and, my lord, he speaks most vilely
of you, like a foul-mouthed man as he is; and said he
would cudgel you.

PRINCE HENRY: What! he did not?                                                               [115]

Hostess: There's neither faith, truth, nor womanhood
in me else.

FALSTAFF: There's no more faith in thee than in a
stewed prune; nor no more truth in thee than in a
drawn fox; and for womanhood, Maid Marian may                         [120]
be the deputy's wife of the ward to thee. Go, you
thing, go.

Hostess: Say, what thing? what thing?

FALSTAFF: What thing! why, a thing to thank God on.

Hostess: I am no thing to thank God on, I would thou                                 [125]
shouldst know it; I am an honest man's wife: and,
setting thy knighthood aside, thou art a knave to call
me so.

FALSTAFF: Setting thy womanhood aside, thou art a
beast to say otherwise.                                                                               [130]

Hostess: Say, what beast, thou knave, thou?

FALSTAFF: What beast! why, an otter.

PRINCE HENRY: An otter, Sir John! Why an otter?

FALSTAFF: Why, she's neither fish nor flesh; a man
knows not where to have her.                                                                [135]

Hostess: Thou art an unjust man in saying so: thou
or any man knows where to have me, thou knave,

PRINCE HENRY: Thou sayest true, hostess; and he slanders thee
most grossly.                                                                                                [140]

Hostess: So he doth you, my lord; and said this other
day you ought him a thousand pound.

PRINCE HENRY: Sirrah, do I owe you a thousand pound?

FALSTAFF: A thousand pound, Hal! a million: thy
love is worth a million: thou owest me thy love.                             [145]

Hostess: Nay, my lord, he called you Jack, and said
he would cudgel you.

FALSTAFF: Did I, Bardolph?

BARDOLPH: Indeed, Sir John, you said so.

FALSTAFF: Yea, if he said my ring was copper.                                             [150]

PRINCE HENRY: I say 'tis copper: darest thou be as good as
thy word now?

FALSTAFF: Why, Hal, thou knowest, as thou art but man, I dare:
but as thou art prince, I fear thee as I fear
the roaring of the lion's whelp.                                                              [155]

PRINCE HENRY: And why not as the lion?

FALSTAFF: The king is to be feared as the lion:
dost thou think I'll fear thee as I fear thy father? nay,
an I do, I pray God my girdle break.

PRINCE HENRY: O, if it should, how would thy guts fall about                [160]
thy knees! But, sirrah, there's no room for faith,
truth, nor honesty in this bosom of thine; it is all filled
up with guts and midriff. Charge an honest woman
with picking thy pocket! why, thou whoreson,
impudent, embossed rascal, if there were anything                           [165]
in thy pocket but tavern-reckonings, memorandums
of bawdy-houses, and one poor penny-worth of sugar-
candy to make thee long-winded, if thy pocket were
enriched with any other injuries but these, I am a
villain: and yet you will stand to it; you will not                              [170]
pocket up wrong: art thou not ashamed?

FALSTAFF: Dost thou hear, Hal? thou knowest in the
state of innocency Adam fell; and what should poor
Jack Falstaff do in the days of villany? Thou seest I
have more flesh than another man, and therefore more                [175]
frailty. You confess then, you picked my pocket?

PRINCE HENRY: It appears so by the story.

FALSTAFF: Hostess, I forgive thee: go, make ready
breakfast; love thy husband, look to thy servants,
cherish thy guests: thou shalt find me tractable to any                     [180]
honest reason: thou seest I am pacified still. Nay,
prithee, be gone.
[Exit Hostess.]
Now Hal, to the news at court: for the robbery, lad,
how is that answered?

PRINCE HENRY: O, my sweet beef, I must still be good angel                    [185]
to thee: the money is paid back again.

FALSTAFF: O, I do not like that paying back; 'tis a
double labour.

PRINCE HENRY: I am good friends with my father and may
do any thing.                                                                                               [190]

FALSTAFF: Rob me the exchequer the first thing thou
doest, and do it with unwashed hands too.

BARDOLPH: Do, my lord.

PRINCE HENRY: I have procured thee, Jack, a charge of foot.

FALSTAFF: I would it had been of horse. Where shall I                             [195]
find one that can steal well? O for a fine thief, of the
age of two and twenty or thereabouts! I am heinously
unprovided. Well, God be thanked for these rebels,
they offend none but the virtuous: I laud them, I
praise them.                                                                                                 [200]


BARDOLPH: My lord?

PRINCE HENRY: Go bear this letter to Lord John of Lancaster,
To my brother John; this to my Lord of Westmore-
              [Exit Bardolph.]
Go, Peto, to horse, to horse; for thou and I                                           [205]
Have thirty miles to ride yet ere dinner time.
[Exit Peto.]
Jack, meet me to-morrow in the temple hall
At two o'clock in the afternoon.
There shalt thou know thy charge; and there receive
Money and order for their furniture.                                                    [210]
The land is burning; Percy stands on high;
And either we or they must lower lie.

FALSTAFF: Rare words! brave world! Hostess, my breakfast,
O, I could wish this tavern were my drum!

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