ACT 4, SCENE II: A public road near Coventry.


FALSTAFF: Bardolph, get thee before to Coventry;
fill me a bottle of sack: our soldiers shall march
through; we'll to Sutton Co'fil' to-night.

BARDOLPH: Will you give me money, captain?

FALSTAFF: Lay out, lay out.                                                                               [5]

BARDOLPH: This bottle makes an angel.

FALSTAFF: An if it do, take it for thy labour; and if it
make twenty, take them all; I'll answer the coinage.
Bid my lieutenant Peto meet me at town's end.

BARDOLPH: I will, captain: farewell.                                                               [10]

FALSTAFF: If I be not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a
soused gurnet. I have misused the king's press
damnably. I have got, in exchange of a hundred and
fifty soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds. I press
me none but good house-holders, yeomen's sons;                            [15]
inquire me out contracted bachelors, such as had been
asked twice on the banns; such a commodity of
warm slaves, as had as lieve hear the devil as a drum;
such as fear the report of a caliver worse than a
struck fowl or a hurt wild-duck. I pressed me none                         [20]
but such toasts-and-butter, with hearts in their bellies
no bigger than pins' heads, and they have bought
out their services; and now my whole charge consists
of ancients, corporals, lieutenants, gentlemen of
companies, slaves as ragged as Lazarus in the                                     [25]
painted cloth, where the glutton's dogs licked his
sores; and such as indeed were never soldiers, but
discarded unjust serving-men, younger sons to
younger brothers, revolted tapsters and ostlers
trade-fallen, the cankers of a calm world and a long                         [30]
peace, ten times more dishonourable ragged than an
old faced ancient: and such have I, to fill up the
rooms of them that have bought out their services, that
you would think that I had a hundred and fifty tattered
prodigals lately come from swine-keeping, from eating                   [35]
draff and husks. A mad fellow met me on the way
and told me I had unloaded all the gibbets and pressed
the dead bodies. No eye hath seen such scarecrows.
I'll not march through Coventry with them, that's
flat: nay, and the villains march wide betwixt the                            [40]
legs, as if they had gyves on; for indeed I had the
most of them out of prison. There's but a shirt and a
half in all my company; and the half shirt is two
napkins tacked together and thrown over the shoulders
like a herald's coat without sleeves; and the shirt, to                        [45]
say the truth, stolen from my host at Saint Alban's, or
the red-nose innkeeper of Daventry. But that's all
one; they'll find linen enough on every hedge.


PRINCE HENRY: How now, blown Jack! how now, quilt!

FALSTAFF: What, Hal! how now, mad wag! what a                                  [50]
devil dost thou in Warwickshire? My good Lord of
Westmoreland, I cry you mercy: I thought your honour
had already been at Shrewsbury.

WESTMORELAND: Faith, Sir John,'tis more than time
that I were there, and you too; but my powers are                             [55]
there already. The king, I can tell you, looks for us all:
we must away all night.

FALSTAFF: Tut, never fear me: I am as vigilant as a cat
to steal cream.

PRINCE HENRY: I think, to steal cream indeed, for thy theft                     [60]
hath already made thee butter. But tell me, Jack, whose
fellows are these that come after?

FALSTAFF: Mine, Hal, mine.

PRINCE HENRY: I did never see such pitiful rascals.

FALSTAFF: Tut, tut; good enough to toss; food for                                       [65]
powder, food for powder; they'll fill a pit as well as
better: tush, man, mortal men, mortal men.

WESTMORELAND: Ay, but, Sir John, methinks they
are exceeding poor and bare, too beggarly.

FALSTAFF: 'Faith, for their poverty, I know not where                              [70]
they had that; and for their bareness, I am sure they
never learned that of me.

PRINCE HENRY: No, I'll be sworn; unless you call three
fingers on the ribs bare. But, sirrah, make haste: Percy
is already in the field.                                                                                [75]

FALSTAFF: What, is the king encamped?

WESTMORELAND: He is, Sir John: I fear we shall stay
too long.

FALSTAFF: Well, To the latter end of a fray and the
beginning of a feast Fits a dull fighter and a keen                              [80]


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