Enter SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, with his PAGE bearing his sword and buckler
- Falstaff. Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water?
- Page. He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy water;
for the party that owed it, he might have moe diseases than
- Falstaff. Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me. The
this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent
that intends to laughter, more than I invent or is invented
me. I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is
other men. I do here walk before thee like a sow that hath
overwhelm'd all her litter but one. If the Prince put thee
my service for any other reason than to set me off, why then
have no judgment. Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to
worn in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never mann'd
an agate till now; but I will inset you neither in gold nor
silver, but in vile apparel, and send you back again to your
master, for a jewel—the juvenal, the Prince your master,
chin is not yet fledge. I will sooner have a beard grow in
palm of my hand than he shall get one off his cheek; and yet
will not stick to say his face is a face-royal. God may
when he will, 'tis not a hair amiss yet. He may keep it still
a face-royal, for a barber shall never earn sixpence out of
and yet he'll be crowing as if he had writ man ever since his
father was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace, but he's
out of mine, I can assure him. What said Master Dommelton
the satin for my short cloak and my slops?
- Page. He said, sir, you should procure him better assurance
Bardolph. He would not take his band and yours; he liked not
- Falstaff. Let him be damn'd, like the Glutton; pray God his
be hotter! A whoreson Achitophel! A rascal-yea-forsooth
bear a gentleman in hand, and then stand upon security! The
whoreson smooth-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes, and
bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is through
them in honest taking-up, then they must stand upon security.
had as lief they would put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to
it with security. I look'd 'a should have sent me two and
yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and he sends me
Well, he may sleep in security; for he hath the horn of
abundance, and the lightness of his wife shines through it;
yet cannot he see, though he have his own lanthorn to light
- Page. He's gone into Smithfield to buy your worship horse.
- Falstaff. I bought him in Paul's, and he'll buy me a horse in
Smithfield. An I could get me but a wife in the stews, I were
mann'd, hors'd, and wiv'd.
Enter the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE and SERVANT
- Page. Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the
Prince for striking him about Bardolph.
- Falstaff. Wait close; I will not see him.
- Lord Chief Justice. What's he that goes there?
- Servant. Falstaff, an't please your lordship.
- Lord Chief Justice. He that was in question for the robb'ry?
- Servant. He, my lord; but he hath since done good service at
Shrewsbury, and, as I hear, is now going with some charge to
Lord John of Lancaster.
- Lord Chief Justice. What, to York? Call him back again.
- Servant. Sir John Falstaff!
- Falstaff. Boy, tell him I am deaf.
- Page. You must speak louder; my master is deaf.
- Lord Chief Justice. I am sure he is, to the hearing of anything
Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him.
- Falstaff. What! a young knave, and begging! Is there not wars?
there not employment? Doth not the King lack subjects? Do not
rebels need soldiers? Though it be a shame to be on any side
one, it is worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side,
it worse than the name of rebellion can tell how to make it.
- Servant. You mistake me, sir.
- Falstaff. Why, sir, did I say you were an honest man? Setting
knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied in my throat
had said so.
- Servant. I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and your
soldiership aside; and give me leave to tell you you in your
throat, if you say I am any other than an honest man.
- Falstaff. I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that
grows to me! If thou get'st any leave of me, hang me; if thou
tak'st leave, thou wert better be hang'd. You hunt counter.
- Servant. Sir, my lord would speak with you.
- Lord Chief Justice. Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.
- Falstaff. My good lord! God give your lordship good time of
am glad to see your lordship abroad. I heard say your
was sick; I hope your lordship goes abroad by advice. Your
lordship, though not clean past your youth, hath yet some
of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I
humbly beseech your lordship to have a reverend care of your
- Lord Chief Justice. Sir John, I sent for you before your expedition
- Falstaff. An't please your lordship, I hear his Majesty is
with some discomfort from Wales.
- Lord Chief Justice. I talk not of his Majesty. You would not come
sent for you.
- Falstaff. And I hear, moreover, his Highness is fall'n into
same whoreson apoplexy.
- Lord Chief Justice. Well God mend him! I pray you let me speak with
- Falstaff. This apoplexy, as I take it, is a kind of lethargy,
please your lordship, a kind of sleeping in the blood, a
- Lord Chief Justice. What tell you me of it? Be it as it is.
- Falstaff. It hath it original from much grief, from study, and
perturbation of the brain. I have read the cause of his
in Galen; it is a kind of deafness.
- Lord Chief Justice. I think you are fall'n into the disease, for you
hear not what I say to you.
- Falstaff. Very well, my lord, very well. Rather an't please
is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking,
I am troubled withal.
- Lord Chief Justice. To punish you by the heels would amend the
of your ears; and I care not if I do become your physician.
- Falstaff. I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient.
lordship may minister the potion of imprisonment to me in
of poverty; but how I should be your patient to follow your
prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a scruple, or
indeed a scruple itself.
- Lord Chief Justice. I sent for you, when there were matters against
for your life, to come speak with me.
- Falstaff. As I was then advis'd by my learned counsel in the
of this land-service, I did not come.
- Lord Chief Justice. Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in great
- Falstaff. He that buckles himself in my belt cannot live in
- Lord Chief Justice. Your means are very slender, and your waste is
- Falstaff. I would it were otherwise; I would my means were
and my waist slenderer.
- Lord Chief Justice. You have misled the youthful Prince.
- Falstaff. The young Prince hath misled me. I am the fellow with
great belly, and he my dog.
- Lord Chief Justice. Well, I am loath to gall a new-heal'd wound.
day's service at Shrewsbury hath a little gilded over your
night's exploit on Gadshill. You may thank th' unquiet time
your quiet o'erposting that action.
- Lord Chief Justice. But since all is well, keep it so: wake not a
- Falstaff. To wake a wolf is as bad as smell a fox.
- Lord Chief Justice. What! you are as a candle, the better part burnt
- Falstaff. A wassail candle, my lord—all tallow; if I did say
wax, my growth would approve the truth.
- Lord Chief Justice. There is not a white hair in your face but
have his effect of gravity.
- Falstaff. His effect of gravy, gravy,
- Lord Chief Justice. You follow the young Prince up and down, like
- Falstaff. Not so, my lord. Your ill angel is light; but hope
that looks upon me will take me without weighing. And yet in
respects, I grant, I cannot go—I cannot tell. Virtue is of
little regard in these costermongers' times that true valour
turn'd berod; pregnancy is made a tapster, and his quick wit
wasted in giving reckonings; all the other gifts appertinent
man, as the malice of this age shapes them, are not worth a
gooseberry. You that are old consider not the capacities of
that are young; you do measure the heat of our livers with
bitterness of your galls; and we that are in the vaward of
youth, must confess, are wags too.
- Lord Chief Justice. Do you set down your name in the scroll of
that are written down old with all the characters of age?
you not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white
decreasing leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice
your wind short, your chin double, your wit single, and every
part about you blasted with antiquity? And will you yet call
yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John!
- Falstaff. My lord, I was born about three of the clock in the
afternoon, with a white head and something a round belly. For
voice—I have lost it with hallooing and singing of anthems.
approve my youth further, I will not. The truth is, I am only
in judgment and understanding; and he that will caper with me
a thousand marks, let him lend me the money, and have at him.
the box of the ear that the Prince gave you—he gave it like
rude prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have
him for it; and the young lion repents—marry, not in ashes
sackcloth, but in new silk and old sack.
- Lord Chief Justice. Well, God send the Prince a better companion!
- Falstaff. God send the companion a better prince! I cannot rid
hands of him.
- Lord Chief Justice. Well, the King hath sever'd you. I hear you are
going with Lord John of Lancaster against the Archbishop and
Earl of Northumberland.
- Falstaff. Yea; I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look
pray, all you that kiss my Lady Peace at home, that our
join not in a hot day; for, by the Lord, I take but two
out with me, and I mean not to sweat extraordinarily. If it
hot day, and I brandish anything but a bottle, I would I
never spit white again. There is not a dangerous action can
out his head but I am thrust upon it. Well, I cannot last
but it was alway yet the trick of our English nation, if they
have a good thing, to make it too common. If ye will needs
am an old man, you should give me rest. I would to God my
were not so terrible to the enemy as it is. I were better to
eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with
- Lord Chief Justice. Well, be honest, be honest; and God bless your
- Falstaff. Will your lordship lend me a thousand pound to
- Lord Chief Justice. Not a penny, not a penny; you are too impatient
bear crosses. Fare you well. Commend me to my cousin
Exeunt CHIEF JUSTICE and SERVANT
- Falstaff. If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A man can
more separate age and covetousness than 'a can part young
and lechery; but the gout galls the one, and the pox pinches
other; and so both the degrees prevent my curses. Boy!
- Falstaff. What money is in my purse?
- Page. Seven groats and two pence.
- Falstaff. I can get no remedy against this consumption of the
purse; borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the
is incurable. Go bear this letter to my Lord of Lancaster;
to the Prince; this to the Earl of Westmoreland; and this to
Mistress Ursula, whom I have weekly sworn to marry since I
perceiv'd the first white hair of my chin. About it; you know
where to find me. [Exit PAGE] A pox of this gout! or, a
this pox! for the one or the other plays the rogue with my
toe. 'Tis no matter if I do halt; I have the wars for my
and my pension shall seem the more reasonable. A good wit
make use of anything. I will turn diseases to commodity.