Enter SHALLOW and SILENCE, meeting; MOULDY, SHADOW, WART, FEEBLE, BULLCALF, and servants behind
- Robert Shallow. Come on, come on, come on; give me your hand, sir;
your hand, sir. An early stirrer, by the rood! And how doth
good cousin Silence?
- Silence. Good morrow, good cousin Shallow.
- Robert Shallow. And how doth my cousin, your bed-fellow? and your
daughter and mine, my god-daughter Ellen?
- Silence. Alas, a black ousel, cousin Shallow!
- Robert Shallow. By yea and no, sir. I dare say my cousin William is
a good scholar; he is at Oxford still, is he not?
- Robert Shallow. 'A must, then, to the Inns o' Court shortly. I was
Clement's Inn; where I think they will talk of mad Shallow
- Silence. You were call'd 'lusty Shallow' then, cousin.
- Robert Shallow. By the mass, I was call'd anything; and I would have
anything indeed too, and roundly too. There was I, and little
John Doit of Staffordshire, and black George Barnes, and
Pickbone, and Will Squele a Cotsole man—you had not four
swinge-bucklers in all the Inns of Court again. And I may say
you we knew where the bona-robas were, and had the best of
all at commandment. Then was Jack Falstaff, now Sir John,
and page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
- Silence. This Sir John, cousin, that comes hither anon about
- Robert Shallow. The same Sir John, the very same. I see him break
Scoggin's head at the court gate, when 'a was a crack not
high; and the very same day did I fight with one Sampson
Stockfish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's Inn. Jesu, Jesu, the
days that I have spent! and to see how many of my old
acquaintance are dead!
- Silence. We shall all follow, cousin.
- Robert Shallow. Certain, 'tis certain; very sure, very sure. Death, as
Psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall die. How a good
of bullocks at Stamford fair?
- Silence. By my troth, I was not there.
- Robert Shallow. Jesu, Jesu, dead! drew a good bow; and dead! 'A shot a
fine shoot. John a Gaunt loved him well, and betted much
his head. Dead! 'A would have clapp'd i' th' clout at twelve
score, and carried you a forehand shaft a fourteen and
and a half, that it would have done a man's heart good to
How a score of ewes now?
- Silence. Thereafter as they be—a score of good ewes may be
Enter BARDOLPH, and one with him
- Silence. Here come two of Sir John Falstaffs men, as I think.
- Bardolph. I beseech you, which is Justice Shallow?
- Robert Shallow. I am Robert Shallow, sir, a poor esquire of this
and one of the King's justices of the peace. What is your
pleasure with me?
- Bardolph. My captain, sir, commends him to you; my captain, Sir
John Falstaff—a tall gentleman, by heaven, and a most
- Robert Shallow. He greets me well, sir; I knew him a good back-sword
How doth the good knight? May I ask how my lady his wife
- Bardolph. Sir, pardon; a soldier is better accommodated than
- Robert Shallow. It is well said, in faith, sir; and it is well said
too. 'Better accommodated!' It is good; yea, indeed, is it.
phrases are surely, and ever were, very commendable.
'Accommodated!' It comes of accommodo. Very good; a good
- Bardolph. Pardon, sir; I have heard the word. 'Phrase' call you
By this day, I know not the phrase; but I will maintain the
with my sword to be a soldier-like word, and a word of
good command, by heaven. Accommodated: that is, when a man
they say, accommodated; or, when a man is being-whereby 'a
thought to be accommodated; which is an excellent thing.
- Robert Shallow. It is very just. Look, here comes good Sir John. Give
your good hand, give me your worship's good hand. By my
you like well and bear your years very well. Welcome, good
- Falstaff. I am glad to see you well, good Master Robert
Master Surecard, as I think?
- Robert Shallow. No, Sir John; it is my cousin Silence, in commission with me.
- Falstaff. Good Master Silence, it well befits you should be of
- Silence. Your good worship is welcome.
- Falstaff. Fie! this is hot weather. Gentlemen, have you
here half a dozen sufficient men?
- Falstaff. Let me see them, I beseech you.
- Robert Shallow. Where's the roll? Where's the roll? Where's the roll?
me see, let me see, let me see. So, so, so, so,—so, so—yea,
marry, sir. Rafe Mouldy! Let them appear as I call; let them
so, let them do so. Let me see; where is Mouldy?
- Robert Shallow. What think you, Sir John? A good-limb'd fellow; young,
strong, and of good friends.
- Falstaff. 'Tis the more time thou wert us'd.
- Robert Shallow. Ha, ha, ha! most excellent, i' faith! Things that are
mouldy lack use. Very singular good! In faith, well said, Sir
John; very well said.
- Ralph Mouldy. I was prick'd well enough before, an you could have let
alone. My old dame will be undone now for one to do her
and her drudgery. You need not to have prick'd me; there are
other men fitter to go out than I.
- Falstaff. Go to; peace, Mouldy; you shall go. Mouldy, it is
you were spent.
- Robert Shallow. Peace, fellow, peace; stand aside; know you where you
For th' other, Sir John—let me see. Simon Shadow!
- Falstaff. Yea, marry, let me have him to sit under. He's like
a cold soldier.
- Falstaff. Thy mother's son! Like enough; and thy father's
So the son of the female is the shadow of the male. It is
so indeed; but much of the father's substance!
- Falstaff. Shadow will serve for summer. Prick him; for we have
number of shadows fill up the muster-book.
- Falstaff. It were superfluous; for his apparel is built upon
back, and the whole frame stands upon pins. Prick him no
- Robert Shallow. Ha, ha, ha! You can do it, sir; you can do it. I
you well. Francis Feeble!
- Falstaff. You may; but if he had been a man's tailor, he'd ha'
prick'd you. Wilt thou make as many holes in an enemy's
thou hast done in a woman's petticoat?
- Francis Feeble. I will do my good will, sir; you can have no more.
- Falstaff. Well said, good woman's tailor! well said, courageous
Feeble! Thou wilt be as valiant as the wrathful dove or most
magnanimous mouse. Prick the woman's tailor—well, Master
Shallow, deep, Master Shallow.
- Falstaff. I would thou wert a man's tailor, that thou mightst
him and make him fit to go. I cannot put him to a private
soldier, that is the leader of so many thousands. Let that
suffice, most forcible Feeble.
- Falstaff. I am bound to thee, reverend Feeble. Who is next?
- Falstaff. Yea, marry, let's see Bullcalf.
- Falstaff. Fore God, a likely fellow! Come, prick me Bullcalf
he roar again.
- Falstaff. What, dost thou roar before thou art prick'd?
- Peter Bullcalf. A whoreson cold, sir, a cough, sir, which I caught
ringing in the King's affairs upon his coronation day, sir.
- Falstaff. Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown. We will
away thy cold; and I will take such order that thy friends
ring for thee. Is here all?
- Robert Shallow. Here is two more call'd than your number. You must
but four here, sir; and so, I pray you, go in with me to
- Falstaff. Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot tarry
dinner. I am glad to see you, by my troth, Master Shallow.
- Robert Shallow. O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all night in
windmill in Saint George's Field?
- Falstaff. No more of that, Master Shallow, no more of that.
- Falstaff. Never, never; she would always say she could not
- Robert Shallow. By the mass, I could anger her to th' heart. She was
a bona-roba. Doth she hold her own well?
- Falstaff. Old, old, Master Shallow.
- Robert Shallow. Nay, she must be old; she cannot choose but be old;
certain she's old; and had Robin Nightwork, by old Nightwork,
before I came to Clement's Inn.
- Silence. That's fifty-five year ago.
- Robert Shallow. Ha, cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that that
knight and I have seen! Ha, Sir John, said I well?
- Falstaff. We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow.
- Robert Shallow. That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith,
John, we have. Our watchword was 'Hem, boys!' Come, let's to
dinner; come, let's to dinner. Jesus, the days that we have
Exeunt FALSTAFF and the JUSTICES
- Peter Bullcalf. Good Master Corporate Bardolph, stand my friend; and
here's four Harry ten shillings in French crowns for you. In
truth, sir, I had as lief be hang'd, sir, as go. And yet, for
mine own part, sir, I do not care; but rather because I am
unwilling and, for mine own part, have a desire to stay with
friends; else, sir, I did not care for mine own part so much.
- Ralph Mouldy. And, good Master Corporal Captain, for my old dame's
stand my friend. She has nobody to do anything about her when
am gone; and she is old, and cannot help herself. You shall
- Francis Feeble. By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once; we owe
a death. I'll ne'er bear a base mind. An't be my destiny, so;
an't be not, so. No man's too good to serve 's Prince; and,
it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for
- Bardolph. Well said; th'art a good fellow.
Re-enter FALSTAFF and the JUSTICES
- Falstaff. Come, sir, which men shall I have?
- Bardolph. Sir, a word with you. I have three pound to free
- Falstaff. Mouldy and Bullcalf: for you, Mouldy, stay at home
you are past service; and for your part, Bullcalf, grow you
unto it. I will none of you.
- Robert Shallow. Sir John, Sir John, do not yourself wrong. They are
likeliest men, and I would have you serv'd with the best.
- Falstaff. Will you tell me, Master Shallow, how to choose a
Care I for the limb, the thews, the stature, bulk, and big
assemblance of a man! Give me the spirit, Master Shallow.
Wart; you see what a ragged appearance it is. 'A shall charge
and discharge you with the motion of a pewterer's hammer,
off and on swifter than he that gibbets on the brewer's
And this same half-fac'd fellow, Shadow—give me this man. He
presents no mark to the enemy; the foeman may with as great
level at the edge of a penknife. And, for a retreat—how
will this Feeble, the woman's tailor, run off! O, give me the
spare men, and spare me the great ones. Put me a caliver into
Wart's hand, Bardolph.
- Bardolph. Hold, Wart. Traverse—thus, thus, thus.
- Falstaff. Come, manage me your caliver. So—very well. Go to;
good; exceeding good. O, give me always a little, lean, old,
chopt, bald shot. Well said, i' faith, Wart; th'art a good
Hold, there's a tester for thee.
- Robert Shallow. He is not his craft's master, he doth not do it right.
remember at Mile-end Green, when I lay at Clement's Inn—I
then Sir Dagonet in Arthur's show—there was a little quiver
fellow, and 'a would manage you his piece thus; and 'a would
about and about, and come you in and come you in. 'Rah, tah,
tah!' would 'a say; 'Bounce!' would 'a say; and away again
'a go, and again would 'a come. I shall ne'er see such a
- Falstaff. These fellows will do well. Master Shallow, God keep
Master Silence, I will not use many words with you: Fare you
well! Gentlemen both, I thank you. I must a dozen mile
Bardolph, give the soldiers coats.
- Robert Shallow. Sir John, the Lord bless you; God prosper your
God send us peace! At your return, visit our house; let our
acquaintance be renewed. Peradventure I will with ye to the
- Falstaff. Fore God, would you would.
- Falstaff. Fare you well, gentle gentlemen. [Exeunt JUSTICES] On,
Bardolph; lead the men away. [Exeunt all but FALSTAFF] As I
return, I will fetch off these justices. I do see the bottom of
justice Shallow. Lord, Lord, how subject we old men are to this
vice of lying! This same starv'd justice hath done nothing but
prate to me of the wildness of his youth and the feats he hath
done about Turnbull Street; and every third word a lie, duer paid
to the hearer than the Turk's tribute. I do remember him at
Clement's Inn, like a man made after supper of a cheese-paring.
When 'a was naked, he was for all the world like a fork'd radish,
with a head fantastically carved upon it with a knife. 'A was so
forlorn that his dimensions to any thick sight were invisible. 'A
was the very genius of famine; yet lecherous as a monkey, and the
whores call'd him mandrake. 'A came ever in the rearward of the
fashion, and sung those tunes to the overscutch'd huswifes that
he heard the carmen whistle, and sware they were his fancies or
his good-nights. And now is this Vice's dagger become a squire,
and talks as familiarly of John a Gaunt as if he had been sworn
brother to him; and I'll be sworn 'a ne'er saw him but once in
the Tiltyard; and then he burst his head for crowding among the
marshal's men. I saw it, and told John a Gaunt he beat his own
name; for you might have thrust him and all his apparel into an
eel-skin; the case of a treble hautboy was a mansion for him, a
court—and now has he land and beeves. Well, I'll be acquainted
with him if I return; and 't shall go hard but I'll make him a
philosopher's two stones to me. If the young dace be a bait for
the old pike, I see no reason in the law of nature but I may snap
at him. Let time shape, and there an end. Exit