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History of Henry IV, Part II

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Act IV, Scene 3

Another part of the forest


Alarum; excursions. Enter FALSTAFF and COLVILLE, meeting

  • Falstaff. What's your name, sir? Of what condition are you, and
    what place, I pray? 2580
  • Falstaff. Well then, Colville is your name, a knight is your
    degree, and your place the Dale. Colville shall still be your 2585
    name, a traitor your degree, and the dungeon your place—a
    deep enough; so shall you be still Colville of the Dale.
  • Falstaff. As good a man as he, sir, whoe'er I am. Do you yield, 2590
    sir, or shall I sweat for you? If I do sweat, they are the
    of thy lovers, and they weep for thy death; therefore rouse
    fear and trembling, and do observance to my mercy.
  • Falstaff. I have a whole school of tongues in this belly of
    and not a tongue of them all speaks any other word but my 2600
    An I had but a belly of any indifferency, I were simply the
    active fellow in Europe. My womb, my womb, my womb undoes me.
    Here comes our general.


  • Prince John. The heat is past; follow no further now.
    Call in the powers, good cousin Westmoreland.
    [Exit WESTMORELAND] 2610
    Now, Falstaff, where have you been all this while?
    When everything is ended, then you come.
    These tardy tricks of yours will, on my life,
    One time or other break some gallows' back.
  • Falstaff. I would be sorry, my lord, but it should be thus: I 2615
    knew yet but rebuke and check was the reward of valour. Do
    think me a swallow, an arrow, or a bullet? Have I, in my poor
    old motion, the expedition of thought? I have speeded hither
    the very extremest inch of possibility; I have found'red nine
    score and odd posts; and here, travel tainted as I am, have, 2620
    my pure and immaculate valour, taken Sir John Colville of the
    Dale,a most furious knight and valorous enemy. But what of
    He saw me, and yielded; that I may justly say with the
    fellow of Rome-I came, saw, and overcame.
  • Prince John. It was more of his courtesy than your deserving.
  • Falstaff. I know not. Here he is, and here I yield him; and I
    beseech your Grace, let it be book'd with the rest of this
    deeds; or, by the Lord, I will have it in a particular ballad 2635
    else, with mine own picture on the top on't, Colville kissing
    foot; to the which course if I be enforc'd, if you do not all
    show like gilt twopences to me, and I, in the clear sky of
    o'ershine you as much as the full moon doth the cinders of
    element, which show like pins' heads to her, believe not the 2640
    of the noble. Therefore let me have right, and let desert
  • Falstaff. Let it do something, my good lord, that may do me
    and call it what you will.
  • Falstaff. And a famous true subject took him.
  • Sir John Colville. I am, my lord, but as my betters are
    That led me hither. Had they been rul'd by me,
    You should have won them dearer than you have. 2660
  • Falstaff. I know not how they sold themselves; but thou, like a
    kind fellow, gavest thyself away gratis; and I thank thee for


  • Prince John. Send Colville, with his confederates,
    To York, to present execution.
    Blunt, lead him hence; and see you guard him sure.
    [Exeunt BLUNT and others] 2670
    And now dispatch we toward the court, my lords.
    I hear the King my father is sore sick.
    Our news shall go before us to his Majesty,
    Which, cousin, you shall bear to comfort him
    And we with sober speed will follow you. 2675
  • Falstaff. My lord, I beseech you, give me leave to go through
    Gloucestershire; and, when you come to court, stand my good
    pray, in your good report.
  • Prince John. Fare you well, Falstaff. I, in my condition, 2680
    Shall better speak of you than you deserve.

Exeunt all but FALSTAFF

  • Falstaff. I would you had but the wit; 'twere better than your
    dukedom. Good faith, this same young sober-blooded boy doth
    love me; nor a man cannot make him laugh—but that's no 2685
    he drinks no wine. There's never none of these demure boys
    to any proof; for thin drink doth so over-cool their blood,
    making many fish-meals, that they fall into a kind of male
    green-sickness; and then, when they marry, they get wenches.
    are generally fools and cowards-which some of us should be 2690
    but for inflammation. A good sherris-sack hath a two-fold
    operation in it. It ascends me into the brain; dries me there
    the foolish and dull and crudy vapours which environ it;
    apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery, and
    delectable shapes; which delivered o'er to the voice, the 2695
    which is the birth, becomes excellent wit. The second
    your excellent sherris is the warming of the blood; which
    cold and settled, left the liver white and pale, which is the
    badge of pusillanimity and cowardice; but the sherris warms
    and makes it course from the inwards to the parts extremes. 2700
    illumineth the face, which, as a beacon, gives warning to all
    rest of this little kingdom, man, to arm; and then the vital
    commoners and inland petty spirits muster me all to their
    captain, the heart, who, great and puff'd up with this
    doth any deed of courage—and this valour comes of sherris. 2705
    that skill in the weapon is nothing without sack, for that
    it a-work; and learning, a mere hoard of gold kept by a devil
    till sack commences it and sets it in act and use. Hereof
    it that Prince Harry is valiant; for the cold blood he did
    naturally inherit of his father, he hath, like lean, sterile, 2710
    bare land, manured, husbanded, and till'd, with excellent
    endeavour of drinking good and good store of fertile sherris,
    that he is become very hot and valiant. If I had a thousand
    the first humane principle I would teach them should be to
    forswear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack. 2715
    [Enter BARDOLPH]
    How now, Bardolph!
  • Bardolph. The army is discharged all and gone.
  • Falstaff. Let them go. I'll through Gloucestershire, and there
    I visit Master Robert Shallow, Esquire. I have him already 2740
    temp'ring between my finger and my thumb, and shortly will I
    with him. Come away. Exeunt