« PreviousContinue »
Fal. Thou hast the most unsavory similes; and art, indeed, the most comparative, rascalliest,-sweet young prince,–But, Hal, I pr’ythee, trouble me no more with vanity. I would to God, thou and I knew where a commodity of good names were to be bought. An old lord of the council rated me the other day in the street about you, sir ; but I marked him not: and yet he talked very wisely; but I regarded him not: and yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.
P. Hen. Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it.
Fal. O thou hast damnable iteration ; and art, indeed, able to corrupt a saint. Thou hast done much harm upon me, Hal,-God forgive thee for it! Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am I, if a man should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked. I must give over this life, and I will give it over; by the Lord, an I do not, I am a villain ; I'll be damned for never a king's son in Christendom.
P. Hen. Where shall we take a purse to-morrow, Jack ?
Fal. Where thou wilt, lad I'll make one ; an I do not, call me villain, and baffle ? me.
P. Hen. I see a good amendment of life in thee; from praying, to purse-taking.
Enter Poins, at a distance. Fal. Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal; 'tis no sin for a man to labor in his vocation. Poins !—Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match.3 0, if men were to be saved by merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for him? This is the most omnipotent villain, that ever cried, Stand, to a true man.
tween Bishopsgate and Cripplegate, opened to an unwholesome, impassable morass. Thus, in Taylor's Pennylesse Pilgrimage, 1618:-“ My body being tired with travel, and my mind attired with moody muddy, Mooreditch melancholy."
1 Comparative : this epithet, which is used here for one who is fond of making comparisons, occurs again in Act ii. Sc. 2, of this play.
2 To baffle is to use contemptuously, or treat with ignominy ; to unknight.
3 To set a match is to make an appointment. So in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, “ Peace, sir, they'll be angry if they hear you eaves-dropping, now they are setting their match." The folio reads set a watch ; match is the reading of the quarto.
P. Hen. Good morrow, Ned.
Poins. Good morrow, sweet Hal. What says monsieur Remorse? What says sir John Sack-and-Sugar? Jack, how agrees the devil and thee about thy soul, that thou soldest him on Good Friday last, for a cup of Madeira, and a cold capon's leg?
P. Hen. Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs; he will give the devil his due.
Poins. Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.
P. Hen. Else he had been damned for cozening the devil.
Poins. But, my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four o'clock, early at Gadshill : There are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses. I have visors for you all ; you have horses for yourselves; Gadshill lies to-night in Rochester ; I have bespoke supper to-morrow night in Eastcheap; we may do it as secure as sleep. If you will go, I will stuff your purses full of crowns; if you will not, tarry at home, and be hanged.
Fal. Hear me, Yedward ; if I tarry at home, and go not, I'll hang you for going.
Poins. You will, chops ?
P. Hen. Who, I rob? I a thief ? Not I, by my faith.
Fal. There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou camest not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.?
P. Hen. Well, then once in my days I'll be a madcap.
1 Falstaff's favorite beverage, here mentioned for the first time, appears to have been the Spanish wine which we now call sherry. Falstaff expressly calls it sherris-sack; that is, sack from Xeres.
2 Falstaff is quibbling on the word royal. The real or royal was of the value of ten shillings.
Fal. Why, that's well said.
Fal. By the Lord, I'll be a traitor then, when thou art king.
P. Hen. I care not.
Poins. Sir John, I pr’ythee, leave the prince and me alone; I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure, that he shall go.
Fal. Well, mayst thou have the spirit of persuasion, and he the ears of profiting, that what thou speakest may move, and what he hears may be believed, that the true prince may (for recreation sake) prove a false thief; for the poor abuses of the time want countenance. Farewell; you shall find me in Eastcheap.
P. Hen. Farewell, thou latter spring! Farewell, All-hallown summer.
[Exit FALSTAFF. Poins. Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us to-morrow ; I have a jest to execute, that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto, and Gadshill, shall rob those men that we have already waylaid ; yourself, and I, will not be there: and when they have the booty, if you and I do not rob them, cut this head from my shoulders.
P. Hen. But how shall we part with them in setting forth?
Poins. Why, we will set forth before or after them, and appoint them a place of meeting, wherein it is at our pleasure to fail ; and then will they adventure upon the exploit themselves; which they shall have no sooner achieved, but we'll set upon them.
P. Hen. Ay, but, 'tis like, that they will know us, by our horses, by our habits, and by every other appointment, to be ourselves.
Poins. Tut! our horses they shall not see ; I'll tie them in the wood; our visors we will change, after we
1 i. e. late summer ; All-hallown tide meaning All-saints, which festival is the first of November.
2 The old copy reads Falstaff, Harvey, Rossil, and Gadshill. Theobald thinks that Harvey and Rossil might be the names of the actors who played the parts of Bardolph and Peto.
leave them; and sirrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce, to immask our noted outward garments.
P. Hen. But, I doubt, they will be too hard for us.
Poins. Well, for two of them, I know them to be as true-bred cowards as ever turned back; and for the third, if he fight longer than he sees reason, I'll forswear arms. The virtue of this jest will be, the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will tell us, when we meet at supper; how thirty, at least, he fought with ; what wards, what blows, what extremities he endured ; and in the reproof? of this lies the jest.
P. Hen. Well, I'll go with thee: provide us all things necessary, and meet me to-morrow night in Eastcheap; there I'll sup. Farewell. Poins. Farewell, my lord.
[Exit Poins. P. Hen. I know you all, and will a while uphold The unyoked humor of your idleness. Yet herein will I imitate the sun; Who doth permit the base, contagious clouds To smother up his beauty from the world, That, when he please again to be himself, Being wanted, he may be more wondered at, By breaking through the foul and ugly mists Of vapors, that did seem to strangle him. If all the year were playing holidays, To sport would be as tedious as to work ; But, when they seldom come, they wished-for come, And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents. So, when this loose behavior I throw off, And pay the debt I never promised, By how much better than my word I am, By so much shall I falsify men's hopes; 3 And, like bright metal on a sullen ground, My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
year were a tedious as to wished-fo
1 For the nonce signified for the purpose, for the occasion, for the once. The editor of the new edition of Warton's History of English Poetry (vol. ü. p. 496), has shown that it is nothing more than a slight variation of the Anglo-Saxon “for than ænes ;" literally for the once.
2 Reproof is confutation. To refute, to refel, to disallow, were ancient synonymes of to reprove. 3 Hopes is used simply for expectations ; no uncommon use of the word.
VOL. III. 59
Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes,
SCENE III. The same. Another Room in the Palace.
Enter King Henry, NortHUMBERLAND, WORCESTER,
HOTSPUR, Sir Walter Blunt, and others.
Wor. Our house, my sovereign liege, little deserves
And that same greatness, too, which our own hands
North. My lord,
K. Hen. Worcester, get thee gone, for I do see
[Exit WORCESTER. You were about to speak.
1 Condition is used for nature, disposition, as well as estate or fortune. It is so interpreted by Philips, in his World of Words; and we find it most frequently used in this sense by Shakspeare and his contemporaries.
2 Frontier is said anciently to have meant forehead. It may, perhaps, be interpreted “the moody or threatening outwork ;” in which sense frontier is used in Act ii. Sc. 3.