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To-day will I set forth, to-morrow you.—
It must, of force.
SCENE IV. Eastcheap.' A Room in the Boar's
Enter PRINCE HENRY and Poins. P. Hen. Ned, pr’ythee, come out of that fat room, and lend me thy hand to laugh a little.
Poins. Where hast been, Hal ?,
P. Hen. With three or four loggerheads, amongst three or four score hogsheads. I have sounded the very base string of humility. Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers ; and can call them all by their Christian names, as—Tom, Dick, and Francis. They take it already upon their salvation, that, though I be but prince of Wales, yet I am the king of courtesy; and tell me flatly I am no proud Jack, like Falstaff; but a Corinthian,” a lad of mettle, a good boy,—by the Lord, so they call me; and when I am king of England, I shall command all the good lads in Eastcheap. They call—drinking deep, dyeing scarlet: and when you breathe in your watering, they cry-hem! and bid you play it off.3- To conclude, I am so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour, that I can drink with any tinker in his own language during my life. I tell thee, Ned, thou hast lost much honor, that thou wert not with me in this action. But, sweet Ned,—to sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee this pennyworth of sugar,' clapped even now in my hand by an underskinker ; ? one that never spake other English in his life, than-Eight shillings and sixpence, and—You are welcome ; with this shrill addition, — Anon, anon, sir! Score a pint of bastard in the Half-moon, or so. But, Ned, to drive away the time till Falstaff come, I pr’ythee, do thou stand in some by-room, while I question my puny drawer, to what end he gave me the sugar; and do thou never leave calling-Francis, that his tale to me may be nothing but-anon. Step aside, and I'll show thee a precedent.
1 Eastcheap is selected, with propriety, for the scene of the prince's merry meetings, as it was near his own residence: a mansion called Cold Harbor (near All Hallows church, Upper Thames street) was granted to Henry prince of Wales. 11 Henry IV. 1410. Rymer, vol. viii. p. 628. In the old, anonymous play of King Henry V., Eastcheap is the place where Henry and his companions meet :-“ Hen. V. You know the old tavern in Eastcheap; there is good wine.” Shakspeare has hung up a sign for them that he saw daily; for the Boar's Head tavern was very near Blackfriars' playhouse.–Stowe's Survey.
2 A Corinthian was a debauchee.
3 “ To breathe in your watering,” is “ to stop and take breath when you are drinking."
Poins. Francis !
Enter FRANCIS. Fran. Anon, anon, sir. Look down into the Pomegranate, Ralph.
P. Hen. Come hither, Francis.
P. Hen. Five years! by’rlady, a long lease for the clinking of pewter. But, Francis, darest thou be so valiant, as to play the coward with thy indenture, and to show it a fair pair of heels, and run from it ?
Fran. O Lord, sir! I'll be sworn upon all the books in England, I could find in my heart
Poins. [Within.] Francis !
1 It appears from two passages cited by Steevens that the drawers kept sugar folded up in paper, ready to be delivered to those who called for sack.
2 An under-skinker is a tapster, an under-drawer. Skink is drink, liquor (from scenc, drink, Saxon).
Fran. Let me see,—about Michaelmas next, I shall be
Poins. [Within.] Francis !
P. Hen. Nay, but hark you, Francis. For the sugar thou gavest me, 'twas a pennyworth, was't not?
Fran. O Lord, sir! I would it had been two.
P. Hen. I will give thee for it a thousand pound; ask me when thou wilt, and thou shalt have it.
Poins. [Within.] Francis !
P. Hen. Anon, Francis ? No, Francis; but to-morrow, Francis; or, Francis, on Thursday; or, indeed, Francis, when thou wilt. But, Francis,
Fran. My lord ?
P. Hen. Wilt thou rob this leathern-jerkin,' crystalbutton, nott-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddisgarter, 4 smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch,
Fran. O Lord, sir, who do you mean?
P. Hen. Why, then, your brown bastard 5 is your only drink ; for, look you, Francis, your white canvass doublet will sully : in Barbary, sir, it cannot come to so much.
Fran. What, sir ?
P. Hen. Away, you rogue. Dost thou not hear them call ?
[Here they both call him ; the Drawer stands
amazed, not knowing which way to go.
1 The prince intends to ask the drawer whether he will rob his master, whom he denotes by these contemptuous distinctions.
2 Nott-pated is shorn-pated, or cropped; having the hair cut close.
3 Puke-stockings are dark-colored stockings. Puke is a color between russet and black. By the receipt for dyeing it, it appears to have been a dark gray, or slate color.
4 Caddis was probably a kind of ferret or worsted lace. A slight kind of serge still bears the name of cadis, in France. In Glapthorne's Wit in a Constable, we are told of " footmen in caddis.” Garters, being formerly worn in sight, were often of rich materials; to wear a coarse, cheap sort was, therefore, reproachful.
5 A kind of sweet Spanish wine, of which there were two sorts, brown and white. Baret says that “ bastarde is muscadel, sweete wine, mulsum.” Bastard wines are said to be Spanish wines in general, by Olaus Magnus.
VOL. III. 62
Enter Vintner. Vint. What! stand'st thou still, and hear'st such a calling? Look to the guests within. [Exit FRAN.] My lord, old sir John, with half a dozen more, are at the door : shall I let them in ?
P. Hen. Let them alone awhile, and then open the door. [Exit Vintner.] Poins !
P. Hen. Sirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the thieves are at the door. Shall we be merry ?
Poins. As merry as crickets, my lad. But hark ye—what cunning match have you made with this jest of the drawer? come, what's the issue ?
P. Hen. I am now of all humors, that have showed themselves humors, since the old days of good man Adam, to the pupil age of this present twelve o'clock at midnight. [Re-enter FRANCIS, with wine. What's o'clock, Francis ?
Fran. Anon, anon, sir.
P. Hen. That ever this fellow should have fewer words than a parrot, and yet the son of a woman ! His industry is—up-stairs, and down-stairs; his eloquence, the parcel of a reckoning. I am not yet of Percy's mind, the Hotspur of the north ; he that kills me some six or seven dozen of Scots at a breakfast, washes his hands, and says to his wife,-Fie upon this quiet life! I want work. O my sweet Harry, says she, how many hast thou killed to-day? Give my roan horse a drench, says he ; and answers, Some fourteen, an hour after; a trifle, a trifle. I pr’ythee, call in Falstaff; I'll play Percy, and that damned brawn shall play dame Mortimer, his wife. Rivo,' says the drunkard. Call in ribs, call in tallow.
1 Of this exclamation, which was frequently used in Bacchanalian reyelry, the origin or derivation has not been discovered.
Enter FALSTAFF, GADSHILL, BARDOLPH, and Peto.
Poins. Welcome, Jack. Where hast thou been?
Fal. A plague of all cowards, I say, and a vengeance too! Marry, and amen !-Give me a cup of sack, boy.-Ere I lead this life long, I'll sew netherstocks, and mend them, and foot them too. A plague of all cowards !–Give me a cup of sack, rogue.- Is there no virtue extant ?
[He drinks. P. Hen. Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter? pitiful-hearted Titan, that melted at the sweet tale of the sun! 2 If thou didst, then behold that compound.
Fal. You rogue, here's lime’ in this sack too: There is nothing but roguery to be found in villanous man; yet a coward is worse than a cup of sack with lime in it; a villanous coward.—Go thy ways, old Jack ; die when thou wilt, if manhood, good manhood, be not forgot upon the face of the earth, then am I a shotten herring. There lives not three good men unhanged in England ; and one of them is fat, and grows old : God help the while! A bad world, I say! I would I were a weaver ; I could sing psalms or any thing. A plague of all cowards, I say still.
2 “ Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter?" alludes to Falstaff's entering in a great heat, melting with the motion, like butter with the heat of the sun. “ Pitiful-hearted” is used in the sense which Cotgrave gives to “misericordieur, merciful, pitiful, compassionate, tender.” Theobald reads “ pitiful-hearted butter,” which is countenanced by none of the old copies, but affords a clear sense. Malone and Steevens have each given a reading, founded upon the quarto of 1598, which has “ — at the sweet tale of the sonnes :" but they differ in their explanations of the passage. Bishop Earle, in his Microcosmography, giving the character of a pot poet, says, “ His frequentest works go out in single sheets, and are chaunted from market to market to a vile tune and a worse throat; whilst the poor country wench melts like butter to hear them."
3 Eliot, in his Orthoepia, 1593, speaking of sack and rhenish, says, “ The vintners of London put in lime; thence proceed infinite maladies, specially the goutes."
4 This is the reading of the first quarto, 1598. The folio reads, “I could sing all manner of songs.” The passage was probably altered to avoid the penalty of the statute, 3 Jac. I. cxxi. Weavers are mentioned as lovers of music in the Twelfth Night. The Protestants who fled from the persecutions of the duke of Alva, were mostly weavers ; and, being Calvinists, were distinguished for their love of psalmody.