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King Henry IV, Part I

ACT III SCENE III Eastcheap. The Boar’s-Head Tavern.
FALSTAFF Bardolph, am I not fallen away vilely since this last
action? do I not bate? do I not dwindle? Why my
skin hangs about me like an like an old lady’s loose
gown; I am withered like an old apple-john. Well,
I’ll repent, and that suddenly, while I am in some 5
liking; I shall be out of heart shortly, and then I
shall have no strength to repent. An I have not
forgotten what the inside of a church is made of, I
am a peppercorn, a brewer’s horse: the inside of a
church! Company, villanous company, hath been the 10
spoil of me.
BARDOLPH Sir John, you are so fretful, you cannot live long.
FALSTAFF Why, there is it: come sing me a bawdy song; make
me merry. I was as virtuously given as a gentleman
need to be; virtuous enough; swore little; diced not 15
above seven times a week; went to a bawdy-house once
in a quarter–of an hour; paid money that I
borrowed, three of four times; lived well and in
good compass: and now I live out of all order, out
of all compass. 20
BARDOLPH Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you must needs
be out of all compass, out of all reasonable
compass, Sir John.
FALSTAFF Do thou amend thy face, and I’ll amend my life:
thou art our admiral, thou bearest the lantern in 25
the poop, but ’tis in the nose of thee; thou art the
Knight of the Burning Lamp.
BARDOLPH Why, Sir John, my face does you no harm.
FALSTAFF No, I’ll be sworn; I make as good use of it as many
a man doth of a Death’s-head or a memento mori: I 30
never see thy face but I think upon hell-fire and
Dives that lived in purple; for there he is in his
robes, burning, burning. If thou wert any way
given to virtue, I would swear by thy face; my oath
should be ‘By this fire, that’s God’s angel:’ but 35
thou art altogether given over; and wert indeed, but
for the light in thy face, the son of utter
darkness. When thou rannest up Gadshill in the
night to catch my horse, if I did not think thou
hadst been an ignis fatuus or a ball of wildfire, 40
there’s no purchase in money. O, thou art a
perpetual triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light!
Thou hast saved me a thousand marks in links and
torches, walking with thee in the night betwixt
tavern and tavern: but the sack that thou hast 45
drunk me would have bought me lights as good cheap
at the dearest chandler’s in Europe. I have
maintained that salamander of yours with fire any
time this two and thirty years; God reward me for
it! 50
BARDOLPH ‘Sblood, I would my face were in your belly!
FALSTAFF God-a-mercy! so should I be sure to be heart-burned.
[Enter Hostess]
How now, Dame Partlet the hen! have you inquired
yet who picked my pocket?
Hostess Why, Sir John, what do you think, Sir John? do you 55
think I keep thieves in my house? I have searched,
I have inquired, so has my husband, man by man, boy
by boy, servant by servant: the tithe of a hair
was never lost in my house before.
FALSTAFF Ye lie, hostess: Bardolph was shaved and lost many 60
a hair; and I’ll be sworn my pocket was picked. Go
to, you are a woman, go.
Hostess Who, I? no; I defy thee: God’s light, I was never
called so in mine own house before.
FALSTAFF Go to, I know you well enough. 65
Hostess No, Sir John; You do not know me, Sir John. I know
you, Sir John: you owe me money, Sir John; and now
you pick a quarrel to beguile me of it: I bought
you a dozen of shirts to your back.
FALSTAFF Dowlas, filthy dowlas: I have given them away to 70
bakers’ wives, and they have made bolters of them.
Hostess Now, as I am a true woman, holland of eight
shillings an ell. You owe money here besides, Sir
John, for your diet and by-drinkings, and money lent
you, four and twenty pound. 75
FALSTAFF He had his part of it; let him pay.
Hostess He? alas, he is poor; he hath nothing.
FALSTAFF How! poor? look upon his face; what call you rich?
let them coin his nose, let them coin his cheeks:
Ill not pay a denier. What, will you make a younker 80
of me? shall I not take mine case in mine inn but I
shall have my pocket picked? I have lost a
seal-ring of my grandfather’s worth forty mark.
Hostess O Jesu, I have heard the prince tell him, I know not
how oft, that ring was copper! 85
FALSTAFF How! the prince is a Jack, a sneak-cup: ‘sblood, an
he were here, I would cudgel him like a dog, if he
would say so.
[ Enter PRINCE HENRY and PETO, marching, and FALSTAFF meets them playing on his truncheon like a life ]
How now, lad! is the wind in that door, i’ faith?
must we all march? 90
BARDOLPH Yea, two and two, Newgate fashion.
Hostess My lord, I pray you, hear me.
PRINCE HENRY What sayest thou, Mistress Quickly? How doth thy
husband? I love him well; he is an honest man.
Hostess Good my lord, hear me. 95
FALSTAFF Prithee, let her alone, and list to me.
PRINCE HENRY What sayest thou, Jack?
FALSTAFF The other night I fell asleep here behind the arras
and had my pocket picked: this house is turned
bawdy-house; they pick pockets. 100
PRINCE HENRY What didst thou lose, Jack?
FALSTAFF Wilt thou believe me, Hal? three or four bonds of
forty pound apiece, and a seal-ring of my
PRINCE HENRY A trifle, some eight-penny matter. 105
Hostess So I told him, my lord; and I said I heard your
grace say so: and, my lord, he speaks most vilely
of you, like a foul-mouthed man as he is; and said
he would cudgel you.
PRINCE HENRY What! he did not? 110
Hostess There’s neither faith, truth, nor womanhood in me else.
FALSTAFF There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed
prune; nor no more truth in thee than in a drawn
fox; and for womanhood, Maid Marian may be the
deputy’s wife of the ward to thee. Go, you thing, 115
Hostess Say, what thing? what thing?
FALSTAFF What thing! why, a thing to thank God on.
Hostess I am no thing to thank God on, I would thou
shouldst know it; I am an honest man’s wife: and, 120
setting thy knighthood aside, thou art a knave to
call me so.
FALSTAFF Setting thy womanhood aside, thou art a beast to say
Hostess Say, what beast, thou knave, thou? 125
FALSTAFF What beast! why, an otter.
PRINCE HENRY An otter, Sir John! Why an otter?
FALSTAFF Why, she’s neither fish nor flesh; a man knows not
where to have her.
Hostess Thou art an unjust man in saying so: thou or any 130
man knows where to have me, thou knave, thou!
PRINCE HENRY Thou sayest true, hostess; and he slanders thee most grossly.
Hostess So he doth you, my lord; and said this other day you
ought him a thousand pound.
PRINCE HENRY Sirrah, do I owe you a thousand pound? 135
FALSTAFF A thousand pound, Ha! a million: thy love is worth
a million: thou owest me thy love.
Hostess Nay, my lord, he called you Jack, and said he would
cudgel you.
FALSTAFF Did I, Bardolph? 140
BARDOLPH Indeed, Sir John, you said so.
FALSTAFF Yea, if he said my ring was copper.
PRINCE HENRY I say ’tis copper: darest thou be as good as thy word now?
FALSTAFF Why, Hal, thou knowest, as thou art but man, I dare:
but as thou art prince, I fear thee as I fear the 145
roaring of a lion’s whelp.
PRINCE HENRY And why not as the lion?
FALSTAFF The king is to be feared as the lion: dost thou
think I’ll fear thee as I fear thy father? nay, an
I do, I pray God my girdle break. 150
PRINCE HENRY O, if it should, how would thy guts fall about thy
knees! But, sirrah, there’s no room for faith,
truth, nor honesty in this bosom of thine; it is all
filled up with guts and midriff. Charge an honest
woman with picking thy pocket! why, thou whoreson, 155
impudent, embossed rascal, if there were anything in
thy pocket but tavern-reckonings, memorandums of
bawdy-houses, and one poor penny-worth of
sugar-candy to make thee long-winded, if thy pocket
were enriched with any other injuries but these, I 160
am a villain: and yet you will stand to if; you will
not pocket up wrong: art thou not ashamed?
FALSTAFF Dost thou hear, Hal? thou knowest in the state of
innocency Adam fell; and what should poor Jack
Falstaff do in the days of villany? Thou seest I 165
have more flesh than another man, and therefore more
frailty. You confess then, you picked my pocket?
PRINCE HENRY It appears so by the story.
FALSTAFF Hostess, I forgive thee: go, make ready breakfast;
love thy husband, look to thy servants, cherish thy 170
guests: thou shalt find me tractable to any honest
reason: thou seest I am pacified still. Nay,
prithee, be gone.
[Exit Hostess]
Now Hal, to the news at court: for the robbery,
lad, how is that answered? 175
PRINCE HENRY O, my sweet beef, I must still be good angel to
thee: the money is paid back again.
FALSTAFF O, I do not like that paying back; ’tis a double labour.
PRINCE HENRY I am good friends with my father and may do any thing.
FALSTAFF Rob me the exchequer the first thing thou doest, and 180
do it with unwashed hands too.
BARDOLPH Do, my lord.
PRINCE HENRY I have procured thee, Jack, a charge of foot.
FALSTAFF I would it had been of horse. Where shall I find
one that can steal well? O for a fine thief, of the 185
age of two and twenty or thereabouts! I am
heinously unprovided. Well, God be thanked for
these rebels, they offend none but the virtuous: I
laud them, I praise them.
PRINCE HENRY Bardolph! 190
PRINCE HENRY Go bear this letter to Lord John of Lancaster, to my
brother John; this to my Lord of Westmoreland.
[Exit Bardolph]
Go, Peto, to horse, to horse; for thou and I have
thirty miles to ride yet ere dinner time. 195
[Exit Peto]
Jack, meet me to-morrow in the temple hall at two
o’clock in the afternoon.
There shalt thou know thy charge; and there receive
Money and order for their furniture.
The land is burning; Percy stands on high; 200
And either we or they must lower lie.
FALSTAFF Rare words! brave world! Hostess, my breakfast, come!
O, I could wish this tavern were my drum!

Continue to Henry IV, Part I, Act 4, Scene 1