Henry IV, Part 2 - Act 1, scene 2
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Act 1, scene 2
Sir John Falstaff is confronted by the Lord Chief Justice. Since Falstaff has come away from Shrewsbury with the reputation of a warrior and has been commanded by the king to march to York to join Prince John, the Lord Chief Justice forbears to arrest him for the Gad’s Hill robbery.Enter Sir John ⟨Falstaff,⟩ with his Page bearing his sword
FALSTAFF 0278 Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my
PAGE 0280 He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy
0281 water, but, for the party that owed it, he might have
0282 5 more diseases than he knew for.
FALSTAFF 0283 Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me.
0284 The brain of this foolish-compounded clay, man, is
0285 not able to invent anything that intends to laughter
0286 more than I invent, or is invented on me. I am not
0287 10 only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in
0288 other men. I do here walk before thee like a sow
0289 that hath overwhelmed all her litter but one. If the
0290 Prince put thee into my service for any other reason
0291 than to set me off, why then I have no judgment.
0292 15 Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to be
0293 worn in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never
0294 manned with an agate till now, but I will inset you
0295 neither in gold nor silver, but in vile apparel, and
0296 send you back again to your master for a jewel. The
0297 20 juvenal, the Prince your master, whose chin is not
0298 yet fledge—I will sooner have a beard grow in the
0299 palm of my hand than he shall get one off his cheek,
0300 and yet he will not stick to say his face is a face
0301 royal. God may finish it when He will. ’Tis not a hair
0302 25 amiss yet. He may keep it still at a face royal, for a
0303 barber shall never earn sixpence out of it, and yet
0304 he’ll be crowing as if he had writ man ever since his
0305 father was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace,
0306 but he’s almost out of mine, I can assure him. What
0307 30 said Master Dommelton about the satin for my
0308 short cloak and my slops?
0310 assurance than Bardolph. He would not take his
0311 band and yours. He liked not the security.
FALSTAFF 0312 35Let him be damned like the glutton! Pray
0313 God his tongue be hotter! A whoreson Achitophel, a
0314 ⟨rascally⟩ yea-forsooth knave, to bear a gentleman in
0315 hand and then stand upon security! The whoreson
0316 smoothy-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes
0317 40 and bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is
0318 through with them in honest taking up, then they
0319 must stand upon security. I had as lief they would
0320 put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to stop it with
0321 “security.” I looked he should have sent me two-and-twenty
0322 45 yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and
0323 he sends me “security.” Well, he may sleep in
0324 security, for he hath the horn of abundance, and the
0325 lightness of his wife shines through it, and yet
0326 cannot he see though he have his own lantern to
0327 50 light him. Where’s Bardolph?
PAGE 0328 He’s gone in Smithfield to buy your Worship a
FALSTAFF 0330 I bought him in Paul’s, and he’ll buy me a
0331 horse in Smithfield. An I could get me but a wife in
0332 55 the stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived.
Enter Lord Chief Justice ⟨and Servant.⟩
PAGE, ⌜to Falstaff⌝ 0333 Sir, here comes the nobleman that
0334 committed the Prince for striking him about
FALSTAFF 0336 Wait close. I will not see him.
⌜They begin to exit.⌝
CHIEF JUSTICE, ⌜to Servant⌝ 0337 60What’s he that goes there?
SERVANT 0338 Falstaff, an ’t please your Lordship.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0339 He that was in question for the robbery?
SERVANT 0340 He, my lord; but he hath since done good
0342 65 with some charge to the Lord John of Lancaster.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0343 What, to York? Call him back again.
SERVANT 0344 Sir John Falstaff!
FALSTAFF 0345 Boy, tell him I am deaf.
PAGE 0346 You must speak louder. My master is deaf.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0347 70I am sure he is, to the hearing of
0348 anything good.—Go pluck him by the elbow. I must
0349 speak with him.
SERVANT, ⌜plucking Falstaff’s sleeve⌝ 0350 Sir John!
FALSTAFF 0351 What, a young knave and begging? Is there
0352 75 not wars? Is there not employment? Doth not the
0353 King lack subjects? Do not the rebels need soldiers?
0354 Though it be a shame to be on any side but one, it is
0355 worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side,
0356 were it worse than the name of rebellion can tell
0357 80 how to make it.
SERVANT 0358 You mistake me, sir.
FALSTAFF 0359 Why sir, did I say you were an honest man?
0360 Setting my knighthood and my soldiership aside, I
0361 had lied in my throat if I had said so.
SERVANT 0362 85I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and
0363 your soldiership aside, and give me leave to tell you,
0364 you lie in your throat if you say I am any other than
0365 an honest man.
FALSTAFF 0366 I give thee leave to tell me so? I lay aside that
0367 90 which grows to me? If thou gett’st any leave of me,
0368 hang me; if thou tak’st leave, thou wert better be
0369 hanged. You hunt counter. Hence! Avaunt!
SERVANT 0370 Sir, my lord would speak with you.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0371 Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.
FALSTAFF 0372 95My good lord. God give your Lordship good
0373 time of ⟨the⟩ day. I am glad to see your Lordship
0374 abroad. I heard say your Lordship was sick. I hope
0375 your Lordship goes abroad by advice. Your Lordship,
0377 100 some smack of an ague in you, some relish of the
0378 saltness of time in you, and I most humbly beseech
0379 your Lordship to have a reverend care of your
CHIEF JUSTICE 0381 Sir John, I sent for you before your
0382 105 expedition to Shrewsbury.
FALSTAFF 0383 An ’t please your Lordship, I hear his Majesty
0384 is returned with some discomfort from Wales.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0385 I talk not of his Majesty. You would not
0386 come when I sent for you.
FALSTAFF 0387 110And I hear, moreover, his Highness is fallen
0388 into this same whoreson apoplexy.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0389 Well, God mend him. I pray you let me
0390 speak with you.
FALSTAFF 0391 This apoplexy, as I take it, is a kind of
0392 115 lethargy, an ’t please your Lordship, a kind of
0393 sleeping in the blood, a whoreson tingling.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0394 What tell you me of it? Be it as it is.
FALSTAFF 0395 It hath it original from much grief, from
0396 study, and perturbation of the brain. I have read the
0397 120 cause of his effects in Galen. It is a kind of deafness.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0398 I think you are fallen into the disease,
0399 for you hear not what I say to you.
FALSTAFF 0400 Very well, my lord, very well. Rather, an ’t
0401 please you, it is the disease of not listening, the
0402 125 malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0403 To punish you by the heels would amend
0404 the attention of your ears, and I care not if I do
0405 become your physician.
FALSTAFF 0406 I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so
0407 130 patient. Your Lordship may minister the potion of
0408 imprisonment to me in respect of poverty, but how
0409 I should be your patient to follow your prescriptions,
0410 the wise may make some dram of a scruple,
0411 or indeed a scruple itself.
0413 against you for your life, to come speak with me.
FALSTAFF 0414 As I was then advised by my learned counsel
0415 in the laws of this land-service, I did not come.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0416 Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in
0417 140 great infamy.
FALSTAFF 0418 He that buckles himself in my belt cannot
0419 live in less.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0420 Your means are very slender, and your
0421 waste is great.
FALSTAFF 0422 145I would it were otherwise. I would my means
0423 were greater and my waist slender.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0424 You have misled the youthful prince.
FALSTAFF 0425 The young prince hath misled me. I am the
0426 fellow with the great belly, and he my dog.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0427 150Well, I am loath to gall a new-healed
0428 wound. Your day’s service at Shrewsbury hath a
0429 little gilded over your night’s exploit on Gad’s Hill.
0430 You may thank th’ unquiet time for your quiet
0431 o’erposting that action.
FALSTAFF 0432 155My lord.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0433 But since all is well, keep it so. Wake not
0434 a sleeping wolf.
FALSTAFF 0435 To wake a wolf is as bad as ⟨to⟩ smell a fox.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0436 What, you are as a candle, the better
0437 160 part burnt out.
FALSTAFF 0438 A wassail candle, my lord, all tallow. If I did
0439 say of wax, my growth would approve the truth.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0440 There is not a white hair in your face but
0441 should have his effect of gravity.
FALSTAFF 0442 165His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0443 You follow the young prince up and
0444 down like his ill angel.
FALSTAFF 0445 Not so, my lord. Your ill angel is light, but I
0446 hope he that looks upon me will take me without
0447 170 weighing. And yet in some respects I grant I cannot
0449 costermongers’ times that true valor is turned bearherd;
0450 pregnancy is made a tapster, and ⟨hath⟩ his
0451 quick wit wasted in giving reckonings. All the other
0452 175 gifts appurtenant to man, as the malice of ⟨this⟩ age
0453 shapes ⟨them, are⟩ not worth a gooseberry. You that
0454 are old consider not the capacities of us that are
0455 young. You do measure the heat of our livers with
0456 the bitterness of your galls, and we that are in the
0457 180 vaward of our youth, I must confess, are wags too.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0458 Do you set down your name in the scroll
0459 of youth, that are written down old with all the
0460 characters of age? Have you not a moist eye, a dry
0461 hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard, a decreasing
0462 185 leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken,
0463 your wind short, your chin double, your wit single,
0464 and every part about you blasted with antiquity?
0465 And will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir
FALSTAFF 0467 190My lord, I was born [about three of the clock
0468 in the afternoon,] with a white head and something
0469 a round belly. For my voice, I have lost it with
0470 halloing and singing of anthems. To approve my
0471 youth further, I will not. The truth is, I am only old
0472 195 in judgment and understanding. And he that will
0473 caper with me for a thousand marks, let him lend
0474 me the money, and have at him. For the box of the
0475 ⟨ear⟩ that the Prince gave you, he gave it like a rude
0476 prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have
0477 200 checked him for it, and the young lion repents.
0478 ⌜Aside.⌝ Marry, not in ashes and sackcloth, but in
0479 new silk and old sack.
CHIEF JUSTICE 0480 Well, God send the Prince a better
FALSTAFF 0482 205God send the companion a better prince. I
0483 cannot rid my hands of him.
0485 Prince Harry.⟩ I hear you are going with Lord John
0486 of Lancaster against the Archbishop and the Earl of
0487 210 Northumberland.
FALSTAFF 0488 Yea, I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But
0489 look you pray, all you that kiss my Lady Peace at
0490 home, that our armies join not in a hot day, for, by
0491 the Lord, I take but two shirts out with me, and I
0492 215 mean not to sweat extraordinarily. If it be a hot day
0493 and I brandish anything but a bottle, I would I
0494 might never spit white again. There is not a dangerous
0495 action can peep out his head but I am thrust
0496 upon it. Well, I cannot last ever. [But it was always
0497 220 yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a
0498 good thing, to make it too common. If you will
0499 needs say I am an old man, you should give me rest.
0500 I would to God my name were not so terrible to the
0501 enemy as it is. I were better to be eaten to death
0502 225 with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with
0503 perpetual motion.]
CHIEF JUSTICE 0504 Well, be honest, be honest, and God
0505 bless your expedition.
FALSTAFF 0506 Will your Lordship lend me a thousand
0507 230 pound to furnish me forth?
CHIEF JUSTICE 0508 Not a penny, not a penny. You are too
0509 impatient to bear crosses. Fare you well. Commend
0510 me to my cousin Westmoreland.
⌜Lord Chief Justice and his Servant exit.⌝
FALSTAFF 0511 If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A
0512 235 man can no more separate age and covetousness
0513 than he can part young limbs and lechery; but the
0514 gout galls the one, and the pox pinches the other,
0515 and so both the degrees prevent my curses.—Boy!
PAGE 0516 Sir.
FALSTAFF 0517 240What money is in my purse?
PAGE 0518 Seven groats and two pence.
0520 of the purse. Borrowing only lingers and lingers
0521 it out, but the disease is incurable. ⌜Giving
papers to the Page.⌝ 0522 245Go bear this letter to my Lord
0523 of Lancaster, this to the Prince, this to the Earl
0524 of Westmoreland, and this to old Mistress Ursula,
0525 whom I have weekly sworn to marry since I perceived
0526 the first white hair of my chin. About it. You
0527 250 know where to find me. ⌜Page exits.⌝ A pox of this
0528 gout! Or a gout of this pox, for the one or the other
0529 plays the rogue with my great toe. ’Tis no matter if I
0530 do halt. I have the wars for my color, and my
0531 pension shall seem the more reasonable. A good wit
0532 255 will make use of anything. I will turn diseases to