Page images
[ocr errors]


P. Hen. You whoreson candle-mine, you, how vilely did you speak of me even now, before this honest, virtuous, civil gentlewoman.

Host. 'Blessing o'your good heart! and so she is, by my troth.

Fal. Didst thou hear me?

P. Hen. Yes; and you knew me, as you did when you ran away by Gads-hill: you knew, I was at your back; and spoke it on purpose, to try my patience.

Fal. No, no, no; not so; I did not think, thou wast within hearing.

P. Hen. I shall drive you then to confess the wilful abuse; and then I know how to handle you.

Fal. No abuse, Hal, on mine honour; no abuse.

P. Hen. Not! to dispraise me; and call me-pantler, and bread-chipper, and I know not what?

Fal. No abuse, Hal.
Poins. No abuse !

Fal. No abuse, Ned, in the world; honest Ned, none. I dispraised him before the wicked, that the wicked might not fall in love with him :-in which doing, I have done the part of a careful friend, and a true subject, and thy father is to give me thanks for it. No abuse, Hal ;-none, Ned, none;—no, boys, none.

P. Hen. See now, whether pure fear, and entire cowardice, doth not make thee wrong this virtuous gentlewoman to close with us? Is she of the wicked ? Is thine hostess here of the wicked? Or is the boy of the wick. ed? Or honest Bardolph, whose zeal burns in his nose, of the wicked?

Poins. Answer, thou dead elm, answer.

Fal. The fiend hath pricked down Bardolph irrecoverably; and his face is Lucifer's privy-kitchen, where he doth nothing but roast malt-worms. For the boy, there is a good angel about him; but the devil outbids him too.

P. Hen. For the women,

Fal. For one of them,—she is in hell already, and burns, poor soul! For the other,-I owe her money; and whether she be damned for that, I know not.

Host. No, I warrant you.

Fal. No, I think thou art not; I think, thou art quit for that : Marry, there is another indictment upon thee, for suffering flesh to be eaten in thy house, contrary to the law; for the which, I think, thou wilt howl.

Host. All victuallers do so : What's a joint of mutton or two in a whole Lent?

P. Hen. You, gentlewoman,-
Dol. What says your grace
Fal. His grace says that which his flesh rebels against.

Host. Who knocks so loud at door? look to the door there, Francis.

Enter Peto.
P. Hen. Peto, how now? what news?

Peto. The king your father is at Westminster;
And there are twenty weak and wearied posts,
Come from the north : and, as I came along,
I met, and overtook, a dozen captains,
Bare-headed, sweating, knocking at the taverns,
And asking every one for sir John Falstaff.

P. Hen. By heaven, Poins, I feel me much to blame, So idly to profane the precious time;

When tempest of commotion, like the south
Borne with black vapour, doth begin to melt,
And drop upon our bare unarmed heads.
Give me my sword, and cloak :-Falstaff, good night. .

[Exeunt Prince Henry, Poins, Pero, and BAR


Fal. Now comes in the sweetest morsel of the night, and we must hence, and leave it unpicked. [Knocking heard.] More knocking at the door?

Re-enter BARDOLPH. How now? what's the matter?

Bard. You must away to court, sir, presently; a dozen captains stay at door for you.

Fal. Pay the musicians, sirrah. [To the Page.] Farewell, hostess ;-farewell, Doll.—You see, my good wenches, how men of merit are sought after: the undeserver may sleep, when the man of action is called on. Farewell, good wenches: If I be not sent away post, I will see you again ere I go.

Dol. I cannot speak ;-If my heart be not ready to burst :-Well, sweet Jack, have a care of thyself. Fal. Farewell, farewell.

[Exeunt Falstaff and BARDOLPH. Host. Well, fare thee well : I have known thee these twenty-nine years, come peascod-time; but an honester, and truer-hearted man,-Well, fare thee well.

Bard. [Within.] Mistress Tear-sheet,
Host. What's the matter?

Bard. [Within.] Bid mistress Tear-sheet come to my master.

Host. O run, Doll, run; run, good Doll. (Ereunt.


SCENE I.--A Room in the Palace.

Enter King Henry in his Nightgown, with a Page.

K. Hen. Go, call the earls of Surrey and of Warwick; But, ere they come, bid them o'er-read these letters, And well consider of them: Make good speed.

[Exit Page. How many thousand of my poorest subjects Are at this hour asleep!-Sleep, gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness? Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee, And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber; Than in the perfumed chambers of the great, Under the canopies of costly state, And lulld with sounds of sweetest melody? Othou dull god, why liest thou with the vile, In loathsome beds; and leav'st the kingly couch, A watch-case, or a common ’larum bell? Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains In cradle of the rude imperious surge ;

[blocks in formation]

And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruftian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafʼning clamours in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude ;
And, in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king ? Then, happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

War. Many good morrows to your majesty!
K. Hen. Is it good morrow, lords?
War. 'Tis one o'clock, and past.

K. Hen. Why then, good morrow to you all, my lords. Have you read o'er the letters that I sent you?

War. We have, my liege.

K. Hen. Then you perceive, the body of our kingdom How foul it is; what rank diseases grow, And with what danger, near the heart of it.

War. It is but as a body, yet, distemper’d; Which to his former strength may be restored, With good advice, and little medicine: My lord Northumberland will soon be coold. K. Hen. O heaven! that one might read the book of

fate; And see the revolution of the times Make mountains level, and the continent (Weary of solid firmness), melt itself

« PreviousContinue »