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Fal. Shall I? content:- This chair shall be my state, this dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my crown.
P. Hen. Thy state is taken for a joint-stool, thy golden sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown, for a pitiful bald crown!
Fal. Well, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee, now shalt thou be moved.—Give me a cup of sack, to make mine eyes look red, that it may be thought I have wept; for I must speak in passion, and I will do it in king Cambyses' vein.
P. Hen. Well, here is my leg.
vain. Host. O, the father, how he holds his countenance!
Fal. For God's sake, lords, convey my tristful queen, For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes.
Host. O rare! he doth it as like one of these harlotry players, as I ever see.
Fal. Peace, good pint-pot; peace, good tickle-brain. -Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also how thou art accompanied : for though the camomile, the more it is trodden on, the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted, the sooner it wears. That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother's word, partly my own opinion; but chiefly, a villainous trick of thine eye, and a foolish hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant me. If then thou be son to me, here lies the point ;-Why, being son to me, art thou so pointed at? Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher, and eat blackberries ? a question not to be ask
ed. Shall the son of England prove a thief, and take purses ? a question to be asked. There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard of, and it is known to many in our land by the name of pitch: this pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth defile; so doth the company thou keepest: for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee in drink, but in tears; not in pleasure, but in passion; not in words only, but in woes also :-And yet there is a virtuous man, whom I have often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.
P. Hen. What manner of man, an it like your majesty?
Fal. A good portly man, i’faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage; and, as I think, his age some fifty, or, by’r-lady, inclining to threescore; and now I remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man should be lewdly given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his looks. If then the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then, peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff: him keep with, the rest banish. And tell me now, thou naughty varlet, tell me, where hast thou been this month?
P. Hen. Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for me, and I'll play my father.
Fal. Depose me? if thou dost it half so gravely, so majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for a rabbet-sucker, or a poulter's hare,
P. Hen. Well, here I am set.
P. Hen. The complaints I hear of thee are grievous.
Fal. 'Sblood, my lord, they are false :-nay, I'll tickle ye for a young prince, i'faith.
P. Hen. Swearest thou, ungracious boy? henceforth ne'er look on me. Thou art violently carried away from grace: there is a devil haunts thee, in the likeness of a fat old man: a tun of man is thy companion. Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that boltinghutch of beastliness, that swoln parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years? Wherein is he good, but to taste sack and drink it? wherein neat and cleanly, but to carve a capon and eat it? wherein cunning, but in craft? wherein crafty, but in villainy? wherein villainous, but in all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing?
Fal. I would, your grace would take me with you; Whom means your grace?
P. Hen. That villainous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.
Fal. My lord, the man I know.
Fal. But to say, I know more harm in him than in myself, were to say more than I know. That he is old, (the more the pity) his white hairs do witness it: but that he is (saving your reverence) a whoremaster, that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked! If to be old and merry be a sin, then many an old host that I know, is damned: if to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh's lean kine are to be loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banisha
Poins : but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, being as he is, old Jack Falstail, banish not him thy Harry's company, banish not him thy Harry's company; banish plump Jack, and banish all the world. P. Hen. I do, I will.
[A knocking heard. [Ereunt Hostess, FRANCIS, and BARDOLPH.
Re-enter BARDOLPH, running. Bard. O, my lord, my lord; the sheriff, with a most monstrous watch, is at the door.
Fal. Out, you rogue! play out the play: I have much to say
in the behalf of that Falstaff.
Re-enter Hostess, hastily. Host. O Jesu, my lord, my lord !
Fal. Heigh, heigh! the devil rides upon a fiddlestick: What's the matter?
Host. The sheriff and all the watch are at the door : they are come to search the house ; Shall I let them in
Fal. Dost thou hear, Hal? never call a true piece of gold, a counterfeit: thou art essentially mad, without seeming so.
P. Hen. And thou a natural coward, without instinct.
Fal. I deny your major: if you will deny the sheriff, so; if not, let him enter: if I become not a cart as well as another man, a plague on my bringing up! I hope, I shall as soon be strangled with a halter, as another.
P. Hen. Go, hide thee behind the arras ;—the rest walk up above. Now, my masters, for a true face, and good conscience.
Fal. Both which I have had: but their date is out, and therefore I'll hide me.
[Exeunt all but the Prince and Poins. P. Hen. Call in the sheriff.
Enter Sheriff and Carrier.
Sher. First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and cry
P. Hen. What men ?
Sher. One of them is well known, my gracious lord; A gross fat man.
Car. As fat as butter.
Sher. I will, my lord : There are two gentlemen
P. Hen. It may be so: if he have robb’d these men, He shall be answerable; and so, farewell.
Sher. Good night, my noble lord.
[Exeunt Sheriff and Carrier. P. Hen. This oily rascal is known as well as Pauls. Go, call him forth.
Poins. Falstaff !—fast asleep behind the arras, and snorting like a horse.