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“ Falstaf. By the lord, thou say'st true, lad; and is not mine hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?
P. Henry. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle ; and is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance !
Falstaff. How now, how now, mad wag, what, in thy quips and thy quiddities ? what a plague have I to do with a buff-jerkin ?
P. Henry. Why, what a pox have I to do with mine hostess of the tavern.""
In the same scene be afterwards affects melancholy, from pure satisfaction of heart, and professes reform, because it is the farthest thing in the world from bis thoughts. He has no qualms of conscience, and therefore would as soon talk of them as of any thing else when the humour takes him.
“Falstaff. But Hal, I priythee trouble me po more with vanity. I would to God thou and I knew where a commodity of good names were to be bought: an old lord of council rated me the other day in the street about you, sir; but I mark'd him not, and yet be talked very wisely, and in the street too.
P. Henry. Thou didst well, for wisdom cries out in the street, and no man regards it.
Falstaff. O, thou hast damnable iteration, and art indeed able to corrupt a saiot. Thou hast done much harm unto me, Hal; God forgive thee for it. Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing, and now I am, if a man should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked. I must give over this life, and I will give it over, by the lord ; an I do not, I am a villain. I'll be damo'd for never a king's son in Christendom.
P. Henry. Where sball we take a purse to-morrow, Jack?.
Falstaff. Where thou wilt, lad, I'll make one; and I do not, call me villain, and baffle me.
P. Henry. I see good amendment of life in thee, from praying to purse-taking.
Falstaff. Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal. 'Tis no sin for a man to labour in bis vocation."
of the other prominent passages, his account of his pretended resistance to the robbers, “who grew
frorn four men in buckram into eleven,” as the imagination of his own valour increased with his relating it, his getting off when the truth is discovered by pretending he knew the Prince, the scene in which, in the person of the old king, he lectures the prince and gives himself a good character, the soliloquy on honour, and description of his new raised recruits, his meeting with the Chief justice, his abuse of the Prince and Poins, who overhear him, to Doll Tearsheet, his reconciliation with Mrs. Quickly, who bas arrested him for an old debt, and whom he persuades to pawn her plate to lend him ten pounds more, and the scenes with Shallow and Silence, are all inimitable. Of all of them, the scene in which Falstaff plays the part, first, of the King, and then of Prince Henry, is the one that has been the most often quoted. We must quote it once more in illustration of our remarks.
“ Falstaff. 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 villanous 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'd. Shall the son of England prove a thief, and take purses ? A question to be ask'd. 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 defle ; 80 doth the company thon keepest : for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee in driok, but in tears; not in pleasure, but in passion; not in words only, bul 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. Henry. What manner of man, an it like your majesty?
Falstaff A goodly portly man, i' faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most poble carriage; and, as I think, his age some fifty, or, by'r-lady, inclining to threescore; and now I do 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 fruit may be known by the tree, as the tree by the fruit, then peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff: hiin keep with, the rest banish. And tell me now, thou naughty varlet, tell me, where hast thou been this month?
P. Henry. Dost thou speak like a king ? Do thou stand for me, and I'll play my father.
Falstaff. Depose me? if thou dost it half so gravely, so majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for a rabbit-sucker, or a poulterer's hare.
P. Henry. Well, here I am set.
Falstaff. S'blood, my lord, they are false :-nay, I'll tickle ye for a young prioce, i'faith. P. Henry. Swearest thou, ungracious boy ? henceforth ne'er look
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 bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swoln parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuft cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manuing tree ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffiau, 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 villany? wherein villapous, but in all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing ?
Falstaff. I would, your grace would take me with you; whom means your grace ?
P. Henry. That villanous, abominable misleader of youth, Fal. staff, that old white-bearded Satan.
Falstaff. My lord, the man I know.
Falstaff. 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 Pharoah's lean kine are to be loved. No, my good lord ; banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish 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 Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry's company; banish plump Jack, and banish all the world. P. Henry. Tdo, I will.
(Knocking; and Hostess and Bardolph go out.
Re-enter BARDOLPH, running. Bardolph. O, my lord, my lord; the sheriff, with a most monstrous watch, is at the door.
Falstaff. Out, you rogue ! play out the play: I have much to say in the behalf of that Falstaff.''
One of the most characteristick descriptions of Sir John is that which Mrs. Quickly gives of him when he asks her “ What is the gross sum that I owe thee ?”
“ Hostess. Marry, if thou wert an honest man, thyself, and the money too.
Thou didst swear to me upon a parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my Dolphin-chamber, at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, on Wednesday in Whitsun-week, when the prince broke thy head for likening his father to a singing man of Windsor ; thou didst swear to me then, as I was washing thy wound, to marry me, and make me my lady thy wife. Canst thou deny it! Did not goodwife Keech, the butcher's wife, come in then, and call me gossip Quickly! coming in to borrow a mess of vinegar; telling us she had a good dish of prawos; whereby thou didst desire to eat some; whereby I told thee, they were ill for a green wound? And didst thou not, when she was gone down stairs, desire ne to be no 40 familiarity with such poor people ; saying, that ere long they should call me madam ? And didst thou not kiss me, and bid me fetch thee thirty shillings? I put thee now to thy book-oath ; deny it if thou canst."
This scene is to us the most convincing proof of Falstaff's power of gaining over the good will of those he was familiar with, except indeed Bardolph's somewhat profane exclamation on hearing the account of his death, “ Would I were with him, wheresoe'er he is, whether in heaven or hell.”
One of the topicks of exulting superiority over others most common in Sir John's mouth, is his corpulence, and the exterior marks of good living which he carries about him, thus “turning his vices into commodity." He accounts for the friendship between the Prince and Poins, from “their legs being both of a bigness; and compares
Justice Shallow to a man made after supper of a cheeseparing.” There cannot be a more striking gradation of character than that between Falstaff and Shallow, and Shallow and Silence. It seems difficult at first to fall lower than the squire; but this fool, great as he is, finds an admirer and humble foil in his cousin Silence. Vaio of his acquaintance with Sir John, who makes a butt of him, he exclaims, Would, cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that which this knight and I have seen !"“Aye, Master Shallow, we have heard the chimes at midnight,” says Sir John. To Falstaff's observation “ I did not think Master Silence had been a man of this mettle,” Silence answers, “ Who, I ? 'I have been merry twice and once ere now." What an idea is here conveyed of a prodigality of living? What good husbandry and economical self-denial in his pleasures ? What a stock of lively recollections? It is curious that Shakspeare has ridiculed in Justice Shallow, who was “in some authority