Enter King Henry IV in his nightgown, with a Page
King Henry IV 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.
How many thousand of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O 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 lull’d with sound of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leavest 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
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them
With deafening clamour 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.
Enter Warwick and Surrey
Warwick Many good morrows to your majesty!
King Henry IV Is it good morrow, lords?
Warwick ’Tis one o’clock, and past.
King Henry IV Why, then, good morrow to you all, my lords.
Have you read o’er the letters that I sent you?
Warwick We have, my liege.
King Henry IV 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.
Warwick 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 cool’d.
King Henry IV O God! 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
Into the sea! and, other times, to see
The beachy girdle of the ocean
Too wide for Neptune’s hips; how chances mock,
And changes fill the cup of alteration
With divers liquors! O, if this were seen,
The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,
What perils past, what crosses to ensue,
Would shut the book, and sit him down and die.
’Tis not ‘ten years gone
Since Richard and Northumberland, great friends,
Did feast together, and in two years after
Were they at wars: it is but eight years since
This Percy was the man nearest my soul,
Who like a brother toil’d in my affairs
And laid his love and life under my foot,
Yea, for my sake, even to the eyes of Richard
Gave him defiance. But which of you was by —
You, cousin Nevil, as I may remember —
When Richard, with his eye brimful of tears,
Then cheque’d and rated by Northumberland,
Did speak these words, now proved a prophecy?
‘Northumberland, thou ladder by the which
My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my throne;’
Though then, God knows, I had no such intent,
But that necessity so bow’d the state
That I and greatness were compell’d to kiss:
‘The time shall come,’ thus did he follow it,
‘The time will come, that foul sin, gathering head,
Shall break into corruption:’ so went on,
Foretelling this same time’s condition
And the division of our amity.
Warwick There is a history in all men’s lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased;
The which observed, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings lie intreasured.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time;
And by the necessary form of this
King Richard might create a perfect guess
That great Northumberland, then false to him,
Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness;
Which should not find a ground to root upon,
Unless on you.
King Henry IV Are these things then necessities?
Then let us meet them like necessities:
And that same word even now cries out on us:
They say the bishop and Northumberland
Are fifty thousand strong.
Warwick It cannot be, my lord;
Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo,
The numbers of the fear’d. Please it your grace
To go to bed. Upon my soul, my lord,
The powers that you already have sent forth
Shall bring this prize in very easily.
To comfort you the more, I have received
A certain instance that Glendower is dead.
Your majesty hath been this fortnight ill,
And these unseason’d hours perforce must add
Unto your sickness.
King Henry IV I will take your counsel:
And were these inward wars once out of hand,
We would, dear lords, unto the Holy Land.
Enter Shallow and Silence, meeting; Mouldy, Shadow, Wart, Feeble, Bullcalf, a Servant or two with them
Shallow Come on, come on, come on, sir; give me your hand, sir, give me your hand, sir: an early stirrer, by the rood! And how doth my good cousin Silence?
Silence Good morrow, good cousin Shallow.
Shallow And how doth my cousin, your bedfellow? and your fairest daughter and mine, my god-daughter Ellen?
Silence Alas, a black ousel, cousin Shallow!
Shallow By yea and nay, sir, I dare say my cousin William is become a good scholar: he is at Oxford still, is he not?
Silence Indeed, sir, to my cost.
Shallow A’ must, then, to the inns o’ court shortly. I was once of Clement’s Inn, where I think they will talk of mad Shallow yet.
Silence You were called ‘lusty Shallow’ then, cousin.
Shallow By the mass, I was called any thing; and I would have done any thing indeed too, and roundly too. There was I, and little John Doit of Staffordshire, and black George Barnes, and Francis Pickbone, and Will Squele, a Cotswold man; you had not four such swinge-bucklers in all the inns o’ court again: and I may say to you, we knew where the bona-robas were and had the best of them all at commandment. Then was Jack Falstaff, now Sir John, a boy, and page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
Silence This Sir John, cousin, that comes hither anon about soldiers?
Shallow The same Sir John, the very same. I see him break Skogan’s head at the court-gate, when a’ was a crack not thus high: and the very same day did I fight with one Sampson Stockfish, a fruiterer, behind Gray’s Inn. Jesu, Jesu, the mad days that I have spent! and to see how many of my old acquaintance are dead!
Silence We shall all follow, cousin.
Shadow Certain, ’tis certain; very sure, very sure: death, as the Psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall die. How a good yoke of bullocks at Stamford fair?
Silence By my troth, I was not there.
Shallow Death is certain. Is old Double of your town living yet?
Silence Dead, sir.
Shallow Jesu, Jesu, dead! a’ drew a good bow; and dead! a’ shot a fine shoot: John a Gaunt loved him well, and betted much money on his head. Dead! a’ would have clapped i’ the clout at twelve score; and carried you a forehand shaft a fourteen and fourteen and a half, that it would have done a man’s heart good to see. How a score of ewes now?
Silence Thereafter as they be: a score of good ewes may be worth ten pounds.
Shallow And is old Double dead?
Silence Here come two of Sir John Falstaff’s men, as I think.
Enter Bardolph and one with him
Bardolph Good morrow, honest gentlemen: I beseech you, which is Justice Shallow?
Shallow I am Robert Shallow, sir; a poor esquire of this county, and one of the king’s justices of th e peace: What is your good pleasure with me?
Bardolph My captain, sir, commends him to you; my captain, Sir John Falstaff, a tall gentleman, by heaven, and a most gallant leader.
Shallow He greets me well, sir. I knew him a good backsword man. How doth the good knight? may I ask how my lady his wife doth?
Bardolph Sir, pardon; a soldier is better accommodated than with a wife.
Shallow It is well said, in faith, sir; and it is well said indeed too. Better accommodated! it is good; yea, indeed, is it: good phrases are surely, and ever were, very commendable. Accommodated! it comes of ‘accommodo’ very good; a good phrase.
Bardolph Pardon me, sir; I have heard the word. Phrase call you it? by this good day, I know not the phrase; but I will maintain the word with my sword to be a soldier-like word, and a word of exceeding good command, by heaven. Accommodated; that is, when a man is, as they say, accommodated; or when a man is, being, whereby a’ may be thought to be accommodated; which is an excellent thing.
Shallow It is very just.
Look, here comes good Sir John. Give me your good hand, give me your worship’s good hand: by my troth, you like well and bear your years very well: welcome, good Sir John.
Falstaff I am glad to see you well, good Master Robert
Shallow: Master Surecard, as I think?
Shallow No, Sir John; it is my cousin Silence, in commission with me.
Falstaff Good Master Silence, it well befits you should be of the peace.
Silence Your good-worship is welcome.
Falstaff Fie! this is hot weather, gentlemen. Have you provided me here half a dozen sufficient men?
Shallow Marry, have we, sir. Will you sit?
Falstaff Let me see them, I beseech you.
Shallow Where’s the roll? where’s the roll? where’s the roll? Let me see, let me see, let me see. So, so: yea, marry, sir: Ralph Mouldy! Let them appear as I call; let them do so, let them do so. Let me see; where is Mouldy?
Mouldy Here, an’t please you.
Shallow What think you, Sir John? a good-limbed fellow; young, strong, and of good friends.
Falstaff Is thy name Mouldy?
Mouldy Yea, an’t please you.
Falstaff ’Tis the more time thou wert used.
Shallow Ha, ha, ha! most excellent, i’ faith! Things that are mouldy lack use: very singular good! in faith, well said, Sir John, very well said.
Falstaff Prick him.
Mouldy I was pricked well enough before, an you could have let me alone: my old dame will be undone now for one to do her husbandry and her drudgery: you need not to have pricked me; there are other men fitter to go out than I.
Falstaff Go to: peace, Mouldy; you shall go. Mouldy, it is time you were spent.
Shallow Peace, fellow, peace; stand aside: know you where you are? For the other, Sir John: let me see: Simon Shadow!
Falstaff Yea, marry, let me have him to sit under: he’s like to be a cold soldier.
Shallow Where’s Shadow?
Shadow Here, sir.
Falstaff Shadow, whose son art thou?
Shadow My mother’s son, sir.
Falstaff Thy mother’s son! like enough, and thy father’s shadow: so the son of the female is the shadow of the male: it is often so, indeed; but much of the father’s substance!
Shallow Do you like him, Sir John?
Falstaff Shadow will serve for summer; prick him, for we have a number of shadows to fill up the muster-book.
Shallow Thomas Wart!
Falstaff Where’s he?
Wart Here, sir.
Falstaff Is thy name Wart?
Wart Yea, sir.
Falstaff Thou art a very ragged wart.
Shallow Shall I prick him down, Sir John?
Falstaff It were superfluous; for his apparel is built upon his back and the whole frame stands upon pins: prick him no more.
Shallow Ha, ha, ha! you can do it, sir; you can do it: I commend you well. Francis Feeble!
Feeble Here, sir.
Falstaff What trade art thou, Feeble?
Feeble A woman’s tailor, sir.
Shallow Shall I prick him, sir?
Falstaff You may: but if he had been a man’s tailor, he’ld ha’ pricked you. Wilt thou make as many holes in an enemy’s battle as thou hast done in a woman’s petticoat?
Feeble I will do my good will, sir; you can have no more.
Falstaff Well said, good woman’s tailor! well said, courageous Feeble! thou wilt be as valiant as the wrathful dove or most magnanimous mouse. Prick the woman’s tailor: well, Master Shallow; deep, Master Shallow.
Feeble I would Wart might have gone, sir.
Falstaff I would thou wert a man’s tailor, that thou mightst mend him and make him fit to go. I cannot put him to a private soldier that is the leader of so many thousands: let that suffice, most forcible Feeble.
Feeble It shall suffice, sir.
Falstaff I am bound to thee, reverend Feeble. Who is next?
Shallow Peter Bullcalf o’ the green!
Falstaff Yea, marry, let’s see Bullcalf.
Bullcalf Here, sir.
Falstaff ’Fore God, a likely fellow! Come, prick me Bullcalf till he roar again.
Bullcalf O Lord! good my lord captain —
Falstaff What, dost thou roar before thou art pricked?
Bullcalf O Lord, sir! I am a diseased man.
Falstaff What disease hast thou?
Bullcalf A whoreson cold, sir, a cough, sir, which I caught with ringing in the king’s affairs upon his coronation-day, sir.
Falstaff Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown; we wilt have away thy cold; and I will take such order that my friends shall ring for thee. Is here all?
Shallow Here is two more called than your number, you must have but four here, sir: and so, I pray you, go in with me to dinner.
Falstaff Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot tarry dinner. I am glad to see you, by my troth, Master Shallow.
Shallow O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all night in the windmill in Saint George’s field?
Falstaff No more of that, good Master Shallow, no more of that.
Shallow Ha! ’twas a merry night. And is Jane Nightwork alive?
Falstaff She lives, Master Shallow.
Shallow She never could away with me.
Falstaff Never, never; she would always say she could not abide Master Shallow.
Shallow By the mass, I could anger her to the heart. She was then a bona-roba. Doth she hold her own well?
Falstaff Old, old, Master Shallow.
Shallow Nay, she must be old; she cannot choose but be old; certain she’s old; and had Robin Nightwork by old Nightwork before I came to Clement’s Inn.
Silence That’s fifty-five year ago.
Shallow Ha, cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that that this knight and I have seen! Ha, Sir John, said I well?
Falstaff We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow.
Shallow That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith,
Sir John, we have: our watch-word was ‘Hem boys!’
Come, let’s to dinner; come, let’s to dinner:
Jesus, the days that we have seen! Come, come.
Exeunt Falstaff and Justices
Bullcalf Good Master Corporate Bardolph, stand my friend; and here’s four Harry ten shillings in French crowns for you. In very truth, sir, I had as lief be hanged, sir, as go: and yet, for mine own part, sir, I do not care; but rather, because I am unwilling, and, for mine own part, have a desire to stay with my friends; else, sir, I did not care, for mine own part, so much.
Bardolph Go to; stand aside.
Mouldy And, good master corporal captain, for my old dame’s sake, stand my friend: she has nobody to do any thing about her when I am gone; and she is old, and cannot help herself: You shall have forty, sir.
Bardolph Go to; stand aside.
Feeble By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once: we owe God a death: I’ll ne’er bear a base mind: an’t be my destiny, so; an’t be not, so: no man is too good to serve’s prince; and let it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for the next.
Bardolph Well said; thou’rt a good fellow.
Feeble Faith, I’ll bear no base mind.
Re-enter Falstaff and the Justices
Falstaff Come, sir, which men shall I have?
Shallow Four of which you please.
Bardolph Sir, a word with you: I have three pound to free
Mouldy and Bullcalf.
Falstaff Go to; well.
Shallow Come, Sir John, which four will you have?
Falstaff Do you choose for me.
Shallow Marry, then, Mouldy, Bullcalf, Feeble and Shadow.
Falstaff Mouldy and Bullcalf: for you, Mouldy, stay at home till you are past service: and for your part, Bullcalf, grow till you come unto it: I will none of you.
Shallow Sir John, Sir John, do not yourself wrong: they are your likeliest men, and I would have you served with the best.
Falstaff Will you tell me, Master Shallow, how to choose a man? Care I for the limb, the thewes, the stature, bulk, and big assemblance of a man! Give me the spirit, Master Shallow. Here’s Wart; you see what a ragged appearance it is; a’ shall charge you and discharge you with the motion of a pewterer’s hammer, come off and on swifter than he that gibbets on the brewer’s bucket. And this same half-faced fellow, Shadow; give me this man: he presents no mark to the enemy; the foeman may with as great aim level at the edge of a penknife. And for a retreat; how swiftly will this Feeble the woman’s tailor run off! O, give me the spare men, and spare me the great ones. Put me a caliver into Wart’s hand, Bardolph.
Bardolph Hold, Wart, traverse; thus, thus, thus.
Falstaff Come, manage me your caliver. So: very well: go to: very good, exceeding good. O, give me always a little, lean, old, chapt, bald shot. Well said, i’ faith, Wart; thou’rt a good scab: hold, there’s a tester for thee.
Shallow He is not his craft’s master; he doth not do it right. I remember at Mile-end Green, when I lay at Clement’s Inn — I was then Sir Dagonet in Arthur’s show — there was a little quiver fellow, and a’ would manage you his piece thus; and a’ would about and about, and come you in and come you in: ‘rah, tah, tah,’ would a’ say; ‘bounce’ would a’ say; and away again would a’ go, and again would a’ come: I shall ne’er see such a fellow.
Falstaff These fellows will do well, Master Shallow. God keep you, Master Silence: I will not use many words with you. Fare you well, gentlemen both: I thank you: I must a dozen mile to-night. Bardolph, give the soldiers coats.
Shallow Sir John, the Lord bless you! God prosper your affairs! God send us peace! At your return visit our house; let our old acquaintance be renewed; peradventure I will with ye to the court.
Falstaff ’Fore God, I would you would, Master Shallow.
Shallow Go to; I have spoke at a word. God keep you.
Falstaff Fare you well, gentle gentlemen.
On, Bardolph; lead the men away.
Exeunt Bardolph, Recruits, & c
As I return, I will fetch off these justices: I do see the bottom of Justice Shallow. Lord, Lord, how subject we old men are to this vice of lying! This same starved justice hath done nothing but prate to me of the wildness of his youth, and the feats he hath done about Turnbull Street: and every third word a lie, duer paid to the hearer than the Turk’s tribute. I do remember him at Clement’s Inn like a man made after supper of a cheese-paring: when a’ was naked, he was, for all the world, like a forked radish, with a head fantastically carved upon it with a knife: a’ was so forlorn, that his dimensions to any thick sight were invincible: a’ was the very genius of famine; yet lecherous as a monkey, and the whores called him mandrake: a’ came ever in the rearward of the fashion, and sung those tunes to the overscutched huswives that he heard the carmen whistle, and swear they were his fancies or his good-nights. And now is this Vice’s dagger become a squire, and talks as familiarly of John a Gaunt as if he had been sworn brother to him; and I’ll be sworn a’ ne’er saw him but once in the Tilt-yard; and then he burst his head for crowding among the marshal’s men. I saw it, and told John a Gaunt he beat his own name; for you might have thrust him and all his apparel into an eel-skin; the case of a treble hautboy was a mansion for him, a court: and now has he land and beefs. Well, I’ll be acquainted with him, if I return; and it shall go hard but I will make him a philosopher’s two stones to me: if the young dace be a bait for the old pike, I see no reason in the law of nature but I may snap at him. Let time shape, and there an end.
Last updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 22:22