Page images
PDF
EPUB

by miracle. I am eight times thrust through the doublet; four, through the hose; my buckler cut through and through; my sword hack'd like a handsaw, ecce signum. I never dealt better since I was a man: all would not do. A plague of all cowards ! Let them speak: if they speak more or less than truth, they are villains, and the sons of darkness.

P. Hen. Speak, sirs; How was it?
Gads. We four set upon some dozen,-
Fal, Sixteen, at least, my lord.
Gads. And bound them.
Peto. No, no, they were not bound.

Fal. You rogue, they were bound, every man of them; or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew.

Gads. As we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men set upon us,

Fal. And unbound the rest, and then come in the other.

P. Hen. What, fought ye with them all ?

Fal. All? I know not what ye call, all; but if I fought not with fifty of them, I am a bunch of radish: if there were not two or three and fifty upon poor old Jack, then am I no two-legg'd creature.

Poins. Pray God, you have not murder'd some of them.

Fal. Nay, that's past praying for; I have pepper'd two of them: two, I am sure, I have pay'd; two rogues in buckram suits.

tell thee what, Hal,if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me horse. Thou know'st my old ward;-here I lay, and thus I bore my point. Four rogues in buckram let drive at me,

P. Hen. What, four? thou said'st but two, even now. Fal. Four, Hal; I told thee four. Poins. Ay, ay, he said four.

Fal. These four came all a-front, and mainly thrust at me. I made me no more ado, but took all their seven points in my target, thus.

P. Hen. Seven? why they were but four, even now.

Fal. In buckram.
Poins. Ay, four in buckram suits.
Fal. Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.
P. Hen, Pr'y thee, let him alone; we shall have

more anon,

Fal. Dost thou hear

me, Hal? P. Hen. Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.

Fal. Do so, for it is worth the listening to. These nine in buckram, that I told thee of,

P. Hen. So, two more already.
Fal. Their points being broken, -
Poins. Down fell their hose 4o.

Fal. Began to give me ground: But I follow'd me close, came in foot and hand; and, with a thought, seven of the eleven I pay'd.

P. Hen. O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two!

Fal. But, as the devil would have it, three misbegotten knaves, in Kendal green 41, came at my back,

VOL, VII.

[ocr errors]

and let drive at me;—for it was so dark, Hal, that thou could'st not see thy hand.

P. Hen. These lies are like the father that begets them; gross as a mountain, open, palpable. Why, thou clay-brain'd guts; thou knotty-pated fool; thou whoreson, obscene, greasy tallow-keech 42,

Fal. What, art thou mad? art thou mad? is not the truth, the truth?

P. Hen. Why, how could'st thou know these men in Kendal green, when it was so dark thou could'st not see thy hand ? come, tell us your reason; What say'st thou to this?

Poins. Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.

Fal. What, upon compulsion? No; were I at the strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would not tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on compulsion! if reasons were as plenty as blackberries, I would give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.

P. Hen. I'll be no longer guilty of this sin: this sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horse-backbreaker, this huge hill of flesh ;

Fal. Away, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neats-tongue, bull's pizzle, you stock-fish,-0, for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor's yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck;—

P. Hen. Well, breathe a while, and then to it again: and when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this.

Poins. Mark, Jack.
P. Hen. We two saw you four set on four; you

bound them, and were masters of their wealth.Mark now, how a plain tale shall put you down.Then did we two set on you four: and, with a word, out-faced

you from your prize, and have it, yea, and can show it you here in the house :--and, Falstaff, you carried your guts away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roar'd for mercy, and still ran and roar'd, as ever I heard bull-calf. What a slave art thou, to hack thy sword, as thou hast done; and then say, it was in fight? What trick, what device, what starting-hole, canst thou now find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?

Poins. Come, let's hear, Jack; What trick hast thou now?

Fal. By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that made ye. Why, hear ye, my masters: Was it for me, to kill the heir apparent? Should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou know'st, I am as valiant as Hercules: but beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true prince. Instinct is a great matter; I was a coward on instinct. I shall think the better of myself, and thee, during my life; I, for a valiant lion, and thou, for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads, I am glad you have the money.-Hostess, clap to the doors; watch to-night, pray to-morrow.Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold! All the titles of good fellowship come to you! What, shall we be merry? shall we have a play extempore?

P. Hen. Content;—and the argument shall be, thy running away.

Fal. Ah! no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me.

Enter Hostess. Host. My lord the prince,

P. Hen. How now, my lady the hostess? what say'st thou to me?

Host. Marry, my lord, there is a nobleman of the court at door, would speak with you: he says, he comes from

your

father. P. Hen. Give him as much as will make him a royal man 43, and send him back again to my mother.

Fal. What manner of man is he?
Host. An old man.

Fal. What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight?-Shall I give him his answer?

P. Hen. Pr'ythee, do, Jack.
Fal. 'Faith, and I'll send him packing. [Exit.

P. Hen. Now, sirs; by'r lady, you fought fair ;so did you, Peto;-so did you, Bardolph: you are lions too, you ran away upon instinct, you will not touch the true prince; no,-fie!

Bard. 'Faith, I ran when I saw others run.

P. Hen. Tell me now in earnest, How came Fal. staff's sword so hack'd?

eto. Why, he hack'd it with his dagger; and said, he would swear truth out of England, but he would make you believe it was done in fight; and persuaded us to do the like.

Bard. Yea, and to tickle our noses with spear

« PreviousContinue »