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Both of you
That writes them all alike: and so of men.
I am one, my liege,
And I another,
True, my lord.
We shall, my lord,
Though our lives —
(To leave no rubs, nor botches, in the work)
We are resolv'd, my lord.
King Henry the Fourth.
Act II., SCENE IV.
Falstaff. A plague of all cowards, I say, and a vengeance too! Marry, and amen! Give me a cup of sack, boy. Ere I lead this life long, I'll sew nether stocks, and mend them, and foot them too. A plague of all cowards! Give me a cup of sack, rogue. Is there no virtue extant?
Prince H. Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter? pitiful-hearted Titan, that melted at the sweet tale of the sun! If thou didst, then behold that compound.
Falstaff. You rogue, here's lime in this sack, too !—there is nothing but roguery to be found in villainous man; yet a coward is worse than a cup of sack with lime in it: a villainous coward! Go thy ways, old Jack; die when thou wilt, if manhood, good manhood, be not forgot upon the face of the earth, then am I a shotten herring. There live not three good men unhanged in England, and one
of them is fat and grows old. A bad world I say !—I would I were a weaver; I could sing psalms, or any thing. A plague of all cowards, I still.
Prince H. How now, woolsack ! what mutter you?
Falstaff. A king's son! If I do not beat thee out of thy kingdom with a dagger of lath, and drive all thy subjects before me like a flock of wild geese, I'll never wear hair on my face
You Prince of Wales !
Prince H. Why, ye fat paunch, an' ye call me coward, I'll stab thee.
Falstaff. I call thee coward ! I'll see thee hanged ere I call thee coward; but I would give a thousand pounds I could run as fast as thou canst. You are straight enough in the shoulders; you care not who sees your back. Call
that backing of your friends? A plague upon such backing! Give me them that will face me. Give me—a cup of sack ;-I'm a rogue if I have drunk to-day.
Prince II. O villain! thy lips are scarce wiped since thou drank'st last.
Falstaff. All's one for that. A plague of all cowards, still
Prince H. What's the matter?
Falstaff. What's the matter! There be four of us have ta'en a thousand pounds this morning.
Prince H. Where is it, Jack? Where is it?
Falstaff. Where is it! Taken from us it is: a hundred upon four of us.
Prince H. What! a hundred, man?
Falstaff. I am a rogue if I were not at half-sword with a dozen of them, two hours together. I have escaped by miracle. I am eight times thrust through the doublet, four through the hose; my buckler cut through and through; my sword hacked like a hand-saw, ecce signum. I never dealt better since I was a man! All would not do. A plague of all cowards !
Prince H. _Speak, Jack; how was it?
Falstaff. Four of us set upon some dozen, and bound them -every man of them; and as we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men set upon us, and unbound the rest; and then came in the others.
Prince H. What! fought ye with them all ?
Falstaff. All! I know not what you 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-legged creature.
Prince H. I pray, you have not murdered some of them ?
Falstaff. Nay, that's past praying for! I have peppered two of them ;-two, I am sure I have paid-two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee what, Hal, if I tell thce a lie, spit
in my face—call me horse. Thou know'st
old ward :-here I lay, and thus I bore my point. Four rogues in buckram let drive at me
Prince H. What! four? Thou said'st but two, even now.
Falstaff. Four, Hal; I told thee, four. These four came all afront, and mainly thrust at me. I made no more ado, but took all their seven points in my target, thus.
Prince II. Seven? Why, there were but four, even now.
Falstaff. Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else. Dost thou hear me, Hal ?
Prince II. Ay, and mark thee too.
Falstaff. Do so, for it is worth the listening to. These nine in buckram that I told thee of
Prince H. So, two more already! (aside.)
Falstaff. Their points being broken, they began to give me ground ; but I followed them close ; came in, foot and hand; and, with a thought, seven of the eleven I paid.
Prince H. O monstrous ! eleven buckram men grown out of two!
Falstaff._But, as bad luck would have it, three misbegotten knaves, in Kendal Green, came at my back, and let drive at me; for, it was so dark, Hal, that thou couldst not see thy hand.
Prince H. These lies are like the father that begets themgross as a mountain, open, palpable. Why thou clay-brained and knotty-pated fool, thou obscene, greasy tallow-keech
Falstaff. What! art thou mad? art thou mad? Is not the truth the truth?
Prince H. Why, how couldst thou know these men in Kendal-green when “it was so dark, thou couldst not see thy hand”? Come, tell us your reason. What say'st thou to this? Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.
Falstaff. What! upon compulsion ? No! were I at the strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would not tell you upon compulsion. Give you a reason on compulsion ! If reasons were as plenty as blackberries, I would give no man a reason on compulsion, I!
Prince H. I'll be no longer guilty of this sin. Thou san. guine coward, thou bed-presser, thou horse-back-breaker, thou huge hill of flesh
Falstaff. Away! you starveling--you eel-skin-you dried neat's tongue-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
Prince H. Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again : and when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this : Poins and I saw you four set on four ; you bound them, and were masters of their wealth.—Mark now, how plain a 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 mountain sides away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roared for mercy, and still ran and roared, 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 find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?
Falstaff. Ha ! ha! ha! 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 knowest 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 ; myself for a valiant lion, and thee for a true prince. But I am glad you have the money.—Clap to the doors :—watch to-night, pray to-morrow. What, shall we be merry ? shall we have a play extempore ?
Prince H. Content;—and the argument shall be, thy running away
Falstaff. Ah, no more of that, Hal, an' thou lovest me!
Act III., SCENE II. Enter to WOLSEY, the DUKES OF NORFOLK and SUFFOLK, the
EARL OF SURREY, and the LORD CHAMBERLAIN. Nor. Hear the King's pleasure, cardinal ; who commands To render up the great seal presently