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service at Shrewsbury; and, as I hear, is now going with some charge to the lord John of Lancaster. Ch. Just. What, to York? Call him back again. Atten. Sir John Falstaff!
Fal. Boy, tell him, I am deaf.
Page. You must speak louder, my master is deaf.
Ch. Just. I am sure, he is, to the hearing of any thing good.-Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him.
Atten. Sir John,
Fal. What! a young knave, and beg! Is there not wars? is there not employment? Doth not the king lack subjects? do not the rebels need soldiers? Though it be a shame to be on any side but one, it is worse shame to beg than to be on the worse side, were it worse than the name of rebellion can tell how to make it.
Atten. You mistake me, sir.
Fal. Why, sir, did I say you were an honest man? setting my knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied in my throat if I had said so.
Atten. I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and your soldiership aside; and give me leave to tell you, you lie in your throat, if you say I am any other than
an honest man.
Fal. I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that which grows to me! If thou get'st any leave of me, hang me; if thou takest leave, thou wert better be hanged: You hunt-counter", hence! avaunt!
Atten. Sir, my lord would speak with you.
Ch. Just. Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.
Fal. My good lord! - God give your lordship good time of day. I am glad to see your lordship abroad: I heard say your lordship was sick: I hope your lordship goes abroad by advice. Your lordship, though not clean past your youth, hath yet some smack of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I most humbly beseech your lordship, to have a reverend care of your health. -hunt-counter,] Hunt-counter means, base tyke, or worthless dog.
Ch. Just. Sir John, I sent for you before your expedition to Shrewsbury.
Fal. An't please your lordship, I hear, his majesty is returned with some discomfort from Wales.
Ch. Just. I talk not of his majesty:- You would not come when I sent for you.
Fal. And I hear moreover, his highness is fallen into this same whoreson apoplexy.
Ch. Just. Well, heaven mend him! I pray, let me speak with you.
Fal. This apoplexy is, as I take it, a kind of lethargy, an't please your lordship; a kind of sleeping in the blood, a whoreson tingling.
Ch. Just. What tell you me of it? be it as it is.
Fal. It hath its original from much grief; from study, and perturbation of the brain: I have read the cause of his effects in Galen; it is a kind of deafness.
Ch. Just. I think, you are fallen into the disease; for you hear not what I say to you.
Fal. Very well, my lord, very well: rather, an't please you, it is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal.
Ch. Just. To punish you by the heels, would amend the attention of your ears; and I care not, if I do become your physician.
Fal. I am as poor as Job, my lord: but not so patient: your lordship may minister the potion of imprisonment to me, in respect of poverty; but how I should be your patient to follow your prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a scruple, or, indeed, a scruple itself. Ch. Just. I sent for you, when there were matters against you for your life, to come speak with me.
Fal. As I was then advised by my learned counsel in the laws of this land-service, I did not come.
Ch. Just. Well, the truth is, sir John, you live in great infamy.
Fal. He that buckles him in my belt, cannot live in less.
Ch. Just. Your means are very slender, and your waste is great.
Fal. I would it were otherwise; I would my means were greater, and my waist slenderer.
Ch. Just. You have misled the youthful prince.
Fal. The young prince hath misled me: I am the fellow with the great belly, and he my dog.
Ch. Just. Well, I am loath to gall a new-healed wound; your day's service at Shrewsbury hath a little gilded over your night's exploit on Gad's-hill: you may thank the unquiet time for your quite o'erposting that action.
Fal. My lord?
Ch. Just. But since all is well, keep it so: wake not a sleeping wolf.
Fal. To wake a wolf, is as bad as to smell a fox.
Ch. Just. What! you are as a candle, the better part burnt out.
Fal. A wassel candle, my lord"; all tallow: if I did say of wax, my growth would approve the truth.
Ch. Just. There is not a white hair on your face, but should have his effect of gravity.
Fal. His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.
Ch. Just. You follow the young prince up and down, like his ill angel.
Fal. Not so, my lord; your ill angel is light; but, I hope, he that looks upon me, will take me without weighing and yet, in some respects, I grant, I cannot go, I cannot tell7: Virtue is of so little regard in these coster-monger times, that true valour is turned bear
6 A wassel candle, &c.] A wassel candle is a large candle lighted up at a feast. There is a poor quibble upon the word war, which signifies increase as well as the matter of the honey-comb.
I cannot go, I cannot tell :] I cannot be taken in a reckoning; I cannot pass current, as the coin called an angel, if good, would.
8 in these coster-monger times,] In these times when the prevalence of trade has produced that meanness that rates the merit of every thing by money. JOHNSON.
herd: Pregnancy is made a tapster, and hath his quick wit wasted in giving reckonings: all the other gifts appertinent to man, as the malice of this age shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry. You, that are old, consider not the capacities of us that are young: you measure the heat of our livers with the bitterness of your galls; and we that are in the vaward of our youth, I must confess, are wags too.
Ch. Just. Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are written down old with all the characters of age? Have you not a moist eye? a dry hand? a yellow cheek? a white beard? a decreasing leg? an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken? your wind short? your chin double? your wit single?1 and every part about you blasted with antiquity?? and will you yet call yourself young? Fye, fye, fye, sir John!
Fal. My lord, I was born about three of the clock in the afternoon, with a white head, and something a round belly. For my voice,-I have lost it with hollaing, and singing of anthems. To approve my youth further, I will not: the truth is, I am only old in judgment and understanding; and he that will caper with me for a thousand marks, let him lend me the money, and have at him. For the box o'the ear that the prince gave you, he gave it like a rude prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have checked him for it; and the young lion repents: marry, not in ashes, and sackcloth; but in new silk, and old sack.
Ch. Just. Well, heaven send the prince a better companion!
Fal. Heaven send the companion a better prince! I cannot rid my hands of him.
Ch. Just. Well, the king hath severed you and prince Harry: I hear, you are going with lord John of
Pregnancy-] Pregnancy is readiness.
your wit single?] or small.
antiquity?] To use the word antiquity for old age, is not peculiar to Shakspeare.
Lancaster, against the archbishop, and the earl of Northumberland.
Fal. Yea; I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look you pray, all you that kiss my lady peace at home, that our armies join not in a hot day! for, by the Lord, I take but two shirts out with me, and I mean not to sweat extraordinarily if it be a hot day, an I brandish any thing but my bottle, I would I might never spit white again. There is not a dangerous action can peep out his head, but I am thrust upon it: Well, I cannot last ever: But it was always yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing, to make it too common. If you will needs say, I am an old man, you should give me rest. I would to God, my name were not so terrible to the enemy as it is. I were better to be eaten to death with rust, than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion.
Ch. Just. Well, be honest, be honest; And God bless your expedition !
Fal. Will your lordship lend me a thousand pound, to furnish me forth?
Ch. Just. Not a penny, not a penny; you are too impatient to bear crosses. Fare you well: Commend me to my cousin Westmoreland.
[Exeunt Chief Justice and Attendant. Fal. If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle."
you are too impatient to bear crosses.] A quibble seems here intended. Falstaff had just asked his lordship to lend him a thousand pound, and he tells him in return that he is not to be entrusted with money. A cross is a coin so called, because stamped with a cross.
4-fillip me with a three-man beetle.] A three-man beetle is an implement used for driving piles; it is made of a log of wood about eighteen or twenty inches diameter, and fourteen or fifteen inches thick, with one short and two long handles. A man at each of the long bandles manages the fall of the beetle, and a third man, by the short handle, assists in raising it to strike the blow. Such an implement was, without doubt, very suitable for filliping so corpulent a being as Falstaff.