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. Exit page
How many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee,
That thou no more will 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 perfum'd 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 leav'st 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 deafing 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.
Many good morrows to your Majesty!
Is it good morrow, lords?
'Tis one o'clock, and past.
Why then, good morrow to you all, my lords.
Have you read o'er the letters that I sent you?
We have, my liege.
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.
It is but as a body yet distempered;
Which to his former strength may be restored
With good advice and little medicine.
My Lord Northumberland will soon be cool'd.
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--
[To WARWICK] You, cousin Nevil, as I may remember--
When Richard, with his eye brim full of tears,
Then check'd and rated by Northumberland,
Did speak these words, now prov'd 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.
There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the natures of the times deceas'd;
The which observ'd, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, who in their seeds
And weak beginning 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.
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.
It cannot be, my lord.
Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo,
The numbers of the feared. 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 receiv'd
A certain instance that Glendower is dead.
Your Majesty hath been this fortnight ill;
And these unseasoned hours perforce must ad
Unto your sickness.
I will take your counsel.
And, were these inward wars once out of hand,
We would, dear lords, unto the Holy Land. Exeunt
Come on, come on, come on; give me your hand, sir;
your hand, sir. An early stirrer, by the rood! And how doth
good cousin Silence?
Good morrow, good cousin Shallow.
And how doth my cousin, your bed-fellow? and your
daughter and mine, my god-daughter Ellen?
Alas, a black ousel, cousin Shallow!
By yea and no, sir. I dare say my cousin William is
a good scholar; he is at Oxford still, is he not?
Indeed, sir, to my cost.
'A must, then, to the Inns o' Court shortly. I was
Clement's Inn; where I think they will talk of mad Shallow
You were call'd 'lusty Shallow' then, cousin.
By the mass, I was call'd anything; and I would have
anything indeed too, and roundly too. There was I, and little
John Doit of Staffordshire, and black George Barnes, and
Pickbone, and Will Squele a Cotsole man--you had not four
swinge-bucklers in all the Inns of Court again. And I may say
you we knew where the bona-robas were, and had the best of
all at commandment. Then was Jack Falstaff, now Sir John,
and page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
This Sir John, cousin, that comes hither anon about
The same Sir John, the very same. I see him break
Scoggin's head at the court gate, when 'a was a crack not
high; and the very same day did I fight with one Sampson
Stockfish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's Inn. Jesu, Jesu, the
days that I have spent! and to see how many of my old
acquaintance are dead!
We shall all follow, cousin.
Certain, 'tis certain; very sure, very sure. Death, as
Psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall die. How a good
of bullocks at Stamford fair?
By my troth, I was not there.
Death is certain. Is old Double of your town living
Jesu, Jesu, dead! drew a good bow; and dead! 'A shot a
fine shoot. John a Gaunt loved him well, and betted much
his head. Dead! 'A would have clapp'd i' th' clout at twelve
score, and carried you a forehand shaft a fourteen and
and a half, that it would have done a man's heart good to
How a score of ewes now?
Thereafter as they be--a score of good ewes may be
And is old Double dead?
Here come two of Sir John Falstaffs men, as I think.
Good morrow, honest gentlemen.
I beseech you, which is Justice Shallow?
I am Robert Shallow, sir, a poor esquire of this
and one of the King's justices of the peace. What is your
pleasure with me?
My captain, sir, commends him to you; my captain, Sir
John Falstaff--a tall gentleman, by heaven, and a most
He greets me well, sir; I knew him a good back-sword
How doth the good knight? May I ask how my lady his wife
Sir, pardon; a soldier is better accommodated than
It is well said, in faith, sir; and it is well said
too. 'Better accommodated!' It is good; yea, indeed, is it.
phrases are surely, and ever were, very commendable.
'Accommodated!' It comes of accommodo. Very good; a good
Pardon, sir; I have heard the word. 'Phrase' call you
By this day, I know not the phrase; but I will maintain the
with my sword to be a soldier-like word, and a word of
good command, by heaven. Accommodated: that is, when a man
they say, accommodated; or, when a man is being-whereby 'a
thought to be accommodated; which is an excellent thing.
It is very just. Look, here comes good Sir John. Give
your good hand, give me your worship's good hand. By my
you like well and bear your years very well. Welcome, good
I am glad to see you well, good Master Robert
Master Surecard, as I think?
No, Sir John; it is my cousin Silence, in commission with me.
Good Master Silence, it well befits you should be of
Your good worship is welcome.
Fie! this is hot weather. Gentlemen, have you
here half a dozen sufficient men?
Marry, have we, sir. Will you sit?
Let me see them, I beseech you.
Where's the roll? Where's the roll? Where's the roll?
me see, let me see, let me see. So, so, so, so,--so, so--yea,
marry, sir. Rafe Mouldy! Let them appear as I call; let them
so, let them do so. Let me see; where is Mouldy?
Here, an't please you.
What think you, Sir John? A good-limb'd fellow; young,
strong, and of good friends.
Is thy name Mouldy?
Yea, an't please you.
'Tis the more time thou wert us'd.
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.
I was prick'd well enough before, an you could have let
alone. My old dame will be undone now for one to do her
and her drudgery. You need not to have prick'd me; there are
other men fitter to go out than I.
Go to; peace, Mouldy; you shall go. Mouldy, it is
you were spent.
Peace, fellow, peace; stand aside; know you where you
For th' other, Sir John--let me see. Simon Shadow!
Yea, marry, let me have him to sit under. He's like
a cold soldier.
Shadow, whose son art thou?
My mother's son, sir.
Thy mother's son! Like enough; and thy father's
So the son of the female is the shadow of the male. It is
so indeed; but much of the father's substance!
Do you like him, Sir John?
Shadow will serve for summer. Prick him; for we have
number of shadows fill up the muster-book.
Is thy name Wart?
Thou art a very ragged wart.
Shall I prick him, Sir John?
It were superfluous; for his apparel is built upon
back, and the whole frame stands upon pins. Prick him no
Ha, ha, ha! You can do it, sir; you can do it. I
you well. Francis Feeble!
What trade art thou, Feeble?
A woman's tailor, sir.
Shall I prick him, sir?
You may; but if he had been a man's tailor, he'd ha'
prick'd you. Wilt thou make as many holes in an enemy's
thou hast done in a woman's petticoat?
I will do my good will, sir; you can have no more.
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.
I would Wart might have gone, sir.
I would thou wert a man's tailor, that thou mightst
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.
It shall suffice, sir.
I am bound to thee, reverend Feeble. Who is next?
Peter Bullcalf o' th' green!
Yea, marry, let's see Bullcalf.
Fore God, a likely fellow! Come, prick me Bullcalf
he roar again.
O Lord! good my lord captain-
What, dost thou roar before thou art prick'd?
O Lord, sir! I am a diseased man.
What disease hast thou?
A whoreson cold, sir, a cough, sir, which I caught
ringing in the King's affairs upon his coronation day, sir.
Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown. We will
away thy cold; and I will take such order that thy friends
ring for thee. Is here all?
Here is two more call'd than your number. You must
but four here, sir; and so, I pray you, go in with me to
Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot tarry
dinner. I am glad to see you, by my troth, Master Shallow.
O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all night in
windmill in Saint George's Field?
No more of that, Master Shallow, no more of that.
Ha, 'twas a merry night. And is Jane Nightwork alive?
She lives, Master Shallow.
She never could away with me.
Never, never; she would always say she could not
By the mass, I could anger her to th' heart. She was
a bona-roba. Doth she hold her own well?
Old, old, Master 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.
That's fifty-five year ago.
Ha, cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that that
knight and I have seen! Ha, Sir John, said I well?
We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow.
That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith,
John, we have. Our watchword was 'Hem, boys!' Come, let's to
dinner; come, let's to dinner. Jesus, the days that we have
Good Master Corporate Bardolph, stand my friend; and
here's four Harry ten shillings in French crowns for you. In
truth, sir, I had as lief be hang'd, 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
friends; else, sir, I did not care for mine own part so much.
And, good Master Corporal Captain, for my old dame's
stand my friend. She has nobody to do anything about her when
am gone; and she is old, and cannot help herself. You shall
By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once; we owe
a death. I'll ne'er bear a base mind. An't be my destiny, so;
an't be not, so. No man's too good to serve 's Prince; and,
it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for
Well said; th'art a good fellow.
Faith, I'll bear no base mind.
Come, sir, which men shall I have?
Four of which you please.
Sir, a word with you. I have three pound to free
Go to; well.
Come, Sir John, which four will you have?
Do you choose for me.
Marry, then--Mouldy, Bullcalf, Feeble, and Shadow.
Mouldy and Bullcalf: for you, Mouldy, stay at home
you are past service; and for your part, Bullcalf, grow you
unto it. I will none of you.
Sir John, Sir John, do not yourself wrong. They are
likeliest men, and I would have you serv'd with the best.
Will you tell me, Master Shallow, how to choose a
Care I for the limb, the thews, the stature, bulk, and big
assemblance of a man! Give me the spirit, Master Shallow.
Wart; you see what a ragged appearance it is. 'A shall charge
and discharge you with the motion of a pewterer's hammer,
off and on swifter than he that gibbets on the brewer's
And this same half-fac'd fellow, Shadow--give me this man. He
presents no mark to the enemy; the foeman may with as great
level at the edge of a penknife. And, for a retreat--how
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.
Hold, Wart. Traverse--thus, thus, thus.
Come, manage me your caliver. So--very well. Go to;
good; exceeding good. O, give me always a little, lean, old,
chopt, bald shot. Well said, i' faith, Wart; th'art a good
Hold, there's a tester for thee.
He is not his craft's master, he doth not do it right.
remember at Mile-end Green, when I lay at Clement's Inn--I
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
'a go, and again would 'a come. I shall ne'er see such a
These fellows will do well. Master Shallow, God keep
Master Silence, I will not use many words with you: Fare you
well! Gentlemen both, I thank you. I must a dozen mile
Bardolph, give the soldiers coats.
Sir John, the Lord bless you; God prosper your
God send us peace! At your return, visit our house; let our
acquaintance be renewed. Peradventure I will with ye to the
Fore God, would you would.
Go to; I have spoke at a word. God keep you.
Fare you well, gentle gentlemen.
[ Shallow and Silence exit. ]
On, Bardolph. Lead the men away.
[ All but Falstaff exit.]
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 he was
naked, he was, for all the world, like a forked radish
with a head fantastically carved upon it with a
knife. He was so forlorn that his dimensions to
any thick sight were invincible. He was the very
genius of famine, yet lecherous as a monkey,
and the whores called him “mandrake.” He came
ever in the rearward of the fashion, and sung
those tunes to the overscutched huswives that he
heard the carmen whistle, and swore they were his
fancies or his good-nights. And now is this Vice’s
dagger become a squire, and talks as familiarly
of John o’ Gaunt as if he had been sworn brother
to him, and I’ll be sworn he 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 o’ 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 ’t shall go hard but I’ll 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.
[ He exits. ]
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