previous next


A public road near Coventry.

Bardolph, get thee before to Coventry;
fill me a bottle of sack: our soldiers shall
march through; we'll to Sutton Co'fil' tonight.

Will you give me money, captain?

Lay out, lay out.

This bottle makes an angel.

An if it do, take it for thy labour;
and if it make twenty, take them all; I'll
answer the coinage. Bid my lieutenant Peto (10)
meet me at town's end.

I will, captain: farewell. [Exit.

If I be not ashamed of my soldiers, I
am a soused gurnet. I have misused the king's
press damnably. I have got, in exchange of a
hundred and fifty soldiers, three hundred and
odd pounds. I press me none but good householders,
yeomen's sons; inquire me out contracted
bachelors, such as had been asked
twice on the banns; such a commodity of (20)
warm slaves, as had as lieve hear the devil as a
drum; such as fear the report of a caliver
worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild-duck.
I pressed me none but such toasts-and-butter,
with hearts in their bellies no bigger than pins'
heads, and they have bought out their services;
and now my whole charge consists of
ancients, corporals, lieutenants, gentlemen of
companies, slaves as ragged as Lazarus in the
painted cloth, where the glutton's dogs licked (30)
his sores; and such as indeed were never soldiers,
but discarded unjust serving-men,
younger sons to younger brothers, revolted
tapsters and ostlers trade-fallen, the cankers
of a calm world and a long peace, ten times
more dishonourable ragged than an old faced
ancient: and such have I, to fill up the rooms
of them that have bought out their services,
that you would think that I had a hundred
and fifty tattered prodigals lately come from (40)
swine-keeping, from eating draff and husks.
A mad fellow met me on the way and told me
I had unloaded all the gibbets and pressed the
dead bodies. No eye hath seen such scarcecrows.
I'll not march through Coventry with
them, that's flat: nay, and the villains march
wide betwixt the legs, as if they had gyves
on; for indeed I had the most of them out of
prison. There's but a shirt and a half in all
my company; and the half shirt is two napkins (50)
tacked together and thrown over the
shoulders like a herald's coat without sleeves;
and the shirt, to say the truth, stolen from
my host at Saint Alban's, or the red-nose
innkeeper of Daventry. But that's all one;
they'll find linen enough on every hedge. Enter the PRINCE and WESTMORELAND.

How now, blown Jack! how now,

What, Hal! how now, mad wag!
what a devil dost thou in Warwickshire? My
good Lord of Westmoreland, I cry you mercy:
I thought your honour had already been at (59)

Faith, Sir John, 'tis more than time
that I were there, and you too; but my powers
are there already. The king, I can tell you,
looks for us all: we must away all night.

Tut, never fear me: I am as vigilant
as a cat to steal cream.

I think, to steal cream indeed, for
thy theft hath already made thee butter. But
tell me, Jack, whose fellows are these that come after? (69)

Mine, Hal, mine.

I did never see such pitiful rascals.

Tut, tut; good enough to toss; food
for powder, food for powder; they'll fill a pit
as well as better: tush, man, mortal men,
mortal men.

Ay, but, Sir John, methinks they
are exceeding poor and bare, too beggarly.

'Faith, for their poverty, I know not
where they had that; and for their bareness, I
am sure they never learned that of me.

No, I'll be sworn; unless you call
three fingers on the ribs bare. But, sirrah, (81)
make haste: Percy is already in the field.

What, is the king encamped?

He is, Sir John: I fear we shall
stay too long.

To the latter end of a fray and the beginning of a feast
Fits a dull fighter and a keen guest. [Exeunt.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (24 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: