SCENE IIA public road near Coventry.
Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH.
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,
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.