previous next


London. A street.
Enter FALSTAFF, with his Page bearing his sword and buckler.

Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor
to my water?

He said, sir, the water itself was a
good healthy water; but, for the party that
owed it, he might have more diseases than he
knew for.

Men of all sorts take a pride to gird
at me: the brain of this foolish-compounded
clay, man, is not able to invent anything that
tends to laughter, more than I invent or is invented
on me: I am not only witty in myself,
but the cause that wit is in other men. I do
here walk before thee like a sow that hath
overwhelmed all her litter but one. If the
prince put thee into my service for any other
reason than to set me off, why then I have no
judgement. Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art
fitter to be worn in my cap than to wait at my
heels. I was never manned with an agate till
now: but I will inset you neither in gold nor
silver, but in vile apparel, and send you back
again to your master,--the juvenal,
the prince your master, whose chin is not yet
fledged. I will sooner have a beard grow in the
palm of my hand than he shall get one on his
cheek; and yet he will not stick to say his face
is a face-royal: God may finish it when he
will, 'tis not a hair amiss yet: he may keep it
still at a face-royal, for a barber shall never
earn sixpence out of it; and yet he'll be crowing
as if he had writ man ever since his father
was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace,
but he's almost out of mine, I can assure him.
What said Master Dombledon about the satin
for my short cloak and my slops?

He said, sir, you should procure him
better assurance than Bardolph: he would not
take his band and yours; he liked not the

Let him be damned, like the glutton!
pray God his tongue be hotter! A whoreson
Achitophel! a rascally yea-forsooth knave! to
bear a gentleman in hand, and then stand
upon security! The whoreson smooth-pates do
now wear nothing but high shoes, and bunches
of keys at their girdles; and if a man is
through with them in honest taking up, then
they must stand upon security. I had as lief
they would put ratsbane in my mouth as offer
to stop it with security. I looked a' should have
sent me two and twenty yards of satin, as I am
a true knight, and he sends me security. Well,
he may sleep in security; for he hath the horn
of abundance, and the lightness of his wife
shines through it: and yet cannot he see,
though he have his own lanthorn to light him.
Where's Bardolph?

He's gone into Smithfield to buy your
worship a horse.

I bought him in Paul's, and he'll buy
me a horse in Smithfield: an I could get me
but a wife in the stews, I were manned, horsed, (61)
and wived. Enter the Lord Chief-Justice and Servant.

Sir, here comes the nobleman that
committed the prince for striking him about

Wait close; I will not see him.

Ch. Just.
What's he that goes there?

Falstaff, an 't please your lordship.

Ch. Just.
He that was in question for the (69)

He, my lord: but he hath since done
good 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

Sir John Falstaff!

Boy, tell him I am deaf.

You must speak louder; my master (79)
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.

Sir John!

What a young knave, and begging!
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 worst side, were it worse
than the name of rebellion can tell how to (90)
make it.

You mistake me, sir.

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.

I pray you, sir, then set your kinght-
hood 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.

I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay
aside that which grows to me! If thou gettest
any leave of me, hang me; if thou takest leave,
thou wert better be hanged. You hunt countter:
hence! avaunt!

Sir, my lord would speak with you.

Ch. Just.
Sir John Falstaff, a word with

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
must humbly beseech your lordship to have
a reverent care of your health.

Ch. Just.
Sir John, I sent for you before
your expedition to Shrewsbury.

An't please your lordship, I hear his
majesty is returned with some discomfort from

Ch. Just.
I talk not of his majesty: you (121)
would not come when I sent for you.

And I hear, moreover, his highness is
fallen into this same whoreson apoplexy.

Ch. Just.
Well, God mend him! I pray
you, let me speak with you.

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 (130)
it is.

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.

Very well, my lord, very well: rather,
an't please you, it is the disease of not listen-
ing, the malady of not marking, that I am (140)
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.

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

Ch. Just.
I sent for you, when there were
matters against you for your life, to come
speak with me.

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.

He that buckles him in my belt can-
not live in less.

Ch. Just.
Your means are very slender, and (160)
your waste is great.

I would it were otherwise; I would
my means were greater, and my waist slenderer.

Ch. Just.
You have misled the youthful

The young prince hath misled me: I
am the fellow with the great belly, and he my

Ch. Just.
Well, I am loath to gall a new-healed
wound: your day's service at Shrews-
bury hath a little gilded over your night's
exploit on Gad's-hill: you may thank the unquiet
time for your quiet o'er-posting that (171)

My lord?

Ch. Just.
But since all is well, keep it so:
wake not a sleeping wolf.

To wake a wolf is as bad as to smell a

Ch. Just.
What! you are as a candle, the
better part burnt out.

A wassail candle, my lord, all tallow:
if I did say of wax, my growth would approve (181)
the truth.

Ch. Just.
There is not a white hair on your
face but should have his effect of gravity.

His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.

Ch. Just.
You follow the young prince up
and down, like his ill angel.

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 tell.
Virtue is of so little regard in these costermonger
times that true valour is turned bearherd:
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 do
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 (200)

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?
and every part about you blasted with antiquity?
and will you yet call yourself young? (209)
Fie, fie, fie, Sir John!

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 halloing and singing of anthems.
To approve my youth further, I will
not: the truth is, I am only old in judgement
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 of
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 sack-
cloth, but in new silk and old sack.

Ch. Just.
Well, God send the prince a better

God 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 Lancaster against the Archbishop (230)
and the Earl of Northumberland.

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, and I
brandish any thing but a 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 alway yet the trick of our English
nation, if they have a good thing, to make it
too common. If ye 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 a
rust than to be scoured to nothing with per-
petual motion.

Ch. Just.
Well, be honest, be honest, and
God bless your expedition!

Will your lordship lend me a thousand (251)
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 Servant.

If I do, fillip me with a three-man
beetle. A man can no more separate age and
covetousness than a' can part young limbs and
lechery: but the gout galls the one, and the
pox pinches the other; and so both the degrees (260)
prevent my curses. Boy!


What money is in my purse?

Seven groats and two pence.

I can get no remedy against this consumption
of the purse: borrowing only lingers
and lingers in it out, but the disease is incurable.
Go bear this letter to my Lord of Lancaster;
this to the prince; this to the Earl of Westmoreland;
and this to old Mistress Ursula,
whom I have weekly sworn to marry since I
perceived the first white hair on my chin.
About it: you know where to find me. [Exit Page.]
A pox of this gout! or, a gout of this
pox! for the one or the other plays the rogue
with my great toe. 'Tis no matter if I do halt;
I have the wars for my colour, and my pension
shall seem the more reasonable. A good wit
will make use of any thing: I will turn diseases
to commodity. [Exit.

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 Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: