SCENE IVThe Boar's-Head Tavern, Eastcheap.
Enter the PRINCE, and POINS.
Ned, prithee, come out of that fat
room, and lend me thy hand to laugh a little.
Where hast been, Hal?
With three or four loggerheads
amongst three or four score hogsheads. I have
sounded the very base-string of humility.
Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers;
and can call them all by their christen
names, as Tom, Dick, and Francis. They take
it already upon their salvation, that though I
be but Prince of Wales, yet I am the king of
courtesy; and tell me flatly I am no proud
Jack, like Falstaff, but a Corinthian, a lad of
mettle, a good boy, by the Lord, so they call
me, and when I am king of England, I shall
command all the good lads in Eastcheap. They
call drinking deep, dyeing scarlet; and when
you breathe in your watering, they cry 'hem!'
and bid you play it off. To conclude, I am so
good a proficient in one quarter of an hour,
that I can drink with any tinker in his own
language during my life. I tell thee, Ned,
thou hast lost much honour, that thou wert not
with me in this action. But, sweet Ned,—to
sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee this
pennyworth of sugar, clapped even now into
my hand by an under-skinker, one that never
spake other English in his life than 'Eight shillings
and sixpence,' and 'You are welcome,'
with this shrill addition, 'Anon, anon, sir!
Score a pint of bastard in the Half-moon,' or
so. But, Ned, to drive away the time till Falstaff
come, I prithee, do thou stand in some
by-room, while I question my puny drawer to
what end he gave me the sugar; and do thou
never leave calling 'Francis,' that his tale to
me may be nothing but 'Anon.' Step aside,
and I'll show thee a precedent.
Thou art perfect.
Francis! [Exit Poins. Enter FRANCIS.
Anon, anon, sir. Look down into
the Pomgarnet, Ralph.
Come hither, Francis.
How long hast thou to serve,
Forsooth, five years, and as much
[Within] Francis! (49)
Anon, anon, sir.
Five year! by'r lady, a long lease
for the clinking of pewter. But, Francis, darest
thou be so valiant as to play the coward with
thy indenture and show it a fair pair of heels
and run from it?
O Lord, sir, I'll be sworn upon all
the books in England, I could find it in my
How old art thou, Francis?
Let me see—about Michaelmas next (61)
I shall be—
Anon, sir. Pray stay a little, my lord.
Nay, but hark you, Francis: for
the sugar thou gavest me, 'twas a pennyworth,
O Lord, I would it had been two!
I will give thee for it a thousand
pound: ask me when thou wilt, and thou shalt (70)
Anon, Francis? No, Francis; but
to-morrow, Francis; or Francis, o' Thursday;
or indeed, Francis, when thou wilt. But,
Wilt thou rob this leathern jerkin,
crystal-button, not-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, (80)
stocking, caddis-garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch—
O Lord, sir, what do you mean?
Why, then, your brown bastard is
your only drink; for look you, Francis, your
white canvas doublet will sully: in Barbary,
sir, it cannot come to so much.
Away, you rogue! dost thou not
hear them call? [Here they both call him; the drawer stands amazed, not knowing which way to go. Enter Vintner.
What, standest thou still, and hearest
such a calling? Look to the guests within.
[Exit Francis.] My lord, old Sir John, with
half-a-dozen more, are at the door: shall I let
Let them alone awhile, and then
open the door. [Exit Vintner.] Poins! Re-enter POINS.
Anon, anon, sir.
Sirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the
thieves are at the door: shall we be merry?
As merry as crickets, my lad. But
hark ye; what cunning match have you made
with this jest of the drawer? come, what's
I am now of all humours that have
showed themselves humours since the old
days of goodman Adam to the pupil age of
this present twelve o'clock at midnight. Re-enter FRANCIS.
What's o'clock, Francis?
Anon, anon, sir. [Exit.
That ever this fellow should have
fewer words than a parrot, and yet the son of
a woman! His industry is up-stairs and
down-stairs; his eloquence the parcel of reckoning.
I am not yet of Percy's mind, the
Hotspur of the north; he that kills me some
six or seven dozen of Scots at a breakfast,
washes his hands, and says to his wife 'Fie
upon this quiet life! I want work.' 'O my
sweet Harry,' says she, 'how many hast thou
killed to-day?' 'Give my roan horse a
drench,' says he; and answers 'Some fourteen,'
an hour after; 'a trifle, a trifle.' I
prithee, call in Falstaff: I'll play Percy, and
that damned brawn shall play Dame Mortimer
his wife. 'Rivo!' says the drunkard.
Call in ribs, call in tallow. Enter FALSTAFF, GADSHILL, BARDOLPH, and PETO; FRANCIS following with wine.
Welcome, Jack: where hast thou
A plague of all cowards, I say, and a
vengeance too! marry, and amen! Give me
a cup of sack, boy. Ere I lead this life long,
I'll sew nether stocks and mend them and
foot them too. A plague of all cowards!
Give me a cup of sack, rogue. Is there no
virtue extant? [He drinks.
Didst thou never see Titan kiss a
dish of butter? pitiful-hearted Titan, that
melted at the sweet tale of the sun's! if thou
didst, then behold that compound.
You rogue, here's lime in this sack
too: there is nothing but roguery to be found
in villanous man: yet a coward is worse than
a cup of sack with lime in it. A villanous
coward! Go thy ways, old Jack; die when
thou wilt, if manhood, good manhood, be not
forgot upon the face of the earth, then am I
a shotten herring. There live not three good
men unhanged in England; and one of them
is fat and grows old: God help the while! a
bad world, I say. I would I were a weaver;
I could sing psalms or any thing. A plague of
all cowards, I say still.
How now, wool-sack! what mutter
A king's son. If I do not beat thee
out of thy kingdom with a dagger of lath, and
drive all thy subjects afore thee like a flock of
wild-geese, I'll never wear hair on my face
more. You Prince of Wales!
Why, you whoreson round man,
what's the matter?
Are not you a coward? answer me
to that: and Poins there?
'Zounds, ye fat paunch, an ye call (160)
me coward, by the Lord, I'll stab thee.
I call thee coward! I'll see thee
damned ere I call thee coward: but I would
give a thousand pound I could run as fast as
thou canst. You are straight enough in the
shoulders, you care not who sees your back:
call you that backing of your friends? A
plague upon such backing! give me them that
will face me. Give me a cup of sack: I am
a rogue, if I drunk to-day. (170)
O villain! thy lips are scarce wiped
since thou drunkest last.
All's one for that. [He drinks.]
A plague of all cowards, still say I.
What's the matter?
What's the matter! there be four of
us here have ta'en a thousand pound this day
Where is it, Jack? where is it?
Where is it! taken from us it is: a (180)
hundred upon poor four of us.
What, a hundred, man?
I am a rogue, if I were not at half-
sword with a dozen of them two hours together.
I have 'scaped by miracle. I am eight
times thrust through the doublet, four through
the hose; my buckler cut through and through;
my sword hacked like a hand-saw—ecce
signum! I never dealt better since I was a man:
all would not do. A plague of all cowards!
Let them speak: if they speak more or less
than truth, they are villains and the sons of (191)
Speak, sirs; how was it?
We four set upon some dozen—
Sixteen at least, my lord.
And bound them.
No, no, they were not bound.
You rogue, they were bound, every
man of them; or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew
As we were sharing, some six or (200)
seven fresh men set upon us—
And unbound the rest, and then come
in the other.
What, fought you with them all?
All! I know not what you call all;
but if I fought not with fify of them, I am a
bunch of radish: if there were not two or
three and fifty upon poor old Jack, then am I
no two-legged creature.
Pray God you have not murdered (210)
some of them.
Nay, that's past praying for: I have
peppered two of them; two I am sure I have
paid, two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee
what, Hal, if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face,
call me horse. Thou knowest my old ward;
here I lay, and thus I bore my point. Four
rogues in buckram let drive at me—
What, four? thou saidst but two
even now. (220)
Four, Hal; I told thee four.
Ay, ay, he said four.
These four came all a-front, and
mainly thrust at me. I made me no more
ado but took all their seven points in my
Seven? why, there were but four
Ay, four, in buckram suits.
Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain (230)
Prithee, let him alone; we shall
have more anon.
Dost thou hear me, Hal?
Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.
Do so, for it is worth the listening
to. These nine in buckram that I told thee
So, two more already.
Their points being broken,— (239)
Down fell their hose.
Began to give me ground: but I followed
me close, came in foot and hand; and
with a thought seven of the eleven I paid.
O monstrously eleven buckram men
grown out of two!
But, as the devil would have it, three
misbegotten knaves in Kendal green came at
my back and let drive at me; for it was so
dark, Hal, that thou couldst not see thy hand.
These lies are like their father that
begets them; gross as a mountain, open, palpable.
Why, thou clay-brained guts, thou
knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson, obscene,
What, art thou mad? art thou mad?
is not the truth the truth?
Why, how couldst thou know these
mnen in Kendal green, when it was so dark
thou couldst not see thy hand? come, tell us (259)
your reason: what sayest thou to this?
Come, your reason, Jack, your
What, upon compulsion? 'Zounds, an
I were at the strappado, or all the racks in the
world, I would not tell you on compulsion.
Give you a reason on compulsion if reasons
were as plentiful as blackberries, I would
give no man a reason upon compulsion,
I 'll be no longer guilty of this sin;
this sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this
horseback-breaker, this huge hill of flesh,—
'Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin,
you dried neat's tongue, you bull's pizzle, you
stock-fish! O for breath to utter what is like
thee! you tailor's-yard, you sheath, you bowcase,
you vile standing-tuck,—
Well, breathe awhile, and then to
it again: and when thou hast tired thyself in
base comparisons, hear me speak but this.
We two saw you four set on four
and bound them, and were masters of their
wealth. Mark now, how a plain tale shall put
you down. Then did we two set on you four;
and, with a word, out-faced you from your
prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you
here in the house: and, Falstaff, you carried
your guts away as nimbly, with as quick
dexterity, and roared for mercy and still run and
roared, as ever I heard bull-calf. What a
slave art thou, to hack thy sword as thou hast
done, and then say it was in fight! What
trick, what device, what starting-hole, canst
thou now find out to hide thee from this open
and apparent shame?
Come, let's hear, Jack; what trick
hast thou now?
By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he
that made ye. Why, hear you, my masters:
was it for me to kill the heir-apparent? should
I turn upon the true prince? why, thou knowest
I am as valiant as Hercules: but beware
instinct; the lion will not touch the true prince.
Instinct is a great matter; I was now a coward
on instinct. I shall think the better of myself
and thee during my life; I for a valiant lion,
and thou for a true prince But, by the Lord,
lads, I am glad you have the money. Hostess,
clap to the doors: watch to-night, pray to-morrow.
Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all
the titles Qf good fellowship come to you I
What, shall we be merry? shall we have a
Content; and the argument shall (311)
be thy running away.
Ah, no more of that, Hal, an thou
lovest me! Enter Hostess.
O Jesu, my lord the prince!
How now, my lady the hostess
what sayest thou to me?
Marry, my lord, there is a nobleman
of the court at door would speak with (319)
you: he says he comes from your father.
Give him as much as will make
him a royal man, and send him back again to
What manner of man is he?
An old man.
What doth gravity out of his bed at
midnight? Shall I give him his answer?
Prithee, do, Jack.
'Faith, and I'll send him packing. [Exit.
Now, sirs: by'r lady, you fought
fair; so did you, Peto; so did you, Bardolph:
you are lions too, you ran away upon instinct,
you will not touch the true prince; no, fie!
'Faith, I ran when I saw others run.
'Faith, tell me now in earnest,
how came Falstaff's sword so hacked?
Why, he hacked it with his dagger,
and said he would swear truth out of England
but he would make you believe it was done in (339)
fight, and persuaded us to do the like.
Yea, and to tickle our noses with
spear-grass to make them bleed, and then to
beslubber our garments with it and swear it
was the blood of true men. I did that I did
not this seven year before, I blushed to hear
his monstrous devices.
O villain, thou stolest a cup of
sack eighteen years ago, and wert taken with
the manner, and ever since thou hast blushed
extempore. Thou hadst fire and sword on
thy side, and yet thou rannest away: what (350)
instinct hadst thou for it?
My lord, do you see these meteors?
do you behold these exhalations?
What think you they portend?
Hot livers and cold purses.
Choler, my lord, if rightly taken.
No, if rightly taken, halter. Re-enter FALSTAFF.
Here comes lean Jack, here comes bare-bone.
How now, my sweet creature of bombast!
How long is't ago, Jack, since thou sawest (361)
thine own knee?
My own knee! when I was about thy
years, Hal, I was not an eagle's talon in the
waist; I could have crept into any alderman's
thumb-ring: a plague of sighing and grief! it
blows a man up like a bladder. There's villanous
news abroad: here was Sir John Bracy
from your father; you must to the court in the
morning. That same mad fellow of the north,
Percy, and he of Wales, that gave
Amamon the bastinado and made Lucifer
cuckold and swore the devil his true liegeman
upon the cross of a Welsh hook—what a
plague call you him?
Owen, Owen, the same; and his son-in-law
Mortimer; and old Northumberland,
and that sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas,
that runs o' horseback up a hill perpendicular,—
He that rides at high speed and (380)
with his pistol kills a sparrow flying.
You have hit it.
So did he never the sparrow.
Well, that rascal hath good mettle in
him; he will not run.
Why, what a rascal art thou then,
to praise him so for running!
O' horseback, ye cuckoo; but afoot
he will not budge a foot.
Yes, Jack, upon instinct.
I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is
there too, and one Mordake, and a thousand
blue-caps more: Worcester is stolen away tonight;
thy father's beard is turned white with
the news: you may buy land now as cheap
as stinking mackerel.
Why, then, it is like, if there come
a hot June and this civil buffeting hold, we
shall buy' maidenheads as they buy hob-nails, (399)
by the hundreds.
By the mass, lad, thou sayest true; it
is like we shall have good trading that way.
But tell me, Hal, art not thou horrible afeard?
thou being heir-apparent, could the world
pick thee out three such enemies again as
that fiend Douglas, that spirit Percy, and
that devil Glendower? Art thou not horribly afraid?
doth not thy blood thrill at it?
Not a whit, i' faith; I lack some (409)
of thy instinct.
Well, thou wilt be horribly chid tomorrow
when thou comest to thy father: if
thou love me, practise an answer.
Do thou stand for my father, and
examine me upon the particulars of my life.
Shall I? content: this chair shall be
my state, this dagger my sceptre, and this
cushion my crown.
Thy state is taken for a joined-stool,
thy golden sceptre for a leaden dagger,
and thy precious rich crown for a pitiful
Well, an the fire of grace be not
quite out of thee, now shalt thou be moved.
Give me a cup of sack to make my eyes look
red, that it may be thought I have wept; for
I must speak in passion, and I will do it in
King Cambyses' vein.
Well, here is my leg.
And here is my speech. Stand aside, (429)
O Jesu, this is excellent sport, i'
Weep not, sweet queen; for trickling tears are vain.
O, the father, how he holds his
For God's sake, lords, convey my tristful queen;
For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes.
O Jesu, he doth it as like one of
these harlotry players as ever I see!
Peace, good pint-pot; peace, good
tickle-brain. Harry, I do not only marvel
where thou spendest thy time, but also how
thou art accompanied: for though the camomile,
the more it is trodden on the faster it
grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted the
sooner it wears. That thou art my son, I
have partly thy mother's word, partly my own
opinion, but chiefly a villanous trick of thine
eye and a foolish hanging of thy nether lip,
that doth warrant me. If then thou be son
to me, here lies the point; why, being son to
me, art thou so pointed at? Shall the blessed
sun of heaven prove a micher and eat blackberries?
a question not to be asked. Shall the
son of England prove a thief and take purses?
a question to be asked. There is a thing,
Harry, which thou hast often heard of and it is
known to many in our land by the name of
pitch: this pitch, as ancient writers do report,
doth defile; so doth the company thou keepest:
for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee
in drink but in tears, not in pleasure but in
passion, not in words only, but in woes also:
and yet there is a virtuous man whom I have
often noted in thy company, but I know not (461)
What manner of man, an it like
A goodly portly man, i' faith, and a
corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye
and a most noble carriage; and, as I think, his
age some fifty, or, by 'r lady, inclining to three
score; and now I remember me, his name is
Falstaff: if that man should be lewdly given,
he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in
his looks. If then the tree may be known
by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then,
peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that
Falstaff: him keep with, the rest banish. And
tell me now, thou naughty varlet, tell me,
where hast thou been this month?
Dost thou speak like a king? Do
thou stand for me, and I'll play my father.
Depose me? if thou dost it half so
gravely, so majestically, both in word and
matter, hang me up by the heels for a rabbitsucker (481)
or a poulter's hare.
Well, here I am set.
And here I stand: judge, my masters.
Now, Harry, whence come you?
My noble lord, from Eastcheap.
The complaints I hear of thee are
'Sblood, my lord, they are false: nay, (489)
I'll tickle ye for a young prince, i' faith.
Swearest thou, ungracious boy?
henceforth ne'er look on me. Thou art violently
carried away from grace: there is a
devil haunts thee in the likeness of an old fat
man; a tun of man is thy companion. Why
dost thou converse with that trunk of humours,
that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen
parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack,
that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted
Manning-tree ox with the pudding in his belly,
that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father
ruffian, that vanity in years? Wherein
is he good, but to taste sack and drink it?
wherein neat and cleanly, but to carve a capon
and eat it? wherein cunning, but in craft?
wherein crafty, but in villany? wherein villanous,
but in all things? wherein worthy, but
I would your grace would take me
with you: whom means your grace?
That villanous abominable misleader
of youth, Falstaff, that old whitebearded
My lord, the man I know.
I know thou dost.
But to say I know more harm in him
than in myself, were to say more than I know.
That he is old, the more the pity, his white
hairs do witness it; but that he is, saving your
reverence, a whoremaster, that I utterly deny.
If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the
wicked! if to be old and merry be a sin,
then many an old host that I know is damned:
if to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh's
lean kine are to be loved. No, my good lord;
banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins:
but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff,
true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff,
and therefore more valiant, being, as he is,
old Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry's
company, banish not him thy Harry's
company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the
I do, I will. [A knocking heard. [Exeunt Hostess, Francis, and Bardolph. Re-enter BARDOLPH, running.
O, my lord, my lord! the sheriff
with a most monstrous watch is at the door.
Out, ye rogue! Play out the play: I
have much to say in the behalf of that Falstaff. Re-enter the Hostess.
O Jesu, my lord, my lord!
Heigh, heigh! the devil rides upon
a fiddlestick: what's the matter?
The sheriff and all the watch are at
the door: they are come to search the house.
Shall I let them in?
Dost thou hear, Hal? never call a
true piece of gold a counterfeit: thou art (541)
essentially mad, without seeming so.
And thou a natural coward, without
I deny your major: if you will deny
the sheriff, so; if not, let him enter: if I become
not a cart as well as another man, a
plague on my bringing up! I hope I shall as
soon be strangled with a halter as another.
Go, hide thee behind the arras:
the rest walk up above. Now, my masters, for (551)
a true face and good conscience.
Both which I have had: but their
date is out, and therefore I'll hide me.
Call in the sheriff. [Exeunt all except the Prince and Peto. Enter Sheriff and the Carrier. Now, master sheriff, what is your will with me?
First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and cry
Hath follow'd certain men unto this house.
One of them is well known, my gracious lord, (560)
A gross fat man.
As fat as butter.
The man, I do assure you, is not here;
For I myself at this time have employ'd him.
And, sheriff, I will engage my word to thee
That I will, by to-morrow dinner-time,
Send him to answer thee, or any man,
For any thing he shall be charged withal:
And so let me entreat you leave the house.
I will, my lord. There are two gentlemen
Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks.
It may be so: if he have robb'd these men,
He shall be answerable; and so farewell.
Good night, my noble lord.
I think it is good morrow, is it not?
Indeed, my lord, I think it be two o'clock. [Exeunt Sheriff and Carrier.
This oily rascal is known as well
as Paul's. Go, call him forth.
Falstaff!—Fast asleep behind the
arras, and snorting like a horse.
Hark, how hard he fetches breath.
Search his pockets. [He searcheth his pockets and findeth certain papers.]
What hast thou found?
Nothing but papers, my lord.
Let's see what they be: read them.
Item, A capon, . . . 2s. 2d.
Item, Sauce, . 4d.
Item, Sack, two gallons, 5s. 8d.
Item, Anchovies and sack
after supper, . . . 2s. 6d.
Item, Bread . . ob.
O monstrous! but one half-penny-
worth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack!
What there is else, keep close; we'll read it
at more advantage: there let him sleep till
day. I'll to the court in the morning. We
must all to the wars, and thy place shall be
honourable. I'll procure this fat rogue a
charge of foot; and I know his death will be
a march of twelve-score. The money shall
be paid back again with advantage. Be
with me betimes in the morning; and so, good (601)
Good morrow, good my lord. [Exeunt.