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Falstaff. Seven, or I am a villain.
Prince. [Aside to Poins.] Let him alone; we shall have more.
Falstaff. Dost thou hear me, Hal? 1
Prince. Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.
Falstaff. Do so, for it is worth the listening to. These nine

in buckram, their swords being broken, began to give ground; but I followed close, foot and hand, and with a

thought seven of the eleven I killed. Prince. O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two! Falstaff. But, as the devil would have it, three knaves in

green came at my back and let drive at me; for it was so

dark, Hal, that thou couldst not see thy hand. Prince. Thou liest, thou clay-brained mountain, thou. Falstaff. What, art thou mad? art thou mad? Is not the

truth the truth? Prince. Why, how couldst thou know these men in green

when it was so dark thou couldst not see thy hand? Come,

tell us your reason. Poins. Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.

[They advance on him.] Falstaff. 'Zounds, give you a reason on compulsion! If

reasons were as plentiful as blackberries, I would give no

man a reason upon compulsion, I. Prince. Mark, Jack. We two saw you three set on three

and bound them, and were masters of their wealth. Then we two set on you three; 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 roared for mercy, and ran 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!

1 Dost thou hear me, Hal? Falstaff and the Prince are on opposite sides of the stage: Falstaff R., Prince L.

[graphic]

Falstaff. I shall think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a valiant lion, and thou

for a true prince.

1

Falstaff. By the Lord, I knew ye.-Why, hear you, my mas

ters. Was it for me to kill the Prince?-Why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Hercules; but on instinct, the lion will not touch the true prince. 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! - Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, shall we be merry?

The Hostess comes in (R.). Hostess. O, my lord the Prince! there is a nobleman of the

court at door. He says he comes from your father.
Falstaff. What manner of man is he?
Hostess. An old man.
Falstaff. What doth Gravity out of his bed at midnight?

Shall I give him his answer?
Prince. Do, Jack.
Falstaff. I'll send him packing.

[Exit R.] Prince. Tell me now in earnest, how came Falstaff's sword

so hacked? Gadshill. 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 fight, and persuaded us to do the

like. Bardolph. Yea, and to tickle our noses with spear-grass to

make them bleed, and then to beslubber our clothes with it and swear it was the blood of true men. I did what I have not done this seven years before, I blushed to hear

him. Prince. O villain, thou stolest a cup of wine eighteen years sword on thy side, and yet thou ran’st away; what instinct hadst thou for it?

ago and hast blushed ever since. Thou hadst fire and 1 Gallants (găl'únts or găl-ănts'): men of courage and high spirits.

2 blushed ever since. The humor turns on the fiery redness of Bardolph's face, which has the flush of a habitual and heavy drinker's.

But Falstaff reappears (R.) almost immediately. Falstaff. There's villanous news abroad. Here was Sir John

Bracyl from your father; you must to the court in the morning. That mad fellow of the north, Percy, and he of Wales, that deceived Lucifer and made the devil swear to be his true man upon the cross of a Welsh hook2

what a plague call you him? Poins. Glendower. Falstaff. The same, and Mortimer, and that sprightly Scot

of Scots, Douglas, that runs on horseback up a hill per

pendicular, Prince. He that rides at high speed and with his pistol

kills a sparrow flying. Falstaff. You have hit it. Prince. So did he never the sparrow. Falstaff. And Worcester 3 is stolen away tonight. Thy

father's beard is turned white with the news. Prince. Why, then Falstaff. Hal, art not thou horribly afraid? Doth not thy

blood thrill at it? Prince. I lack some of thy instinct. Falstaff. Well, thou wilt be horribly scolded tomorrow when

thou comest to thy father. If thou love me, practice an

answer. Prince. Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon

the particulars of my life. Falstaff. Shall I? Content. This chair shall be my state,4

this dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my crown. – Give me a cup of wine to make my eyes look red, that it may

1 Bracy (brā'sì).

2 Welsh hook: a weapon with a curved blade at the end and a crosspiece which served as an ax.

3 Worcester (woos'tēr.) 4 state: throne.

be thought I have wept. – Stand aside, nobility. Hostess. O, the father, how he holds his face! He doth it

as like one of these players as ever I saw! Falstaff. Peace, good pint-pot; peace, good tickle-brain.

Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also by whom thou art accompanied; fo: though the weed, the more it is trodden on the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted the sooner it wears. Why, being son to me, art thou so pointed at? Shall the son of England prove a thief? 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. (He drinks.] Harry, I do not speak to thee in drink but in tears, not in words only, but in woes; and yet there is a virtuous man whom I have often noted in thy company,

but I know not his name. Prince. What manner of man, your Majesty? Falstaff. A goodly portly man, 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 our lady, inclining to three score; and now I remember me, his name is Falstaff. If that man should be wicked, he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his looks. Him keep with, the rest banish. And tell me now, thou naughty varlet, where hast thou

been this month? Prince. Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for

me, and I'll play my father. Falstaff. Depose me?

[They change places, Prince going R., Falstaff L.] Prince. Now, Harry, whence come you? Falstaff. My noble lord, from Eastcheap.

1 manner: sort, kind.

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