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A publick Place near Westminster Abbey.
Enter two Grooms, strewing Rushes. 1 Groom. More rushes, more rushes.? 2 Groom. The trumpets have sounded twice.
i Groom. It will be two o'clock ere they come from the coronation: Despatch, despatch.
Enter FALSTAFF, SHALLOW, Pistol, BARDOLPH,
and the Page. Fal. Stand here by me, master Robert Shallow; I will make the king do you grace: I will leer upon him, as 'a comes by; and do but mark the countenance that he will give me.
Pist. God bless thy lungs, good knight.
Fal. Come here, Pistol; stand behind me.-0, if I had had time to have made new liveries, I would have bestowed the thousand pound I borrowed of you. [To Shallow.) But 'tis no matter; this poor show doth better: this doth infer the zeal I had to
Shal. It doth so.
2 More rushes, &c.] It has been already observed, that, at ceremonial entertainments, it was the custom to strew the floor with rushes. Chambers, and indeed all apartments usually inhabited, were formerly strewed in this manner. As our ancestors rarely washed their floors, disguises of uncleanliness became necessary things.
Fal. As it were, to ride day and night; and not to deliberate, not to remember, not to have patience to shift me.
Shal. It is most certain.
Fal. But to stand stained with travel, and sweating with desire to see him: thinking of nothing else; putting all affairs else in oblivion; as if there were nothing else to be done, but to see him.
Pist. 'Tis semper idem, for absque hoc nihil est : 'Tis all in every part.
Shal. 'Tis so, indeed.
Pist. My knight, I will inflame thy noble liver, And make thee rage. Thy Doll, and Helen of thy noble thoughts, Is in base durance, and contagious prison; Haul'd thither By most mechanical and dirty hand:Rouze up revenge from ebon den with fell Alecto's
snake, For Doll is in; Pistol speaks nought but truth. Fal. I will deliver her.
[Shouts within, and the Trumpets sound. Pist. There roard the sea, and trumpet-clangor
Enter the King and his Train, the Chief Justice
Fal. God save thy grace, king Hal! my royal Hal!
Pist. The heavens thee guard and keep, most royal imp of fame!
'Tis all in every part.] The sentence alluded to is:
“ 'Tis all in all, and all in every part.” And so doubtless it should be read. 'Tis a common way of expressing one's approbation of a right measure to say, 'tis all in all.
most royal imp of fame!] The word imp is perpetually used by ancient writers, for progeny.
Fal. God save thee, my sweet boy!
? you speak? Fal. My king! my Jove! I speak to thee, my
heart ! King. I know thee not, old man: Fall to thy
prayers; How ill white hairs become a fool, and jester! I have long dream'd of such a kind of man, So surfeit-swell’d, so old, and so profane;' But, being awake, I do despise my dream. Make less thy body, hence, and more thy grace; Leave gormandizing; know, the grave doth gape For thee thrice wider than for other men: Reply not to me with a fool-born jest; Presume not, that I am the thing I was: For heaven doth know, so shall the world perceive, That I have turn'd away my former self; So will I those that kept me company. When thou dost hear I am as I have been, Approach me; and thou shalt be as thou wast, The tutor and the feeder of my riots: Till then, I banish thee, on pain of death, As I have done the rest of my misleaders, Not to come near our person by ten mile.?
profane!] In our author it often signifies love of talk, without the particular idea now given it.
hence,) i. e. henceforward, from this time, in the future.
? Not to come near our person by ten mile.] Mr. Rowe observes, that many readers lament to see Falstaff so hardly used by his old friend. But if it be considered, that the fat knight has never uttered one sentiment of generosity, and with all his power of exciting mirth, has nothing in him that can be esteemed, no great pain will be suffered from the reflection that he is compelled to live honestly, and maintained by the king, with a promise of advancement when he shall deserve it.
For competence of life, I will allow
you, That lack of means enforce you not to evil: And, as we hear you do reform yourselves, We will,--according to your strength, and quali
ties, Give you advancement.-Be it your charge, my
lord, To see perform'd the tenor of our word.
[Exeunt King, and his Train. Fal. Master Shallow, I owe you a thousand pound.
Shal. Ay, marry, sir John; which I beseech you to let me have home with me.
Fal. That can hardly be, master Shallow. Do not you grieve at this ; I shall be sent for in private to him : look you, he must seem thus to the world. Fear not your advancement; I will be the man yet, that shall make you great.
I think the poet more blameable for Poins, who is always represented as joining some virtues with his vices, and is therefore treated by the Prince with apparent distinction, yet he does nothing in the time of action; and though after the bustle is over, he is again a favourite, at last vanishes without notice. Shakspeare certainly lost him by heedlessness, in the multiplicity of his characters, the variety of his action, and his eagerness to end the play. Johnson
This circumstance was originally mentioned by Hall, and is thus recorded by Holinshed, who was certainly Shakspeare's historian: “ Immediately after that he was invested kyng, and had receyved the crowne, he determined with himselfe to putte upon him the shape of a new man, turning insolence and wildness into gravitie and sobernesse : and whereas he had passed his youth in wanton pastime and riotous misorder, with a sorte of misgoverned mates, and unthriftie playfeers, he now banished them from his presence, (not unrewarded nor yet unpreferred,) inhibiting them upon a great payne, not once to approche, lodge or sojourne within ten miles of his courte or mansion: and in their places he elected and chose men of gravitie, witte, and hygh policie, by whose wise counsell he might at all times rule to his honoure ;—whereas if he should have reteined the other lustie companions aboute him, he doubted least they might have allured him into such lewde and lighte partes, as with them before tyme he had youthfully used."
Shal. I cannot perceive how ; unless you give me your doublet, and stuff me out with straw. I be
I seech you, good sir John, let me have five hundred of my thousand.
Fal. Sir, I will be as good as my word: this that you heard, was but a colour.
Shal. A colour, I fear, that you will die in, sir John.
Fal. Fear no colours ; go with me to dinner. Come, lieutenant Pistol ;-come, Bardolph :-I shall be sent for soon at night. Re-enter Prince John, the Chief Justice, Officers,
&c. Ch. Just. Go, carry sir John Falstaff to the Fleet ; * Take all his company along with him.
Fal. My lord, my lord,-
soon. Take them away. Pist. Si fortuna me tormenta, spero me contenta.
[Exeunt Fal. Shal. Post. BARD. Page,
and Officers. P. John. I like this fair proceeding of the king's : He hath intent, his wonted followers Shall all be very well provided for ; But all are banish’d, till their conversations Appear more wise and modest to the world. Ch. Just. And so they are. P. John. The king hath call'd his parliament, my
to the Fleet;] I do not see why Falstaff is carried to the Fleet. We have never lost sight of him since his dismission from the King; he has committed no new fault, and therefore incurred no punishment; but the different agitations of fear, anger, and surprize in him and his company, made a good scene to the eye; and our author, who wanted them no longer on the stage, was glad to find this method of sweeping them away. Johnson.