Enter 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 fourscore hogsheads. I have sounded the very
bass string of humility. Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a
leash of drawers, and can call them all by their Christian
one who draws drink from a cask, tapster, barman
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
Jack (n.) 1
Jack-in-office, ill-mannered fellow, lout, knave
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,
hem (int.) 1
[drinking call] make a noise like ‘ahem’; clear the throat
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
underskinker, 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
one who draws drink from a cask, tapster, barman
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.
Enter Francis, a Drawer
Anon, anon, sir. Look down into the Pomgarnet,
Come hither, Francis.
How long hast thou to serve, Francis?
Forsooth, five years, and as much as to –
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 in my heart –
How old art thou, Francis?
Let me see, about Michaelmas next 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, was it not?
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 have it.
Anon, Francis? No, Francis, but tomorrow,
Francis. Or Francis, a-Thursday. Or indeed Francis,
when thou wilt. But Francis!
Wilt thou rob this leathern-jerkin, crystal-button,
not-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-garter,
smooth-tongue Spanish pouch?
O Lord, sir, who 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
Here they both call him; the Drawer stands amazed,
not knowing which way to go
What, standest thou still and hearest such a
calling? Look to the guests within.
My lord, old Sir John with half-a-dozen more are at the
door. Shall I let them in?
Let them alone awhile, and then open the
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 the issue?
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
What's o'clock, Francis?
Anon, anon, sir.
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 a 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
today?’ ‘ 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!
[unclear meaning] exclamation used while drinking
Enter Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph, and Peto;
followed by Francis with wine
Welcome, Jack, where hast thou been?
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?
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
You rogue, here's lime in this sack too. There
lime (n.) 2
lime-juice [added to wine to improve its sparkle]
is nothing but roguery to be found in villainous man, yet
a coward is worse than a cup of sack with lime in it. A
villainous 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 anything. A plague of all cowards, I say still.
How now, woolsack, what mutter you?
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
Are not you a coward? Answer me to that –
and Poins there?
Zounds, ye fat paunch, an ye call 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 today.
O villain! Thy lips are scarce wiped since
thou drunkest last.
All is 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 taken a thousand pound this day morning.
Where is it, Jack? where is it?
Where is it? Taken from us it is. A 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 handsaw – 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 darkness.
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 Jew.
As we were sharing, some six or seven fresh
men set upon us –
And unbound the rest, and then come in the
What, fought you with them all?
All? I know not what you call all, but if I
fought not with fifty 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-legg'd creature.
Pray God you have not murdered some of
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
ward (n.) 1
[fencing] defensive posture, parrying movement
in buckram let drive at me –
What, four? Thou saidst but two even now.
Four, Hal, I told thee four.
Ay, ay, he said four.
These four came all afront, and mainly thrust
at me. I made me no more ado, but took all their seven
points in my target, thus!
Seven? Why, there were but four even
Ay, four, in buckram suits.
Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.
Prithee let him alone, we shall have more
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 of –
So, two more already.
Their points being broken –
point (n.) 2
(usually plural) tagged lace [especially for attaching hose to the doublet]
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 monstrous! 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, greasy tallow-catch –
What, art thou mad? Art thou mad? Is not the
truth the truth?
Why, how couldst thou know these men in
Kendal green when it was so dark thou couldst not see
thy hand? Come, tell us your reason. What sayest thou
Come, your reason, Jack, your reason!
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.
I'll be no longer guilty of this sin. This
sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horse-back-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 bow-case, 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 tonight, pray
tomorrow! Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the
titles of good fellowship come to you! What, shall we be
merry? Shall we have a play extempore?
Content, and the argument shall be thy
Ah, no more of that Hal, an thou lovest me.
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 you. He says he comes from
Give him as much as will make him a royal
royal (adj.) 2
kingly; also: to the value of the English coin worth ten shillings
See Topics: Money
man and send him back again to my mother.
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.
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 fight, and persuaded us to do
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
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.
liver (n.) 1
part of the body thought to be at the seat of the passions [especially sexual desire]
Choler, my lord, if rightly taken.
No, if rightly taken, halter.
Here comes lean Jack, here comes bare-bone. How now
my sweet creature of bombast, how long is't ago, Jack,
since thou sawest 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 villainous 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
cudgelling, beating with a stick [esp. on the soles of the feet]
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 a-horseback up a hill
He that rides at high speed, and 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!
A-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.
[contemptous] one who wears a blue bonnet; Scotsman
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, 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 of thy
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 joint-stool, thy
golden sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich
crown for a pitiful bald crown.
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.
leg (n.) 1
bending of a knee, genuflection, obeisance
And here is my speech. Stand aside, nobility.
O Jesu, this is excellent sport, i'faith.
Weep not, sweet Queen, for trickling tears are vain.
O the Father, how he holds his countenance!
For God's sake, lords, convey my tristful Queen,
For tears do stop the floodgates 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
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 villainous trick of thine eye, and a foolish hanging
trick (n.) 3
peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, distinguishing trait
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 –
pitch (n.) 3
black tar-like substance [used to waterproof planks, etc; often, a symbol of defilement]
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 his name.
What manner of man, an it like your Majesty?
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 threescore.
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 rabbit-sucker, or a poulter's hare.
Well, here I am set.
set (adj.) 2
formally seated, arranged in a position of state
And here I stand. Judge, my masters.
Now, Harry, whence come you?
My noble lord, from Eastcheap.
The complaints I hear of thee are grievous.
'Sblood, my lord, they are false!
Nay, 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
type of disease in which the body retains watery fluids
cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with the
bag for carrying clothes [such as a cloak], portmanteau
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 villainy? Wherein
villainous, but in all things? Wherein worthy, but in nothing?
I would your grace would take me with you. Whom means
That villainous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff,
that old white-bearded Satan.
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 world.
I do, I will.
A knocking heard
Exeunt Hostess, Francis and Bardolph
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.
Enter the Hostess
O Jesu, my lord, my lord!
Heigh, heigh, the devil rides upon a fiddle-stick.
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 essentially made without
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 a true face, and
Both which I have had, but their date is out,
and therefore I'll hide me.
Exeunt all but the Prince and Peto
Call in the Sheriff.
Enter Sheriff and the Carrier
Now, master Sheriff, what is your will with me?
First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and cry
Hath followed certain men unto this house.
One of them is well known my gracious lord,
A gross fat man.
As fat as butter.
The man I do assure you is not here,
For I myself at this time have employed him.
And Sheriff, I will engage my word to thee,
That I will by tomorrow dinner-time
Send him to answer thee, or any man,
For anything 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 robbed 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.
Exit with Carrier
This oily rascal is known as well as Paul's.
Go call him forth.
Falstaff! Fast asleep behind the arras, and snorting
snorting like a horse.
Hark how hard he fetches breath. Search
Peto 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 halfpennyworth 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 morrow, Peto.
Good morrow, good my lord.