Enter Justice Shallow and Justice Silence
Come on, come on, come on! Give me your
hand, sir, give me your hand, sir! An early stirrer, by
the rood! And how doth my good cousin Silence?
Good morrow, good cousin Shallow.
And how doth my cousin your bedfellow? And
your fairest daughter and mine, my god-daughter Ellen?
Alas, a black woosel, cousin Shallow!
By yea and no, sir. I dare say my cousin
William is become a good scholar – he is at Oxford still,
is he not?
Indeed, sir, to my cost.
'A must then to the Inns o' Court shortly. I
was once of Clement's Inn, where I think they will talk
of mad Shallow yet.
You were called ‘ lusty Shallow ’ then, cousin.
By the mass, I was called anything, and I
would have done anything indeed too, and roundly too.
There was I, and little John Doit of Staffordshire, and
black George Barnes, and Francis Pickbone, and Will
Squele, a Cotsole man – you had not four such swinge-bucklers
in all the Inns o' Court again. And I may say
to you, we knew where the bona-robas were, and had
the best of them all at commandment. Then was Jack
Falstaff, now Sir John, a boy, and page to Thomas
Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
This Sir John, cousin, that comes hither anon
The same Sir John, the very same. I see him
break Scoggin's head at the court gate, when 'a was a
crack, not thus high; and the very same day did I fight
with one Sampson Stockfish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's
Inn. Jesu, Jesu, the mad days that I have spent! And to
see how many of my old acquaintance are dead!
We shall all follow, cousin.
Certain, 'tis certain, very sure, very sure.
Death, as the Psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall
die. How a good yoke of bullocks at Stamford fair?
By my troth, I was not there.
Death is certain. Is old Double of your town
Jesu, Jesu, dead! 'A drew a good bow, and
dead! 'A shot a fine shoot. John o' Gaunt loved him well,
and betted much money on his head. Dead! 'A would
have clapped i'th' clout at twelve score, and carried you
clout (n.) 2
[archery] pin fixing a target, cloth patch at the centre of a target; mark, bull
a forehand shaft a fourteen and fourteen and a half,
that it would have done a man's heart good to see. How
a score of ewes now?
Thereafter as they be; a score of good ewes may
be worth ten pounds.
And is old Double dead?
Here come two of Sir John Falstaff's men, as I
Enter Bardolph and one with him
Good morrow, honest gentlemen.
I beseech you, which is Justice Shallow?
I am Robert Shallow, sir, a poor esquire of
this county, and one of the King's justices of the peace.
What is your good pleasure with me?
My captain, sir, commends him to you, my
captain Sir John Falstaff, a tall gentleman, by heaven,
and a most gallant leader.
He greets me well, sir; I knew him a good
backsword man. How doth the good knight? May I ask
sword-like stick with a basketwork hilt, used in fencing practice
how my lady his wife doth?
Sir, pardon; a soldier is better accommodated
than with a wife.
It is well said, in faith, sir;, and it is well said
indeed too. ‘ Better accommodated!’ It is good, yea
indeed is it. Good phrases are surely, and ever were,
very commendable. ‘ Accommodated:’ it comes of
accommodo. Very good, a good phrase.
Pardon, sir, I have heard the word – phrase
call you it? By this day, I know not the phrase, but I
will maintain the word with my sword to be a soldier-like
word, and a word of exceeding good command, by
heaven. Accommodated: that is, when a man is, as they
say, accommodated, or when a man is being whereby 'a
may be thought to be accommodated; which is an
It is very just.
Look, here comes good Sir John. Give me your good
hand, give me your worship's good hand. By my troth,
you like well, and bear your years very well. Welcome,
good Sir John.
I am glad to see you well, good Master Robert
Shallow. Master Surecard, as I think?
No, Sir John, it is my cousin Silence, in
commission with me.
Good Master Silence, it well befits you should
be of the peace.
Your good worship is welcome.
Fie, this is hot weather, gentlemen. Have you
provided me here half a dozen sufficient men?
Marry, have we, sir. Will you sit?
Let me see them, I beseech you.
Where's the roll? Where's the roll? Where's
the roll? Let me see, let me see, let me see. So, so, so,
so, so, so, so. Yea, marry, sir. Rafe Mouldy! Let them
appear as I call, let them do so, let them do so. Let me
see – where is Mouldy?
Here, an't please you.
What think you, Sir John? A good-limbed
fellow, young, strong, and of good friends.
Is thy name Mouldy?
Yea, an't please you.
'Tis the more time thou wert used.
Ha, ha, ha! Most excellent, i'faith! Things
that are mouldy lack use! Very singular good, in faith,
well said, Sir John, very well said.
I was pricked well enough before, an you could
have let me alone. My old dame will be undone now for
one to do her husbandry and her drudgery. You need
not to have pricked me; there are other men fitter to
go out than I.
Go to! Peace, Mouldy; you shall go, Mouldy;
it is time you were spent.
Peace, fellow, peace – stand aside. Know you
where you are? For th' other, Sir John – let me see.
Yea, marry, let me have him to sit under. He's
like to be a cold soldier.
Shadow, whose son art thou?
My mother's son, sir.
Thy mother's son! Like enough, and thy
father's shadow. So the son of the female is the shadow
of the male; it is often so, indeed – but much of the
Do you like him, Sir John?
Shadow will serve for summer. Prick him, for
we have a number of shadows fill up the muster-book.
Is thy name Wart?
Thou art a very ragged Wart.
Shall I prick him, Sir John?
It were superfluous, for his apparel is built
upon his back, and the whole frame stands upon pins.
Prick him no more.
Ha, ha, ha! You can do it, sir, you can do it;
I commend you well. Francis Feeble!
What trade art thou, Feeble?
A woman's tailor, sir.
Shall I prick him, sir?
You may; but if he had been a man's tailor
he'd ha' pricked you. Wilt thou make as many holes in
an enemy's battle as thou hast done in a woman's
I will do my good will, sir; you can have no more.
Well said, good woman's tailor! Well said,
courageous Feeble! Thou wilt be as valiant as the
wrathful dove or most magnanimous mouse. Prick the
woman's tailor well, Master Shallow; deep, Master
I would Wart might have gone, sir.
I would thou wert a man's tailor, that thou
mightst mend him and make him fit to go. I cannot put
him to a private soldier, that is the leader of so many
thousands. Let that suffice, most forcible Feeble.
It shall suffice, sir.
I am bound to thee, reverend Feeble. Who is
Peter Bullcalf o'th' green!
Yea, marry, let's see Bullcalf.
'Fore God, a likely fellow! Come, prick Bullcalf
till he roar again.
O Lord, good my lord captain –
What, dost thou roar before thou art pricked?
O Lord, sir, I am a diseased man.
What disease hast thou?
A whoreson cold, sir, a cough, sir, which I
caught with ringing in the King's affairs upon his
coronation day, sir.
Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown.
We will have away thy cold, and I will take such order
that thy friends shall ring for thee. Is here all?
Here is two more called than your number.
You must have but four here, sir; and so, I pray you,
go in with me to dinner.
Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot
tarry dinner. I am glad to see you, by my troth, Master
O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all
night in the Windmill in Saint George's Field?
No more of that, Master Shallow.
Ha, 'twas a merry night! And is Jane Nightwork
She lives, Master Shallow.
She never could away with me.
Never, never. She would always say she could
not abide Master Shallow.
By the mass, I could anger her to th' heart. She
was then a bona-roba. Doth she hold her own well?
Old, old, Master Shallow.
Nay, she must be old, she cannot choose but
be old, certain she's old, and had Robin Nightwork by
old Nightwork before I came to Clement's Inn.
That's fifty-five year ago.
Ha, cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that
that this knight and I have seen! Ha, Sir John, said I
We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master
That we have, that we have, that we have! In
faith, Sir John, we have. Our watchword was ‘ Hem,
hem (int.) 1
[drinking call] make a noise like ‘ahem’; clear the throat
boys!’ Come, let's to dinner; come, let's to dinner.
Jesus, the days that we have seen! Come, come.
Exeunt Falstaff, Shallow, and Silence
Good Master Corporate Bardolph, stand my
friend – and here's four Harry ten shillings in French
crowns for you. In very truth, sir, I had as lief be
hanged, sir, as go. And yet for mine own part, sir, I do
not care, but rather because I am unwilling, and, for
mine own part, have a desire to stay with my friends;
else, sir, I did not care, for mine own part, so much.
Go to; stand aside.
And, good Master Corporal Captain, for my old
dame's sake stand my friend. She has nobody to do
anything about her when I am gone, and she is old and
cannot help herself. You shall have forty, sir.
Go to; stand aside.
By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once:
we owe God a death. I'll ne'er bear a base mind. An't,
be my destiny, so; an't be not, so. No man's too good
to serve's prince; and, let it go which way it will, he
that dies this year is quit for the next.
Well said; th'art a good fellow.
Faith, I'll bear no base mind.
Enter Falstaff and the Justices
Come, sir, which men shall I have?
Four of which you please.
(aside to Falstaff)
Sir, a word with you. I have
three pound to free Mouldy and Bullcalf.
Go to, well.
Come, Sir John, which four will you have?
Do you choose for me.
Marry, then, Mouldy, Bullcalf, Feeble, and
Mouldy and Bullcalf: for you, Mouldy, stay at
home till you are past service; and for your part,
Bullcalf, grow till you come unto it. I will none of you.
Sir John, Sir John, do not yourself wrong:
they are your likeliest men, and I would have you served
with the best.
Will you tell me, Master Shallow, how to
choose a man? Care I for the limb, the thews, the
stature, bulk, and big assemblance of a man? Give me
the spirit, Master Shallow. Here's Wart; you see what
a ragged appearance it is. 'A shall charge you, and
discharge you, with the motion of a pewterer's hammer,
come off and on swifter than he that gibbets on the
brewer's bucket. And this same half-faced fellow
Shadow; give me this man: he presents no mark to the
enemy – the foeman may with as great aim level at the
edge of a penknife. And for a retreat, how swiftly will
this Feeble the woman's tailor run off! O, give me the
spare men, and spare me the great ones. Put me a caliver
into Wart's hand, Bardolph.
Hold, Wart, traverse. Thas! Thas! Thas!
Come, manage me your caliver. So, very well!
Go to, very good! Exceeding good! O, give me always
a little, lean, old, chopped, bald shot. Well said, i'faith!
Wart, th'art a good scab. Hold, there's a tester for thee.
He is not his craft's master; he doth not do it
right. I remember at Mile End Green, when I lay at
Clement's Inn – I was then Sir Dagonet in Arthur's
show – there was a little quiver fellow, and 'a would
manage you his piece thus, and 'a would about, and
about, and come you in, and come you in, ‘ Rah, tah,
tah!’ would 'a say. ‘ Bounce!’ would 'a say. And away
again would 'a go, and again would 'a come. I shall
ne'er see such a fellow.
These fellows will do well, Master Shallow.
God keep you, Master Silence; I will not use many
words with you. Fare you well, gentlemen both; I thank
you. I must a dozen mile tonight. Bardolph, give the
Sir John, the Lord bless you! God prosper
your affairs! God send us peace! At your return, visit
my house; let our old acquaintance be renewed.
Peradventure I will with ye to the court.
'Fore God, would you would.
Go to; I have spoke at a word. God keep you!
Fare you well, gentle gentlemen.
Exeunt Shallow and Silence
On, Bardolph, lead the men away.
Exeunt Bardolph and the recruits
As I return, I will fetch off these justices. I do see the
bottom of Justice Shallow. Lord, Lord, how subject we
old men are to this vice of lying! This same starved
justice hath done nothing but prate to me of the wildness
of his youth, and the feats he hath done about Turnbull
Street, and every third word a lie, duer paid to the
hearer than the Turk's tribute. I do remember him at
Clement's Inn, like a man made after supper of a
cheese-paring. When 'a was naked, he was for all the
world like a forked radish, with a head fantastically
carved upon it with a knife. 'A was so forlorn that his
dimensions to any thick sight were invincible. 'A was
the very genius of famine, yet lecherous as a monkey,
and the whores called him mandrake. 'A came ever in
mandrake (n.) 2
variety of poisonous plant [whose long forked root was thought to resemble a man's legs and private parts; thus, with aphrodisiac properties]
the rearward of the fashion, and sung those tunes to the
overscutched housewives that he heard the carmen
whistle, and sware they were his fancies or his good-nights.
And now is this Vice's dagger become a squire,
and talks as familiarly of John o' Gaunt as if he had
been sworn brother to him, and I'll be sworn 'a ne'er
saw him but once in the tilt-yard, and then he burst his
head for crowding among the marshal's men. I saw it
and told John o' Gaunt he beat his own name, for you
might have thrust him and all his apparel into an
eel-skin – the case of a treble hautboy was a mansion for
him, a court. And now has he land and beefs. Well, I'll
be acquainted with him if I return, and't shall go hard
but I will make him a philosopher's two stones to me. If
the young dace be a bait for the old pike, I see no
reason in the law of nature but I may snap at him. Let
time shape, and there an end.