ACT III
Scene III.
 

Eastcheap. The Boar's Head Tavern.

Enter Falstaff and Bardolph.

FALSTAFF
Bardolph, am I not fall'n away vilely since this last action?
Do I not bate? Do I not dwindle? Why, my skin hangs about me like
an old lady's loose gown! I am withered like an old apple John.
Well, I'll repent, and that suddenly, while I am in some liking.
I shall be out of heart shortly, and then I shall have no
strength to repent. An I have not forgotten what the inside of a
church is made of, I am a peppercorn, a brewer's horse. The
inside of a church! Company, villanous company, hath been the
spoil of me.

BARDOLPH
Sir John, you are so fretful you cannot live long.

FALSTAFF
Why, there is it! Come, sing me a bawdy song; make me merry. I
was as virtuously given as a gentleman need to be, virtuous
enough: swore little, dic'd not above seven times a week, went to
a bawdy house not above once in a quarter- of an hour, paid money
that I borrowed- three or four times, lived well, and in good
compass; and now I live out of all order, out of all compass.

BARDOLPH
Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you must needs be out of
all compass- out of all reasonable compass, Sir John.

FALSTAFF
Do thou amend thy face, and I'll amend my life. Thou art our
admiral, thou bearest the lantern in the poop- but 'tis in the
nose of thee. Thou art the Knight of the Burning Lamp.

BARDOLPH
Why, Sir John, my face does you no harm.

FALSTAFF
No, I'll be sworn. I make as good use of it as many a man doth
of a death's-head or a memento mori. I never see thy face but I
think upon hellfire and Dives that lived in purple; for there he
is in his robes, burning, burning. if thou wert any way given to
virtue, I would swear by thy face; my oath should be 'By this
fire, that's God's angel.' But thou art altogether given over,
and wert indeed, but for the light in thy face, the son of utter
darkness. When thou ran'st up Gadshill in the night to catch my
horse, if I did not think thou hadst been an ignis fatuus or a
ball of wildfire, there's no purchase in money. O, thou art a
perpetual triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light! Thou hast saved
me a thousand marks in links and torches, walking with thee in
the night betwixt tavern and tavern; but the sack that thou hast
drunk me would have bought me lights as good cheap at the dearest
chandler's in Europe. I have maintained that salamander of yours
with fire any time this two-and-thirty years. God reward me for
it!

BARDOLPH
'Sblood, I would my face were in your belly!

FALSTAFF
God-a-mercy! so should I be sure to be heart-burn'd.

Enter Hostess.

How now, Dame Partlet the hen? Have you enquir'd yet who pick'd
my pocket?

HOSTESS
Why, Sir John, what do you think, Sir John? Do you think I
keep thieves in my house? I have search'd, I have enquired, so
has my husband, man by man, boy by boy, servant by servant. The
tithe of a hair was never lost in my house before.

FALSTAFF
Ye lie, hostess. Bardolph was shav'd and lost many a hair, and
I'll be sworn my pocket was pick'd. Go to, you are a woman, go!

HOSTESS
Who, I? No; I defy thee! God's light, I was never call'd so
in mine own house before!

FALSTAFF
Go to, I know you well enough.

HOSTESS
No, Sir John; you do not know me, Sir John. I know you, Sir
John. You owe me money, Sir John, and now you pick a quarrel to
beguile me of it. I bought you a dozen of shirts to your back.

FALSTAFF
Dowlas, filthy dowlas! I have given them away to bakers'
wives; they have made bolters of them.

HOSTESS
Now, as I am a true woman, holland of eight shillings an ell.
You owe money here besides, Sir John, for your diet and
by-drinkings, and money lent you, four-and-twenty pound.

FALSTAFF
He had his part of it; let him pay.

HOSTESS
He? Alas, he is poor; he hath nothing.

FALSTAFF
How? Poor? Look upon his face. What call you rich? Let them
coin his nose, let them coin his cheeks. I'll not pay a denier.
What, will you make a younker of me? Shall I not take mine ease
in mine inn but I shall have my pocket pick'd? I have lost a
seal-ring of my grandfather's worth forty mark.

HOSTESS
O Jesu, I have heard the Prince tell him, I know not how oft,
that that ring was copper!

FALSTAFF
How? the Prince is a Jack, a sneak-cup. 'Sblood, an he were
here, I would cudgel him like a dog if he would say so.

Enter the Prince [and Poins], marching; and Falstaff meets
them, playing upon his truncheon like a fife.

How now, lad? Is the wind in that door, i' faith? Must we all
march?

BARDOLPH
Yea, two and two, Newgate fashion.

HOSTESS
My lord, I pray you hear me.

PRINCE
What say'st thou, Mistress Quickly? How doth thy husband?
I love him well; he is an honest man.

HOSTESS
Good my lord, hear me.

FALSTAFF
Prithee let her alone and list to me.

PRINCE
What say'st thou, Jack?

FALSTAFF
The other night I fell asleep here behind the arras and had my
pocket pick'd. This house is turn'd bawdy house; they pick
pockets.

PRINCE
What didst thou lose, Jack?

FALSTAFF
Wilt thou believe me, Hal? Three or four bonds of forty pound
apiece and a seal-ring of my grandfather's.

PRINCE
A trifle, some eightpenny matter.

HOSTESS
So I told him, my lord, and I said I heard your Grace say so;
and, my lord, he speaks most vilely of you, like a foul-mouth'd
man as he is, and said he would cudgel you.

PRINCE
What! he did not?

HOSTESS
There's neither faith, truth, nor womanhood in me else.

FALSTAFF
There's no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune, nor no
more truth in thee than in a drawn fox; and for woman-hood, Maid
Marian may be the deputy's wife of the ward to thee. Go, you
thing, go!

HOSTESS
Say, what thing? what thing?

FALSTAFF
What thing? Why, a thing to thank God on.

HOSTESS
I am no thing to thank God on, I would thou shouldst know it!
I am an honest man's wife, and, setting thy knight-hood aside,
thou art a knave to call me so.

FALSTAFF
Setting thy womanhood aside, thou art a beast to say
otherwise.

HOSTESS
Say, what beast, thou knave, thou?

FALSTAFF
What beast? Why, an otter.

PRINCE
An otter, Sir John? Why an otter?

FALSTAFF
Why, she's neither fish nor flesh; a man knows not where to
have her.

HOSTESS
Thou art an unjust man in saying so. Thou or any man knows
where to have me, thou knave, thou!

PRINCE
Thou say'st true, hostess, and he slanders thee most
grossly.

HOSTESS
So he doth you, my lord, and said this other day you ought
him a thousand pound.

PRINCE
Sirrah, do I owe you a thousand pound?

FALSTAFF
A thousand pound, Hal? A million! Thy love is worth a million;
thou owest me thy love.

HOSTESS
Nay, my lord, he call'd you Jack and said he would cudgel
you.

FALSTAFF
Did I, Bardolph?

BARDOLPH
Indeed, Sir John, you said so.

FALSTAFF
Yea. if he said my ring was copper.

PRINCE
I say, 'tis copper. Darest thou be as good as thy word now?

FALSTAFF
Why, Hal, thou knowest, as thou art but man, I dare; but as
thou art Prince, I fear thee as I fear the roaring of the lion's
whelp.

PRINCE
And why not as the lion?

FALSTAFF
The King himself is to be feared as the lion. Dost thou think
I'll fear thee as I fear thy father? Nay, an I do, I pray God my
girdle break.

PRINCE
O, if it should, how would thy guts fall about thy knees!
But, sirrah, there's no room for faith, truth, nor honesty in
this bosom of thine. It is all fill'd up with guts and midriff.
Charge an honest woman with picking thy pocket? Why, thou
whoreson, impudent, emboss'd rascal, if there were anything in
thy pocket but tavern reckonings, memorandums of bawdy houses,
and one poor pennyworth of sugar candy to make thee long-winded-
if thy pocket were enrich'd with any other injuries but these, I
am a villain. And yet you will stand to it; you will not pocket
up wrong. Art thou not ashamed?

FALSTAFF
Dost thou hear, Hal? Thou knowest in the state of innocency
Adam fell; and what should poor Jack Falstaff do in the days of
villany? Thou seest I have more flesh than another man, and
therefore more frailty. You confess then, you pick'd my pocket?

PRINCE
It appears so by the story.

FALSTAFF
Hostess, I forgive thee. Go make ready breakfast. Love thy
husband, look to thy servants, cherish thy guests. Thou shalt
find me tractable to any honest reason. Thou seest I am pacified.
-Still?- Nay, prithee be gone. [Exit Hostess.] Now, Hal, to the
news at court. For the robbery, lad- how is that answered?

PRINCE
O my sweet beef, I must still be good angel to thee.
The money is paid back again.

FALSTAFF
O, I do not like that paying back! 'Tis a double labour.

PRINCE
I am good friends with my father, and may do anything.

FALSTAFF
Rob me the exchequer the first thing thou doest, and do it
with unwash'd hands too.

BARDOLPH
Do, my lord.

PRINCE
I have procured thee, Jack, a charge of foot.

FALSTAFF
I would it had been of horse. Where shall I find one that can
steal well? O for a fine thief of the age of two-and-twenty or
thereabouts! I am heinously unprovided. Well, God be thanked for
these rebels. They offend none but the virtuous. I laud them, I
praise them.

PRINCE
Bardolph!

BARDOLPH
My lord?

PRINCE
Go bear this letter to Lord John of Lancaster,
To my brother John; this to my Lord of Westmoreland.

[Exit Bardolph.]

Go, Poins, to horse, to horse; for thou and I
Have thirty miles to ride yet ere dinner time.

[Exit Poins.]

Jack, meet me to-morrow in the Temple Hall
At two o'clock in the afternoon.
There shalt thou know thy charge. and there receive
Money and order for their furniture.
The land is burning; Percy stands on high;
And either they or we must lower lie.

[Exit.]

FALSTAFF
Rare words! brave world! Hostess, my breakfast, come.
O, I could wish this tavern were my drum!

Exit.