ACT III
Scene II.
 

Gloucestershire. Before Justice, SHALLOW'S house

Enter SHALLOW and SILENCE, meeting; MOULDY, SHADOW, WART, FEEBLE, BULLCALF,
and servants behind

SHALLOW

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?

SILENCE

Good morrow, good cousin Shallow.

SHALLOW

And how doth my cousin, your bed-fellow? and your fairest
daughter and mine, my god-daughter Ellen?

SILENCE

Alas, a black ousel, cousin Shallow!

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?

SILENCE

Indeed, sir, to my cost.

SHALLOW

'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.

SILENCE

You were call'd 'lusty Shallow' then, cousin.

SHALLOW

By the mass, I was call'd 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 of 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, boy,
and page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.

SILENCE

This Sir John, cousin, that comes hither anon about
soldiers?

SHALLOW

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!

SILENCE

We shall all follow, cousin.

SHALLOW

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?

SILENCE

By my troth, I was not there.

SHALLOW

Death is certain. Is old Double of your town living yet?

SILENCE

Dead, sir.

SHALLOW

Jesu, Jesu, dead! drew a good bow; and dead! 'A shot a
fine shoot. John a Gaunt loved him well, and betted much money on
his head. Dead! 'A would have clapp'd i' th' clout at twelve
score, and carried you 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?

SILENCE

Thereafter as they be- a score of good ewes may be worth
ten pounds.

SHALLOW

And is old Double dead?

Enter BARDOLPH, and one with him

SILENCE

Here come two of Sir John Falstaffs men, as I think.

SHALLOW

Good morrow, honest gentlemen.

BARDOLPH

I beseech you, which is Justice Shallow?

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?

BARDOLPH

My captain, sir, commends him to you; my captain, Sir
John Falstaff- a tall gentleman, by heaven, and a most gallant
leader.

SHALLOW

He greets me well, sir; I knew him a good back-sword man.
How doth the good knight? May I ask how my lady his wife doth?

BARDOLPH

Sir, pardon; a soldier is better accommodated than with a
wife.

SHALLOW

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.

BARDOLPH

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 excellent thing.

Enter FALSTAFF

SHALLOW

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.

FALSTAFF

I am glad to see you well, good Master Robert Shallow.
Master Surecard, as I think?

SHALLOW

No, Sir John; it is my cousin Silence, in commission with
me.

FALSTAFF

Good Master Silence, it well befits you should be of the
peace.

SILENCE

Your good worship is welcome.

FALSTAFF

Fie! this is hot weather. Gentlemen, have you provided me
here half a dozen sufficient men?

SHALLOW

Marry, have we, sir. Will you sit?

FALSTAFF

Let me see them, I beseech you.

SHALLOW

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- 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?

MOULDY

Here, an't please you.

SHALLOW

What think you, Sir John? A good-limb'd fellow; young,
strong, and of good friends.

FALSTAFF

Is thy name Mouldy?

MOULDY

Yea, an't please you.

FALSTAFF

'Tis the more time thou wert us'd.

SHALLOW

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.

FALSTAFF

Prick him.

MOULDY

I was prick'd 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 prick'd me; there are
other men fitter to go out than I.

FALSTAFF

Go to; peace, Mouldy; you shall go. Mouldy, it is time
you were spent.

MOULDY

Spent!

SHALLOW

Peace, fellow, peace; stand aside; know you where you are?
For th' other, Sir John- let me see. Simon Shadow!

FALSTAFF

Yea, marry, let me have him to sit under. He's like to be
a cold soldier.

SHALLOW

Where's Shadow?

SHADOW

Here, sir.

FALSTAFF

Shadow, whose son art thou?

SHADOW

My mother's son, sir.

FALSTAFF

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 father's substance!

SHALLOW

Do you like him, Sir John?

FALSTAFF

Shadow will serve for summer. Prick him; for we have a
number of shadows fill up the muster-book.

SHALLOW

Thomas Wart!

FALSTAFF

Where's he?

WART

Here, sir.

FALSTAFF

Is thy name Wart?

WART

Yea, sir.

FALSTAFF

Thou art a very ragged wart.

SHALLOW

Shall I prick him, Sir John?

FALSTAFF

It were superfluous; for his apparel is built upon his
back, and the whole frame stands upon pins. Prick him no more.

SHALLOW

Ha, ha, ha! You can do it, sir; you can do it. I commend
you well. Francis Feeble!

FEEBLE

Here, sir.

FALSTAFF

What trade art thou, Feeble?

FEEBLE

A woman's tailor, sir.

SHALLOW

Shall I prick him, sir?

FALSTAFF

You may; but if he had been a man's tailor, he'd ha'
prick'd you. Wilt thou make as many holes in an enemy's battle as
thou hast done in a woman's petticoat?

FEEBLE

I will do my good will, sir; you can have no more.

FALSTAFF

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 Shallow.

FEEBLE

I would Wart might have gone, sir.

FALSTAFF

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.

FEEBLE

It shall suffice, sir.

FALSTAFF

I am bound to thee, reverend Feeble. Who is next?

SHALLOW

Peter Bullcalf o' th' green!

FALSTAFF

Yea, marry, let's see Bullcalf.

BULLCALF

Here, sir.

FALSTAFF

Fore God, a likely fellow! Come, prick me Bullcalf till
he roar again.

BULLCALF

O Lord! good my lord captain-

FALSTAFF

What, dost thou roar before thou art prick'd?

BULLCALF

O Lord, sir! I am a diseased man.

FALSTAFF

What disease hast thou?

BULLCALF

A whoreson cold, sir, a cough, sir, which I caught with
ringing in the King's affairs upon his coronation day, sir.

FALSTAFF

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?

SHALLOW

Here is two more call'd than your number. You must have
but four here, sir; and so, I pray you, go in with me to dinner.

FALSTAFF

Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot tarry
dinner. I am glad to see you, by my troth, Master Shallow.

SHALLOW

O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all night in the
windmill in Saint George's Field?

FALSTAFF

No more of that, Master Shallow, no more of that.

SHALLOW

Ha, 'twas a merry night. And is Jane Nightwork alive?

FALSTAFF

She lives, Master Shallow.

SHALLOW

She never could away with me.

FALSTAFF

Never, never; she would always say she could not abide
Master Shallow.

SHALLOW

By the mass, I could anger her to th' heart. She was then
a bona-roba. Doth she hold her own well?

FALSTAFF

Old, old, Master Shallow.

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.

SILENCE

That's fifty-five year ago.

SHALLOW

Ha, cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that that this
knight and I have seen! Ha, Sir John, said I well?

FALSTAFF

We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow.

SHALLOW

That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith, Sir
John, we have. Our watchword was 'Hem, boys!' Come, let's to
dinner; come, let's to dinner. Jesus, the days that we have seen!
Come, come.

Exeunt FALSTAFF and the JUSTICES

BULLCALF

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 hang'd, 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.

BARDOLPH

Go to; stand aside.

MOULDY

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.

BARDOLPH

Go to; stand aside.

FEEBLE

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.

BARDOLPH

Well said; th'art a good fellow.

FEEBLE

Faith, I'll bear no base mind.

Re-enter FALSTAFF and the JUSTICES

FALSTAFF

Come, sir, which men shall I have?

SHALLOW

Four of which you please.

BARDOLPH

Sir, a word with you. I have three pound to free Mouldy
and Bullcalf.

FALSTAFF

Go to; well.

SHALLOW

Come, Sir John, which four will you have?

FALSTAFF

Do you choose for me.

SHALLOW

Marry, then- Mouldy, Bullcalf, Feeble, and Shadow.

FALSTAFF

Mouldy and Bullcalf: for you, Mouldy, stay at home till
you are past service; and for your part, Bullcalf, grow you come
unto it. I will none of you.

SHALLOW

Sir John, Sir John, do not yourself wrong. They are your
likeliest men, and I would have you serv'd with the best.

FALSTAFF

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-fac'd 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.

BARDOLPH

Hold, Wart. Traverse- thus, thus, thus.

FALSTAFF

Come, manage me your caliver. So- very well. Go to; very
good; exceeding good. O, give me always a little, lean, old,
chopt, bald shot. Well said, i' faith, Wart; th'art a good scab.
Hold, there's a tester for thee.

SHALLOW

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.

FALSTAFF

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 to-night.
Bardolph, give the soldiers coats.

SHALLOW

Sir John, the Lord bless you; God prosper your affairs;
God send us peace! At your return, visit our house; let our old
acquaintance be renewed. Peradventure I will with ye to the
court.

FALSTAFF

Fore God, would you would.

SHALLOW

Go to; I have spoke at a word. God keep you.

FALSTAFF

Fare you well, gentle gentlemen. [Exeunt JUSTICES] On,
Bardolph; lead the men away. [Exeunt all but FALSTAFF] 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 starv'd 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 fork'd radish,
with a head fantastically carved upon it with a knife. 'A was so
forlorn that his dimensions to any thick sight were invisible. 'A
was the very genius of famine; yet lecherous as a monkey, and the
whores call'd him mandrake. 'A came ever in the rearward of the
fashion, and sung those tunes to the overscutch'd huswifes 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 a Gaunt as if he had been sworn
brother to him; and I'll be sworn 'a ne'er saw him but once in
the Tiltyard; and then he burst his head for crowding among the
marshal's men. I saw it, and told John a 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 beeves. Well, I'll be acquainted
with him if I return; and 't shall go hard but I'll 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.

Exit