ACT IV
Scene III.
 

Another part of the forest

Alarum; excursions. Enter FALSTAFF and COLVILLE, meeting

FALSTAFF

What's your name, sir? Of what condition are you, and of
what place, I pray?

COLVILLE

I am a knight sir; and my name is Colville of the Dale.

FALSTAFF

Well then, Colville is your name, a knight is your
degree, and your place the Dale. Colville shall still be your
name, a traitor your degree, and the dungeon your place- a place
deep enough; so shall you be still Colville of the Dale.

COLVILLE

Are not you Sir John Falstaff?

FALSTAFF

As good a man as he, sir, whoe'er I am. Do you yield,
sir, or shall I sweat for you? If I do sweat, they are the drops
of thy lovers, and they weep for thy death; therefore rouse up
fear and trembling, and do observance to my mercy.

COLVILLE

I think you are Sir John Falstaff, and in that thought
yield me.

FALSTAFF

I have a whole school of tongues in this belly of mine;
and not a tongue of them all speaks any other word but my name.
An I had but a belly of any indifferency, I were simply the most
active fellow in Europe. My womb, my womb, my womb undoes me.
Here comes our general.

Enter PRINCE JOHN OF LANCASTER, WESTMORELAND, BLUNT, and others

PRINCE JOHN

The heat is past; follow no further now.
Call in the powers, good cousin Westmoreland.

Exit WESTMORELAND

Now, Falstaff, where have you been all this while?
When everything is ended, then you come.
These tardy tricks of yours will, on my life,
One time or other break some gallows' back.

FALSTAFF

I would be sorry, my lord, but it should be thus: I never
knew yet but rebuke and check was the reward of valour. Do you
think me a swallow, an arrow, or a bullet? Have I, in my poor and
old motion, the expedition of thought? I have speeded hither with
the very extremest inch of possibility; I have found'red nine
score and odd posts; and here, travel tainted as I am, have, in
my pure and immaculate valour, taken Sir John Colville of the
Dale,a most furious knight and valorous enemy. But what of that?
He saw me, and yielded; that I may justly say with the hook-nos'd
fellow of Rome-I came, saw, and overcame.

PRINCE JOHN

It was more of his courtesy than your deserving.

FALSTAFF

I know not. Here he is, and here I yield him; and I
beseech your Grace, let it be book'd with the rest of this day's
deeds; or, by the Lord, I will have it in a particular ballad
else, with mine own picture on the top on't, Colville kissing my
foot; to the which course if I be enforc'd, if you do not all
show like gilt twopences to me, and I, in the clear sky of fame,
o'ershine you as much as the full moon doth the cinders of the
element, which show like pins' heads to her, believe not the word
of the noble. Therefore let me have right, and let desert mount.

PRINCE JOHN

Thine's too heavy to mount.

FALSTAFF

Let it shine, then.

PRINCE JOHN

Thine's too thick to shine.

FALSTAFF

Let it do something, my good lord, that may do me good,
and call it what you will.

PRINCE JOHN

Is thy name Colville?

COLVILLE

It is, my lord.

PRINCE JOHN

A famous rebel art thou, Colville.

FALSTAFF

And a famous true subject took him.

COLVILLE

I am, my lord, but as my betters are
That led me hither. Had they been rul'd by me,
You should have won them dearer than you have.

FALSTAFF

I know not how they sold themselves; but thou, like a
kind fellow, gavest thyself away gratis; and I thank thee for
thee.

Re-enter WESTMORELAND

PRINCE JOHN

Now, have you left pursuit?

WESTMORELAND

Retreat is made, and execution stay'd.

PRINCE JOHN

Send Colville, with his confederates,
To York, to present execution.
Blunt, lead him hence; and see you guard him sure.

Exeunt BLUNT and others

And now dispatch we toward the court, my lords.
I hear the King my father is sore sick.
Our news shall go before us to his Majesty,
Which, cousin, you shall bear to comfort him
And we with sober speed will follow you.

FALSTAFF

My lord, I beseech you, give me leave to go through
Gloucestershire; and, when you come to court, stand my good lord,
pray, in your good report.

PRINCE JOHN

Fare you well, Falstaff. I, in my condition,
Shall better speak of you than you deserve.

Exeunt all but FALSTAFF

FALSTAFF

I would you had but the wit; 'twere better than your
dukedom. Good faith, this same young sober-blooded boy doth not
love me; nor a man cannot make him laugh- but that's no marvel;
he drinks no wine. There's never none of these demure boys come
to any proof; for thin drink doth so over-cool their blood, and
making many fish-meals, that they fall into a kind of male
green-sickness; and then, when they marry, they get wenches. They
are generally fools and cowards-which some of us should be too,
but for inflammation. A good sherris-sack hath a two-fold
operation in it. It ascends me into the brain; dries me there all
the foolish and dull and crudy vapours which environ it; makes it
apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery, and
delectable shapes; which delivered o'er to the voice, the tongue,
which is the birth, becomes excellent wit. The second property of
your excellent sherris is the warming of the blood; which before,
cold and settled, left the liver white and pale, which is the
badge of pusillanimity and cowardice; but the sherris warms it,
and makes it course from the inwards to the parts extremes. It
illumineth the face, which, as a beacon, gives warning to all the
rest of this little kingdom, man, to arm; and then the vital
commoners and inland petty spirits muster me all to their
captain, the heart, who, great and puff'd up with this retinue,
doth any deed of courage- and this valour comes of sherris. So
that skill in the weapon is nothing without sack, for that sets
it a-work; and learning, a mere hoard of gold kept by a devil
till sack commences it and sets it in act and use. Hereof comes
it that Prince Harry is valiant; for the cold blood he did
naturally inherit of his father, he hath, like lean, sterile, and
bare land, manured, husbanded, and till'd, with excellent
endeavour of drinking good and good store of fertile sherris,
that he is become very hot and valiant. If I had a thousand sons,
the first humane principle I would teach them should be to
forswear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack.

Enter BARDOLPH

How now, Bardolph!

BARDOLPH

The army is discharged all and gone.

FALSTAFF

Let them go. I'll through Gloucestershire, and there will
I visit Master Robert Shallow, Esquire. I have him already
temp'ring between my finger and my thumb, and shortly will I seal
with him. Come away.

Exeunt