ACT II
Scene II.
 

London. Another street

Enter PRINCE HENRY and POINS

PRINCE

Before God, I am exceeding weary.

POINS

Is't come to that? I had thought weariness durst not have
attach'd one of so high blood.

PRINCE

Faith, it does me; though it discolours the complexion of
my greatness to acknowledge it. Doth it not show vilely in me to
desire small beer?

POINS

Why, a prince should not be so loosely studied as to
remember so weak a composition.

PRINCE

Belike then my appetite was not-princely got; for, by my
troth, I do now remember the poor creature, small beer. But
indeed these humble considerations make me out of love with my
greatness. What a disgrace is it to me to remember thy name, or
to know thy face to-morrow, or to take note how many pair of silk
stockings thou hast- viz., these, and those that were thy
peach-colour'd ones- or to bear the inventory of thy shirts- as,
one for superfluity, and another for use! But that the
tennis-court-keeper knows better than I; for it is a low ebb of
linen with thee when thou keepest not racket there; as thou hast
not done a great while, because the rest of thy low countries
have made a shift to eat up thy holland. And God knows whether
those that bawl out of the ruins of thy linen shall inherit his
kingdom; but the midwives say the children are not in the fault;
whereupon the world increases, and kindreds are mightily
strengthened.

POINS

How ill it follows, after you have laboured so hard, you
should talk so idly! Tell me, how many good young princes would
do so, their fathers being so sick as yours at this time is?

PRINCE

Shall I tell thee one thing, Poins?

POINS

Yes, faith; and let it be an excellent good thing.

PRINCE

It shall serve among wits of no higher breeding than thine.

POINS

Go to; I stand the push of your one thing that you will
tell.

PRINCE

Marry, I tell thee it is not meet that I should be sad, now
my father is sick; albeit I could tell to thee- as to one it
pleases me, for fault of a better, to call my friend- I could be
sad and sad indeed too.

POINS

Very hardly upon such a subject.

PRINCE

By this hand, thou thinkest me as far in the devil's book
as thou and Falstaff for obduracy and persistency: let the end
try the man. But I tell thee my heart bleeds inwardly that my
father is so sick; and keeping such vile company as thou art hath
in reason taken from me all ostentation of sorrow.

POINS

The reason?

PRINCE

What wouldst thou think of me if I should weep?

POINS

I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.

PRINCE

It would be every man's thought; and thou art a blessed
fellow to think as every man thinks. Never a man's thought in the
world keeps the road-way better than thine. Every man would think
me an hypocrite indeed. And what accites your most worshipful
thought to think so?

POINS

Why, because you have been so lewd and so much engraffed to
Falstaff.

PRINCE

And to thee.

POINS

By this light, I am well spoke on; I can hear it with mine
own ears. The worst that they can say of me is that I am a second
brother and that I am a proper fellow of my hands; and those two
things, I confess, I cannot help. By the mass, here comes
Bardolph.

Enter BARDOLPH and PAGE

PRINCE

And the boy that I gave Falstaff. 'A had him from me
Christian; and look if the fat villain have not transform'd him
ape.

BARDOLPH

God save your Grace!

PRINCE

And yours, most noble Bardolph!

POINS

Come, you virtuous ass, you bashful fool, must you be
blushing? Wherefore blush you now? What a maidenly man-at-arms
are you become! Is't such a matter to get a pottle-pot's
maidenhead?

PAGE

'A calls me e'en now, my lord, through a red lattice, and I
could discern no part of his face from the window. At last I
spied his eyes; and methought he had made two holes in the
alewife's new petticoat, and so peep'd through.

PRINCE

Has not the boy profited?

BARDOLPH

Away, you whoreson upright rabbit, away!

PAGE

Away, you rascally Althaea's dream, away!

PRINCE

Instruct us, boy; what dream, boy?

PAGE

Marry, my lord, Althaea dreamt she was delivered of a
firebrand; and therefore I call him her dream.

PRINCE

A crown's worth of good interpretation. There 'tis, boy.

[Giving a crown]

POINS

O that this blossom could be kept from cankers!
Well, there is sixpence to preserve thee.

BARDOLPH

An you do not make him be hang'd among you, the gallows
shall have wrong.

PRINCE

And how doth thy master, Bardolph?

BARDOLPH

Well, my lord. He heard of your Grace's coming to town.
There's a letter for you.

POINS

Deliver'd with good respect. And how doth the martlemas,
your master?

BARDOLPH

In bodily health, sir.

POINS

Marry, the immortal part needs a physician; but that moves
not him. Though that be sick, it dies not.

PRINCE

I do allow this well to be as familiar with me as my dog;
and he holds his place, for look you how he writes.

POINS

[Reads] 'John Falstaff, knight'- Every man must know that
as oft as he has occasion to name himself, even like those that
are kin to the King; for they never prick their finger but they
say 'There's some of the King's blood spilt.' 'How comes that?'
says he that takes upon him not to conceive. The answer is as
ready as a borrower's cap: 'I am the King's poor cousin, sir.'

PRINCE

Nay, they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it from
Japhet. But the letter: [Reads] 'Sir John Falstaff, knight, to
the son of the King nearest his father, Harry Prince of Wales,
greeting.'

POINS

Why, this is a certificate.

PRINCE

Peace! [Reads] 'I will imitate the honourable Romans in
brevity.'-

POINS

He sure means brevity in breath, short-winded.

PRINCE

[Reads] 'I commend me to thee, I commend thee, and I
leave thee. Be not too familiar with Poins; for he misuses thy
favours so much that he swears thou art to marry his sister Nell.
Repent at idle times as thou mayst, and so farewell.
Thine, by yea and no- which is as much as to say as
thou usest him- JACK FALSTAFF with my familiars,
JOHN with my brothers and sisters, and SIR JOHN with
all Europe.'

POINS

My lord, I'll steep this letter in sack and make him eat it.

PRINCE

That's to make him eat twenty of his words. But do you use
me thus, Ned? Must I marry your sister?

POINS

God send the wench no worse fortune! But I never said so.

PRINCE

Well, thus we play the fools with the time, and the spirits
of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us. Is your master here in
London?

BARDOLPH

Yea, my lord.

PRINCE

Where sups he? Doth the old boar feed in the old frank?

BARDOLPH

At the old place, my lord, in Eastcheap.

PRINCE

What company?

PAGE

Ephesians, my lord, of the old church.

PRINCE

Sup any women with him?

PAGE

None, my lord, but old Mistress Quickly and Mistress Doll
Tearsheet.

PRINCE

What pagan may that be?

PAGE

A proper gentlewoman, sir, and a kinswoman of my master's.

PRINCE

Even such kin as the parish heifers are to the town bull.
Shall we steal upon them, Ned, at supper?

POINS

I am your shadow, my lord; I'll follow you.

PRINCE

Sirrah, you boy, and Bardolph, no word to your master that
I am yet come to town. There's for your silence.

BARDOLPH

I have no tongue, sir.

PAGE

And for mine, sir, I will govern it.

PRINCE

Fare you well; go.

Exeunt BARDOLPH and PAGE

This Doll Tearsheet should be some road.

POINS

I warrant you, as common as the way between Saint Albans and
London.

PRINCE

How might we see Falstaff bestow himself to-night in his
true colours, and not ourselves be seen?

POINS

Put on two leathern jerkins and aprons, and wait upon him at
his table as drawers.

PRINCE

From a god to a bull? A heavy descension! It was Jove's
case. From a prince to a prentice? A low transformation! That
shall be mine; for in everything the purpose must weigh with the
folly. Follow me, Ned.

Exeunt