Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 1 (Modern)


[4.2]
2375
Enter Falstaff, Bardolph.
Falstaff Bardolph, get thee before to Coventry; fill me a bottle of sack. Our soldiers shall march through. We'll to Sutton Coldfield tonight.
Bardolph Will you give me money, captain?
2380Falstaff Lay out, lay out.
Bardolph This bottle makes an angel.
Falstaff An if it do, take it for thy labor; an if it make twenty, take them all; I'll answer the coinage. Bid my lieutenant Peto meet me at town's end.
2385Bardolph I will, captain. Farewell.
Exit.
Falstaff If I be not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a soused gurnet. I have misused the king's press damnably. I have got in exchange of one hundred and fifty soldiers three hundred and odd pounds. I press me 2390none but good householders, yeomen's sons, enquire me out contracted bachelors, such as had been asked twice on the banns, such a commodity of warm slaves as had as lief hear the devil as a drum, such as fear the report of a caliver worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild duck. I pressed me none but 2395such toasts and butter, with hearts in their bellies no bigger than pins' heads, and they have bought out their services; and now my whole charge consists of ensigns, corporals, lieutenants, gentlemen of companies -- slaves as ragged as Lazarus in 2400the painted cloth, where the glutton's dogs licked his sores -- and such as indeed were never soldiers, but discarded unjust servingmen, younger sons to younger brothers, revolted tapsters, and ostlers trade-fallen, the cankers of a calm world and a long 2405peace, ten times more dishonorable-ragged than an old faz'd ancient. And such have I to fill up the rooms of them as have bought out their services, that you would think that I had a hundred and fifty tattered prodigals lately come from swine-keeping, from eating draff and husks. A mad fellow met me 2410on the way and told me I had unloaded all the gibbets and pressed the dead bodies. No eye hath seen such scarecrows. I'll not march through Coventry with them, that's flat. Nay, and the villains march wide betwixt the legs, as if they had gyves on, 2415for indeed I had the most of them out of prison. There's not a shirt and a half in all my company; and the half-shirt is two napkins tacked together and thrown over the shoulders like a herald's coat without sleeves; and the shirt, to say the truth, 2420stolen from my host at Saint Albans, or the red-nose innkeeper of Daventry. But that's all one; they'll find linen enough on every hedge.
Enter the prince, [and the] Lord of Westmorland.
Prince How now, blown Jack? How now, quilt?
2425Falstaff What, Hal! How now, mad wag? What a devil dost thou in Warwickshire? My good lord of Westmorland, I cry you mercy! I thought your honor had already been at Shrewsbury.
Westmorland Faith, Sir John, 'tis more than time that I were there, and 2430you too; but my powers are there already. The king, I can tell you, looks for us all. We must away all night.
Falstaff Tut, never fear me. I am as vigilant as a cat to steal cream.
2435Prince I think to steal cream indeed, for thy theft hath already made thee butter. But tell me, Jack, whose fellows are these that come after?
Falstaff Mine, Hal, mine.
Prince I did never see such pitiful rascals.
2440Falstaff Tut, tut, good enough to toss, food for powder, food for powder. They'll fill a pit as well as better. Tush, man, mortal men, mortal men.
Westmorland Ay, but Sir John, methinks they are exceeding poor and bare, too beggarly.
2445Falstaff Faith, for their poverty, I know not where they had that, and for their bareness, I am sure they never learned that of me.
Prince No, I'll be sworn, unless you call three fingers in the ribs bare. But sirrah, make haste. Percy is already in the field.
Exit.
Falstaff What, is the king encamped?
Westmorland He is, Sir John. I fear we shall stay too long.
Falstaff Well, to the latter end of a fray
And the beginning of a feast
2455Fits a dull fighter and a keen guest.
Exeunt.