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nangman hath no lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as
. melancholy as a gib cat, or a lugged bear.
P. Hen. Or an old lion; or a lover's lute.
Fal. Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.
P. Hen. What sayest thou to a hare,' or the melancholy of Moor-ditch ? 2
Fal. "Thou hast the most unsavoury similies; and art, indeed, the most comparative, rascalliest,sweet young prince,-But, Hal, I pr’ythee, trouble me no more with vanity. I would to God, thou and I knew wliere a commodity of good names were to be bought: An old lord of the council rated me the other day in the street about you, sir; but I marked him not: and yet he talked very wisely; but I regarded him not: and yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.
P. Hen. Thou did'st well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it.
Fal. O thou hast damnable iteration :3 and art, indeed, able to corrupt a saint. Thou hast done much harm upon ine, Hal,God forgive thee for it! Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am I, if a man should speak truly, little better
a gib cat,] A gib cat means, old cat, or perhaps an he cat.
Lincolnshire bagpipe.] By the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe, is meant the dull croak of a frog, one of the native musicians of that waterish county. In the neighbourhood of Boston, in Lincolnshire, the noisy frogs are still humorously denominated “ the Boston waits,"
a hare,] The Egyptians in their Hieroglyphics expressed a melancholy man by a hare sitting in her form.
the melancholy of Moor-ditch?] It appears from Stowe's Survey, that a broad ditch, called Deep-ditch, formerly parted the Hospital from Moor-fields; and what has a more melancholy appearance than stagnant water?
damnable iteration;] i. e, a wicked trick of citation or recitation.
than one of the wicked. I must give over this life, and I will give it over; by the Lord, an I do not, I am a villain; I'll be damned for never a king's son in Christendom.
P. Hen. Where shall we take a purse to-morrow, Jack?
Fal. Where thou wilt, lad, I'll make one; an I do not, call me villain, and baffle me.
P. Hen. I see a good amendment of life in thee; from praying, to purse-taking.
Enter Poins, at a distance. Fal. Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal; 'tis no sin for a man to labour in his vocation. Poins !--Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match.3 O, if men were to be saved by merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for him? This is the most omnipotent villain, that ever cried, Stand, to a true man.
P. Hen. Good morrow, Ned.
Poins. Good morrow, sweet Hal.coWhat says monsieur Remorse? What says sir John Sack-andSugar? Jack, how agrees the devil and thee about thy soul, that thou soldest him on Good-friday last, for a cup of Madeira, and a cold capon's leg?
P. Hen. Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs, he will give the devil his due. Poins. Then art thou damned for keeping
ing thy word with the devil.
P. Hen. Else he had been damned for cozenin the devil.
Poins. But, my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four o'clock, early at Gadshill: There are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and
3 - have set a match.) i. e. made an appointment, VOL. IV.
traders riding to London with fat purses: I have visors for you all, you have horses for yourselves ; Gadshill lies to-night at Rochester; I have bespoke supper to-morrow night in Eastcheap; we may do it as secure as sleep: If you will go, I will stuff your purses full of crowns; if you will not, tarry at home, and be hanged.
Fal. Hear me, Yedward; if I tarry at home, and go not, I'll hang you for going.
Poins. You will, chops?
Fal. There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou camest not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.
P. Hen. Well, then once in my days I'll be a
Fal. Why, that's well said.
Fal. By the Lord, I'll be a traitor then, when thou art king.
P. Hen. I care not.
Poins. Sir John, I pr’ythee, leave the prince and me alone; I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure, that he shall
go. Fal. Well, may'st thou have the spirit of persuasion, and he the ears of profiting, that what thou speakest may move, and what he hears may be believed, that the true prince may (for recreation sake) prove a false thief; for the poor abuses of the time want countenance. Farewell: You shall find me in Eastcheap.
P. Hen. Farewell, thou latter spring! Farewell All-hallown summer!5
( Exit FALSTAFF.
4 - if thou darest not stand, &c.] Falstaff is quibbling on the word royal. The real or royal was of the value of ten shillings. Almost the same jest occurs in a subsequent scene.
Poins. Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us to-morrow; I have a jest to execute, that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto, and Gadshill, shall rob those men that we have already way-laid; yourself, and I, will not be there: and when they have the booty, if you and I do not rob them, cut this head from my shoulders.
Pi Hen. But how shall we part with them in setting forth
Poins. Why, we will set forth before or after them, and appoint them a place of meeting, wherein it is at our pleasure to fail; and then will they adventure upon the exploit themselves : which they shall have no sooner achieved, but we'll set upon them.
P. Hen. Ay, but, 'tis like, that they will know us, by our horses, by our habits, and by every other appointment, to be ourselves.
Poins. Tut! our horses they shall not see, I'll tie them in the wood; our visors we will change, after we leave them; and, sitrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce; to immask our noted outward garments.
P. Hen. But, I doubt, they will be too hard for
Poins. Well, for two of them, I know them to be as true-bred cowards as ever turned back; and for the third, if he fight longer than he sees reason, I'll forswear arms. The virtue of this jest will be; the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will tell us, when we meet at supper: how
All-hallown summer!] All-hallows, is All-hallown-tide, or All-saints' day, which is the first of November. Shakspeare's allusion is designed to ridicule an old man with youthful passions.
- for the nonce,] For the nonce is an expression in daily use amongst the common people in Suffolk, to signify on purpose ; for the turn,
thirty, at least, he fought with; what wards, what blows, what extremities he endured; and, in the reproof of this, lies the jest.
P. Hen. Well, I'll go with thee; provide us all things necessary, and meet me to-morrow night in Eastcheap, there I'll sup. Farewell. Poins. Farewell, my lord. .
the debt I never promised,
reproof - ) Reproof is confutation. 8 shall I falsify men's hopes;] To falsify hope is to exceed hope, to give much where men hoped for little.
This speech is very artfully introduced to keep the Prince from appearing vile in the opinion of the audience; it prepares them for his future reformation; and, what is yet more valuable, exhibits a natural picture of a great mind offering excuses to itself
, and palliating those follies which it can neither justify nor forsake,