Document: All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Henry IV, part I > Act III, scene III
[Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH]
FALSTAFF: Bardolph, am I not fallen away vilely since this last
action? do I not bate? do I not dwindle? Why my
skin hangs about me like an like an old lady's loose
gown; I am withered like an old apple-john. Well,
I'll repent, and that suddenly, while I am in some
liking; I shall be out of heart shortly, and then I
shall have no strength to repent. An I have not
forgotten what the inside of a church is made of, I
am a peppercorn, a brewer's horse: the inside of a
church! Company, villanous company, hath been the
spoil of me.
BARDOLPH: Sir John, you are so fretful, you cannot live long.
FALSTAFF: Why, there is it: come sing me a bawdy song; make
me merry. I was as virtuously given as a gentleman
need to be; virtuous enough; swore little; diced not
above seven times a week; went to a bawdy-house once
in a quarter--of an hour; paid money that I
borrowed, three of four times; lived well and in
good compass: and now I live out of all order, out
of all compass.
BARDOLPH: Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you must needs
be out of all compass, out of all reasonable
compass, Sir John.
FALSTAFF: Do thou amend thy face, and I'll amend my life:
thou art our admiral, thou bearest the lantern in
the poop, but 'tis in the nose of thee; thou art the
Knight of the Burning Lamp.
BARDOLPH: Why, Sir John, my face does you no harm.
FALSTAFF: No, I'll be sworn; I make as good use of it as many
a man doth of a Death's-head or a memento mori: I
never see thy face but I think upon hell-fire and
Dives that lived in purple; for there he is in his
robes, burning, burning. If thou wert any way
given to virtue, I would swear by thy face; my oath
should be 'By this fire, that's God's angel:' but
thou art altogether given over; and wert indeed, but
for the light in thy face, the son of utter
darkness. When thou rannest up Gadshill in the
night to catch my horse, if I did not think thou
hadst been an ignis fatuus or a ball of wildfire,
there's no purchase in money. O, thou art a
perpetual triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light!
Thou hast saved me a thousand marks in links and
torches, walking with thee in the night betwixt
tavern and tavern: but the sack that thou hast
drunk me would have bought me lights as good cheap
at the dearest chandler's in Europe. I have
maintained that salamander of yours with fire any
time this two and thirty years; God reward me for
BARDOLPH: 'Sblood, I would my face were in your belly!
FALSTAFF: God-a-mercy! so should I be sure to be heart-burned.
How now, Dame Partlet the hen! have you inquired
yet who picked my pocket?
Hostess: Why, Sir John, what do you think, Sir John? do you
think I keep thieves in my house? I have searched,
I have inquired, so has my husband, man by man, boy
by boy, servant by servant: the tithe of a hair
was never lost in my house before.
FALSTAFF: Ye lie, hostess: Bardolph was shaved and lost many
a hair; and I'll be sworn my pocket was picked. Go
to, you are a woman, go.
Hostess: Who, I? no; I defy thee: God's light, I was never
called so in mine own house before.
FALSTAFF: Go to, I know you well enough.
Hostess: No, Sir John; You do not know me, Sir John. I know
you, Sir John: you owe me money, Sir John; and now
you pick a quarrel to beguile me of it: I bought
you a dozen of shirts to your back.
FALSTAFF: Dowlas, filthy dowlas: I have given them away to
bakers' wives, and they have made bolters of them.
Hostess: Now, as I am a true woman, holland of eight
shillings an ell. You owe money here besides, Sir
John, for your diet and by-drinkings, and money lent
you, four and twenty pound.
FALSTAFF: He had his part of it; let him pay.
Hostess: He? alas, he is poor; he hath nothing.
FALSTAFF: How! poor? look upon his face; what call you rich?
let them coin his nose, let them coin his cheeks:
Ill not pay a denier. What, will you make a younker
of me? shall I not take mine case in mine inn but I
shall have my pocket picked? I have lost a
seal-ring of my grandfather's worth forty mark.
Hostess: O Jesu, I have heard the prince tell him, I know not
how oft, that ring was copper!
FALSTAFF: How! the prince is a Jack, a sneak-cup: 'sblood, an
he were here, I would cudgel him like a dog, if he
would say so.
[Enter PRINCE HENRY and PETO, marching, and FALSTAFF
meets them playing on his truncheon like a life]
How now, lad! is the wind in that door, i' faith?
must we all march?
BARDOLPH: Yea, two and two, Newgate fashion.
Hostess: My lord, I pray you, hear me.
PRINCE HENRY: What sayest thou, Mistress Quickly? How doth thy
husband? I love him well; he is an honest man.
Hostess: Good my lord, hear me.
FALSTAFF: Prithee, let her alone, and list to me.
PRINCE HENRY: What sayest thou, Jack?
FALSTAFF: The other night I fell asleep here behind the arras
and had my pocket picked: this house is turned
bawdy-house; they pick pockets.
PRINCE HENRY: What didst thou lose, Jack?
FALSTAFF: Wilt thou believe me, Hal? three or four bonds of
forty pound apiece, and a seal-ring of my
PRINCE HENRY: A trifle, some eight-penny matter.
Hostess: So I told him, my lord; and I said I heard your
grace say so: and, my lord, he speaks most vilely
of you, like a foul-mouthed man as he is; and said
he would cudgel you.
PRINCE HENRY: What! he did not?
Hostess: There's neither faith, truth, nor womanhood in me else.
FALSTAFF: There's no more faith in thee than in a stewed
prune; nor no more truth in thee than in a drawn
fox; and for womanhood, Maid Marian may be the
deputy's wife of the ward to thee. Go, you thing,
Hostess: Say, what thing? what thing?
FALSTAFF: What thing! why, a thing to thank God on.
Hostess: I am no thing to thank God on, I would thou
shouldst know it; I am an honest man's wife: and,
setting thy knighthood aside, thou art a knave to
call me so.
FALSTAFF: Setting thy womanhood aside, thou art a beast to say
Hostess: Say, what beast, thou knave, thou?
FALSTAFF: What beast! why, an otter.
PRINCE HENRY: An otter, Sir John! Why an otter?
FALSTAFF: Why, she's neither fish nor flesh; a man knows not
where to have her.
Hostess: Thou art an unjust man in saying so: thou or any
man knows where to have me, thou knave, thou!
PRINCE HENRY: Thou sayest true, hostess; and he slanders thee most grossly.
Hostess: So he doth you, my lord; and said this other day you
ought him a thousand pound.
PRINCE HENRY: Sirrah, do I owe you a thousand pound?
FALSTAFF: A thousand pound, Ha! a million: thy love is worth
a million: thou owest me thy love.
Hostess: Nay, my lord, he called you Jack, and said he would
FALSTAFF: Did I, Bardolph?
BARDOLPH: Indeed, Sir John, you said so.
FALSTAFF: Yea, if he said my ring was copper.
PRINCE HENRY: I say 'tis copper: darest thou be as good as thy word now?
FALSTAFF: Why, Hal, thou knowest, as thou art but man, I dare:
but as thou art prince, I fear thee as I fear the
roaring of a lion's whelp.
PRINCE HENRY: And why not as the lion?
FALSTAFF: The king is to be feared as the lion: dost thou
think I'll fear thee as I fear thy father? nay, an
I do, I pray God my girdle break.
PRINCE HENRY: O, if it should, how would thy guts fall about thy
knees! But, sirrah, there's no room for faith,
truth, nor honesty in this bosom of thine; it is all
filled up with guts and midriff. Charge an honest
woman with picking thy pocket! why, thou whoreson,
impudent, embossed rascal, if there were anything in
thy pocket but tavern-reckonings, memorandums of
bawdy-houses, and one poor penny-worth of
sugar-candy to make thee long-winded, if thy pocket
were enriched with any other injuries but these, I
am a villain: and yet you will stand to if; you will
not pocket up wrong: art thou not ashamed?
FALSTAFF: Dost thou hear, Hal? thou knowest in the state of
innocency Adam fell; and what should poor Jack
Falstaff do in the days of villany? Thou seest I
have more flesh than another man, and therefore more
frailty. You confess then, you picked my pocket?
PRINCE HENRY: It appears so by the story.
FALSTAFF: Hostess, I forgive thee: go, make ready breakfast;
love thy husband, look to thy servants, cherish thy
guests: thou shalt find me tractable to any honest
reason: thou seest I am pacified still. Nay,
prithee, be gone.
Now Hal, to the news at court: for the robbery,
lad, how is that answered?
PRINCE HENRY: O, my sweet beef, I must still be good angel to
thee: the money is paid back again.
FALSTAFF: O, I do not like that paying back; 'tis a double labour.
PRINCE HENRY: I am good friends with my father and may do any thing.
FALSTAFF: Rob me the exchequer the first thing thou doest, and
do it with unwashed hands too.
BARDOLPH: Do, my lord.
PRINCE HENRY: I have procured thee, Jack, a charge of foot.
FALSTAFF: I would it had been of horse. Where shall I find
one that can steal well? O for a fine thief, of the
age of two and twenty or thereabouts! I am
heinously unprovided. Well, God be thanked for
these rebels, they offend none but the virtuous: I
laud them, I praise them.
PRINCE HENRY: Bardolph!
BARDOLPH: My lord?
PRINCE HENRY: Go bear this letter to Lord John of Lancaster, to my
brother John; this to my Lord of Westmoreland.
Go, Peto, to horse, to horse; for thou and I have
thirty miles to ride yet ere dinner time.
Jack, meet me to-morrow in the temple hall at two
o'clock in the afternoon.
There shalt thou know thy charge; and there receive
Money and order for their furniture.
The land is burning; Percy stands on high;
And either we or they must lower lie.
[Exit PRINCE HENRY]
FALSTAFF: Rare words! brave world! Hostess, my breakfast, come!
O, I could wish this tavern were my drum!
1 KING HENRY IV