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And is not this an honorable spoil ?
West. In faith,
me sin In envy that
lord Northumberland Should be the father of so blest a son ; A son, who is the theme of honor's tongue; Amongst a grove, the very straightest plant; Who is sweet fortune's minion, and her pride ; Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him, See riot and dishonor stain the brow Of my young Harry. O that it could be proved, That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged In cradle-clothes our children where they lay, And called mine-Percy, his—Plantagenet! Then would I have his Harry, and he mine. But let him from my thoughts.—What think you, coz, Of this young Percy's pride ? the prisoners, Which he in this adventure hath surprised, To his own use he keeps; and sends me word, I shall have none but Mordake, earl of Fife.
West. This is his uncle's teaching; this is Worcester,
K. Hen. But I have sent for him to answer this;
1 Percy had an exclusive right to these prisoners, except the earl of Fife. By the law of arms, every man who had taken any captive, whose redemption did not exceed ten thousand crowns, had him clearly to himself to acquit or ransom at his pleasure. But Percy could not refuse the earl of Fife to the king; for, being a prince of the royal blood (son to the duke of Albany, brother to king Robert III.), Henry might justly claim him, by his acknowledged military prerogative.
2 An astrological allusion.
For more is to be said, and to be done,
West. I will, my liege.
SCENE II. The same. Another Room in the Palace.
Enter HENRY, Prince of Wales, and FalstAFF.
P. Hen. Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know. What the devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? Unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair, hot wench in flame-colored taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
Fal. Indeed, you come near me now, Hal; for we that take purses, go by the moon and seven stars; and not by Phæbus,-he, that wandering knight so fair.? And, I pray thee, sweet wag, when thou art king, -as, God save thy grace-(majesty I should say; for grace thou wilt have none,)
P. Hen. What, none ?
Fal. No, by my troth; not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.
P. Hen. Well, how then? Come, roundly, roundly.
Fal. Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us, that are squires of the night's body, be called thieves of the day's beauty ;3 let us be—Diana's
1 That is, more is to be said than anger will suffer me to say.
2 Falstaff, by this expression, evidently alludes to some knight of romance; perhaps “The Knight of the Sun” (el Cavallero del Febo), a popular book in his time.
3 “Let not us, who are body squires to the night (i. e. adorn the night), be called a disgrace to the day.” To take away the beauty of the day, may probably mean to disgrace it. A “ squire of the body” originally 5 The buff, or leather jerkin, was the common habit of a serjeant, or sheriff's officer, and is called a robe of durance on that account, as well as for its durability.
foresters,' gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon. And let men say, we be men of good government; being governed as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance westeal.
P. Hen. Thou say'st well; and it holds well too; for the fortune of us, that are the moon's men, doth ebb and flow like the sea ; being governed as the sea is, by the moon.
As, for proof, now: a purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night, and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearinglay by ;? and spent with crying—bring in ;3 now, in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder; and, by and by, in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.
Fal. By the Lord, thou say'st true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?
P. Hen. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?5
Fal. How now, how now, mad wag? what, in thy
signified the attendant of a knight. It became afterwards the cant term for a pimp. Falstaff puns on the words knight and beauty, quasi booty.
1 This is the lament of Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, in The Mirror for Magistrates. Hall, in his Chronicles, says that certain persons who appeared as foresters in a pageant exhibited in the reign of king Henry VIII. were called Diana's knights.
2 i. e. be still; equivalent to the phrase "stand and deliver." 3 i. e.“ bring in more wine.”
4 Old lad of the castle. This passage has been supposed to have a reference to the name of sir John Oldcastle. Rowe says that there was a tradition that the part of Falstaff was originally written by Shakspeare under that name. Fuller, in his Church History, book iv. p. 168, mentions this change in the following manner :-“Stage poets have themselves been very bold with, and others very merry at, the memory of sir John Oldcastle, whom they have fancied a boon companion, a jovial royster, and a coward to boot. The best is, sir John Falstaff hath relieved the memory of sir John Oldcastle, and of late is substituted buffoon in his place. In confirmation of this, it may be remarked that one of Falstaff's speeches in the first edition has Old, instead of Falst. prefixed to it; and in the epilogue to the Second Part of King Henry IV. the Poet makes a kind of retraction for having made too free with sir John Oldcastle's name“Where, for any thing I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unless he be killed with your hard opinions; for Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man."
quips, and thy quiddities? What a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin ?
P. Hen. Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern ?
Fal. Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning, many a time and oft.
P. Hen. Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part ?
Fal. No; I'll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.
P. Hen. Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch; and where it would not, I have used my credit.
Fal. Yea, and so used it, that were it not here apparent that thou art heir apparent,--But, I pr’ythee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king ? and resolution thus fobbed as it is, with the rusty curb of old father antic the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.
P. Hen. No; thou shalt.
Fal. Shall I ? O rare! By the Lord, I'll be a brave judge.
P. Hen. Thou judgest false already; I mean, thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves, and so become a rare hangman.
Fal. Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it jumps with my humor, as well as waiting in the court, I can
Fal. Yea, for obtaining of suits; whereof the hangman 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.
P. Hen. What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of Moor-ditch ? 4
1 A gib cat is a male cat, from Gilbert, the northern name for a he cat.
2 « Lincolnshire bagpipe” is a proverbial saying; the allusion is as yet unexplained. Steevens supposes it to mean “a frog."
3 The hare was esteemed a melancholy animal, from her solitary sitting in her form; its flesh was supposed to generate melancholy.
4 Moor-ditch, a part of the ditch surrounding the city of London, be
Fal. Thou hast the most unsavory similes; 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 where 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 didst well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it.
Fal. O thou hast damnable iteration ; and art, indeed, able to corrupt a saint. Thou hast done much harm upon me, 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 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 labor in his vocation. Poins !-Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match. O, if men were
tween Bishopsgate and Cripplegate, opened to an unwholesome, impassable
Thus, in Taylor's Pennylesse Pilgrimage, 1618:-“ My body being tired with travel, and my mind attired with moody muddy, Mooreditch melancholy."
1 Comparative: this epithet, which is used here for one who is fond of making comparisons, occurs again in Act iii. Sc. 2, of this play.
? To baffle is to use contemptuously, or treat with ignominy ; to unknight.
3 To set a match is to make an appointment. So in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, “Peace, sir, they'll be angry if they hear you eaves-dropping, now they are setting their match." The folio reads set a watch; match is the reading of the quarto.