Imagens das páginas


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 ; 9 let us be-Diana's 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 we-steal.

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

As, for proof, now : A purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night, and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning: got with swearing-lay by ;* and spent with crying-bring in ;5 now, in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder; and, by and by, in as high as 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 ? 6

Fal. How now, how now, mad wag? what, in thy 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.

[3] There is, I have no doubt, a pun on the word beauty, which in the western counties is pronounced nearly in the same manner as booty. MAL

(4) i. e. Swearing at the passengers they robbed, “lay by your arms'; or rather, lay by,' was a phrase that then signified stand still,' addressed to those who were preparing to rush forward. WARB.

[5] i. e. more wine. MAL.

[6) To understand the propriety of the Prince's answer, it must be re. marked that the sheriff's officers were formerly clad in buff. So that when Falstaff asks whether his hostess is not a sweet wench,' the prince asks in return, whether it will not b: a sweet thing to go to prison by ranning in debs to this sweet wenche JOHNS.

[ocr errors]

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 antick 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 humour, as well as waiting in the court, I can tell you.

P. Hen. For obtaining of suits ?7

Fal. Yea, for obtaining of suits : whereof the hangman hath no lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as melancholy as a gib cat, 8 or a lugged bear. P. Hen. Or an old lion; or a lover's lute. Fal. Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe. 9 P. Hen. What sayest thou to a hare,' or the melancholy of Moor-ditch 2

Fal. Thou hast the most unsavory similes; and art, indeed, the most comparative, 3 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 did'st well ; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it. 4

(7) Suit, spoken of one that attends at court, means a petition ; used with respect to the hangman, means the clothes of the offender. JOHNS. (8) A gib cat means, I know not why, an old cat.

JOHNS. (9) I suspect that by the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe is meant the dull croak of a frog, one of the native musicians of that waterish county. STEE.

(1) A hare may be considered as melancholy, because she is upon her form always

solitary; and, according to the physic of the times, the flesh of it was supposed to generate melancholy. JOHNS.

.(?) Moor-ditch, a part of the ditch surrounding the city of London,between Bishupsgate and Cripplegate, opened to an anwholesome and impassable mo

T. WARTON (3) Comparative here means quick at comparisons, or fruitful in similes,

JOHNS (4) Proverbs i. 20 and 24. H. WHITE.


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.5

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. 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. What says monsieur Remorse? What says sir John Sack-and-Sugar? 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 proverbis, he will give the devil his due.

Poins. Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.

P. Hen. Else he had been damned for cozening 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 traders riding to London with fat purses: I have visors for you all, you have horses for yourselves ; Gadshill lies to-night in Rochester ; I have bespoke supper to-morrow night in Eastcheap ; we may do it as secure as sleep : If you

(5) Baffled in this place means treated with the greatest ignominy im. aginable. TOLLET.

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. Hal, wilt thou make one?
P. Hen. Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by my faith.

Fal. There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fel. lowship 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 mad-cap.
Fal. Why, that's well said.
P. Hen. Well, come what will, I'll tarry at home.

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 su 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, Allhallown summer !6

(Exit FALSTAFF. 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.

P. 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.

(6) Allihallows, is All-hallownride, or All saints' day, which is the firet of N svember. Shakspeare's llusion is designed to ridicaie an old man with youthful passions. STEEV.


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, sirrah, 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 us.

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

The virtue of this jest will be, the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will tell us, when we meet at supper : how thirty, at least, he fought with ; what wards, what blows, what extremities he endured; apd, in the reproof3 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.

[Exit Poins.
P. Hen. I know you all, and will a while uphold
The unyok'd humour of your idleness :
Yet herein will I imitate the sun ;
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder'l at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours, that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work ;
But, when they seldom come, they wish'd-for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off,
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes ; 9

[ocr errors]

(7) For the nonce is an expression in daily use amongst the common people in Suffolk, to signify on purpose ; for the turn. HENLEY

(8) Reproof, is confulation. JOHNS.

(9) To talsify t:ope is to exceed hope, to give mirch where men hope for little. This speech is very artful introduced to krep the Prince from appearing vile in the opinion of tbe avdience; it prepares them for his future reformation ; and what is yet more valuable,exhibits a n-tural picture of a great mind offering excuses to itself, and palliating those follies which it can neither justify nor forsake. JOHNS.

17 VOL. IV.

« AnteriorContinuar »