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Re-enter BARDOLPH, running. Bard. O, my lord, my lord; the sheriff, with a most monstrous watch, is at the door.
Fal. Out, you rogue! play out the play: I have much to say in the behalf of that Falstaff.
Re-enter Hostess, hastily.
Fal. Heigh, heigh! the devil rides upon a fiddlestick : What's the matter?
Host. The sheriff and all the watch are at the door: they are come to search the house; Shall I let them in?
Fal. Dost thou hear, Hal? never call a true piece of gold, a counterfeit: thou art essentially mad, without seeming so.
P. Hen. And thou a natural coward, without instinct. - Fal. I deny your major: if you will deny the sheriff, so; if not, let him enter: if I become not a cart as well as another man, a plague on my bringing up! I hope, I shall as soon be strangled with a halter, as another.
P. Hen. Go, hide thee behind the arras; - the
- hide thee behind the arras;] The bulk of Falstaff made him not the fittest to be concealed behind the hangings, but every poet sacrifices something to the scenery. If Falstaff had not been hidden, he could not have been found asleep, nor had his pockets searched. Johnson.
When arras was first brought into England, it was suspended on small hooks driven into the bare walls of houses and castles. But this practice was soon discontinued; for after the damp of the stone or brickwork had been found to rot the tapestry, it was fixed on frames of wood at such a distance from the wall, as prevented the latter from being injurious to the former. In old houses, therefore, long before the time of Shakspeare, there were large spaces left between the arras and the walls, sufficient to contain even one of Falstaff's bulk. STEEVENS.
rest walk up above. Now, my masters, for a true face, and good conscience.
Fal. Both which I have had: but their date is out, and therefore I'll hide me.
[Exeunt all but the Prince and Poins. P. Hen. Call in the sheriff.
Enter Sheriff and Carrier.
Sher. First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and
Hath follow'd certain men unto this house.
P. Hen. What men?
lord; A gross fat man. Car.
As fat as butter. P. Hen. The man, I do assure you, is not here;8 For I myself at this time have employ'd him. And, sheriff, I will engage my word to thee, That I will, by to-morrow dinner-time, Send him to answer thee, or any man, For any thing he shall be charg’d withal: And so let me entreat you leave the house.
Sher. I will, my lord: There are two gentlemen Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks. P. Hen. It may be so: if he have robb’d these
Sher. Good night, my noble lord.
6 The man, I do assure you, is not here;] Every reader must regret that Shakspeare would not give himself the trouble to furnish Prince Henry with some more pardonable excuse; without obliging him to have recourse to an absolute falsehood, and that too uttered under the sanction of so strong an assurance.
Sher. Indeed, my lord, I think it be two o'clock.
[Exeunt Sheriff and Carrier. P. Hen. This oily rascal is known as well as Paul's. Go, call him forth.
Poins. Falstaff!-fast asleep behind the arras, and snorting like a horse.
P. Hen. Hark, how hard he fetches breath : Search his pockets. PoinS searches.] What hast thou found ?
Poins. Nothing but papers, my lord.
Poins. Item, A capon, 2s. 2d.
P. Hen. O monstrous! but one half-pennyworth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack !-What there is else, keep close; we'll read it at more advantage : there let him sleep till day. I'll to the court in the morning : we must all to the wars, and thy place shall be honourable. I'll procure this fat rogue a charge of foot; and, I know, his death will be a march of twelve-score. The money shall be paid back again with advantage. Be with me betimes in the morning; and so good morrow, Poins.
Poins. Good morrow, good my lord. [Exeunt.
? — I know, his death will be a march of twelve-score.] i. e. It will kill him to march so far as twelve-score yards.
ACT III. SCENE I. Bangor. A Room in the Archdeacon's
Enter Hotspur, WORCESTER, MORTIMER, and
GLENDOWER. Mort. These promises are fair, the parties sure, And our induction full of prosperous hope.
Hot. Lord Mortimer,--and cousin Glendower, Will you sit down? And, uncle Worcester:-A plague upon it! I have forgot the map.
Glend. . No, here it is. Sit, cousin Percy; sit, good cousin Hotspur: For by that name as oft as Lancaster Doth speak of you, his cheek looks pale; and, with A rising sigh, he wisheth you in heaven.
Hot. And you in hell, as often as he hears
Glend. I cannot blame him: at my nativity,
Why, so it would have done
induction - ] That is, entrance; beginning. Of burning cressets;] A cresset was a great light set upon a beacon, light-house, or watch-tower: from the French word croissette, a little cross, because the beacons had anciently crosses on the top of them. VOL. V.
Hot. And I say, the earth was not of my mind, If you suppose, as fearing you it shook. Glend. The heavens were all on fire, the earth
did tremble. Hot. O, then the earth shook to see the heavens
on fire, And not in fear of your nativity. Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth In strange eruptions: oft the teeming earth Is with a kind of colick pinch'd and vex'd By the imprisoning of unruly wind Within her womb; which, for enlargement striving, Shakes the old beldame earth, and topples? down Steeples, and moss-grown towers. At your birth, Our grandam earth, having this distemperature, In passion shook. Glend.
Cousin, of many men
· Diseased nature -] The poet has here taken, from the perverseness and contrariousness of Hotspur's temper, an opportunity of raising his character, by a very rational and philosophical confutation of superstitious error. Johnson.
- and topples down -] To topple is to tumble.