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Host. Good captain Peesel, be quiet; it is very late, i? faith: I beseek you now, aggravate your choler.
Pist. These be good humors, indeed! Shall packhorses, And hollow, pampered jades of Asia, Which cannot go but thirty miles a day,1 Compare with Caesars, and with Cannibals,2 And Trojan Greeks? nay, rather damn them with King Cerberus; and let the welkin roar. Shall we fall foul for toys?
Host. By my troth, captain, these are very bitter words.
Bard. Be gone, good ancient ;■ this will grow to a brawl anon.
Pist. Die men, like dogs; give crowns like pins. Have we not Hiren here?
Host. O' my word, captain, there's none such here. What the good-year! do you think I would deny her? for God's sake, be quiet.
Pist. Then feed and be fat, my fair Calipolis.3 Come, give's some sack.
Sifortuna me tormenta, sperato me contenta.4—
Fear we broadsides? no, let the fiend give fire.
[Laying down his sword.
Pist. Sweet knight, I kiss thy neif !6 What! we have seen the seven stars.
1 This is a parody of the lines addressed by Tamberlane to the captive princes who draw his chariot, in Marlowe's Tamberlaine, 1590.
2 A blunder for Hannibal.
3 This is again a burlesque upon a line in The Battle of Alcazar, in which Muley Mahomet enters to his wife with lion's flesh on his sword:—■
"Feed then and faint not, my faire Callypolis."
4 Pistol is supposed to read this motto on his sword; by singular chance Mr. Douce picked up an old rapier with the same motto in French:— .
Si fortune me tourmente, Vesperance me contente.
5 That is, Shall we have no further entertainment?
6 Neif is used for fist. It is a north country word.
Dol. Thrust him down stairs; I cannot endure such a fustian rascal.
Pist. Thrust him down stairs! know we not Galloway nags?1
Fal. Quoit2 him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat shilling. Nay, if he do nothing but speak nothing, he shall be nothing here.
Bard. Come, get you down stairs.
Pist. What! shall we have incision? shall we imbrue ?— [Snatching up his sword. Then death rock me asleep, abridge my doleful days! Why, then, let grievous, ghastly, gaping wounds Untwine the sisters three! Come, Atropos, I say !3
Host. Here's goodly stuff toward!
Fal. Give me my rapier, boy.
Dol. I pray thee, Jack, I pray thee, do not draw.
Fal. Get you down stars.
[Drawing, and driving Pistol out.
Host. Here's a goodly tumult! Pll forswear keeping house, afore Pll be in these tirrits and frights. So;
murder, I warrant now. Alas, alas! put up your
naked weapons, put up your naked weapons.
[Exeunt Pistol and Bardolph.
Dol. I pray thee, Jack, be quiet; the rascal is gone. Ah, you whoreson little valiant villain, you.
Host. Are you not hurt i' the groin? me thought he made a shrewd thrust at your belly.
1 Common hackneys.
2 i. e. pitch him down. The shove-groat shillings were such hroad shillings of king Edward VI. as Slender calls Edward shovel-boards, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act i. Sc. 1.
3 Pistol makes use of fragments of old ballads as well as old plays:—
"O death, rock me on slepe, Bring me on quiet rest," is an ancient song, attributed to Anne Boleyn. There is another in the Gorgious Gallery of Gallant Inventions, 1578, which has furnished him with some of his rhodomontade :—
"I hate this loathsome life,
Fal. Have you turned him out of doors?
Bard. Yes, sir. The rascal's drunk : you have hurt him, sir, in the shoulder.
Fal. A rascal! to brave me!
Dol. Ah, you sweet little rogue, you! Alas, poor ape, how thou sweat'st! Come, let me wipe thy face; —come on, you whoreson chops.—Ah, rogue! i? faith, I love thee. Thou art as valorous as Hector of Troy, worth five of Agamemnon, and ten times better than the nine worthies. Ah, villain!
Fal. A rascally slave! I will toss the rogue in, a blanket.
Dol. Do, if thou darest for thy heart; if thou dost, Pll canvass thee between a pair of sheets.
Page. The music is come, sir.
Fal. Let them play ;—play, sirs ;—sit on my knee, Doll. A rascally, bragging slave! the rogue fled from me like quicksilver.
Dol. V faith, and thou followedst him like a church. Thou whoreson little tidy Bartholomew boar-pig,1 when wilt thou leave fighting o? days, and foining o? nights, and begin to patch up thine old body for heaven?
Enter, behind, Prince Henry and Poins, disguised like Drawers.
Fal. Peace, good Doll! do not speak like a death's head; do not bid me remember mine end.
Dol. Sirrah, what humor is the prince of?
Fal. A good, shallow young fellow: he would have made a good pantler; he would have chipped bread well.
1 Roasted pigs were formerly among the chief attractions of Bartholomew fair.
Dol. They say, Poins has a good wit.
Fal. He a good wit? Hang him, baboon! his wit is as thick as Tewksbury mustard; there is no more conceit in him, than is in a mallet.
Dol. Why does the prince love him so then?
Fal. Because their legs are both of a bigness; and he plays at quoits well; and eats conger and fennel;l and drinks off candles' ends for flap-dragons ;2 and rides the wild mare with the boys ;3 and jumps upon joint-stools; and swears with a good grace; and wears his boot very smooth, like unto the sign of the leg; and breeds no bate with telling of discreet stories;4 and such other gambol faculties he hath, that show a weak mind and an aBle body, for the which the prince admits him; for the prince himself is such another ; the weight of a hair will turn the scales between their avoirdupois.
P. Hen. Would not this nave of a wheel5 have his ears cut off?
Poins. Let's beat him before his whore.
P. Hen. Look, if the withered elder hath not his poll clawed like a parrot.
Poins. Is it not strange, that desire should so many years outlive performance?
Fal. Kiss me, Doll.
P. Hen. Saturn and Venus this year in conjunction!6 What says the almanac to that?
1 Fennel was generally esteemed an inflammatory herb, and therefore to eat conger and fennel was to eat two high and hot things together. Fennel was also regarded as an emblem of flattery,
2 Theflap-dragon was some small, combustible material swallowed alight in a glass of liquor: a candle's end formed a very formidable and disagreeable flap-dragon, and to swallow it was considered an act of merit, or of gallantry, when done in honor of the toper's mistress.
3 Riding the wild mare is another name for the childish sport of seesaw.
4 Mr. Douce thinks FalstafTs meaning to be, that Poins excites no censure by telling his companions modest stories, or, in plain English, that he tells them nothing but immodest ones.
5 Falstaff is humorously called nave of a wheel, from his rotundity of figure. The equivoque between nave and knave is obvious. •
6 This was indeed a prodigy. The astrologers, says Ficinus, remark, that Saturn and Venus are never conjoined.
Poins. And, look, whether the fiery Trigon,1 his man, be not lisping to his master's old tables, his notebook, his counsel-keeper.
FaL Thou dost give me- flattering busses.
DoL Nay, truly; I kiss thee with a most constant heart.
FaL I am old, I am old.
DoL I love thee better than I love e'er a scurvy young boy of them all.
FaL What stuff wilt have a kirtle2 of? I shall receive money on Thursday: thou shalt have a cap tomorrow. A merry song, come: it grows late; we'll to bed. Thou'lt forget me, when I am gone.
DoL By my troth thou'lt set me a Weeping, an thou gayest so; prove that ever I dress myself handsome till thy return. -Well, hearken the end.
FaL Some sack, Francis.
P. Hen. Poins. Anon, anon, sir. [Advancing.
FaL Ha! a bastard son of the king's ?—And art not thou Poins his brother?
P. Hen. Why, thou globe of sinful continents, what a life dost thou lead?
FaL A better than thou; I am a gentleman, thou art a drawer.
P. Hen. Very true, sir; and I come to draw you out by the ears.
Host. O, the Lord preserve thy good grace! by my troth, welcome to London.—Now the Lord bless that sweet face of thine! O, Jesu, are you come from Wales?
FaL Thou whoreson mad compound of majesty, by this light flesh and corrupt blood, thou art welcome.
[Leaning his hand upon Doll.
DoL How! you fat fool, I scorn you.
Poins. My lord, he will drive you out of your re
1 Trigon or triangle, a term in the old judicial astrology. They called it a fiery trigon when the three upper planets met in a fiery sign; which was thought to denote rage and contention.
2 A kirtle was a petticoat, which sometimes had a hody without sleeves attached to it