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Fal. I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too, and one Mordake, and a thousand blue-caps more. Worcester is stolen away to-night; thy father's beard is turned white with the news: you may buy land now as cheap as stinking mackarel.
P. Hen. Why then, it is like, if there come a hot June, and this civil buffeting hold, we shall buy maidenheads as they buy hob-nails, by the hundreds.
Fal. By the mass, lad, thou sayest true; it is like, we shall have good trading that way.—But, tell me, Hal, art thou not horribly afeard ? thou being heir apparent, could the world pick thee out three such enemies again, as that fiend Douglas, that spirit Percy, and that devil Glendower? Art thou not horribly afraid ? doth not thy blood thrill at it?
P. Hen. Not a whit, i'faith : I lack some of thy instinct.
Fal. Well, thou wilt be horribly chid to-morrow, when thou comest to thy father: if thou love me, practise an answer.
P. Hen. Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon the particulars of my life.
Fal. Shall I ? content. — This chair shall be my state, this dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my
P. Hen. Thy state is taken for a joint-stool, thy golden sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown for a pitiful bald crown!
Fal. Well, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee, now shalt thou be moved.—Give me a cup of sack, to make mine eyes look red, that it may be thought I have wept; for I must speak in passion, and I will do it in king Cambyses' vein.
if there come a hot June,] So both the earliest quartos : the folio, following the corrupt reading of the later quartos, has Sun for “June.”
s – king Cambyses’ vein.] The allusion is to a play called “ A Lamentable Tragedy, mixed ful of Pleasant Mirth, conteyning the Life of Cambises, King VOL. IV.
P. Hen. Well, here is my lego.
For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes.
Host. 0, Jesu! he doth it as like one of these harlotry players as ever I see.
Fal. Peace, good pint-pot! peace, good ticklebrain®!-Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also how thou art accompanied : for though the camomile, the more it is trodden on, the faster it grows, so youth”, the more it is wasted, the sooner it wears. That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother's word, partly my own opinion; but chiefly, a villainous trick of thine eye, and a foolish hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant me. If, then, thou be son to me, here lies the point—why, being son to me, art thou so pointed at ? Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher', and eat blackberries ? a question not to be asked. Shall the son of England prove a thief, and take purses? a question to be asked. There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard
of Persia,” by Thomas Preston, printed by John Allde, n. d. In the “ Revels' Accounts,” by P. Cunningham, Esq., printed by the Shakespeare Society, the curious fact (previously conjectured) has been ascertained, that Thomas Preston received an annuity of Twenty Pounds a year from Elizabeth for acting in the play of “ Dido,” represented before her in 1564. See Introd. p. xix.
- my leg.) i. e, my obeisance to my father.
my TRISTFUL queen,] All the old copies, trustful. Corrected by Rowe.
peace ! good TICKLE-BRAIN.) “ Tickle-brain," from several authorities of the time, appears to have been a species of liquor.
– so youth,] The folio and the later quartos read yet, and thus spoil in some degree the non-appropriateness of the simile, in which the joke may be said to consist. Malone and the modern editors adopt yet.
prove a MICHER,] i, e. truant ; to mich is to lurk out of sight. “The allusion,” says Johnson, " is to a truant boy, who, unwilling to go to school, and afraid to go home, lurks in the fields, and picks wild fruits.”
of, and it is known to many in our land by the name of pitch: this pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth defile: so doth the company thou keepest; for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee in drink, but in tears ; not in pleasure, but in passion ; not in words only, but . in woes also.—And yet there is a virtuous man, whom I have often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.
P. Hen. What manner of man, an it like your majesty ?
Fal. A goodly portly man’, i' faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage; and, as I think, his age some fifty, or, by'r lady, inclining to threescore, and now I remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man should be lewdly given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his looks. If then the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff': him keep with, the rest banish. And tell me, now, thou naughty varlet, tell me, where hast thou been this month?
P. Hen. Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for me, and I'll play my father.
Fal. Depose me? if thou dost it half so gravely, so majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for a rabbit-sucker°, or a poulter's hare.
P. Hen. Well, here I am set.
? A GOODLY portly man,] So the quartos and folios ; but Malone and the modern editors have good for “goodly,” as if Falstaff here referred to the virtues for which he had just before given himself credit, when he is only speaking of his personal appearance.
for a RABBIT-SUCKER,] i. e. a sucking-rabbit, as Steevens has shown by a variety of quotations.
Fal. 'Sblood, my lord, they are false*: tickle thee for a young prince, i' faith.
P. Hen. Swearest thou, ungracious boy? henceforth ne'er look on me. Thou art violently carried away from grace: there is a devil haunts thee, in the likeness of a fat old man: a tun of man is thy companion. Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness', that swoln parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree-ox' with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years? Wherein is he good, but to taste sack and drink it? wherein neat and cleanly, but to carve a capon and eat it? wherein cunning, but in crafts? wherein crafty, but in villainy? wherein villainous, but in all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing?
Fal. I would your grace would take me with you°: whom means your grace?
P. Hen. That villainous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.
Fal. My lord, the man I know.
4 'SBlood, my lord, they are false :] The folio softened this oath into l' faith, which made the prince's subsequent reproof almost inapplicable, and rendered necessary the omission of “i'faith” at the end of the speech.
that BOLTING-HUTCH of beastliness,] A “ bolting-hutch,” according to Steevens, is the wooden receptacle into which meal is bolted or sifted.
that huge BOMBARD of sack,] A “bombard” is used by Ben Jonson and others, as well as by Shakespeare, for a large barrel. Heywood, however, in his “ Philocothonista,” 1635, speaks of "the great black-jacks and bombards of the court,” as large vessels out of which people used to drink.
7 — that roasted ManningTREE ox-] Probably an allusion to the roasting of an ox at Manningtree fair, which was held, as Nash, Heywood, Dekker, and others inform us, by exhibiting a species of stage-play called “morals,” or “moralities,” annually. This brings to the mind of the prince the Vice and Iniquity, &c, characters in those plays.
wherein Cunning, but in craft ?] i. e. knowing or skilful but in trickery. 9 I would your grace would take me with you :) i. e. let me understand you ; or, as Johnson explains it, “go no faster than I can follow.” The phrase is of perpetual occurrence.
myself, were to say more than I know. That he is old, the more the pity, his white hairs do witness it : but that he is, saving your reverence, a whoremaster, 17 that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked! If to be old and merry be a sin, , then many an old host that I know, is damned : if to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh's lean kine are to be loved. No, my good lord: banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins; but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and, therefore more valiant, being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry's company, banish not him thy Harry's company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world. P. Hen. I do, I will.
[A knocking heard. [Exeunt Hostess, FRANCIS, and BARDOLPH.
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. Host. O Jesu! my lord, my lord !
P. Hen. 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?.
the devil rides upon a fiddle-stick.] Probably this proverbial expression had its origin in the dislike of the Puritans to music and dancing. In Beaumont and Fletcher's “Humorous Lieutenant," we meet with “ the fiend rides upon a fiddlestick.”
thou art essentially mad without seeming so.] This speech is far from clear. Falstaff appears to be awaking the prince to his supposed danger, and