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Fee. I would Wart might have gone, sir.
Fal. I would thou wert a man's tailor, that thou might'st mend him, and make him fit to go. I cannot put him to a private soldier, that is the leader of so many thousands : let that suffice, most forcible Feeble.
Fee. It shall suffice, sir.
Fal. I am bound to thee, reverend Feeble.- Who is next?
Shal. Peter Bull-calf of the green !
Fal. 'Fore God, a likely fellow Come, prick me Bull-calf till he roar again.
Bull. O lord ! good my lord captain,-
Bull. A whoreson cold, sir; a cough, sir; which I caught with ringing in the king's affairs upon his coronation day, sir.
Fal. Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown. We will have away thy cold; and I will take such order, that thy friends shall ring for thee.- Is here all ?
Shal. Here is two more called than your number; you must have but four here, sir :and so, I pray you, go in with me to dinner.
Fal. Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot tarry dinner.
I am glad to see you, by my troth, master Shallow.
Shal. O, sir John, do you remember since we lay all night in the windmill in Saint George's fields ?
Fal. No more of that, good master Shallow; no more of that.
Shal. Ha, it was a merry night. And is Jane Nightwork alive? Fal. She lives, master Shallow.
Shal. She never could away with me.
Fal. Never, never: she would always say, she could not abide Master Shallow.
Shal. By the mass, I could anger her to the heart. She was then a bona-roba. Doth she hold her own well.
Fal. Old, old, master Shallow.
Shal. Nay, she must be old; she cannot choose but be old; certain she's old, and had Robin Night-work by old Night-work, before I came to Clement's-inn.
Sil. That's fifty-five year ago.
Shal. Ha, cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that that this knight and I have seen !--Ha, sir John, said I well ?
Fal. We have heard the chimes at midnight, master Shallow.
Shal. That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith, sir John, we have. Our watch-word was, “ Hem, boys !”—Come, let's to dinner; come, let's to dinner. — O, the days that we have seen ! — Come,
[Exeunt FALSTAFF, SHALLOW, and SILENCE. Bull. Good master corporate Bardolph, stand my friend, and here is four Harry ten shillings in French crowns for
you. In very truth, sir, I had as lief be hanged, sir, as go: and yet, for mine own part, sir, I do not care; but rather, because I am unwilling, and, for mine own part, have a desire to stay with my friends : else, sir, I did not care, for mine own part, so much.
Bard. Go to ; stand aside.
Moul. And good master corporal captain, for my old dame's sake, stand my friend : she has nobody to do any thing about her, when I am gone; and she is old, and cannot help herself. You shall have forty, sir.
6 She never could away with me.) This expression of dislike, meaning, “she never could abide me,” is of most frequent occurrence in writers before and after the time of Shakespeare.
Bard. Go to; stand aside.
Fee. By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once;—we owe God a death. I'll ne'er bear a base mind:-an't be my destiny, so; an't be not, so. No man's too good to serve his prince; and let it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for the next.
Bard. Well said ; thou art a good fellow.
Re-enter FALSTAFF, and Justices. Fal. Come, sir, which men shall I have? Shal. Four, of which you please.
Bard. Sir, a word with you.—I have three pound to free Mouldy and Bull-calf.
Fal. Go to; well.
have? Fal. Do you choose for me.
Shal. Marry then,-Mouldy, Bull-calf, Feeble, and Shadow.
Fal. Mouldy, and Bull-calf.—For you, Mouldy, stay at home till you are past service and, for your part, Bull-calf, grow till you come unto it: I will none of you.
Shal. Sir John, sir John, do not yourself wrong. They are your likeliest men, and I would have you served with the best.
Fal. Will you tell me, master Shallow, how to choose a man? Care I for the limb, the thewes, the stature, bulk, and big assemblance of a man? Give me the spirit, master Shallow.-IIere's Wart ;-you see what a ragged appearance it is: he shall charge you, and discharge you, with the motion of a pewterer's hammer; come off, and on, swifter than he that gibbets-on the brewer's bucket. And this same half-faced fellow, Shadow,-give me this man : he presents no mark to the enemy; the foeman may with as great aim level at the edge of a penknife. And, for a retreat, how swiftly will this Feeble, the woman's tailor, run off? O, give me the spare men, and spare me the great ones.-Put me a caliver' into Wart's hand, Bardolph.
Bard. Hold, Wart, traverse; thus, thus, thus.
Fal. Come, manage me your caliver. So :—very well :-go to:-very good :-exceeding good.—0, give me always a little, lean, old, chapped, bald shot.-Well said, i’faith, Wart: thou’rt a good scab; hold, there's a tester for thee.
Shal. He is not his craft's master, he doth not do it right. I remember at Mile-end green, (when I lay at Clement's inn,) I was then sir Dagonet in Arthur's show, there was a little quiver fellow, and he would manage you his piece thus: and he would about, and about, and come you in, and come you in : “ rah, tah, tah,” would he say; "bounce,” would he say; and away again would he go, and again would he come.—I shall never see such a fellow.
Fal. These fellows will do well, master Shallow. God keep you, master Silence: I will not use many words with you.—-Fare you well, gentlemen both: I thank you : I must a dozen mile to-night.—Bardolph, give the soldiers coats.
Shal. Sir John, the Lord bless you, and God prosper your affairs, and send us peace! At your return, visit our house'. Let our old acquaintance be renewed: peradventure, I will with you to the court.
Fal. 'Fore God, I would you would.
caliver-] i.e. a hand-gun. The caliver was lighter than the musket, and was fired without a rest.
8 – I was then sir Dagonet in Arthur's show,) Arthur's show seems to have been an exhibition of archery at Mile-end green, where the archers assumed various characters, connected with king Arthur and his round table. Shallow represented sir Dagonet, the fool or buffoon of Arthur's court, on one of these occasions. This association was called (as appears by a tract by Richard Mulcaster, master of the Children of Paul's) “The friendly and frank Fellowship of Prince Arthur's Knights, in and about the City of London.”
At your return, visit our house.] The folio reads, “ As you return, visit my house."
Shal. Go to; I have spoke at a word. Fare you well.
[Excunt SHALLOW and SILENCE. Fal. Fare you well, gentle gentlemen. On, Bardolph ; lead the men away'. (Exeunt BARDOLPH, Recruits, &c.] As I return, I will fetch off these justices: I do see the bottom of justice Shallow. Lord, lord, how subject we old men are to this vice of lying ! This same starved justice hath done nothing but prate to me of the wildness of his youth, and the feats he hath done about Turnbull-street?; and every third word a lie, duer paid to the hearer than the Turk’s tribute. I do remember him at Clement’s-inn, like a man made after supper of a cheese-paring: when he was naked, he was, for all the world, like a forked radish, with a head fantastically carved upon it with a knife: he was so forlorn, that his dimensions to any thick sight were invincible?: he was the very genius of famine ; [yet lecherous as a monkey, and the whores called him-. mandrake.] He came ever in the rear-ward of the fashion ; [and sung those tunes to the over-scutched huswivest that he heard the carmen whistle, and sware —they were his fancies, or his good-nights.] And now is this Vice's dagger become a squire®; and talks
'On, Bardolph ; lead the men away.] By a printer's error, the prefix of Shallow is given to these words and what follows them in the old quartos.
TURNBULL-street ;] Properly, Turnmill-street, near Clerkenwell; a place often mentioned in our old dramatists as the residence of prostitutes. Falstaff must refer to what has passed while he was in Shallow's house, for Turnbull-street was not spoken of on the stage, until it was here introduced by Falstaff.
– to any thick sight were invINCIBLE:) So every old copy : it was probably a misprint for invisible, but as sense can easily be made of “invincible,” we are not warranted in changing the word. Just afterwards, the quarto, for “the very genius of famine, misprints“ the very gemics of famine.”
– the over-SCUTCHED huswives—] The meaning of this epithet is not clear ; but Steevens understands it over-scotch'd, as if cut and slashed by the beadle's whip. This seems the most probable interpretation.
5 – his FANCIES, or his GOOD-NIGHTS.) The names given by our old poets to small lyrical pieces for the voice. This passage, and one above, included in brackets, are only in the quartos.
• And now is this Vice'S Dagger become a squire ;] The Vice was a character in our early dramatic performances, who was armed with a wooden dagger. The notices of it in old writers are innumerable.