William Shakespeare: Henry IV (Pt 1), Act III, Scene III
Enter Falstaff and Bardolph
Bardolph, am I not fallen away vilely since this last action? do I not bate? do I not dwindle? Why my skin hangs about me like an like an old lady's loose gown; I am withered like an old apple-john. Well, I'll repent, and that suddenly, while I am in some liking; I shall be out of heart shortly, and then I shall have no strength to repent. An I have not forgotten what the inside of a church is made of, I am a peppercorn, a brewer's horse: the inside of a church! Company, villanous company, hath been the spoil of me.
Why, there is it: come sing me a bawdy song; make me merry. I was as virtuously given as a gentleman need to be; virtuous enough; swore little; diced not above seven times a week; went to a bawdy-house once in a quarter—of an hour; paid money that I borrowed, three of four times; lived well and in good compass: and now I live out of all order, out of all compass.
Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you must needs be out of all compass, out of all reasonable compass, Sir John.
Do thou amend thy face, and I'll amend my life: thou art our admiral, thou bearest the lantern in the poop, but 'tis in the nose of thee; thou art the Knight of the Burning Lamp.
No, I'll be sworn; I make as good use of it as many a man doth of a Death's-head or a memento mori: I never see thy face but I think upon hell-fire and Dives that lived in purple; for there he is in his robes, burning, burning. If thou wert any way given to virtue, I would swear by thy face; my oath should be 'By this fire, that's God's angel:' but thou art altogether given over; and wert indeed, but for the light in thy face, the son of utter darkness. When thou rannest up Gadshill in the night to catch my horse, if I did not think thou hadst been an ignis fatuus or a ball of wildfire, there's no purchase in money. O, thou art a perpetual triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light! Thou hast saved me a thousand marks in links and torches, walking with thee in the night betwixt tavern and tavern: but the sack that thou hast drunk me would have bought me lights as good cheap at the dearest chandler's in Europe. I have maintained that salamander of yours with fire any time this two and thirty years; God reward me for it!
How now, Dame Partlet the hen! have you inquired yet who picked my pocket?
Why, Sir John, what do you think, Sir John? do you think I keep thieves in my house? I have searched, I have inquired, so has my husband, man by man, boy by boy, servant by servant: the tithe of a hair was never lost in my house before.
Ye lie, hostess: Bardolph was shaved and lost many a hair; and I'll be sworn my pocket was picked. Go to, you are a woman, go.
No, Sir John; You do not know me, Sir John. I know you, Sir John: you owe me money, Sir John; and now you pick a quarrel to beguile me of it: I bought you a dozen of shirts to your back.
Dowlas, filthy dowlas: I have given them away to bakers' wives, and they have made bolters of them.
Now, as I am a true woman, holland of eight shillings an ell. You owe money here besides, Sir John, for your diet and by-drinkings, and money lent you, four and twenty pound.
How! poor? look upon his face; what call you rich? let them coin his nose, let them coin his cheeks: Ill not pay a denier. What, will you make a younker of me? shall I not take mine case in mine inn but I shall have my pocket picked? I have lost a seal-ring of my grandfather's worth forty mark.
How! the prince is a Jack, a sneak-cup: 'sblood, an he were here, I would cudgel him like a dog, if he would say so.
Enter Prince Henry and Peto, marching, and Falstaff meets them playing on his truncheon like a life
How now, lad! is the wind in that door, i' faith? must we all march?
What sayest thou, Mistress Quickly? How doth thy husband? I love him well; he is an honest man.
The other night I fell asleep here behind the arras and had my pocket picked: this house is turned bawdy-house; they pick pockets.
Wilt thou believe me, Hal? three or four bonds of forty pound apiece, and a seal-ring of my grandfather's.
So I told him, my lord; and I said I heard your grace say so: and, my lord, he speaks most vilely of you, like a foul-mouthed man as he is; and said he would cudgel you.
There's no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune; nor no more truth in thee than in a drawn fox; and for womanhood, Maid Marian may be the deputy's wife of the ward to thee. Go, you thing, go
I am no thing to thank God on, I would thou shouldst know it; I am an honest man's wife: and, setting thy knighthood aside, thou art a knave to call me so.
Thou art an unjust man in saying so: thou or any man knows where to have me, thou knave, thou!
Why, Hal, thou knowest, as thou art but man, I dare: but as thou art prince, I fear thee as I fear the roaring of a lion's whelp.
The king is to be feared as the lion: dost thou think I'll fear thee as I fear thy father? nay, an I do, I pray God my girdle break.
O, if it should, how would thy guts fall about thy knees! But, sirrah, there's no room for faith, truth, nor honesty in this bosom of thine; it is all filled up with guts and midriff. Charge an honest woman with picking thy pocket! why, thou whoreson, impudent, embossed rascal, if there were anything in thy pocket but tavern-reckonings, memorandums of bawdy-houses, and one poor penny-worth of sugar-candy to make thee long-winded, if thy pocket were enriched with any other injuries but these, I am a villain: and yet you will stand to if; you will not pocket up wrong: art thou not ashamed?
Dost thou hear, Hal? thou knowest in the state of innocency Adam fell; and what should poor Jack Falstaff do in the days of villany? Thou seest I have more flesh than another man, and therefore more frailty. You confess then, you picked my pocket?
Hostess, I forgive thee: go, make ready breakfast; love thy husband, look to thy servants, cherish thy guests: thou shalt find me tractable to any honest reason: thou seest I am pacified still. Nay, prithee, be gone.
Now Hal, to the news at court: for the robbery, lad, how is that answered?
I would it had been of horse. Where shall I find one that can steal well? O for a fine thief, of the age of two and twenty or thereabouts! I am heinously unprovided. Well, God be thanked for these rebels, they offend none but the virtuous: I laud them, I praise them.
Go bear this letter to Lord John of Lancaster, to my brother John; this to my Lord of Westmoreland.
Go, Peto, to horse, to horse; for thou and I have thirty miles to ride yet ere dinner time.
At two o'clock in the afternoon.
There shalt thou know thy charge; and there receive
Money and order for their furniture.
The land is burning; Percy stands on high;
And either we or they must lower lie.
Exit Prince Henry
O, I could wish this tavern were my drum!