Imatges de pÓgina
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spendest thy time, but also how thou art accompanied: for though the camomile,' the more it is trodden on, the faster it grows, yet 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, 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 good 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 re

- though the camomile, &c.] This whole speech is supremely comick. The simile of camomile used to illustrate a contrary effect, brings to my remembrance an observation of a late writer of some merit, whom the desire of being witty has be trayed into a like thought. Meaning to enforce with great vehemence the mad temerity of young soldiers, he remarks, that though Bedlam be in the road to Hogsden, it is out of the way to promotion." JOHNSON.

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a micher;] i. e. truant; A micher, means a lurking thief distinguished from one more daring.

member 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 rabbet-sucker, or a poulter's

hare.

P. Hen. Well, here I am set. ·

Fal. And here I stand:-judge, my masters.
P. Hen. Now, Harry? whence come you?
Fal. My noble lord, from Eastcheap.

P. Hen. The complaints I hear of thee are grievous. Fal. 'Sblood, my lord, they are false:-nay, I'll tickle ye 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 ox3 with the pudding in his

· rubbet-sucker, &c.] Is, I suppose, a sucking rabbet. The jest is in comparing himself to something thin and little. So a poulterer's hare; a hare hung up by the hind legs without a skin, is long and slender. JOHNSON.

1

bolting-hutch-] Is the wooden receptacle into which the meal is bolted. STEEVENS.

2

that huge bombard of sack,] A bombard is a barrel. Manningtree ox-] Manningtree in Essex, and the

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 craft? 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.

P. Hen. I know, thou dost.

Fal. But to say, I know more harm in him than in 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, 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 Pharoah'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.

neighbourhood of it, are famous for richness of pasture. The farms thereabouts are chiefly tenanted by graziers. Some ox of an unusual size was, probably, roasted there on an occasion of publick festivity, or exposed for money to publick show.

take me with you;] That is, go no faster than I can follow. Let me know your meaning.

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.

Host. O Jesu, my lord, my lord!

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.

Now, master sheriff; what's your will with me? Sher. First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and

cry

Hath follow'd certain men unto this house.

P. Hen. What men?

Sher. One of them is well known, my gracious lord; A gross fat man.

Car.

As fat as butter.

P. Hen. The man, I do assure you, is not here; 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

men,

He shall be answerable; and so, farewell.

Sher. Good night, my noble lord.

P. Hen. I think it is good morrow; Is it not?

• 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.

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