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father is so sick : and keeping such vile company as thou art, hath in reason taken from me all ostentation of sorrow.?
Poins. The reason ?
P. Hen. What would'st thou think of me, if I should weep?
Poins. I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.
P. Hen. It would be every man's thought : and thou art a blessed fellow, to think as every man thinks; never a man's thought in the world keeps the road-way better than thine: every man would think me an hypocrite indeed. And what accites your most worshipful thought, to think so?
Poins. Why, because you have been so lewd, and so much engraffed to Falstaff.
P. Hen. And to thee.
Poins. By this light, I am well spoken of, I can hear it with my own ears : the worst that they can say'of me is, that I am a second brother, and that I am a proper fellow of my hands;9 and those two things, I confess, I cannot help. By the mass, here comes Bardolph.
P. Hen. And the boy that I gave Falstaff: he had him from me christian; and look, if the fat villain have not transformed him ape.
Enter BARDOLPH and Page.
Bard. Come, you virtuous ass, [To the Page.] you bashful fool, must you be blushing? wherefore blush you now? What a maidenly man at arms are
- al ostentation of sorrow.] Ostentation is here not boastful show, but simply show.
proper fellow of my hands ;) A tall or proper fellow, means a good looking, well made, personable man.
you become? Is it such a matter, to get a pottlepot's maidenhead.
Page. He called me even now, my lord, through a red lattice, and I could discern no part of his face from the window: at last, I spied his eyes; and, methought, he had made two holes in the alewife's new petticoat, and peeped through.
P. Hen. Hath not the boy profited?
Page. Marry, my lord, Althea dreamed she was delivered of a fire-brand;5 and therefore I call him her dream.
P. Hen. A crown's worth of good interpretation. - There it is, boy.
[Gives him money. Poins. O, that this good blossom could be kept from cankers !_Well, there is sixpence to preserve thee.
Bard. An you do not make him be hanged among you, the gallows shall have wrong.
Þ. Hen. And how doth thy master, Bardolph?
Bard. Well, my lord. He heard of your grace's coming to town; there's a letter for you.
Poins. Delivered with good respect.—And how doth the martlemas, your master ?
Bard. In bodily health, sir.
Poins. Marry, the immortal part needs a physician: but that moves not him; though that be sick, it dies not.
through a red lattice,] i. e. from an ale-house window.
Althea dreamed, &c.] Shakspeare is here mistaken in his mythology, and has confounded Althea's firebrand with Hecuba's. The firebrand of Althea was real: but Hecuba, when she was big with Paris, dreamed that she was delivered of a firebrand that consumed the kingdom. Johnson.
-the martlemas, your master?] That is, the autumn, or rather the latter spring. The old fellow with juvenile passions.
P. Hen. I do allow this wen? to be as familiar with me as my dog: and he holds his place; for, look you,
how he writes. Poins. [Reads.] John Falstaff, knight_Every man must know that, as oft as he has occasion to name himself. Even like those that are kin to the king; for they never prick their finger, but they say, There is some of the king's blood spilt: How comes that? says he, that takes upon him not to conceive: the answer is as ready as a borrower's cap;: I am the king's poor cousin, sir.
P. Hen. Nay, they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it from Japhet. But the letter:
Poins. Sir John Falstaff, knight, to the son of the king, nearest his father, Harry prince of Wales, greeting.–Why, this is a certificate.
P. Hen. Peace !
Poins. I will imitate the honourable Roman in brevity:'-he sure means brevity in breath; shortwinded.-I commend me to thee, I commend thee, and I leave thee. Be not too familiar with Poins; for he misuses thy favours so much, that he swears, thou art to marry his sister Nell. Repent at idle times as thou may'st, and so farewell.
Thine, by yea and no, (which is as much as to say, as thou usest him,) Jack Falstaff, with my familiars; John, with my brothers and sisters; and sir John with all Europe.
this wen-] This swoln excrescence of a man.
the answer is as ready us a borrower's cap;] A man that goes to borrow money, is of all others the most complaisant; his cap is always at hand.
• I will imitate the honourable Roman in brevity:] I suppose by the honourable Roman is intended Julius Cæsar, whose veni, vidi, vici, seems to be alluded to in the beginning of the letter. I commend me to thee, I commend thee, and I leave thee. The very words of Cæsar are afterwards quoted by Falstaff. HEATH.
My lord, I will steep this letter in sack, and make him eat it.
P. Hen. That's to make him eat twenty of his words. But do you use me thus, Ned? must I marry your sister?
Poins. May the wench have no worse fortune! but I never said so.
P. Hen. Well, thus we play the fools with the time; and the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds, and mock us.-Is your master here in London?
Bard. Yes, my lord.
P. Hen. Where sups he? doth the old boar feed in the old frank?'
Bard. At the old place, my lord; in Eastcheap.
Page. None, my lord, but old mistress Quickly, and mistress Doll Tear-sheet.
P. Hen. What pagan may that be?'
Page. A proper gentlewoman, sir, and a kinswoman of
master's. P. Hen. Even such kin, as the parish heifers are to the town bull.—Shall we steal upon them, Ned, at supper?
Poins. I am your shadow, my lord; I'll follow you.
P. Hen. Sirrah, you boy,--and Bardolph ;-no word to your master, that I am yet come to town: There's for
silence, Bard. I have no tongue, sir.
frank?) Frank is sty. Ephesians,] Ephesian was a term in the cant of these times, perhaps, a toper.
What pagan may that be?] Pagan seems to have been a cant term, implying irregularity either of birth or manners.
Page. And for mine, sir, I will govern it.
P. Hen. Fare ye well; go. [Exeunt BARDOLPH and Page.]—This Doll Tear-sheet should be some road.
Poins. I warrant you, as common as the way between Saint Alban's and London.
P. Hen. How might we see Falstaff bestow himself to-night in his true colours, and not ourselves be seen?
Poins. Put on two leather jerkins, and aprons, and wait upon him at his table as drawers.
P. Hen. From a god to a bull? a heavy descension! it was Jove's case. From a prince to a prentice? a low transformation! that shall be mine: for, in every thing, the purpose must weigh with the folly. Follow me, Ned.
Warkworth. Before the Castle.
Enter NORTHUMBERLAND, Lady NORTHUMBER
LAND, and Lady Percy.
Lady N. I have given over, I will speak no more: Do what you will; your wisdom be your guide.
North. Alas, sweet wife, my honour is at pawn; And, but my going, nothing can redeem it. Lady P. O, yet, for God's sake, go not to these
wars ! The time was, father, that you broke your word, ,