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And these unseason'd hours, perforce, must add
I will take counsel:
Court before Justice Shallow's House in Gloucester
Enter Shallow and Silence, meeting; MOULDY,
SHADOW, WART, Feeble, BULL-CALF, and Servants, behind.
Shal. Come on, come on, come on; give me your hand, sir, give me your hand, sir: an early stirrer, by the rood. And how doth my good cousin Silence?
Sil. Good morrow, good cousin Shallow.
bedfellow? and your fairest daughter, and mine, my goddaughter Ellen?
Sil. Alas, a black ouzel, cousin Shallow.
Shal. By yea and nay, sir, I dare say, my cousin William is become a good scholar : He is at Oxford, still, is he not?
Sil. Indeed, sir; to my cost.
Shal. He must then to the inns of court shortly: I was once of Clement's-inn; where, I think, they will talk of mad Shallow yet.
Sil. You were called— lusty Shallow, then, cousin.
Shal. By the mass, I was called any thing; and I would have done any thing, indeed, and roundly
by the rood.] i. e. the cross.
too. There was I, and little John Doit of Staffordshire, and black George Bare, and Francis Pickbone, and Will Squele a Cotswold man,--you had not four such swinge-bucklersở in all the inns of court again: and, I may say to you, we knew where the bonarobas4 were; and had the best of them all at commandment. Then was Jack Falstaff, now sir John, a boy; and page to Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk.
Sil. This sir John, cousin, that comes hither anon about soldiers ? Shal. The same sir John, the very same.
I saw him break Skogan's head' at the court gate, when he was a crack, not thus high: and the very same day did I fight with one Sampson Stockfish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's-inn. O, the mad days that I have spent! and to see how many of mine old acquaintance are dead!
Sil. We shall all follow, cousin.
Shal. Certain, 'tis certain; very sure, very sure: death, as the Psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall die. How a good yoke of bullocks at Stamford fair?
Sil. Truly, cousin, I was not there.
Shal. Death is certain.—Is old Double of your town living yet?
Sil. Dead, sir. s-swinge-bucklers-) Swinge - bucklers and swash-bucklers were words implying rakes or rioters in the time of Shakspeare.
bona-robas —] i. e. ladies of pleasure. Bona Roba. Ital.
Skogan's head-] This was John Scogan, jester to King Edward IV. and not Henry, the poet, who lived long before, but is frequently confounded with him. Our author, no doubt, was well read in John's Jests, “ gathered by Andrew Boarde, doctor of physick," and printed in 4to. and black letter, but without date.
- a crack,] This is an old Islandic word, signifying a boy or child.
Shal. Dead !-See, see!—he drew a good bow;And dead!-he shot a fine shoot:-John of Gaunt loved him well, and betted much money on his head. Dead !-he would have clapped i’the clout at twelve score;? and carried you a forehand shaft a fourteen and fourteen and a half, that it would have done a man's heart good to see.How a score of ewes now?
Sil. Thereafter as they be: a score of good ewes may be worth ten pounds.
Shal. And is old Double dead!
Enter BARDOLPH, and one with him. Sil. Here come two of sir John Falstaff's men, as I think.
Bard. Good morrow, honest gentlemen: I beseech you, which is justice Shallow?
Shal. I am Robert Shallow, sir; a poor esquire of this county, and one of the king's justices of the peace: What is your good pleasure with me?
Bard. My captain, sir, commends him to you: my captain, sir John Falstaff: a tall gentleman, by heaven, and a most gallant leader.
Shal. He greets me well, sir ; I knew him a good backsword man: How doth the good knight? may I ask, how my lady his wife doth?
Bard. Sir, pardon; a soldier is better accommodated, than with a wife.
Shal. It is well said, in faith, sir; and it is well said indeed too. Better accommodated!—it is good; yea, indeed, it is: good phrases are surely, and ever were, very commendable. Accommodated! -it comes from accommodo: very good; a good phrase.
Bard. Pardon me, sir; I have heard the word. Phrase, call you it? By this good day, I know not the phrase: but I will maintain the word with my sword, to be a soldier-like word, and a word of exceeding good command. Accommodated; That is, when a man is, as they say, accommodated: or, when a
clapped i'the clout-) i. e. hit the wbite mark: at twelve score;] i. e. of yards.
man is,-being,—whereby, he may be thought to be accommodated; which is an excellent thing.
Enter FALSTAFF. Shal. It is very just:—Look, here comes good sir John.“Give me your good hand, give me your worship’s good hand: By my troth, you look well, and bear your years very well: welcome, good sir John.
Fal. I am glad to see you well, good master Robert Shallow :- Master Sure-card, as I think.8
Shal. No, sir John; it is my cousin Silence, in commission with me.
Fal. Good master Silence, it well befits you should be of the peace.
Sil. Your good worship is welcome.
Fal. Fye! this is hot weather.—Gentlemen, have you provided me here half a dozen sufficient men? Shal. Marry, have we, sir. Will you
sit? Fal. Let me see them, I beseech you.
Shal. Where's the roll? where's the roll? where's the roll-Let me see, let me see. So, so, so, so: Yea, marry, sir:-Ralph Mouldy:- let them appear as I call; let them do so, let them do so. Let me see; Where is Mouldy?
Master Sure-card, as I think.] It is observable, that many of Shakspeare's names are invented, and characteristical. Master Forth-right, the tilter; Master Shoe-tie, the traveller; Master Smooth, the silkman: Mrs. Orer-done, the bawd; Kate Keep-down, Jane Night-work, &c. Sure-card was used as a term for a boon companion, so lately as the latter end of the last century, by one of the translators of Suetonius. Malone.
Moul. Here, an't please you.
Shal. What think you, sir John? a good limbed fellow: young, strong, and of good friends.
Fal. Is thy name Mouldy?
Shal. Ha, ha, ha! most excellent, i'faith! things,
TO SHALLOW. Moul. I was pricked well enough before, an you could have let me alone: my old dame will be undone now, for one to do her husbandry, and her drudgery: you need not to have pricked me; there are other men fitter to go out than I.
Fal. Go to; peace, Mouldy, you shall go. Mouldy, it is time you were spent.
Moul. Spent !
Shal. Peace, fellow, peace; stand aside; Know you where you are?-For the other, sir John :let me see;—Simon Shadow!
Fal. Ay marry, let me have him to sit under: he's like to be a cold soldier.
Shal. Where's Shadow?
Fal. Thy mother's son! like enough; and thy father's shadow: so the son of the female is the shadow of the male: It is often so, indeed; but not much of the father's substance.
Shal. Do you like him, sir John?
Fal. Shadow will serve for summer,-prick him; -for we have a number of shadows to fill
Shal. Thomas Wart!