William Shakespeare's King Henry the Fourth, Part II in the complete original text.
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The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth

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Act III. Scene II.

Scene II.—Court before JUSTICE
SHALLOW'S House in Gloucestershire.

Enter SHALLOW and SILENCE, meeting;
BULLCALF and Servants, behind.

Shal. Come on, come on, come on, sir; 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.
Shal. And how doth my cousin, your bed-
fellow? and your fairest daughter and mine, my
god-daughter Ellen?
Sil. Alas! a black ousel, 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. A' must, then, to the inns o' 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,
Shal. By the mass, I was called any thing;
and I would have done any thing indeed too,
and roundly too. There was I, and Little John
Doit of Staffordshire, and black George Barnes,
and Francis Pickbone, and Will Squele a Cots-
wold man; you had not four such swinge-buck-
lers in all the inns of court again: and, I may
say to you, we knew where the bona-robas 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 a' was a crack not thus high: and the very
same day did I fight with one Sampson Stock-
fish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's Inn. Jesu! Jesu!
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.
Shal. Jesu! Jesu! dead! a' drew a good
bow; and dead! a' shot a fine shoot: John a
Gaunt loved him well, and betted much money
on his head. Dead! a' would have clapped i' the
clout at twelve score; and carried you a fore-
hand 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?
Sil. Here come two of Sir John Falstaff's
men, as I think.

Enter BARDOLPH, and One with him.
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 bis wife doth?
Bard. Sir, pardon; a soldier is better accom-
modated 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, is it: good phrases are
surely and ever were, very commendable. Ac-
commodated! it comes of 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, by
heaven. Accommodated; that is, when a man
is, as they say, accommodated; or, when a man
is, being, whereby, a' may be thought to be
accommodated, which is an excellent thing.

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 Surecard, as I think.
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. Fie! 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, let me
see. So, so, so, 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?
Moul. Here, an't please you.
Shal. What think you, Sir John? a good-
limbed fellow; young, strong, and of good
Fal. Is thy name Mouldy?
Moul. Yea, an't please you.
Fal. 'Tis the more time thou wert used.
Shal. Ha, ha, ha! most excellent, i' faith!
things that are mouldy lack use: very singular
good. In faith, well said, Sir John; very well
Fal. Prick him.
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. Yea, marry, let me have him to sit
under: he's like to be a cold soldier.
Shal. Where's Shadow?
Shad. Here, sir.
Fal. Shadow, whose son art thou?
Shad. My mother's son, sir.
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 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 up
the muster-book.
Shal. Thomas Wart!
Fal. Where's he?
Wart. Here, sir.
Fal. Is thy name Wart!
Wart. Yea, sir.
Fal. Thou art a very ragged wart.
Shal. Shall I prick him. Sir John?
Fal. It were superfluous; for his apparel is
built upon his back, and the whole frame stands
upon pins: prick him no more.
Shal. Ha, ha, ha! you can do it, sir; you can
do it: I commend you well. Francis Feeble!
Fee. Here, sir.
Fal. What trade art thou, Feeble?
Fee. A woman's tailor, sir.
Shal. Shall I prick him, sir?
Fal. You may; but if he had been a man's
tailor he'd have pricked you. Wilt thou make
as many holes in an enemy's battle as thou hast
done in a woman's petticoat?
Fee. I will do my good will, sir: you can have
no more.
Fal. Well said, good woman's tailor! well
said, courageous Feeble! Thou wilt be as valiant
as the wrathful dove or most magnanimous
mouse. Prick the woman's tailor; well, Master
Shallow; deep, Master Shallow.
Fee. I would Wart might have gone, sir.
Fal. I would thou wert a man's tailor, that
thou mightst 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 Bullcalf o' the green!
Fal. Yea, marry, let's see Bullcalf.
Bull. Here, sir.
Fal. Fore God, a likely fellow! Come, prick
me Bullcalf till he roar again.
Bull. O Lord! good my lord captain,—
Fal. What! dost thou roar before thou art
Bull. O Lord, sir! I am a diseased man.
Fal. What disease hast thou?
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
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
Nightwork by old Nightwork 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. Jesus, the days that we
have seen! Come, come.
Bull. Good Master Corporate Bardolph, stand
my friend, and here's 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.
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's prince;
and let it go which way it will, he that dies this
year is quit for the next.
Bard. Well said; thou'rt a good fellow.
Fee. Faith, I'll bear no base mind.

Re-enter FALSTAFF and the Justices.
Fal. Come, sir, which men shall I have?
Shal. Four, of which you please.
Bard. [To FALSTAFF.] Sir, a word with you.
I have three pound to free Mouldy and Bullcalf.
Fal. [Aside to BARDOLPH.] Go to; well.
Shal. Come, Sir John, which four will you
Fal. Do you choose for me.
Shal. Marry, then. Mouldy, Bullcalf, Feeble,
and Shadow.
Fal. Mouldy, and Bullcalf: for you, Mouldy,
stay at home till you are past service: and for
your part, Bullcalf, 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. Here's
Wart; you see what a ragged appearance it is:
a' 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.
O, give me always a little, lean, old, chopp'd,
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 a' would manage you his piece
thus: and a' would about and about, and come
you in, and come you in; 'rah, tah, tah,' would
a' say; 'bounce,' would a' say; and away again
would a' go, and again would a' come: I shall
never see sucli a fellow.
Fal. These fellows will do well, Master Shal-
low. God keep you. Master Silence: I will not
use many words with you. Fare you well, gentle-
men both: I thank you: I must a dozen mile
to-night. Bardolph, give the soldiers coats.
Shal. Sir John, the Lord bless you! and pros-
per your affairs! God send us peace! At your
return visit our house; let our old acquaintance
be renewed: peradventure I will with ye to the
Fal. 'Fore God I would you would. Master
Shal. Go to; I have spoke at a word. God
keep you.
Fal. Fare you well, gentle gentlemen. [Ex-
eunt SHALLOW and SILENCE.] On, Bardolph;
lead the men away. [Exeunt BARDOLPH, Re-
cruits, &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 a' was
naked he was for all the world like a forked
radish, with a head fantastically carved upon it
with a knife: a' was so forlorn that his dimen-
sions to any thick sight were invincible: a' was
the very genius of famine; yet lecherous as a
monkey, and the whores called him mandrake:
a' came ever in the rearward of the fashion and
sung those tunes to the over-scutched huswives
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 as familiarly of John a Gaunt as if he had
been sworn brother to him; and I'll be sworn a'
never saw him but once in the Tilt-yard, and
then he burst his head for crowding among the
marshal's men. I saw it and told John a Gaunt
he beat his own name; for you might have thrust
him and all his apparel into an eel-skin; the
case of a treble hautboy was a mansion for him,
a court; and now has he land and beefs. Well,
I will be acquainted with him, if I return; and
it shall go hard but I will make him a philoso-
pher's two stones to me. If the young dace be a
bait for the old pike, I see no reason in the law
of nature but I may snap at him. Let time shape,
and there an end. [Exit.
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