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    Act 2. Scene II

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    Chapter 6
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    SCENE II. London. Another street.

    Enter PRINCE HENRY and POINS
    PRINCE HENRY
    Before God, I am exceeding weary.

    POINS
    Is't come to that? I had thought weariness durst not
    have attached one of so high blood.

    PRINCE HENRY
    Faith, it does me; though it discolours the
    complexion of my greatness to acknowledge it. Doth
    it not show vilely in me to desire small beer?

    POINS
    Why, a prince should not be so loosely studied as
    to remember so weak a composition.

    PRINCE HENRY
    Belike then my appetite was not princely got; for,
    by my troth, I do now remember the poor creature,
    small beer. But, indeed, these humble
    considerations make me out of love with my
    greatness. What a disgrace is it to me to remember
    thy name! or to know thy face to-morrow! or to
    take note how many pair of silk stockings thou
    hast, viz. these, and those that were thy
    peach-coloured ones! or to bear the inventory of thy
    shirts, as, one for superfluity, and another for
    use! But that the tennis-court-keeper knows better
    than I; for it is a low ebb of linen with thee when
    thou keepest not racket there; as thou hast not done
    a great while, because the rest of thy low
    countries have made a shift to eat up thy holland:
    and God knows, whether those that bawl out the ruins
    of thy linen shall inherit his kingdom: but the
    midwives say the children are not in the fault;
    whereupon the world increases, and kindreds are
    mightily strengthened.

    POINS
    How ill it follows, after you have laboured so hard,
    you should talk so idly! Tell me, how many good
    young princes would do so, their fathers being so
    sick as yours at this time is?

    PRINCE HENRY
    Shall I tell thee one thing, Poins?

    POINS
    Yes, faith; and let it be an excellent good thing.

    PRINCE HENRY
    It shall serve among wits of no higher breeding than thine.

    POINS
    Go to; I stand the push of your one thing that you
    will tell.

    PRINCE HENRY
    Marry, I tell thee, it is not meet that I should be
    sad, now my father is sick: albeit I could tell
    thee, as to one it pleases me, for fault of a
    better, to call my friend, I could be sad, and sad
    indeed too.

    POINS
    Very hardly upon such a subject.

    PRINCE HENRY
    By this hand thou thinkest me as far in the devil's
    book as thou and Falstaff for obduracy and
    persistency: let the end try the man. But I tell
    thee, my heart bleeds inwardly that my 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?

    PRINCE HENRY
    What wouldst thou think of me, if I should weep?

    POINS
    I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.

    PRINCE HENRY
    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.

    PRINCE HENRY
    And to thee.

    POINS
    By this light, I am well spoke on; 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; and those two things, I
    confess, I cannot help. By the mass, here comes Bardolph.

    Enter BARDOLPH and Page

    PRINCE HENRY
    And the boy that I gave Falstaff: a' had him from
    me Christian; and look, if the fat villain have not
    transformed him ape.

    BARDOLPH
    God save your grace!

    PRINCE HENRY
    And yours, most noble Bardolph!

    BARDOLPH
    Come, you virtuous ass, you bashful fool, must you
    be blushing? wherefore blush you now? What a
    maidenly man-at-arms are you become! Is't such a
    matter to get a pottle-pot's maidenhead?

    Page
    A' calls me e'en 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 ale-wife's
    new petticoat and so peeped through.

    PRINCE HENRY
    Has not the boy profited?

    BARDOLPH
    Away, you whoreson upright rabbit, away!

    Page
    Away, you rascally Althaea's dream, away!

    PRINCE HENRY
    Instruct us, boy; what dream, boy?

    Page
    Marry, my lord, Althaea dreamed she was delivered
    of a fire-brand; and therefore I call him her dream.

    PRINCE HENRY
    A crown's worth of good interpretation: there 'tis,
    boy.

    POINS
    O, that this good blossom could be kept from
    cankers! Well, there is sixpence to preserve thee.

    BARDOLPH
    An you do not make him hanged among you, the
    gallows shall have wrong.

    PRINCE HENRY
    And how doth thy master, Bardolph?

    BARDOLPH
    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?

    BARDOLPH
    In bodily health, sir.

    POINS
    Marry, the immortal part needs a physician; but
    that moves not him: though that be sick, it dies
    not.

    PRINCE HENRY
    I do allow this wen to be as familiar with me as my
    dog; and he holds his place; for look you how be 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's 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.'

    PRINCE HENRY
    Nay, they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it
    from Japhet. But to the letter.

    POINS
    [Reads] 'Sir John Falstaff, knight, to the son of
    the king, nearest his father, Harry Prince of
    Wales, greeting.' Why, this is a certificate.

    PRINCE HENRY
    Peace!

    POINS
    [Reads] 'I will imitate the honourable Romans in
    brevity:' he sure means brevity in breath,
    short-winded. '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 mayest; 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.'
    My lord, I'll steep this letter in sack and make him eat it.

    PRINCE HENRY
    That's to make him eat twenty of his words. But do
    you use me thus, Ned? must I marry your sister?

    POINS
    God send the wench no worse fortune! But I never said so.

    PRINCE HENRY
    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?

    BARDOLPH
    Yea, my lord.

    PRINCE HENRY
    Where sups he? doth the old boar feed in the old frank?

    BARDOLPH
    At the old place, my lord, in Eastcheap.

    PRINCE HENRY
    What company?

    Page
    Ephesians, my lord, of the old church.

    PRINCE HENRY
    Sup any women with him?

    Page
    None, my lord, but old Mistress Quickly and
    Mistress Doll Tearsheet.

    PRINCE HENRY
    What pagan may that be?

    Page
    A proper gentlewoman, sir, and a kinswoman of my master's.

    PRINCE HENRY
    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.

    PRINCE HENRY
    Sirrah, you boy, and Bardolph, no word to your
    master that I am yet come to town: there's for
    your silence.

    BARDOLPH
    I have no tongue, sir.

    Page
    And for mine, sir, I will govern it.

    PRINCE HENRY
    Fare you well; go.

    Exeunt BARDOLPH and Page

    This Doll Tearsheet should be some road.

    POINS
    I warrant you, as common as the way between Saint
    Alban's and London.

    PRINCE HENRY
    How might we see Falstaff bestow himself to-night
    in his true colours, and not ourselves be seen?

    POINS
    Put on two leathern jerkins and aprons, and wait
    upon him at his table as drawers.

    PRINCE HENRY
    From a God to a bull? a heavy decension! 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.

    Exeunt
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