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Henry IV, Part 2

Henry IV, Part 2 Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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Enter Sir John FALSTAFF, with his PAGE bearing his sword and buckler

FALSTAFF

Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water?

FALSTAFF

Sir, you giant, what did the doctor say about my urine?

PAGE

He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy water, but,for the party that owed it, he might have more diseasesthanhe knew for.

PAGE

Sir, he said that the urine itself was healthy urine, but as for the person who made the urine, he probably has more diseases than the doctor can even tell. 

FALSTAFF

Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me. The brain of this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent anything that tends to laughter more than I invent, or is invented on me. I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men. I do here walk before thee like a sow that hath overwhelmed all her litter butone. If the Prince put thee into my service for any other reason than to set me off, why then I have no judgment. Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to be worn in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never manned with an agate till now, but I will inset you neither in gold nor silver, but in vile apparel, and send you back again to your master for a jewel. The juvenal, the Prince your master, whose chin is not yet fledge—I will sooner have a beard grow in the palm of myhand than he shall get one off his cheek, and yet he will not stick to say his face is a face royal. God may finish it when He will. 'Tis not a hair amiss yet. He may keep it still at a face royal, for a barber shall never earn sixpence out of it, and yet he’ll be crowing as if he had writ man ever since his father was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace, but he’s almost outof mine, I can assure him. What said Master Dommelton about the satin for my short cloak and my slops?

FALSTAFF

All sorts of men seem to feel proud when they take a stab at me. The brain of this stupid man—made out of clay—or any man for that matter, isn't able to come up with anything that makes people laugh as much as I do. I am not only extremely witty myself, but I am also the reason why other men are witty. I walk here before you like a sow that has killed all of her babies, except for you. If the Prince sent you to work for me for any other reason than to make me angry, well then I'm an idiot. You tiny, little, son-of-a-bitch, you look like you'd be more suitable for me to wear in my hat than to be a servant at my feet. I have never been waited on by a boy who was as tiny as the stone in a ring. But don't worry, I'm not going to set you in a gold or a silver ring. I'll wrap you up in vile clothes instead and send you back to your master again, to be his jewel instead. That young man, the Prince, your master, who can't even grow hair on his face yet. I'm more likely to grow a beard in the palm of my hand than he is to grow one on his face. But that doesn't stop him from saying that his face is a royal one. Well, I guess God will give him a beard when he wants to—there's no sign of one yet. It will be able to remain a royal face, as he will never need to spend sixpence at the barbers. But still he claims that he's been a grown man ever since his father was young. He can keep his position. I have no love for him now, that for certain. What did Maiter Dommelton say about the satin to make my short jacket and my loose trousers?

PAGE

He said, sir, you should procure him better assurance thanBardolph. He would not take his band and yours. He likednot the security.

PAGE

Sir, he said that he needs a better assurance that you will pay for it—more than just saying that Bardolph will take care of it. He didn't accept Bardolph's promise and he won't accept yours either. He didn't trust it. 

FALSTAFF

Let him be damned like the glutton! Pray God his tonguebe hotter! A whoreson Achitophel, a rascally yea-forsooth knave, to bear a gentleman in hand and then stand upon security! The whoreson smoothy-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes and bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is through with them in honest taking up, then they must stand upon security. I had as lief they would put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to stop it with “security.” I looked he should have sent metwo-and-twenty yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and he sends me “security.” Well, he may sleep in security, for he hath the horn of abundance, and the lightness of his wife shines through it, and yet cannot he see though he have his own lantern to light him. Where’s Bardolph?

FALSTAFF

Damn him to hell then, just like Dives! I hope to God that he burns even hotter! He's a son of a whore, a traitor! He's a complete liar: he'll encourage a gentleman to be hopeful and then later insist that he needs proof that I will pay. These horrid tradesmen—who now have short hair, heeled shoes, and important tokens around their waist—will agree with you on an honest bargain, and then turn around and say that they need proof you will pay. I would rather put rat poison in my mouth than agree to this "proof of payment." He was supposed to send me twenty-two yards of satin, as I am an honest knight— and instead he just demands "proof of payment!" Well, he can at least sleep well in the knowledge that he has a horn of plenty—his wife is cheating on him, and he is a cuckold, and yet he refuses to acknowledge it. Where's Bardolph?

PAGE

He’s gone into Smithfield to buy your Worship a horse.

PAGE

He's gone to Smithfield to buy you a horse, sir. 

FALSTAFF

I bought him in Paul’s, and he’ll buy me a horse in Smithfield. An I could get me but a wife in the stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived.

FALSTAFF

You know, I bought Bardolph in Saint Paul's. Now he's going to buy me a horse in Smithfield. If he could just find me a wife in the brothels, I would have the best man, horse, and wife around.

Enter the Lord CHIEF JUSTICE and SERVANT

PAGE

Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the Prince for striking him about Bardolph.

PAGE

Sir, this is the nobleman who put the Prince in prison for hitting him when they were arguing about Bardolph. 

FALSTAFF

Wait close. I will not see him.

FALSTAFF

Let's hide, I don't want to talk to him. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

What’s he that goes there?

CHIEF JUSTICE

Who are you?

SERVANT

Falstaff, an ’t please your Lordship.

SERVANT

Falstaff, if it pleases your Lordship. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

He that was in question for the robbery?

CHIEF JUSTICE

The same Falstaff who was a suspect in that robbery?

SERVANT

He, my lord; but he hath since done good service atShrewsbury, and, as I hear, is now going with some charge to the Lord John of Lancaster.

SERVANT

Yes, him, my lord. But since then, he has acted bravely at the Battle of Shrewsbury, and is now supposed to be taking some men to fight alongside Lord John of Lancaster.

CHIEF JUSTICE

What, to York? Call him back again.

CHIEF JUSTICE

What? He's off to York? Tell him to come back here.

SERVANT

Sir John Falstaff!

SERVANT

Sir John Falstaff!

FALSTAFF

Boy, tell him I am deaf.

FALSTAFF

Boy, tell him that I am deaf.

PAGE

You must speak louder. My master is deaf.

PAGE

Sorry, you need to speak louder. My master is deaf. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

I am sure he is, to the hearing of any thing good.—Go pluck him by the elbow. I must speak with him.

CHIEF JUSTICE

I'm sure he is—at least when anything good is being said. Then go and grab him by the arm. I need to speak to him. 

SERVANT

Sir John!

SERVANT

Sir John! 

FALSTAFF

What, a young knave and begging? Is there not wars? Is there not employment? Doth not the King lack subjects? Do not the rebels need soldiers? Though it be a shame tobe on any side but one, it is worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side, were it worse than the name of rebellion can tell how to make it.

FALSTAFF

What? A young rascal and a beggar at that? Are there not wars happening? Aren't there things to do? Doesn't the King need more subjects? Don't the rebels need more soldiers? Even though it's shameful to be on any side other than the King's, it's even more shameful to be a beggar than it is to be a soldier on the wrong side. It makes the word "rebellion" seem even worse than it already is. 

SERVANT

You mistake me, sir.

SERVANT

You've got me all wrong, sir. 

FALSTAFF

Why sir, did I say you were an honest man? Setting myknighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied in my throat if I had said so.

FALSTAFF

Why sir, have I said that you are an honest man? Because, ignoring the fact that I'm a knight and a soldier, I would be a liar if I had said that. 

SERVANT

I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and our soldiership aside, and give me leave to tell you, you lie in your throat if you say I am any other than an honest man.

SERVANT

Then I'm asking you, sir, to ignore the fact that you're a knight and a soldier, and let me tell you that you're lying if you say that I am anything other than an honest man. 

FALSTAFF

I give thee leave to tell me so? I lay aside that whichgrows to me? If thou gett’st any leave of me, hang me; if thou tak’st leave, thou wert better be hanged. You hunt counter. Hence! Avaunt!

FALSTAFF

Do I have to let you tell me that? I am expected to ignore the things which define me as a person. If I let you do this, then hang me. If you allow yourself to do this, then you should be hanged too. You've got the wrong man. Therefore, get going! Out of my sight! 

SERVANT

Sir, my lord would speak with you.

SERVANT

Sir, my lord wants to speak to you.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Sir John Falstaff, a word please. 

FALSTAFF

My good lord. God give your Lordship good time of the day. I am glad to see your Lordship abroad. I heard say your Lordship was sick: I hope your Lordship goes abroadby advice. Your Lordship, though not clean past your youth, have yet some smack of an age in you, some relishof the saltness of time in you, and I most humbly beseech your Lordship to have a reverent care of your health.

FALSTAFF

My good lord. I hope God gives your Lordship a good day. It's good to see your Lordship out and about. I heard some people saying that you have been sick. I hope that it's all right that you're out and about. Your Lordship—although you're not entirely past your youth—you have a bit of age creeping up on you, some signs of maturity. And I must humbly encourage your Lordship to make sure that you're taking care of your health. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

Sir John, I sent for you before your expedition toShrewsbury.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Sir John, I sent for you before you went off to fight at Shrewsbury. 

FALSTAFF

An ’t please your Lordship, I hear his Majesty is returnedwith some discomfort from Wales.

FALSTAFF

If it pleases your Lordship, I have heard that the King is back from Wales and everything didn't go quite as planned. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

I talk not of his Majesty. You would not come when I sentfor you.

CHIEF JUSTICE

I am not here to talk about the King. Why didn't you come when I sent for you?

FALSTAFF

And I hear, moreover, his Highness is fallen into this samewhoreson apoplexy.

FALSTAFF

I have also heard that his Highness has got the same awful paralysis. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, God mend him. I pray you let me speak with you.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, I hope that he recovers soon. Now please, I need to speak to you. 

FALSTAFF

This apoplexy, as I take it, is a kind of lethargy , an ’t please your Lordship, a kind of sleeping in the blood, a whoreson tingling.

FALSTAFF

If I've heard correctly, this paralysis is a kind of lethargy. If it pleases your Lordship to know more, it's a kind of sleepiness in the blood, an awful tingling feeling. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

What tell you me of it? Be it as it is.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Why are you telling me all about it? Leave it alone. 

FALSTAFF

It hath its original from much grief, from study, andperturbation of the brain. I have read the cause of hiseffects in Galen. It is a kind of deafness.

FALSTAFF

It comes from too much sadness, from mental concentration, and from disturbances in the brain. I have read about the causes of this disease in the writings of Galen. It's a kind of deafness. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

I think you are fallen into the disease, for you hear not what I say to you.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well then I think that you must have this disease too, since you don't seem to be able to hear a word I'm saying to you. 

FALSTAFF

Very well, my lord, very well. Rather, an ’t please you, it isthe disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal.

FALSTAFF

It's possible, my lord, it's possible. But instead, if it pleases you, I think that I have the disease of not listening, the sickness of not paying attention—that is what I have. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

To punish you by the heels would amend the attention ofyour ears, and I care not if I do become your physician.

CHIEF JUSTICE

The only way to fix that problem would be to put you in prison, and I can't say that I'd mind being your doctor. 

FALSTAFF

I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient. Your Lordship may minister the potion of imprisonment to me in respect of poverty, but how should I be your patient to follow your prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a scruple, or indeed a scruple itself.

FALSTAFF

My lord, I am as poor as Job, but not as patient. Because I am so poor, your Lordship would be able to imprison me. But if I have to go to prison as you command, then people might have doubts or questions about it. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

I sent for you, when there were matters against you foryour life, to come speak with me.

CHIEF JUSTICE

When I sent for you, there were charges against you which could have had you killed. 

FALSTAFF

As I was then advised by my learned counsel in the lawsofthis land-service, I did not come.

FALSTAFF

I was advised that because of the rules of military service and the fact that I was on duty, I should not go to you. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in great infamy.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, the truth is that you have a huge reputation for doing dishonorable things, Sir John. 

FALSTAFF

He that buckles him in my belt cannot live in less.

FALSTAFF

Anyone who wears a belt as huge as mine couldn't be thought of as anything less. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

Your means are very slender, and your waste is great.

CHIEF JUSTICE

You don't have very much, but you waste what you do have.

FALSTAFF

I would it were otherwise. I would my means were greaterand my waist slender.

FALSTAFF

I wish it were different. I wish I had more and my waist was smaller. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

You have misled the youthful Prince.

CHIEF JUSTICE

You have misled the young Prince. 

FALSTAFF

The young Prince hath misled me. I am the fellow with thegreat belly, and he my dog.

FALSTAFF

No, the young Prince has misled me. I'm just a man with a huge belly and he's the dog who leads me. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, I am loath to gall a new-healed wound. Your day’s service at Shrewsbury hath a little gilded over your night’s exploit on Gad’s Hill. You may thank th' unquiet time for your quiet o'erposting that action.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, I don't want to open up a wound that has just healed. The good deeds you did at the Battle of Shrewsbury have partly made up for the robbery you committed at Gad's Hill. You can thank the rebellion for helping your offense be forgotten. 

FALSTAFF

My lord!

FALSTAFF

My lord!

CHIEF JUSTICE

But since all is well, keep it so. Wake not a sleeping wolf.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Now that everything is all right, let's make sure things stay like that. We don't need to wake a sleeping wolf. 

FALSTAFF

To wake a wolf is as bad as to smell a fox.

FALSTAFF

It's as bad to wake a wolf as it is to smell a fox. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

What, you are as a candle, the better part burnt out.

CHIEF JUSTICE

What? By this stage you seem like a candle—the best bit is burned out already. 

FALSTAFF

A wassail candle, my lord, all tallow. If I did say of wax, mygrowth would approve the truth.

FALSTAFF

Then I'm a large, fat candle, made of animal fat, my lord. It would make more sense if you said I was a wax candle, as my waxing here has proved. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

There is not a white hair on your face but should have hiseffect of gravity.

CHIEF JUSTICE

The white hairs on your face should be enough to tell me you're a man of gravity. 

FALSTAFF

His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.

FALSTAFF

No, I'm more a man of gravy, gravy, gravy.

CHIEF JUSTICE

You follow the young Prince up and down like his ill angel.

CHIEF JUSTICE

You follow the young Prince wherever he goes, like some kind of evil spirit. 

FALSTAFF

Not so, my lord. Your ill angel is light, but I hope hethat looks upon me will take me without weighing. And yet in some respects I grant I cannot go. I cannot tell. Virtue is of so little regard in these costermongers' times that true valor is turned bear-herd; pregnancy is made a tapster, and hath his quick wit wasted in giving reckonings. All the other gifts appurtenant to man, as the malice of this age shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry. You that are old consider not the capacitiesof us that are young. You do measure the heat of our livers with the bitterness of your galls , and we that are in the vaward of our youth, I must confess, are wagstoo.

FALSTAFF

That's not true, my lord. An evil spirit is light on its feet, and I'm sure that anyone who looks at me can tell that I'm too heavy. But I guess in some ways maybe you're right. I don't know what to think. Virtue counts for so little these days that true honor isn't even noticed—everyone is just thought of as a bear-leader. Being intelligent is only really useful for a bartender, and his intelligence is wasted because all he does is add up various bills. Even all the other good qualities of men aren't worth anything in these awful times. You old men don't think much of us younger people. You measure the heat of our passions against our melancholy and sadness. And I have to say that those of us who are at the forefront of youth, we're high-spirited as well as youthful. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are written down old with all the characters of age? Have you not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard, a decreasing leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken, your wind short, your chin double, your wit single, and every part about you blasted with antiquity? And will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John

CHIEF JUSTICE

Do you include yourself on the list of the young, even though you have age written all over you? Don't you have red and watery eyes? Wrinkled old hands? Jaundice? A white beard? A damaged leg? An ever-growing stomach? Isn't your voice hoarse? Aren't you short of breath? Your double chin is even bigger now? Your last bit of wit is gone, and all of you is ruined by age? And you still call yourself young? Oh, for shame, Sir John!

FALSTAFF

My lord, I was born about three of the clock in the afternoon, with a white head and something a round belly. For my voice, I have lost it with halloing and singing of anthems. To approve my youth further, I will not. The truth is, I am only old in judgment and understanding. And he that will caper with me for a thousand marks, let him lend me the money, and have at him! For the box of the ear that the Prince gave you, hegave it like a rude prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have checked him for it, and the young lion repents. Marry, not in ashes and sackcloth, but in new silk and old sack.

FALSTAFF

My lord, I was born at about three o'clock in the afternoon, with a white head and a slightly round belly. As for my voice, I lost it by shouting and singing loud songs. I don't feel the need to prove my youth anymore to you. The truth is, I'm only old when it comes to my good judgement and my knowledge. If anyone wants to challenge me to a dancing competition for a thousand marks, then hand over the money and let's go! As for the slap against your head that the Prince gave you, he gave it like a rude prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have told him off for it, and the young lion is sorry. Indeed, he might not be wearing the normal sackcloth and ashes, but he is making up for it in silk clothes and by drinking old wine. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, God send the Prince a better companion.

CHIEF JUSTICE

I hope that God sends the Prince a better friend! 

FALSTAFF

God send the companion a better prince. I cannot rid myhands of him.

FALSTAFF

I hope that the friend gets sent a better prince. I can't get rid of this one. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, the King hath severed you and Prince Harry. I hear you are going with Lord John of Lancaster against theArchbishop and the Earl of Northumberland.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, the King has made sure that you and Prince Harry are separated. Apparently you are going with Lord John of Lancaster to fight against the Archbishop of York and the Earl of Northumberland. 

FALSTAFF

Yea, I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look youpray, all you that kiss my Lady Peace at home, that our armies join not in a hot day, for, by the Lord, I take but two shirts out with me, and I mean not to sweat extraordinarily. If it be a hot day and I brandish anything but a bottle, I would I might never spit white again. There is not a dangerous action can peep out his head but I am thrust upon it. Well, I cannot last ever. But it was always yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing, to make it too common. If ye will needs say I am an old man, you should give me rest.I would to God my name were not so terrible to the enemy as it is. I were better to be eaten to death witha rust than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion.

FALSTAFF

Yes, and thanks for bringing that up. But make sure you pray for peace and that our armies don't have to fight each other on a hot day. For, by the Lord, I'm only taking two shirts with me— so I don't want to be sweating a lot in them! If it's a hot day, the only thing I should be doing is holding out a bottle and drinking. If I do anything else, then I will never drink white wine again. I seem to be sent off on every dangerous mission. Well, I guess I can't live forever. That's always the trick of English people—if they have something good, they just keep using it. If you want to say that I'm an old man, then let me rest and not go to these wars. I wish to God that the enemy weren't so afraid of my name. I'd rather be left to rust than exhausted by all of this action. 

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, be honest, be honest; and God bless your expedition!

CHIEF JUSTICE

Well, stay true, stay true. God bless your mission! 

FALSTAFF

Will your Lordship lend me a thousand pound to furnish meforth?

FALSTAFF

Will your Lordship lend me a thousand pounds so I can get ready for the battle?

CHIEF JUSTICE

Not a penny, not a penny. You are too impatient to bearcrosses. Fare you well. Commend me to my cousinWestmoreland.

CHIEF JUSTICE

I'm not going to lend you a penny. You're too eager for trouble. Goodbye to you now. Send my regards to Westmoreland. 

Exeunt CHIEF JUSTICE and SERVANT

FALSTAFF

If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A man can no more separate age and covetousness than he can part young limbs and lechery; but the gout galls the one, andthe pox pinches the other, and so both the degrees prevent my curses. —Boy!

FALSTAFF

If I do, smack me with a sledgehammer. A man is just as able to separate age from greed as he is to separate youth from lust. Gout affects the first, and syphilis gets the other. So there's no point in cursing either the old or the young, because they both have their own curses!

[To his PAGE] Boy!

PAGE

Sir.

PAGE

Sir.

FALSTAFF

What money is in my purse?

FALSTAFF

How much money do I have in my purse?

PAGE

Seven groats and two pence.

PAGE

Seven groats and two pence. 

FALSTAFF

I can get no remedy against this consumption of the purse. Borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the disease is incurable. Go bear this letter to my Lordof Lancaster, this to the Prince, this to the Earl of Westmoreland; and this to old Mistress Ursula, whom I have weekly sworn to marry since I perceived the first white hair on my chin . About it. You know where to find me.

FALSTAFF

There's nothing I can do to make the state of my purse any better. Borrowing money only delays the inevitable, but there is no cure for this disease. Go and take this letter to the Lord of Lancaster; this one to the Prince; and this one to the Earl of Westmoreland. Also, take this one to old Mistress Ursula, as I have been promising to marry her every week since I got my first grey hair. Off you go. You know where to find me. 

Exit PAGE

A pox of this gout! Or, a gout of this pox, for the oneor the other plays the rogue with my great toe. 'Tis no matterif I do halt. I have the wars for my color, and my pension shall seem the more reasonable. A good wit will make use of anything. I will turn diseases to commodity.

Oh damn this gout! Or maybe damn this syphilis. For one or the other is wreaking havoc on my big toe. Well, I guess it doesn't matter if I have to limp. I can blame it on the wars, and that will make my pension seem all the more justified. A clever mind can turn any problem into a good thing. I can even turn diseases to my advantage. 

Exit

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Lani strange
About the Translator: Lani Strange

Lani is currently studying for an MA in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe. She has a BA in English and Latin Literature from the University of Warwick and worked as a Teacher of Drama for a year in between her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. She has a love for all things theatrical and spends all of her free time either watching theatre or taking part in it herself.