Gloucestershire. Shallow’s house.
(Shallow; Falstaff; Bardolph; Page; Davy)
Shallow entertains Falstaff, refusing to let him leave, as he deals with the various requirements of his job. Falstaff comments on how easy it would be to get Shallow on his side, as all that is required it to flatter him. (28 lines)
Enter Shallow, Falstaff, and Bardolph, with Page.
By cock and pie, sir, you shall not away tonight. What, Davy, I say!
You must excuse me, Master Robert Shallow.
I will not excuse you, you shall not be excus’d, excuses shall not be admitted, there is no excuse shall serve, you shall not be excus’d. Why, Davy!
Davy, Davy, Davy, Davy, let me see, Davy, let me see, Davy, let me see. Yea, marry, William cook, bid him come hither. Sir John, you shall not be excus’d.
Marry, sir, thus; those precepts cannot be serv’d; and again, sir, shall we sow the hade land with wheat?
With red wheat, Davy. But for William cook—are there no young pigeons?
Yes, sir. Here is now the smith’s note for shoeing and plough-irons.
Let it be cast and paid. Sir John, you shall not be excus’d.
Now, sir, a new link to the bucket must needs be had; and, sir, do you mean to stop any of William’s wages, about the sack he lost at Hinckley fair?
’A shall answer it. Some pigeons, Davy, a couple of short-legg’d hens, a joint of mutton, and any pretty little tiny kickshaws, tell William cook.
Doth the man of war stay all night, sir?
Yea, Davy, I will use him well. A friend i’ th’ court is better than a penny in purse. Use his men well, Davy, for they are arrant knaves, and will backbite.
No worse than they are backbitten, sir, for they have marvail’s foul linen.
Well conceited, Davy. About thy business, Davy.
I beseech you, sir, to countenance William Visor of Woncote against Clement Perkes a’ th’ Hill.
There is many complaints, Davy, against that Visor. That Visor is an arrant knave, on my knowledge.
I grant your worship that he is a knave, sir; but yet God forbid, sir, but a knave should have some countenance at his friend’s request. An honest man, sir, is able to speak for himself, when a knave is not. I have serv’d your worship truly, sir, this eight years; and I cannot once or twice in a quarter bear out a knave against an honest man, I have little credit with your worship. The knave is mine honest friend, sir, therefore I beseech you let him be countenanc’d.
Go to, I say, he shall have no wrong. Look about, Davy.
Where are you, Sir John? Come, come, come, off with your boots. Give me your hand, Master Bardolph.
I am glad to see your worship.
I thank thee with my heart, kind Master Bardolph, and welcome, my tall fellow.
To the Page
Come, Sir John.
I’ll follow you, good Master Robert Shallow.
Bardolph, look to our horses.
Exeunt Bardolph and Page.
If I were saw’d into quantities, I should make four dozen of such bearded hermits’ staves as Master Shallow. It is a wonderful thing to see the semblable coherence of his men’s spirits and his. They, by observing him, do bear themselves like foolish justices; he, by conversing with them, is turn’d into a justice-like servingman. Their spirits are so married in conjunction with the participation of society that they flock together in consent, like so many wild geese. If I had a suit to Master Shallow, I would humor his men with the imputation of being near their master; if to his men, I would curry with Master Shallow that no man could better command his servants. It is certain that either wise bearing or ignorant carriage is caught, as men take diseases, one of another; therefore let men take heed of their company. I will devise matter enough out of this Shallow to keep Prince Harry in continual laughter the wearing out of six fashions, which is four terms, or two actions, and ’a shall laugh without intervallums. O, it is much that a lie with a slight oath and a jest with a sad brow will do with a fellow that never had the ache in his shoulders! O, you shall see him laugh till his face be like a wet cloak ill laid up.
I come, Master Shallow, I come, Master Shallow.