Westminster. Near the Abbey.
(Strewers of Rushes; King Henry the Fourth; Falstaff; Shallow; Pistol; Bardolph; Page; Lord Chief Justice; Prince John)
Falstaff and his friends go to a good vantage point to be able to speak to the new King on his way back from his coronation. Pistol tells Falstaff about Doll’s imprisonment, and the knight promises he will have her freed. When King Henry comes by, Falstaff approaches him, but the King freezingly refuses to recognize him, does not allow him to speak, and orders him to stay away from the royal presence. He offers the knight a pension so that he will have no excuse to thieve, and promises to advance him if he mends his way, and refuses to acknowledge him as a friend. To comfort Shallow, to whom he owes a thousand pounds, Falstaff tells him that this attitude is merely the King’s necessary public one, and that he will be sent for in private. Upon this the Lord Chief Justice arrives and bundles them all off to prison. John of Lancaster predicts war in France. (83 lines)
Enter Strewers of Rushes.
More rushes, more rushes.
The trumpets have sounded twice.
’Twill be two a’ clock ere they come from the coronation. Dispatch, dispatch.
Trumpets sound, and the King and his Train pass over the stage. After them enter Falstaff, Shallow, Pistol, Bardolph, and the Boy Page.
Stand here by me, Master Shallow, I will make the King do you grace. I will leer upon him as ’a comes by, and do but mark the countenance that he will give me.
God bless thy lungs, good knight.
Come here, Pistol, stand behind me.—O, if I had had time to have made new liveries, I would have bestow’d the thousand pound I borrow’d of you. But ’tis no matter, this poor show doth better, this doth infer the zeal I had to see him.
It doth so.
It shows my earnestness of affection—
It doth so.
It doth, it doth, it doth.
As it were, to ride day and night, and not to deliberate, not to remember, not to have patience to shift me—
It is best, certain.
But to stand stain’d with travel, and sweating with desire to see him, thinking of nothing else, putting all affairs else in oblivion, as if there were nothing else to be done but to see him.
’Tis “semper idem,” for “obsque hoc nihil est.”
’Tis all in every part.
’Tis so indeed.
My knight, I will inflame thy noble liver,
And make thee rage.
Thy Doll, and Helen of thy noble thoughts,
Is in base durance and contagious prison,
By most mechanical and dirty hand.
Rouse up revenge from ebon den with fell Alecto’s snake,
For Doll is in. Pistol speaks nought but truth.
I will deliver her.
Shouts within. The trumpets sound.
There roar’d the sea, and trumpet-clangor sounds.
Enter the King and his Train, the Lord Chief Justice among them.
God save thy Grace, King Hal! My royal Hal!
The heavens thee guard and keep, most royal imp of fame!
God save thee, my sweet boy!
My Lord Chief Justice, speak to that vain man.
Have you your wits? Know you what ’tis you speak?
My King, my Jove! I speak to thee, my heart!
I know thee not, old man, fall to thy prayers.
How ill white hairs becomes a fool and jester!
I have long dreamt of such a kind of man,
So surfeit-swell’d, so old, and so profane;
But being awak’d, I do despise my dream.
Make less thy body (hence) and more thy grace,
Leave gormandizing, know the grave doth gape
For thee thrice wider than for other men.
Reply not to me with a fool-born jest,
Presume not that I am the thing I was,
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn’d away my former self;
So will I those that kept me company.
When thou dost hear I am as I have been,
Approach me, and thou shalt be as thou wast,
The tutor and the feeder of my riots.
Till then I banish thee, on pain of death,
As I have done the rest of my misleaders,
Not to come near our person by ten mile.
For competence of life I will allow you,
That lack of means enforce you not to evils,
And as we hear you do reform yourselves,
We will, according to your strengths and qualities,
Give you advancement. Be it your charge, my lord,
To see perform’d the tenure of my word.
Exeunt King and his Train.
Master Shallow, I owe you a thousand pound.
Yea, marry, Sir John, which I beseech you to let me have home with me.
That can hardly be, Master Shallow. Do not you grieve at this, I shall be sent for in private to him. Look you, he must seem thus to the world. Fear not your advancements, I will be the man yet that shall make you great.
I cannot perceive how, unless you give me your doublet and stuff me out with straw. I beseech you, good Sir John, let me have five hundred of my thousand.
Sir, I will be as good as my word. This that you heard was but a color.
A collar that I fear you will die in, Sir John.
Fear no colors, go with me to dinner. Come, Lieutenant Pistol, come, Bardolph. I shall be sent for soon at night.
Enter the Lord Chief Justice and Prince John; Officers with them.
Go carry Sir John Falstaff to the Fleet. Take all his company along with him.
My lord, my lord—
I cannot now speak, I will hear you soon. Take them away.
Si fortuna me tormenta, spero contenta.
Exeunt. Manent Prince John and the Chief Justice.
I like this fair proceeding of the King’s.
He hath intent his wonted followers
Shall all be very well provided for,
But all are banish’d till their conversations
Appear more wise and modest to the world.
And so they are.
The King hath call’d his parliament, my lord.
I will lay odds that ere this year expire,
We bear our civil swords and native fire
As far as France. I heard a bird so sing,
Whose music, to my thinking, pleas’d the King.
Come, will you hence?