France. The English Court of Guard.
(Fluellen; Gower; Pistol)
Gower asks Fluellen why the latter is still wearing his leek in his hat, even though St. Davy’s day is past, and the Welshman explains that he is waiting for Pistol, who insulted him about it the day before. When the braggart appears, Fluellen cudgels him until he eats the leek. Pistol swears revenge, but Fluellen scorns him. Gower points out to Pistol that Fluellen’s broken English does not imply anything about his abilities. Left alone, Pistol bemoans his lot, having heard that his wife the Hostess has died of a venereal disease. He plans to return to England and become a pimp, telling stories of his days in the war. (40 lines)
Enter Fluellen and Gower.
Nay, that’s right; but why wear you your leek today? Saint Davy’s day is past.
There is occasions and causes why and wherefore in all things. I will tell you asse my friend, Captain Gower: the rascally, scald, beggarly, lousy, pragging knave, Pistol, which you and yourself, and all the world, know to be no petter than a fellow, look you now, of no merits, he is come to me, and prings me pread and salt yesterday, look you, and bid me eat my leek. It was in a place where I could not breed no contention with him; but I will be so bold as to wear it in my cap till I see him once again, and then I will tell him a little piece of my desires.
Why, here he comes, swelling like a turkey-cock.
’Tis no matter for his swellings nor his turkey-cocks. God pless you, Aunchient Pistol! You scurvy, lousy knave, God pless you!
Ha, art thou bedlam? Dost thou thirst, base Troyan,
To have me fold up Parca’s fatal web?
Hence! I am qualmish at the smell of leek.
I peseech you heartily, scurvy, lousy knave, at my desires, and my requests, and my petitions, to eat, look you, this leek; because, look you, you do not love it, nor your affections, and your appetites, and your disgestions doo’s not agree with it, I would desire you to eat it.
Not for Cadwallader and all his goats.
There is one goat for you.
Will you be so good, scald knave, as eat it?
Base Troyan, thou shalt die.
You say very true, scald knave, when God’s will is. I will desire you to live in the mean time, and eat your victuals. Come, there is sauce for it.
You call’d me yesterday mountain-squire, but I will make you today a squire of low degree. I pray you fall to; if you can mock a leek, you can eat a leek.
Enough, captain, you have astonish’d him.
I say, I will make him eat some part of my leek, or I will peat his pate four days. Bite, I pray you, it is good for your green wound and your ploody coxcomb.
Must I bite?
Yes, certainly, and out of doubt and out of question too, and ambiguities.
By this leek, I will most horribly revenge—I eat and eat—I swear—
Eat, I pray you. Will you have some more sauce to your leek? There is not enough leek to swear by.
Quiet thy cudgel, thou dost see I eat.
Much good do you, scald knave, heartily. Nay, pray you throw none away, the skin is good for your broken coxcomb. When you take occasions to see leeks hereafter, I pray you mock at ’em, that is all.
Ay, leeks is good. Hold you, there is a groat to heal your pate.
Me a groat?
Yes, verily, and in truth you shall take it, or I have another leek in my pocket, which you shall eat.
I take thy groat in earnest of revenge.
If I owe you any thing, I will pay you in cudgels; you shall be a woodmonger, and buy nothing of me but cudgels. God buy you, and keep you, and heal your pate.
All hell shall stir for this.
Go, go, you are a counterfeit cowardly knave. Will you mock at an ancient tradition, begun upon an honorable respect, and worn as a memorable trophy of predeceas’d valor, and dare not avouch in your deeds any of your words? I have seen you gleeking and galling at this gentleman twice or thrice. You thought, because he could not speak English in the native garb, he could not therefore handle an English cudgel. You find it otherwise, and henceforth let a Welsh correction teach you a good English condition. Fare ye well.
Doth Fortune play the huswife with me now?
News have I that my Doll is dead i’ th’ spittle
Of a malady of France,
And there my rendezvous is quite cut off.
Old I do wax, and from my weary limbs
Honor is cudgell’d. Well, bawd I’ll turn,
And something lean to cutpurse of quick hand.
To England will I steal, and there I’ll steal;
And patches will I get unto these cudgell’d scars,
And swear I got them in the Gallia wars.