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Falstaff. Nay, that 's past praying for. I have peppered two of them; two of them I am sure I have paid-two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee what, Hal; if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me a horse. Thou knowest my old ward here I lay, and thus I bore my point four rogues in buckram let drive at
Prince Henry. What, four? thou saidst but two, even now.
Falstaff. Four, Hal, I told thee four.-These four came all afront, and mainly thrust at me : I made no more ado, but took all their seven points in my target, thus
Prince Henry. Seven? Why there were but four even now.
Falstaff. In buckram?
Prince Henry. Ay, four, in buckram suits. Falstaff. Seven by these hilts, or I am a villain else. Dost thou hear me, Hal?
Prince Henry. Ay, Jack, and mark thee
Falstaff. Do so,
Do so, for it's worth the listening to: these nine in buckram that I told thee of— Prince Henry. So, two more already.
Falstaff. Their points being broken began to give me ground; but I followed them close, came in foot and hand, and, with a thought, seven of the eleven I paid.
Prince Henry. O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two.
Falstaff. But as the devil would have it, three misbegotten knaves in Kendal-green came at my back and let drive at me ;-for it was so dark, Hal, thou couldst not see thy hand.
Prince Henry. These lies are like the father that begets them, gross as a mountain, open, palpable. Why thou clay-brain, thou knotty-pated fool, thou obscene, greasy tallowkeech
Falstaff. What, art mad, art mad? is not the truth, the truth?
Prince Henry. Why, how couldst thou know these men in Kendal-green, when it was so dark thou couldst not see thy hand? come, tell us your reason: what sayst thou to this? Come your reason, Jack, your reason.
Falstaff. What upon compulsion! No; were I at the strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would not tell you upon compulsion. Give you a reason on compulsion! If reasons were as plenty as blackberries, I would give no man a reason on compulsion: I?
Prince Henry. I'll be no longer guilty of this sin. This sanguine coward, this bedpresser, this horse-back-breaker, this huge hill of flesh
Falstaff. Away, you starveling, you eel-skin, you dried neat's tongue, you stock-fish-O for breath to utter what is like thee-you tailor's yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck
Prince Henry. Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again; and when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this:-Poins and I saw you four set on four; you bound them, and were masters of their wealth mark now, how a plain tale shall put you down. Then did we two set on you four, and, with a word, out-faced you from your prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you here in the house. And, Falstaff, you carried your mountain sides away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity. and roared for mercy, and still ran and roared, as ever I heard bull-calf. What a slave art thou to hack thy sword as thou hast done, and then say it was in fight! What trick, what device, what starting hole canst thou find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?
Falstaff. Ha ha! ha! D'ye think I did not know you? I knew you as well as he that made you. Why hear you, my master, was it for me to kill the heir-apparent? Should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Hercules; but beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true prince ;-I was a coward on instinct, I grant you; and I shall think better of myself and thee during life; myself, for a valiant lion, and thee for a true prince. But I am glad you have the money. Let us clap to the doors; watch to-night, pray
to-morrow. What, shall we be merry? Shall we have a play extempore?
Prince Henry. Content; and the argument shall be, thy running away.
Falstaff. Ah! no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me.
6. Anne Page and her Lovers.
Several characters are to be discriminated in this dialogue. Fenton's voice must be youthful, manly, and gentle: Anne Page's must contrast with it, by its feminine softness. Justice Shallow must be known at once, from his piping tones, to be a feeble old man: Abraham Slender has a thin voice and silly bashful action. Mrs. Quickly's voice has a variety of notes in it, but all tending to be shrill. Page is blunt and plain. The characters should be known without naming them, but the short passages which mention who enter, and who make their exeunt, must be read in a plain narrative manner.
Enter Fenton and Anne Page.
Fenton. I see, I cannot get thy father's love; Therefore no more turn me to him, sweet Nan. Anne Page. Alas! how then?
Fenton. Why, thou must be thyself.
He doth object I am too great of birth;
I seek to heal it only by his wealth :
Beside these, other bars he lays before me,
My riots past, my wild societies;
you true. Fenton. No, Heaven so speed me in my time to come!
Albeit, I will confess thy father's wealth
That now I aim at.
Anne Page. Gentle master Fenton,
Cannot attain it, why then-hark you hither.
Fenton and Anne Page retire a little.
Enter Justice Shallow, Abraham Slender, and Mrs. Quickly.
Justice Shallow. Break their talk, mistress Quickly; my kinsman shall speak for himself. Abraham Slender. I'll make a shaft or a bolt on't 'slid, 'tis but venturing.
Be not dismayed.
Abraham Slender. No, she shall not dismay me: I care not for that,-but that I am afeard. Mrs. Quickly. Hark ye, mistress Anne; master Slender would speak a word with you.