War. There is a Historie in all mens Liues, Figuring the nature of the Times deceas'd: The which obseru'd, a man may prophecie With a neere ayme, of the maine chance of things, As yet not come to Life, which in their Seedes And weake beginnings lye entreasured: Such things become the Hatch and Brood of Time; And by the necessarie forme of this, King Richard might create a perfect guesse, That great Northumberland, then false to him, Would of that Seed, grow to a greater falsenesse, Which should not finde a ground to roote vpon, Vnlesse on you

King. Are these things then Necessities? Then let vs meete them like Necessities; And that same word, euen now cryes out on vs: They say, the Bishop and Northumberland Are fiftie thousand strong

War. It cannot be (my Lord:) Rumor doth double, like the Voice, and Eccho, The numbers of the feared. Please it your Grace To goe to bed, vpon my Life (my Lord) The Pow'rs that you alreadie haue sent forth, Shall bring this Prize in very easily. To comfort you the more, I haue receiu'd A certaine instance, that Glendour is dead. Your Maiestie hath beene this fort-night ill, And these vnseason'd howres perforce must adde Vnto your Sicknesse

King. I will take your counsaile: And were these inward Warres once out of hand, Wee would (deare Lords) vnto the Holy-Land.


Scena Secunda.

Enter Shallow and Silence: with Mouldie, Shadow, Wart, Feeble, Bull-calfe.

Shal. Come-on, come-on, come-on: giue mee your Hand, Sir; giue mee your Hand, Sir: an early stirrer, by the Rood. And how doth my good Cousin Silence? Sil. Good-morrow, good Cousin Shallow

Shal. And how doth my Cousin, your Bed-fellow? and your fairest Daughter, and mine, my God-Daughter Ellen? Sil. Alas, a blacke Ouzell (Cousin Shallow.) Shal. By yea and nay, Sir. I dare say my Cousin William is become a good Scholler? hee is at Oxford still, is hee not? Sil. Indeede Sir, to my cost

Shal. Hee must then to the Innes of Court shortly: I was once of Clements Inne; where (I thinke) they will talke of mad Shallow yet

Sil. You were call'd lustie Shallow then (Cousin.) Shal. I was call'd any thing: and I would haue done any thing indeede too, and roundly too. There was I, and little Iohn Doit of Staffordshire, and blacke George Bare, and Francis Pick-bone, and Will Squele a Cotsal-man, you had not foure such Swindge-bucklers in all the Innes of Court againe: And I may say to you, wee knew where the Bona-Roba's were, and had the best of them all at commandement. Then was Iacke Falstaffe (now Sir Iohn) a Boy, and Page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolke

Sil. This Sir Iohn (Cousin) that comes hither anon about Souldiers? Shal. The same Sir Iohn, the very same: I saw him breake Scoggan's Head at the Court-Gate, when hee was a Crack, not thus high: and the very same day did I fight with one Sampson Stock-fish, a Fruiterer, behinde Greyes-Inne. Oh the mad dayes that I haue spent! and to see how many of mine olde Acquaintance are dead? Sil. Wee shall all follow (Cousin.) Shal. Certaine: 'tis certaine: very sure, very sure: Death is certaine to all, all shall dye. How a good Yoke of Bullocks at Stamford Fayre? Sil. Truly Cousin, I was not there

Shal. Death is certaine. Is old Double of your Towne liuing yet? Sil. Dead, Sir

Shal. Dead? See, see: hee drew a good Bow: and dead? hee shot a fine shoote. Iohn of Gaunt loued him well, and betted much Money on his head. Dead? hee would haue clapt in the Clowt at Twelue-score, and carryed you a fore-hand Shaft at foureteene, and foureteene and a halfe, that it would haue done a mans heart good to see. How a score of Ewes now? Sil. Thereafter as they be: a score of good Ewes may be worth tenne pounds

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book