Actus Quintus. Scoena Prima.

Enter Shallow, Silence, Falstaffe, Bardolfe, Page, and Dauie.

Shal. By Cocke and Pye, you shall not away to night. What Dauy, I say

Fal. You must excuse me, M[aster]. Robert Shallow

Shal. I will not excuse you: you shall not be excused. Excuses shall not be admitted: there is no excuse shall serue: you shall not be excus'd. Why Dauie

Dauie. Heere sir

Shal. Dauy, Dauy, Dauy, let me see (Dauy) let me see: William Cooke, bid him come hither. Sir Iohn, you shal not be excus'd

Dauy. Marry sir, thus: those Precepts cannot bee seru'd: and againe sir, shall we sowe the head-land with Wheate? Shal. With red Wheate Dauy. But for William Cook: are there no yong Pigeons? Dauy. Yes Sir. Heere is now the Smithes note, for Shooing, And Plough-Irons

Shal. Let it be cast, and payde: Sir Iohn, you shall not be excus'd

Dauy. Sir, a new linke to the Bucket must needes bee had: And Sir, doe you meane to stoppe any of Williams Wages, about the Sacke he lost the other day, at Hinckley Fayre? Shal. He shall answer it: Some Pigeons Dauy, a couple of short-legg'd Hennes: a ioynt of Mutton, and any pretty little tine Kickshawes, tell William Cooke

Dauy. Doth the man of Warre, stay all night sir? Shal. Yes Dauy: I will vse him well. A Friend i'th Court, is better then a penny in purse. Vse his men well Dauy, for they are arrant Knaues, and will backe-bite

Dauy. No worse then they are bitten, sir: For they haue maruellous fowle linnen

Shallow. Well conceited Dauy: about thy Businesse, Dauy

Dauy. I beseech you sir, To countenance William Visor of Woncot, against Clement Perkes of the hill

Shal. There are many Complaints Dauy, against that Visor, that Visor is an arrant Knaue, on my knowledge

Dauy. I graunt your Worship, that he is a knaue (Sir:) But yet heauen forbid Sir, but a Knaue should haue some Countenance, at his Friends request. An honest man sir, is able to speake for himselfe, when a Knaue is not. I haue seru'd your Worshippe truely sir, these eight yeares: and if I cannot once or twice in a Quarter beare out a knaue, against an honest man, I haue but a very litle credite with your Worshippe. The Knaue is mine honest Friend Sir, therefore I beseech your Worship, let him bee Countenanc'd

Shal. Go too, I say he shall haue no wrong: Looke about Dauy. Where are you Sir Iohn? Come, off with your Boots. Giue me your hand M[aster]. Bardolfe

Bard. I am glad to see your Worship

Shal. I thanke thee, with all my heart, kinde Master Bardolfe: and welcome my tall Fellow: Come Sir Iohn

Falstaffe. Ile follow you, good Master Robert Shallow. Bardolfe, looke to our Horsses. If I were saw'de into Quantities, I should make foure dozen of such bearded Hermites staues, as Master Shallow. It is a wonderfull thing to see the semblable Coherence of his mens spirits, and his: They, by obseruing of him, do beare themselues like foolish Iustices: Hee, by conuersing with them, is turn'd into a Iustice-like Seruingman. Their spirits are so married in Coniunction, with the participation of Society, that they flocke together in consent, like so many Wilde-Geese. If I had a suite to Mayster Shallow, I would humour his men, with the imputation of beeing neere their Mayster. If to his Men, I would currie with Maister Shallow, that no man could better command his Seruants. It is certaine, that either wise bearing, or ignorant Carriage is caught, as men take diseases, one of another: therefore, let men take heede of their Companie. I will deuise matter enough out of this Shallow, to keepe Prince Harry in continuall Laughter, the wearing out of sixe Fashions (which is foure Tearmes) or two Actions, and he shall laugh with Interuallums. O it is much that a Lye (with a slight Oath) and a iest (with a sadde brow) will doe, with a Fellow, that neuer had the Ache in his shoulders. O you shall see him laugh, till his Face be like a wet Cloake, ill laid vp

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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