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SCENE WI. The English Camp in Picardy.
Enter Gower and FLUELLEN.
Gow. How now, captain Fluellen, come you from the bridge P - Flu. I assure you, there is very excellent service committed at the pridge. Gow. Is the duke of Exeter safe P Flu. The duke of Exeter is as magnanimous as Agamemnon; and a man that I love and honor with my soul, and my heart, and my duty, and my life, and my livings, and my uttermost powers. He is not (God be praised, and plessed ') any hurt in the 'orld; but keeps the pridge most valiantly," with excellent discipline. There is an ensign there at the pridge, I think, in my very conscience, he is as valiant as Mark Antony; and he is a man of no estimation in the 'orld; but I did see him do gallant service. Gow. What do you call him P Flu. He is called—ancient Pistol. Gow. I know him not.
Flu. Do you not know him P Here comes the man. Pist. Captain, I thee beseech to do me favors: The duke of Exeter doth love thee well.
Flu. Ay, I praise Got; and I have merited some love at his hands.
Pist. Bardolph, a soldier, firm and sound of heart,
1 “But keeps the pridge most valiantly.” After Henry had passed the Some, the French endeavored to intercept him in his passage to Calais, and for that purpose attempted to break down the only bridge that there was over the small river of Ternois, at Blangi, over which it was necessary, for Henry to pass. But Henry, having notice of their design, sent a part of his troops before him, who, attacking and putting the French to flight, preserved the bridge till the whole English army arrived and passed over it.
Of buxom valor," hath, by cruel fate, And giddy fortune's furious, fickle wheel, That goddess blind, That stands upon the rolling, restless stone,— . Flu. By your patience, ancient Pistol. Fortune is painted plind, with a muffler before her eyes, to signify to you that fortune is plind. And she is painted also with a wheel, to signify to you, which is the moral of it, that she is turning, and inconstant, and variations, and mutabilities; and her foot, look you, is fixed upon a spherical stone which rolls, and rolls, and rolls.-In good truth, the poet is make a most excellent description of fortune; fortune, look you, is an excellent moral. - . Pist. Fortune is Bardolph's foe, and frowns on him; For he hath stolen a pia,” and hanged must 'a be. A damned death! Let gallows gape for dog, let man go free, And let not hemp his windpipe suffocate. But Exeter hath given the doom of death, For pia, of little price. Therefore, go speak; the duke will hear thy voice ; And let not Bardolph's vital thread be cut With edge of penny cord, and vile reproach. Speak, captain, for his life, and I will thee requite. Flu. Ancient Pistol, I do partly understand your meaning. Pist. Why then rejoice therefore. Flu. Certainly, ancient, it is not a thing to rejoice at; for if, look you, he were my brother, I would desire the duke to use his goot pleasure, and put him to executions; for disciplines ought to be used.
1 “ Buacom valor.” It is true that, in the Saxon and our elder English, buacom meant pliant, yielding, obedient ; and in this sense Spenser uses it; but it was also used for lusty, rampant, however mistakenly.
2 “A pic.” The folio reads par; but Holinshed, whom Shakspeare followed, says, “A foolish soldier stole a pive out of a church, for which cause he was apprehended, and the king would not once more remove till the bor was restored, and the offender strangled.” It was the box in which the consecrated wafers were kept, originally so named from being made of bor ; but in later times it was made of gold, silver, and other costly materials. y
Pist. Die and be damned; and figo for thy friend
ship ! Flu. It is well. Pist. The fig of Spain [Exit Pistol.
Flu. Very good." Gow. Why this is an arrant counterfeit rascal. I remember him now ; a bawd ; a cutpurse. Flu. I'll assure you, 'a uttered as prave 'ords at the pridge, as you shall see in a summer’s day. But it is very well; what he has spoke to me, that is well, I warrant you, when time is serve. : Gow. Why, 'tis a gull, a fool, a rogue; that now and then goes to the wars, to grace himself, at his return into London, under the form of a soldier. And such fellows are perfect in great commanders’ names; and they will learn you by rote, where services were done;—at such and such a sconce, at such a breach, at such a convoy; who came off bravely, who was shot, who disgraced, what terms the enemy stood on ; and this they con perfectly in the phrase of war, which they trick up with new-tuned oaths. And what a beard of the general’s cut,” and a horrid suit of the camp, will do among foaming bottles, and ale-washed wits, is wonderful to be thought on But you must learn to know such slanders of the age, or else you may be marvellous mistook. - Flu. I tell you what, captain Gower;--I do perceive, he is not the man that he would gladly make show to the 'orld he is ; if I find a hole in his coat, I will tell him my mind. [Drum heard.] Hark you, the king is coming; and I must speak with him from
1 “Very good.” In the quartos, instead of these two words, we have:– « Captain Gower, cannot you hear it lighten and thunder?”
2 : A beard of the general's cut.” Our ancestors were very curious in the fashion of their beards; a certain cut was appropriated to certain professions and ranks. The spade beard and the stiletto beard appear to have been appropriated to the soldier. -
3 “From the pridge.” These words are not in the quarto. If not a mistake of the compositor, who may have caught them from the king's speech, they must mean about the bridge, or concerning it.
Enter KING HENRY, GLosTER, and Soldiers.
Flu. Got pless your majesty! K. Hen. How now, Fluellen P camest thou from the bridge P - Flu. Ay, so please your majesty. The duke of Exeter has very gallantly maintained the pridge; the French is gone off, look you ; and there is gallant and most prave passages. Marry, th’ athversary was have possession of the pridge; but he is enforced to retire, and the duke of Exeter is master of the pridge ; I can tell your majesty, the duke is a prave man. K. Hen. What men have you lost, Fluellen P Flu. The perdition of th’ athversary hath been very great, very reasonable great; marry, for my part, I think the duke hath lost never a man, but one that is like to be executed for robbing a church, one Bardolph, if your majesty know the man ; his face is all bubukles, and whelks,' and knobs, and flames of fire ; and his lips plows at his nose, and it is like a coal of fire, sometimes plue, and sometimes red; but his nose is executed, and his fire’s out. - K. Hen. We would have all such offenders so cut off;-and we give express charge, that in our marches through the country, there be nothing compelled from the villages, nothing taken but paid for; none of the French upbraided, or abused in disdainful language. For when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner.
Tucket sounds. Enter MonTJoy.
Moat. You know me by my habit.”
know of thee?
! “His face is all bubukles, and whelks, and knobs.” Whelks are not stripes, as Mr. Nares interprets the word, but pimples, or blotches; Papula. “A pimple, a whelke.”
2 “You know me by my habit;” that is, by his herald's coat. The person of a herald being inviolable was distinguished by a richly emblazoned dress. Montjoie is the title of the first king-at-arms in France, as Garter is in this country.
Mont. My master's mind.
K. Hem. Unfold it. -
Mont. Thus says my king:—Say thou to Harry of England, though we seemed dead, we did but sleep: advantage is a better soldier than rashness. Tell him we could have rebuked him at Harfleur; but that we thought not good to bruise an injury, till it were full ripe;—now we speak upon our cue," and our voice is imperial England shall repent his folly, see his weakness, and admire our sufferance. Bid him, therefore, consider of his ransom ; which must proportion the losses we have borne, the subjects we have lost, the disgrace we have digested; which, in weight to reanswer, his pettiness would bow under. For our losses, his exchequer is too poor; for the effusion of our blood, the muster of his kingdom too faint a number; and for our disgrace, his own person, kneeling at our feet, but a weak and worthless satisfaction. To this add— defiance; and tell him, for conclusion, he hath betrayed his followers, whose condemnation is pronounced. —So far my king and master; so much my office.
K. Hen. What is thy name 2 I know thy quality.
And tell thy king, I do not seek him now ;
1 i.e. in our turn. This theatrical phrase has been already noticed. * i. e. without impediment (empechement, Fr.). See Cotgrave's