William Shakespeare: King Henry IV Part II

2. SCENE II. Gloucestershire. Before Justice Shallow's house. (continued)

Fare you well, gentle gentlemen.

[Exeunt Justices.]

On, Bardolph; lead the men away.

[Exeunt Bardolph, Recruits, &c.]

As I return, I will fetch off these justices: I do see the bottom
of Justice Shallow.
Lord, Lord, how subject we old men are to this vice of lying!
This same starved justice hath done nothing but prate to me of the
wildness of his youth, and the feats he hath done about Turnbull
Street; and every third word a lie, duer paid to the hearer than the
Turk's tribute. I do remember him at Clement's Inn like a man made
after supper of a cheese-paring: when a' was naked, he was, for all
the world, like a fork'd radish, with a head fantastically carved upon
it with a knife: a' was so forlorn, that his dimensions to any thick
sight were invincible: a' was the very genius of famine; yet lecherous
as a monkey, and the whores called him mandrake: a' came ever in the
rearward of the fashion, and sung those tunes to the overscutch'd
huswifes that he heard the carmen whistle, and sware they were his
fancies or his good-nights.
And now is this Vice's dagger become a squire, and talks as familiarly
of John a Gaunt as if he had been sworn brother to him; and I'll be
sworn a' ne'er saw him but once in the Tilt-yard; and then he burst
his head for crowding among the marshal's men.
I saw it, and told John a Gaunt he beat his own name; for you might
have thrust him and all his apparel into an eel-skin; the case of a
treble hautboy was a mansion for him, a court: and now has he land
and beefs.
Well, I'll be acquainted with him, if I return; and it shall go hard
but I'll make him a philosopher's two stones to me: if the young dace
be a bait for the old pike, I see no reason in the law of nature but I
may snap at him.
Let time shape, and there an end.


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