SCENE 1. Gloucestershire. Shallow's house.
Well conceited, Davy: about thy business, Davy.
I beseech you, sir, to countenance William Visor of Woncot
against Clement Perkes of the hill.
There is many complaints, Davy, against that Visor: that
Visor is an arrant knave, on my knowledge.
I grant your worship that he is a knave, sir; but yet, God forbid,
sir, but a knave should have some countenance at his friend's request.
An honest man, sir, is able to speak for himself, when a knave is not.
I have served your worship truly, sir, this eight years; and if I cannot
once or twice in a quarter bear out a knave against an honest man, I
have but a very little credit with your worship.
The knave is mine honest friend, sir; therefore, I beseech your worship,
let him be countenanced.
Go to; I say he shall have no wrong. Look about, Davy.
Where are you, Sir John? Come, come, come, off with your boots.
Give me your hand, Master Bardolph.
I am glad to see your worship.
I thank thee with all my heart, kind Master Bardolph: and
welcome, my tall fellow [to the Page]. Come, Sir John.
I'll follow you, good Master Robert Shallow.
Bardolph, look to our horses.
[Exeunt Bardolph and Page.]
If I were sawed into quantities, I should make four dozen of such
bearded hermits' staves as Master Shallow. It is a wonderful thing to
see the semblable coherence of his men's spirits and his: they, by
observing of him, do bear themselves like foolish justices: he, by
conversing with them, is turned into a justice-like serving-man:
their spirits are so married in conjunction with the participation of
society that they flock together in consent, like so many wild-geese.
If I had a suit to Master Shallow, I would humour his men with the
imputation of being near their master: if to his men, I would curry
with Master Shallow that no man could better command his servants.
It is certain that either wise bearing or ignorant carriage is
caught, as men take diseases, one of another: therefore let men take
heed of their company. I will devise matter enough out of this Shallow
to keep Prince Harry in continual laughter the wearing out of six
fashions, which is four terms, or two actions; and a' shall laugh
O, it is much that a lie with a slight oath and a jest with a sad brow
will do with a fellow that never had the ache in his shoulders!
O, you shall see him laugh till his face be like a wet cloak ill laid up!