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Act II, Prologue

[Flourish. Enter Chorus.]

Now all the youth of England are on fire,
And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies.
Now thrive the armourers, and honour's thought
Reigns solely in the breast of every man.
They sell the pasture now to buy the horse,
Following the mirror of all Christian kings,
With winged heels, as English Mercuries.
For now sits Expectation in the air,
And hides a sword from hilts unto the point
With crowns imperial, crowns, and coronets,
Promis'd to Harry and his followers.
The French, advis'd by good intelligence
Of this most dreadful preparation,
Shake in their fear, and with pale policy
Seek to divert the English purposes.
O England! model to thy inward greatness,
Like little body with a mighty heart,
What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do,
Were all thy children kind and natural!
But see thy fault! France hath in thee found out
A nest of hollow bosoms, which he fills
With treacherous crowns; and three corrupted men,
One, Richard Earl of Cambridge, and the second,
Henry Lord Scroop of Masham, and the third,
Sir Thomas Grey, knight of Northumberland,
Have, for the gilt of France,--O guilt indeed!--
Confirm'd conspiracy with fearful France;
And by their hands this grace of kings must die,
If hell and treason hold their promises,
Ere he take ship for France, and in Southampton.
Linger your patience on, and we'll digest
The abuse of distance, force a play.
The sum is paid; the traitors are agreed;
The King is set from London; and the scene
Is now transported, gentles, to Southampton.
There is the playhouse now, there must you sit;
And thence to France shall we convey you safe,
And bring you back, charming the narrow seas
To give you gentle pass; for, if we may,
We'll not offend one stomach with our play.
But, till the King come forth, and not till then,
Unto Southampton do we shift our scene.


Act II, Scene 1

SCENE I. London. A street.

[Enter Corporal Nym and Lieutenant Bardolph.]

Well met, Corporal Nym.

Good morrow, Lieutenant Bardolph.

What, are Ancient Pistol and you friends yet?

For my part, I care not. I say little; but when time shall
serve, there shall be smiles; but that shall be as it may. I dare
not fight, but I will wink and hold out mine iron. It is a simple
one, but what though? It will toast cheese, and it will endure
cold as another man's sword will; and there's an end.

I will bestow a breakfast to make you friends; and we'll
be all three sworn brothers to France. Let it be so, good
Corporal Nym.

Faith, I will live so long as I may, that's the certain of it; and
when I cannot live any longer, I will do as I may. That is my rest,
that is the rendezvous of it.

It is certain, corporal, that he is married to Nell Quickly; and
certainly she did you wrong, for you were troth-plight to her.

I cannot tell. Things must be as they may. Men may sleep, and
they may have their throats about them at that time; and some say
knives have edges. It must be as it may. Though patience be a
tired mare, yet she will plod. There must be conclusions. Well, I
cannot tell.

[Enter Pistol and Hostess.]

Here comes Ancient Pistol and his wife. Good Corporal, be
patient here. How now, mine host Pistol!

Base tike, call'st thou me host?
Now, by this hand, I swear I scorn the term;
Nor shall my Nell keep lodgers.

No, by my troth, not long; for we cannot lodge and board a
dozen or fourteen gentlewomen that live honestly by the prick of
their needles, but it will be thought we keep a bawdy house
straight. [Nym and Pistol draw.] O well a day, Lady, if he be not
drawn now! We shall see wilful adultery and murder committed.

Good Lieutenant! good corporal! offer nothing here.


Pish for thee, Iceland dog! thou prick-ear'd cur of Iceland!

Good Corporal Nym, show thy valour, and put up your sword.

Will you shog off? I would have you solus.

"Solus," egregious dog! O viper vile!
The "solus" in thy most mervailous face;
The "solus" in thy teeth, and in thy throat,
And in thy hateful lungs, yea, in thy maw,...

(The entire section is 4,637 words.)