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Henry IV Part 2

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2 Page 1

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter Sir John FALSTAFF, with his PAGE bearing his sword and buckler
Sir John FALSTAFF enters with his


page = young servant

, who carries a sword and shield.


Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water?



He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy water, but,
for the party that owed it, he might have more diseases than
he knew for.


He said that the urine itself was good, healthy urine, but that the man who owned it probably had more diseases than he could tell.


5Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me. The brain of this
foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent
anything that tends to laughter more than I invent, or is
invented on me. I am not only witty in myself, but the cause
that wit is in other men. I do here walk before thee like a sow that hath
10overwhelmed all her litter but one. If the Prince put
thee into my service for any other reason than to set me off,
why then I have no judgment. Thou whoreson mandrake,
thou art fitter to be worn in my cap than to wait at my heels.
I was never manned with an agate till now, but I will inset
15you neither in gold nor silver, but in vile apparel, and send
you back again to your master for a jewel. The juvenal, the
Prince your master, whose chin is not yet fledge—I will
sooner have a beard grow in the palm of my hand than he
shall get one off his cheek, and yet he will not stick to say
20his face is a face royal. God may finish it when He will. 'Tis
not a hair amiss yet. He may keep it still at a face royal, for
a barber shall never earn sixpence out of it, and yet he’ll be
crowing as if he had writ man ever since his father was
a bachelor. He may keep his own grace, but he’s almost out of


All kinds of people make it a matter of pride to heckle me. No man—that foolishly assembled lump of clay—could ever invent something quite as funny as I seem to be to other people. I’m not only witty on my own, but I bring out wit in other people. Look at the two of us, walking here: I look like a sow that’s smothered all of her baby pigs, except for you. If the Prince sent you to serve me for any other reason than to irritate me, I’m a fool. You weedy little son of a bitch: you’re so tiny that you should be a decoration on my hat, not a servant at my feet. I’ve never had a servant before who was as tiny as a ring stone. But I won’t set you in a gold or silver ring; I’ll wrap you in rags and send you back to your master, to be used as a jewel—that youth, the Prince your master, whose chin is still lacking a beard. Why, I’ll grow a beard in the palm of my hand before he’ll have one that he can shave off his face. And yet, this doesn’t stop him from claiming that he has a face for


Falstaff puns on the fact that a “royal” was a kind of coin, stamped with the king’s face.

. Well, God will give him a beard whenever he chooses to—there’s not a hair out of place yet. It’s a good thing the Prince’s face is a royal, because a barber will never earn a coin from shaving it. And still, the

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