Henry IV Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

FALSTAFF

To wake a wolf is as bad as to smell a fox.

FALSTAFF

CHIEF JUSTICE

What, you are as a candle, the better part burnt out.

CHIEF JUSTICE

What? You’re like a candle, half burned out.

FALSTAFF

A wassail candle, my lord, all tallow. If I did say of wax, my
growth would approve the truth.

FALSTAFF

Maybe, if I were a big, fat holiday candle made of animal fat. But you’d be better off saying that I’m a wax candle: I keep “waxing” larger and larger.

CHIEF JUSTICE

140There is not a white hair on your face but should have his
effect of gravity.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Your gray beard should be a sign that you’re a man of gravity.

FALSTAFF

His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.

FALSTAFF

I’m a man of gravy, gravy, gravy.

CHIEF JUSTICE

You follow the young Prince up and down like his ill angel.

CHIEF JUSTICE

You follow the young Prince everywhere, like a false angel on his shoulder.

FALSTAFF

Not so, my lord. Your ill angel is light, but I hope he that
145looks upon me will take me without weighing. And yet in
some respects I grant I cannot go. I cannot tell. Virtue is of
so little regard in these costermongers' times that true valor
is turned bear-herd; pregnancy is made a tapster, and hath his
quick wit wasted in giving reckonings. All the other gifts
150appurtenant to man, as the malice of this age shapes them,
are not worth a gooseberry. You that are old consider not the
capacities of us that are young. You do measure the heat of
our livers with the bitterness of your galls, and we that are in
the vaward of our youth, I must confess, are wags too.

FALSTAFF

That’s not so, my lord. False

angels

angel = a kind of coin; angels were often trimmed of some of their metal; a defective angel could be distinguished from a proper by weighing it on a scale.

angels
are light, and anyone can see without having to weigh me that I’m too heavy. But I don’t know; in some ways, you’re right. I’m not for these times. Virtue counts for so little in this commercial world of ours. True courage is worthless; it’s only used by animal trainers in the bear-baiting rings. Intelligence is good for nobody but bartenders, who waste their wits totaling up tavern bills. In these mean-spirited days, man’s best qualities aren’t worth a thing. You older folks don’t value us young people. You measure our fiery passion according to your melancholic bitterness. And I have to tell you, those of us who are highly advanced in our youth, we’re spirited as well as young.

CHIEF JUSTICE

155Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are
written down old with all the characters of age? Have you
not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard,

CHIEF JUSTICE

You’d add your name to the list of the young? You, who have age written all over you? Don’t you have mucus in your eyes? Dry skin? Jaundice? A white beard? An