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Home » Quotes » Henry IV Pt 1 » What, old acquaintance, could not all this flesh

What, old acquaintance, could not all this flesh

Prince Hal, to Falstaff's apparent corpse
What, old acquaintance, could not all this flesh
Keep in a little life? Poor Jack, farewell.
I could have better spared a better man.
O, I should have a heavy miss of thee
If I were much in love with vanity.
Death hath not struck so fat a deer today,
Though many dearer in this bloody fray.
Emboweled will I see thee by and by;
Till then in blood by noble Percy lie.

He exits. Falstaff riseth up.

Falstaff
Emboweled? If thou embowel me today, I'll
give you leave to powder me and eat me too
tomorrow. ‘Sblood, 'twas time to counterfeit, or
that hot termagant Scot had paid me scot and lot
too. Counterfeit? I lie. I am no counterfeit. To die is
to be a counterfeit, for he is but the counterfeit of a
man who hath not the life of a man; but to counterfeit
dying when a man thereby liveth is to be no
counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life
indeed. The better part of valor is discretion, in the
which better part I have saved my life. Zounds, I am
afraid of this gunpowder Percy, though he be dead.
How if he should counterfeit too, and rise? By my
faith, I am afraid he would prove the better counterfeit.
Therefore I'll make him sure, yea, and I'll swear
I killed him. Why may not he rise as well as I?
Nothing confutes me but eyes, and nobody sees me.
Therefore, sirrah [stabbing him]with a new wound
in your thigh, come you along with me.

Source:
Act 5
Scene 4
Line 104

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