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Shakespeare Sunday

“If sack and sugar be a fault,
God help the wicked! if to be old and merry be a
sin, then many an old host that I know is damned: if
to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh’s lean kine
are to be loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto,
banish Bardolph, banish Poins: but sweet Jack
Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff,
valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant,
being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him
thy Harry’s company, banish not him thy Harry’s
company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.”

- William Shakespeare, 1 Henry IV

According to a legend...

…Shakespeare wrote The Merry Wives of Windsor after Elizabeth I requested “another play with Falstaff -  with Falstaff in love”.

Now I´m dogged by the image of Elizabeth, surrounded by her ladies, reading their submissions, throwing pieces of parchment into a fireplace, muttering “By my troth, ´tis so out of character”, until one of them pipes up “You could always prompt Master Shakespeare, Highness.”

Falstaff, as Prince: But to say I know more harm in him than in myself were to say more than I know. That he is old, the more the pity; his white hairs do witness it. But that he is, saving your reverence, a whoremaster, that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked. If to be old and merry be a sin, then many an old host that I know is damned. If to be fat is to be hated, then Pharaoh’s lean kine are to be loved. No, my good lord, banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins, but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant being as he is old Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry’s company, banish not him thy Harry’s company. Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.

Prince: I do, I will.

from Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part I, II.iv.483-499

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  • Falstaff. But to say I know more harm in him than in myself,
    were to say more than I know. That he is old, the 
    more the pity, his white hairs do witness it; but
    that he is, saving your reverence, a whoremaster,
    that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault,
    God help the wicked! if to be old and merry be a
    sin, then many an old host that I know is damned: if 
    to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh’s lean kine
    are to be loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto,
    banish Bardolph, banish Poins: but for sweet Jack
    Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff,
    valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, 
    being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him
    thy Harry’s company, banish not him thy Harry’s
    company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.
  • Hal. I do, I will.