thy ways, old Jack! die when thou wilt, if manhood, good manhood, be not forgot upon the face of the earth, then a’nt I a shotten herring. There lives not three good men unhanged in England; and one of them is fat, and grows old, God help the while!—A plague on all cowards, I say still!—–Give me a cup of sack. [Drinks.
I am a rogue if I were not at half-sword with a dozen of them two hours together. I have escaped by miracle. I am eight times thrust through the doublet; four through the hose; my buckler cut through and through; my sword hacked like a hand-saw—ecce signum! I never dealt better since I was a man. All would not do. A plague on all cowards!—But I have peppered two of them; two, I am sure I have paid; two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee what, if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face; call me a horse.—Thou knowest my old ward. Here I lay; and thus I bore my point.—Four rogues in buckram let drive at me. These four came all afront, and mainly thrust at me. I made no more ado, but took all their seven points in my target, thus. Then, these nine in buckram, that I told thee of, began to give me ground. But I followed them close; came in foot and hand; and, with a thought—seven of these eleven I paid.—A plague on all cowards, say I!—Give me a cup of sack. [Drinks.
I can as well be hanged, as tell the manner of it; it was mere foolery.—I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown; and, as I told you, he put it by once—but, for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then, he put it by again—but, to my thinking, he was very loth to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it a third time; he put it the third time by; and still as he refused it, the rabblement shouted, and clapt their chopt hands, and threw by their sweaty night-caps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath, because Caesar refused the crown, that it had almost choaked Caesar, for he swooned, and, fell down at it; and for mine own part, I durst not laugh for fear of opening my lips, and receiving the bad air.
Before he fell down, when he perceived the common herd were glad, he refused the crown, he plucked me ope his doublet, and offered them his throat to cut: an’ I had been a man of any occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word, I would I might go to hell among the rogues!—and so he fell. When he came to himself again, he said, “if he had done, or said any thing amiss, he desired their worships to think it was his infirmity.” Three or four wenches where I stood, cried, Alas, good soul!—and forgave him with all their hearts. But there’s no heed to be taken of them: if Caesar had stabbed their mothers they would have done no less.