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King Henry IV, The First Part by William Shakespeare [Hudson edition]

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KING HENRY IV, THE FIRST PART

by William Shakespeare

Dramatis Personae

King Henry the Fourth.
Henry, Prince of Wales, son to the King.
Prince John of Lancaster, son to the King.
Earl of Westmoreland.
Sir Walter Blunt.
Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester.
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland.
Henry Percy, his son.
Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.
Scroop, Archbishop of York.
Sir Michael, his Friend.
Archibald, Earl of Douglas.
Owen Glendower.
Sir Richard Vernon.
Sir John Falstaff.
Pointz.
Gadshill.
Peto.
Bardolph.

Lady Percy, Wife to Hotspur.
Lady Mortimer, Daughter to Glendower.
Mrs. Quickly, Hostess in Eastcheap.

Lords, Officers, Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Drawers,
Carriers, Travellers, and Attendants.

SCENE.--England.

ACT I.

SCENE I. London. A Room in the Palace.

[Enter the King Henry, Westmoreland, Sir Walter Blunt, and
others.]

KING.
So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
To be commenced in strands afar remote.
No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flowerets with the armed hoofs
Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,
Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
Did lately meet in the intestine shock
And furious close of civil butchery,
Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,
March all one way, and be no more opposed
Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies:
The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife,
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
As far as to the sepulchre of Christ--
Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
We are impressed and engaged to fight--
Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,
To chase these pagans in those holy fields
Over whose acres walk'd those blessed feet
Which fourteen hundred years ago were nail'd
For our advantage on the bitter cross.
But this our purpose now is twelvemonth old,
And bootless 'tis to tell you we will go:
Therefore we meet not now.--Then let me hear
Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,
What yesternight our Council did decree
In forwarding this dear expedience.

WEST.
My liege, this haste was hot in question,
And many limits of the charge set down
But yesternight; when, all athwart, there came
A post from Wales loaden with heavy news;
Whose worst was, that the noble Mortimer,
Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
Against th' irregular and wild Glendower,
Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken;
A thousand of his people butchered,
Upon whose dead corpse' there was such misuse,
Such beastly, shameless transformation,
By those Welshwomen done, as may not be
Without much shame re-told or spoken of.

KING.
It seems, then, that the tidings of this broil
Brake off our business for the Holy Land.

WEST.
This, match'd with other, did, my gracious lord;
For more uneven and unwelcome news
Came from the North, and thus it did import:
On Holy-rood day the gallant Hotspur there,
Young Harry Percy, and brave Archibald,
That ever-valiant and approved Scot,
At Holmedon met;
Where they did spend a sad and bloody hour,
As by discharge of their artillery,
And shape of likelihood, the news was told;
For he that brought them, in the very heat
And pride of their contention did take horse,
Uncertain of the issue any way.

KING.
Here is a dear and true-industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
Stain'd with the variation of each soil
Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours;
And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
The Earl of Douglas is discomfited:
Ten thousand bold Scots, two-and-twenty knights,
Balk'd in their own blood, did Sir Walter see
On Holmedon's plains: of prisoners, Hotspur took
Mordake the Earl of Fife and eldest son
To beaten Douglas; and the Earls of Athol,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
And is not this an honourable spoil,
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?

WEST.
Faith, 'tis a conquest for a prince to boast of.

KING.
Yea, there thou makest me sad, and makest me sin
In envy that my Lord Northumberland
Should be the father to so blest a son,--
A son who is the theme of honour's tongue;
Amongst a grove, the very straightest plant;
Who is sweet Fortune's minion and her pride:
Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him,
See riot and dishonour stain the brow
Of my young Harry. O, that it could be proved
That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged
In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,
And call'd mine Percy, his Plantagenet!
Then would I have his Harry, and he mine:
But let him from my thoughts. What think you, coz,
Of this young Percy's pride? the prisoners,
Which he in this adventure hath surprised,
To his own use he keeps; and sends me word,
I shall have none but Mordake Earl of Fife.

WEST.
This is his uncle's teaching, this is Worcester,
Malevolent to you in all aspects;
Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up
The crest of youth against your dignity.

KING.
But I have sent for him to answer this;
And for this cause awhile we must neglect
Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.
Cousin, on Wednesday next our Council we
Will hold at Windsor; so inform the lords:
But come yourself with speed to us again;
For more is to be said and to be done
Than out of anger can be uttered.

WEST.
I will, my liege.

[Exeunt.]

Scene II. The same. An Apartment of Prince Henry's.

[Enter Prince Henry and Falstaff.]

FAL.
Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?

PRINCE.
Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and
unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches
after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which
thou wouldst truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the
time of the day? unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes
capons, and the blessed Sun himself a fair hot wench in
flame-coloured taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be
so superfluous to demand the time of the day.

FAL.
Indeed, you come near me now, Hal; for we that take purses go
by the Moon and the seven stars, and not by Phoebus,--he, that
wandering knight so fair. And I pr'ythee, sweet wag, when thou
art king,--as, God save thy Grace--Majesty I should say, for
grace
thou wilt have none,--

PRINCE.
What, none?

FAL.
No, by my troth; not so much as will serve to be prologue
to an egg and butter.

PRINCE.
Well, how then? come, roundly, roundly.

FAL.
Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us that
are squires of the night's body be called thieves of the day's
beauty: let us be Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade,
minions of the Moon; and let men say we be men of good
government, being governed, as the sea is, by our noble and
chaste mistress the Moon, under whose countenance we steal.

PRINCE.
Thou say'st well, and it holds well too; for the fortune of
us that are the Moon's men doth ebb and flow like the sea,
being governed, as the sea is, by the Moon. As, for proof, now: A
purse of gold most resolutely snatch'd on Monday night, and most
dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearing Lay by,
and spent with crying Bring in; now ill as low an ebb as the foot
of the ladder, and by-and-by in as high a flow as the ridge of the
gallows.

FAL.
By the Lord, thou say'st true, lad. And is not my hostess of the
tavern a most sweet wench?

PRINCE.
As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a
buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?

FAL.
How now, how now, mad wag! what, in thy quips and thy
quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?

PRINCE.
Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?

FAL.
Well, thou hast call'd her to a reckoning many a time and oft.

PRINCE.
Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?

FAL.
No; I'll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.

PRINCE.
Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch;
and where it would not, I have used my credit.

FAL.
Yea, and so used it, that, were it not here apparent that
thou art heir-apparent--But I pr'ythee, sweet wag, shall there be
gallows standing in England when thou art king? and
resolution thus fobb'd as it is with the rusty curb of old father
antic the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.

PRINCE.
No; thou shalt.

FAL.
Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I'll be a brave judge.

PRINCE.
Thou judgest false already: I mean, thou shalt have the
hanging of the thieves, and so become a rare hangman.

FAL.
Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it jumps with my humour;
as well as waiting in the Court, I can tell you.

PRINCE.
For obtaining of suits?

FAL.
Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof the hangman hath no
lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as melancholy as a gib-cat or a
lugg'd bear.

PRINCE.
Or an old lion, or a lover's lute.

FAL.
Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.

PRINCE.
What say'st thou to a hare, or the melancholy of Moor-ditch?

FAL.
Thou hast the most unsavoury similes, and art, indeed, the
most comparative, rascalliest, sweet young prince,--But, Hal, I
pr'ythee trouble me no more with vanity. I would to God thou and
I knew where a commodity of good names were to be bought. An old
lord of the Council rated me the other day in the street about you,
sir,--but I mark'd him not; and yet he talk'd very wisely,--but I
regarded him not; and yet he talk'd wisely, and in the street too.

PRINCE.
Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man
regards it.

FAL.
O, thou hast damnable iteration, and art, indeed, able to corrupt
a saint.
Thou hast done much harm upon me, Hal; God forgive thee for it!
Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am I, if a man
should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked. I must
give over this life, and I will give it over; by the Lord, an I do
not, I am a villain: I'll be damn'd for never a king's son in
Christendom.

PRINCE.
Where shall we take a purse to-morrow, Jack?

FAL.
Zounds, where thou wilt, lad; I'll make one: an I do not, call
me villain, and baffle me.

PRINCE.
I see a good amendment of life in thee,--from praying to
purse-taking.

FAL.
Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal; 'tis no sin for a man to labour
in his vocation.

[Enter Pointz.]

--Pointz!--Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match. O, if
men were to be saved by merit, what hole in Hell were hot enough
for him? This is the most omnipotent villain that ever cried
Stand! to a true man.

PRINCE.
Good morrow, Ned.

POINTZ.
Good morrow, sweet Hal.--What says Monsieur Remorse? what
says Sir John Sack-and-sugar? Jack, how agrees the Devil and
thee about thy soul, that thou soldest him on Good-Friday last
for a cup of Madeira and a cold capon's leg?

PRINCE.
Sir John stands to his word,--the Devil shall have his bargain;
for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs,--he will give the
Devil his due.

POINTZ.
Then art thou damn'd for keeping thy word with the Devil.

PRINCE.
Else he had been damn'd for cozening the Devil.

POINTZ.
But, my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four o'clock,
early at Gads-hill! there are pilgrims gong to Canterbury
with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat
purses: I have visards for you all; you have horses for
yourselves: Gadshill lies to-night in Rochester: I have bespoke
supper to-morrow night in Eastcheap: we may do it as secure as
sleep. If you will go, I will stuff your purses full of crowns;
if you will not, tarry at home and be hang'd.

FAL.
Hear ye, Yedward; if I tarry at home and go not, I'll hang you
for going.

POINTZ.
You will, chops?

FAL.
Hal, wilt thou make one?

PRINCE.
Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by my faith.

FAL.
There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee,
nor thou camest not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand
for ten shillings.

PRINCE.
Well, then, once in my days I'll be a madcap.

FAL.
Why, that's well said.

PRINCE.
Well, come what will, I'll tarry at home.

FAL.
By the Lord, I'll be a traitor, then, when thou art king.

PRINCE.
I care not.

POINTZ.

Sir John, I pr'ythee, leave the Prince and me alone: I will
lay him down such reasons for this adventure, that he shall go.

FAL.
Well, God give thee the spirit of persuasion, and him the ears
of profiting, that what thou speakest may move, and what he
hears may be believed, that the true Prince may, for recreation-
sake, prove a false thief; for the poor abuses of the time want
countenance. Farewell; you shall find me in Eastcheap.

PRINCE.
Farewell, thou latter Spring! farewell, All-hallown Summer!

[Exit Falstaff.]

POINTZ.
Now, my good sweet honey-lord, ride with us to-morrow: I
have a jest to execute that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff,
Bardolph, Peto, and Gadshill, shall rob those men that we have
already waylaid: yourself and I will not be there; and when they
have the booty, if you and I do not rob them, cut this head off
from my shoulders.

PRINCE.
But how shall we part with them in setting forth?

POINTZ.
Why, we will set forth before or after them, and appoint them
a place of meeting, wherein it is at our pleasure to fail; and
then will they adventure upon the exploit themselves; which they
shall have no sooner achieved but we'll set upon them.

PRINCE.
Ay, but 'tis like that they will know us by our horses, by our
habits, and by every other appointment, to be ourselves.

POINTZ.
Tut! our horses they shall not see,--I'll tie them in the wood;
our visards we will change, after we leave them; and, sirrah, I
have cases of buckram for the nonce, to immask our noted
outward garments.

PRINCE.
But I doubt they will be too hard for us.

POINTZ.
Well, for two of them, I know them to be as true-bred
cowards as ever turn'd back; and for the third, if he fight
longer than he sees reason, I'll forswear arms. The virtue of
this jest will be, the incomprehensible lies that this same fat
rogue will tell us when we meet at supper: how thirty, at least,
he fought with; what wards, what blows, what extremities he
endured; and in the reproof of this lies the jest.

PRINCE.
Well, I'll go with thee: provide us all things necessary and
meet me to-night in Eastcheap; there I'll sup. Farewell.

POINTZ.
Farewell, my lord.

[Exit.]

PRINCE.
I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyok'd humour of your idleness:
Yet herein will I imitate the Sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother-up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But, when they seldom come, they wish'd-for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off,
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And, like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time, when men think least I will.

[Exit.]

Scene III. The Same. A Room in the Palace.

[Enter King Henry, Northumberland, Worcester, Hotspur, Sir Walter
Blunt, and others.]

KING.
My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
Unapt to stir at these indignities,
And you have found me; for, accordingly,
You tread upon my patience: but be sure
I will from henceforth rather be myself,
Mighty and to be fear'd, than my condition,
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
And therefore lost that title of respect
Which the proud soul ne'er pays but to the proud.

WOR.
Our House, my sovereign liege, little deserves
The scourge of greatness to be used on it;
And that same greatness too which our own hands
Have holp to make so portly.

NORTH.
My good lord,--

KING.
Worcester, get thee gone; for I do see
Danger and disobedience in thine eye:
O, sir, your presence is too bold and peremptory,
And majesty might never yet endure
The moody frontier of a servant brow.
You have good leave to leave us: when we need
Your use and counsel, we shall send for you.

[Exit Worcester.]

[To Northumberland.]

You were about to speak.

NORTH.
Yea, my good lord.
Those prisoners in your Highness' name demanded,
Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took,
Were, as he says, not with such strength denied
As is deliver'd to your Majesty:
Either envy, therefore, or misprision
Is guilty of this fault, and not my son.

HOT.
My liege, I did deny no prisoners.
But, I remember, when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
Came there a certain lord, neat, trimly dress'd,
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin new reap'd
Show'd like a stubble-land at harvest-home:
He was perfumed like a milliner;
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
He gave his nose, and took't away again;
Who therewith angry, when it next came there,
Took it in snuff: and still he smiled and talk'd;
And, as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
He call'd them untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms
He question'd me; amongst the rest, demanded
My prisoners in your Majesty's behalf.
I then, all smarting with my wounds being cold,
Out of my grief and my impatience
To be so pester'd with a popinjay,
Answer'd neglectingly, I know not what,--
He should, or he should not; for't made me mad
To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting-gentlewoman
Of guns and drums and wounds,--God save the mark!--
And telling me the sovereign'st thing on Earth
Was parmaceti for an inward bruise;
And that it was great pity, so it was,
This villainous salt-petre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd
So cowardly; and, but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answered indirectly, as I said;
And I beseech you, let not his report
Come current for an accusation
Betwixt my love and your high Majesty.

BLUNT.
The circumstance consider'd, good my lord,
Whatever Harry Percy then had said
To such a person, and in such a place,
At such a time, with all the rest re-told,
May reasonably die, and never rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he unsay it now.

KING.
Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners,
But with proviso and exception,
That we at our own charge shall ransom straight
His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer;
Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray'd
The lives of those that he did lead to fight
Against that great magician, damn'd Glendower,
Whose daughter, as we hear, the Earl of March
Hath lately married. Shall our coffers, then,
Be emptied to redeem a traitor home?
Shall we buy treason? and indent with fears
When they have lost and forfeited themselves?
No, on the barren mountains let him starve;
For I shall never hold that man my friend
Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost
To ransom home revolted Mortimer.

HOT.
Revolted Mortimer!
He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war: to prove that true
Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds,
Those mouthed wounds, which valiantly he took,
When on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank,
In single opposition, hand to hand,
He did confound the best part of an hour
In changing hardiment with great Glendower.
Three times they breathed, and three times did they drink,
Upon agreement, of swift Severn's flood;
Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks,
Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,
And hid his crisp head in the hollow bank
Blood-stained with these valiant combatants.
Never did base and rotten policy
Colour her working with such deadly wounds;
Nor never could the noble Mortimer
Receive so many, and all willingly:
Then let not him be slander'd with revolt.

KING.
Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou dost belie him;
He never did encounter with Glendower:
I tell thee,
He durst as well have met the Devil alone
As Owen Glendower for an enemy.
Art not ashamed? But, sirrah, henceforth
Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer:
Send me your prisoners with the speediest means,
Or you shall hear in such a kind from me
As will displease you.--My Lord Northumberland,
We license your departure with your son.--
Send us your prisoners, or you'll hear of it.

[Exeunt King Henry, Blunt, and train.]

HOT.
An if the Devil come and roar for them,
I will not send them: I will after straight,
And tell him so; for I will else my heart,
Although it be with hazard of my head.

NORTH.
What, drunk with choler? stay, and pause awhile:
Here comes your uncle.

[Re-enter Worcester.]

HOT.
Speak of Mortimer!
Zounds, I will speak of him; and let my soul
Want mercy, if I do not join with him:
Yea, on his part I'll empty all these veins,
And shed my dear blood drop by drop i' the dust,
But I will lift the down-trod Mortimer
As high i' the air as this unthankful King,
As this ingrate and canker'd Bolingbroke.

NORTH.

[To Worcester.]

Brother, the King hath made your nephew mad.

WOR.
Who struck this heat up after I was gone?

HOT.
He will, forsooth, have all my prisoners;
And when I urged the ransom once again
Of my wife's brother, then his cheek look'd pale,
And on my face he turn'd an eye of death,
Trembling even at the name of Mortimer.

WOR.
I cannot blame him: was not he proclaim'd
By Richard that dead is the next of blood?

NORTH.
He was; I heard the proclamation:
And then it was when the unhappy King--
Whose wrongs in us God pardon!--did set forth
Upon his Irish expedition;
From whence he intercepted did return
To be deposed, and shortly murdered.

WOR.
And for whose death we in the world's wide mouth
Live scandalized and foully spoken of.

HOT.
But, soft! I pray you; did King Richard then
Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer
Heir to the crown?

NORTH.
He did; myself did hear it.

HOT.
Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin King,
That wish'd him on the barren mountains starve.
But shall it be, that you, that set the crown
Upon the head of this forgetful man,
And for his sake wear the detested blot
Of murderous subornation,--shall it be,
That you a world of curses undergo,
Being the agents, or base second means,
The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather?--
O, pardon me, that I descend so low,
To show the line and the predicament
Wherein you range under this subtle King;--
Shall it, for shame, be spoken in these days,
Or fill up chronicles in time to come,
That men of your nobility and power
Did gage them both in an unjust behalf,--
As both of you, God pardon it! have done,--
To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose,
And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke?
And shall it, in more shame, be further spoken,
That you are fool'd, discarded, and shook off
By him for whom these shames ye underwent?
No! yet time serves, wherein you may redeem
Your banish'd honours, and restore yourselves
Into the good thoughts of the world again;
Revenge the jeering and disdain'd contempt
Of this proud King, who studies day and night
To answer all the debt he owes to you
Even with the bloody payment of your deaths:
Therefore, I say,--

WOR.
Peace, cousin, say no more:
And now I will unclasp a secret book,
And to your quick-conceiving discontent
I'll read you matter deep and dangerous;
As full of peril and adventurous spirit
As to o'er-walk a current roaring loud
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.

HOT.
If we fall in, good night, or sink or swim!
Send danger from the east unto the west,
So honour cross it from the north to south,
And let them grapple. O, the blood more stirs
To rouse a lion than to start a hare!

NORTH.
Imagination of some great exploit
Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.

HOT.
By Heaven, methinks it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced Moon;
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;
So he that doth redeem her thence might wear
Without corrival all her dignities:
But out upon this half-faced fellowship!

WOR.
He apprehends a world of figures here,
But not the form of what he should attend.--
Good cousin, give me audience for a while.

HOT.
I cry you mercy.

WOR.
Those same noble Scots
That are your prisoners,--

HOT.
I'll keep them all;
By God, he shall not have a Scot of them;
No, if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not:
I'll keep them, by this hand.

WOR.
You start away,
And lend no ear unto my purposes.
Those prisoners you shall keep;--

HOT.
Nay, I will; that's flat.
He said he would not ransom Mortimer;
Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla Mortimer!
Nay,
I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak
Nothing but Mortimer, and give it him,
To keep his anger still in motion.

WOR.
Hear you, cousin; a word.

HOT.
All studies here I solemnly defy,
Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke:
And that same sword-and-buckler Prince of Wales,
But that I think his father loves him not,
And would be glad he met with some mischance,
I'd have him poison'd with a pot of ale.

WOR.
Farewell, kinsman: I will talk to you
When you are better temper'd to attend.

NORTH.
Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient fool
Art thou, to break into this woman's mood,
Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own!

HOT.
Why, look you, I am whipp'd and scourged with rods,
Nettled, and stung with pismires, when I hear
Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke.
In Richard's time,--what do you call the place?--
A plague upon't!--it is in Gioucestershire;--
'Twas where the madcap Duke his uncle kept,
His uncle York;--where I first bow'd my knee
Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke;--
When you and he came back from Ravenspurg.

NORTH.
At Berkeley-castle.

HOT.
You say true:--
Why, what a candy deal of courtesy
This fawning greyhound then did proffer me!
Look, when his infant fortune came to age,
And, Gentle Harry Percy, and kind cousin,--
O, the Devil take such cozeners!--God forgive me!--
Good uncle, tell your tale; for I have done.

WOR.
Nay, if you have not, to't again;
We'll stay your leisure.

HOT.
I have done, i'faith.

WOR.
Then once more to your Scottish prisoners.
Deliver them up without their ransom straight,
And make the Douglas' son your only mean
For powers in Scotland; which, for divers reasons
Which I shall send you written, be assured,
Will easily be granted.--
[To Northumberland.] You, my lord,
Your son in Scotland being thus employ'd,
Shall secretly into the bosom creep
Of that same noble prelate, well beloved,
Th' Archbishop.

HOT.
Of York, is't not?

WOR.
True; who bears hard
His brother's death at Bristol, the Lord Scroop.
I speak not this in estimation,
As what I think might be, but what I know
Is ruminated, plotted, and set down,
And only stays but to behold the face
Of that occasion that shall bring it on.

HOT.
I smell't: upon my life, it will do well.

NORTH.
Before the game's a-foot, thou still lett'st slip.

HOT.
Why, it cannot choose but be a noble plot:--
And then the power of Scotland and of York
To join with Mortimer, ha?

WOR.
And so they shall.

HOT.

In faith, it is exceedingly well aim'd.

WOR.
And 'tis no little reason bids us speed,
To save our heads by raising of a head;
For, bear ourselves as even as we can,
The King will always think him in our debt,
And think we think ourselves unsatisfied,
Till he hath found a time to pay us home:
And see already how he doth begin
To make us strangers to his looks of love.

HOT.
He does, he does: we'll be revenged on him.

WOR.
Cousin, farewell: no further go in this
Than I by letters shall direct your course.
When time is ripe,-- which will be suddenly,--
I'll steal to Glendower and Lord Mortimer;
Where you and Douglas, and our powers at once,
As I will fashion it, shall happily meet,
To bear our fortunes in our own strong arms,
Which now we hold at much uncertainty.

NORTH.
Farewell, good brother: we shall thrive, I trust.

HOT.
Uncle, adieu: O, let the hours be short,
Till fields and blows and groans applaud our sport!

[Exeunt.]

ACT II.

Scene I. Rochester. An Inn-Yard.

[Enter a Carrier with a lantern in his hand.]

1. CAR.
Heigh-ho! an't be not four by the day, I'll be hang'd:
Charles' wain is over the new chimney, and yet our horse' not
pack'd.--What, ostler!

OST.
[within.] Anon, anon.

1. CAR.
I pr'ythee, Tom, beat Cut's saddle, put a few flocks in the
point; the poor jade is wrung in the withers out of all cess.

[Enter another Carrier.]

2. CAR.
Peas and beans are as dank here as a dog, and that is the
next way to give poor jades the bots; this house is turned
upside down since Robin ostler died.

1. CAR.
Poor fellow! never joyed since the price of oats rose; it was
the death of him.

2. CAR.
I think this be the most villainous house in all London road
for fleas: I am stung like a tench.

1. CAR.
Like a tench! by the Mass, there is ne'er a king in Christendom
could be better bit than I have been since the first cock.--What,

ostler! come away and be hang'd; come away.

2. CAR.
I have a gammon of bacon and two razes of ginger, to be
delivered as far as Charing-cross.

1. CAR.
'Odsbody! the turkeys in my pannier are quite starved.--What,
ostler! A plague on thee! hast thou never an eye in thy head?
canst not hear? An 'twere not as good a deed as drink to break
the pate of thee, I am a very villain. Come, and be hang'd:
hast no faith in thee?

[Enter Gadshill.]

GADS.
Good morrow, carriers. What's o'clock?

1. CAR.
I think it be two o'clock.

GADS.
I pr'ythee, lend me thy lantern, to see my gelding in the
stable.

1. CAR.
Nay, soft, I pray ye; I know a trick worth two of that, i'faith.

GADS.
I pr'ythee, lend me thine.

2. CAR.
Ay, when? canst tell? Lend me thy lantern, quoth a? marry, I'll
see thee hang'd first.

GADS.
Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to London?

2. CAR.
Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant thee.--
Come, neighbour Muggs, we'll call up the gentlemen: they will
along with company, for they have great charge.

[Exeunt Carriers.]

GADS.
What, ho! chamberlain!

CHAM.
[Within.] At hand, quoth pick-purse.

GADS.
That's even as fair as--at hand, quoth the chamberlain; for
thou variest no more from picking of purses than giving
direction doth from labouring; thou lay'st the plot how.

[Enter Chamberlain.]

CHAM.
Good morrow, Master Gadshill. It holds current that I told
you yesternight: there's a franklin in the wild of Kent hath
brought three hundred marks with him in gold: I heard him
tell it to one of his company last night at supper; a kind of
auditor; one that hath abundance of charge too, God knows what.
They are up already, and call for eggs and butter; they will away
presently.

GADS.
Sirrah, if they meet not with Saint Nicholas' clerks, I'll give
thee this neck.

CHAM.
No, I'll none of it: I pr'ythee, keep that for the hangman; for
I know thou worshippest Saint Nicholas as truly as a man of
falsehood may.

GADS.
What talkest thou to me of the hangman? if I hang, I'll make
a fat pair of gallows; for, if I hang, old Sir John hangs with
me, and thou know'st he is no starveling. Tut! there are other
Trojans that thou dreamest not of, the which, for sport-sake,
are content to do the profession some grace; that would, if
matters should be look'd into, for their own credit-sake, make
all whole. I am joined with no foot land-rakers, no long-staff
sixpenny strikers, none of these mad mustachio purple-hued
malt-worms; but with nobility and tranquillity, burgomasters and
great oneyers; such as can hold in, such as will strike sooner
than speak, and speak sooner than drink, and drink sooner than
pray: and yet, zwounds, I lie; for they pray continually to their
saint, the Commonwealth; or, rather, not pray to her, but prey on
her, for they ride up and down on her, and make her their boots.

CHAM.
What, the Commonwealth their boots? will she hold out water
in foul way?

GADS.
She will, she will; justice hath liquor'd her. We steal as in a
castle, cock-sure; we have the receipt of fernseed,--we walk
invisible.

CHAM.
Nay, by my faith, I think you are more beholding to the night
than to fern-seed for your walking invisible.

GADS.
Give me thy hand: thou shalt have a share in our purchase, as
I am a true man.

CHAM.
Nay, rather let me have it, as you are a false thief.

GADS.
Go to; homo is a common name to all men. Bid the ostler
bring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy knave.

[Exeunt.]

Scene II. The Road by Gads-hill.

[Enter Prince Henry and Pointz; Bardolph and Peto at
some distance.]

POINTZ.
Come, shelter, shelter: I have remov'd Falstaff's horse,
and he frets like a gumm'd velvet.

PRINCE.
Stand close.

[They retire.]

[Enter Falstaff.]

FAL.
Pointz! Pointz, and be hang'd! Pointz!

PRINCE.

[Coming forward.]

Peace, ye fat-kidney'd rascal! what a brawling dost thou keep!

FAL.
Where's Pointz, Hal?

PRINCE.
He is walk'd up to the top of the hill: I'll go seek him.

[Retires.]

FAL.
I am accursed to rob in that thief's company: the rascal hath
removed my horse, and tied him I know not where. If I travel but
four foot by the squire further a-foot, I shall break my wind.
Well, I doubt not but to die a fair death for all this, if I 'scape
hanging for killing that rogue. I have forsworn his company hourly
any time this two-and-twenty year, and yet I am bewitch'd with the
rogue's company. If the rascal have not given me medicines to make
me love him, I'll be hang'd; it could not be else: I have drunk
medicines.--
Pointz!--Hal!--a plague upon you both!--Bardolph!--Peto!--I'll
starve, ere I'll rob a foot further. An 'twere not as good a deed as
drink, to turn true man, and to leave these rogues, I am the veriest
varlet that ever chewed with a tooth. Eight yards of uneven ground
is threescore and ten miles a-foot with me; and the stony-hearted
villains know it well enough: a plague upon't, when thieves cannot
be true one to another!
[They whistle.] Whew!--A plague upon you all! Give me
my horse, you rogues; give me my horse, and be hang'd!

PRINCE.
[Coming forward.] Peace! lie down; lay thine ear close to the
ground, and list if thou canst hear the tread of travellers.

FAL.
Have you any levers to lift me up again, being down? 'Sblood, I'll
not bear mine own flesh so far a-foot again for all the coin in thy
father's exchequer. What a plague mean ye to colt me thus?

PRINCE.
Thou liest; thou art not colted, thou art uncolted.

FAL.
I pr'ythee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse, good king's
son.

PRINCE.
Out, ye rogue! shall I be your ostler?

FAL.
Go, hang thyself in thine own heir-apparent garters! If I be
ta'en, I'll peach for this. An I have not ballads made on you
all, and sung to filthy tunes, let a cup of sack be my poison.
When a jest is so forward, and a-foot too, I hate it.

[Enter Gadshill.]

GADS.
Stand!

FAL.
So I do, against my will.

POINTZ.
O, 'tis our setter: I know his voice.

[Comes forward with Bardolph and Peto.]

BARD.
What news?

GADS.
Case ye, case ye; on with your visards: there's money of
the King's coming down the hill; 'tis going to the King's
exchequer.

FAL.
You lie, ye rogue; 'tis going to the King's tavern.

GADS.
There's enough to make us all.

FAL.
To be hang'd.

PRINCE.
Sirs, you four shall front them in the narrow lane; Ned
Pointz and I will walk lower; if they 'scape from your
encounter, then they light on us.

PETO.
How many be there of them?

GADS.
Some eight or ten.

FAL.
Zwounds, will they not rob us?

PRINCE.
What, a coward, Sir John Paunch?

FAL.
Indeed, I am not John of Gaunt, your grandfather; but yet
no coward, Hal.

PRINCE.
Well, we leave that to the proof.

POINTZ.
Sirrah Jack, thy horse stands behind the hedge: when thou
need'st him, there thou shalt find him. Farewell, and stand fast.

FAL.
Now cannot I strike him, if I should be hang'd.

PRINCE.
[aside to POINTZ.] Ned, where are our disguises?

POINTZ.
[aside to PRINCE HENRY.] Here, hard by: stand close.

[Exeunt Prince and Pointz.]

FAL.
Now, my masters, happy man be his dole, say I: every man
to his business.

[Enter Travellers.]

FIRST TRAVELLER.
Come, neighbour:
The boy shall lead our horses down the hill;
We'll walk a-foot awhile and ease our legs.

FALS, GADS., &C.
Stand!

SECOND TRAVELLER.
Jesu bless us!

FAL.
Strike; down with them; cut the villains' throats. Ah,
whoreson caterpillars! bacon-fed knaves! they hate us youth:
down with them; fleece them.

FIRST TRAVELLER.
O, we're undone, both we and ours for ever!

FAL.
Hang ye, gorbellied knaves, are ye undone? No, ye fat chuffs;
I would your store were here! On, bacons on! What, ye knaves!
young men must live. You are grand-jurors, are ye? we'll jure
ye, i'faith.

[Exeunt Fals., Gads., &c., driving the Travellers out.]

[Re-enter Prince Henry and Pointz, in buckram suits.]

PRINCE.
The thieves have bound the true men. Now, could thou and I rob
the thieves, and go merrily to London, it would be argument for a
week, laughter for a month, and a good jest for ever.

POINTZ.
Stand close: I hear them coming.

[They retire.]

[Re-enter Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph, and Peto.]

FAL.
Come, my masters, let us share, and then to horse before day.
An the Prince and Pointz be not two arrant cowards, there's no
equity stirring: there's no more valour in that Pointz than in a

wild duck.

[As they are sharing, the Prince and Poins set upon them.]

PRINCE.
Your money!

POINTZ.
Villains!

[Falstaff, after a blow or two, and the others run away, leaving
the booty behind them.]

PRINCE.
Got with much ease. Now merrily to horse:
The thieves are scatter'd, and possess'd with fear
So strongly that they dare not meet each other;
Each takes his fellow for an officer.
Away, good Ned. Fat Falstaff sweats to death,
And lards the lean earth as he walks along:
Were't not for laughing, I should pity him.

POINTZ.
How the rogue roar'd!

[Exeunt.]

Scene III. Warkworth. A Room in the Castle.

[Enter Hotspur, reading a letter.]

HOT.
--But, for mine own part, my lord, I could be well contented to
be there, in respect of the love I bear your House.--He could be
contented; why is he not, then? In respect of the love he bears
our House!--he shows in this, he loves his own barn better than he
loves our house. Let me see some more. The purpose you undertake
is dangerous;--Why, that's certain: 'tis dangerous to take a cold,
to sleep, to drink; but I tell you, my lord fool, out of this nettle,
danger, we pluck this flower, safety. The purpose you undertake is
dangerous; the friends you have named uncertain; the time itself
unsorted; and your whole plot too light for the counterpoise of so
great an opposition.--
Say you so, say you so? I say unto you again, you are a shallow,
cowardly hind, and you lie. What a lack-brain is this! By the Lord,
our plot is a good plot as ever was laid; our friends true and
constant: a good plot, good friends, and full of expectation; an
excellent plot, very good friends. What a frosty-spirited rogue is
this! Why, my Lord of York commends the plot and the general course
of the action. Zwounds! an I were now by this rascal, I could brain
him with his lady's fan. Is there not my father, my uncle, and
myself? Lord Edmund Mortimer, my Lord of York, and Owen Glendower?
is there not, besides, the Douglas? have I not all their letters to
meet me in arms by the ninth of the next month? and are they not
some of them set forward already? What a pagan rascal is this! an
infidel! Ha! you shall see now, in very sincerity of fear and cold
heart, will he to the King, and lay open all our proceedings. O, I
could divide myself, and go to buffets, for moving such a dish of
skimm'd milk with so honourable an action!
Hang him! let him tell the King: we are prepared. I will set
forward to-night.--

[Enter Lady Percy.]

How now, Kate! I must leave you within these two hours.

LADY.
O, my good lord, why are you thus alone?
For what offence have I this fortnight been
A banish'd woman from my Harry's bed?
Tell me, sweet lord, what is't that takes from thee
Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep?
Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth,
And start so often when thou sitt'st alone?
Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks;
And given my treasures and my rights of thee
To thick-eyed musing and curst melancholy?
In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watch'd,
And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars;
Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed;
Cry Courage! to the field! And thou hast talk'd
Of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents,
Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets,
Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin,
Of prisoners ransomed, and of soldiers slain,
And all the 'currents of a heady fight.
Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war,
And thus hath so bestirr'd thee in thy sleep,
That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow,
Like bubbles in a late-disturbed stream;
And in thy face strange motions have appear'd,
Such as we see when men restrain their breath
On some great sudden hest. O, what portents are these?
Some heavy business hath my lord in hand,
And I must know it, else he loves me not.

HOT.
What, ho!

[Enter a Servant.]

Is Gilliams with the packet gone?

SERV.
He is, my lord, an hour ago.

HOT.
Hath Butler brought those horses from the sheriff?

SERV.
One horse, my lord, he brought even now.

HOT.
What horse? a roan, a crop-ear, is it not?

SERV.
It is, my lord.

HOT.
That roan shall be my throne.
Well, I will back him straight: O esperance!--
Bid Butler lead him forth into the park.

[Exit Servant.]

LADY.
But hear you, my lord.

HOT.
What say'st thou, my lady?

LADY.
What is it carries you away?

HOT.
Why, my horse, my love, my horse.

LADY.
Out, you mad-headed ape!
A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen
As you are toss'd with. In faith,
I'll know your business, Harry, that I will.
I fear my brother Mortimer doth stir
About his title, and hath sent for you
To line his enterprise: but if you go,--

HOT.
So far a-foot, I shall be weary, love.

LADY.
Come, come, you paraquito, answer me
Directly to this question that I ask:
In faith, I'll break thy little finger, Harry,
An if thou wilt not tell me true.

HOT.
Away,
Away, you trifler! Love? I love thee not,
I care not for thee, Kate: this is no world
To play with mammets and to tilt with lips:
We must have bloody noses and crack'd crowns,
And pass them current too.--Gods me, my horse!--
What say'st thou, Kate? what wouldst thou have with me?

LADY.
Do you not love me? do you not indeed?
Well, do not, then; for, since you love me not,
I will not love myself. Do you not love me?
Nay, tell me if you speak in jest or no.

HOT.
Come, wilt thou see me ride?
And when I am o' horseback, I will swear
I love thee infinitely. But hark you, Kate;
I must not have you henceforth question me
Whither I go, nor reason whereabout:
Whither I must, I must; and, to conclude,
This evening must I leave you, gentle Kate.
I know you wise; but yet no further wise
Than Harry Percy's wife; constant you are;
But yet a woman: and, for secrecy,
No lady closer; for I well believe
Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know;
And so far will I trust thee, gentle Kate.

LADY.
How! so far?

HOT.
Not an inch further. But hark you, Kate:
Whither I go, thither shall you go too;
To-day will I set forth, to-morrow you.
Will this content you, Kate?

LADY.
It must of force.

[Exeunt.]

Scene IV. Eastcheap. A Room in the Boar's-Head Tavern.

[Enter Prince Henry.]

PRINCE.
Ned, pr'ythee, come out of that fat room, and lend me thy
hand to laugh a little.

[Enter Pointz.]

POINTZ.
Where hast been, Hal?

PRINCE.
With three or four loggerheads amongst three or fourscore
hogsheads. I have sounded the very base-string of humility.
Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers; and can call
them all by their Christian names, as, Tom, Dick, and Francis.
They take it already upon their salvation, that though I be but
Prince of Wales, yet I am the king of courtesy; and tell me flatly
I am no proud Jack, like Falstaff, but a corinthian, a lad of mettle,
a good boy,--by the Lord, so they call me;--and, when I am King
of England, I shall command all the good lads in Eastcheap. They
call drinking deep, dying scarlet; and, when you breathe in your
watering, they cry hem! and bid you play it off. To conclude, I am
so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour, that I can drink with
any tinker in his own language during my life. I tell thee, Ned, thou
hast lost much honour, that thou wert not with me in this action. But,
sweet Ned,--to sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee this pennyworth
of sugar, clapp'd even now into my hand by an under-skinker; one that
never spake other English in his life than Eight shillings and sixpence,
and You are welcome; with this shrill addition, Anon, anon, sir! Score
a pint of bastard in the Half-moon,--or so. But, Ned, to drive away
the time till Falstaff come, I pr'ythee, do thou stand in some by-room,
while I question my puny drawer to what end he gave me the sugar;
and do thou never leave calling Francis! that his tale to me may be
nothing but Anon. Step aside, and I'll show thee a precedent.

[Exit Pointz.]

POINTZ.
[Within.] Francis!

PRINCE.

Thou art perfect.

POINTZ.
[Within.] Francis!

[Enter Francis.]

FRAN.
Anon, anon, sir.--Look down into the Pomegranate, Ralph.

PRINCE.
Come hither, Francis.

FRAN.
My lord?

PRINCE.
How long hast thou to serve, Francis?

FRAN.
Forsooth, five years, and as much as to--

POINTZ.
[within.] Francis!

FRAN.
Anon, anon, sir.

PRINCE.
Five year! by'r Lady, a long lease for the clinking of
pewter. But, Francis, darest thou be so valiant as to play
the coward with thy indenture and show it a fair pair of heels
and run from it?

FRAN.
O Lord, sir, I'll be sworn upon all the books in England,
I could find in my heart--

POINTZ.
[within.] Francis!

FRAN.
Anon, anon, sir.

PRINCE.
How old art thou, Francis?

FRAN.
Let me see,--about Michaelmas next I shall be--

POINTZ.
[within.] Francis!

FRAN.
Anon, sir.--Pray you, stay a little, my lord.

PRINCE.
Nay, but hark you, Francis: for the sugar thou gavest
me, 'twas a pennyworth, was't not?

FRAN.
O Lord, sir, I would it had been two!

PRINCE.
I will give thee for it a thousand pound: ask me when
thou wilt, and thou shalt have it.

POINTZ.
[within.] Francis!

FRAN.
Anon, anon.

PRINCE.
Anon, Francis? No, Francis; but to-morrow, Francis; or,
Francis, a Thursday; or, indeed, Francis, when thou wilt. But,
Francis,--

FRAN.
My lord?

PRINCE.
--wilt thou rob this leathern-jerkin, crystal-button,
nott-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-garter,
smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch,--

FRAN.
O Lord, sir, who do you mean?

PRINCE.

Why, then, your brown bastard is your only drink; for,
look you, Francis, your white canvas doublet will sully: in
Barbary, sir, it cannot come to so much.

FRAN.
What, sir?

POINTZ.
[within.] Francis!

PRINCE.
Away, you rogue! dost thou not hear them call?

[Here they both call him; Francis stands amazed, not knowing
which way to go.]

[Enter Vintner.]

VINT.
What, stand'st thou still, and hear'st such a calling? Look
to the guests within. [Exit Francis.]--My lord, old Sir John,
with half-a-dozen more, are at the door: shall I let them in?

PRINCE.
Let them alone awhile, and then open the door.

[Exit Vintner.]

Pointz!

[Re-enter Pointz.]

POINTZ.
Anon, anon, sir.

PRINCE.
Sirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the thieves are at the
door: shall we be merry?

POINTZ.
As merry as crickets, my lad. But hark ye; what cunning
match have you made with this jest of the drawer? Come,
what's the issue?

PRINCE.
I am now of all humours that have showed themselves humours
since the old days of goodman Adam to the pupil age of this
present twelve o'clock at midnight.--What's o'clock, Francis?

FRAN.
[Within.] Anon, anon, sir.

PRINCE.
That ever this fellow should have fewer words than a parrot, and
yet the son of a woman! His industry is up-stairs and down-stairs;
his eloquence the parcel of a reckoning. I am not yet of Percy's
mind, the Hotspur of the North; he that kills me some six or seven
dozen of Scots at a breakfast, washes his hands, and says to his wife,
Fie upon this quiet life! I want work. O my sweet Harry, says she,
how many hast thou kill'd to-day? Give my roan horse a drench,
says he; and answers, Some fourteen, an hour after,--a trifle, a
trifle.
I pr'ythee, call in Falstaff: I'll play Percy, and that damn'd
brawn shall play Dame Mortimer his wife. Rivo! says the drunkard.
Call in ribs, call in tallow.

[Enter Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph, and Peto; followed by
Francis with wine.]

POINTZ.
Welcome, Jack: where hast thou been?

FAL.
A plague of all cowards, I say, and a vengeance too! marry, and
amen!--
Give me a cup of sack, boy.--Ere I lead this life long, I'll sew
nether-stocks, and mend them and foot them too. A plague of all
cowards!--
Give me a cup of sack, rogue.--Is there no virtue extant?

[Drinks.]

PRINCE.
Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter? pitiful-hearted
butter, that melted at the sweet tale of the Sun! if thou didst,
then behold that compound.

FAL.
You rogue, here's lime in this sack too: there is nothing but roguery
to be found in villainous man: yet a coward is worse than a cup of
sack with lime in it, a villanous coward.--Go thy ways, old Jack: die
when thou wilt, if manhood, good manhood, be not forgot upon the face
of the Earth, then am I a shotten herring. There live not three good
men unhang'd in England; and one of them is fat, and grows old: God
help the while! a bad world, I say.
I would I were a weaver; I could sing psalms or any thing. A plague of
all cowards! I say still.

PRINCE.
How now, wool-sack? what mutter you?

FAL.
A king's son! If I do not beat thee out of thy kingdom with a dagger
of lath, and drive all thy subjects afore thee like a flock of
wild-geese, I'll never wear hair on my face more. You Prince of Wales!

PRINCE.
Why, you whoreson round man, what's the matter?

FAL.
Are not you a coward? answer me to that:--and Pointz there?

POINTZ.
Zwounds, ye fat paunch, an ye call me coward, by the Lord, I'll
stab thee.

FAL.
I call thee coward! I'll see thee damn'd ere I call thee coward:
but I would give a thousand pound, I could run as fast as thou canst.
You are straight enough in the shoulders; you care not who sees your
back: call you that backing of your friends? A plague upon such
backing! give me them that will face me.--Give me a cup of sack:
I am a rogue, if I drunk to-day.

PRINCE.
O villain! thy lips are scarce wiped since thou drunk'st last.

FAL.
All is one for that. A plague of all cowards! still say I.

[Drinks.]

PRINCE.
What's the matter?

FAL.
What's the matter? there be four of us here have ta'en a thousand
pound this day morning.

PRINCE.
Where is it, Jack? where is it?

FAL.
Where is it! taken from us it is: a hundred upon poor four of us!

PRINCE.
What, a hundred, man?

FAL.
I am a rogue, if I were not at half-sword with a dozen of them two
hours together. I have 'scaped by miracle. I am eight times thrust
through the doublet, four through the hose; my buckler cut through
and through; my sword hack'd like a hand-saw,--ecce signum! I never
dealt better since I was a man: all would not do. A plague of all
cowards! Let them speak: if they speak more or less than truth,
they are villains and the sons of darkness.

PRINCE.
Speak, sirs; how was it?

GADS.
We four set upon some dozen,--

FAL.
Sixteen at least, my lord.

GADS.
--and bound them.

PETO.
No, no; they were not bound.

FAL.
You rogue, they were bound, every man of them; or I am a Jew
else, an Ebrew Jew.

GADS.
As we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men sea upon us,--

FAL.
And unbound the rest, and then come in the other.

PRINCE.
What, fought you with them all?

FAL.
All? I know not what you call all; but if I fought not with fifty
of them, I am a bunch of radish: if there were not two or three
and fifty upon poor old Jack, then am I no two-legged creature.

PRINCE.
Pray God you have not murdered some of them.

FAL.
Nay, that's past praying for: I have pepper'd two of them; two I
am sure I have paid, two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee what,
Hal, if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me horse.
Thou knowest my old ward: here I lay, and thus I bore my point.
Four rogues in buckram let drive at me,--

PRINCE.
What, four? thou saidst but two even now.

FAL.
Four, Hal; I told thee four.

POINTZ.
Ay, ay, he said four.

FAL.
These four came all a-front, and mainly thrust at me. I made me no more
ado but took all their seven points in my target, thus.

PRINCE.
Seven? why, there were but four even now.

FAL.
In buckram?

POINTZ.
Ay, four, in buckram suits.

FAL.
Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.

PRINCE.
[aside to Pointz.] Pr'ythee let him alone; we shall have more
anon.

FAL.
Dost thou hear me, Hal?

PRINCE.
Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.

FAL.
Do so, for it is worth the listening to. These nine in buckram
that I told thee of,--

PRINCE.
So, two more already.

FAL.
--their points being broken,--

POINTZ.
Down fell their hose.

FAL.
--began to give me ground: but I followed me close, came in foot
and hand; and with a thought seven of the eleven I paid.

PRINCE.
O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two!

FAL.
But, as the Devil would have it, three misbegotten knaves in Kendal
Green came at my back and let drive at me; for it was so dark, Hal,
that thou couldst not see thy hand.

PRINCE.
These lies are like the father that begets them, gross as a mountain,
open, palpable. Why, thou nott-pated fool, thou whoreson, obscene
greasy tallow-keech,--

FAL.
What, art thou mad? art thou mad? is not the truth the truth?

PRINCE.
Why, how couldst thou know these men in Kendal green, when it was
so dark thou couldst not see thy hand? come, tell us your reason:
what sayest thou to this?

POINTZ.
Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.

FAL.
What, upon compulsion? No; were I at the strappado, or all the racks
in the world, I would not tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on
compulsion! if reasons were as plentiful as blackberries, I would
give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.

PRINCE.
I'll be no longer guilty of this sin; this sanguine coward, this
bed-presser, this horse-back-breaker, this huge hill of flesh,--

FAL.
Away, you starveling, you eel-skin, you dried neat's-tongue, you
stock-fish,--
O, for breath to utter what is like thee!--you tailor's-yard, you
sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck,--

PRINCE.
Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again: and, when thou hast
tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this:--

POINTZ.
Mark, Jack.

PRINCE.
--We two saw you four set on four; you bound them, and were masters of
their wealth.--Mark now, how a plain tale shall put you down.--
Then did we two set on you four; and, with a word, outfaced you from
your prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you here in the house:
and, Falstaff, you carried yourself away as nimbly, with as quick
dexterity, and roared for mercy, and still ran and roar'd, as ever I
heard bull-calf. What a slave art thou, to hack thy sword as thou
hast done, and then say it was in fight!
What trick, what device, what starting-hole canst thou now find
out to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?

POINTZ.
Come, let's hear, Jack; what trick hast thou now?

FAL.
By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that made ye. Why, hear ye,
my masters:
Was it for me to kill the heir-apparent? should I turn upon the
true Prince? why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Hercules: but
beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true Prince.
Instinct is a great matter; I was now a coward on instinct.
I shall think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a
valiant lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads,
I am glad you have the money.--
[To Hostess within.] Hostess, clap-to the doors: watch
to-night, pray to-morrow.--Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold,
all the titles of good fellowship come to you!
What, shall we be merry? shall we have a play extempore?

PRINCE.
Content; and the argument shall be thy running away.

FAL.
Ah, no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me!

[Enter the Hostess.]

HOST.
O Jesu, my lord the Prince,--

PRINCE.
How now, my lady the hostess! What say'st thou to me?

HOST.

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