The Complete Works of William Shakespeare The First Part of King Henry the Fourth

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  • 1598
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SCENE.–England and Wales.

ACT I. Scene I.
London. The Palace.

Enter the King, Lord John of Lancaster, Earl of Westmoreland, [Sir Walter Blunt,] with 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 commenc’d in stronds 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 flow’rets 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 oppos’d 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 engag’d to fight- Forthwith a power of English shall we levy, Whose arms were moulded in their mother’s womb 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 the 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 retold 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, a 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 Earl of Fife and eldest son
To beaten Douglas, and the Earl of Athol, Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
And is not this an honourable spoil? A gallant prize? Ha, cousin, is it not? West. In faith,
It is a conquest for a prince to boast of. King. Yea, there thou mak’st me sad, and mak’st 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 prov’d That some night-tripping fairy had exchang’d 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 surpris’d 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 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.
London. An apartment of the Prince’s.

Enter Prince of Wales and Sir John 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
wouldest 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 clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping
houses, 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 wand’ring knight so fair. And I prithee, 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 sayest 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 us’d it that, were it not here apparent that thou
art heir apparent- But I prithee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king? and resolution
thus fubb’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 sayest 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 prithee
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 talked 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 tomorrow, 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 Poins.

Poins! 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.
Poins. 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.
Poins. Then art thou damn’d for keeping thy word with the devil.
Prince. Else he had been damn’d for cozening the devil. Poins. But, my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four o’clock
early, at Gadshill! There are pilgrims gong to Canterbury with
rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses. I
have vizards 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.
Poins. 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 cam’st 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.
Poins. Sir John, I prithee, 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. Poins. 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. How shall we part with them in setting forth? Poins. 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. Yea, but ’tis like that they will know us by our horses, by
our habits, and by every other appointment, to be ourselves. Poins. Tut! our horses they shall not see- I’ll tie them in the wood; our wizards we will change after we leave them; and, sirrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce, to immask our noted outward garments.
Prince. Yea, but I doubt they will be too hard for us. Poins. 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 lie 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. Poins. 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 lie himself, Being wanted, he may be more wond’red 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, glitt’ring 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.
London. The Palace.

Enter the King, Northumberland, Worcester, Hotspur, Sir Walter Blunt,
with 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 us’d on it- And that same greatness too which our own hands Have holp to make so portly.
North. My 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. Tou have good leave to leave us. When we need ‘Your use and counsel, we shall send for you. Exit Worcester. 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 delivered 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 toll, Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword, Came there a certain lord, neat and 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 smil’d 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 questioned me, amongst the rest demanded My prisoners in your Majesty’s behalf. I then, all smarting with my wounds being cold, To be so pest’red with a popingay,
Out of my grief and my impatience Answer’d neglectingly, I know not what- He should, or he should not; for he 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 sovereignest thing on earth Was parmacity for an inward bruise;
And that it was great pity, so it was, This villanous saltpetre 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 considered, good my lord, Whate’er Lord Harry Percy then had said To such a person, and in such a place, At such a time, with all the rest retold, 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 breath’d, 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, Bloodstained with these valiant cohabitants. 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 slandered 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 thou not asham’d? 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 will hear of it. Exeunt King, [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, Albeit I make a hazard of my head.
North. What, drunk with choler? Stay, and pause awhile. Here comes your uncle.

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 in the dust, But I will lift the downtrod Mortimer
As high in the air as this unthankful king, As this ingrate and cank’red Bolingbroke. North. 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 urg’d the ransom once again Of my wive’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 depos’d, and shortly murdered.
Wor. And for whose death we in the world’s wide mouth Live scandaliz’d 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 murtherous 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 subtile 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 discontents I’ll read you matter deep and dangerous, As full of peril and adventurous spirit As to o’erwalk a current roaring loud
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear. Hot. If he 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-fac’d moon, Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fadom 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-fac’d 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 is 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 holloa ‘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 would have him poisoned 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 scourg’d 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 it! 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- ‘S blood!
When you and he came back from Ravenspurgh- 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 it again. We will 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 assur’d 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-belov’d, The Archbishop.
Hot. Of York, is it not?
Wor. True; who bears hard
His brother’s death at Bristow, 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 it. Upon my life, it will do well. North. Before the game is afoot thou still let’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 reveng’d 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 pow’rs 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.

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ACT II. Scene I.
Rochester. An inn yard.

Enter a Carrier with a lantern in his hand.

1. Car. Heigh-ho! an it 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 prithee, Tom, beat Cut’s saddle, put a few flocks in the
point. 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 villanous house in all London road
for fleas. I am stung like a tench. 1. Car. Like a tench I By the mass, there is ne’er a king christen
could be better bit than I have been since the first cock. 2. Car. Why, they will allow us ne’er a jordan, and then we leak in
your chimney, and your chamber-lye breeds fleas like a loach. 1. Car. 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. God’s body! 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 deed as drink to break the pate on 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 prithee lend me this lantern to see my gelding in the stable.
1. Car. Nay, by God, soft! I know a trick worth two of that, i’ faith.
Gads. I pray thee lend me thine.
2. Car. Ay, when? canst tell? Lend me thy lantern, quoth he? 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 Mugs, we’ll call up the gentlemen. They will along with company, for they have great charge. Exeunt [Carriers]. Gads. What, ho! chamberlain!

Enter Chamberlain.

Cham. At hand, quoth pickpurse.
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 layest the plot how. 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 pray thee 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 knowest he is no starveling. Tut! there are other Troyans that thou dream’st 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 maltworms; 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, zounds, 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, cocksure. 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 fernseed for your walking invisible. Gads. Give me thy hand. Thou shalt have a share in our purchase, as
I and 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 highway near Gadshill.

Enter Prince and Poins.

Poins. Come, shelter, shelter! I have remov’d Falstaff’s horse, and
he frets like a gumm’d velvet.
Prince. Stand close. [They step aside.]

Enter Falstaff.

Fal. Poins! Poins, and be hang’d! Poins! Prince. I comes forward i’ peace, ye fat-kidney’d rascal! What a
brawling dost thou keep!
Fal. Where’s Poins, Hal?
Prince. He is walk’d up to the top of the hill. I’ll go seek him.
[Steps aside.] Fal. I am accurs’d 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 afoot, 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 years, 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. Poins! 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
afoot with me, and the stony-hearted villains know it well enough. A plague upon it 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. [comes forward] Peace, ye fat-guts! 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 afoot 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 prithee, 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 afoot too- I hate it.

Enter Gadshill, [Bardolph and Peto with him].

Gads. Stand!
Fal. So I do, against my will.
Poins. [comes fortward] O, ’tis our setter. I know his voice. Bardolph, what news?
Bar. Case ye, case ye! On with your vizards! 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 Poins 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. Zounds, 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. Poins. 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 Poins] Ned, where are our disguises? Poins. [aside to Prince] Here, hard by. Stand close. [Exeunt Prince and Poins.] Fal. Now, my masters, happy man be his dole, say I. Every man to
his business.

Enter the Travellers.

Traveller. Come, neighbour.
The boy shall lead our horses down the hill; We’ll walk afoot awhile and ease our legs. Thieves. Stand!
Traveller. Jesus 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!
Traveller. O, we are 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 grandjurors, are ye? We’ll jure ye,
faith!
Here they rob and bind them. Exeunt.

Enter the Prince and Poins [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. Poins. Stand close! I hear them coming. [They stand aside.]

Enter the Thieves again.

Fal. Come, my masters, let us share, and then to horse before day.
An the Prince and Poins be not two arrant cowards, there’s no equity stirring. There’s no more valour in that Poins than in a
wild duck.

[As they are sharing, the Prince and Poins set upon them. They all run away, and Falstaff, after a blow or two, runs away too, leaving the booty behind them.]

Prince. Your money!
Poins. Villains!

Prince. Got with much ease. Now merrily to horse. The thieves are scattered, and possess’d with fear So strongly that they dare not meet each other. Each takes his fellow for an officer. Away, good Ned. Falstaff sweats to death And lards the lean earth as he walks along. Were’t not for laughing, I should pity him. Poins. How the rogue roar’d! Exeunt.

Scene III.
Warkworth Castle.

Enter Hotspur solus, 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. Zounds, 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 skim milk with so honourable an action!
Hang him, let him tell the King! we are prepared. I will set forward to-night.

Enter his Lady.

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 sit’st alone? Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks And given my treasures and my rights of thee To thick-ey’d musing and curs’d 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, tent, Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets,
Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin, Of prisoners’ ransom, 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 ill 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 afoot, I shall be weary, love. Lady. Come, come, you paraquito, answer me Directly unto this question that I ask. I’ll break thy little finger, Harry,
An if thou wilt not tell my all things 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 a-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 farther 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. The Boar’s Head Tavern.

Enter Prince and Poins.

Prince. Ned, prithee come out of that fat-room and lend me thy hand
to laugh a little.
Poins. Where hast been, Hal?
Prince. With three or four loggerheads amongst three or fourscore hogsheads. I have sounded the very bass-string of humility. Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers and
can call them all by their christen 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 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 prithee 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.
Poins. Francis!
Prince. Thou art perfect.
Poins. Francis! [Exit Poins.]

Enter [Francis, a] Drawer.

Fran. Anon, anon, sir.- Look down into the Pomgarnet, 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- Poins. [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-
Poins. [within] Francis!
Fran. Anon, sir.
Prince. How old art thou, Francis? Fran. Let me see. About Michaelmas next I shall be- Poins. [within] Francis!
Fran. Anon, sir. Pray stay a little, my lord. Prince. Nay, but hark you, Francis. For the sugar thou gavest me-
’twas a pennyworth, wast not?
Fran. O Lord! 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.
Poins. [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, not-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?
Poins. [within] Francis!
Prince. Away, you rogue! Dost thou not hear them call? Here they both call him. The Drawer 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.] Poins!
Poins. [within] Anon, anon, sir.

Enter Poins.

Prince. Sirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the thieves are at the door. Shall we be merry?
Poins. 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 this twelve o’clock at midnight.
[Enter Francis.]

What’s o’clock, Francis?
Fran. Anon, anon, sir. [Exit.] Prince. That ever this fellow should have fewer words than a parrot, and yet the son of a woman! His industry is upstairs and
downstairs, 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 prithee 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; Francis follows with wine].

Poins. 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?
He drinketh. 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 villanous 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 lives 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 anything. A
plague of all cowards I say still! Prince. How now, woolsack? 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 Poins there? Poins. Zounds, 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 wip’d since thou drunk’st
last.
Fal. All is one for that. (He drinketh.) A plague of all cowards
still say I.
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 scap’d 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 handsaw- 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-legg’d creature.
Prince. Pray God you have not murd’red 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.
Poins. Ay, ay, he said four.
Fal. These four came all afront 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?
Poins. Ay, four, in buckram suits. Fal. Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else. Prince. [aside to Poins] Prithee 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 list’ning to. These nine in buckram
that I told thee of-
Prince. So, two more already.
Fal. Their points being broken-
Poins. 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 their father that begets them- gross as
a mountain, open, palpable. Why, thou clay-brain’d guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch- 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? Poins. Come, your reason, Jack, your reason. Fal. What, upon compulsion? Zounds, an I were 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 horseback-breaker, this huge hill
of flesh-
Fal. ‘Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s sizzle, you stockfish- O for breath to
utter what is like thee!- you tailor’s yard, you sheath, you bowcase, 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.
Poins. Mark, Jack.
Prince. We two saw you four set on four, and 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, outfac’d
you from your prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you here
in the house. And, Falstaff, you carried your guts away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roar’d for mercy, and still
run and roar’d, as ever I heard bullcalf. 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? Poins. 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
you, 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. 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 Hostess.

Host. O Jesu, my lord the Prince!
Prince. How now, my lady the hostess? What say’st thou to me? Host. Marry, my lord, there is a nobleman of the court at door would speak with you. He says he comes from your father. Prince. Give him as much as will make him a royal man, and send him
back again to my mother.
Fal. What manner of man is he?
Host. An old man.
Fal. What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight? Shall I give him
his answer?
Prince. Prithee do, Jack.
Fal. Faith, and I’ll send him packing. Exit.
Prince. Now, sirs. By’r Lady, you fought fair; so did you, Peto; so
did you, Bardolph. You are lions too, you ran away upon instinct,
you will not touch the true prince; no- fie! Bard. Faith, I ran when I saw others run. Prince. Tell me now in earnest, how came Falstaff’s sword so hack’d?
Peto. Why, he hack’d it with his dagger, and said he would swear
truth out of England but he would make you believe it was done in
fight, and persuaded us to do the like. Bard. Yea, and to tickle our noses with speargrass to make them bleed, and then to beslubber our garments with it and swear it
was the blood of true men. I did that I did not this seven year
before- I blush’d to hear his monstrous devices. Prince. O villain! thou stolest a cup of sack eighteen years ago
and wert taken with the manner, and ever since thou hast blush’d
extempore. Thou hadst fire and sword on thy side, and yet thou
ran’st away. What instinct hadst thou for it? Bard. My lord, do you see these meteors? Do you behold these exhalations?
Prince. I do.
Bard. What think you they portend? Prince. Hot livers and cold purses.
Bard. Choler, my lord, if rightly taken. Prince. No, if rightly taken, halter.

Enter Falstaff.

Here comes lean Jack; here comes bare-bone. How now, my sweet creature of bombast? How long is’t ago, Jack, since thou sawest
thine own knee?
Fal. My own knee? When I was about thy years, Hal, I was not an eagle’s talent in the waist; I could have crept into any alderman’s thumb-ring. A plague of sighing and grief! It blows a
man up like a bladder. There’s villanous news abroad. Here was
Sir John Bracy from your father. You must to the court in the morning. That same mad fellow of the North, Percy, and he of Wales that gave Amamon the bastinado, and made Lucifer cuckold,
and swore the devil his true liegeman upon the cross of a Welsh
hook- what a plague call you him? Poins. O, Glendower.
Fal. Owen, Owen- the same; and his son-in-law Mortimer, and old Northumberland, and that sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas, that
runs a-horseback up a hill perpendicular- Prince. He that rides at high speed and with his pistol kills a sparrow flying.
Fal. You have hit it.
Prince. So did he never the sparrow. Fal. Well, that rascal hath good metal in him; he will not run. Prince. Why, what a rascal art thou then, to praise him so for running!
Fal. A-horseback, ye cuckoo! but afoot he will not budge a foot.
Prince. Yes, Jack, upon instinct.
Fal. I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too, and one Mordake, and a thousand bluecaps more. Worcester is stol’n away
to-night; thy father’s beard is turn’d white with the news; you
may buy land now as cheap as stinking mack’rel. Prince. Why then, it is like, if there come a hot June, and this
civil buffeting hold, we shall buy maidenheads as they buy hobnails, by the hundreds.
Fal. By the mass, lad, thou sayest true; it is like we shall have
good trading that way. But tell me, Hal, art not thou horrible
afeard? Thou being heir apparent, could the world pick thee out
three such enemies again as that fiend Douglas, that spirit Percy, and that devil Glendower? Art thou not horribly afraid?
Doth not thy blood thrill at it?
Prince. Not a whit, i’ faith. I lack some of thy instinct. Fal. Well, thou wilt be horribly chid to-morrow when thou comest to
thy father. If thou love file, practise an answer. Prince. Do thou stand for my father and examine me upon the particulars of my life.
Fal. Shall I? Content. This chair shall be my state, this dagger my
sceptre, and this cushion my, crown. Prince. Thy state is taken for a join’d-stool, thy golden sceptre
for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown for a pitiful
bald crown.
Fal. Well, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee, now shalt
thou be moved. Give me a cup of sack to make my eyes look red,
that it may be thought I have wept; for I must speak in passion,
and I will do it in King Cambyses’ vein. Prince. Well, here is my leg.
Fal. And here is my speech. Stand aside, nobility. Host. O Jesu, this is excellent sport, i’ faith! Fal. Weep not, sweet queen, for trickling tears are vain. Host. O, the Father, how he holds his countenance! Fal. For God’s sake, lords, convey my tristful queen! For tears do stop the floodgates of her eyes. Host. O Jesu, he doth it as like one of these harlotry players as
ever I see!
Fal. Peace, good pintpot. Peace, good tickle-brain.- Harry, I do
not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also how thou
art accompanied. For though the camomile, the more it is trodden
on, the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted, the
sooner it wears. That thou art my son I have partly thy mother’s
word, partly my own opinion, but chiefly a villanous trick of thine eye and a foolish hanging of thy nether lip that doth warrant me. If then thou be son to me, here lies the point: why,
being son to me, art thou so pointed at? Shall the blessed sun of
heaven prove a micher and eat blackberries? A question not to be
ask’d. Shall the son of England prove a thief and take purses? A
question to be ask’d. There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast
often heard of, and it is known to many in our land by the name
of pitch. This pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth defile;
so doth the company thou keepest. For, Harry, now I do not speak
to thee in drink, but in tears; not in pleasure, but in passion;
not in words only, but in woes also: and yet there is a virtuous
man whom I have often noted in thy company, but I know not his
name.
Prince. What manner of man, an it like your Majesty? Fal. A goodly portly man, i’ faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful
look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage; and, as I think,
his age some fifty, or, by’r Lady, inclining to threescore; and
now I remember me, his name is Falstaff. If that man should be
lewdly, given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his
looks. If then the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit
by the tree, then, peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in
that Falstaff. Him keep with, the rest banish. And tell me now,
thou naughty varlet, tell me where hast thou been this month? Prince. Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for me, and I’ll
play my father.
Fal. Depose me? If thou dost it half so gravely, so majestically,
both in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for a rabbit-sucker or a poulter’s hare.
Prince. Well, here I am set.
Fal. And here I stand. Judge, my masters. Prince. Now, Harry, whence come you?
Fal. My noble lord, from Eastcheap. Prince. The complaints I hear of thee are grievous. Fal. ‘Sblood, my lord, they are false! Nay, I’ll tickle ye for a
young prince, i’ faith.
Prince. Swearest thou, ungracious boy? Henceforth ne’er look on me.
Thou art violently carried away from grace. There is a devil haunts thee in the likeness of an old fat man; a tun of man is
thy companion. Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours,
that bolting hutch of beastliness, that swoll’n parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuff’d cloakbag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly,
that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that
vanity in years? Wherein is he good, but to taste sack and drink
it? wherein neat and cleanly, but to carve a capon and eat it?
wherein cunning, but in craft? wherein crafty, but in villany?
wherein villanous, but in all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing?
Fal. I would your Grace would take me with you. Whom means your Grace?
Prince. That villanous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.
Fal. My lord, the man I know.
Prince. I know thou dost.
Fal. 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 damn’d. 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! Prince. I do, I will. [A knocking heard.] [Exeunt Hostess, Francis, and Bardolph.]

Enter Bardolph, running.

Bard. O, my lord, my lord! the sheriff with a most monstrous watch
is at the door.
Fal. Out, ye rogue! Play out the play. I have much to say in the
behalf of that Falstaff.

Enter the Hostess.

Host. O Jesu, my lord, my lord!
Prince. Heigh, heigh, the devil rides upon a fiddlestick! What’s the matter?
Host. The sheriff and all the watch are at the door. They are come
to search the house. Shall I let them in? Fal. Dost thou hear, Hal? Never call a true piece of gold a counterfeit. Thou art essentially mad without seeming so. Prince. And thou a natural coward without instinct. Fal. I deny your major. If you will deny the sheriff, so; if not,
let him enter. If I become not a cart as well as another man, a
plague on my bringing up! I hope I shall as soon be strangled with a halter as another.
Prince. Go hide thee behind the arras. The rest walk, up above. Now, my masters, for a true face and good conscience. Fal. Both which I have had; but their date is out, and therefore
I’ll hide me. Exit. Prince. Call in the sheriff.
[Exeunt Manent the Prince and Peto.]

Enter Sheriff and the Carrier.

Now, Master Sheriff, what is your will with me? Sher. First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and cry Hath followed certain men unto this house. Prince. What men?
Sher. One of them is well known, my gracious lord- A gross fat man.
Carrier. As fat as butter.
Prince. The man, I do assure you, is not here, For I myself at this time have employ’d him. And, sheriff, I will engage my word to thee That I will by to-morrow dinner time
Send him to answer thee, or any man, For anything he shall be charg’d withal; And so let me entreat you leave the house. Sher. I will, my lord. There are two gentlemen Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks. Prince. It may be so. If he have robb’d these men, He shall be answerable; and so farewell. Sher. Good night, my noble lord.
Prince. I think it is good morrow, is it not? Sher. Indeed, my lord, I think it be two o’clock. Exit [with Carrier]. Prince. This oily rascal is known as well as Paul’s. Go call him
forth.
Peto. Falstaff! Fast asleep behind the arras, and snorting like a
horse.
Prince. Hark how hard he fetches breath. Search his pockets. He searcheth his pockets and findeth certain papers. What hast thou found?
Peto. Nothing but papers, my lord. Prince. Let’s see whit they be. Read them.

Peto. [reads] ‘Item. A capon. . . . . . . . . . . . . ii s. ii d.
Item, Sauce. . . . . . . . . . . . . . iiii d.
Item, Sack two gallons . . . . . . . . v s. viii d.
Item, Anchovies and sack after supper. ii s. vi d.
Item, Bread. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ob.’

Prince. O monstrous! but one halfpennyworth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack! What there is else, keep close; we’ll
read it at more advantage. There let him sleep till day. I’ll to
the court in the morning. We must all to the wars. and thy place
shall be honourable. I’ll procure this fat rogue a charge of foot; and I know, his death will be a march of twelve score. The
money shall be paid back again with advantage. Be with me betimes
in the morning, and so good morrow, Peto. Peto. Good morrow, good my lord.
Exeunt.

<>

ACT III. Scene I.
Bangor. The Archdeacon’s house.

Enter Hotspur, Worcester, Lord Mortimer, Owen Glendower.

Mort. These promises are fair, the parties sure, And our induction full of prosperous hope. Hot. Lord Mortimer, and cousin Glendower, Will you sit down?
And uncle Worcester. A plague upon it! I have forgot the map.
Glend. No, here it is.
Sit, cousin Percy; sit, good cousin Hotspur, For by that name as oft as Lancaster
Doth speak of you, his cheek looks pale, and with A rising sigh he wisheth you in heaven. Hot. And you in hell, as oft as he hears Owen Glendower spoke of.
Glend. I cannot blame him. At my nativity The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes Of burning cressets, and at my birth
The frame and huge foundation of the earth Shak’d like a coward.
Hot. Why, so it would have done at the same season, if your mother’s cat had but kitten’d, though yourself had never been born.
Glend. I say the earth did shake when I was born. Hot. And I say the earth was not of my mind, If you suppose as fearing you it shook. Glend. The heavens were all on fire, the earth did tremble. Hot. O, then the earth shook to see the heavens on fire, And not in fear of your nativity.
Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth In strange eruptions; oft the teeming earth Is with a kind of colic pinch’d and vex’d By the imprisoning of unruly wind
Within her womb, which, for enlargement striving, Shakes the old beldame earth and topples down Steeples and mossgrown towers. At your birth Our grandam earth, having this distemp’rature, In passion shook.
Glend. Cousin, of many men
I do not bear these crossings. Give me leave To tell you once again that at my birth The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes, The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields. These signs have mark’d me extraordinary, And all the courses of my life do show I am not in the roll of common men.
Where is he living, clipp’d in with the sea That chides the banks of England, Scotland, Wales, Which calls me pupil or hath read to me? And bring him out that is but woman’s son Can trace me in the tedious ways of art And hold me pace in deep experiments.
Hot. I think there’s no man speaks better Welsh. I’ll to dinner.
Mort. Peace, cousin Percy; you will make him mad. Glend. I can call spirits from the vasty deep. Hot. Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them? Glend. Why, I can teach you, cousin, to command the devil. Hot. And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil- By telling truth. Tell truth and shame the devil. If thou have power to raise him, bring him hither, And I’ll be sworn I have power to shame him hence. O, while you live, tell truth and shame the devil! Mort. Come, come, no more of this unprofitable chat. Glend. Three times hath Henry Bolingbroke made head Against my power; thrice from the banks of Wye And sandy-bottom’d Severn have I sent him Bootless home and weather-beaten back.