Document:  All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Henry IV, part I > Act I, scene II



	[Enter the PRINCE OF WALES and FALSTAFF]

FALSTAFF: Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?

PRINCE HENRY: 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 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.

FALSTAFF: 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 prithee, sweet wag, when thou art king, as, God
	save thy grace,--majesty I should say, for grace
	thou wilt have none,--

PRINCE HENRY: What, none?

FALSTAFF: No, by my troth, not so much as will serve to
	prologue to an egg and butter.

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

FALSTAFF: 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 HENRY: 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 snatched on Monday night and most
	dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with
	swearing 'Lay by' and spent with crying 'Bring in;'
	now in 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.

FALSTAFF: By the Lord, thou sayest true, lad. And is not my
	hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?

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

FALSTAFF: 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 HENRY: Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?

FALSTAFF: Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning many a
	time and oft.

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

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

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

FALSTAFF: Yea, and so used 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 fobbed as it is
	with the rusty curb of old father antic the law? Do
	not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.

PRINCE HENRY: No; thou shalt.

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

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

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

PRINCE HENRY: For obtaining of suits?

FALSTAFF: Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof the hangman
	hath no lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as melancholy
	as a gib cat or a lugged bear.

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

FALSTAFF: Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.

PRINCE HENRY: What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of
	Moor-ditch?

FALSTAFF: 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 marked him not; and yet
	he talked very wisely, but I regarded him not; and
	yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.

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

FALSTAFF: 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, and I do not, I am a villain:
	I'll be damned for never a king's son in
	Christendom.

PRINCE HENRY: Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?

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

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

FALSTAFF: 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 HENRY: 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 HENRY: 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 damned for keeping thy word with the devil.

PRINCE HENRY: Else he had been damned for cozening the devil.

POINS: But, my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four
	o'clock, early at Gadshill! there are pilgrims going
	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 hanged.

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

POINS: You will, chops?

FALSTAFF: Hal, wilt thou make one?

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

FALSTAFF: 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 HENRY: Well then, once in my days I'll be a madcap.

FALSTAFF: Why, that's well said.

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

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

PRINCE HENRY: 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.

FALSTAFF: 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 HENRY: 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 HENRY: 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 HENRY: 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 vizards we will change after we
	leave them: and, sirrah, I have cases of buckram
	for the nonce, to immask our noted outward garments.

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

POINS: Farewell, my lord.

	[Exit Poins]

PRINCE HENRY: I know you all, and will awhile uphold
	The unyoked 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 behavior 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]




	1 KING HENRY IV






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