Act II

Scene I

Rochester. An inn yard.

Enter a Carrier with a lantern in his hand.
First Carrier Heigh-ho! an it be not four by the day, I’ll be hanged: Charles’ wain is over the new chimney, and yet our horse not packed. What, ostler!
Ostler Within. Anon, anon.
First Carrier 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.
Second Carrier 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.
First Carrier Poor fellow, never joyed since the price of oats rose; it was the death of him.
Second Carrier I think this be the most villainous house in all London road for fleas: I am stung like a tench.
First Carrier Like a tench! by the mass, there is ne’er a king christen could be better bit than I have been since the first cock.
Second Carrier Why, they will allow us ne’er a jordan, and then we leak in your chimney; and your chamber-lie breeds fleas like a loach.
First Carrier What, ostler! come away and be hanged! come away.
Second Carrier I have a gammon of bacon and two razors of ginger, to be delivered as far as Charing-cross.
First Carrier 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 hanged! hast thou no faith in thee?
Enter Gadshill.
Gadshill Good morrow, carriers. What’s o’clock?
First Carrier I think it be two o’clock.
Gadshill I prithee, lend me thy lantern, to see my gelding in the stable.
First Carrier Nay, by God, soft; I know a trick worth two of that, i’ faith.
Gadshill I pray thee, lend me thine.
Second Carrier Ay, when? canst tell? Lend me thy lantern, quoth he? marry, I’ll see thee hanged first.
Gadshill Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to London?
Second Carrier Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant thee. Come, neighbour Mugs, we’ll call up the gentleman: they will along with company, for they have great charge. Exeunt Carriers.
Gadshill What, ho! chamberlain!
Chamberlain Within. At hand, quoth pick-purse.
Gadshill 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.
Enter Chamberlain.
Chamberlain 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.
Gadshill Sirrah, if they meet not with Saint Nicholas’ clerks, I’ll give thee this neck.
Chamberlain 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.
Gadshill 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 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 looked 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, ’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.
Chamberlain What, the commonwealth their boots? will she hold out water in foul way?
Gadshill She will, she will; justice hath liquored her. We steal as in a castle, cock-sure; we have the receipt of fern-seed, we walk invisible.
Chamberlain Nay, by my faith, I think you are more beholding to the night than to fern-seed for your walking invisible.
Gadshill Give me thy hand: thou shalt have a share in our purchase, as I am a true man.
Chamberlain Nay, rather let me have it, as you are a false thief.
Gadshill 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 Henry and Poins.
Poins Come, shelter, shelter: I have removed Falstaff’s horse, and he frets like a gummed velvet.
Prince Stand close.
Enter Falstaff.
Falstaff Poins! Poins, and be hanged! Poins!
Prince Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal! what a brawling dost thou keep!
Falstaff Where’s Poins, Hal?
Prince He is walked up to the top of the hill: I’ll go seek him.
Falstaff 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 squier 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 bewitched with the rogue’s company. If the rascal hath not given me medicines to make me love him, I’ll be hanged; 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 hanged!
Prince Peace, ye fat-guts! lie down; lay thine ear close to the ground and list if thou canst hear the tread of travellers.
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff I prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse, good king’s son.
Prince Out, ye rogue! shall I be your ostler?
Falstaff 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.
Gadshill Stand.
Falstaff So I do, against my will.
Poins O, ’tis our setter: I know his voice. Bardolph, what news?
Bardolph 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.
Falstaff You lie, ye rogue; ’tis going to the king’s tavern.
Gadshill There’s enough to make us all.
Falstaff To be hanged.
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?
Gadshill Some eight or ten.
Falstaff ’Zounds, will they not rob us?
Prince What, a coward, Sir John Paunch?
Falstaff 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 needest him, there thou shalt find him. Farewell, and stand fast.
Falstaff Now cannot I strike him, if I should be hanged.
Prince Ned, where are our disguises?
Poins Here, hard by: stand close. Exeunt Prince and Poins.
Falstaff Now, my masters, happy man be his dole, say I: every man to his business.
Enter the Travellers.
First Traveller Come, neighbour: the boy shall lead our horses down the hill; we’ll walk afoot awhile, and ease our legs.
Thieves Stand!
Travellers Jesus bless us!
Falstaff Strike; down with them; cut the villains’ throats: ah! whoreson caterpillars! bacon-fed knaves! they hate us youth: down with them: fleece them.
Travellers O, we are undone, both we and ours for ever!
Falstaff 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 them and bind them. Exeunt.
Re-enter Prince Henry and Poins.
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.
Enter the Thieves again.
Falstaff 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.
Prince Your money!
Poins Villains! 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.

Got with much ease. Now merrily to horse:
The thieves are all 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. 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.
Hotspur “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 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 Lady Percy.
How now, Kate! I must leave you within these two hours.

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-eyed musing and cursed 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’ 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 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.

Hotspur What, ho!
Enter Servant.
Is Gilliams with the packet gone?
Servant He is, my lord, an hour ago.
Hotspur Hath Butler brought those horses from the sheriff?
Servant One horse, my lord, he brought even now.
Hotspur What horse? a roan, a crop-ear, is it not?
Servant It is, my lord.

That roan shall by 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.
Hotspur What say’st thou, my lady?
Lady What is it carries you away?
Hotspur Why, my horse, my love, my horse.

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—

Hotspur So far afoot, I shall be weary, love.

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


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. God’s me, my horse!
What say’st thou, Kate? what would’st thou have with me?


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.


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 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?

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

The Boar’s-Head Tavern, Eastcheap.

Enter the 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 four score 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 christen names, as Tom, Dick, and Francis. They take it already upon their salvation, that though I be but the prince of Wales, yet I am 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, dyeing 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 sweet action. But, sweet Ned⁠—to sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee this pennyworth of sugar, clapped 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.
Francis Anon, anon, sir. Look down into the Pomgarnet, Ralph.
Prince Come hither, Francis.
Francis My lord?
Prince How long hast thou to serve, Francis?
Francis Forsooth, five years, and as much as to⁠—
Poins Within. Francis!
Francis 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?
Francis O Lord, sir, I’ll be sworn upon all the books in England, I could find in my heart.
Poins Within. Francis!
Francis Anon, sir.
Prince How old art thou, Francis?
Francis Let me see⁠—about Michaelmas next I shall be⁠—
Poins Within. Francis!
Francis Anon, sir. Pray stay a little, my lord.
Prince Nay, but hark you, Francis: for the sugar thou gavest me, ’twas a pennyworth, wast’t not?
Francis 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!
Francis Anon, anon.
Prince Anon, Francis? No, Francis; but to-morrow, Francis; or, Francis, o’ Thursday; or indeed, Francis, when thou wilt. But, Francis!
Francis My lord?
Prince Wilt thou rob this leathern jerkin, crystal-button, not-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch⁠—
Francis 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.
Francis 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.
Vintner What, standest thou still, and hearest 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!
Re-enter Poins.
Poins Anon, anon, sir.
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 twelve o’clock at midnight.
Re-enter Francis.
What’s o’clock, Francis?
Francis 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 killed 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 damned brawn shall play Dame Mortimer his wife. “Rivo!” says the drunkard. Call in ribs, call in tallow.
Enter Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph, and Peto; Francis following with wine.
Poins Welcome, Jack: where hast thou been?
Falstaff 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 drinks.
Prince Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter? pitiful-hearted Titan, that melted at the sweet tale of the sun’s! if thou didst, then behold that compound.
Falstaff 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 villainous 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 unhanged 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?
Falstaff 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?
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff I call thee coward! I’ll see thee damned 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 drunkest last.
Falstaff All’s one for that. He drinks. A plague of all cowards, still say I.
Prince What’s the matter?
Falstaff 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?
Falstaff Where is it! taken from us it is: a hundred upon poor four of us.
Prince What, a hundred, man?
Falstaff 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 hacked 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?
Gadshill We four set upon some dozen⁠—
Falstaff Sixteen at least, my lord.
Gadshill And bound them.
Peto No, no, they were not bound.
Falstaff You rogue, they were bound, every man of them; or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew.
Gadshill As we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men set upon us⁠—
Falstaff And unbound the rest, and then come in the other.
Prince What, fought you with them all?
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff Nay, that’s past praying for: I have peppered 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.
Falstaff Four, Hal; I told thee four.
Poins Ay, ay, he said four.
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff In buckram?
Poins Ay, four, in buckram suits.
Falstaff Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.
Prince Prithee, let him alone; we shall have more anon.
Falstaff Dost thou hear me, Hal?
Prince Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.
Falstaff Do so, for it is worth the listening to. These nine in buckram that I told thee of⁠—
Prince So, two more already.
Falstaff Their points being broken⁠—
Poins Down fell their hose.
Falstaff 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!
Falstaff 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-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson, obscene, grease tallow-catch⁠—
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff 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 horse-back-breaker, this huge hill of flesh⁠—
Falstaff ’Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s tongue, you bull’s pizzle, 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.
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, out-faced 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 roared for mercy and still run and roared, 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?
Poins Come, let’s hear, Jack; what trick hast thou now?
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff Ah, no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me!
Enter Hostess.
Hostess O Jesu, my lord the prince!
Prince How now, my lady the hostess! what sayest thou to me?
Hostess 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.
Falstaff What manner of man is he?
Hostess An old man.
Falstaff What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight? Shall I give him his answer?
Prince Prithee, do, Jack.
Falstaff ’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!
Bardolph ’Faith, I ran when I saw others run.
Prince ’Faith, tell me now in earnest, how came Falstaff’s sword so hacked?
Peto Why, he hacked 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.
Bardolph Yea, and to tickle our noses with spear-grass 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 blushed 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 blushed extempore. Thou hadst fire and sword on thy side, and yet thou rannest away: what instinct hadst thou for it?
Bardolph My lord, do you see these meteors? do you behold these exhalations?
Prince I do.
Bardolph What think you they portend?
Prince Hot livers and cold purses.
Bardolph Choler, my lord, if rightly taken.
Prince No, if rightly taken, halter.
Re-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?
Falstaff My own knee! when I was about thy years, Hal, I was not an eagle’s talon 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 villainous 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.
Falstaff Owen, Owen, the same; and his son-in-law Mortimer, and old Northumberland, and that sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas, that runs o’ horseback up a hill perpendicular⁠—
Prince He that rides at high speed and with his pistol kills a sparrow flying.
Falstaff You have hit it.
Prince So did he never the sparrow.
Falstaff Well, that rascal hath good mettle in him; he will not run.
Prince Why, what a rascal art thou then, to praise him so for running!
Falstaff O’ horseback, ye cuckoo; but afoot he will not budge a foot.
Prince Yes, Jack, upon instinct.
Falstaff I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too, and one Mordake, and a thousand blue-caps more: Worcester is stolen away to-night; thy father’s beard is turned white with the news: you may buy land now as cheap as stinking mackerel.
Prince Why, then, it is like, if there come a hot June and this civil buffeting hold, we shall buy maidenheads as they buy hob-nails, by the hundreds.
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff Well, thou wert be horribly chid to-morrow when thou comest to thy father: if thou love me, practise an answer.
Prince Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon the particulars of my life.
Falstaff 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 joined-stool, thy golden sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown for a pitiful bald crown!
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff And here is my speech. Stand aside, nobility.
Hostess O Jesu, this is excellent sport, i’ faith!
Falstaff Weep not, sweet queen; for trickling tears are vain.
Hostess O, the father, how he holds his countenance!

For God’s sake, lords, convey my tristful queen;
For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes.

Hostess O Jesu, he doth it as like one of these harlotry players as ever I see!
Falstaff Peace, good pint-pot; 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 villainous 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 asked. Shall the sun of England prove a thief and take purses? a question to be asked. 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?
Falstaff 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 three score; 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.
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff And here I stand: judge, my masters.
Prince Now, Harry, whence come you?
Falstaff My noble lord, from Eastcheap.
Prince The complaints I hear of thee are grievous.
Falstaff ’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 swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag 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 villainous, but in all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing?
Falstaff I would your grace would take me with you: whom means your grace?
Prince That villainous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.
Falstaff My lord, the man I know.
Prince I know thou dost.
Falstaff But to say I know more harm in him than in myself, were to say more than I know. That he is old, the more the pity, his white hairs do witness it; but that he is, saving your reverence, a whoremaster, that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked! if to be old and merry be a sin, then many an old host that I know is damned: if to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh’s lean kine are to be loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins: but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry’s company, banish not him thy Harry’s company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.
Prince I do, I will. A knocking heard. Exeunt Hostess, Francis, and Bardolph.
Re-enter Bardolph, running.
Bardolph O, my lord, my lord! the sheriff with a most monstrous watch is at the door.
Falstaff Out, ye rogue! Play out the play: I have much to say in the behalf of that Falstaff.
Re-enter the Hostess.
Hostess O Jesu, my lord, my lord!
Prince Heigh, heigh! the devil rides upon a fiddlestick: what’s the matter?
Hostess The sheriff and all the watch are at the door: they are come to search the house. Shall I let them in?
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff 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.
Falstaff Both which I have had: but their date is out, and therefore I’ll hide me.
Prince Call in the sheriff. Exeunt all except the Prince and Peto.
Enter Sheriff and the Carrier.
Now, master sheriff, what is your will with me?

First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and cry
Hath follow’d certain men unto this house.

Prince What men?

One of them is well known, my gracious lord,
A gross fat man.

Carrier As fat as butter.

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 any thing he shall be charged withal:
And so let me entreat you leave the house.


I will, my lord. There are two gentlemen
Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks.


It may be so: if he have robb’d these men,
He shall be answerable; and so farewell.

Sheriff Good night, my noble lord.
Prince I think it is good morrow, is it not?
Sheriff Indeed, my lord, I think it be two o’clock. Exeunt Sheriff and 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 what they be: read them.


Item, A capon, 2s. 2d.
Item, Sauce, 4d.
Item, Sack, two gallons, 5s. 8d.
Item, Anchovies and sack after supper, 2s. 6d.
Item, Bread, ob.
Prince O monstrous! but one half-pennyworth 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. Exeunt.
Peto Good morrow, good my lord.