Plays  +  Sonnets  +  Poems  +  Concordance  +  Advanced Search  +  About OSS

History of Henry IV, Part I

print/save print/save view


Act I, Scene 2

London. An apartment of the Prince’s.



  • Falstaff. Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?
  • Henry V. 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 115
    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 120
    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 125
    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,—
  • Falstaff. No, by my troth, not so much as will serve to
    prologue to an egg and butter.
  • Henry V. 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 135
    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. 140
  • Henry V. 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 145
    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 150
    hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?
  • Henry V. 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 155
    buff jerkin?
  • Henry V. 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.
  • Henry V. Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part? 160
  • Falstaff. No; I'll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.
  • Henry V. 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 165
    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.
  • Falstaff. Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I'll be a brave judge.
  • Henry V. 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 175
  • 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. 180
  • Henry V. Or an old lion, or a lover's lute.
  • Falstaff. Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.
  • Henry V. What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of
  • Falstaff. Thou hast the most unsavoury similes and art indeed 185
    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 190
    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.
  • Henry V. Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the
    streets, and no man regards it. 195
  • 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 200
    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
  • Henry V. Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack? 205
  • Falstaff. 'Zounds, where thou wilt, lad; I'll make one; an I
    do not, call me villain and baffle me.
  • Henry V. 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 210
    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 215
    most omnipotent villain that ever cried 'Stand' to
    a true man.
  • Edward Poins. Good morrow, sweet Hal. What says Monsieur Remorse?
    what says Sir John Sack and Sugar? Jack! how 220
    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?
  • Henry V. Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have
    his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of 225
    proverbs: he will give the devil his due.
  • Edward Poins. Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.
  • Henry V. Else he had been damned for cozening the devil.
  • Edward Poins. But, my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four
    o'clock, early at Gadshill! there are pilgrims going 230
    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 235
    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. 240
  • Henry V. 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 245
    royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.
  • Henry V. Well then, once in my days I'll be a madcap.
  • Henry V. Well, come what will, I'll tarry at home.
  • Falstaff. By the Lord, I'll be a traitor then, when thou art king. 250
  • Edward 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 255
    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. 260
  • Henry V. Farewell, thou latter spring! farewell, All-hallown summer!

[Exit Falstaff]

  • Edward 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 265
    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.
  • Henry V. How shall we part with them in setting forth? 270
  • Edward 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. 275
  • Henry V. Yea, but 'tis like that they will know us by our
    horses, by our habits and by every other
    appointment, to be ourselves.
  • Edward Poins. Tut! our horses they shall not see: I'll tie them
    in the wood; our vizards we will change after we 280
    leave them: and, sirrah, I have cases of buckram
    for the nonce, to immask our noted outward garments.
  • Henry V. Yea, but I doubt they will be too hard for us.
  • Edward Poins. Well, for two of them, I know them to be as
    true-bred cowards as ever turned back; and for the 285
    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 290
    extremities he endured; and in the reproof of this
    lies the jest.
  • Henry V. Well, I'll go with thee: provide us all things
    necessary and meet me to-morrow night in Eastcheap;
    there I'll sup. Farewell. 295

[Exit Poins]

  • Henry V. I know you all, and will awhile uphold
    The unyoked humour of your idleness:
    Yet herein will I imitate the sun, 300
    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 305
    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. 310
    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, 315
    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. 320