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History of Henry IV, Part I

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Act II, Scene 1

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! 645
  • 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. 655
  • Second Carrier. I think this be the most villanous 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. 660
  • 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.
  • Second Carrier. I have a gammon of bacon and two razors of ginger, 665
    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 670
    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?
  • Gadshill. I pray thee 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.
  • Second Carrier. Ay, when? can'st tell? Lend me thy lantern, quoth 680
    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 685
    have great charge.

[Exeunt carriers]

  • Gadshill. That's even as fair as—at hand, quoth the 690
    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 695
    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. 700
    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 705
    hangman; for I know thou worshippest St. 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 710
    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 715
    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 720
    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. 725
  • 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, cocksure; we have the receipt
    of fern-seed, we walk invisible. 730
  • 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. 735
  • 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.