1 Henry IV NavigatorScene Index Notes Previous Scene Next Scene

The First Part of Henry IV:
Act 1, Scene 2


           Enter PRINCE OF WALES and
           SIR JOHN FALSTAFF.

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

      PRINCE HENRY
  2   Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack
  3   and unbuttoning thee after supper and sleeping upon
  4   benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to
  5   demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know.
  6   What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the
  7   day? Unless hours were cups of sack and minutes
  8   capons and clocks the tongues of bawds and dials the
  9   signs of leaping-houses and the blessed sun himself
 10   a fair hot wench in flame-coloured taffeta, I see no
 11   reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand
 12   the time of the day.

      FALSTAFF
 13   Indeed, you come near me now, Hal; for we that take
 14   purses go by the moon and the seven stars, and not
 15   by Phoebus, he, 'that wandering knight so fair.' And,
 16   I prithee, sweet wag, when thou art king, as, God
 17   save thy grace,—majesty I should say, for grace
 18   thou wilt have none,—

      PRINCE HENRY
 19   What, none?

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

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

      FALSTAFF
 23   Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not
 24   us that are squires of the night's body be called
 25   thieves of the day's beauty: let us be Diana's
 26   foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the
 27   moon; and let men say we be men of good government,
 28   being governed, as the sea is, by our noble and
 29   chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal.

      PRINCE HENRY
 30   Thou sayest well, and it holds well too; for the
 31   fortune of us that are the moon's men doth ebb and
 32   flow like the sea, being governed, as the sea is,
 33   by the moon. As, for proof, now: a purse of gold
 34   most resolutely snatched on Monday night and most
 35   dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with
 36   swearing 'Lay by' and spent with crying 'Bring in;'
 37   now in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder
 38   and by and by in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.

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

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

      FALSTAFF
 44   How now, how now, mad wag! what, in thy quips and
 45   thy quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a
 46   buff jerkin?

      PRINCE HENRY
 47   Why, what a pox have I to do with my
 48   hostess of the tavern?

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

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

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

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

      FALSTAFF
 57   Yea, and so used it that were it not here apparent
 58   that thou art heir apparent—But, I prithee, sweet
 59   wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when
 60   thou art king? and resolution thus fubb'd as it is
 61   with the rusty curb of old father antic the law? Do
 62   not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.

      PRINCE HENRY
 63   No; thou shalt.

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

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

      FALSTAFF
 69   Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it jumps with
 70   my humor as well as waiting in the court, I can tell you

      PRINCE HENRY
 71   For obtaining of suits?

      FALSTAFF
 72   Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof the hangman
 73   hath no lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as melancholy
 74   as a gib cat or a lugg'd bear.

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

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

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

      FALSTAFF
 79   Thou hast the most unsavoury similes and art indeed
 80   the most comparative, rascalliest, sweet young
 81   prince. But, Hal, I prithee, trouble me no more
 82   with vanity. I would to God thou and I knew where a
 83   commodity of good names were to be bought. An old
 84   lord of the council rated me the other day in the
 85   street about you, sir, but I marked him not; and yet
 86   he talked very wisely, but I regarded him not; and
 87   yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.

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

      FALSTAFF
 90   O, thou hast damnable iteration and art
 91   indeed able to corrupt a saint. Thou hast done much
 92   harm upon me, Hal; God forgive thee for it! Before I
 93   knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am I, if a
 94   man should speak truly, little better than one of the
 95   wicked. I must give over this life, and I will give
 96   it over: by the Lord, and I do not, I am a villain:
 97   I'll be damned for never a king's son in Christendom.

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

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

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

      FALSTAFF
104   Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal; 'tis no sin for a
105   man to labour in his vocation.

           Enter POINS.

106   Poins! Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a
107   match. O, if men were to be saved by merit, what
108   hole in hell were hot enough for him? This is the
109   most omnipotent villain that ever cried 'Stand' to
110   a true man.

      PRINCE HENRY
111   Good morrow, Ned.

      POINS
112   Good morrow, sweet Hal. What says Monsieur Remorse?
113   what says Sir John Sack and Sugar? Jack! how
114   agrees the devil and thee about thy soul, that thou
115   soldest him on Good Friday last for a cup of Madeira
116   and a cold capon's leg?

      PRINCE HENRY
117   Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have
118   his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of
119   proverbs: he will give the devil his due.

      POINS
120   Then art thou damned for keeping thy word
121   with the devil.

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

      POINS
124   But, my lads, my lads, tomorrow morning, by four
125   o'clock, early at Gadshill! there are pilgrims going
126   to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders
127   riding to London with fat purses: I have vizards
128   for you all; you have horses for yourselves:
129   Gadshill lies tonight in Rochester: I have bespoke
130   supper tomorrow night in Eastcheap: we may do it
131   as secure as sleep. If you will go, I will stuff
132   your purses full of crowns; if you will not, tarry
133   at home and be hanged.

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

      POINS
136   You will, chops?

      FALSTAFF
137   Hal, wilt thou make one?

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

      FALSTAFF
139   There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good
140   fellowship in thee, nor thou camest not of the blood
141   royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.

      PRINCE HENRY
142   Well then, once in my days I'll be a
143   madcap.

      FALSTAFF
144   Why, that's well said.

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

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

      PRINCE HENRY
148   I care not.

      POINS
149   Sir John, I prithee, leave the prince and me alone:
150   I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure
151   that he shall go.

      FALSTAFF
152   Well, God give thee the spirit of persuasion and him
153   the ears of profiting, that what thou speakest may
154   move and what he hears may be believed, that the
155   true prince may, for recreation sake, prove a false
156   thief; for the poor abuses of the time want countenance.
157   Farewell: you shall find me in Eastcheap.

      PRINCE HENRY
158   Farewell, thou latter spring! farewell,
159   All-hallown summer!

           [Exit Falstaff.]

      POINS
160   Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us
161   tomorrow: I have a jest to execute that I cannot
162   manage alone. Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto and Gadshill
163   shall rob those men that we have already waylaid:
164   yourself and I will not be there; and when they
165   have the booty, if you and I do not rob them, cut
166   this head off from my shoulders.

      PRINCE HENRY
167   How shall we part with them in setting
168   forth?

      POINS
169   Why, we will set forth before or after them, and
170   appoint them a place of meeting, wherein it is at
171   our pleasure to fail, and then will they adventure
172   upon the exploit themselves; which they shall have
173   no sooner achieved, but we'll set upon them.

      PRINCE HENRY
174   Yea, but 'tis like that they will know us by our
175   horses, by our habits and by every other
176   appointment, to be ourselves.

      POINS
177   Tut! our horses they shall not see: I'll tie them
178   in the wood; our vizards we will change after we
179   leave them: and, sirrah, I have cases of buckram
180   for the nonce, to immask our noted outward garments.

      PRINCE HENRY
181   Yea, but I doubt they will be too hard for
182   us.

      POINS
183   Well, for two of them, I know them to be as
184   true-bred cowards as ever turned back; and for the
185   third, if he fight longer than he sees reason, I'll
186   forswear arms. The virtue of this jest will be, the
187   incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will tell
188   us when we meet at supper: how thirty, at least, he
189   fought with; what wards, what blows, what extremities
190   he endured; and in the reproof of this lives the jest.

      PRINCE HENRY
191   Well, I'll go with thee: provide us all things
192   necessary and meet me tomorrow night in Eastcheap;
193   there I'll sup. Farewell.

      POINS
194   Farewell, my lord.

           Exit Poins.

      PRINCE HENRY
195   I know you all, and will awhile uphold
196   The unyok'd humor of your idleness:
197   Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
198   Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
199   To smother up his beauty from the world,
200   That, when he please again to be himself,
201   Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at,
202   By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
203   Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
204   If all the year were playing holidays,
205   To sport would be as tedious as to work;
206   But when they seldom come, they wish'd for come,
207   And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
208   So, when this loose behavior I throw off
209   And pay the debt I never promised,
210   By how much better than my word I am,
211   By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
212   And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
213   My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
214   Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
215   Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
216   I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
217   Redeeming time when men think least I will.

           Exit.

1 Henry IV NavigatorScene IndexNotes Previous Scene Next Scene