Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 1 (Folio 1 1623)

The First Part of Henry the Fourth.
that backing of your friends? a plague vpon such bac-
1110king: giue me them that will face me. Giue me a Cup
of Sack, I am a Rogue if I drunke to day.
Prin. O Villaine, thy Lippes are scarce wip'd, since
thou drunk'st last.
Falst. All's one for that.
He drinkes.
1115A plague of all Cowards still, say I.
Prince. What's the matter?
Falst. What's the matter? here be foure of vs, haue
ta'ne a thousand pound this Morning.
Prince. Where is it, Iack? where is it?
1120Falst. Where is it? taken from vs, it is: a hundred
vpon poore foure of vs.
Prince. What, a hundred, man?
Falst. I am a Rogue, if I were not at halfe Sword with
a dozen of them two houres together. I haue scaped by
1125miracle. I am eight times thrust through the Doublet,
foure through the Hose, my Buckler cut through and
through, my Sword hackt like a Hand-saw, ecce signum.
I neuer dealt better since I was a man: all would not doe.
A plague of all Cowards: let them speake; if they speake
1130more or lesse then truth, they are villaines, and the sonnes
of darknesse.
Prince. Speake sirs, how was it?
Gad. We foure set vpon some dozen.
Falst. Sixteene, at least, my Lord.
1135Gad. And bound them.
Peto. No, no, they were not bound.
Falst. You Rogue, they were bound, euery man of
them, or I am a Iew else, an Ebrew Iew.
Gad. As we were sharing, some sixe or seuen fresh men
1140set vpon vs.
Falst. And vnbound the rest, and then come in the
Prince. What, fought yee with them all?
Falst. All? I know not what yee call all: but if I
1145fought not with fiftie of them, I am a bunch of Radish:
if there were not two or three and fiftie vpon poore olde
Iack, then am I no two-legg'd Creature.
Poin. Pray Heauen, you haue not murthered some of
1150Falst. Nay, that's past praying for, I haue pepper'd
two of them: Two I am sure I haue payed, two Rogues
in Buckrom Sutes. I tell thee what, Hal, if I tell thee a
Lye, spit in my face, call me Horse: thou knowest my olde
word: here I lay, and thus I bore my point; foure Rogues
1155in Buckrom let driue at me.
Prince. What, foure? thou sayd'st but two, euen now.
Falst. Foure Hal, I told thee foure.
Poin. I, I, he said foure.
Falst. These foure came all a-front, and mainely thrust
1160at me; I made no more adoe, but tooke all their seuen
points in my Targuet, thus.
Prince. Seuen? why there were but foure, euen now.
Falst. In Buckrom.
Poin. I, foure, in Buckrom Sutes.
1165Falst. Seuen, by these Hilts, or I am a Villaine else.
Prin. Prethee let him alone, we shall haue more anon.
Falst. Doest thou heare me, Hal?
Prin. I, and marke thee too, Iack.
Falst. Doe so, for it is worth the listning too: these
1170nine in Buckrom, that I told thee of.
Prin. So, two more alreadie.
Falst. Their Points being broken.
Poin. Downe fell his Hose.
Falst. Began to giue me ground: but I followed me
1175close, came in foot and hand; and with a thought, seuen of
the eleuen I pay'd.
Prin. O monstrous! eleuen Buckrom men growne
out of two?
Falst. But as the Deuill would haue it, three mis-be-
1180gotten Knaues, in Kendall Greene, came at my Back, and
let driue at me; for it was so darke, Hal, that thou could'st
not see thy Hand.
Prin. These Lyes are like the Father that begets them,
grosse as a Mountaine, open, palpable. Why thou Clay-
1185brayn'd Guts, thou Knotty-pated Foole, thou Horson ob-
scene greasie Tallow Catch.
Falst. What, art thou mad? art thou mad? is not the
truth, the truth?
Prin. Why, how could'st thou know these men in
1190Kendall Greene, when it was so darke, thou could'st not
see thy Hand? Come, tell vs your reason: what say'st thou
to this?
Poin. Come, your reason Iack, your reason.
Falst. What, vpon compulsion? No: were I at the
1195Strappado, or all the Racks in the World, I would not
tell you on compulsion. Giue you a reason on compulsi-
on? If Reasons were as plentie as Black-berries, I would
giue no man a Reason vpon compulsion, I.
Prin. Ile be no longer guiltie of this sinne. This san-
1200guine Coward, this Bed-presser, this Hors-back-breaker,
this huge Hill of Flesh.
Falst. Away you Starueling, you Elfe-skin, you dried
Neats tongue, Bulles-pissell, you stocke-fish: O for breth
to vtter. What is like thee? You Tailors yard, you sheath
1205you Bow-case, you vile standing tucke.
Prin. Well, breath a-while, and then to't againe: and
when thou hast tyr'd thy selfe in base comparisons, heare
me speake but thus.
Poin. Marke Iacke.
1210Prin. We two, saw you foure set on foure and bound
them, and were Masters of their Wealth: mark now how
a plaine Tale shall put you downe. Then did we two, set
on you foure, and with a word, outfac'd you from your
prize, and haue it: yea, and can shew it you in the House.
1215And Falstaffe, you caried your Guts away as nimbly, with
as quicke dexteritie, and roared for mercy, and still ranne
and roar'd, as euer I heard Bull-Calfe. What a Slaue art
thou, to hacke thy sword as thou hast done, and then say
it was in fight. What trick? what deuice? what starting
1220hole canst thou now find out, to hide thee from this open
and apparant shame?
Poines. Come, let's heare Iacke: What tricke hast
thou now?
Fal. I knew ye as well as he that made ye. Why heare
1225ye my Masters, was it for me to kill the Heire apparant?
Should I turne vpon 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 a Coward on Instinct: I shall thinke the better of
1230my selfe, and thee, during my life: I, for a valiant Lion,
and thou for a true Prince. But Lads, I am glad you haue
the Mony. Hostesse, clap to the doores: watch to night,
pray to morrow. Gallants, Lads, Boyes, Harts of Gold,
all the good Titles of Fellowship come to you. What,
1235shall we be merry? shall we haue a Play extempory.
Prin. Content, and the argument shall be, thy runing
Fal. A, no more of that Hall, and thou louest me.
Enter Hostesse
1240Host. My Lord, the Prince?