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  • Title: Henry IV, Part 2 (Modern)
  • Editor: Rosemary Gaby

  • Copyright Rosemary Gaby. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Rosemary Gaby
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Henry IV, Part 2 (Modern)

    Enter the prince [and] Poins.
    Prince Before god, I am exceeding weary.
    Poins Is't come to that? I had thought weariness durst not have attached one of so high blood.
    795Prince Faith it does me, though it discolors the complexion of my greatness to acknowledge it. Doth it not show vilely in me to desire small beer?
    Poins Why, a prince should not be so loosely studied as to remember so weak a composition.
    800Prince Belike then my appetite was not princely got, for by my troth, I do now remember the poor creature small beer. But indeed these humble considerations make me out of love with my greatness. What a disgrace is it to me to remember thy name? Or to know thy face tomorrow? Or to take note how 805many pair of silk stockings thou hast -- with these, and those that were thy peach-colored ones -- or to bear the inventory of thy shirts -- as one for superfluity, and another for use? But that the tennis-court keeper knows better than I, for it is a low ebb 810of linen with thee when thou keepest not racket there, as thou hast not done a great while, because the rest of thy low countries have made a shift to eat up thy holland. And god knows whether those 812.1that bawl out the ruins of thy linen shall inherit his kingdom. But the midwives say the children are not in the fault, whereupon the world increases, and kindreds are mightily strengthened.
    Poins How ill it follows, after you have labored so hard, 815you should talk so idly! Tell me how many good young princes would do so, their fathers being so sick, as yours at this 816.1time is.
    Prince Shall I tell thee one thing Poins?
    Poins Yes faith, and let it be an excellent good thing.
    820Prince It shall serve among wits of no higher breeding than thine.
    Poins Go to, I stand the push of your one thing that you will tell.
    Prince Marry, I tell thee it is not mete that I should be sad 825now my father is sick; albeit I could tell to thee, as to one it pleases me, for fault of a better, to call my friend, I could be sad, and sad indeed too.
    Poins Very hardly, upon such a subject.
    Prince By this hand, thou thinkst me as far in the devil's 830book, as thou and Falstaff, for obduracy and persistancy. Let the end try the man. But I tell thee, my heart bleeds inwardly that my father is so sick, and keeping such vile company as thou art, hath in reason taken from me all ostentation of sorrow.
    835Poins The reason?
    Prince What wouldst thou think of me if I should weep?
    Poins I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.
    Prince It would be every man's thought, and thou art a blessed fellow to think as every man thinks. Never a man's 840thought in the world keeps the roadway better than thine: every man would think me an hypocrite indeed. And what accites your most worshipful thought to think so?
    Poins Why because you have been so lewd and so much 845engrafted to Falstaff.
    Prince And to thee.
    Poins By this light I am well spoke on. I can hear it with mine own ears, the worst that they can say of me is that I am a second brother, and that I am a proper fellow of my hands, 850and those two things I confess I cannot help. By the mass, here comes Bardolph.
    Enter Bardolph and boy.
    Prince And the boy that I gave Falstaff. 'A had him from me Christian, and look if the fat villain have not transformed him ape.
    Bardolph God save your grace.
    Prince And yours, most noble Bardolph.
    Poins Come, you virtuous ass, you bashful fool, must you be blushing? Wherefore blush you now? What a maidenly 860man at arms are you become! Is't such a matter to get a pottle-pot's maidenhead?
    Page 'A calls me e'en now, my lord, through a red lattice, and I could discern no part of his face from the window. At last I spied his eyes and methought he had made two holes in the ale-wife's 865petticoat and so peeped through.
    Prince Has not the boy profited?
    Bardolph Away, you whoreson upright rabbit, away.
    Page Away, you rascally Althea's dream, away.
    870Prince Instruct us, boy: what dream, boy?
    Page Marry, my lord, Althea dreamt she was delivered of a firebrand, and therefore I call him her dream.
    Prince A crown's worth of good interpretation! There 'tis, boy.
    [Gives money.]
    875Poins O that this blossom could be kept from cankers! Well, there is sixpence to preserve thee.
    [Gives money.]
    Bardolph An you do not make him hanged among you, the gallows shall have wrong.
    Prince And how doth thy master, Bardolph?
    880Bardolph Well, my lord, he heard of your grace's coming to town. There's a letter for you.
    [He gives a letter.]
    Poins Delivered with good respect. And how doth the Martlemas your master?
    Bardolph In bodily health, sir.
    885Poins Marry, the immortal part needs a physician, but that moves not him; though that be sick, it dies not.
    Prince I do allow this wen to be as familiar with me as my dog, and he holds his place, for look you how he writes.
    [He shows Poins the letter.]
    Poins "John Falstaff, knight," -- every man must know that as oft as he has occasion to name himself, even like those that are kin to the king, for they never prick their finger but they say, "there's some of the king's blood spilt." "How comes that?" 895says he that takes upon him not to conceive. The answer is as ready as a borrowed cap: "I am the king's poor cousin, sir."
    Prince Nay they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it from Japhet. But the letter: "Sir John Falstaff, knight, to the son of 900the king, nearest his father, Harry Prince of Wales, greeting."
    Poins Why, this is a certificate.
    Prince Peace. "I will imitate the honorable Romans in brevity."
    905Poins He sure means brevity in breath, short winded.
    [Prince] "I commend me to thee, I commend thee, and I leave thee. Be not too familiar with Poins, for he misuses thy favors so much that he swears thou art to marry his sister Nell. Repent at idle times as thou mayst, and so farewell. 910Thine, by yea and no, which is as much as to say, as thou usest him, Jack Falstaff with my familiars, John with my brothers and sisters, and Sir John with all Europe."
    Poins My lord, I'll steep this letter in sack and make him 915eat it.
    Prince That's to make him eat twenty of his words. But do you use me thus, Ned? Must I marry your sister?
    Poins God send the wench no worse fortune, but I never said so.
    920Prince Well, thus we play the fools with the time, and the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us. [To Bardolph] Is your master here in London?
    Bardolph Yea, my lord.
    Prince Where sups he? Doth the old boar feed in the old 925frank?
    Bardolph At the old place, my lord, in Eastcheap.
    Prince What company?
    Page Ephesians, my lord, of the old church.
    Prince Sup any women with him?
    930Page None, my lord, but old Mistress Quickly and Mistress Doll Tearsheet.
    Prince What pagan may that be?
    Page A proper gentlewoman, sir, and a kinswoman of my master's.
    935Prince Even such kin as the parish heifers are to the town bull. Shall we steal upon them, Ned, at supper?
    Poins I am your shadow, my lord; I'll follow you.
    Prince Sirrah, you, boy, and Bardolph, no word to your master that I am yet come to town. There's for your silence.
    [Gives money.]
    Bardolph I have no tongue sir.
    Page And for mine sir, I will govern it.
    Prince Fare you well: go. [Exeunt Bardolph and Page.] This Doll Tearsheet should be 945some road.
    Poins I warrant you, as common as the way between Saint Albans and London.
    Prince How might we see Falstaff bestow himself tonight in his true colors, and not ourselves be seen?
    950Poins Put on two leathern jerkins and aprons, and wait upon him at his table as drawers.
    Prince From a god to a bull: a heavy descension -- it was Jove's case. From a prince to a prentice: a low transformation -- that shall be mine, for in everything the purpose must weigh with the 955folly. Follow me, Ned.