[2.2]
735Enter Prince, Poins, and Peto.
Poins
Come, shelter, shelter! I have removed Falstaff's horse, and he frets like a gummed velvet.
Prince
Stand close.
[Poins and Peto hide.]
Enter Falstaff.
740Falstaff
Poins! Poins, and be hanged! Poins!
Prince
Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal! What a brawling dost thou keep!
Falstaff
Where's Poins, Hal?
Prince
He is walked up to the top of the hill. I'll go seek him.
[He joins Poins and Peto]
Falstaff
I am accursed to rob in that thief's company. The rascal hath removed my horse and tied him I know not where. If I travel but four foot by the square further afoot, I shall break my wind. Well, I doubt not but to die a fair death, for all 750this if I scape hanging for killing that rogue. I have forsworn his company hourly any time this two-and-twenty years, and yet I am bewitched with the rogue's company. If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged. It could 755not be else -- I have drunk medicines. Poins! Hal! A plague upon you both! Bardolph! Peto! I'll starve ere I'll rob a foot further. An 'twere not as good a deed as drink to turn true man and to leave these rogues, I am the veriest varlet that ever chewed with a tooth. Eight yards of uneven ground is 760threescore and ten miles afoot with me, and the stony-hearted villains know it well enough. A plague upon it when thieves cannot be true one to another!
They whistle.
Whew! A plague upon you all!
[Prince, Poins and Peto come forward(?)]
Give me my horse, you rogues; 765give me my horse, and be hanged!
Prince
Peace, ye fat-guts. Lie down, lay thine ear close to the ground, and list if thou canst hear the tread of travelers.
Falstaff
Have you any levers to lift me up again, being down? 770'Sblood, I'll not bear my own flesh so far afoot again for all the coin in thy father's exchequer. What a plague mean ye to colt me thus?
Prince
Thou liest: thou art not colted, thou art uncolted.
Falstaff
I prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse, good 775king's son.
Prince
Out, ye rogue, shall I be your ostler?
Falstaff
Hang thyself in thine own heir-apparent garters! If I be ta'en, I'll peach for this. An I have not ballads made on you all and sung to filthy tunes, let a cup of sack be my 780poison. When a jest is so forward -- and afoot too -- I hate it.
Enter Gadshill [and Bardolph(?)].
Gadshill
Stand!
Falstaff
So I do, against my will.
785Poins
Oh, 'tis our setter, I know his voice. Bardolph, what news?
Bardolph
Case ye, case ye, on with your vizards! There's money of the king's coming down the hill; 'tis going to the king's exchequer.
790Falstaff
You lie, ye rogue, 'tis going to the king's tavern.
Gadshill
There's enough to make us all.
Falstaff
To be hanged.
Prince
Sirs, you four shall front them in the narrow lane. Ned Poins and I will walk lower. If they scape from your 795encounter, then they light on us.
Peto
How many be there of them?
Gadshill
Some eight or ten.
Falstaff
Zounds, will they not rob us?
Prince
What, a coward, Sir John Paunch?
800Falstaff
Indeed I am not John of Gaunt your grandfather, but yet no coward, Hal.
Prince
Well, we leave that to the proof.
Poins
Sirrah Jack, thy horse stands behind the hedge. When thou need'st him, there thou shalt find him. Farewell, and stand fast.
Falstaff
Now cannot I strike him if I should be hanged.
Prince
[Aside to Poins] Ned, where are our disguises?
Poins
[Aside to the prince] Here, hard by, stand close.
[Exeunt Prince and Poins.]
Falstaff
Now, my masters, happy man be his dole, say I; every 810man to his business.
Enter the travelers.
[First Traveler]
Come, neighbor, the boy shall lead our horses down the hill. We'll walk afoot a while, and ease their legs.
815Thieves
Stand!
Traveler
Jesus bless us!
Falstaff
Strike, down with them, cut the villains' throats. Ah, whoreson caterpillars, bacon-fed knaves! They hate us youth. Down with them, fleece them!
820Traveler
Oh, we are undone, both we and ours forever!
Falstaff
Hang, ye gorbellied knaves, are ye undone? No, ye fat chuffs, I would your store were here. On, bacons, on! What, ye knaves, young men must live. You are grand-jurors, are ye? We'll jure ye, faith.
825Here they rob them and bind them. Exeunt.
Enter the prince and Poins.
Prince
The thieves have bound the true men. Now could thou and I rob the thieves and go merrily to London, it would be argument for a week, laughter for a month, and a good jest 830forever.
Poins
Stand close, I hear them coming.
[They hide.]
Enter the thieves again.
Falstaff
Come, my masters, let us share, and then to horse before day. An the prince and Poins be not two arrant cowards, 835there's no equity stirring. There's no more valor in that Poins than in a wild duck.
As they are sharing the prince and Poins set upon them.
Prince
Your money.
Poins
Villains!
They all run away, and Falstaff after a blow or two runs away840 too, leaving the booty behind them.
Prince
Got with much ease. Now merrily to horse. The thieves are all scattered and possessed with fear so strongly that they dare not meet each other. Each takes his fellow for an officer. Away, good Ned. Falstaff sweats to death, and lards the lean earth 845as he walks along. Were't not for laughing, I should pity him.
Poins
How the fat rogue roared!
Exeunt.