Enter prince of Wales, and Sir Iohn Falstaffe.
115Falst. Now Hal, what time of day is it lad?
Prince. Thou art so fat-witted with drinking of olde sacke,
and vnbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping vpon benches
after noone; that thou hast forgotten to demaunde that truelie
which thou wouldest trulie knowe. What a diuell hast thou to
120do with the time of the daie? vnles houres were cups of sacke,
and minutes capons, and clockes the tongues of Baudes, and
Dialles the signes of leaping houses, and the blessed sunne
himselfe a faire hot wench in flame-couloured taffata; I see no
reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demaunde the
time of the day.
Falst. Indeede you come neere me nowe Hal, for wee that
take purses go by the moone and the seuen stars, and not by
Phoebus, he, that wandring knight so faire: and I prethe sweet
130wag when thou art a king, as God saue thy grace: maiestie I
should say, for grace thou wilt haue none.
Prince. What none?
Falst. No by my troth, not so much as will serue to bee pro-
135logue to an egge and butter.
Prin. Wel, how then? come roundly, roundly.
Falst. Marry then sweet wag, when thou art king let not vs
that are squiers of the nights bodie, bee called theeues of the
daies beauty: let vs be Dianaes forresters, gentlemen of the
140shade, minions of the moone, and let men say wee be men of
good gouernement, being gouerned as the sea is, by our noble
and chast mistresse the moone, vnder whose countenaunce
we steale.
Prince. Thou saiest well, and it holds wel to, for the fortune
145of vs that are the moones men, doth ebbe and flow like the sea,
being gouerned as the sea is by the moone, as for proofe. Now
a purse
of Henrie the fourth
a purse of gold most resolutely snatcht on Munday night and
most dissolutely spent on tuesday morning, got with swearing,
lay by, and spent with crying, bring in, now in as low an ebbe
as the foot of the ladder, and by and by in as high a flow as the
ridge of the gallowes.
Falst. By the Lord thou saist true lad, and is not my hostesse
of the tauerne a most sweet wench?
155Prin. As the hony of Hibla my old lad of the castle, and is
not a buffe Ierkin a most sweet robe of durance?
Falst. How now, how nowe mad wag, what in thy quips
and thy quiddities? what a plague haue I to doe with a buffe
160Prince. Why what a poxe haue I to do with my hostesse of
the tauerne?
Falst. Well, thou hast cald her to a reckoning many a time
and oft.
Prince. Did I euer call for thee to pay thy part?
165Falst. No, ile giue thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.
Prin. Yea and else where, so far as my coine would stretch,
and where it would not, I haue vsed my credit.
Falst. Yea, and so vs'd it that were it not here apparant that
thou art heire apparant. But I prethe sweet wag, shall there be
170gallowes standing in England when thou art king? and reso-
lution thus fubd as it is with the rusty curbe of olde father An-
ticke the law, do not thou when thou art king hang a theefe.
Prince. No, thou shalt.
175Falst. Shall I? O rare! by the Lord ile be a braue iudge.
Prin. Thou iudgest false already, I meane thou shalt haue
the hanging of the theeues, and so become a rare hangman.
Falst. Well Hall well, and in some sort it iumpes with my
180humour, as well as waighting in the Court I can tell you.
Prince. For obtaining of suites?
Falst. Yea, for obtaining of suites, whereof the hangman
hath no leane wardrob. Zbloud I am as melancholy as a gyb
185Cat, or a lugd beare.
Prin. Or an old lyon, or a louers Lute.
Falst. Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.
Prince. What saiest thou to a Hare, or the malancholy of
The Historie
190Falst. Thou hast the most vnsauory smiles, and art indeed
the most comparatiue rascalliest sweer yong Prince. But Hal,
I prethe trouble me no more with vanitie, I woulde to God
thou and I knewe where a commodity of good names were
to be bought: an olde Lorde of the councell rated me the o-
195ther day in the street about you sir, but I markt him not, and
yet he talkt very wisely, but I regarded him not, and yet hee
talkt wisely and in the street to.
Prin. Thou didst well, for wisedome cries out in the streets
and no man regards it.
Falst. O thou hast damnable iteration, and art indeed able
200to corrupt a saint: thou hast done much harme vpon me Hal,
God forgiue thee for it: before I knewe thee Hal, I knewe no-
thing, and now am I, if a man should speake trulie, little better
then one of the wicked: I must giue ouer this life, and I will
giue it ouer: by the Lord and I doe not, I am a villaine, ile bee
205damnd for neuer a kings sonne in Christendom.
Prin. Where shal we take a purse to morrow Iacke?
Falst. Zounds where thou wilt lad, ile make one, an I do not
call me villaine and baffell me.
210Prin. I see a good amendment of life in thee, from praying
to purse-taking.
Fal. Why Hall, tis my vocation Hall, tis no sinne for a man
to labor in his vocation. Enter Poines.
Poynes nowe shall we knowe if Gadshill haue set a match.
215O if men were to be saued by merit, what hole in hell were hot
enough for him? this is the most omnipotent villaine that euer
cried, stand, to a true man.
Prin. Good morrow Ned.
Poines. Good morrow sweete Hal. What saies Monsieur
220remorse? what saies sir Iohn Sacke, and Sugar Iacke? howe
agrees the Diuell and thee about thy soule that thou souldest
him on good friday last, for a cup of Medera and a cold capons
Prince. Sir Iohn stands to his word, the diuell shall haue his
225bargaine, for he was neuer yet a breaker of prouerbes: he will
giue the diuell his due.
of Henrie the fourth.
Poynes. Then art thou damnd for keeping thy word with
the diuell.
Prince. Else hee had bin damnd for coosening the diuell.
230Poy. But my lads, my lads, to morrow morning, by foure a
clocke early at Gadshill, there are pilgrims going to Cantur-
burie with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat
purses. I haue vizards for you al you haue horses for your selues,
Gadshill lies to night in Rochester, I haue bespoke supper to
235morrow night in Eastcheape: we may do it as secure as sleepe,
if you will go I will stuffe your purses full of crownes: if you will
not, tarie at home and be hangd.
Falst. Heare ye Yedward, if I tarry at home and go not, ile
240hang you for going.
Po. You will chops.
Falst. Hal, wilt thou make one?
Prince. Who I rob, I a thiefe? not I by my faith.
Falst. Theres neither honestie, manhood, nor good fellowship
245in thee, nor thou camst not of the bloud roiall, if thou darest not
stand for ten shillings.
Prince. Well then, once in my dayes ile be a madcap.
Falst. Why thats well said.
Prince. Well, come what wil, ile tarrie at home.
250Falst. By the lord, ile be a traitor then, when thou art king.
Prince. I care not.
Po. Sir Iohn, I preethe leaue the prince and mee alone, I will
lay him downe such reasons for this aduenture that he shall go.
255Falst. Well, God giue thee the spirit of perswasion, and him
the eares of profiting, that what thou speakest, may moue, and
what he heares, may be beleeued, that the true prince may (for
recreation sake) proue a false thiefe, for the poore abuses of the
time want countenance: farewel, you shal find me in Eastcheap
Prin. Farewel the latter spring, farewel Alhallowne summer.
Poin. Now my good sweete hony Lord, ride with vs to mor-
row. I haue a ieast to execute, that I cannot mannage alone.
265Falstalffe, Haruey, Rossill, and Gadshil, shal rob those men that
we haue already way-laid, your selfe and I will not bee there:
and when they haue the bootie, if you and I doe not rob them,
cut this head off from my shoulders.
B.i. Prin.
The Historie
270Prin. How shall we part with them in setting forth?
Po. Why, we wil set forth before or after them, and appoint
them a place of meeting, wherein it is at our pleasure to faile;
and then wil they aduenture vpõ the exploit themselues, which
they shal haue no sooner atchieued but weele set vpon them.
Prin. Yea, but tis like that they wil know vs by our horses, by
our habits, and by euery other appointment to be our selues.
Po. Tut, our horses they shal not see, ile tie them in the wood,
280our vizards wee wil change after wee leaue them: and sirrha, I
haue cases of Buckrom for the nonce, to immaske our noted
outward garments.
Prin. Yea, but I doubt they wil be too hard for vs.
Po. Wel, for two of them, I know them to bee as true bred
285cowards as euer turnd backe: and for the third, if he fight longer
then he sees reason, ile forsweare armes. The vertue of this ieast
wil be the incomprehensible lies, that this same fat rogue wil tel
vs when we meet at supper, how thirtie at least he fought with,
what wardes, what blowes, what extremities he indured, and in
290the reproofe of this liues the iest.
Prin. Well, ile goe with thee, prouide vs all thinges neces-
sarie, and meete me to morrow night in Eastcheape, there ile
sup: farewell.
295Po. Farewel my Lord.
Exit Poines.
Prin. I know you all, and wil a while vphold
The vnyokt humour of your idlenes,
Yet herein wil I imitate the sunne,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
300To smother vp his beautie from the world,
That when he please againe to be himselfe,
Being wanted he may be more wondred at
By breaking through the foule and ougly mists
Of vapours, that did seeme to strangle him.
305If all the yeere were playing holly-dayes,
To sport would be as tedious as to worke;
But when they seldome come, they wisht for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents:
So when this loose behauiour I throw off,
310And pay the debt I neuer promised,
of Henrie the fourth.
By how much better then my word I am,
By so much shall I falsifie mens hopes,
And like bright mettal on a sullein ground,
My reformation glittring ore my fault,
315Shal shew more goodly, and attract more eyes
Then that which hath no foile to set it off.
Ile so offend, to make offence a skill,
Redeeming time when men thinke least I wil.