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King Henry IV, Part I

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ACT II SCENE IV The Boar's-Head Tavern, Eastcheap.
PRINCE HENRYNed, prithee, come out of that fat room, and lend me
thy hand to laugh a little.
POINSWhere hast been, Hal?
PRINCE HENRYWith three or four loggerheads amongst three or four
score hogsheads. I have sounded the very5
base-string of humility. Sirrah, I am sworn brother
to a leash of drawers; and can call them all by
their christen names, as Tom, Dick, and Francis.
They take it already upon their salvation, that
though I be but the prince of Wales, yet I am king10
of courtesy; and tell me flatly I am no proud Jack,
like Falstaff, but a Corinthian, a lad of mettle, a
good boy, by the Lord, so they call me, and when I
am king of England, I shall command all the good
lads in Eastcheap. They call drinking deep, dyeing15
scarlet; and when you breathe in your watering, they
cry 'hem!' and bid you play it off. To conclude, I
am so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour,
that I can drink with any tinker in his own language
during my life. I tell thee, Ned, thou hast lost20
much honour, that thou wert not with me in this sweet
action. But, sweet Ned,--to sweeten which name of
Ned, I give thee this pennyworth of sugar, clapped
even now into my hand by an under-skinker, one that
never spake other English in his life than 'Eight25
shillings and sixpence' and 'You are welcome,' with
this shrill addition, 'Anon, anon, sir! Score a pint
of bastard in the Half-Moon,' or so. But, Ned, to
drive away the time till Falstaff come, I prithee,
do thou stand in some by-room, while I question my30
puny drawer to what end he gave me the sugar; and do
thou never leave calling 'Francis,' that his tale
to me may be nothing but 'Anon.' Step aside, and
I'll show thee a precedent.
PRINCE HENRYThou art perfect.
[Exit POINS]
FRANCISAnon, anon, sir. Look down into the Pomgarnet, Ralph.
PRINCE HENRYCome hither, Francis.
FRANCISMy lord?40
PRINCE HENRYHow long hast thou to serve, Francis?
FRANCISForsooth, five years, and as much as to--
POINS[Within] Francis!
FRANCISAnon, anon, sir.
PRINCE HENRYFive year! by'r lady, a long lease for the clinking45
of pewter. But, Francis, darest thou be so valiant
as to play the coward with thy indenture and show it
a fair pair of heels and run from it?
FRANCISO Lord, sir, I'll be sworn upon all the books in
England, I could find in my heart.50
POINS[Within] Francis!
FRANCISAnon, sir.
PRINCE HENRYHow old art thou, Francis?
FRANCISLet me see--about Michaelmas next I shall be--
POINS[Within] Francis! 55
FRANCISAnon, sir. Pray stay a little, my lord.
PRINCE HENRYNay, but hark you, Francis: for the sugar thou
gavest me,'twas a pennyworth, wast't not?
FRANCISO Lord, I would it had been two!
PRINCE HENRYI will give thee for it a thousand pound: ask me60
when thou wilt, and thou shalt have it.
POINS[Within] Francis!
FRANCISAnon, anon.
PRINCE HENRYAnon, Francis? No, Francis; but to-morrow, Francis;
or, Francis, o' Thursday; or indeed, Francis, when65
thou wilt. But, Francis!
PRINCE HENRYWilt thou rob this leathern jerkin, crystal-button,
not-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-garter,
smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch,--70
FRANCISO Lord, sir, who do you mean?
PRINCE HENRYWhy, then, your brown bastard is your only drink;
for look you, Francis, your white canvas doublet
will sully: in Barbary, sir, it cannot come to so much.
FRANCISWhat, sir?75
POINS[Within] Francis!
PRINCE HENRYAway, you rogue! dost thou not hear them call?
[ Here they both call him; the drawer stands amazed, not knowing which way to go ]
[Enter Vintner]
VintnerWhat, standest thou still, and hearest such a
calling? Look to the guests within.
[Exit Francis]
My lord, old Sir John, with half-a-dozen more, are80
at the door: shall I let them in?
PRINCE HENRYLet them alone awhile, and then open the door.
[Exit Vintner]
[Re-enter POINS]
POINSAnon, anon, sir.
PRINCE HENRYSirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the thieves are at85
the door: shall we be merry?

POINSAs merry as crickets, my lad. But hark ye; what
cunning match have you made with this jest of the
drawer? come, what's the issue?
PRINCE HENRYI am now of all humours that have showed themselves90
humours since the old days of goodman Adam to the
pupil age of this present twelve o'clock at midnight.
[Re-enter FRANCIS]
What's o'clock, Francis?
FRANCISAnon, anon, sir.
PRINCE HENRYThat ever this fellow should have fewer words than a95
parrot, and yet the son of a woman! His industry is
upstairs and downstairs; his eloquence the parcel of
a reckoning. I am not yet of Percy's mind, the
Hotspur of the north; he that kills me some six or
seven dozen of Scots at a breakfast, washes his100
hands, and says to his wife 'Fie upon this quiet
life! I want work.' 'O my sweet Harry,' says she,
'how many hast thou killed to-day?' 'Give my roan
horse a drench,' says he; and answers 'Some
fourteen,' an hour after; 'a trifle, a trifle.' I105
prithee, call in Falstaff: I'll play Percy, and
that damned brawn shall play Dame Mortimer his
wife. 'Rivo!' says the drunkard. Call in ribs, call in tallow.
[ Enter FALSTAFF, GADSHILL, BARDOLPH, and PETO; FRANCIS following with wine ]
POINSWelcome, Jack: where hast thou been?
FALSTAFFA plague of all cowards, I say, and a vengeance too!110
marry, and amen! Give me a cup of sack, boy. Ere I
lead this life long, I'll sew nether stocks and mend
them and foot them too. A plague of all cowards!
Give me a cup of sack, rogue. Is there no virtue extant?
[He drinks]
PRINCE HENRYDidst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter?115
pitiful-hearted Titan, that melted at the sweet tale
of the sun's! if thou didst, then behold that compound.
FALSTAFFYou rogue, here's lime in this sack too: there is
nothing but roguery to be found in villanous man:
yet a coward is worse than a cup of sack with lime120
in it. A villanous coward! Go thy ways, old Jack;
die when thou wilt, if manhood, good manhood, be
not forgot upon the face of the earth, then am I a
shotten herring. There live not three good men
unhanged in England; and one of them is fat and125
grows old: God help the while! a bad world, I say.
I would I were a weaver; I could sing psalms or any
thing. A plague of all cowards, I say still.
PRINCE HENRYHow now, wool-sack! what mutter you?
FALSTAFFA king's son! If I do not beat thee out of thy130
kingdom with a dagger of lath, and drive all thy
subjects afore thee like a flock of wild-geese,
I'll never wear hair on my face more. You Prince of Wales!
PRINCE HENRYWhy, you whoreson round man, what's the matter?
FALSTAFFAre not you a coward? answer me to that: and Poins there?135
POINS'Zounds, ye fat paunch, an ye call me coward, by the
Lord, I'll stab thee.
FALSTAFFI call thee coward! I'll see thee damned ere I call
thee coward: but I would give a thousand pound I
could run as fast as thou canst. You are straight140
enough in the shoulders, you care not who sees your
back: call you that backing of your friends? A
plague upon such backing! give me them that will
face me. Give me a cup of sack: I am a rogue, if I
drunk to-day.145
PRINCE HENRYO villain! thy lips are scarce wiped since thou
drunkest last.
FALSTAFFAll's one for that.
[He drinks]
A plague of all cowards, still say I.
PRINCE HENRYWhat's the matter?150
FALSTAFFWhat's the matter! there be four of us here have
ta'en a thousand pound this day morning.
PRINCE HENRYWhere is it, Jack? where is it?
FALSTAFFWhere is it! taken from us it is: a hundred upon
poor four of us.155
PRINCE HENRYWhat, a hundred, man?
FALSTAFFI am a rogue, if I were not at half-sword with a
dozen of them two hours together. I have 'scaped by
miracle. I am eight times thrust through the
doublet, four through the hose; my buckler cut160
through and through; my sword hacked like a
hand-saw--ecce signum! I never dealt better since
I was a man: all would not do. A plague of all
cowards! Let them speak: if they speak more or
less than truth, they are villains and the sons of darkness.165
PRINCE HENRYSpeak, sirs; how was it?
GADSHILLWe four set upon some dozen--
FALSTAFFSixteen at least, my lord.
GADSHILLAnd bound them.
PETONo, no, they were not bound.170
FALSTAFFYou rogue, they were bound, every man of them; or I
am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew.
GADSHILLAs we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men set upon us--
FALSTAFFAnd unbound the rest, and then come in the other.
PRINCE HENRYWhat, fought you with them all?175
FALSTAFFAll! I know not what you call all; but if I fought
not with fifty of them, I am a bunch of radish: if
there were not two or three and fifty upon poor old
Jack, then am I no two-legged creature.
PRINCE HENRYPray God you have not murdered some of them.180
FALSTAFFNay, that's past praying for: I have peppered two
of them; two I am sure I have paid, two rogues
in buckram suits. I tell thee what, Hal, if I tell
thee a lie, spit in my face, call me horse. Thou
knowest my old ward; here I lay and thus I bore my185
point. Four rogues in buckram let drive at me--
PRINCE HENRYWhat, four? thou saidst but two even now.
FALSTAFFFour, Hal; I told thee four.
POINSAy, ay, he said four.
FALSTAFFThese four came all a-front, and mainly thrust at190
me. I made me no more ado but took all their seven
points in my target, thus.
PRINCE HENRYSeven? why, there were but four even now.
FALSTAFFIn buckram?
POINSAy, four, in buckram suits.195
FALSTAFFSeven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.
PRINCE HENRYPrithee, let him alone; we shall have more anon.
FALSTAFFDost thou hear me, Hal?
PRINCE HENRYAy, and mark thee too, Jack.
FALSTAFFDo so, for it is worth the listening to. These nine200
in buckram that I told thee of--
PRINCE HENRYSo, two more already.
FALSTAFFTheir points being broken,--
POINSDown fell their hose.
FALSTAFFBegan to give me ground: but I followed me close,205
came in foot and hand; and with a thought seven of
the eleven I paid.
PRINCE HENRYO monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two!
FALSTAFFBut, as the devil would have it, three misbegotten
knaves in Kendal green came at my back and let drive210
at me; for it was so dark, Hal, that thou couldst
not see thy hand.
PRINCE HENRYThese lies are like their father that begets them;
gross as a mountain, open, palpable. Why, thou
clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou215
whoreson, obscene, grease tallow-keech,--
FALSTAFFWhat, art thou mad? art thou mad? is not the truth
the truth?
PRINCE HENRYWhy, how couldst thou know these men in Kendal
green, when it was so dark thou couldst not see thy220
hand? come, tell us your reason: what sayest thou to this?
POINSCome, your reason, Jack, your reason.
FALSTAFFWhat, upon compulsion? 'Zounds, an I were at the
strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would
not tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on225
compulsion! If reasons were as plentiful as
blackberries, I would give no man a reason upon
compulsion, I.
PRINCE HENRYI'll be no longer guilty of this sin; this sanguine
coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker,230
this huge hill of flesh,--
FALSTAFF'Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried
neat's tongue, you bull's pizzle, you stock-fish! O
for breath to utter what is like thee! you
tailor's-yard, you sheath, you bowcase; you vile235
PRINCE HENRYWell, breathe awhile, and then to it again: and
when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons,
hear me speak but this.
POINSMark, Jack.240
PRINCE HENRYWe two saw you four set on four and bound them, and
were masters of their wealth. Mark now, how a plain
tale shall put you down. Then did we two set on you
four; and, with a word, out-faced you from your
prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you here in245
the house: and, Falstaff, you carried your guts
away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roared
for mercy and still run and roared, as ever I heard
bull-calf. What a slave art thou, to hack thy sword
as thou hast done, and then say it was in fight!250
What trick, what device, what starting-hole, canst
thou now find out to hide thee from this open and
apparent shame?
POINSCome, let's hear, Jack; what trick hast thou now?
FALSTAFFBy the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that made ye.255
Why, hear you, my masters: was it for me to kill the
heir-apparent? should I turn upon 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 now a260
coward on instinct. I shall think the better of
myself and thee during my life; I for a valiant
lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord,
lads, I am glad you have the money. Hostess, clap
to the doors: watch to-night, pray to-morrow.265
Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles
of good fellowship come to you! What, shall we be
merry? shall we have a play extempore?
PRINCE HENRYContent; and the argument shall be thy running away.
FALSTAFFAh, no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me!270
[Enter Hostess]
HostessO Jesu, my lord the prince!
PRINCE HENRYHow now, my lady the hostess! what sayest thou to
HostessMarry, my lord, there is a nobleman of the court at
door would speak with you: he says he comes from275
your father.
PRINCE HENRYGive him as much as will make him a royal man, and
send him back again to my mother.
FALSTAFFWhat manner of man is he?
HostessAn old man.280
FALSTAFFWhat doth gravity out of his bed at midnight? Shall
I give him his answer?
PRINCE HENRYPrithee, do, Jack.
FALSTAFF'Faith, and I'll send him packing.
PRINCE HENRYNow, sirs: by'r lady, you fought fair; so did you,285
Peto; so did you, Bardolph: you are lions too, you
ran away upon instinct, you will not touch the true
prince; no, fie!
BARDOLPH'Faith, I ran when I saw others run.
PRINCE HENRY'Faith, tell me now in earnest, how came Falstaff's290
sword so hacked?
PETOWhy, he hacked it with his dagger, and said he would
swear truth out of England but he would make you
believe it was done in fight, and persuaded us to do the like.
BARDOLPHYea, and to tickle our noses with spear-grass to295
make them bleed, and then to beslubber our garments
with it and swear it was the blood of true men. I
did that I did not this seven year before, I blushed
to hear his monstrous devices.
PRINCE HENRYO villain, thou stolest a cup of sack eighteen years300
ago, and wert taken with the manner, and ever since
thou hast blushed extempore. Thou hadst fire and
sword on thy side, and yet thou rannest away: what
instinct hadst thou for it?
BARDOLPHMy lord, do you see these meteors? do you behold305
these exhalations?
BARDOLPHWhat think you they portend?
PRINCE HENRYHot livers and cold purses.
BARDOLPHCholer, my lord, if rightly taken.310
PRINCE HENRYNo, if rightly taken, halter.
[Re-enter FALSTAFF]
Here comes lean Jack, here comes bare-bone.
How now, my sweet creature of bombast!
How long is't ago, Jack, since thou sawest thine own knee?
FALSTAFFMy own knee! when I was about thy years, Hal, I was315
not an eagle's talon in the waist; I could have
crept into any alderman's thumb-ring: a plague of
sighing and grief! it blows a man up like a
bladder. There's villanous news abroad: here was
Sir John Bracy from your father; you must to the320
court in the morning. That same mad fellow of the
north, Percy, and he of Wales, that gave Amaimon the
bastinado and made Lucifer cuckold and swore the
devil his true liegeman upon the cross of a Welsh
hook--what a plague call you him?325
POINSO, Glendower.
FALSTAFFOwen, Owen, the same; and his son-in-law Mortimer,
and old Northumberland, and that sprightly Scot of
Scots, Douglas, that runs o' horseback up a hill
PRINCE HENRYHe that rides at high speed and with his pistol
kills a sparrow flying.
FALSTAFFYou have hit it.
PRINCE HENRYSo did he never the sparrow.
FALSTAFFWell, that rascal hath good mettle in him; he will not run.335
PRINCE HENRYWhy, what a rascal art thou then, to praise him so
for running!
FALSTAFFO' horseback, ye cuckoo; but afoot he will not budge a foot.
PRINCE HENRYYes, Jack, upon instinct.
FALSTAFFI grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too,340
and one Mordake, and a thousand blue-caps more:
Worcester is stolen away to-night; thy father's
beard is turned white with the news: you may buy
land now as cheap as stinking mackerel.
PRINCE HENRYWhy, then, it is like, if there come a hot June and345
this civil buffeting hold, we shall buy maidenheads
as they buy hob-nails, by the hundreds.
FALSTAFFBy the mass, lad, thou sayest true; it is like we
shall have good trading that way. But tell me, Hal,
art not thou horrible afeard? thou being350
heir-apparent, could the world pick thee out three
such enemies again as that fiend Douglas, that
spirit Percy, and that devil Glendower? Art thou
not horribly afraid? doth not thy blood thrill at
PRINCE HENRYNot a whit, i' faith; I lack some of thy instinct.
FALSTAFFWell, thou wert be horribly chid tomorrow when thou
comest to thy father: if thou love me, practise an answer.
PRINCE HENRYDo thou stand for my father, and examine me upon the
particulars of my life.360
FALSTAFFShall I? content: this chair shall be my state,
this dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my crown.
PRINCE HENRYThy state is taken for a joined-stool, thy golden
sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich
crown for a pitiful bald crown!365
FALSTAFFWell, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee,
now shalt thou be moved. Give me a cup of sack to
make my eyes look red, that it may be thought I have
wept; for I must speak in passion, and I will do it
in King Cambyses' vein.370
PRINCE HENRYWell, here is my leg.
FALSTAFFAnd here is my speech. Stand aside, nobility.
HostessO Jesu, this is excellent sport, i' faith!
FALSTAFFWeep not, sweet queen; for trickling tears are vain.
HostessO, the father, how he holds his countenance!375
FALSTAFFFor God's sake, lords, convey my tristful queen;
For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes.
HostessO Jesu, he doth it as like one of these harlotry
players as ever I see!
FALSTAFFPeace, good pint-pot; peace, good tickle-brain.380
Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy
time, but also how thou art accompanied: for though
the camomile, the more it is trodden on the faster
it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted the
sooner it wears. That thou art my son, I have385
partly thy mother's word, partly my own opinion,
but chiefly a villanous trick of thine eye and a
foolish-hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant
me. If then thou be son to me, here lies the point;
why, being son to me, art thou so pointed at? Shall390
the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher and eat
blackberries? a question not to be asked. Shall
the sun of England prove a thief and take purses? a
question to be asked. There is a thing, Harry,
which thou hast often heard of and it is known to395
many in our land by the name of pitch: this pitch,
as ancient writers do report, doth defile; so doth
the company thou keepest: for, Harry, now I do not
speak to thee in drink but in tears, not in
pleasure but in passion, not in words only, but in400
woes also: and yet there is a virtuous man whom I
have often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.
PRINCE HENRYWhat manner of man, an it like your majesty?
FALSTAFFA goodly portly man, i' faith, and a corpulent; of a
cheerful look, a pleasing eye and a most noble405
carriage; and, as I think, his age some fifty, or,
by'r lady, inclining to three score; and now I
remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man
should be lewdly given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry,
I see virtue in his looks. If then the tree may be410
known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then,
peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that
Falstaff: him keep with, the rest banish. And tell
me now, thou naughty varlet, tell me, where hast
thou been this month?415
PRINCE HENRYDost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for me,
and I'll play my father.
FALSTAFFDepose me? if thou dost it half so gravely, so
majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up by
the heels for a rabbit-sucker or a poulter's hare.420
PRINCE HENRYWell, here I am set.
FALSTAFFAnd here I stand: judge, my masters.
PRINCE HENRYNow, Harry, whence come you?
FALSTAFFMy noble lord, from Eastcheap.
PRINCE HENRYThe complaints I hear of thee are grievous.425
FALSTAFF'Sblood, my lord, they are false: nay, I'll tickle
ye for a young prince, i' faith.
PRINCE HENRYSwearest thou, ungracious boy? henceforth ne'er look
on me. Thou art violently carried away from grace:
there is a devil haunts thee in the likeness of an430
old fat man; a tun of man is thy companion. Why
dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that
bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel
of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed
cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with435
the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that
grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in
years? Wherein is he good, but to taste sack and
drink it? wherein neat and cleanly, but to carve a
capon and eat it? wherein cunning, but in craft?440
wherein crafty, but in villany? wherein villanous,
but in all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing?
FALSTAFFI would your grace would take me with you: whom
means your grace?
PRINCE HENRYThat villanous abominable misleader of youth,445
Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.
FALSTAFFMy lord, the man I know.
PRINCE HENRYI know thou dost.
FALSTAFFBut to say I know more harm in him than in myself,
were to say more than I know. That he is old, the450
more the pity, his white hairs do witness it; but
that he is, saving your reverence, a whoremaster,
that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault,
God help the wicked! if to be old and merry be a
sin, then many an old host that I know is damned: if455
to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh's lean kine
are to be loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto,
banish Bardolph, banish Poins: but for sweet Jack
Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff,
valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant,460
being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him
thy Harry's company, banish not him thy Harry's
company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.
[A knocking heard]
[Exeunt Hostess, FRANCIS, and BARDOLPH]
[Re-enter BARDOLPH, running]
BARDOLPHO, my lord, my lord! the sheriff with a most465
monstrous watch is at the door.
FALSTAFFOut, ye rogue! Play out the play: I have much to
say in the behalf of that Falstaff.
[Re-enter the Hostess]
HostessO Jesu, my lord, my lord!
PRINCE HENRYHeigh, heigh! the devil rides upon a fiddlestick:470
what's the matter?
HostessThe sheriff and all the watch are at the door: they
are come to search the house. Shall I let them in?
FALSTAFFDost thou hear, Hal? never call a true piece of
gold a counterfeit: thou art essentially mad,475
without seeming so.
PRINCE HENRYAnd thou a natural coward, without instinct.
FALSTAFFI deny your major: if you will deny the sheriff,
so; if not, let him enter: if I become not a cart
as well as another man, a plague on my bringing up!480
I hope I shall as soon be strangled with a halter as another.
PRINCE HENRYGo, hide thee behind the arras: the rest walk up
above. Now, my masters, for a true face and good
FALSTAFFBoth which I have had: but their date is out, and485
therefore I'll hide me.
PRINCE HENRYCall in the sheriff.
[Exeunt all except PRINCE HENRY and PETO]
[Enter Sheriff and the Carrier]
Now, master sheriff, what is your will with me?
SheriffFirst, pardon me, my lord. A hue and cry
Hath follow'd certain men unto this house.490
SheriffOne of them is well known, my gracious lord,
A gross fat man.
CarrierAs fat as butter.
PRINCE HENRYThe man, I do assure you, is not here;495
For I myself at this time have employ'd him.
And, sheriff, I will engage my word to thee
That I will, by to-morrow dinner-time,
Send him to answer thee, or any man,
For any thing he shall be charged withal:500
And so let me entreat you leave the house.
SheriffI will, my lord. There are two gentlemen
Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks.
PRINCE HENRYIt may be so: if he have robb'd these men,
He shall be answerable; and so farewell.505
SheriffGood night, my noble lord.
PRINCE HENRYI think it is good morrow, is it not?
SheriffIndeed, my lord, I think it be two o'clock.
[Exeunt Sheriff and Carrier]
PRINCE HENRYThis oily rascal is known as well as Paul's. Go,
call him forth.510
PETOFalstaff!--Fast asleep behind the arras, and
snorting like a horse.
PRINCE HENRYHark, how hard he fetches breath. Search his pockets.
[He searcheth his pockets, and findeth certain papers]
What hast thou found?
PETONothing but papers, my lord.515
PRINCE HENRYLet's see what they be: read them.
PETO[Reads] Item, A capon,. . 2s. 2d.
Item, Sauce,. . . 4d.
Item, Sack, two gallons, 5s. 8d.
Item, Anchovies and sack after supper, 2s. 6d.520
Item, Bread, ob.
PRINCE HENRYO monstrous! but one half-penny-worth of bread to
this intolerable deal of sack! What there is else,
keep close; we'll read it at more advantage: there
let him sleep till day. I'll to the court in the525
morning. We must all to the wars, and thy place
shall be honourable. I'll procure this fat rogue a
charge of foot; and I know his death will be a
march of twelve-score. The money shall be paid
back again with advantage. Be with me betimes in530
the morning; and so, good morrow, Peto.
PETOGood morrow, good my lord.

Continue to Henry IV, Part I, Act 3, Scene 1

Back at Eastcheap, Prince Hal teases Francis, one of the serving boys in the tavern. Falstaff arrives and tells an elaborate lie about his encounter with the highway robbers who stole his money. He says that he put up a most valiant struggle against at least one hundred attackers. Hal plays along and adds witty comments like "Pray God you have not murdered some of them." But Falstaff begins to trip over his own lies and Hal finally admits that he and Poins were the robbers.

Falstaff pretends to have known all along and tells Hal that he ran away only to ensure that no harm came to the future king of England. Mistress Quickly, the hostess of the tavern, announces that a nobleman has arrived with word from the King that Hal must return to the royal palace by morning, for there is news of a rebellion led by Hotspur and others in the Percy clan. Falstaff believes that the King will be angry at Hal and so he suggests that the Prince rehearse exactly what he will say to his father. Falstaff assumes the role of King Henry and chides Hal for his lack of morality and respect for his role as heir to the throne. He condemns Hal's band of rabble-rousing friends, except, of course, for that wonderful chap Falstaff.

Hal then suggests that they reverse roles and he acts the part of the King. He chastises 'Hal' for spending time with that "villainous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan" (II.iv.467-8), and Falstaff, playing Hal, defends himself. Bardolph rushes in and interrupts the role-playing. He announces the arrival of the sheriff who has witnesses that can place Falstaff at the scene of the robbery. Hal tells Falstaff to hide behind the drapery and he assures the Sheriff that Falstaff is not on the premises. The Prince also promises to refund any stolen money and goods to the victims.

The Sheriff leaves satisfied, and Hal checks on Falstaff, only to find that he has fallen asleep behind the curtains. He searches Falstaff's pockets and discovers a list of debts the large knight has incurred. The Prince insists that he will make Falstaff a soldier as punishment: "I'll procure this fat rogue a charge of foot; and I know his death will be a march of twelvescore. The money shall be paid back again with advantage."


Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 4
From Henry IV, Part I. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark and Maynard.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

1. Fat room, vat room. So in Mark 12:1, "The wine-fat."

6. Sworn brother. An allusion to fratres jurati, brothers sworn to share faithfully the dangers and advantages of some common enterprise.

7. Drawers, tapsters.

12. A Corinthian. A cant name for a lascivious fellow: Corinth having been noted for its courtesans.

17. Breathe in your watering, take breath while drinking.

24. Under-skinker, an under-drawer or tapster.

28. Bastard, a kind of sweet wine.

36. Perfect, in the part or performance.

45. By 'rlady, by our lady the Virgin.

63. Anon, Francis? Give you the thousand pounds anon, Francis?

69. Not-pated, round headed; having close-cropped hair. Caddis, a kind of worsted tape.

107. Brawn, Falstaff. Rivo, a common Bacchanalian shout.

112. Nether-stocks, stockings. Breeches were called upperstocks.

115. Titan, the sun.

120. Lime, added to give strength to the liquor.

124. A shotten herring, a herring dried.

127. I would I were a weaver, etc. Weavers and tailors were much addicted to the practice of singing at their work.

131. A dagger of lath, the weapon of the buffoon who was called the Vice in the ancient comedies.

157. At half-sword, at half-sword distance, in close fight.

160. Hose, breeches.

195. Ward, fencing, guard, posture.

204. Down fell their hose. This banter refers to the points or tagged laces that held the breeches. So in Twelfth Night, i. 5, when the Clown says, "I am resolved on two points," Maria replies, " That, if one break, the other will hold; or, if both break, your gaskins fall."

205. I followed me close. This expletive use of the word me gives a quaint turn to the expression.

210. In Kendal green. Kendal was in old times noted for the making and dyeing of cloths. The dress of Robin Hood and his merry foresters was Kendal green.

216. Tallow-keech. A keech was the name for a rolled mass of beef fat.

224. The strappado. By this instrument of punishment a person was drawn up to its height, and then suddenly with a jerk let fall half-way, so as to break or disjoint his bones.

228. I, ay, yes. Ay or aye, spelt I in old dramatists.

229. Guilty of this sin, of allowing Falstaff to tell lies.

232. Elf-skin. This alludes to the diminuntive clothing of an elf or fairy.

235. Vile standing tuck. A tuck is a long thin sword, a rapier. Instead of standing we would now say walking.

244. Out-faced, brow-beat. With a word, in a word.

259. The lion will not touch, etc. The opinion was prevalent in old times that a lion would not harm either true chastity or true royalty.

277. Give him as much, etc. That is, give him 3s. 4d. The jest here refers to a nobleman as denoting a man worth a noble, or 6s. 8d, and a royal man as one worth a royal, or 10s.

397. Of true men, of the honest men we attacked.

302. Fire, an allusion to Bardolph's fiery complexion.

305. These meteors. Referring still to his complexion.

311. Halter, a quibbling reference to choler as suggesting collar.

313. Bombast, cotton-wadding. Now an affected, padded, tumid style of speech.

322. Amaimon, according to Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, a spirit who might be bound at certain hours. He was the demon king of the east, one of the four ruling spirits invoked by witches.

325. The cross of a Welsh hook. Falstaff here refers to the custom of swearing upon a figure of the cross engraved on a sword, or on the hilt, which gave the weapon itself the shape of a cross.

331. Pistol. An anachronism. The weapon not in use so early as Henry IV.

337. Blue-caps, the name of a weed that grows amongst corn.

357. State, throne, or royal chair. Macbeth III. 4, "Our hostess keeps her state."

359. Is taken for, is regarded as no better than.

367. Here is my leg, here I do obeisance with my leg.

376. Tickle-brain, the name of some kind of liquor.

387. Prove a micher, etc. Prove a sneaking truant, as boys do to pick blackberries.

416. A rabbit-sucker, a sucking rabbit. Poulter, a dealer in poultry.

429. Bolting-hutch, a bin, or hutch, for receiving bolted, or sifted, flour.

430. Bombard, a barrel.

431. Roasted Manningtree ox, supposed to refer to a custom of roasting an ox at Manningtree Fair, in Essex. That reverend vice, etc. The Vice, Iniquity, and Vanity, were characters in the ancient dramas called Moralities.

434. Taste sack. Taste is here used for test or try.

439. Take me with you, let me understand you.

470. Never call a true, etc. The mad-cap prince was mad in reality, and needed no contrivance to make himself appear a madman; to say that the prince was assuming the role of a mad-cap would be to call a true piece of gold a counterfeit.

474. Your major, a quibble between major officer, or mayor, and the major proposition of a syllogism.

475. A cart, the cart in which criminals were conveyed to execution.

478. Arras, the wall curtains. Apartments were often hung round with tapestry curtains.

489. Hue and cry, clamor, outcry.

509. Paul's, St. Paul's Cathedral. Very conspicuous.

521. Ob., a contraction for obolus, a small Greek coin -- three and a half cents.

529. Twelve-score, of frequent occurrence in relation to archery, cannon, etc., and denoted twelve-score yards.

How to cite the introduction:

Mabillard, Amanda. Introduction to King Henry IV, Part 1 (2.4). Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

How to cite the explanatory notes:

Shakespeare, William. King Henry IV, Part 1. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark and Maynard, 1885. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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