SCENE IRochester. An inn yard.
Enter a Carrier with a lantern in his hand.
Heigh-ho! an it be not four by
the day, I'll be hanged: Charles' wain is over
the new chimney, and yet our horse not
packed. What, ostler!
I prithee Tom, beat Cut's saddle,
put a few flocks in the point; poor jade,
is wrung in the withers out of all cess. Enter another Carrier.
Peas and beans are as dank here
as a dog, and that is the next way to give
poor jades the bots: this house is turned
upside down since Robin Ostler died.
Poor fellow, never joyed since
the price of oats rose; it was the death of him.
I think this is the most villanous
house in all London road for fleas: I am
stung like a tench.
Like a tench! by the mass, there
is ne'er a king christen could be better bit than (20)
I have been since the first cock.
Why, they will allow us ne'er a
jordan, and then we leak in your chimney;
and your chamber-lie breeds fleas like a loach.
What, ostler I come away and
be hanged! come away.
I have a gammon of bacon and
two razes of ginger, to be delivered as far as
God's body! the turkeys in my (30)
pannier are quite starved. What, ostler! A
plague on thee! hast thou never an eye in thy
head? canst not hear? An 'twere not as good
deed as drink, to break the pate on thee, I am
a very villain. Come, and be hanged! hast
no faith in thee? Enter GADSHILL.
Good morrow, carriers. What's o'clock ?
I think it be two o'clock.
I prithee, lend me thy lantern, to
see my gelding in the stable.
Nay, by God, soft; I know a
trick worth two of that, i' faith.
I pray thee, lend me thine.
Ay, when? canst tell? Lend me
thy lantern, quoth he? marry, I'll see thee
Sirrah carrier, what time do you
mean to come to London?
Time enough to go to bed with
a candle, I warrant thee. Come, neighbour Mugs, (50)
we'll call up the gentlemen: they will along
with company, for they have great charge. [Exeunt Carriers.
What, ho! chamberlain!
At hand, quoth pickpurse.
That's even as fair as—at hand,
quoth the chamberlain; for thou variest no
more from picking of purses than giving direction
doth from labouring; thou layest the
plot how. Enter Chamberlain.
Good morrow, Master Gadshill. It (60)
holds current that I told you yesternight:
there's a franklin in the wild of Kent hath
brought three hundred marks with him in
gold: I heard him tell it to one of his company
last night at supper; a kind of auditor;
one that hath abundance of charge too, God
knows what. They are up already, and call
for eggs and butter: they will away presently.
Sirrah, if they meet not with Saint
Nicholas' clerks, I'll give thee this neck.
No, I'll none of it: I pray thee,
keep that for the hangman; for I know thou
worshippest Saint Nicholas as truly as a man of
What talkest thou to me of the
hangman? if I hang, I'll make a fat pair of
gallows; for if I hang, old Sir John hangs
with me, and thou knowest he is no starveling.
Tut! there are other Trojans that thou
dreamest not of, the which for sport sake are (80)
content to do the profession some grace; that
would, if matters should be looked into, for
their own credit sake, make all whole. I am
joined with no foot land-rakers, no long-staff
sixpenny strikers, none of these mad mustachio
purple-hued malt-worms; but with nobility
and tranquillity, burgomasters and great oneyers,
such as can hold in, such as will strike
sooner than speak, and speak sooner than
drink, and drink sooner than pray: and yet,
'zounds, I lie; for they pray continually to
their saint, the commonwealth; or rather, not
pray to her, but prey on her, for they ride up
and down on her and make her their boots.
What, the commonwealth their
boots? will she hold out water in foul way?
She will, she will; justice hath
liquored her. We steal as in a castle, cocksure;
we have the receipt of fern-seed, we
Nay, by my faith, I think you are
more beholding to the night than to fern-seed
for your walking invisible.
Give me thy hand: thou shalt have
a share in our purchase, as I am a true man.
Nay rather let me have it, as you
are a false thief.
Go to; ‘homo’ is a common name
to all men. Bid the ostler bring my gelding
out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy knave. [Exeunt.