SCENE IILondon. An apartment of the Prince's.
Enter the PRINCE OF WALES and FALSTAFF.
Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?
Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking
of old sack and unbuttoning thee after
supper and sleeping upon benches after noon,
that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly
which thou wouldst truly know. What a devil
hast thou to do with the time of the day?
Unless hours were cups of sack and minutes
capons and clocks the tongues of bawds and
dials the signs of leaping-houses and the blessed
sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-coloured
taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be
so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
Indeed, you come near me now, Hal;
for we that take purses go by the moon and
the seven stars, and not by Phoebus, he, 'that
wandering knight so fair.' And, I prithee,
sweet wag, when thou art king, as, God save
thy grace,—majesty I should say, for grace (20)
thou wilt have none,—
No, by my troth, not so much as will
serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.
Well, how then? come, roundly,
Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art
king, let not us that are squires of the night's
body be called thieves of the day's beauty: let
us be Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade,
minions of the moon; and let men say we be
men of good government, being governed, as
the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the
moon, under whose countenance we steal.
Thou sayest well, and it holds well
too; for the fortune of us that are the moon's
men doth ebb and flow like the sea, being
governed, as the sea is, by the moon. As, for
proof, now: a purse of gold most resolutely
snatched on Monday night and most dissolutely
spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearing
‘Lay by’ and spent with crying ‘Bring in;’
now in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder
and by and by in as high a flow as the
ridge of the gallows.
By the Lord, thou sayest true, lad.
And is not my hostess of the tavern a most
As the honey of Hybla, my old
lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a (49)
most sweet robe of durance?
How now, how now, mad wag!
what, in thy quips and thy quiddities? what a
plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?
Why, what a pox have I to do
with my hostess of the tavern?
Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning
many a time and oft.
Did I ever call for thee to pay thy
No; I'll give thee thy due, thou hast (60)
paid all there.
Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my
coin would stretch; and where it would not,
I have used my credit.
Yea, and so used it that, were it not
here apparent that thou art heir apparent—
But, I prithee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows
standing in England when thou art king?
and resolution thus fobbed as it is with the
rusty curb of old father antic the law? Do (70)
not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.
No; thou shalt.
Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I'll
be a brave judge.
Thou judgest false already: I
mean, thou shalt have the hanging of the
thieves and so become a rare hangman.
Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it
jumps with my humour as well as waiting in
the court, I can tell you. (80)
For obtaining of suits?
Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof
the hangman hath no lean wardrobe. 'Sblood,
I am as melancholy as a gib cat or a lugged
Or an old lion, or a lover's lute.
Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire
What sayest thou to a hare, or the
melancholy of Moor-ditch?
Thou has the most unsavoury similes
and art indeed the most comparative, rascalliest,
sweet young Prince. But Hal, I
prithee, trouble me no more with vanity. I
would to God thou and I knew where a commodity
of good names were to be bought.
An old lord of the council rated me the other
day in the street about you, sir, but I marked
him not; and yet he talked very wisely, but
I regarded him not; and yet he talked wisely,
and in the street too.
Thou didst well; for wisdom cries (100)
out in the streets, and no man regards it.
O, thou hast damnable iteration and
are indeed able to corrupt a saint. Thou hast
done much harm upon me, Hal; God forgive
thee for it! Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew
nothing; and now am I, if a man should
speak truly, little better than one of the wicked.
I must give over this life, and I will give it
over: by the Lord, an I do not, I am a villain:
I'll be damned for never a king's son in
Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, (111)
'Zounds, where thou wilt, lad; I'll
make one; an I do not, call me villain and
I see a good amendment of life
in thee; from praying to purse-taking.
Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal; 'tis
no sin for a man to labour in his vocation. Enter POINS.
Poins! Now shall we know if Gadshill have
set a match. O, if men were to be saved by
merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for
him? This is the most omnipotent villain
that ever cried 'Stand' to a true man.
Good morrow, Ned.
Good morrow, sweet Hal. What
Says Monsieur Remorse? what says Sir John
Sack and Sugar? Jack! how agrees the devil
and thee about thy soul, that thou soldest
him on Good-Friday last for a cup of Madeira (129)
and a cold capon's leg?
Sir John stands to his word, the
devil shall have his bargain; for he was never
yet a breaker of proverbs: he will give the
devil his due.
Then art thou damned for keeping
thy word with the devil.
Else he had been damned for cozening
But, my lads, my lads, to-morrow
morning, by four o'clock, early at Gadshill!
there are pilgrims going to Canterbury with
rich offerings, and traders riding to London
with fat purses: I have vizards for you all;
you have horses for yourselves: Gadshill lies
to-night in Rochester: I have bespoke supper
to-morrow night in Eastcheap: we may do it
as secure as sleep. If you will go, I will stuff
your purses full of crowns; if you will not,
tarry at home and be hanged.
Hear ye, Yedward; if I tarry at home (150)
and go not, I'll hang you for going.
You will, chops?
Hal, wilt thou make one?
Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by
There's neither honesty, manhood,
nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou camest
not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand
for ten shillings.
Well then, once in my days I'll (160)
be a madcap.
Why, that's well said.
Well, come what will, I'll tarry at
By the Lord, I'll be a traitor then,
when thou art king.
I care not.
Sir John, I prithee, leave the prince
and me alone: I will lay him down such (169)
reasons for this adventure that he shall go.
Well, God give thee the spirit of persuasion
and him the ears of profiting, that what
thou speakest may move and what he hears
may be believed, that the true prince may, for
recreation sake, prove a false thief; for the
poor abuses of the time want countenance.
Farewell: you shall find me in Eastcheap.
Farewell, thou latter spring! farewell,
All-hallown summer! [Exit Falstaff.
Now, my good sweet honey lord,
ride with us to-morrow: I have a jest to execute
that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff,
Bardolph, Peto and Gadshill shall rob those
men that we have already waylaid; yourself
and I will not be there; and when they have
the booty, if you and I do not rob them, cut
this head off from my shoulders.
How shall we part with them in
Why, we will set forth before or (190)
after them, and appoint them a place of meeting,
wherein it is at our pleasure to fail, and
then will they adventure upon the exploit
themselves; which they shall have no sooner
achieved, but we'll set upon them.
Yea, but 'tis like that they will
know us by our horses, by our habits and by
every other appointment, to be ourselves.
Tut! our horses they shall not see:
I'll tie them in the wood; our vizards we will (200)
change after we leave them: and, sirrah, I
have cases of buckram for the nonce, to immask
our noted outward garments.
Yea, but I doubt they will be too
hard for us.
Well, for two of them, I know them
to be as true-bred cowards as ever turned
back; and for the third, if he fight longer than
he sees reason, I'll forswear arms. The virtue
of this jest will be, the incomprehensible (210)
lies that this same fat rogue will tell us when
we meet at supper: how thirty, at least, he
fought with; what wards, what blows, what
extremities he endured; and in the reproof of
this lies the jest.
Well, I'll go with thee: provide
us all things necessary and meet me to-morrow
night in Eastcheap; there I'll sup. Farewell.
Farewell, my lord. [Exit.
I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humour of your idleness:
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work; (230)
But when they seldom come, they wish'd for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off. (240)
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will. [Exit.