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Scene II

The highway, near Gadshill

Enter Prince Henry and Poins

Poins

Come, shelter, shelter: I have removed Falstaff's include("$IP_TMPL_DIR/pretitle.php");?>William Shakespeare: Henry IV (Pt 1), Act II, Scene II | Infoplease.com

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Scene II

The highway, near Gadshill

Enter Prince Henry and Poins

Poins

Come, shelter, shelter: I have removed Falstaff's horse, and he frets like a gummed velvet.

Prince Henry

Stand close.

Enter Falstaff

Falstaff

Poins! Poins, and be hanged! Poins!

Prince Henry

Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal! what a brawling dost thou keep!

Falstaff

Where's Poins, Hal?

Prince Henry

He is walked up to the top of the hill: I'll go seek him.

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 squier further afoot, I shall break my wind. Well, I doubt not but to die a fair death for all this, 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 hath not given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged; it could not 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 threescore 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! Give me my horse, you rogues; give me my horse, and be hanged!

Prince Henry

Peace, ye fat-guts! lie down; lay thine ear close to the ground and list if thou canst hear the tread of travellers.

Falstaff

Have you any levers to lift me up again, being down? 'Sblood, I'll not bear mine 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 Henry

Thou liest; thou art not colted, thou art uncolted.

Falstaff

I prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse, good king's son.

Prince Henry

Out, ye rogue! shall I be your ostler?

Falstaff

Go, 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 poison: when a jest is so forward, and afoot too! I hate it.

Enter Gadshill, Bardolph and Peto

Gadshill

Stand.

Falstaff

So I do, against my will.

Poins

O, '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.

Falstaff

You lie, ye rogue; 'tis going to the king's tavern.

Gadshill

There's enough to make us all.

Falstaff

To be hanged.

Prince Henry

Sirs, you four shall front them in the narrow lane; Ned Poins and I will walk lower: if they 'scape from your encounter, 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 Henry

What, a coward, Sir John Paunch?

Falstaff

Indeed, I am not John of Gaunt, your grandfather; but yet no coward, Hal.

Prince Henry

Well, we leave that to the proof.

Poins

Sirrah Jack, thy horse stands behind the hedge: when thou needest him, there thou shalt find him. Farewell, and stand fast.

Falstaff

Now cannot I strike him, if I should be hanged.

Prince Henry

Ned, where are our disguises?

Poins

Here, hard by: stand close.

Exeunt Prince Henry and Poins

Falstaff

Now, my masters, happy man be his dole, say I: every man to his business.

Enter the Travellers

First Traveller

Come, neighbour: the boy shall lead our horses down the hill; we'll walk afoot awhile, and ease our legs.

Thieves

Stand!

Travellers

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.

Travellers

O, we are undone, both we and ours for ever!

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.

Here they rob them and bind them. Exeunt

Re-enter Prince Henry and Poins

Prince Henry

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 for ever.

Poins

Stand close; I hear them coming.

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, there's no equity stirring: there's no more valour in that Poins than in a wild-duck.

Prince Henry

Your money!

Poins

Villains!

As they are sharing, the Prince and Poins set upon them; they all run away; and Falstaff, after a blow or two, runs away too, leaving the booty behind them

Prince Henry

Got with much ease. Now merrily to horse:
The thieves are all scatter'd and possess'd 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 as he walks along:
Were 't not for laughing, I should pity him.

Poins

How the rogue roar'd!

Exeunt

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