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Henry the Fourth Part 1

by William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 2 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 



Henry the Fourth Part 1 Act 1 Scene 2



London. An apartment of the Prince's

Enter HENRY, PRINCE of Wales, and Sir John FALSTAFF

Enter HENRY, PRINCE of Wales, and Sir John FALSTAFF

FALSTAFF

Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?

 

FALSTAFF

Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?

 

PRINCE HENRY

Thou art so fat-witted (thick-headed) with drinking of old sack (wine) and unbuttoning thee after supper (loosening your pants) and sleeping upon benches after noon that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly [like to] 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 (pimps) and dials the signs of leaping-houses (brothels) and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colored taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous [as] to demand the time of the day.

 

PRINCE HENRY

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-colored taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.

 

FALSTAFF

Indeed, you come near me now, Hal, for we that take purses (steal) go by the moon and the seven stars (the Classical planets plus the sun and the moon) and not by Phoebus (god of the sun), he, that wand'ring knight so fair. And I prithee, sweet wag, when thou art king, as God save thy Grace—Majesty, I should say, for grace thou wilt have none—

 

FALSTAFF

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 wand'ring knight so fair. And I prithee, sweet wag, when thou art king, as God save thy Grace—Majesty, I should say, for grace thou wilt have none—

 

PRINCE HENRY

What, none?

 

PRINCE HENRY

What, none?

 

FALSTAFF

No, by my troth (loyalty), not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.

(word play – grace before a meal vs. “thy Grace”)

 

FALSTAFF

No, by my troth, not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Well, how then? Come, roundly, roundly (outspokenly).

 

PRINCE HENRY

Well, how then? Come, roundly, roundly.

 

FALSTAFF

Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us that are squires (servants to knights) of the night’s body be called “thieves of the day’s beauty.” Let us be “Diana’s (the moon’s) foresters (huntsmen),” “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 (female form of master) the moon, under whose countenance (lighted face) we steal.

 

FALSTAFF

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.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Thou sayest well, and it (the metaphor) 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: [imagine] a purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning, got with swearing “Lay by” (command to robbery victims to pull over) and spent with crying “Bring in [liquor]”; now in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder and by and by in as high a flow [of the tide] as the ridge of the gallows.

 

PRINCE HENRY

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.

 

FALSTAFF

By the Lord, thou sayest true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?

 

FALSTAFF

By the Lord, thou sayest true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?

 

PRINCE HENRY

As the honey of Hybla (bee-keeping area in Sicily), my old lad of the castle (Shakespeare originally had named Falstaff “Oldcastle).” And is not a buff jerkin (leather jacket worn by constables) a most sweet robe of durance (garment associated with imprisonment)?

 

PRINCE HENRY

As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?

 

FALSTAFF

How now, how now, mad wag? What [is this about], in thy quips and thy quiddities? What a plague (what the devil) have I to do with a buff jerkin?

 

FALSTAFF

How now, how now, mad wag? What, in thy quips and thy quiddities? What a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?

 

PRINCE HENRY

Why, what a pox (instead of “what a plague”) have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?

(pox – any skin disease)

 

PRINCE HENRY

Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?

 

FALSTAFF

Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning (for a bill) many a time and oft.

 

FALSTAFF

Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning many a time and oft.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?

 

PRINCE HENRY

Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?

 

FALSTAFF

No, I’ll give thee thy due. Thou hast paid all there.

 

FALSTAFF

No, I’ll give thee thy due. Thou hast paid all there.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch, and where it would not, I have used my credit.

(at that time there was no such  thing as paper money)

 

PRINCE HENRY

Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch, and where it would not, I have used my credit.

 

FALSTAFF

Yea, and so used it that, were it not “here apparent,” that thou art “heir apparent”—But I prithee (pray thee), sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king? And resolution (a thief’s courage) thus fubbed (thwarted) as it is with the rusty curb (corrupt restraint) of old father Antic (antique – old times) the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.

 

FALSTAFF

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 fubbed as it is with the rusty curb of old father Antic the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.

 

PRINCE HENRY

No, thou shalt.

 

PRINCE HENRY

No, thou shalt.

 

FALSTAFF

Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I’ll be a brave judge.

 

FALSTAFF

Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I’ll be a brave judge.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Thou judgest false already. I mean thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves and so become a rare hangman.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Thou judgest false already: I mean thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves, and so become a rare hangman.

 

FALSTAFF

Well, Hal, well, and in some sort it (being a hangman) jumps (coincides) with my humor (temperament) as well as waiting in the court, I can tell you.

 

FALSTAFF

Well, Hal, well, and in some sort it jumps with my humor as well as waiting in the court, I can tell you.

 

PRINCE HENRY

For obtaining of suits?

suits=law suits and, also, (below), clothing of hanged criminals

PRINCE HENRY

For obtaining of suits?

 

FALSTAFF

Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof (of which) the hangman hath no lean wardrobe. 'Sblood (God’s blood – a common oath), I am as melancholy as a gib cat or a lugged bear.

gib cat=castrated cat

lugged bear=bear chained to a post and tormented by dogs

 

FALSTAFF

Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof the hangman hath no lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as melancholy as a gib cat or a lugged bear.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Or an old lion or a lover’s lute.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Or an old lion, or a lover’s lute.

 

FALSTAFF

Yea, or the drone (sustained base note) of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.

 

FALSTAFF

Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.

 

PRINCE HENRY

What sayest thou to a hare (hare’s meat was thought to bring on melancholy) or the melancholy of

Moorditch (a smelly area of London)?

 

PRINCE HENRY

What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of

Moorditch?

 

FALSTAFF

Thou hast the most unsavory similes and art indeed the most comparative, rascaliest, sweet young Prince. But, Hal, I prithee trouble me no more with vanity. I would to God thou and I knew where a commodity (supply) of good names were to be bought. An old lord of the council rated (scolded) me the other day in the street about you, sir, but I regarded him not, and yet he talked wisely and in the street, too.

 

FALSTAFF

Thou hast the most unsavory similes, and art indeed the most comparative, rascaliest, 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 regarded him not, and yet he talked wisely and in the street, too.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Thou didst well, for wisdom cries out in the streets and no man regards it.

(a quotation from Proverbs)

PRINCE HENRY

Thou didst well, for wisdom cries out in the streets and no man regards it.

 

FALSTAFF

O, thou hast damnable iteration and art 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 (if) I do not, I am a villain (rascal). I’ll be damned for never a king’s son in Christendom.

(I’ll be damned for no king’s son in Christendom)

 

FALSTAFF

O, thou hast damnable iteration, and art 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 Christendom.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?

 

PRINCE HENRY

Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?

 

FALSTAFF

Zounds (God’s wounds), where thou wilt, lad. I’ll make one (I’ll belong). An (if) I do not, call me villain and baffle (expose to ridicule) me.

 

FALSTAFF

Zounds, where thou wilt, lad. I’ll make one. An I do not, call me villain and baffle me.

 

PRINCE HENRY

I see a good amendment of life in thee, from praying to purse-taking.

(speaking ironically)

PRINCE HENRY

I see a good amendment of life in thee, from praying to purse-taking.

 

FALSTAFF

Why, Hal, ’tis my vocation, Hal. 'Tis no sin for a man to labor in his vocation.

vocation=special divine function

FALSTAFF

Why, Hal, ’tis my vocation, Hal. 'Tis no sin for a man to labor in his vocation.

 

Enter POINS

Enter POINS

Poins!—Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match (has arranged a robbery expedition).  O, if men were to be saved (admitted to heaven) by merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for him (Poins)? This is the most omnipotent villain that ever cried “Stand!” (stop) to a true (honest)  man.

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.

PRINCE HENRY

Good morrow (morning), Ned.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Good morrow, Ned.

 

POINS

Good morrow, sweet Hal.—What says Monsieur Remorse (regret)? What says Sir John Sack (wine)-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 and a cold capon’s leg?

 

POINS

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 and a cold capon’s leg?

 

PRINCE HENRY

Sir John stands to (abides by) his word. The devil shall have his bargain, for he (Falstaff) was never yet a breaker of proverbs. He will give the devil his due.

 

PRINCE HENRY

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.

 

POINS

(to FALSTAFF )Then art thou (Falstaff) damned for keeping thy word with the devil.

 

POINS

(to FALSTAFF )Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Else he had been damned for cozening (cheating) the devil.

(damned both ways)

PRINCE HENRY

Else he had been damned for cozening the devil.

 

POINS

But, my lads, my lads, tomorrow morning, by four o'clock, early at Gad’s Hill, there are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings and traders riding to London with fat purses. I have vizards (masks) for you all. You have horses for yourselves. Gadshill lies tonight in (on the way to) Rochester. I have bespoke (ordered) supper tomorrow night in Eastcheap (street in London). 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.

 

POINS

But, my lads, my lads, tomorrow morning, by four o'clock, early at Gad’s Hill, 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 tonight in Rochester. I have bespoke supper tomorrow 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.

 

FALSTAFF

Hear ye, Edward, if I tarry at home and go not, I’ll hang you for going.

 

FALSTAFF

Hear ye, Yedward, if I tarry at home and go not, I’ll hang you for going.

 

POINS

You will, chops (fat-face)?

 

POINS

You will, chops?

 

FALSTAFF

Hal, wilt thou make one (join us)?

 

FALSTAFF

Hal, wilt thou make one?

 

PRINCE HENRY

Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by my faith.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by my faith.

 

FALSTAFF

There’s neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou cam’st not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.

(the “royal” was an English gold coin worth ten shillings)

FALSTAFF

There’s neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou cam’st not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Well, then, once in my days I’ll be a madcap (impulsive young man).

 

PRINCE HENRY

Well then, once in my days I’ll be a madcap.

 

FALSTAFF

Why, that’s well said.

 

FALSTAFF

Why, that’s well said.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Well, come what will, I’ll tarry at home.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Well, come what will, I’ll tarry at home.

 

FALSTAFF

By the Lord, I’ll be a traitor then when thou art king.

 

FALSTAFF

By the Lord, I’ll be a traitor then when thou art king.

 

PRINCE HENRY

I care not.

 

PRINCE HENRY

I care not.

 

POINS

Sir John, I prithee, leave the Prince and me alone. I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure that he shall go.

 

POINS

Sir John, I prithee, leave the Prince and me alone. I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure that he shall go.

 

FALSTAFF

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 (for the sake of recreation), prove a false thief, for the poor abuses (corrupt practices) of the time want countenance (are lacking in general approval). Farewell. You shall find me in Eastcheap.

 

FALSTAFF

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.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Farewell, thou latter spring (spring at the end of life). Farewell, All-hallown summer (fine weather in late autumn).

 

PRINCE HENRY

Farewell, thou latter spring. Farewell, All-hallown summer.

 

Exit FALSTAFF

Exit FALSTAFF

POINS

Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us tomorrow. I have a jest to execute that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff, Peto, Bardolph, and Gadshill shall rob those men that we have already waylaid (prepared to ambush). 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.

 

POINS

Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us tomorrow. I have a jest to execute that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff, Peto, Bardolph, 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.

 

PRINCE HENRY

How shall we part with them in setting forth?

 

PRINCE HENRY

How shall we part with them in setting forth?

 

POINS

Why, we will set forth before or after them and appoint them a place of meeting, wherein it is at our pleasure to fail [to keep the appointment], and then will they adventure upon the exploit themselves, which they shall have no sooner achieved but we’ll set upon them.

 

POINS

Why, we will set forth before or 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.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Yea, but ’tis like (likely) that they will know us by our horses, by our habits (clothing), and by every other appointment to be ourselves.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Yea, but ’tis like that they will know us by our horses, by our habits, and by every other appointment to be ourselves.

 

POINS

Tut, our horses they shall not see; I’ll tie them in the wood. Our vizards (masks) we will change after we leave them. And, sirrah, I have cases of buckram (stiff cloth), for the nonce (occasion), to immask (disguise) our noted (well-known) outward garments.

 

POINS

Tut, our horses they shall not see; I’ll tie them in the wood. Our vizards we will change after we leave them. And, sirrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce, to immask our noted outward garments.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Yea, but I doubt (suspect) they will be too hard for us.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Yea, but I doubt they will be too hard for us.

 

POINS

Well, [as] 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 (abandon the use of weapons). The virtue of this jest will be the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will tell us when we meet at supper, how thirty at least he fought with, what wards (defensive movements), what blows, what extremities he endured, and in the reproof (discrediting) of this lies the jest.

 

POINS

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 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.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Well, I’ll go with thee. Provide us all things necessary and meet me tomorrow night in Eastcheap. There I’ll sup. Farewell.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Well, I’ll go with thee. Provide us all things necessary and meet me tomorrow night in Eastcheap. There I’ll sup. Farewell.

 

POINS

Farewell, my lord.

 

POINS

Farewell, my lord.

 

Exit POINS

Exit POINS

PRINCE HENRY

I know you all and will awhile uphold

The unyoked humor of your idleness.

Yet herein will I imitate the sun,

Who doth permit the base,  contagious clouds

base,  contagious=low, foul

To smother up his beauty from the world,

[So] that, when he please again to be himself,

Being wanted, he may be more wondered at

By breaking through the foul and ugly mist

Of vapors that did seem to strangle him.

If all the year were playing holidays,

To sport would be as tedious as to work,

But when they seldom come, they wished for come,

they wished for come=they come like something greatly wished for

And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.

So when this loose behavior I throw off

And pay the debt I never promisèd,

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, glitt'ring o'er my fault,

Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes

Than that which hath no foil to set it off.

I’ll so offend to make offense a skill,

Redeeming time [for good deeds]  when men think least I will.

 

PRINCE HENRY

I know you all, and will awhile uphold

The unyoked humor 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 wondered at

By breaking through the foul and ugly mist

Of vapors that did seem to strangle him.

If all the year were playing holidays,

To sport would be as tedious as to work,

But when they seldom come, they wished for come,

And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.

So when this loose behavior I throw off

And pay the debt I never promisèd,

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, glitt'ring o'er my fault,

Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes

Than that which hath no foil to set it off.

I’ll so offend to make offense a skill,

Redeeming time when men think least I will.

 

Exit

Exit

 

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