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Gadshill. Go to; homo is a common name to all men. Bid the ostler bring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy knave.
SCENE II. STAND AND DELIVER. The company have ridden to Gadshill, and left their horses
among the trees. The scene is a spot where the road narrows half-way down the hill. Falstaff got of his horse very reluctantly, and Poins slipped of quietly with
it in the darkness. Enter Prince Henry and Poins, Poins carrying a bundle
under his arm.
Prince [coming forward]. Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal! 5 What a brawling dost thou keep !
Falstaff. Where's Poins, Hal ?
Prince. He is walked up to the top of the hill : I'll go seek him.
[He pretends to go. Falstaff (trying at first to run after him]. I am accursed 10 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 square farther afoot, I shall break my wind. [He leans against a tree.] Well, I doubt not but to die a fair death for all this, if I'scape hanging for killing 15 that rogue. I have forsworn his company hourly any time this two-and-twenty year, and yet I am bewitched with the rogue's company. Poins! Hal! a plague upon you both! Bardolph! Peto! I'll starve, ere I'll rob a foot farther. Eight yards of uneven ground is threescore 20 and ten miles afoot with me; and the stony-hearted villains know it well enough : a plague upon't, 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.
25 Prince [coming forward]. 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 30 far afoot again for all the coin in thy father's exchequer. What a plague mean ye to colt me thus ?
Prince. Thou liest; thou art not colted, thou art uncolted.
Falstaf (coaxingly]. I pr’ythee, good Prince Hal, help 35 me to my horse, good king's son.
Prince. Out, you 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 40 a cup of sack be my poison : when a jest is so forward, and afoot too ! I hate it.
45 [Enter Bardolph and Peto. Bardolph. What news ? Gadshill
. 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. [They all mask themselves.
Falstaff. You lie, you rogue; 'tis going to the King's 50 tavern.
Gadshill. There's enough to make us all.
Prince. Sirs, you four shall front them in the narrow lane; Ned Poins and I will walk lower: if they 'scape 55 from your encounter, then they light on us.
Peto. How many be there of them ?
бо Falstaff. Indeed, I am not John of Gaunt, your grandfather ; but yet no coward, Hal.
Prince. Well, we leave that to the proof.
Poins. Sirrah Jack, thy horse stands behind the hedge: when thou need’st him, there thou shalt find him. 65 Farewell, and stand fast.
Falstaff. Now cannot I strike him, if I should be hanged.
Prince [aside to Poins]. Ned, where are our disguises ? Poins. Here, hard by ; stand close.
70 [Exeunt the Prince and Poins. Falstaff. Now my masters, happy man be his dole, say I: every man to his business.
Enter four Travellers. First Traveller. Come, neighbour : the boy shall lead our horses down the hill; we'll walk afoot a while, and ease our legs.
75 Thieves. Stand ! Travellers. God bless us !
Falstaff (flourishing his sword wildly). Strike; down with them; cut the villains' throats ah, caterpillars ! bacon-fed knaves! they hate us youth: down with 80 them; fleece them.
[The Thieves seize and bind the Travellers. Travellers. Oh, we are undone, both we and ours, for ever!
Falstaff (joining in). Hang ye, gorbellied knaves, are ye undone ? No, ye fat chuffs ; I would your store were 85 here! On, bacons, on ! [He beats them with the flat of his sword.] What, ye knaves! young men must live.
You are grand-jurors, are ye? We'll jure ye, i' faith. [Exeunt Thieves, driving the Travellers out. The
noise dies away in the distance. Re-enter Prince Henry and Poins, in buckram suits.
Prince. The thieves have bound the true men. Now could thou and I rob the thieves, and go merrily to Lon-90 don, it would be argument for a week, laughter for a month, and a good jest for ever.
(Laughter heard near at hand. Poins. Stand close ; I hear them coming.
[They retire. Enter the Thieves again. Falstaff [throwing down money-bags). Come, my masters, let us share, (they all sit round] and then to 95 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. [As they are sharing, the Prince and Poins rush out
and set upon them.
Prince. Your money!
Poins. Villains ! [Gadshill, Bardolph, and Peto run away; and Falstaff,
after a blow or two, crawls out, leaving the booty behind.
to horse :
SCENE III. A PLAGUE OF ALL COWARDS! AND THE
POWER OF INSTINCT.
and go straight to the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap,
where they find the Prince and Poins waiting for them. Enter Falstaff and the Thieves, who look reproachfully at
the Prince and Poins. Poins. Welcome, Jack : where hast thou been ?
Falstaf. A plague of all cowards, I say, and a vengeance too ! marry, and amen ! [Flings down his cap.] Give me a cup of sack, boy. [The boy enters and fills for him.] Ere I lead this life long, I'll sew nether-stocks and 5 mend them and foot them too. A plague of all cowards! Give me a cup of sack, rogue. [The boy gives him the cup.] Is there no virtue extant ? [He drinks a deep draught.] You rogue, here's lime in this sack too : [he throws the cup at the boy] there is nothing but roguery to be found 10 in villainous man: yet a coward is worse than a cup of sack with lime in it,-a villainous coward. [He wipes his lips.] 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 lives not 15 three good men unhanged in England; and one of them is fat, and grows old : God help the while ! a bad world, I say. I would I were a weaver ; I could sing psalms, or-anything. A plague of all cowards, I say still.
Prince. How now, wool-sack! what mutter you ?
Falstaff. A king's son! If I do not beat thee out of thy 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. Why, you villainous round man, what's the 25 matter ?
Falstaff. Are you not a coward ? answer me to that : and Poins there?
Poins. 'Zounds ! ye fat paunch, an ye call me coward, I'll stab thee. [Walks up to him fingering his dagger. 30
Falstaff [retreating). I call thee coward ! I'll see thee hanged ere I call thee coward : but I would give a thousand pound I could run as fast as thou canst. [Poins laughs and turns his back upon him.] You are straight enough in the shoulders, you care not who sees your back : call that backing of your friends ? A plague upon such backing! give me them that will face me. Give me (the Prince and Poins walk up to him}a cup of sack: I am a rogue, if I drunk to-day.
Prince. O villain! thy lips are scarce wiped since thou 40 drunkest last.
Falstaff. All's one for that. [He drinks again.] A plague of all cowards, still say I.
Prince. What's the matter ?
Falstaff. What 's the matter! there be four of us here 45 have ta'en a thousand pound this day morning.
Prince. Where is it, Jack ? where is it?
Falstaf. Where is it! taken from us it is ; [groans] a hundred upon poor four of us.
Prince. What, a hundred, man ? Falstaff. I am a rogue, if I were not at half-sword with a dozen of them two hours together. I have 'scaped by miracle. [He points to the cuts in his dress.] I am eight times thrust through the doublet, four through the hose; my buckler cut through and through; my 55 sword hacked like a hand-saw,-ecce signum ! (He unsheathes his hacked and battered sword.]I never dealt better since I was a man: all would not do. A plague of all cowards ! [He chokes with anger.] Let them speak : [beckoning to Gadshill, Peto, and Bardolph] if they speak 60 more or less than truth, they are villains, and the sons of darkness.