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Henry IV, Part 2 - Act 2, scene 2
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Navigate this workHenry IV, Part 2 - Act 2, scene 2
Act 2, scene 2
Learning that Falstaff will be dining that night in Eastcheap, Prince Hal and Poins decide to disguise themselves as waiters and observe him.Enter the Prince ⌜and⌝ Poins.
PRINCE 0852 Before God, I am exceeding weary.
POINS 0853 Is ’t come to that? I had thought weariness durst
0854 not have attached one of so high blood.
PRINCE 0855 Faith, it does me, though it discolors the complexion
0856 5 of my greatness to acknowledge it. Doth it
0857 not show vilely in me to desire small beer?
POINS 0858 Why, a prince should not be so loosely studied
0859 as to remember so weak a composition.
p. 67PRINCE 0860 Belike then my appetite was not princely got,
0861 10 for, by my troth, I do now remember the poor
0862 creature small beer. But indeed these humble considerations
0863 make me out of love with my greatness.
0864 What a disgrace is it to me to remember thy name,
0865 or to know thy face tomorrow, or to take note how
0866 15 many pair of silk stockings thou hast—with these,
0867 and those that were thy peach-colored ⟨ones⟩—or to
0868 bear the inventory of thy shirts, as, one for superfluity
0869 and another for use. But that the tennis-court
0870 keeper knows better than I, for it is a low ebb of
0871 20 linen with thee when thou keepest not racket there,
0872 as thou hast not done a great while, because the rest
0873 of the low countries have ⟨made a shift to⟩ eat up thy
0874 holland; [and God knows whether those that bawl
0875 out the ruins of thy linen shall inherit His kingdom;
0876 25 but the midwives say the children are not in the
0877 fault, whereupon the world increases and kindreds
0878 are mightily strengthened.]
POINS 0879 How ill it follows, after you have labored so
0880 hard, you should talk so idly! Tell me, how many
0881 30 good young princes would do so, their fathers being
0882 so sick as yours at this time is?
PRINCE 0883 Shall I tell thee one thing, Poins?
POINS 0884 Yes, faith, and let it be an excellent good thing.
PRINCE 0885 It shall serve among wits of no higher breeding
0886 35 than thine.
POINS 0887 Go to. I stand the push of your one thing that
0888 you will tell.
PRINCE 0889 Marry, I tell thee it is not meet that I should be
0890 sad, now my father is sick—albeit I could tell to
0891 40 thee, as to one it pleases me, for fault of a better, to
0892 call my friend, I could be sad, and sad indeed too.
POINS 0893 Very hardly, upon such a subject.
p. 69PRINCE 0894 By this hand, thou thinkest me as far in the
0895 devil’s book as thou and Falstaff for obduracy and
0896 45 persistency. Let the end try the man. But I tell thee,
0897 my heart bleeds inwardly that my father is so sick;
0898 and keeping such vile company as thou art hath in
0899 reason taken from me all ostentation of sorrow.
POINS 0900 The reason?
PRINCE 0901 50What wouldst thou think of me if I should
POINS 0903 I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.
PRINCE 0904 It would be every man’s thought, and thou art
0905 a blessed fellow to think as every man thinks. Never
0906 55 a man’s thought in the world keeps the roadway
0907 better than thine. Every man would think me an
0908 hypocrite indeed. And what accites your most worshipful
0909 thought to think so?
POINS 0910 Why, because you have been so lewd and so
0911 60 much engraffed to Falstaff.
PRINCE 0912 And to thee.
POINS 0913 By this light, I am well spoke on. I can hear it
0914 with mine own ears. The worst that they can say of
0915 me is that I am a second brother, and that I am a
0916 65 proper fellow of my hands; and those two things, I
0917 confess, I cannot help. By the Mass, here comes
Enter Bardolph and ⌜Page.⌝
PRINCE 0919 And the boy that I gave Falstaff. He had him
0920 from me Christian, and look if the fat villain have
0921 70 not transformed him ape.
BARDOLPH 0922 God save your Grace.
PRINCE 0923 And yours, most noble Bardolph.
POINS, ⌜to Bardolph⌝ 0924 Come, you virtuous ass, you bashful
0925 fool, must you be blushing? Wherefore blush
0926 75 you now? What a maidenly man-at-arms are you
p. 710927 become! Is ’t such a matter to get a pottle-pot’s
PAGE 0929 He calls me ⌜e’en now,⌝ my lord, through a red
0930 lattice, and I could discern no part of his face from
0931 80 the window. At last I spied his eyes, and methought
0932 he had made two holes in the ale-wife’s ⟨new⟩
0933 petticoat and so peeped through.
PRINCE 0934 Has not the boy profited?
BARDOLPH, ⌜to Page⌝ 0935 Away, you whoreson upright ⟨rabbit⟩,
0936 85 away!
PAGE 0937 Away, you rascally Althea’s dream, away!
PRINCE 0938 Instruct us, boy. What dream, boy?
PAGE 0939 Marry, my lord, Althea dreamt she was delivered
0940 of a firebrand, and therefore I call him her dream.
PRINCE 0941 90A crown’s worth of good interpretation. There
0942 ’tis, boy.⌜He gives the Page money.⌝
POINS 0943 O, that this ⟨good⟩ blossom could be kept from
0944 cankers! Well, there is sixpence to preserve thee.
⌜He gives the Page money.⌝
BARDOLPH 0945 An you do not make him ⟨be⟩ hanged among
0946 95 you, the gallows shall have wrong.
PRINCE 0947 And how doth thy master, Bardolph?
BARDOLPH 0948 Well, my ⟨good⟩ lord. He heard of your
0949 Grace’s coming to town. There’s a letter for you.
⌜He gives the Prince a paper.⌝
POINS 0950 Delivered with good respect. And how doth the
0951 100 Martlemas your master?
BARDOLPH 0952 In bodily health, sir.
POINS 0953 Marry, the immortal part needs a physician, but
0954 that moves not him. Though that be sick, it dies not.
PRINCE 0955 I do allow this wen to be as familiar with me as
0956 105 my dog, and he holds his place, for look you how he
0957 writes.⌜He shows the letter to Poins.⌝
POINS ⌜reads the superscription⌝ 0958 John Falstaff, knight.
0959 Every man must know that as oft as he has occasion
p. 730960 to name himself, even like those that are kin to the
0961 110 King, for they never prick their finger but they say
0962 “There’s some of the King’s blood spilt.” “How
0963 comes that?” says he that takes upon him not to
0964 conceive. The answer is as ready as a ⌜borrower’s⌝
0965 cap: “I am the King’s poor cousin, sir.”
PRINCE 0966 115Nay, they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it
0967 from Japheth. But ⟨to⟩ the letter: ⌜Reads.⌝ Sir John
0968 Falstaff, knight, to the son of the King nearest his
0969 father, Harry Prince of Wales, greeting.
POINS 0970 Why, this is a certificate.
PRINCE 0971 120Peace!
0972 ⌜Reads.⌝ I will imitate the honorable Romans in
POINS 0974 He sure means brevity in breath, short-winded.
⌜PRINCE reads⌝ 0975 I commend me to thee, I commend thee,
0976 125 and I leave thee. Be not too familiar with Poins, for he
0977 misuses thy favors so much that he swears thou art to
0978 marry his sister Nell. Repent at idle times as thou
0979 mayst, and so farewell.
0980 Thine by yea and no, which is as much as
0981 130 to say, as thou usest him,
0982 Jack Falstaff with my ⟨familiars,⟩
0983 John with my brothers and sisters, and
0984 Sir John with all Europe.
POINS 0985 My lord, I’ll steep this letter in sack and make
0986 135 him eat it.
PRINCE 0987 That’s to make him eat twenty of his words.
0988 But do you use me thus, Ned? Must I marry your
POINS 0990 God send the wench no worse fortune! But I
0991 140 never said so.
PRINCE 0992 Well, thus we play the fools with the time, and
0993 the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us.
0994 ⌜To Bardolph.⌝ Is your master here in London?
BARDOLPH 0995 Yea, my lord.
p. 75PRINCE 0996 145Where sups he? Doth the old boar feed in the
0997 old frank?
BARDOLPH 0998 At the old place, my lord, in Eastcheap.
PRINCE 0999 What company?
PAGE 1000 Ephesians, my lord, of the old church.
PRINCE 1001 150Sup any women with him?
PAGE 1002 None, my lord, but old Mistress Quickly and
1003 Mistress Doll Tearsheet.
PRINCE 1004 What pagan may that be?
PAGE 1005 A proper gentlewoman, sir, and a kinswoman of
1006 155 my master’s.
PRINCE 1007 Even such kin as the parish heifers are to the
1008 town bull.—Shall we steal upon them, Ned, at
POINS 1010 I am your shadow, my lord. I’ll follow you.
PRINCE 1011 160Sirrah—you, boy—and Bardolph, no word to
1012 your master that I am yet come to town. There’s for
1013 your silence.⌜He gives money.⌝
BARDOLPH 1014 I have no tongue, sir.
PAGE 1015 And for mine, sir, I will govern it.
PRINCE 1016 165Fare you well. Go.⌜Bardolph and Page exit.⌝
1017 This Doll Tearsheet should be some road.
POINS 1018 I warrant you, as common as the way between
1019 Saint Albans and London.
PRINCE 1020 How might we see Falstaff bestow himself
1021 170 tonight in his true colors, and not ourselves be
POINS 1023 Put on two leathern jerkins and aprons, and
1024 wait upon him at his table as drawers.
PRINCE 1025 From a god to a bull: a heavy descension. It
1026 175 was Jove’s case. From a ⟨prince⟩ to a ’prentice: a low
1027 transformation that shall be mine, for in everything
1028 the purpose must weigh with the folly. Follow me,