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King Henry IV, Part I

Please see the bottom of the page for extensive explanatory notes and other helpful resources.

ACT II SCENE II The highway, near Gadshill.
POINSCome, shelter, shelter: I have removed Falstaff's
horse, and he frets like a gummed velvet.
PRINCE HENRYStand close.
FALSTAFFPoins! Poins, and be hanged! Poins!
PRINCE HENRYPeace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal! what a brawling dost5
thou keep!
FALSTAFFWhere's Poins, Hal?
PRINCE HENRYHe is walked up to the top of the hill: I'll go seek him.
FALSTAFFI am accursed to rob in that thief's company: the
rascal hath removed my horse, and tied him I know10
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 and15
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!20
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;25
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 HENRYPeace, ye fat-guts! lie down; lay thine ear close30
to the ground and list if thou canst hear the tread
of travellers.
FALSTAFFHave 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.35
What a plague mean ye to colt me thus?
PRINCE HENRYThou liest; thou art not colted, thou art uncolted.
FALSTAFFI prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse,
good king's son.
PRINCE HENRYOut, ye rogue! shall I be your ostler?40
FALSTAFFGo, 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.45
FALSTAFFSo I do, against my will.
POINSO, 'tis our setter: I know his voice. Bardolph,
what news?
BARDOLPHCase ye, case ye; on with your vizards: there 's50
money of the king's coming down the hill; 'tis going
to the king's exchequer.
FALSTAFFYou lie, ye rogue; 'tis going to the king's tavern.
GADSHILLThere's enough to make us all.
FALSTAFFTo be hanged.55
PRINCE HENRYSirs, 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.
PETOHow many be there of them?
GADSHILLSome eight or ten.60
FALSTAFF'Zounds, will they not rob us?
PRINCE HENRYWhat, a coward, Sir John Paunch?
FALSTAFFIndeed, I am not John of Gaunt, your grandfather;
but yet no coward, Hal.
PRINCE HENRYWell, we leave that to the proof.65
POINSSirrah Jack, thy horse stands behind the hedge:
when thou needest him, there thou shalt find him.
Farewell, and stand fast.
FALSTAFFNow cannot I strike him, if I should be hanged.
PRINCE HENRYNed, where are our disguises?70
POINSHere, hard by: stand close.
FALSTAFFNow, my masters, happy man be his dole, say I:
every man to his business.
[Enter the Travellers]
First TravellerCome, neighbour: the boy shall lead our horses down
the hill; we'll walk afoot awhile, and ease our legs.75
TravellersJesus bless us!
FALSTAFFStrike; down with them; cut the villains' throats:
ah! whoreson caterpillars! bacon-fed knaves! they
hate us youth: down with them: fleece them.80
TravellersO, we are undone, both we and ours for ever!
FALSTAFFHang 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.85
[Here they rob them and bind them. Exeunt]
PRINCE HENRYThe 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.
POINSStand close; I hear them coming.90
[Enter the Thieves again]
FALSTAFFCome, 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 HENRYYour money!95
[ 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 HENRYGot 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.100
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.
POINSHow the rogue roar'd!

Continue to Henry IV, Part I, Act 2, Scene 3

The scene shifts to the road where the robbery is actually to take place. Prince Hal and Poins arrive, and hide Falstaff's horse. Hal prepares for the ambush and he and Poins take their positions further down the road, under the pretense that they are Falstaff's backup. This gives Hal and Poins time to put on the disguises they will wear when robbing their friends. The travelers appear and are attacked by Falstaff and his men, who rob them, tie them up, and push them off the stage. When the thieves return to examine their booty, Hal and Poins jump out of the shadows and demand their goods. Falstaff and his men run away without a thought and Hal and Poins laugh at the ease with which they robbed the robbers. The scene ends with the words of Poins, who is in hysterics: "How the fat rogue roar'd!"


Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 2
From Henry IV, Part I. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark and Maynard.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

2. Frets. To fret meant to grumble, as well as to wear away "like a moth fretteth a garment;" hence the quibble here.

11. Squier, the measuring rule.

18. Given me medicines. Othello i. 3,
"She is abused, stolen from me, and corrupted
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks."
36. To colt me, to trick or gull me.

37. Uncolted, unhorsed.

42. Peach, impeach, give information.

48. Our setter, the setter of our match.

72. Happy man be his dole, "Lucky man be the lot dealt to him." A dole is that which is dealt out.

82. Gorbellied, big-bellied. "Perhaps," as Staunton says, "corrupted for gorge-bellied."

83. Chuffs, clownish fellows: burly, swollen men -- swollen with gluttony and guzzling.

88. Argument, subject of conversation.

How to cite the introduction:

Mabillard, Amanda. Introduction to King Henry IV, Part 1 (2.2). Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

How to cite the explanatory notes:

Shakespeare, William. King Henry IV, Part 1. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark and Maynard, 1885. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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