ACT 2, SCENE II: The highway, near Gadshill.


POINS: Come, shelter, shelter: I have removed Fal-
staff's horse, and he frets like a gummed velvet.

PRINCE HENRY: Stand close.


FALSTAFF: Poins! Poins, and be hanged! Poins!

PRINCE HENRY: Peace, ye fat-kidneyed                                                          [5]
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:                           [10]
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                         [15]
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                            [20]
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                         [25]
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!                                                                 [30]

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                       [35]
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

FALSTAFF: I prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my                                 [40]
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,                       [45]
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 with him.


FALSTAFF: So I do, against my will.

POINS: O, 'tis our setter: I know his voice.                                                     [50]
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                                   [55]

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                        [60]
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?                                   [65]

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.                         [70]
Farewell, and stand fast.

FALSTAFF: Now cannot I strike him, if I should be

PRINCE HENRY: Ned, where are our dis-
guises?                                                                                                          [75]

POINS: Here, hard by: stand close.


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                   [80]
our legs.

Thieves: Stand!

Travellers: Jesus bless us!

FALSTAFF: Strike; down with them; cut the villains'
throats: ah! whoreson caterpillars! bacon-fed                                    [85]
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                                              [90]
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,
[Here they rob them and bind them. Exeunt.]


PRINCE HENRY: The thieves have bound the true men. Now                [95]
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                            [100]
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-

PRINCE HENRY: Your money!                                                                          [105]

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                    [110]
walks along: Were't not for laughing, I should pity

POINS: How the rogue roar'd!


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