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thee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king; and resolution thus fobbed, as it is, with the rusty curb of old father antic the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.
P. Hen. No; thou shalt.
Fal. Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I'll be a brave judge.
P. Hen. Thou judgest false already; I mean, thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves, and so become a rare hangman.
Fal. Well, Hal, well: and in some sort it jumps with my humor, as well as waiting in the court, I can tell you.
P. Hen. For obtaining of suits?
Fal. 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.
P. Hen. Or an old lion, or a lover's lute. Fal. Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.
P. Hen. What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of Moor-ditch?
Fal. Thou hast the most unsavory similes; and art, indeed, the most comparative, rascalliest,—. sweet young prince,-But, Hal, I pr'ythee, 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
marked him not: and yet he talked very wisely, but I regarded him not: and yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.
P. Hen. Thou didst well; for Wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it.
Fal. O, thou hast damnable iteration; 1 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.
P. Hen. Where shall we take a purse to-morrow, Jack?
Fal. Where thou wilt, lad; I'll make one: an I do not, call me villain, and baffle me.?
P. Hen. I see a good amendment of life in thee; from praying to purse-taking.
Enter POINS at a distance.
Fal. Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal; 'tis no sin for a man to labor in his vocation. Poins!Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match.3 O, if men were to be saved by merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for him? This is the most
1 Citation of holy texts. 2 i. e. treat me with ignominy Made an appointment.
omnipotent villain, that ever cried, Stand, to a true 1
P. Hen. Good morrow, Ned.
Poins. Good morrow, sweet Hal.-What says monsieur Remorse? What says sir John Sack-andSugar? 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?
P. Hen. 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. Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.
P. Hen. Else he had been damned for cozening the devil.
Poins. But, my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four o'clock, early at Gadshill: there are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses: I have visors for you all, you have horses for yourselves: Gadshill lies to-night in Rochester; I have bespoke supper to-morrow 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.
Fal. Hear me, Yedward; if I tarry at home, and go not, I'll hang you for going.
Poins. You will, chops?
Fal. Hal, wilt thou make one?
P. Hen. Who? I rob? I a thief? not I, by my faith.
Fal. There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou camest not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.1
P. Hen. Well, then, once in my days I'll be a mad-cap.
Fal. Why, that's well said.
P. Hen. Well, come what will, I'll tarry at home.
Fal. By the Lord, I'll be a traitor then, when thou art king.
P. Hen. I care not.
Poins. Sir John, I pr'ythee, leave the prince and me alone I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure, that he shall go.
Fal. Well, mayst thou have the spirit of persuasion, and he 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.
P. Hen. Farewell, thou latter spring! Farewell All-hallown summer! 2 [Exit Falstaff.
The value of a coin called real or royal, on which word a quibble is here intended.
2 Fine weather at All-hallown tide (i. e. All Saints, Note 1.) is called an All-hallown summer.
Poins. Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us to-morrow. I have a jest to execute, that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto, 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 from my shoulders.
P. Hen. But 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; and then will they adventure upon the exploit themselves; which they shall have no sooner achieved, but we 'll set upon them.
P. Hen. Ay, 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 visors we will change, after we leave them; and, sirrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce,1 to immask our noted outward garments.
P. Hen. But, I doubt, they will be too har for us.
Poins. Well, for two of them, I know them to b as true-bred cowards as ever turned back; and fo the third, if he fight longer than he sees reason, I'