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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?

1 Honest.

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!? [Exit Falsta.

The value of a coin called real or royal, on which word quibble is here intended.

2 Fine weather at All-hallown tide (i. e. All Saints, Nov. 1.) is called an All-hallown summer.

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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 hard for us.

Poins. Well, for two of them, I know them to be as true-bred cowards as ever turned back; and for the third, if he fight longer than he sees reason, I'll

1 Occasion.

rogue will

forswear arms. The virtue of this jest will be, the incomprehensible lies that this same fat tell us, when we meet at supper : how thirty, at least, he fought with; what wards, what blows, what extremities he endured: and, in the reproof 1 of this, lies the jest.


P. Hen. Well, I'll go with thee : provide us all things necessary, and meet me to-morrow night in Eastcheap; there I'll sup. Farewell.

Poins. Farewell, my lord.

[Exit Poins.
P. Hen. I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humor of your idleness:
Yet herein will I imitate the sun;

Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapors, that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holydays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But, when they seldom come, they wish'd-for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behavior I throw off,
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And, like bright metal on a sullen ground,


1 Confutation.

2 Exceed men's expectations.

My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,

Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes,
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time, when men think least I will.


The same.


Another room in the palace.


K. Hen. My blood hath been too cold and temperate,

Unapt to stir at these indignities,

And you have found me; for, accordingly,
You tread upon my patience: but, be sure,
I will from henceforth rather be myself,
Mighty, and to be fear'd, than condition;
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
And therefore lost that title of respect,


Which the proud soul ne'er pays, but to the proud. Wor. Our house, my sovereign liege, little de


The scourge of greatness to be used on it;

And that same greatness too which our own hands Have holp to make so portly.

North. My lord,

1 Disposition.

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