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ACT II. Scene II. 


The highway near Gadshill.

Enter Prince and Poins.

 POINS.

Come, shelter, shelter! I have remov'd Falstaff's horse, and
he frets like a gumm'd velvet.

 PRINCE.

Stand close

[They step aside.]

Enter Falstaff.

 FAL.

Poins! Poins, and be hang'd! Poins!

 PRINCE.

I comes forward I Peace, ye fat-kidney'd rascal! What a
brawling dost thou keep!

 FAL.

Where's Poins, Hal?

 PRINCE.

He is walk'd up to the top of the hill. I'll go seek him.

[Steps aside.]

 FAL.

I am accurs'd to rob in that thief's company. The rascal hath
removed my horse and tied him I know not where. If I travel but
four foot by the squire 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-and-twenty years, and yet I am bewitch'd
with the rogue's company. If the rascal have not given me
medicines to make me love him, I'll be hang'd. It could not be
else. I have drunk medicines. Poins! Hal! A plague upon you 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
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 hang'd!

 PRINCE.

[comes forward] Peace, ye fat-guts! Lie down, lay thine ear
close to the ground, and list if thou canst hear the tread of
travellers.

 FAL.

Have 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. What a plague mean ye to colt me
thus?

 PRINCE.

Thou liest; thou art not colted, thou art uncolted.

 FAL.

I prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse, good king's
son.

 PRINCE.

Out, ye rogue! Shall I be your ostler?

 FAL.

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, 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].

 GADS.

Stand!

 FAL.

So I do, against my will.

 POINS.

O, 'tis our setter. I know his voice. Bardolph, what news?

 BAR.

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.

 FAL.

You lie, ye rogue! 'Tis going to the King's tavern.

 GADS.

There's enough to make us all.

 FAL.

To be hang'd.

 PRINCE.

Sirs, 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.

 PETO.

How many be there of them?

 GADS.

Some eight or ten.

 FAL.

Zounds, will they not rob us?

 PRINCE.

What, a coward, Sir John Paunch?

 FAL.

Indeed, I am not John of Gaunt, your grandfather; but yet no
coward, Hal.

 PRINCE.

Well, we leave that to the proof.

 POINS.

Sirrah Jack, thy horse stands behind the hedge. When thou
need'st him, there thou shalt find him. Farewell and stand fast.

 FAL.

Now cannot I strike him, if I should be hang'd.

 PRINCE.

[aside to Poins] Ned, where are our disguises?

 POINS.

[aside to Prince] Here, hard by. Stand close.

[Exeunt Prince and Poins.]

 FAL.

Now, my masters, happy man be his dole, say I. Every man to
his business.

Enter the Travellers.

 TRAVELLER.

Come, neighbour.
The boy shall lead our horses down the hill;
We'll walk afoot awhile and ease our legs.

 THIEVES.

Stand!

 TRAVELLER.

Jesus bless us!

 FAL.

Strike! down with them! cut the villains' throats! Ah,
whoreson caterpillars! bacon-fed knaves! they hate us youth. Down
with them! fleece them!

 TRAVELLER.

O, we are undone, both we and ours for ever!

 FAL.

Hang 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 grandjurors, are ye? We'll jure ye,
faith!

Here they rob and bind them. Exeunt.

Enter the Prince and Poins [in buckram suits].

 PRINCE.

The 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.

 POINS.

Stand close! I hear them coming.

[They stand aside.]

Enter the Thieves again.

 FAL.

Come, 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.

[As they are sharing, the Prince and Poins set upon

them. THey all run away, and Falstaff, after a blow or

two, runs awasy too, leaving the booty behind them.]

 PRINCE.

Your money!

 POINS.

Villains!

 PRINCE.

Got with much ease. Now merrily to horse.
The thieves are scattered, 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 walks along.
Were't not for laughing, I should pity him.

 POINS.

How the rogue roar'd!

Exeunt.

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