SCENE II. The highway, near Gadshill.
Enter PRINCE HENRY and POINS
I am accursed 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 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 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 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 whistleWhew! A plague upon you all! Give me my horse, you
rogues; give me my horse, and be hanged!
Peace, ye fat-guts! lie down; lay thine ear close
to the ground and list if thou canst hear the tread
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?
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
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.
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.
Sirrah Jack, thy horse stands behind the hedge:
when thou needest him, there thou shalt find him.
Farewell, and stand fast.
Come, neighbour: the boy shall lead our horses down
the hill; we’ll walk afoot awhile, and ease our legs.
Strike; down with them; cut the villains’ throats:
ah! whoreson caterpillars! bacon-fed knaves! they
hate us youth: down with them: fleece them.
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 Grand-jurors, are ye? we’ll jure ye, ‘faith.
Here they rob them and bind them. Exeunt
Re-enter PRINCE HENRY and POINS
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.
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 away too, leaving the booty behind them
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 walks along:
Were ‘t not for laughing, I should pity him.