Imatges de pÓgina
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Enter Poins at a distance. Fal. Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal; 'tis no sin for a man to labour in his vocation.—Poins !-Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match.-0, if men were to be saved by merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for him? This is the most omnipotent villain that ever cried stand to a true man.

P. Hen. Good-morrow, Ned.

Poins. Good-morrow, sweet Hal.—What says Monsieur Remorse? What says Sir John Sack-and-sugar? 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 visards 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 ye, 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.

P. Hen. Well, then, once in my days I'll be a madcap. 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 prythee, leave the prince and me alone: I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure that he shall go.

Fal. Well, God give thee the spirit of persuasion, and him 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, Allhallown summer !

[Exit FALSTAFF. 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 visards we will change after we leave them; and, sirrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce, 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 forswear arms. The virtue of this jest will be the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will 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 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 unyok'd humour 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 vapours that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
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 behaviour 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,
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.

[E.cit.

SCENE III.- The same. Another Room in the Palace.
Enter KING HENRY, NORTHUMBERLAND, WORCESTER,

HOTSPUR, SIR WALTER BLUNT, and others.
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 my 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 deserves
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,

K. Hen. Worcester, get thee gone; for I see danger And disobedience in thine eye: 0, sir, Your presence is too bold and peremptory, And majesty might never yet endure The moody frontier of a servant brow. You have good leave to leave us: when we need Your use and counsel we shall send for you. [Exit Wor. You were about to speak.

[To NORTHUMBERLAND. North.

Yea, my good lord.
Those prisoners in your highness' name demanded,
Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took,
Were, as he says, not with such strength denied
As is delivered to your majesty:
Either

envy, therefore, or misprision Is guilty of this fault, and not my son.

Hot. My liege, I did deny no prisoners. But I remember when the fight was done, When I was dry with rage and extreme toil, Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword, Came there a certain lord, neat, trimly dress'd, Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin new reap'd Show'd like a stubble-land at harvest-home; He was perfumed like a milliner; And ’twixt his finger and his thumb he held A pouncet-box, which ever and anon He gave his nose, and took't away again;Who therewith angry, when it next came there, Took it in snuff:—and still he smil'd and talk'd; And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by, He call’d them untaught knaves, unmannerly, To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse Betwixt the wind and his nobility. With many holiday and lady terms He question’d me; among the rest, demanded My prisoners in your majesty's behalf. I, then all smarting with my wounds being cold, To be so pester'd with a popinjay, Out of my grief and my impatience, Answer'd neglectingly, I know not what,He should, or he should not;—for he made me mad To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet, And talk so like a waiting-gentlewoman Of guns, and drums, and wounds,—God save the mark ! And telling me the sovereign’st thing on earth Was parmaceti for an inward bruise; And that it was great pity, so it was, This villanous saltpetre should be digg'd Out of the bowels of the harmless earth, Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd So cowardly; and but for these vile guns He would himself have been a soldier. This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord, I answer'd indirectly, as I said; And I beseech you, let not his report

Come current for an accusation
Betwixt my love and your high majesty.

Blunt. The circumstance consider’d, good my lord,
Whatever Harry Percy then had said
To such a person, and in such a place,
At such a time, with all the rest re-told,
May reasonably die, and never rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he unsay it now.

K. Hen. Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners,
But with proviso and exception,-
That we at our own charge shall ransom straight
His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer;
Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray'd
The lives of those that he did lead to fight
Against the great magician, damn'd Glendower,
Whose daughter, as we hear, that Earl of March
Hath lately married. Shall our coffers, then,
Be emptied to redeem a traitor home?
Shall we buy treason? and indent with fears,
When they have lost and forfeited themselves?
No, on the barren mountains let him starve;
For I shall never hold that man my friend
Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost
To ransom home revolted Mortimer.

Hot. Revolted Mortimer!
He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war:—to prove that true,
Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds,
Those mouthed wounds, which valiantly he took,
When on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank,
In single opposition, hand to hand,
He did confound the best part of an hour
In changing hardiment with great Glendower:
Three times they breath'd, and three times did they drink,
Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks,
Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,
And hid his crisp head in the hollow bank
Blood-stained with these valiant combatants.
Never did base and rotten policy
Colour her working with such deadly wounds;
Nor could the noble Mortimer
Receive so many, and all willingly:
Then let him not be slander'd with revolt.

K. Hen. Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou dost belie him;

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