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Henry IV, Part 1

Henry IV, Part 1 Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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Enter HENRY, PRINCE of Wales, and Sir John FALSTAFF

FALSTAFF

Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?

FALSTAFF

Now, Hal, what time is it, boy?

PRINCE HENRY

Thou art so fat-witted with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benchesafter noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? Unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tonguesof bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colored taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldstbe so superfluous to demand the time of the day.

PRINCE HENRY

You are so stupid, what with all the wine you drink—and how you unbutton your pants after dinner and pass out on benches until after noon. You can't even remember to ask for the thing you actually want to know! Why in the devil's name do you care what time of day it is? Unless hours were cups of wine, minutes were chickens, clocks were the tongues of prostitutes, sundials the signs of whorehouses, and the sun itself a hot woman in a red silk dress, I don't know why on earth you would need to know the time.   

FALSTAFF

Indeed, you come near me now, Hal, f or we that take purses go by the moon and the seven stars, and not by Phoebus, he, that wand'ring knight so fair. And I prithee, sweet wag, when thou art king, as God save thy Grace—Majesty, I should say, for grace thou wilt have none—

FALSTAFF

Oh, now you've got me, Hal. For we are both thieves of the night, living under the moon and the stars, not under the beautiful sun. I ask you, my sweet boy, when you are king, God help your Grace—or rather I should call you "your Majesty," because you have no grace

PRINCE HENRY

What, none?

PRINCE HENRY

What? None?

FALSTAFF

No, by my troth, not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.

FALSTAFF

No, truthfully, not even enough to say grace before a bad, small meal

PRINCE HENRY

Well, how then? Come, roundly, roundly.

PRINCE HENRY

What do you mean then? Come on, what's your point? 

FALSTAFF

Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us that are squires of the night’s body be called thieves of the day’s beauty. Let us be Diana’s foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon, and let mensay we be men of good government, being governed, as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal.

FALSTAFF

Well then, my sweet boy, when you are king, don't let us night-owls be accused of wasting the daylight by sleeping. Let us be thought of as followers of Diana, gentlemen of darkness, servants of the moon. Let men say that we are well behaved, since we are governed by the same noble and innocent mistress—the moon—who controls the tides and under whose light we can sneak around. 

PRINCE HENRY

Thou sayest well, and it holds well too, for the fortune of us that are the moon’s men doth ebb and flow like the sea, being governed, as the sea is, by the moon. As for proof now: a purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning, got with swearing “Lay by” and spent with crying “Bring in”; now in as low an ebb as the footof the ladder, and by and by in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.

PRINCE HENRY

You speak the truth, and it is a suitable analogy.  For our fortunes come and go just like the tides do, which makes sense, since we are both governed by the moon. I can prove it: think of a purse full of gold that has been excellently stolen on a Monday night, and then its contents stupidly spent on a Tuesday morning. When you steal it, you cry, "Give it over," and you spend it crying, "Bring it on." At one moment it feels like our fortunes are as low as the foot of the ladder to the gallows, and the next they are as high as the crossbar at the top of them.

FALSTAFF

By the Lord, thou sayest true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?

FALSTAFF

By God, you're right, Hal. Say, isn't the hostess of this bar a very attractive woman?

PRINCE HENRY

As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And isnot a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?

PRINCE HENRY

She is as sweet as honey from Hybla, you old, dirty drunk. And don't you think that a sheriff's jacket lasts a very long time?

FALSTAFF

How now, how now, mad wag? What, in thy quips and thy quiddities? What a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?

FALSTAFF

What do you mean, you crazy boy? Are you joking around with me? What on earth do I have to do with a sheriff's jacket?

PRINCE HENRY

Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?

PRINCE HENRY

Well, what on earth do I have to do with the hostess of this bar?

FALSTAFF

Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning many a time and oft.

FALSTAFF

Well, you have asked her for the bill many times.

PRINCE HENRY

Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?

PRINCE HENRY

Have I ever asked you to pay for anything yourself?

FALSTAFF

No, I’ll give thee thy due. Thou hast paid all there.

FALSTAFF

No, I guess that's true. You have always settled everything with her yourself. 

PRINCE HENRY

Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch, and where it would not, I have used my credit.

PRINCE HENRY

Yes, and with other hostesses, when I had the money to pay them. And when I didn't, I just used my credit. 

FALSTAFF

Yea, and so used it that were it not here apparent thatthou art heir apparent— But I prithee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king? And resolution thus fubbed as it is with the rusty curbof old father Antic the law? Do not thou, when thou artking, hang a thief.

FALSTAFF

Yes, and you've used your credit so much that if it wasn't "here apparent" that you are the "heir apparent,", you would have never gotten away with it. But I was wondering, my sweet boy, will there still be hangings in England when you're king? Will a determined thief still be cheated by that horrible, old clown—the law? When you're king, don't hang thieves. 

PRINCE HENRY

No, thou shalt.

PRINCE HENRY

No, you will.

FALSTAFF

Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I’ll be a brave judge.

FALSTAFF

I will? Oh wonderful! I will be an excellent judge. 

PRINCE HENRY

Thou judgest false already: I mean thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves, and so become a rare hangman.

PRINCE HENRY

You've already judged what I said in the wrong way. I mean that you will be responsible for hanging thieves, so you will become a wonderful hangman!

FALSTAFF

Well, Hal, well, and in some sort it jumps with my humor as well as waiting in the court, I can tell you.

FALSTAFF

Well, Hal, in some ways I am more inclined to be a hangman than to wait around for favors from the king, I can tell you that. 

PRINCE HENRY

For obtaining of suits?

PRINCE HENRY

Waiting to get your suits?

FALSTAFF

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.

FALSTAFF

Exactly, waiting to get my suits, while the hangman has an extensive wardrobe. Oh Christ, I'm as sad as a tomcat or an abused bear. 

PRINCE HENRY

Or an old lion, or a lover’s lute.

PRINCE HENRY

Or an old lion, or a lover's lute. 

FALSTAFF

Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.

FALSTAFF

Yes, or the whining sound of a bagpipe.

PRINCE HENRY

What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy ofMoorditch?

PRINCE HENRY

What about a rabbit, or a sad day out in Moorditch

FALSTAFF

Thou hast the most unsavory similes, and art indeed themost comparative, rascaliest, sweet young prince. But, Hal, I prithee 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 markedhim not, and yet he talked very wisely, but I regarded him not, and yet he talked wisely, and in the street, too.

FALSTAFF

You use the most unpleasant similes, and make incredible comparisons for such a naughty, sweet young prince. But, Hal, let's not talk about such pointless things anymore. I wish to God that you or I knew where we could buy a supply of good reputations. Some old lord from the Council came up to me in the street the other day to give me his judgement about you, sir. But I didn't listen to him, even though he said some very wise things. I didn't take any notice of him, although his words were certainly wise, and this was just in the middle of the street. 

PRINCE HENRY

Thou didst well, for wisdom cries out in the streets and no man regards it.

PRINCE HENRY

You did well, for the Bible says, "Wisdom cries out in the streets, and no-one hears it."

FALSTAFF

O, thou hast damnable iteration, and art indeed able tocorrupt 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 donot, I am a villain. I’ll be damned for never a king’s son in Christendom.

FALSTAFF

Oh, you always seem to make the Bible fit in with your wicked games. I wouldn't be surprised if you managed to corrupt a saint. You have done many bad things to me, Hal. I hope God can forgive you for it. Before I met you, Hal, I knew nothing of wickedness, and now I'm basically a sinner myself, if I'm telling the truth. I need to turn my life around, and I will turn it around. By the Lord, if I don't, then I am a true villain. I refuse to be condemned to hell, even for the son of a Christian king. 

PRINCE HENRY

Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?

PRINCE HENRY

Where shall we go and do some stealing tomorrow, Jack?

FALSTAFF

Zounds, where thou wilt, lad. I’ll make one. An I do not, call me villain and baffle me.

FALSTAFF

Good heavens, wherever you want, boy. I'll join in. If I don't, then call me a villain, and disgrace me. 

PRINCE HENRY

I see a good amendment of life in thee, from praying topurse-taking.

PRINCE HENRY

I'm already seeing you turn your life around, from praying to stealing purses. 

FALSTAFF

Why, Hal, ’tis my vocation, Hal. 'Tis no sin for a man to labor in his vocation.

FALSTAFF

Why, Hal, it's my calling in life. It's not a sin for a man to follow his calling in life. 

Enter POINS

Poins!—Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match. O, 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.

Poins! Now we can find out if Gadshill has planned a robbery. If men go to heaven because of the good things that they have done, then I'm not sure there's even a dungeon in hell that is hot enough for Poins. He is the most almighty villain that has ever shouted "Hold it right there!" to an honest man. 

PRINCE HENRY

Good morrow, Ned.

PRINCE HENRY

Good morning, 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’sleg?

POINS

Good morning, sweet Hal. What does Mr. Regretful have to say for himself? What's up Sir John the Drunk? Jack, how's that deal with the devil going since you sold him your soul on Good Friday for a cup of white wine and a cold chicken leg?

PRINCE HENRY

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.

PRINCE HENRY

Sir John Falstaff will keep his word. The devil will get his end of the bargain, for Jack was never one to break with a proverb. He will give the devil what he owes him. 

POINS

[To FALSTAFF] Then art thou damned for keeping thy wordwith the devil.

POINS

[To FALSTAFF] Then you're damned for keeping a deal with the devil.

PRINCE HENRY

Else he had been damned for cozening the devil.

PRINCE HENRY

Otherwise he would be damned for cheating the devil. 

POINS

But, my lads, my lads, tomorrow morning, by four o'clock, early at Gad’s Hill, there are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders riding toLondon with fat purses. I have vizards for you all. Youhave horses for yourselves. Gadshill lies tonight in Rochester. I have bespoke supper tomorrow 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 willnot, tarry at home and be hanged.

POINS

Anyway boys, boys! Early tomorrow morning, around four o'clock, some travelers are going to pass by Gad's Hill. Some of them are on their way to Canterbury Cathedral with rich offerings, and some are traders who are on their way to London with a lot of money in their purses. I have masks for all of you. You have your own horses. Gadshill himself will spend the night in Rochester, and I have already ordered dinner for tomorrow night in Eastcheap. This plan is so certain it could be done in our sleep. If you will do it, I'll give you riches. If you won't, then stay at home and hang yourselves instead. 

FALSTAFF

Hear ye, Yedward, if I tarry at home and go not, I’ll hang you for going.

FALSTAFF

Listen here, Yedward, if I stay at home and don't go, then I will hang you for going. 

POINS

You will, chops?

POINS

You will, fat cheeks?

FALSTAFF

Hal, wilt thou make one?

FALSTAFF

Hal, will you join us?

PRINCE HENRY

Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by my faith.

PRINCE HENRY

What me, a robber? Am I a thief? I don't think so, by God. 

FALSTAFF

There’s neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou cam’st not of the blood royal, if thoudarest not stand for ten shillings.

FALSTAFF

If you won't even fight for ten shillings, then there is no honesty, manhood, or friendship in you, and you certainly aren't of royal descent. 

PRINCE HENRY

Well then, once in my days I’ll be a madcap.

PRINCE HENRY

Okay then, for once in my life I'll do something insane. 

FALSTAFF

Why, that’s well said.

FALSTAFF

Good stuff. 

PRINCE HENRY

Well, come what will, I’ll tarry at home.

PRINCE HENRY

Well, actually, I guess I'll stay at home and see what happens. 

FALSTAFF

By the Lord, I’ll be a traitor then when thou art king.

FALSTAFF

In that case, by God, I'll be a traitor to you when you become king. 

PRINCE HENRY

I care not.

PRINCE HENRY

I don't care.

POINS

Sir John, I prithee, leave the Prince and me alone. I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure that he shall go.

POINS

Sir John, please leave me and the Prince alone for a while. I'll give him such good reasons for joining in that he won't be able to resist. 

FALSTAFF

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 princemay, for recreation sake, prove a false thief, for the poor abuses of the time want countenance. Farewell. You shall find me in Eastcheap.

FALSTAFF

Well, then I hope that God gives you the powers of persuasion, and him the power to listen. I hope that the words you speak will affect him and he will believe what you tell him. That way, the honest prince might become a false thief just for fun, since today's wickedness needs a patron.  Goodbye then. You can find me in Eastcheap. 

PRINCE HENRY

Farewell, thou latter spring. Farewell, All-hallown summer.

PRINCE HENRY

Goodbye, you September spring. Goodbye, you November summer

Exit FALSTAFF

POINS

Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us tomorrow. Ihave a jest to execute that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff, Peto, Bardolph, 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 Ido not rob them, cut this head off from my shoulders.

POINS

Now, my good sweet lord, join us tomorrow. I have a prank that I want to carry out that I can't do alone. Falstaff, Peto, Bardolph, and Gadshill are going to rob those men that I had mentioned, but you and I won't be there. When they have the plunder, we will rob them ourselves!  If we don't, then you might as well chop off my head!

PRINCE HENRY

How shall we part with them in setting forth?

PRINCE HENRY

How will we get away from them when we are traveling together?

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.

POINS

Well, we will leave either before them or after them, and arrange a place to meet. When we don't show up, they will have to carry out the robbery themselves, and as soon as they've done that, we'll attack them. 

PRINCE HENRY

Yea, but ’tis like that they will know us by our horses, by our habits, and by every other appointment tobe ourselves.

PRINCE HENRY

Okay, but won't they still recognize us by our horses, our clothes, and all of the things that we have with us?

POINS

Tut, our horses they shall not see; I’ll tie them in the wood. Our vizards we will change after we leave them. And, sirrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce, to immask our noted outward garments.

POINS

Nah, they won't see our horses because I'll tie them up in the woods. We will change our masks after we leave them. Plus, sir, I've also got coats made for the occasion out of coarse linen, to cover what we're wearing underneath. 

PRINCE HENRY

Yea, but I doubt they will be too hard for us.

PRINCE HENRY

Okay. But I'm afraid it will be too difficult for us to beat them.

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 liesthat 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.

POINS

Well, I'm certain that two of them are complete cowards and will run away. As for the third, if he fights for even a second longer than he sees fit, I will give up fighting forever. The hilarity of this practical joke will come from the ridiculous lies that this same, fat idiot Falstaff will tell us when we meet them at dinner. I am sure he will pretend that he fought with at least thirty men, and tell us how he bravely defended himself, how he hit them, and received many injuries. And when we prove that he's lying, that will be funniest part. 

PRINCE HENRY

Well, I’ll go with thee. Provide us all things necessary and meet me tomorrow night in Eastcheap. ThereI’ll sup. Farewell.

PRINCE HENRY

Okay, I'll go with you. Get all of the things that we'll need and meet me tomorrow night in Eastcheap. I'll have dinner there. Goodbye. 

POINS

Farewell, my lord.

POINS

Goodbye, my lord. 

Exit POINS

PRINCE HENRY

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 wondered at By breaking through the foul and ugly mists Of vapors 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 wished for come, And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents. So when this loose behavior I throw off And pay the debt I never promisèd, 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, glitt'ring 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 offense a skill, Redeeming time when men think least I will.

PRINCE HENRY

I understand these men, and will put up with their wild behavior and their laziness for now. In this way, I will be like the sun, which allows the vile, infectious clouds to cover up his beauty from the rest of the world. But then, when he decides that he has been missed enough, he can amaze the world by breaking through the disgusting, ugly mists and vapors that were almost strangling him. If the entire year was a vacation, then playing would become as boring as working. Because they are so rare, we look forward to vacations, and enjoy them as unusual occurrences. So when I leave behind this wild behavior and accept that it is my duty to become king—even though I never asked for it—I will be better than people think I will be. I will prove people wrong. Just like a bright piece of metal, put against a dull background, my transformation will be even more remarkable because of the contrast with my past self. I will use my misbehavior for my own advantage, making up for lost time when people least expect it. 

Exit

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Lani strange
About the Translator: Lani Strange

Lani is currently studying for an MA in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe. She has a BA in English and Latin Literature from the University of Warwick and worked as a Teacher of Drama for a year in between her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. She has a love for all things theatrical and spends all of her free time either watching theatre or taking part in it herself.