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Henry IV, Part 1

Henry IV, Part 1 Translation Act 2, Scene 1

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Enter a CARRIER with a lantern in his hand

FIRST CARRIER

Heigh-ho! An it be not four by the day, I’ll be hanged.Charles’s Wain is over the new chimney, and yet our horse not packed.—What, ostler!

FIRST CARRIER

Good god, it must be 4 in the morning by now! The Big Dipper is now above the chimney, but our horses aren't ready to leave. Hey, ostler

OSTLER

[within] Anon, anon.

OSTLER

[Offstage] In a second, in a second. 

FIRST CARRIER

I prithee, Tom, beat Cut’s saddle. Put a few flocks in the point. Poor jade is wrung in the withers out of all cess.

FIRST CARRIER

Hey, Tom, soften my horse's saddle. Put some extra padding under the saddle. My poor old horse has got some bad cuts between its shoulders. 

Enter another CARRIER

SECOND CARRIER

Peas and beans are as dank here as a dog, and that is the next way to give poor jades the bots. This house is turned upside down since Robin ostler died.

SECOND CARRIER

The food for the horses here is is as wet as a dog. That's the quickest way to give old horses diseases. This inn has gone downhill since the ostler Robin died. 

FIRST CARRIER

Poor fellow never joyed since the price of oats rose. It was the death of him.

FIRST CARRIER

Poor guy hadn't been happy since the price of oats went up. It was the death of him.

SECOND CARRIER

I think this be the most villanous house in all London road for fleas. I am stung like a tench.

SECOND CARRIER

This stable has worse fleas than anywhere on the road leading to London. I am stung like a tench.

FIRST CARRIER

Like a tench? By the Mass, there is ne'er a king christen could be better bit than I have been since the first cock.

FIRST CARRIER

Like a tench? I swear, not even a Christian king could be bitten more than I've been bitten since midnight.

SECOND CARRIER

Why, they will allow us ne'er a jordan, and then we leak in your chimney, and your chamber-lye breeds fleas like a loach.

SECOND CARRIER

They haven't even given us a bathroom, so we have to urinate in the fireplace even though we know that urine breeds fleas like a loach.

FIRST CARRIER

What, ostler, come away and be hanged. Come away.

FIRST CARRIER

What are you doing, ostler?! Come here right now—I mean it!

SECOND CARRIER

I have a gammon of bacon and two races of ginger to be delivered as far as Charing Cross.

SECOND CARRIER

I have a leg of smoked ham and some ginger roots that I have to deliver to Charing Cross. 

FIRST CARRIER

God’s body, the turkeys in my pannier are quite starved.— What, ostler! A plague on thee! Hast thou never an eye in thy head? Canst not hear? An ’twere not as good deed as drink to break the pate on thee, I am a very villain. Come, and be hanged. Hast no faith in thee?

FIRST CARRIER

Jesus Christ, the turkeys in my basket are starving! Come on, ostler! Damn you! Can you not see anything? Can you not hear? If it isn't a good idea to smack you on the head, then I am an idiot. Come on I say! Can we trust you at all?

Enter GADSHILL

GADSHILL

Good morrow, carriers. What’s o'clock?

GADSHILL

Good morning, carriers. What time is it?

FIRST CARRIER

I think it be two o'clock.

FIRST CARRIER

I think it's about two o'clock. 

GADSHILL

I prithee, lend me thy lantern to see my gelding in thestable.

GADSHILL

Lend me your lantern so that I can check on my horse in the stable. 

FIRST CARRIER

Nay, by God, soft. I know a trick worth two of that, i'faith.

FIRST CARRIER

Not a chance. I know a few tricks like that myself, indeed. 

GADSHILL

[To SECOND CARRIER ] I pray thee, lend me thine.

GADSHILL

[To the SECOND CARRIER] Okay then, lend me yours.

SECOND CARRIER

Ay, when, canst tell? “Lend me thy lantern,” quoth he.Marry, I’ll see thee hanged first.

SECOND CARRIER

Hey, no way!  "Lend me your lantern," he says. By God, I'll see you hanged before I do.

GADSHILL

Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to London?

GADSHILL

Sir carrier, when are you planning to be in London?

SECOND CARRIER

Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant thee.Come, neighbour Mugs, we’ll call up the gentlemen. Theywill along with company, for they have great charge.

SECOND CARRIER

Some time tonight, I can assure you. Come on, Mugs, my friend. We'll go wake up the ostler. They want to travel with us because they have valuable baggage with them. 

Exeunt CARRIERS

GADSHILL

What ho, chamberlain!

GADSHILL

Hey, chamberlain!

CHAMBERLAIN

[within] At hand, quoth pickpurse.

CHAMBERLAIN

[Offstage] "I'm ready," as the pickpockets say! 

GADSHILL

That’s even as fair as “at hand, quoth the Chamberlain,” for thou variest no more from picking of purses than giving direction doth from laboring: thou layest the plot how.

GADSHILL

That's basically the same as "I'm ready, says the Chamberlain," since you're about as different from a thief as a supervisor is from a worker—you just decide how the work is done.

Enter CHAMBERLAIN

CHAMBERLAIN

Good morrow, Master Gadshill. It holds current that I told you yesternight: there’s a franklin in the Wild of Kent hath brought three hundred marks with him in gold. I heard him tell it to one of his company last night at supper—a kind of auditor, one that hath abundance of charge too, God knows what. They are up already and callfor eggs and butter. They will away presently.

CHAMBERLAIN

Good morning, Mr. Gadshill. Everything I told you last night is still true. There's a small landowner staying here from Kent who has two hundred pounds with him in gold. I heard him telling one of his friends last night at dinner. The friend was some kind of accountant. He has a lot of baggage too—Lord knows what it contains. They are already awake and have asked for their breakfast. They will set off soon. 

GADSHILL

Sirrah, if they meet not with Saint Nicholas' clerks, I’ll give thee this neck.

GADSHILL

Sir, if they don't run into thieves on their journey, I'll let you hang me. 

CHAMBERLAIN

No, I’ll none of it. I pray thee keep that for the hangman, for I know thou worshipest Saint Nicholas as truly as a man of falsehood may.

CHAMBERLAIN

I won't do it. Save it for the hangman. For I know you worship the patron saint of thieves as much as a villain like you worships anything. 

GADSHILL

What talkest thou to me of the hangman? If I hang, I’llmake a fat pair of gallows, for if I hang, old Sir Johnhangs with me, and thou knowest he is no starveling. Tut, there are other Troyans that thou dream’st not of, the which for sport sake are content to do the profession some grace, that would, if matters should be looked into, for their own credit sake make all whole. Iam joined with no foot-land-rakers, no long-staff sixpenny strikers, none of these mad mustachio purple-hued malt-worms, but with nobility and tranquillity, burgomasters and great oneyers, such as can hold in, such as will strike sooner than speak, and speak sooner than drink, and drink sooner than pray, andyet, zounds, I lie, for they pray continually to their saint the commonwealth, or rather not pray to her but prey on her, for they ride up and down on her and make her their boots.

GADSHILL

Why are you talking to me about the hangman? If I am going to hang, I will make up one half of a fat pair, because if I hang, Falstaff will hang alongside me—and you know he is not exactly skinny.  You know, there are other companions that you can't even imagine, ones who are happy to give the profession of robbing some respectability—and all for the sake of a practical joke.  And if there was ever an investigation into our crimes, their reputation would resolve everything.  I'm not accompanied by some highwaymen on foot, or thieves with long canes striking people for small change, or red-faced, mustache-sporting drunkards.  No, I'm accompanied by easygoing noblemen, magistrates, great ones!  These men would prefer to fight than talk, and would rather talk than drink, and would drink first before they'd pray.  But, no, that's a lie—they're always praying to their saint—the commonwealth, England.  Or rather, they don't pray to her, but instead they prey on her.  For they trample over her and make her their boots.

CHAMBERLAIN

What, the commonwealth their boots? Will she hold out water in foul way?

CHAMBERLAIN

Make her their boots? Will she let you stay dry on a muddy road?

GADSHILL

She will, she will. Justice hath liquored her. We stealas in a castle, cocksure. We have the receipt of fern seed; we walk invisible.

GADSHILL

She will, she will. Justice has made her waterproof. We can steal in complete safety and with confidence. We have the perfect potion to remain unseen. 

CHAMBERLAIN

Nay, by my faith, I think you are more beholding to thenight than to fern seed for your walking invisible.

CHAMBERLAIN

No, I don't think so. It will be the darkness of the night which will make us invisible, not some perfect potion.

GADSHILL

Give me thy hand. Thou shalt have a share in our purchase, as I am a true man.

GADSHILL

Shake my hand. You will get a share of our plunder. On my honor as a true man, you will. 

CHAMBERLAIN

Nay, rather let me have it as you are a false thief.

CHAMBERLAIN

No, I would prefer it if you swore on your reputation as a lying thief. 

GADSHILL

Go to. Homo is a common name to all men. Bid the ostlerbring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddyknave.

GADSHILL

Whichever. Homo is a name which applies to all men, even the lying thieves. Tell the ostler to bring my horse out of the stable. Goodbye, you silly fool.

Exeunt

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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.