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Henry IV part two

Act II, Scene 2

London. Another street.
 
[Enter PRINCE HENRY and POINS]
 
PRINCE HENRY
Before God, I am exceeding weary.
 
POINS
Is it come to that? I had thought weariness durst not have attached one of so high blood.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Faith, it does me; though it discolors the complexion of my greatness to acknowledge it. Doth it not show vilely in me to desire small beer?
 
POINS
Why, a prince should not be so loosely studied as to remember so weak a composition.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Belike then my appetite was not princely got; for, by my troth, I do now remember the poor creature, small beer. But, indeed, these humble considerations make me out of love with my greatness. What a disgrace is it to me to remember thy name! or to know thy face tomorrow! or to take note how many pair of silk stockings thou hast, viz. these, and those that were thy peach-colored ones! or to bear the inventory of thy shirts, as, one for superfluity, and another for use! But that the tennis-court-keeper knows better than I; for it is a low ebb of linen with thee when thou keepest not racket there; as thou hast not done a great while, because the rest of thy low countries have made a shift to eat up thy holland: and God knows, whether those that bawl out the ruins of thy linen shall inherit his kingdom: but the midwives say the children are not in the fault; whereupon the world increases, and kindreds are mightily strengthened.
 
POINS
How ill it follows, after you have labored so hard, you should talk so idly! Tell me, how many good young princes would do so, their fathers being so sick as yours at this time is?
 
PRINCE HENRY
Shall I tell thee one thing, Poins?
 
POINS
Yes, faith; and let it be an excellent good thing.
 
PRINCE HENRY
It shall serve among wits of no higher breeding than thine.
 
POINS
Go to; I stand the push of your one thing that you will tell.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Marry, I tell thee, it is not meet that I should be sad, now my father is sick: albeit I could tell thee, as to one it pleases me, for fault of a better, to call my friend, I could be sad, and sad indeed too.
 
POINS
Very hardly upon such a subject.
 
PRINCE HENRY
By this hand thou thinkst me as far in the devil's book as thou and Falstaff for obduracy and persistency: let the end try the man. But I tell thee, my heart bleeds inwardly that my father is so sick: and keeping such vile company as thou art hath in reason taken from me all ostentation of sorrow.
 
POINS
The reason?
 
PRINCE HENRY
What wouldst thou think of me, if I should weep?
 
POINS
I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.
 
PRINCE HENRY
It would be every man's thought; and thou art a blessed fellow to think as every man thinks: never a man's thought in the world keeps the road-way better than thine: every man would think me an hypocrite indeed. And what accites your most worshipful thought to think so?
 
POINS
Why, because you have been so lewd and so much engraffed to Falstaff.
 
PRINCE HENRY
And to thee.
 
POINS
By this light, I am well spoke on; I can hear it with my own ears: the worst that they can say of me is that I am a second brother and that I am a proper fellow of my hands; and those two things, I confess, I cannot help. By the mass, here comes Bardolph.
 
[Enter BARDOLPH and Page]
 
PRINCE HENRY
And the boy that I gave Falstaff: he had him from
me Christian; and look, if the fat villain have not
transformed him ape.
 
BARDOLPH
God save your grace!
 
PRINCE HENRY
And yours, most noble Bardolph!
 
BARDOLPH
Come, you virtuous ass, you bashful fool, must you be blushing? wherefore blush you now? What a maidenly man-at-arms are you become! Is it such a matter to get a pottle-pot's maidenhead?
 
PAGE
He calls me eene now, my lord, through a red lattice, and I could discern no part of his face from the window: at last I spied his eyes, and methought he had made two holes in the ale-wife's new petticoat and so peeped through.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Has not the boy profited?
 
BARDOLPH
Away, you whoreson upright rabbit, away!
 
PAGE
Away, you rascally Althaea's dream, away!
 
PRINCE HENRY
Instruct us, boy; what dream, boy?
 
PAGE
Marry, my lord, Althaea dreamed she was delivered of a fire-brand; and therefore I call him her dream.
 
PRINCE HENRY
A crown's worth of good interpretation: there 'tis, boy.
 
POINS
O, that this good blossom could be kept from cankers! Well, there is sixpence to preserve thee.
 
BARDOLPH
An you do not make him hanged among you, the gallows shall have wrong.
 
PRINCE HENRY
And how doth thy master, Bardolph?
 
BARDOLPH
Well, my lord. He heard of your grace's coming to town: there's a letter for you.
 
POINS
Delivered with good respect. And how doth the martlemas, your master?
 
BARDOLPH
In bodily health, sir.
 
POINS
Marry, the immortal part needs a physician; but that moves not him: though that be sick, it dies not.
 
PRINCE HENRY
I do allow this wen to be as familiar with me as my dog; and he holds his place; for look you how be writes.
 
POINS [Reads]
'John Falstaff, knight,'--every man must know that, as oft as he has occasion to name himself: even like those that are kin to the king; for they never prick their finger but they say, 'There's some of the king's blood spilt.' 'How comes that?' says he, that takes upon him not to conceive. The answer is as ready as a borrower's cap, 'I am the king's poor cousin, sir.'
 
PRINCE HENRY
Nay, they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it from Japhet. But to the letter.
 
POINS [Reads]
'Sir John Falstaff, knight, to the son of the king, nearest his father, Harry Prince of Wales, greeting.' Why, this is a certificate.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Peace!
 
POINS [Reads]
'I will imitate the honorable Romans in brevity:' he sure means brevity in breath, short-winded. 'I commend me to thee, I commend thee, and I leave thee. Be not too familiar with Poins; for he misuses thy favors so much, that he swears thou art to marry his sister Nell. Repent at idle times as thou mayest; and so, farewell. Thine, by yea and no, which is as much as to say, as thou usest him, JACK FALSTAFF with my familiars, JOHN with my brothers and sisters, and SIR JOHN with all Europe.' My lord, I'll steep this letter in sack and make him eat it.
 
PRINCE HENRY
That's to make him eat twenty of his words. But do you use me thus, Ned? must I marry your sister?
 
POINS
God send the wench no worse fortune! But I never said so.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Well, thus we play the fools with the time, and the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us. Is your master here in London?
 
BARDOLPH
Yea, my lord.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Where sups he? doth the old boar feed in the old frank?
 
BARDOLPH
At the old place, my lord, in Eastcheap.
 
PRINCE HENRY
What company?
 
PAGE
Ephesians, my lord, of the old church.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Sup any women with him?
 
PAGE
None, my lord, but old Mistress Quickly and Mistress Doll Tearsheet.
 
PRINCE HENRY
What pagan may that be?
 
PAGE
A proper gentlewoman, sir, and a kinswoman of my master's.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Even such kin as the parish heifers are to the town bull. Shall we steal upon them, Ned, at supper?
 
POINS
I am your shadow, my lord; I'll follow you.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Sirrah, you boy, and Bardolph, no word to your master that I am yet come to town: there's for your silence.
 
BARDOLPH
I have no tongue, sir.
 
PAGE
And for mine, sir, I will govern it.
 
PRINCE HENRY
Fare you well; go. This Doll Tearsheet should be some road.
 
[Exeunt BARDOLPH and Page]
 
POINS
I warrant you, as common as the way between Saint Alban's and London.
 
PRINCE HENRY
How might we see Falstaff bestow himself tonight in his true colors, and not ourselves be seen?
 
POINS
Put on two leathern jerkins and aprons, and wait upon him at his table as drawers.
 
PRINCE HENRY
From a God to a bull? a heavy decension! it was Jove's case. From a prince to a prentice? a low transformation! that shall be mine; for in every thing the purpose must weigh with the folly. Follow me, Ned.
 
[Exeunt]

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