ACT I. Scene II. The same. An Apartment of Prince Henry's.
[Enter Prince Henry and Falstaff.]
Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?
Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and
unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches
after 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 the blessed Sun himself a fair hot wench in
flame-coloured taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be
so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
Indeed, you come near me now, Hal; for we that take purses go
by the Moon and the seven stars, and not by Phoebus, — he, that
wandering knight so fair. And I pr'ythee, sweet wag, when thou
art king, — as, God save thy Grace — Majesty I should say, for
thou wilt have none, —
No, by my troth; not so much as will serve to be prologue
to an egg and butter.
Well, how then? come, roundly, roundly.
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 men say 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.
Thou say'st 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 snatch'd on Monday night, and most
dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearing Lay by,
and spent with crying Bring in; now ill as low an ebb as the foot
of the ladder, and by-and-by in as high a flow as the ridge of the
By the Lord, thou say'st true, lad. And is not my hostess of the
tavern a most sweet wench?
As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a
buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?
How now, how now, mad wag! what, in thy quips and thy
quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?
Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?
Well, thou hast call'd her to a reckoning many a time and oft.
Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?
No; I'll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.
Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch;
and where it would not, I have used my credit.
Yea, and so used it, that, were it not here apparent that
thou art heir-apparent — But I pr'ythee, sweet wag, shall there be
gallows standing in England when thou art king? and
resolution thus fobb'd as it is with the rusty curb of old father
antic the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.
No; thou shalt.
Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I'll be a brave judge.
Thou judgest false already: I mean, thou shalt have the
hanging of the thieves, and so become a rare hangman.
Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it jumps with my humour;
as well as waiting in the Court, I can tell you.
For obtaining of suits?
Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof the hangman hath no
lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as melancholy as a gib-cat or a
Or an old lion, or a lover's lute.
Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.
What say'st thou to a hare, or the melancholy of Moor-ditch?
Thou hast the most unsavoury similes, and art, indeed, the
most comparative, rascalliest, sweet young prince, — But, Hal, I
pr'ythee 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 mark'd him not; and yet he talk'd very wisely, — but I
regarded him not; and yet he talk'd wisely, and in the street too.
Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man
O, thou hast damnable iteration, and art, indeed, able to corrupt
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 do
not, I am a villain: I'll be damn'd for never a king's son in
Where shall we take a purse to-morrow, Jack?