List iconHenry IV, Part 1List icon

Henry IV, Part 1
Act 1, scene 2

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Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Henry IV, Part 1, culminates in the battle of Shrewsbury between the king’s army and rebels seeking his crown. The…

Act 1, scene 1

King Henry meets with his advisers to discuss his proposed crusade to the Holy Land, but the discussion turns instead…

Act 1, scene 2

Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff taunt each other, Hal warning Falstaff that he will one day be hanged as…

Act 1, scene 3

King Henry meets with Hotspur, Hotspur’s father (Northumberland), and his uncle (Worcester) to demand that Hotspur yield his prisoners to…

Act 2, scene 1

Gadshill, the “setter” for Falstaff and his fellow thieves, seeks information at an inn about the travelers whom they plan…

Act 2, scene 2

Falstaff, Peto, Bardolph, and Gadshill rob the travelers and are, in turn, robbed by Prince Hal and Poins in disguise.

Act 2, scene 3

Hotspur reads a letter from a nobleman who refuses to join the rebellion against King Henry. Lady Percy enters to…

Act 2, scene 4

At a tavern in Eastcheap, Prince Hal and Poins amuse themselves by tormenting a young waiter while waiting for Falstaff…

Act 3, scene 1

Hotspur, Worcester, Mortimer, and the leader of the Welsh rebels, Glendower, meet in Wales to make final the terms of…

Act 3, scene 2

Prince Hal reconciles himself with his father by swearing to fight the rebels and to defeat Hotspur.

Act 3, scene 3

Falstaff tries to swindle the Hostess of the inn. Prince Hal offers Falstaff a command in the infantry.

Act 4, scene 1

Hotspur, Worcester, and Douglas learn that Hotspur’s father, Northumberland, is too sick to join them in the coming battle. They…

Act 4, scene 2

Falstaff discloses to the audience how he has misused his commission as an officer to take money from men eager…

Act 4, scene 3

As Hotspur argues with his fellow commanders about when to fight, they are visited by Sir Walter Blunt, who brings…

Act 4, scene 4

The archbishop of York and Sir Michael, who sympathize with Hotspur, debate the chances of his success against the king’s…

Act 5, scene 1

Worcester and Vernon visit the king’s camp, where Worcester repeats the grievances that he says have led to the rebellion….

Act 5, scene 2

Worcester lies to Hotspur, telling him that the king made no offer of pardon and is ready to begin the…

Act 5, scene 3

The battle begins. Douglas kills Blunt, who is disguised as King Henry. Falstaff enters alone to disclose to the audience…

Act 5, scene 4

Prince Hal saves King Henry from death at the hands of Douglas. Hal then meets Hotspur. While they are fighting,…

Act 5, scene 5

The king’s forces having won, King Henry condemns Worcester and Vernon to death, and the king and his supporters prepare…

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Scene 2
Enter Prince of Wales, and Sir John Falstaff.

FALSTAFF Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?
PRINCE Thou art so fat-witted with drinking of old
 sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and
 sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast
5 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 tongues

15
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 2

 of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses,
10 and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in
 flame-colored taffeta, I see no reason why thou
 shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time
 of the day.
FALSTAFF Indeed, you come near me now, Hal, for we
15 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—
PRINCE 20What, none?
FALSTAFF No, by my troth, not so much as will serve to
 be prologue to an egg and butter.
PRINCE Well, how then? Come, roundly, roundly.
FALSTAFF Marry then, sweet wag, when thou art king,
25 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
30 and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance
 we steal.
PRINCE 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
35 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 foot of the ladder,
40 and by and by in as high a flow as the ridge of the
 gallows.
FALSTAFF By the Lord, thou sayst true, lad. And is not
 my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?

17
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 2

PRINCE As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle.
45 And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of
 durance?
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?
PRINCE 50Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess
 of the tavern?
FALSTAFF Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning
 many a time and oft.
PRINCE Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?
FALSTAFF 55No, I’ll give thee thy due. Thou hast paid all
 there.
PRINCE Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would
 stretch, and where it would not, I have used my
 credit.
FALSTAFF 60Yea, and so used it that were it not here
 apparent that thou 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 curb of old father Antic
65 the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a
 thief.
PRINCE No, thou shalt.
FALSTAFF Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I’ll be a brave
 judge.
PRINCE 70Thou judgest false already. I mean thou shalt
 have the hanging of the thieves, and so become a
 rare hangman.
FALSTAFF Well, Hal, well, and in some sort it jumps
 with my humor as well as waiting in the court, I
75 can tell you.
PRINCE For obtaining of 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.

19
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 2

PRINCE 80Or an old lion, or a lover’s lute.
FALSTAFF Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.
PRINCE What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy
 of Moorditch?
FALSTAFF Thou hast the most unsavory similes, and
85 art indeed the most 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
90 other day in the street about you, sir, but I marked
 him not, and yet he talked very wisely, but I
 regarded him not, and yet he talked wisely, and in
 the street, too.
PRINCE Thou didst well, for wisdom cries out in the
95 streets and no man regards it.
FALSTAFF O, thou hast damnable iteration, and art
 indeed able to corrupt 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
100 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 damned for never a king’s son in
 Christendom.
PRINCE 105Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?
FALSTAFF Zounds, where thou wilt, lad. I’ll make one.
 An I do not, call me villain and baffle me.
PRINCE I see a good amendment of life in thee, from
 praying to purse-taking.
FALSTAFF 110Why, Hal, ’tis my vocation, Hal. ’Tis no sin
 for a man to labor in his vocation.

Enter Poins.

 Poins!—Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a
 match. O, if men were to be saved by merit, what

21
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 2

 hole in hell were hot enough for him? This is the
115 most omnipotent villain that ever cried “Stand!” to
 a true man.
PRINCE Good morrow, Ned.
POINS Good morrow, sweet Hal.—What says Monsieur
 Remorse? What says Sir John Sack-and-Sugar?
120 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?
PRINCE Sir John stands to his word. The devil shall
 have his bargain, for he was never yet a breaker of
125 proverbs. He will give the devil his due.
POINSThen art thou damned for keeping
 thy word with the devil.
PRINCE Else he had been damned for cozening the
 devil.
POINS 130But, 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 to London with fat purses. I have vizards for
 you all. You have horses for yourselves. Gadshill lies
135 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 will not, tarry at home and be
 hanged.
FALSTAFF 140Hear you, Yedward, if I tarry at home and
 go not, I’ll hang you for going.
POINS You will, chops?
FALSTAFF Hal, wilt thou make one?
PRINCE Who, I rob? I a thief? Not I, by my faith.
FALSTAFF 145There’s neither honesty, manhood, nor
 good fellowship in thee, nor thou cam’st not of
 the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten
 shillings.
PRINCE Well then, once in my days I’ll be a madcap.
FALSTAFF 150Why, that’s well said.

23
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 2

PRINCE Well, come what will, I’ll tarry at home.
FALSTAFF By the Lord, I’ll be a traitor then when thou
 art king.
PRINCE I care not.
POINS 155Sir John, I prithee leave the Prince and me
 alone. I will lay him down such reasons for this
 adventure that he shall go.
FALSTAFF Well, God give thee the spirit of persuasion,
 and him the ears of profiting, that what thou
160 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.
PRINCE 165Farewell, thou latter spring. Farewell, Allhallown
 summer. Falstaff exits.
POINS Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us
 tomorrow. I have a jest to execute that I cannot
 manage alone. Falstaff, Peto, Bardolph, and Gadshill
170 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 off from my shoulders.
PRINCE How shall we part with them in setting forth?
POINS 175Why, 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.
PRINCE 180Yea, 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 vizards we will change after we
185 leave them. And, sirrah, I have cases of buckram
 for the nonce, to immask our noted outward
 garments.

25
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 2

PRINCE Yea, but I doubt they will be too hard for us.
POINS Well, for two of them, I know them to be as
190 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
195 he fought with, what wards, what blows, what
 extremities he endured; and in the reproof of this
 lives the jest.
PRINCE Well, I’ll go with thee. Provide us all things
 necessary and meet me tomorrow night in Eastcheap.
200 There I’ll sup. Farewell.
POINS Farewell, my lord. Poins exits.
PRINCE 
 I know you all, and will awhile uphold
 The unyoked humor of your idleness.
 Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
205 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
210 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.
215 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,
220 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.

27
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 3

 I’ll so offend to make offense a skill,
 Redeeming time when men think least I will.
He exits.