List iconHenry IV, Part 2List icon

Henry IV, Part 2
Act 1, scene 2

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Henry IV, Part 2, continues the story of Henry IV, Part I. Northumberland learns that his son Hotspur is dead, and…

Induction

Following the battle of Shrewsbury (where King Henry and Prince Hal were victorious and Hotspur killed), Rumor spreads the false…

Act 1, scene 1

Northumberland, who had pleaded illness as an excuse for not appearing at the battle of Shrewsbury, learns that his son,…

Act 1, scene 2

Sir John Falstaff is confronted by the Lord Chief Justice. Since Falstaff has come away from Shrewsbury with the reputation…

Act 1, scene 3

At York, the Archbishop discusses with Mowbray, Hastings, and Lord Bardolph whether they can defeat the king’s forces if their…

Act 2, scene 1

Sir John is arrested for the debt he owes Mistress Quickly. He persuades her to drop the charges and to…

Act 2, scene 2

Learning that Falstaff will be dining that night in Eastcheap, Prince Hal and Poins decide to disguise themselves as waiters…

Act 2, scene 3

Northumberland is persuaded by his daughter-in-law, Hotspur’s widow, to abandon the other rebels.

Act 2, scene 4

At Mistress Quickly’s inn in Eastcheap, a fight erupts after Falstaff ’s ensign, Pistol, insults Doll Tearsheet. The disguised Prince Hal…

Act 3, scene 1

An ill and anxious King Henry IV consults with Warwick.

Act 3, scene 2

On his journey through Gloucestershire, Falstaff selects recruits for the army and decides that, on his return, he will fleece…

Act 4, scene 1

The leaders of the rebellion reach Gaultree Forest, where they present their grievances to Westmoreland. After Prince John promises redress…

Act 4, scene 2

Falstaff meets a rebel knight, who surrenders to him. When Prince John reproaches Falstaff for his late arrival, Falstaff turns…

Act 4, scene 3

Just after receiving the good news about the defeat of all the rebel forces, Henry IV falls into a swoon….

Act 5, scene 1

Falstaff observes Shallow and his servants in order to be ready to entertain Prince Hal with amusing stories.

Act 5, scene 2

Prince Hal reassures an anxious Lord Chief Justice.

Act 5, scene 3

On the news of Henry IV’s death, Falstaff and Shallow set off joyfully for London.

Act 5, scene 4

Doll Tearsheet is arrested.

Act 5, scene 5

The newly crowned King Henry V keeps his word to the Lord Chief Justice.

Epilogue

The speaker apologizes for the play and promises another play with Falstaff in it.

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Scene 2
Enter Sir John Falstaff, with his Page bearing his sword
and buckler.


FALSTAFF Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my
 water?
PAGE He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy
 water, but, for the party that owed it, he might have
5 more diseases than he knew for.
FALSTAFF Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me.
 The brain of this foolish-compounded clay, man, is
 not able to invent anything that intends to laughter
 more than I invent, or is invented on me. I am not
10 only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in
 other men. I do here walk before thee like a sow
 that hath overwhelmed all her litter but one. If the
 Prince put thee into my service for any other reason
 than to set me off, why then I have no judgment.
15 Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to be
 worn in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never
 manned with an agate till now, but I will inset you
 neither in gold nor silver, but in vile apparel, and
 send you back again to your master for a jewel. The
20 juvenal, the Prince your master, whose chin is not
 yet fledge—I will sooner have a beard grow in the
 palm of my hand than he shall get one off his cheek,
 and yet he will not stick to say his face is a face
 royal. God may finish it when He will. ’Tis not a hair
25 amiss yet. He may keep it still at a face royal, for a
 barber shall never earn sixpence out of it, and yet
 he’ll be crowing as if he had writ man ever since his
 father was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace,
 but he’s almost out of mine, I can assure him. What
30 said Master Dommelton about the satin for my
 short cloak and my slops?

29
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 2

PAGE He said, sir, you should procure him better
 assurance than Bardolph. He would not take his
 band and yours. He liked not the security.
FALSTAFF 35Let him be damned like the glutton! Pray
 God his tongue be hotter! A whoreson Achitophel, a
 rascally yea-forsooth knave, to bear a gentleman in
 hand and then stand upon security! The whoreson
 smoothy-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes
40 and bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is
 through with them in honest taking up, then they
 must stand upon security. I had as lief they would
 put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to stop it with
 “security.” I looked he should have sent me two-and-twenty
45 yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and
 he sends me “security.” Well, he may sleep in
 security, for he hath the horn of abundance, and the
 lightness of his wife shines through it, and yet
 cannot he see though he have his own lantern to
50 light him. Where’s Bardolph?
PAGE He’s gone in Smithfield to buy your Worship a
 horse.
FALSTAFF I bought him in Paul’s, and he’ll buy me a
 horse in Smithfield. An I could get me but a wife in
55 the stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived.

Enter Lord Chief Justice and Servant.

PAGE, to Falstaff Sir, here comes the nobleman that
 committed the Prince for striking him about
 Bardolph.
FALSTAFF Wait close. I will not see him.
They begin to exit.
CHIEF JUSTICE, to Servant 60What’s he that goes there?
SERVANT Falstaff, an ’t please your Lordship.
CHIEF JUSTICE He that was in question for the robbery?
SERVANT He, my lord; but he hath since done good

31
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 2

 service at Shrewsbury, and, as I hear, is now going
65 with some charge to the Lord John of Lancaster.
CHIEF JUSTICE What, to York? Call him back again.
SERVANT Sir John Falstaff!
FALSTAFF Boy, tell him I am deaf.
PAGE You must speak louder. My master is deaf.
CHIEF JUSTICE 70I am sure he is, to the hearing of
 anything good.—Go pluck him by the elbow. I must
 speak with him.
SERVANT, plucking Falstaff’s sleeve Sir John!
FALSTAFF What, a young knave and begging? Is there
75 not wars? Is there not employment? Doth not the
 King lack subjects? Do not the rebels need soldiers?
 Though it be a shame to be on any side but one, it is
 worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side,
 were it worse than the name of rebellion can tell
80 how to make it.
SERVANT You mistake me, sir.
FALSTAFF Why sir, did I say you were an honest man?
 Setting my knighthood and my soldiership aside, I
 had lied in my throat if I had said so.
SERVANT 85I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and
 your soldiership aside, and give me leave to tell you,
 you lie in your throat if you say I am any other than
 an honest man.
FALSTAFF I give thee leave to tell me so? I lay aside that
90 which grows to me? If thou gett’st any leave of me,
 hang me; if thou tak’st leave, thou wert better be
 hanged. You hunt counter. Hence! Avaunt!
SERVANT Sir, my lord would speak with you.
CHIEF JUSTICE Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.
FALSTAFF 95My good lord. God give your Lordship good
 time of the day. I am glad to see your Lordship
 abroad. I heard say your Lordship was sick. I hope
 your Lordship goes abroad by advice. Your Lordship,

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Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 2

 though not clean past your youth, have yet
100 some smack of an ague in you, some relish of the
 saltness of time in you, and I most humbly beseech
 your Lordship to have a reverend care of your
 health.
CHIEF JUSTICE Sir John, I sent for you before your
105 expedition to Shrewsbury.
FALSTAFF An ’t please your Lordship, I hear his Majesty
 is returned with some discomfort from Wales.
CHIEF JUSTICE I talk not of his Majesty. You would not
 come when I sent for you.
FALSTAFF 110And I hear, moreover, his Highness is fallen
 into this same whoreson apoplexy.
CHIEF JUSTICE Well, God mend him. I pray you let me
 speak with you.
FALSTAFF This apoplexy, as I take it, is a kind of
115 lethargy, an ’t please your Lordship, a kind of
 sleeping in the blood, a whoreson tingling.
CHIEF JUSTICE What tell you me of it? Be it as it is.
FALSTAFF It hath it original from much grief, from
 study, and perturbation of the brain. I have read the
120 cause of his effects in Galen. It is a kind of deafness.
CHIEF JUSTICE I think you are fallen into the disease,
 for you hear not what I say to you.
FALSTAFF Very well, my lord, very well. Rather, an ’t
 please you, it is the disease of not listening, the
125 malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal.
CHIEF JUSTICE To punish you by the heels would amend
 the attention of your ears, and I care not if I do
 become your physician.
FALSTAFF I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so
130 patient. Your Lordship may minister the potion of
 imprisonment to me in respect of poverty, but how
 I should be your patient to follow your prescriptions,
 the wise may make some dram of a scruple,
 or indeed a scruple itself.

35
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 2

CHIEF JUSTICE 135I sent for you, when there were matters
 against you for your life, to come speak with me.
FALSTAFF As I was then advised by my learned counsel
 in the laws of this land-service, I did not come.
CHIEF JUSTICE Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in
140 great infamy.
FALSTAFF He that buckles himself in my belt cannot
 live in less.
CHIEF JUSTICE Your means are very slender, and your
 waste is great.
FALSTAFF 145I would it were otherwise. I would my means
 were greater and my waist slender.
CHIEF JUSTICE You have misled the youthful prince.
FALSTAFF The young prince hath misled me. I am the
 fellow with the great belly, and he my dog.
CHIEF JUSTICE 150Well, I am loath to gall a new-healed
 wound. Your day’s service at Shrewsbury hath a
 little gilded over your night’s exploit on Gad’s Hill.
 You may thank th’ unquiet time for your quiet
 o’erposting that action.
FALSTAFF 155My lord.
CHIEF JUSTICE But since all is well, keep it so. Wake not
 a sleeping wolf.
FALSTAFF To wake a wolf is as bad as to smell a fox.
CHIEF JUSTICE What, you are as a candle, the better
160 part burnt out.
FALSTAFF A wassail candle, my lord, all tallow. If I did
 say of wax, my growth would approve the truth.
CHIEF JUSTICE There is not a white hair in your face but
 should have his effect of gravity.
FALSTAFF 165His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.
CHIEF JUSTICE You follow the young prince up and
 down like his ill angel.
FALSTAFF Not so, my lord. Your ill angel is light, but I
 hope he that looks upon me will take me without
170 weighing. And yet in some respects I grant I cannot

37
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 2

 go. I cannot tell. Virtue is of so little regard in these
 costermongers’ times that true valor is turned bearherd;
 pregnancy is made a tapster, and hath his
 quick wit wasted in giving reckonings. All the other
175 gifts appurtenant to man, as the malice of this age
 shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry. You that
 are old consider not the capacities of us that are
 young. You do measure the heat of our livers with
 the bitterness of your galls, and we that are in the
180 vaward of our youth, I must confess, are wags too.
CHIEF JUSTICE Do you set down your name in the scroll
 of youth, that are written down old with all the
 characters of age? Have you not a moist eye, a dry
 hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard, a decreasing
185 leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken,
 your wind short, your chin double, your wit single,
 and every part about you blasted with antiquity?
 And will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir
 John.
FALSTAFF 190My lord, I was born [about three of the clock
 in the afternoon,] with a white head and something
 a round belly. For my voice, I have lost it with
 halloing and singing of anthems. To approve my
 youth further, I will not. The truth is, I am only old
195 in judgment and understanding. And he that will
 caper with me for a thousand marks, let him lend
 me the money, and have at him. For the box of the
 ear that the Prince gave you, he gave it like a rude
 prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have
200 checked him for it, and the young lion repents.
 Aside. Marry, not in ashes and sackcloth, but in
 new silk and old sack.
CHIEF JUSTICE Well, God send the Prince a better
 companion.
FALSTAFF 205God send the companion a better prince. I
 cannot rid my hands of him.

39
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 2

CHIEF JUSTICE Well, the King hath severed you and
 Prince Harry. I hear you are going with Lord John
 of Lancaster against the Archbishop and the Earl of
210 Northumberland.
FALSTAFF Yea, I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But
 look you pray, all you that kiss my Lady Peace at
 home, that our armies join not in a hot day, for, by
 the Lord, I take but two shirts out with me, and I
215 mean not to sweat extraordinarily. If it be a hot day
 and I brandish anything but a bottle, I would I
 might never spit white again. There is not a dangerous
 action can peep out his head but I am thrust
 upon it. Well, I cannot last ever. [But it was always
220 yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a
 good thing, to make it too common. If you will
 needs say I am an old man, you should give me rest.
 I would to God my name were not so terrible to the
 enemy as it is. I were better to be eaten to death
225 with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with
 perpetual motion.]
CHIEF JUSTICE Well, be honest, be honest, and God
 bless your expedition.
FALSTAFF Will your Lordship lend me a thousand
230 pound to furnish me forth?
CHIEF JUSTICE Not a penny, not a penny. You are too
 impatient to bear crosses. Fare you well. Commend
 me to my cousin Westmoreland.
Lord Chief Justice and his Servant exit.
FALSTAFF If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A
235 man can no more separate age and covetousness
 than he can part young limbs and lechery; but the
 gout galls the one, and the pox pinches the other,
 and so both the degrees prevent my curses.—Boy!
PAGE Sir.
FALSTAFF 240What money is in my purse?
PAGE Seven groats and two pence.

41
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 3

FALSTAFF I can get no remedy against this consumption
 of the purse. Borrowing only lingers and lingers
 it out, but the disease is incurable. Giving
 papers to the Page. 
245Go bear this letter to my Lord
 of Lancaster, this to the Prince, this to the Earl
 of Westmoreland, and this to old Mistress Ursula,
 whom I have weekly sworn to marry since I perceived
 the first white hair of my chin. About it. You
250 know where to find me. Page exits. A pox of this
 gout! Or a gout of this pox, for the one or the other
 plays the rogue with my great toe. ’Tis no matter if I
 do halt. I have the wars for my color, and my
 pension shall seem the more reasonable. A good wit
255 will make use of anything. I will turn diseases to
 commodity.
He exits.