Act II - Act II, Scene 1


Scene I. Rochester. An Inn-Yard.

[Enter a Carrier with a lantern in his hand.]

1. CAR.
Heigh-ho! an't be not four by the day, I'll be hang'd:
Charles' wain is over the new chimney, and yet our horse' not
pack'd.--What, ostler!

[within.] Anon, anon.

1. CAR.
I pr'ythee, Tom, beat Cut's saddle, put a few flocks in the
point; the poor jade is wrung in the withers out of all cess.

[Enter another Carrier.]

2. CAR.
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.

1. CAR.
Poor fellow! never joyed since the price of oats rose; it was
the death of him.

2. CAR.
I think this be the most villainous house in all London road
for fleas: I am stung like a tench.

1. CAR.
Like a tench! by the Mass, there is ne'er a king in Christendom
could be better bit than I have been since the first cock.--What,

ostler! come away and be hang'd; come away.

2. CAR.
I have a gammon of bacon and two razes of ginger, to be
delivered as far as Charing-cross.

1. CAR.
'Odsbody! 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 a deed as drink to break
the pate of thee, I am a very villain. Come, and be hang'd:
hast no faith in thee?

[Enter Gadshill.]

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

1. CAR.
I think it be two o'clock.

I pr'ythee, lend me thy lantern, to see my gelding in the

1. CAR.
Nay, soft, I pray ye; I know a trick worth two of that, i'faith.

I pr'ythee, lend me thine.

2. CAR.
Ay, when? canst tell? Lend me thy lantern, quoth a? marry, I'll
see thee hang'd first.

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

2. CAR.
Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant thee.--
Come, neighbour Muggs, we'll call up the gentlemen: they will
along with company, for they have great charge.

[Exeunt Carriers.]

What, ho! chamberlain!

[Within.] At hand, quoth pick-purse.

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 labouring; thou lay'st the plot how.

[Enter 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 call for eggs and butter; they will away

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

No, I'll none of it: I pr'ythee, keep that for the hangman; for
I know thou worshippest Saint Nicholas as truly as a man of
falsehood may.

What talkest thou to me of the hangman? if I hang, I'll make
a fat pair of gallows; for, if I hang, old Sir John hangs with
me, and thou know'st he is no starveling. Tut! there are other
Trojans that thou dreamest not of, the which, for sport-sake,
are content to do the profession some grace; that would, if
matters should be look'd into, for their own credit-sake, make
all whole. I am 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: and yet, zwounds, 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.

What, the Commonwealth their boots? will she hold out water
in foul way?

She will, she will; justice hath liquor'd her. We steal as in a
castle, cock-sure; we have the receipt of fernseed,--we walk

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

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

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

Go to; homo is a common name to all men. Bid the ostler
bring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy knave.