Henry IV, Part 1

by: William Shakespeare

Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 1

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter a CARRIER with a lantern in his hand
FIRST

CARRIER

carrier = deliveryman

CARRIER
enters, holding a lantern.

FIRST CARRIER

Heigh-ho! An it be not four by the day, I’ll be hanged. Charles’s Wain is over the new chimney, and yet our horse not packed.—What, ostler!

FIRST CARRIER

I’ll be damned if it isn’t 4 A.M. already. The Big Dipper has already risen above the chimney, and our horses aren’t ready yet. Hey,

ostler!

ostler = horse attendant at an inn

ostler!

OSTLER

(within) Anon, anon.

OSTLER

(offstage) Just a second!

FIRST CARRIER

5I prithee, Tom, beat Cut’s saddle. Put a few flocks in the point. Poor jade is wrung in the withers out of all cess.

FIRST CARRIER

Hey,

Tom

Tom may be the name of either the ostler or the Second Carrier.

Tom
, give the saddle of my horse, Cut, a few whacks to soften it up, and stuff some wool under it—the old nag’s got some bad bruises on her shoulders.
Enter another CARRIER
SECOND CARRIER enters.

SECOND CARRIER

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.

SECOND CARRIER

The feed here’s as damp as anything. That’s a fast way for a horse to get parasites. This stable’s upside down since Ostler Robin died.

FIRST CARRIER

10Poor fellow never joyed since the price of oats rose. It was the death of him.

FIRST CARRIER

Poor guy. Once the price of oats went up, he was never happy again. It killed him.

SECOND CARRIER

I think this be the most villanous house in all London road for fleas. I am stung like a tench.

SECOND CARRIER

This stable’s got worse fleas than any in London. I’m stung like a

tench

A tench is a type of fish with markings that look like flea-bites.

tench
.

FIRST CARRIER

Like a tench? By the Mass, there is ne'er a king christen could be better bit than I have been since the first cock.

FIRST CARRIER

Like a tench? I’m telling you, not even a king could be bitten more than I’ve been bitten since midnight.