Henry IV Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 4

page Act 2 Scene 4 Page 7

Original Text

Modern Text

120for what? For tearing a poor whore’s ruff in a bawdy house?
He a captain! Hang him, rogue. He lives upon mouldy
stewed prunes and dried cakes. A captain? God’s light, these
villains will make the word as odious as the word “occupy,”
which was an excellent good word before it was ill sorted.
125Therefore captains had need look to ’t.
tearing a poor whore’s clothes in a whorehouse? Him, a captain? Let him drop dead, the rogue! He lives off the moldy food you find in brothels. A captain? For God’s sake! Men like him will make the word “captain” as nasty as the word

“occupy,”

occupy = slang for “copulate”

“occupy,”
which was a fine word before it got corrupted. Captains had better watch out.

BARDOLPH

Pray thee go down, good ancient.

BARDOLPH

Please, calm down, good ensign.

FALSTAFF

Hark thee hither, Mistress Doll.

FALSTAFF

Listen here, Mistress Doll.

PISTOL

Not I. I tell thee what, Corporal Bardolph, I could tear her.
I’ll be revenged of her.

PISTOL

Not me. I’ll tell you what, Corporal Bardolph, I could tear her. I’ll get revenge on her.

PAGE

130Pray thee go down.

PAGE

Please, calm down!

PISTOL

I’ll see her damned first to Pluto’s damnèd lake, by this
hand, to th' infernal deep with Erebus and tortures vile also.
Hold hook and line, say I. Down, down, dogs! Down, Fates!
Have we not Hiren here?

PISTOL

I’ll see her damned first. To the waters of hell, I swear, to the endless deep, with chaos and vile tortures. Hold onto that pole, I say. Down, down, dogs! Down, fates! Here’s my sword!

MISTRESS QUICKLY

135Good Captain Peesell, be quiet. 'Tis very late, i' faith. I
beseek you now, aggravate your choler.

MISTRESS QUICKLY

Captain Pisser, be quiet! It’s late. I beg of you, stop being angry!

PISTOL

These be good humors indeed. Shall pack-horses
And hollow pampered jades of Asia, which cannot go but
   thirty mile a day,
Compare with Caesars and with cannibals, and Troyant
      Greeks? Nay, rather damn them with King
   Cerberus, and let the welkin roar. Shall we fall foul
   for toys?

PISTOL

Now we’re talking! Are we going to let old

nags

From here until he exits, Pistol’s language is strange and heightened. He continually makes garbled references to classical plays and poems that would have been familiar to Shakespeare’s audience.

nags
and pampered horses (who can’t manage more than a few miles a day) be compared with kings, and generals, and mythic heroes? No! Damn them to hell, and let the storms rage! Should we fight over nothing?

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