Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 1 (Folio 1 1623)



66
The First Part of King Henry the Fourth.

Mess. His Letters beares his minde, not I his minde.
2245Wor. I prethee tell me, doth he keepe his Bed?
Mess. He did, my Lord, foure dayes ere I set forth:
And at the time of my departure thence,
He was much fear'd by his Physician.
Wor. I would the state of time had first beene whole,
2250Ere he by sicknesse had beene visited:
His health was neuer better worth then now.
Hotsp. Sicke now? droope now? this sicknes doth infect
The very Life-blood of our Enterprise,
'Tis catching hither, euen to our Campe.
2255He writes me here, that inward sicknesse,
And that his friends by deputation
Could not so soone be drawne: nor did he thinke it meet,
To lay so dangerous and deare a trust
On any Soule remou'd, but on his owne.
2260Yet doth he giue vs bold aduertisement,
That with our small coniunction we should on,
To see how Fortune is dispos'd to vs:
For, as he writes, there is no quailing now,
Because the King is certainely possest
2265Of all our purposes. What say you to it?
Wor. Your Fathers sicknesse is a mayme to vs.
Hotsp. A perillous Gash, a very Limme lopt off:
And yet, in faith, it is not his present want
Seemes more then we shall finde it.
2270Were it good, to set the exact wealth of all our states
All at one Cast? To set so rich a mayne
On the nice hazard of one doubtfull houre,
It were not good: for therein should we reade
The very Bottome, and the Soule of Hope,
2275The very List, the very vtmost Bound
Of all our fortunes.
Dowg. Faith, and so wee should,
Where now remaines a sweet reuersion.
We may boldly spend, vpon the hope
2280Of what is to come in:
A comfort of retyrement liues in this.
Hotsp. A Randeuous, a Home to flye vnto,
If that the Deuill and Mischance looke bigge
Vpon the Maydenhead of our Affaires.
2285Wor. But yet I would your Father had beene here:
The Qualitie and Heire of our Attempt
Brookes no diuision: It will be thought
By some, that know not why he is away,
That wisedome, loyaltie, and meere dislike
2290Of our proceedings, kept the Earle from hence.
And thinke, how such an apprehension
May turne the tyde of fearefull Faction,
And breede a kinde of question in our cause:
For well you know, wee of the offring side,
2295Must keepe aloofe from strict arbitrement,
And stop all sight-holes, euery loope, from whence
The eye of reason may prie in vpon vs:
This absence of your Father drawes a Curtaine,
That shewes the ignorant a kinde of feare,
2300Before not dreamt of.
Hotsp. You strayne too farre.
I rather of his absence make this vse:
It lends a Lustre, and more great Opinion,
A larger Dare to your great Enterprize,
2305Then if the Earle were here: for men must thinke,
If we without his helpe, can make a Head
To push against the Kingdome; with his helpe,
We shall o're-turne it topsie-turuy downe:
Yet all goes well, yet all our ioynts are whole.
2310Dowg. As heart can thinke:
There is not such a word spoke of in Scotland,
At this Dreame of Feare.

Enter Sir Richard Vernon.

Hotsp. My Cousin Vernon, welcome by my Soule.
2315Vern. Pray God my newes be worth a welcome, Lord.
The Earle of Westmerland, seuen thousand strong,
Is marching hither-wards, with Prince Iohn.
Hotsp. No harme: what more?
Vern. And further, I haue learn'd,
2320The King himselfe in person hath set forth,
Or hither-wards intended speedily,
With strong and mightie preparation.
Hotsp. He shall be welcome too.
Where is his Sonne,
2325The nimble-footed Mad-Cap, Prince of Wales,
And his Cumrades, that daft the World aside,
And bid it passe?
Vern. All furnisht, all in Armes,
All plum'd like Estridges, that with the Winde
2330Bayted like Eagles, hauing lately bath'd,
Glittering in Golden Coates, like Images,
As full of spirit as the Moneth of May,
And gorgeous as the Sunne at Mid-summer,
Wanton as youthfull Goates, wilde as young Bulls.
2335I saw young Harry with his Beuer on,
His Cushes on his thighes, gallantly arm'd,
Rise from the ground like feathered Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his Seat,
As if an Angell dropt downe from the Clouds,
2340To turne and winde a fierie Pegasus,
And witch the World with Noble Horsemanship.
Hotsp. No more, no more,
Worse then the Sunne in March:
This prayse doth nourish Agues: let them come.
2345They come like Sacrifices in their trimme,
And to the fire-ey'd Maid of smoakie Warre,
All hot, and bleeding, will wee offer them:
The mayled Mars shall on his Altar sit
Vp to the eares in blood. I am on fire,
2350To heare this rich reprizall is so nigh,
And yet not ours. Come, let me take my Horse,
Who is to beare me like a Thunder-bolt,
Against the bosome of the Prince of Wales.
Harry to Harry, shall not Horse to Horse
2355Meete, and ne're part, till one drop downe a Coarse?
Oh, that Glendower were come.
Ver. There is more newes:
I learned in Worcester, as I rode along,
He cannot draw his Power this fourteene dayes.
2360Dowg. That's the worst Tidings that I heare of
yet.
Wor. I by my faith, that beares a frosty sound.
Hotsp. What may the Kings whole Battaile reach
vnto?
2365Ver. To thirty thousand.
Hot. Forty let it be,
My Father and Glendower being both away,
The powres of vs, may serue so great a day.
Come, let vs take a muster speedily:
2370Doomesday is neere; dye all, dye merrily.
Dow. Talke not of dying, I am out of feare
Of death, or deaths hand, for this one halfe yeare.
Exeunt Omnes.
Scena