Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 1 (Folio 1 1623)



The First Part of King Henry the Fourth.
51

345Those Prisoners in your Highnesse demanded,
Which Harry Percy heere at Holmedon tooke,
Were (as he sayes) not with such strength denied
As was deliuered to your Maiesty:
Who either through enuy, or misprision,
350Was guilty of this fault; and not my Sonne.
Hot. My Liege, I did deny no Prisoners.
But, I remember when the fight was done,
When I was dry with Rage, and extreame Toyle,
Breathlesse, and Faint, leaning vpon my Sword,
355Came there a certaine Lord, neat and trimly drest;
Fresh as a Bride-groome, and his Chin new reapt,
Shew'd like a stubble Land at Haruest home.
He was perfumed like a Milliner,
And 'twixt his Finger and his Thumbe, he held
360A Pouncet-box: which euer and anon
He gaue his Nose, and took't away againe:
Who therewith angry, when it next came there,
Tooke it in Snuffe. And still he smil'd and talk'd:
And as the Souldiers bare dead bodies by,
365He call'd them vntaught Knaues, Vnmannerly,
To bring a slouenly vnhandsome Coarse
Betwixt the Winde, and his Nobility.
With many Holiday and Lady tearme
He question'd me: Among the rest, demanded
370My Prisoners, in your Maiesties behalfe.
I then, all-smarting, with my wounds being cold,
(To be so pestered with a Popingay)
Out of my Greefe, and my Impatience,
Answer'd (neglectingly) I know not what,
375He should, or should not: For he made me mad,
To see him shine so briske, and smell so sweet,
And talke so like a Waiting-Gentlewoman,
Of Guns, & Drums, and Wounds: God saue the marke;
And telling me, the Soueraign'st thing on earth
380Was Parmacity, for an inward bruise:
And that it was great pitty, so it was,
That villanous Salt-peter should be digg'd
Out of the Bowels of the harmlesse Earth,
Which many a good Tall Fellow had destroy'd
385So Cowardly. And but for these vile Gunnes,
He would himselfe haue beene a Souldier.
This bald, vnioynted Chat of his (my Lord)
Made me to answer indirectly (as I said.)
And I beseech you, let not this report
390Come currant for an Accusation,
Betwixt my Loue, and your high Maiesty.
Blunt. The circumstance considered, good my Lord,
What euer Harry Percie then had said,
To such a person, and in such a place,
395At such a time, with all the rest retold,
May reasonably dye, and neuer rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he vnsay it now.
King. Why yet doth deny his Prisoners,
400But with Prouiso and Exception,
That we at our owne charge, shall ransome straight
His Brother-in-Law, the foolish Mortimer,
Who (in my soule) hath wilfully betraid
The liues of those, that he did leade to Fight,
405Against the great Magitian, damn'd Glendower:
Whose daughter (as we heare) the Earle of March
Hath lately married. Shall our Coffers then,
Be emptied, to redeeme a Traitor home?
Shall we buy Treason? and indent with Feares,
410When they haue lost and forfeyted themselues.
No: on the barren Mountaine let him sterue:
For I shall neuer hold that man my Friend,
Whose tongue shall aske me for one peny cost
To ransome home reuolted Mortimer.
415Hot. Reuolted Mortimer?
He neuer did fall off, my Soueraigne Liege,
But by the chance of Warre: to proue that true,
Needs no more but one tongue. For all those Wounds,
Those mouthed Wounds, which valiantly he tooke,
420When on the gentle Seuernes siedgie banke,
In single Opposition hand to hand,
He did confound the best part of an houre
In changing hardiment with great Glendower:
Three times they breath'd, and three times did they drink
425Vpon agreement, of swift Seuernes flood;
Who then affrighted with their bloody lookes,
Ran fearefully among the trembling Reeds,
And hid his crispe-head in the hollow banke,
Blood-stained with these Valiant Combatants.
430Neuer did base and rotten Policy
Colour her working with such deadly wounds;
Nor neuer could the Noble Mortimer
Receiue so many, and all willingly:
Then let him not be sland'red with Reuolt.
435King. Thou do'st bely him Percy, thou dost bely him;
He neuer did encounter with Glendower:
I tell thee, he durst as well haue met the diuell alone,
As Owen Glendower for an enemy.
Art thou not asham'd? But Sirrah, henceforth
440Let me not heare you speake of Mortimer.
Send me your Prisoners with the speediest meanes,
Or you shall heare in such a kinde from me
As will displease ye. My Lord Northumberland,
We License your departure with your sonne,
445Send vs your Prisoners, or you'l heare of it.
Exit King.
Hot. And if the diuell come and roare for them
I will not send them. I will after straight
And tell him so: for I will ease my heart,
Although it be with hazard of my head.
450Nor. What? drunke with choller? stay & pause awhile,
Heere comes your Vnckle.
Enter Worcester.
Hot. Speake of Mortimer?
Yes, I will speake of him, and let my soule
Want mercy, if I do not ioyne with him.
455In his behalfe, Ile empty all these Veines,
And shed my deere blood drop by drop i'th dust,
But I will lift the downfall Mortimer
As high i'th Ayre, as this Vnthankfull King,
As this Ingrate and Cankred Bullingbrooke.
460Nor. Brother, the King hath made your Nephew mad
Wor. Who strooke this heate vp after I was gone?
Hot. He will (forsooth) haue all my Prisoners:
And when I vrg'd the ransom once againe
Of my Wiues Brother, then his cheeke look'd pale,
465And on my face he turn'd an eye of death,
Trembling euen at the name of Mortimer.
Wor. I cannot blame him: was he not proclaim'd
By Richard that dead is, the next of blood?
Nor. He was: I heard the Proclamation,
470And then it was, when the vnhappy King
(Whose wrongs in vs God pardon) did set forth
Vpon his Irish Expedition:
From whence he intercepted, did returne
To be depos'd, and shortly murthered.
475Wor. And for whose death, we in the worlds wide mouth
Liue scandaliz'd, and fouly spoken of.
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Hot.