Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 1 (Modern)

Enter King, Prince of Wales, Lord John of Lancaster, Sir Walter Blunt, [and] Falstaff.
2635King How bloodily the sun begins to peer
Above yon bulky hill! The day looks pale
At his distemperature.
The southern wind
Doth play the trumpet to his purposes,
2640And by his hollow whistling in the leaves
Foretells a tempest and a blustering day.
King Then with the losers let it sympathize,
For nothing can seem foul to those that win.
The trumpet sounds. Enter Worcester [and Vernon].
King How now, my lord of Worcester? 'Tis not well
That you and I should meet upon such terms
As now we meet. You have deceived our trust,
And made us doff our easy robes of peace
2650To crush our old limbs in ungentle steel.
This is not well, my lord, this is not well.
What say you to it? Will you again unknit
This churlish knot of all-abhorrèd war,
And move in that obedient orb again
2655Where you did give a fair and natural light,
And be no more an exhaled meteor,
A prodigy of fear, and a portent
Of broachèd mischief to the unborn times?
Worcester Hear me, my liege:
2660For mine own part, I could be well content
To entertain the lag-end of my life
With quiet hours; for I protest,
I have not sought the day of this dislike.
King You have not sought it? How comes it, then?
2665Falstaff Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it.
Prince Peace, chewet, peace!
Worcester It pleased your majesty to turn your looks
Of favor from myself and all our house;
And yet I must remember you, my lord,
2670We were the first and dearest of your friends.
For you my staff of office did I break
In Richard's time, and posted day and night
To meet you on the way and kiss your hand
When yet you were in place and in account
2675Nothing so strong and fortunate as I.
It was myself, my brother, and his son
That brought you home, and boldly did outdare
The dangers of the time. You swore to us,
And you did swear that oath at Doncaster,
2680That you did nothing purpose 'gainst the state,
Nor claim no further than your new-fallen right,
The seat of Gaunt, dukedom of Lancaster:
To this we swore our aid. But in short space
It rained down fortune showering on your head,
2685And such a flood of greatness fell on you,
What with our help, what with the absent king,
What with the injuries of a wanton time,
The seeming sufferances that you had borne,
And the contrarious winds that held the king
2690So long in his unlucky Irish wars
That all in England did repute him dead;
And from this swarm of fair advantages
You took occasion to be quickly wooed
To gripe the general sway into your hand,
2695Forgot your oath to us at Doncaster,
And being fed by us, you used us so
As that ungentle gull, the cuckoo's bird,
Useth the sparrow -- did oppress our nest,
Grew by our feeding to so great a bulk
2700That even our love durst not come near your sight
For fear of swallowing. But with nimble wing
We were enforced for safety sake to fly
Out of your sight, and raise this present head,
Whereby we stand opposèd by such means
2705As you yourself have forged against yourself,
By unkind usage, dangerous countenance,
And violation of all faith and troth
Sworn to us in your younger enterprise.
King These things indeed you have articulate,
2710Proclaimed at market crosses, read in churches,
To face the garment of rebellion
With some fine color that may please the eye
Of fickle changelings and poor discontents,
Which gape and rub the elbow at the news
2715Of hurly-burly innovation;
And never yet did insurrection want
Such water-colors to impaint his cause,
Nor moody beggars starving for a time
Of pell-mell havoc and confusion.
2720Prince In both your armies there is many a soul
Shall pay full dearly for this encounter
If once they join in trial. Tell your nephew
The Prince of Wales doth join with all the world
In praise of Henry Percy. By my hopes,
2725This present enterprise set off his head,
I do not think a braver gentleman,
More active-valiant or more valiant-young,
More daring, or more bold, is now alive
To grace this latter age with noble deeds.
2730For my part -- I may speak it to my shame --
I have a truant been to chivalry,
And so I hear he doth account me too.
Yet this, before my father's majesty:
I am content that he shall take the odds
2735Of his great name and estimation,
And will, to save the blood on either side,
Try fortune with him in a single fight.
King And, Prince of Wales, so dare we venture thee,
Albeit considerations infinite
2740Do make against it. No, good Worcester, no.
We love our people well, even those we love
That are misled upon your cousin's part,
And will they take the offer of our grace,
Both he and they and you, yea, every man
2745Shall be my friend again, and I'll be his.
So tell your cousin, and bring me word
What he will do. But if he will not yield,
Rebuke and dread correction wait on us,
And they shall do their office. So be gone.
2750We will not now be troubled with reply.
We offer fair; take it advisedly.
Exit Worcester [and Vernon].
Prince It will not be accepted, on my life.
The Douglas and the Hotspur both together
2755Are confident against the world in arms.
King Hence, therefore, every leader to his charge,
For on their answer will we set on them,
And god befriend us as our cause is just!
Exeunt [all but] Prince [and] Falstaff.
2760Falstaff Hal, if thou see me down in the battle, and bestride me, so; 'tis a point of friendship.
Prince Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship. Say thy prayers, and farewell.
Falstaff I would 'twere bed-time, Hal, and all well.
2765Prince Why, thou owest god a death.
[Exit Prince.]
Falstaff 'Tis not due yet -- I would be loath to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, 'tis no matter, honor pricks me on. Yea, but how if honor prick me off when I come on? How then? Can honor set to a leg? 2770No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honor hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honor? A word. What is in that word "honor"? What is that "honor"? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died a'Wednesday. Doth he feel it? 2775No. Doth he hear it? No. 'Tis insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore I'll none of it. Honor is a mere scutcheon. And so ends my catechism.