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About this text

  • Title: Henry IV, Part 1 (Folio 1 1623)
  • Editor: Rosemary Gaby
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-371-7

    Copyright Rosemary Gaby. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Rosemary Gaby
    Peer Reviewed

    Henry IV, Part 1 (Folio 1 1623)

    The First Part of King Henry the Fourth.
    Hot. But soft I pray you; did King Richard then
    Proclaime my brother Mortimer,
    Heyre to the Crowne?
    480Nor. He did, my selfe did heare it.
    Hot. Nay then I cannot blame his Cousin King,
    That wish'd him on the barren Mountaines staru'd.
    But shall it be, that you that set the Crowne
    Vpon the head of this forgetfull man,
    485And for his sake, wore the detested blot
    Of murtherous subornation? Shall it be,
    That you a world of curses vndergoe,
    Being the Agents, or base second meanes,
    The Cords, the Ladder, or the Hangman rather?
    490O pardon, if that I descend so low,
    To shew the Line, and the Predicament
    Wherein you range vnder this subtill King.
    Shall it for shame, be spoken in these dayes,
    Or fill vp Chronicles in time to come,
    495That men of your Nobility and Power,
    Did gage them both in an vniust behalfe
    (As Both of you, God pardon it, haue done)
    To put downe Richard, that sweet louely Rose,
    And plant this Thorne, this Canker Bullingbrooke?
    500And shall it in more shame be further spoken,
    That you are fool'd, discarded, and shooke off
    By him, for whom these shames ye vnderwent?
    No: yet time serues, wherein you may redeeme
    Your banish'd Honors, and restore your selues
    505Into the good Thoughts of the world againe.
    Reuenge the geering and disdain'd contempt
    Of this proud King, who studies day and night
    To answer all the Debt he owes vnto you,
    Euen with the bloody Payment of your deaths:
    510Therefore I say---
    Wor. Peace Cousin, say no more.
    And now I will vnclaspe a Secret booke,
    And to your quicke conceyuing Discontents,
    Ile reade you Matter, deepe and dangerous,
    515As full of perill and aduenturous Spirit,
    As to o're-walke a Current, roaring loud
    On the vnstedfast footing of a Speare.
    Hot. If he fall in, good night, or sinke or swimme:
    Send danger from the East vnto the West,
    520So Honor crosse it from the North to South,
    And let them grapple: The blood more stirres
    To rowze a Lyon, then to start a Hare.
    Nor. Imagination of some great exploit,
    Driues him beyond the bounds of Patience.
    525Hot. By heauen, me thinkes it were an easie leap,
    To plucke bright Honor from the pale-fac'd Moone,
    Or diue into the bottome of the deepe,
    Where Fadome-line could neuer touch the ground,
    And plucke vp drowned Honor by the Lockes:
    530So he that doth redeeme her thence, might weare
    Without Co-riuall, all her Dignities:
    But out vpon this halfe-fac'd Fellowship.
    Wor. He apprehends a World of Figures here,
    But not the forme of what he should attend:
    535Good Cousin giue me audience for a-while,
    And list to me.
    Hot. I cry you mercy.
    Wor. Those same Noble Scottes
    That are your Prisoners.
    540Hot. Ile keepe them all.
    By heauen, he shall not haue a Scot of them:
    No, if a Scot would saue his Soule, he shall not.
    Ile keepe them, by this Hand.
    Wor. You start away,
    545And lend no eare vnto my purposes.
    Those Prisoners you shall keepe.
    Hot. Nay, I will; that's flat:
    He said, he would not ransome Mortimer:
    Forbad my tongue to speake of Mortimer.
    550But I will finde him when he lyes asleepe,
    And in his eare, Ile holla Mortimer.
    Nay, Ile haue a Starling shall be taught to speake
    Nothing but Mortimer, and giue it him,
    To keepe his anger still in motion.
    555Wor. Heare you Cousin: a word.
    Hot. All studies heere I solemnly defie,
    Saue how to gall and pinch this Bullingbrooke,
    And that same Sword and Buckler Prince of Wales.
    But that I thinke his Father loues him not,
    560And would be glad he met with some mischance,
    I would haue poyson'd him with a pot of Ale.
    Wor. Farewell Kinsman: Ile talke to you
    When you are better temper'd to attend.
    Nor. Why what a Waspe-tongu'd & impatient foole
    565Art thou, to breake into this Womans mood,
    Tying thine eare to no tongue but thine owne?
    Hot. Why look you, I am whipt & scourg'd with rods,
    Netled, and stung with Pismires, when I heare
    Of this vile Politician Bullingbrooke.
    570In Richards time: What de'ye call the place?
    A plague vpon't, it is in Gloustershire:
    'Twas, where the madcap Duke his Vncle kept,
    His Vncle Yorke, where I first bow'd my knee
    Vnto this King of Smiles, this Bullingbrooke:
    575When you and he came backe from Rauenspurgh.
    Nor. At Barkley Castle.
    Hot. You say true:
    Why what a caudie deale of curtesie,
    This fawning Grey-hound then did proffer me.
    580Looke when his infant Fortune came to age,
    And gentle Harry Percy, and kinde Cousin:
    O, the Diuell take such Couzeners, God forgiue me,
    Good Vncle tell your tale, for I haue done.
    Wor. Nay, if you haue not, too't againe,
    585Wee'l stay your leysure.
    Hot. I haue done insooth.
    Wor. Then once more to your Scottish Prisoners.
    Deliuer them vp without their ransome straight,
    And make the Dowglas sonne your onely meane
    590For powres in Scotland: which for diuers reasons
    Which I shall send you written, be assur'd
    Will easily be granted you, my Lord.
    Your Sonne in Scotland being thus impl y'd,
    Shall secretly into the bosome creepe
    595Of that same noble Prelate, well belou'd,
    The Archbishop.
    Hot. Of Yorke, is't not?
    Wor. True, who beares hard
    His Brothers death at Bristow, the Lord Scroope.
    600I speake not this in estimation,
    As what I thinke might be, but what I know
    Is ruminated, plotted, and set downe,
    And onely stayes but to behold the face
    Of that occasion that shall bring it on.
    605Hot. I smell it:
    Vpon my life, it will do wond'rous well.
    Nor. Before the game's a-foot, thou still let'st slip.
    Hot. Why, it cannot choose but be a Noble plot,