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About this text

  • Title: Henry IV, Part 1 (Modern)
  • 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 (Modern)

    Enter Hotspur [alone] reading a letter.
    850[Hotspur] "But for mine own part, my lord, I could be well contented to be there, in respect of the love I bear your house." He could be contented; why is he not then? In respect of the love he bears our house! He shows in this he loves his own barn better than he loves our house. Let me see some more. 855"The purpose you undertake is dangerous," -- Why, that's certain: 'tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to drink; but I tell you, my lord fool, out of this nettle danger we pluck this flower safety. "The purpose you undertake is dangerous, the friends you have 860named uncertain, the time itself unsorted, and your whole plot too light for the counterpoise of so great an opposition." Say you so, say you so? I say unto you again, you are a shallow, cowardly hind, and you lie. What a lack-brain is this! By the lord, our plot is a good plot as ever was laid, our friends true 865and constant; a good plot, good friends, and full of expectation; an excellent plot, very good friends. What a frosty-spirited rogue is this! Why, my lord of York commends the plot and the general course of the action. Zounds, an I were now by this 870rascal, I could brain him with his lady's fan! Is there not my father, my uncle, and myself? Lord Edmund Mortimer, my lord of York, and Owen Glendower? Is there not besides the Douglas? Have I not all their letters, to meet me in arms by the ninth of the next month? And are they not some of them set 875forward already? What a pagan rascal is this, an infidel! Ha, you shall see now, in very sincerity of fear and cold heart will he to the king, and lay open all our proceedings! Oh, I could divide myself and go to buffets for moving such a dish of skim-milk 880with so honorable an action! Hang him! Let him tell the king; we are prepared. I will set forward tonight.
    Enter his lady.
    How now, Kate? I must leave you within these two hours.
    885Lady Percy O my good lord, why are you thus alone?
    For what offense have I this fortnight been
    A banished woman from my Harry's bed?
    Tell me, sweet lord, what is't that takes from thee
    Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep?
    890Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth?
    And start so often when thou sit'st alone?
    Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks,
    And given my treasures and my rights of thee
    To thick-eyed musing and curst melancholy?
    895In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watched,
    And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars,
    Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed,
    Cry courage to the field. And thou hast talked
    Of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents,
    900Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets,
    Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin,
    Of prisoners' ransom, and of soldiers slain,
    And all the currents of a heady fight.
    Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war,
    905And thus hath so bestirred thee in thy sleep,
    That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow
    Like bubbles in a late-disturbèd stream;
    And in thy face strange motions have appeared,
    Such as we see when men restrain their breath
    910On some great sudden heft. Oh, what portents are these?
    Some heavy business hath my lord in hand,
    And I must know it, else he loves me not.
    What ho!
    [Enter Servant.]
    Is Gilliams with the packet gone?
    Servant He is, my lord, an hour ago.
    915Hotspur Hath Butler brought those horses from the sheriff?
    Servant One horse, my lord, he brought even now.
    Hotspur What horse? Roan? A crop-ear, is it not?
    It is, my lord.
    That roan shall be my throne.
    Well, I will back him straight. 920O Esperance!
    Bid Butler lead him forth into the park.
    [Exit servant.]
    Lady Percy But hear you, my lord.
    Hotspur What sayst thou, my lady?
    Lady Percy What is it carries you away?
    925Hotspur Why, my horse, my love, my horse.
    Lady Percy Out, you mad-headed ape!
    A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen
    As you are tossed with. In faith,
    I'll know your business, Harry, that I will.
    I fear my brother Mortimer doth stir
    About his title, and hath sent for you
    To line his enterprise; but if you go --
    Hotspur So far afoot? I shall be weary, love.
    Lady Percy Come, come, you paraquito, answer me
    Directly unto this question that I ask.
    In faith, I'll break thy little finger, Harry,
    An if thou wilt not tell me all things true.
    935Hotspur Away, away, you trifler! Love? I love thee not,
    I care not for thee, Kate. This is no world
    To play with mammets and to tilt with lips.
    We must have bloody noses and cracked crowns,
    And pass them current, too. God's me, my horse!
    940What sayst thou, Kate? What wouldst thou have with me?
    Lady Percy Do you not love me? Do you not indeed?
    Well, do not then, for since you love me not
    I will not love myself. Do you not love me?
    Nay, tell me if you speak in jest or no.
    945Hotspur Come, wilt thou see me ride?
    And when I am a-horseback, I will swear
    I love thee infinitely. But hark you, Kate.
    I must not have you henceforth question me
    Whither I go, nor reason whereabout.
    950Whither I must, I must; and, to conclude,
    This evening must I leave you, gentle Kate.
    I know you wise, but yet no farther wise
    Than Harry Percy's wife; constant you are,
    But yet a woman; and for secrecy
    955No lady closer, for I well believe
    Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know.
    And so far will I trust thee, gentle Kate.
    Lady Percy How, so far?
    Hotspur Not an inch further. But hark you Kate,
    960Whither I go, thither shall you go too.
    Today will I set forth, tomorrow you.
    Will this content you, Kate?
    Lady Percy It must of force.