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  • 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)

    320Enter the king, Northumberland, Worcester, Hotspur, Sir Walter Blunt, with others.
    My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
    Unapt to stir at these indignities,
    And you have found me, for accordingly
    325You tread upon my patience. But be sure
    I will from henceforth rather be myself,
    Mighty and to be feared, than my condition,
    Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
    And therefore lost that title of respect
    330Which the proud soul ne'er pays but to the proud.
    Our house, my sovereign liege, little deserves
    The scourge of greatness to be used on it,
    And that same greatness too, which our own hands
    Have holp to make so portly.
    My lord --
    Worcester, get thee gone, for I do see
    Danger and disobedience in thine eye.
    O sir, your presence is too bold and peremptory,
    And majesty might never yet endure
    340The moody frontier of a servant brow.
    You have good leave to leave us. When we need
    Your use and counsel we shall send for you.
    Exit Worcester.
    [To Northumberland] You were about to speak.
    Yea my good lord.
    345Those prisoners in your highness' name demanded,
    Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took,
    Were, as he says, not with such strength denied
    As is delivered to your majesty.
    Either envy, therefore, or misprision
    350Is guilty of this fault, and not my son.
    My liege, I did deny no prisoners.
    But I remember when the fight was done,
    When I was dry with rage and extreme toil,
    Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
    355Came there a certain lord, neat and trimly dressed,
    Fresh as a bridegroom, and his chin, new-reaped,
    Showed like a stubble-land at harvest-home.
    He was perfumèd like a milliner,
    And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
    360A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
    He gave his nose and took't away again,
    Who therewith angry, when it next came there
    Took it in snuff, and still he smiled and talked;
    And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
    365He called them untaught knaves, unmannerly,
    To bring a slovenly unhandsome corpse
    Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
    With many holiday and lady terms
    He questioned me, amongst the rest demanded
    370My prisoners in your majesty's behalf.
    I then, all smarting with my wounds being cold,
    To be so pestered with a popinjay,
    Out of my grief and my impatience
    Answered neglectingly, I know not what,
    375He should, or he should not, for he made me mad
    To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
    And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman
    Of guns, and drums, and wounds, god save the mark!
    And telling me the sovereign'st thing on earth
    380Was parmacity, for an inward bruise,
    And that it was great pity, so it was,
    This villainous saltpetre should be digged
    Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
    Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed
    385So cowardly, and but for these vile guns
    He would himself have been a soldier.
    This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord,
    I answered indirectly, as I said,
    And I beseech you, let not his report
    390Come current for an accusation
    Betwixt my love and your high majesty.
    The circumstance considered, good my lord,
    Whate'er Lord Harry Percy then had said
    To such a person, and in such a place,
    395At such a time, with all the rest retold,
    May reasonably die, and never rise
    To do him wrong, or any way impeach
    What then he said, so he unsay it now.
    Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners,
    400But with proviso and exception
    That we at our own charge shall ransom straight
    His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer,
    Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betrayed
    The lives of those that he did lead to fight
    405Against that great magician, damned Glendower,
    Whose daughter, as we hear, that Earl of March
    Hath lately married. Shall our coffers then
    Be emptied to redeem a traitor home?
    Shall we buy treason, and indent with fears
    410When they have lost and forfeited themselves?
    No, on the barren mountains let him starve,
    For I shall never hold that man my friend
    Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost
    To ransom home revolted Mortimer.
    Revolted Mortimer!
    He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
    But by the chance of war. To prove that true
    Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds,
    Those mouthèd wounds, which valiantly he took
    420When on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank
    In single opposition, hand to hand,
    He did confound the best part of an hour
    In changing hardiment with great Glendower.
    Three times they breathed, and three times did they drink,
    425Upon agreement, of swift Severn's flood,
    Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks,
    Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds
    And hid his crisp head in the hollow bank,
    Bloodstainèd with these valiant combatants.
    430Never did bare and rotten policy
    Color her working with such deadly wounds,
    Nor never could the noble Mortimer
    Receive so many, and all willingly.
    Then let not him be slandered with revolt.
    Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou dost belie him.
    He never did encounter with Glendower.
    I tell thee, he durst as well have met the devil alone
    As Owen Glendower for an enemy.
    Art thou not ashamed? But, sirrah, henceforth
    440Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer.
    Send me your prisoners with the speediest means,
    Or you shall hear in such a kind from me
    As will displease you. My Lord Northumberland
    We license your departure with your son.
    445Send us your prisoners, or you will hear of it.
    Exit King [with all but Hotspur and Northumberland.]
    An if the devil come and roar for them
    I will not send them. I will after straight
    And tell him so, for I will ease my heart,
    Albeit I make a hazard of my head.
    What, drunk with choler? Stay and pause awhile.
    Here comes your uncle.
    Enter Worcester.
    Speak of Mortimer?
    Zounds, I will speak of him, and let my soul
    Want mercy if I do not join with him.
    455Yea, on his part I'll empty all these veins,
    And shed my dear blood drop by drop in the dust,
    But I will lift the downtrod Mortimer
    As high in the air as this unthankful king,
    As this ingrate and cankered Bolingbroke.
    Brother, the king hath made your nephew mad.
    Who struck this heat up after I was gone?
    He will forsooth have all my prisoners,
    And when I urged the ransom once again
    Of my wife's brother, then his cheek looked pale,
    465And on my face he turned an eye of death,
    Trembling even at the name of Mortimer.
    I cannot blame him: was not he proclaimed
    By Richard, that dead is, the next of blood?
    He was; I heard the proclamation.
    470And then it was when the unhappy king --
    Whose wrongs in us god pardon! -- did set forth
    Upon his Irish expedition,
    From whence he, intercepted, did return
    To be deposed, and shortly murderèd.
    And for whose death we in the world's wide mouth
    Live scandalized and foully spoken of.
    But soft, I pray you, did King Richard then
    Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer
    Heir to the crown?
    He did, myself did hear it.
    Nay then, I cannot blame his cousin king
    That wished him on the barren mountains starve.
    But shall it be that you that set the crown
    Upon the head of this forgetful man,
    485And for his sake wear the detested blot
    Of murderous subornation, shall it be
    That you a world of curses undergo,
    Being the agents or base second means,
    The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather?
    490Oh, pardon me that I descend so low
    To show the line and the predicament
    Wherein you range under this subtle king!
    Shall it for shame be spoken in these days,
    Or fill up chronicles in time to come,
    495That men of your nobility and power
    Did gage them both in an unjust behalf --
    As both of you, god pardon it, have done --
    To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose,
    And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke?
    500And shall it in more shame be further spoken
    That you are fooled, discarded, and shook off
    By him for whom these shames ye underwent?
    No, yet time serves wherein you may redeem
    Your banished honors, and restore yourselves
    505Into the good thoughts of the world again,
    Revenge the jeering and disdained contempt
    Of this proud king, who studies day and night
    To answer all the debt he owes to you
    Even with the bloody payment of your deaths.
    510Therefore, I say --
    Peace, cousin, say no more.
    And now I will unclasp a secret book,
    And to your quick-conceiving discontents
    I'll read you matter deep and dangerous,
    515As full of peril and adventurous spirit
    As to o'erwalk a current roaring loud
    On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.
    If he fall in, good night, or sink or swim.
    Send danger from the east unto the west,
    520So honor cross it from the north to south,
    And let them grapple. Oh, the blood more stirs
    To rouse a lion than to start a hare!
    Imagination of some great exploit
    Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.
    By heaven, methinks it were an easy leap
    To pluck bright honor from the pale-faced moon,
    Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
    Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
    And pluck up drownèd honor by the locks,
    530So he that doth redeem her thence might wear,
    Without co-rival, all her dignities.
    But out upon this half-faced fellowship!
    He apprehends a world of figures here,
    But not the form of what he should attend.
    535Good cousin, give me audience for a while.
    I cry you mercy.
    Those same noble Scots
    That are your prisoners --
    I'll keep them all;
    By god, he shall not have a Scot of them,
    No, if a Scot would save his soul he shall not.
    I'll keep them, by this hand.
    You start away,
    545And lend no ear unto my purposes.
    Those prisoners you shall keep.
    Nay, I will; that's flat.
    He said he would not ransom Mortimer,
    Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer;
    550But I will find him when he lies asleep,
    And in his ear I'll holla "Mortimer!"
    Nay, I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak
    Nothing but "Mortimer," and give it him
    To keep his anger still in motion.
    Hear you, cousin, a word.
    All studies here I solemnly defy,
    Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke.
    And that same sword-and-buckler Prince of Wales.
    But that I think his father loves him not
    560And would be glad he met with some mischance,
    I would have him poisoned with a pot of ale.
    Farewell, kinsman. I'll talk to you
    When you are better tempered to attend.
    Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient fool
    565Art thou to break into this woman's mood
    Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own!
    Why, look you, I am whipped and scourged with rods,
    Nettled and stung with pismires, when I hear
    Of this vile politician Bolingbroke.
    570In Richard's time -- what d'ye call the place?
    A plague upon't, it is in Gloucestershire.
    'Twas where the madcap duke his uncle kept,
    His uncle York -- where I first bowed my knee
    Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke --
    575'Sblood, when you and he came back from Ravenspurgh.
    At Berkeley castle.
    You say true.
    Why, what a candy deal of courtesy
    This fawning greyhound then did proffer me!
    580"Look when his infant fortune came to age,"
    And "gentle Harry Percy," and "kind cousin."
    Oh, the devil take such cozeners! God forgive me,
    Good uncle, tell your tale; I have done.
    Nay, if you have not, to it again.
    585We will stay your leisure.
    I have done, i'faith.
    Then once more to your Scottish prisoners.
    Deliver them up without their ransom straight;
    And make the Douglas' son your only mean
    590For powers in Scotland, which for divers reasons
    Which I shall send you written, be assured
    Will easily be granted. [To Northumberland] You, my lord,
    Your son in Scotland being thus employed,
    Shall secretly into the bosom creep
    595Of that same noble prelate well-beloved,
    The archbishop.
    Of York, is't not?
    True, who bears hard
    His brother's death at Bristol, the Lord Scrope.
    600I speak not this in estimation,
    As what I think might be, but what I know
    Is ruminated, plotted, and set down,
    And only stays but to behold the face
    Of that occasion that shall bring it on.
    I smell it; upon my life, it will do well!
    Before the game is afoot thou still let'st slip.
    Why, it cannot choose but be a noble plot --
    And then the power of Scotland and of York
    610To join with Mortimer, ha?
    And so they shall.
    In faith, it is exceedingly well aimed.
    And 'tis no little reason bids us speed
    To save our heads by raising of a head;
    615For, bear ourselves as even as we can,
    The king will always think him in our debt,
    And think we think ourselves unsatisfied
    Till he hath found a time to pay us home.
    And see already how he doth begin
    620To make us strangers to his looks of love.
    He does, he does. We'll be revenged on him.
    Cousin, farewell. No further go in this
    Than I by letters shall direct your course.
    When time is ripe, which will be suddenly,
    625I'll steal to Glendower and Lord Mortimer,
    Where you and Douglas and our powers at once,
    As I will fashion it, shall happily meet,
    To bear our fortunes in our own strong arms,
    Which now we hold at much uncertainty.
    Farewell, good brother. We shall thrive, I trust.
    Uncle, adieu. Oh, let the hours be short
    Till fields and blows and groans applaud our sport!