Internet Shakespeare Editions

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 King, Prince of Wales, Lord John of Lancaster, Sir Walter Blunt, [and] Falstaff.
    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.
    Then with the losers let it sympathize,
    For nothing can seem foul to those that win.
    The trumpet sounds. Enter Worcester [and Vernon].
    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?
    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.
    You have not sought it? How comes it, then?
    Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it.
    Peace, chewet, peace!
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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].
    It will not be accepted, on my life.
    The Douglas and the Hotspur both together
    2755Are confident against the world in arms.
    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.
    Hal, if thou see me down in the battle, and bestride me, so; 'tis a point of friendship.
    Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship. Say thy prayers, and farewell.
    I would 'twere bed-time, Hal, and all well.
    Why, thou owest god a death.
    [Exit Prince.]
    '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.