Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 1 (Modern)

Enter Worcester, [and] Sir Richard Vernon.
Oh no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,
The liberal and kind offer of the king.
'Twere best he did.
Then are we all undone.
It is not possible, it cannot be
The king should keep his word in loving us.
He will suspect us still, and find a time
To punish this offense in other faults.
2790Supposition all our lives shall be stuck full of eyes,
For treason is but trusted like the fox,
Who, never so tame, so cherished, and locked up,
Will have a wild trick of his ancestors.
Look how we can, or sad or merrily,
2795Interpretation will misquote our looks,
And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,
The better cherished still the nearer death.
My nephew's trespass may be well forgot;
It hath the excuse of youth and heat of blood,
2800And an adopted name of privilege:
A hare-brained Hotspur, governed by a spleen.
All his offenses live upon my head,
And on his father's. We did train him on,
And, his corruption being ta'en from us,
2805We as the spring of all shall pay for all.
Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know
In any case the offer of the king.
Enter [Hotspur and Douglas].
Deliver what you will; I'll say 'tis so.
Here comes your cousin.
My uncle is returned.
Deliver up my lord of Westmorland.
Uncle, what news?
The king will bid you battle presently.
Defy him by the Lord of Westmorland.
Lord Douglas, go you and tell him so.
Marry, and shall, and very willingly.
Exit Douglas.
There is no seeming mercy in the king.
Did you beg any? God forbid!
I told him gently of our grievances,
Of his oath-breaking, which he mended thus,
By now forswearing that he is forsworn.
He calls us rebels, traitors, and will scourge
2825With haughty arms this hateful name in us.
Enter Douglas.
Arm, gentlemen, to arms! For I have thrown
A brave defiance in King Henry's teeth,
And Westmorland that was engaged did bear it,
2830Which cannot choose but bring him quickly on.
The Prince of Wales stepped forth before the king
And, nephew, challenged you to single fight.
Oh, would the quarrel lay upon our heads,
And that no man might draw short breath today
2835But I and Harry Monmouth! Tell me, tell me,
How showed his tasking? Seemed it in contempt?
No, by my soul, I never in my life
Did hear a challenge urged more modestly,
Unless a brother should a brother dare
2840To gentle exercise and proof of arms.
He gave you all the duties of a man,
Trimmed up your praises with a princely tongue,
Spoke your deservings like a chronicle,
Making you ever better than his praise
2845By still dispraising praise valued with you;
And, which became him like a prince indeed,
He made a blushing cital of himself,
And chid his truant youth with such a grace
As if he mastered there a double spirit
2850Of teaching and of learning instantly.
There did he pause; but let me tell the world,
If he outlive the envy of this day,
England did never owe so sweet a hope,
So much misconstrued in his wantonness.
Cousin, I think thou art enamourèd
On his follies. Never did I hear
Of any prince so wild a liberty.
But be he as he will, yet once ere night
I will embrace him with a soldier's arm,
2860That he shall shrink under my courtesy.
Arm, arm, with speed! And fellows, soldiers, friends,
Better consider what you have to do
Than I, that have not well the gift of tongue,
Can lift your blood up with persuasion.
Enter a Messenger.
My lord, here are letters for you.
I cannot read them now,
O gentlemen, the time of life is short.
To spend that shortness basely were too long
2870If life did ride upon a dial's point,
Still ending at the arrival of an hour.
An if we live, we live to tread on kings;
If die, brave death when princes die with us!
Now for our consciences: the arms are fair
2875When the intent of bearing them is just.
Enter another [Messenger].
My lord, prepare; the king comes on apace.
I thank him that he cuts me from my tale,
For I profess not talking, only this:
2880Let each man do his best. And here draw I
A sword whose temper I intend to stain
With the best blood that I can meet withal
In the adventure of this perilous day.
Now Esperance! Percy! And set on!
2885Sound all the lofty instruments of war,
And by that music let us all embrace,
For, heaven to earth, some of us never shall
A second time do such a courtesy.
Here they embrace. The trumpets sound. [Exeunt.]