Internet Shakespeare Editions

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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)

    0.1The History of Henry the Fourth, Part One
    Enter the king, Lord John of Lancaster, Earl of Westmorland, with others.
    5So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
    Find we a time for frighted peace to pant
    And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
    To be commenced in strands afar remote.
    No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
    10Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood,
    No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
    Nor bruise her flow'rets with the armèd hoofs
    Of hostile paces. Those opposèd eyes,
    Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
    15All of one nature, of one substance bred,
    Did lately meet in the intestine shock
    And furious close of civil butchery,
    Shall now in mutual well-beseeming ranks
    March all one way, and be no more opposed
    20Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies.
    The edge of war, like an ill-sheathèd knife,
    No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
    As far as to the sepulcher of Christ --
    Whose soldier now, under whose blessèd cross
    25We are impressèd and engaged to fight --
    Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,
    Whose arms were molded in their mother's womb
    To chase these pagans in those holy fields
    Over whose acres walked those blessèd feet
    30Which fourteen hundred years ago were nailed,
    For our advantage, on the bitter cross.
    But this our purpose now is twelve month old,
    And bootless 'tis to tell you we will go.
    Therefor we meet not now. Then let me hear
    35Of you, my gentle cousin Westmorland,
    What yesternight our Council did decree
    In forwarding this dear expedience.
    My liege, this haste was hot in question,
    And many limits of the charge set down
    40But yesternight, when all athwart there came
    A post from Wales, loaden with heavy news,
    Whose worst was that the noble Mortimer,
    Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
    Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
    45Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
    A thousand of his people butcherèd,
    Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse,
    Such beastly shameless transformation
    By those Welshwomen done as may not be
    50Without much shame retold or spoken of.
    It seems then that the tidings of this broil
    Brake off our business for the holy land.
    This matched with other did, my gracious lord,
    For more uneven and unwelcome news
    55Came from the north, and thus it did import:
    On Holy-rood day the gallant Hotspur there --
    Young Harry Percy -- and brave Archibald,
    That ever valiant and approvèd Scot,
    At Holmedon met, where they did spend
    60A sad and bloody hour,
    As by discharge of their artillery,
    And shape of likelihood the news was told;
    For he that brought them in the very heat
    And pride of their contention did take horse
    65Uncertain of the issue any way.
    Here is a dear, a true industrious friend,
    Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
    Stained with the variation of each soil
    Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours,
    70And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news:
    The Earl of Douglas is discomfited;
    Ten thousand bold Scots, two-and-twenty knights,
    Balked in their own blood did Sir Walter see
    On Holmedon's plains. Of prisoners Hotspur took
    75Mordake, Earl of Fife and eldest son
    To beaten Douglas, and the Earl of Athol,
    Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
    And is not this an honorable spoil?
    A gallant prize? Ha, cousin, is it not?
    In faith it is -- a conquest for a prince to boast of.
    Yea, there thou mak'st me sad, and mak'st me sin
    In envy, that my lord Northumberland
    Should be the father to so blest a son --
    A son who is the theme of honor's tongue,
    85Amongst a grove the very straightest plant,
    Who is sweet fortune's minion and her pride --
    Whilst I by looking on the praise of him
    See riot and dishonor stain the brow
    Of my young Harry. Oh, that it could be proved
    90That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged
    In cradle clothes our children where they lay,
    And called mine Percy, his Plantagenet!
    Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.
    But let him from my thoughts. What think you, coz,
    95Of this young Percy's pride? The prisoners
    Which he in this adventure hath surprised
    To his own use he keeps, and sends me word
    I shall have none but Mordake Earl of Fife.
    This is his uncle's teaching. This is Worcester,
    100Malevolent to you in all aspects,
    Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up
    The crest of youth against your dignity.
    But I have sent for him to answer this;
    And for this cause awhile we must neglect
    105Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.
    Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we
    Will hold at Windsor. So inform the lords.
    But come yourself with speed to us again,
    For more is to be said and to be done,
    110Than out of anger can be utterèd.
    I will my liege.