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History of Henry IV, Part I

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Act II, Scene 3

Warkworth castle


[Enter HOTSPUR, solus, reading a letter]

  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). '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, 860
    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. 'The
    purpose you undertake is dangerous;'—why, that's
    certain: 'tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to 865
    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 named uncertain; the time itself unsorted; and
    your whole plot too light for the counterpoise of so 870
    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 and constant: a good plot, good 875
    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 action. 'Zounds, an I were now by
    this rascal, I could brain him with his lady's fan. 880
    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 885
    forward 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. O, I could divide myself
    and go to buffets, for moving such a dish of 890
    skim milk with so honourable an action! Hang him!
    let him tell the king: we are prepared. I will set
    forward to-night.
    [Enter LADY PERCY]
    How now, Kate! I must leave you within these two hours. 895
  • Lady Percy. O, my good lord, why are you thus alone?
    For what offence have I this fortnight been
    A banish'd woman from my Harry's bed?
    Tell me, sweet lord, what is't that takes from thee
    Thy stomach, pleasure and thy golden sleep? 900
    Why 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 cursed melancholy? 905
    In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watch'd,
    And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars;
    Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed;
    Cry 'Courage! to the field!' And thou hast talk'd
    Of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents, 910
    Of 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 915
    And thus hath so bestirr'd thee in thy sleep,
    That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow
    Like bubbles in a late-disturbed stream;
    And in thy face strange motions have appear'd,
    Such as we see when men restrain their breath 920
    On some great sudden hest. O, what portents are these?
    Some heavy business hath my lord in hand,
    And I must know it, else he loves me not.
  • Servant. He is, my lord, an hour ago.
  • Servant. One horse, my lord, he brought even now.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). That roan shall by my throne.
    Well, I will back him straight: O esperance!
    Bid Butler lead him forth into the park.

[Exit Servant]

  • Lady Percy. Out, you mad-headed ape! 940
    A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen
    As you are toss'd 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 945
    To line his enterprise: but if you go,—
  • Lady Percy. Come, come, you paraquito, answer me
    Directly unto this question that I ask:
    In faith, I'll break thy little finger, Harry, 950
    An if thou wilt not tell me all things true.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). 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: 955
    We must have bloody noses and crack'd crowns,
    And pass them current too. God's me, my horse!
    What say'st thou, Kate? what would'st thou
    have with me?
  • Lady Percy. Do you not love me? do you not, indeed? 960
    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.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Come, wilt thou see me ride?
    And when I am on horseback, I will swear 965
    I love thee infinitely. But hark you, Kate;
    I must not have you henceforth question me
    Whither I go, nor reason whereabout:
    Whither I must, I must; and, to conclude,
    This evening must I leave you, gentle Kate. 970
    I know you wise, but yet no farther wise
    Than Harry Percy's wife: constant you are,
    But yet a woman: and for secrecy,
    No lady closer; for I well believe
    Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know; 975
    And so far will I trust thee, gentle Kate.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Not an inch further. But hark you, Kate:
    Whither I go, thither shall you go too;
    To-day will I set forth, to-morrow you. 980
    Will this content you, Kate?