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History of Henry IV, Part I

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Act III, Scene 1

Bangor. The Archdeacon’s house.



  • Mortimer. These promises are fair, the parties sure,
    And our induction full of prosperous hope.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Lord Mortimer, and cousin Glendower, 1545
    Will you sit down?
    And uncle Worcester: a plague upon it!
    I have forgot the map.
  • Glendower. No, here it is.
    Sit, cousin Percy; sit, good cousin Hotspur, 1550
    For by that name as oft as Lancaster
    Doth speak of you, his cheek looks pale and with
    A rising sigh he wisheth you in heaven.
  • Glendower. I cannot blame him: at my nativity 1555
    The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,
    Of burning cressets; and at my birth
    The frame and huge foundation of the earth
    Shaked like a coward.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Why, so it would have done at the same season, if 1560
    your mother's cat had but kittened, though yourself
    had never been born.
  • Glendower. I say the earth did shake when I was born.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). And I say the earth was not of my mind,
    If you suppose as fearing you it shook. 1565
  • Glendower. The heavens were all on fire, the earth did tremble.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). O, then the earth shook to see the heavens on fire,
    And not in fear of your nativity.
    Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth
    In strange eruptions; oft the teeming earth 1570
    Is with a kind of colic pinch'd and vex'd
    By the imprisoning of unruly wind
    Within her womb; which, for enlargement striving,
    Shakes the old beldam earth and topples down
    Steeples and moss-grown towers. At your birth 1575
    Our grandam earth, having this distemperature,
    In passion shook.
  • Glendower. Cousin, of many men
    I do not bear these crossings. Give me leave
    To tell you once again that at my birth 1580
    The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,
    The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds
    Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields.
    These signs have mark'd me extraordinary;
    And all the courses of my life do show 1585
    I am not in the roll of common men.
    Where is he living, clipp'd in with the sea
    That chides the banks of England, Scotland, Wales,
    Which calls me pupil, or hath read to me?
    And bring him out that is but woman's son 1590
    Can trace me in the tedious ways of art
    And hold me pace in deep experiments.
  • Mortimer. Peace, cousin Percy; you will make him mad. 1595
  • Glendower. I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
  • Glendower. Why, I can teach you, cousin, to command
    The devil. 1600
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil
    By telling truth: tell truth and shame the devil.
    If thou have power to raise him, bring him hither,
    And I'll be sworn I have power to shame him hence.
    O, while you live, tell truth and shame the devil! 1605
  • Mortimer. Come, come, no more of this unprofitable chat.
  • Glendower. Three times hath Henry Bolingbroke made head
    Against my power; thrice from the banks of Wye
    And sandy-bottom'd Severn have I sent him
    Bootless home and weather-beaten back. 1610
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Home without boots, and in foul weather too!
    How 'scapes he agues, in the devil's name?
  • Glendower. Come, here's the map: shall we divide our right
    According to our threefold order ta'en?
  • Mortimer. The archdeacon hath divided it 1615
    Into three limits very equally:
    England, from Trent and Severn hitherto,
    By south and east is to my part assign'd:
    All westward, Wales beyond the Severn shore,
    And all the fertile land within that bound, 1620
    To Owen Glendower: and, dear coz, to you
    The remnant northward, lying off from Trent.
    And our indentures tripartite are drawn;
    Which being sealed interchangeably,
    A business that this night may execute, 1625
    To-morrow, cousin Percy, you and I
    And my good Lord of Worcester will set forth
    To meet your father and the Scottish power,
    As is appointed us, at Shrewsbury.
    My father Glendower is not ready yet, 1630
    Not shall we need his help these fourteen days.
    Within that space you may have drawn together
    Your tenants, friends and neighbouring gentlemen.
  • Glendower. A shorter time shall send me to you, lords:
    And in my conduct shall your ladies come; 1635
    From whom you now must steal and take no leave,
    For there will be a world of water shed
    Upon the parting of your wives and you.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Methinks my moiety, north from Burton here,
    In quantity equals not one of yours: 1640
    See how this river comes me cranking in,
    And cuts me from the best of all my land
    A huge half-moon, a monstrous cantle out.
    I'll have the current in this place damm'd up;
    And here the smug and silver Trent shall run 1645
    In a new channel, fair and evenly;
    It shall not wind with such a deep indent,
    To rob me of so rich a bottom here.
  • Glendower. Not wind? it shall, it must; you see it doth.
  • Mortimer. Yea, but 1650
    Mark how he bears his course, and runs me up
    With like advantage on the other side;
    Gelding the opposed continent as much
    As on the other side it takes from you.
  • Earl of Worcester. Yea, but a little charge will trench him here 1655
    And on this north side win this cape of land;
    And then he runs straight and even.
  • Glendower. I can speak English, lord, as well as you; 1665
    For I was train'd up in the English court;
    Where, being but young, I framed to the harp
    Many an English ditty lovely well
    And gave the tongue a helpful ornament,
    A virtue that was never seen in you. 1670
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Marry,
    And I am glad of it with all my heart:
    I had rather be a kitten and cry mew
    Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers;
    I had rather hear a brazen canstick turn'd, 1675
    Or a dry wheel grate on the axle-tree;
    And that would set my teeth nothing on edge,
    Nothing so much as mincing poetry:
    'Tis like the forced gait of a shuffling nag.
  • Glendower. Come, you shall have Trent turn'd. 1680
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). I do not care: I'll give thrice so much land
    To any well-deserving friend;
    But in the way of bargain, mark ye me,
    I'll cavil on the ninth part of a hair.
    Are the indentures drawn? shall we be gone? 1685
  • Glendower. The moon shines fair; you may away by night:
    I'll haste the writer and withal
    Break with your wives of your departure hence:
    I am afraid my daughter will run mad,
    So much she doteth on her Mortimer. 1690


  • Mortimer. Fie, cousin Percy! how you cross my father!
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). I cannot choose: sometime he angers me
    With telling me of the mouldwarp and the ant,
    Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies, 1695
    And of a dragon and a finless fish,
    A clip-wing'd griffin and a moulten raven,
    A couching lion and a ramping cat,
    And such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff
    As puts me from my faith. I tell you what; 1700
    He held me last night at least nine hours
    In reckoning up the several devils' names
    That were his lackeys: I cried 'hum,' and 'well, go to,'
    But mark'd him not a word. O, he is as tedious
    As a tired horse, a railing wife; 1705
    Worse than a smoky house: I had rather live
    With cheese and garlic in a windmill, far,
    Than feed on cates and have him talk to me
    In any summer-house in Christendom.
  • Mortimer. In faith, he is a worthy gentleman, 1710
    Exceedingly well read, and profited
    In strange concealments, valiant as a lion
    And as wondrous affable and as bountiful
    As mines of India. Shall I tell you, cousin?
    He holds your temper in a high respect 1715
    And curbs himself even of his natural scope
    When you come 'cross his humour; faith, he does:
    I warrant you, that man is not alive
    Might so have tempted him as you have done,
    Without the taste of danger and reproof: 1720
    But do not use it oft, let me entreat you.
  • Earl of Worcester. In faith, my lord, you are too wilful-blame;
    And since your coming hither have done enough
    To put him quite beside his patience.
    You must needs learn, lord, to amend this fault: 1725
    Though sometimes it show greatness, courage, blood,—
    And that's the dearest grace it renders you,—
    Yet oftentimes it doth present harsh rage,
    Defect of manners, want of government,
    Pride, haughtiness, opinion and disdain: 1730
    The least of which haunting a nobleman
    Loseth men's hearts and leaves behind a stain
    Upon the beauty of all parts besides,
    Beguiling them of commendation.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Well, I am school'd: good manners be your speed! 1735
    Here come our wives, and let us take our leave.

[Re-enter GLENDOWER with the ladies]

  • Mortimer. This is the deadly spite that angers me;
    My wife can speak no English, I no Welsh.
  • Glendower. My daughter weeps: she will not part with you; 1740
    She'll be a soldier too, she'll to the wars.
  • Mortimer. Good father, tell her that she and my aunt Percy
    Shall follow in your conduct speedily.

[Glendower speaks to her in Welsh, and she answers him in the same]

  • Glendower. She is desperate here; a peevish self-wind harlotry, 1745
    one that no persuasion can do good upon.

[The lady speaks in Welsh]

  • Mortimer. I understand thy looks: that pretty Welsh
    Which thou pour'st down from these swelling heavens
    I am too perfect in; and, but for shame, 1750
    In such a parley should I answer thee.
    [The lady speaks again in Welsh]
    I understand thy kisses and thou mine,
    And that's a feeling disputation:
    But I will never be a truant, love, 1755
    Till I have learned thy language; for thy tongue
    Makes Welsh as sweet as ditties highly penn'd,
    Sung by a fair queen in a summer's bower,
    With ravishing division, to her lute.
  • Glendower. Nay, if you melt, then will she run mad. 1760

[The lady speaks again in Welsh]

  • Mortimer. O, I am ignorance itself in this!
  • Glendower. She bids you on the wanton rushes lay you down
    And rest your gentle head upon her lap,
    And she will sing the song that pleaseth you 1765
    And on your eyelids crown the god of sleep.
    Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness,
    Making such difference 'twixt wake and sleep
    As is the difference betwixt day and night
    The hour before the heavenly-harness'd team 1770
    Begins his golden progress in the east.
  • Mortimer. With all my heart I'll sit and hear her sing:
    By that time will our book, I think, be drawn
  • Glendower. Do so;
    And those musicians that shall play to you 1775
    Hang in the air a thousand leagues from hence,
    And straight they shall be here: sit, and attend.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Come, Kate, thou art perfect in lying down: come,
    quick, quick, that I may lay my head in thy lap.

[The music plays]

  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Now I perceive the devil understands Welsh;
    And 'tis no marvel he is so humorous.
    By'r lady, he is a good musician.
  • Lady Percy. Then should you be nothing but musical for you are 1785
    altogether governed by humours. Lie still, ye thief,
    and hear the lady sing in Welsh.

[Here the lady sings a Welsh song]

  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Not yours, in good sooth! Heart! you swear like a 1800
    comfit-maker's wife. 'Not you, in good sooth,' and
    'as true as I live,' and 'as God shall mend me,' and
    'as sure as day,'
    And givest such sarcenet surety for thy oaths,
    As if thou never walk'st further than Finsbury. 1805
    Swear me, Kate, like a lady as thou art,
    A good mouth-filling oath, and leave 'in sooth,'
    And such protest of pepper-gingerbread,
    To velvet-guards and Sunday-citizens.
    Come, sing. 1810
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). 'Tis the next way to turn tailor, or be red-breast
    teacher. An the indentures be drawn, I'll away
    within these two hours; and so, come in when ye will.


  • Glendower. Come, come, Lord Mortimer; you are as slow
    As hot Lord Percy is on fire to go.
    By this our book is drawn; we'll but seal,
    And then to horse immediately.