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Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter: that when he speaks,
The air, a chartered libertine, is still.

      — King Henry V, Act I Scene 1


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History of Henry IV, Part I

Act IV

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Scene 1. The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.

Scene 2. A public road near Coventry.

Scene 3. The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.

Scene 4. York. The ARCHBISHOP’S palace.


Act IV, Scene 1

The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.

      next scene .


  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Well said, my noble Scot: if speaking truth 2220
    In this fine age were not thought flattery,
    Such attribution should the Douglas have,
    As not a soldier of this season's stamp
    Should go so general current through the world.
    By God, I cannot flatter; I do defy 2225
    The tongues of soothers; but a braver place
    In my heart's love hath no man than yourself:
    Nay, task me to my word; approve me, lord.
  • Earl of Douglas. Thou art the king of honour:
    No man so potent breathes upon the ground 2230
    But I will beard him.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Do so, and 'tis well.
    [Enter a Messenger with letters]
    What letters hast thou there?—I can but thank you.
  • Messenger. These letters come from your father. 2235
  • Messenger. He cannot come, my lord; he is grievous sick.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). 'Zounds! how has he the leisure to be sick
    In such a rustling time? Who leads his power?
    Under whose government come they along? 2240
  • Messenger. His letters bear his mind, not I, my lord.
  • Messenger. He did, my lord, four days ere I set forth;
    And at the time of my departure thence
    He was much fear'd by his physicians. 2245
  • Earl of Worcester. I would the state of time had first been whole
    Ere he by sickness had been visited:
    His health was never better worth than now.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Sick now! droop now! this sickness doth infect
    The very life-blood of our enterprise; 2250
    'Tis catching hither, even to our camp.
    He writes me here, that inward sickness—
    And that his friends by deputation could not
    So soon be drawn, nor did he think it meet
    To lay so dangerous and dear a trust 2255
    On any soul removed but on his own.
    Yet doth he give us bold advertisement,
    That with our small conjunction we should on,
    To see how fortune is disposed to us;
    For, as he writes, there is no quailing now. 2260
    Because the king is certainly possess'd
    Of all our purposes. What say you to it?
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). A perilous gash, a very limb lopp'd off:
    And yet, in faith, it is not; his present want 2265
    Seems more than we shall find it: were it good
    To set the exact wealth of all our states
    All at one cast? to set so rich a main
    On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?
    It were not good; for therein should we read 2270
    The very bottom and the soul of hope,
    The very list, the very utmost bound
    Of all our fortunes.
  • Earl of Douglas. 'Faith, and so we should;
    Where now remains a sweet reversion: 2275
    We may boldly spend upon the hope of what
    Is to come in:
    A comfort of retirement lives in this.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). A rendezvous, a home to fly unto.
    If that the devil and mischance look big 2280
    Upon the maidenhead of our affairs.
  • Earl of Worcester. But yet I would your father had been here.
    The quality and hair of our attempt
    Brooks no division: it will be thought
    By some, that know not why he is away, 2285
    That wisdom, loyalty and mere dislike
    Of our proceedings kept the earl from hence:
    And think how such an apprehension
    May turn the tide of fearful faction
    And breed a kind of question in our cause; 2290
    For well you know we of the offering side
    Must keep aloof from strict arbitrement,
    And stop all sight-holes, every loop from whence
    The eye of reason may pry in upon us:
    This absence of your father's draws a curtain, 2295
    That shows the ignorant a kind of fear
    Before not dreamt of.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). You strain too far.
    I rather of his absence make this use:
    It lends a lustre and more great opinion, 2300
    A larger dare to our great enterprise,
    Than if the earl were here; for men must think,
    If we without his help can make a head
    To push against a kingdom, with his help
    We shall o'erturn it topsy-turvy down. 2305
    Yet all goes well, yet all our joints are whole.
  • Earl of Douglas. As heart can think: there is not such a word
    Spoke of in Scotland as this term of fear.


  • Vernon. Pray God my news be worth a welcome, lord.
    The Earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong,
    Is marching hitherwards; with him Prince John.
  • Vernon. And further, I have learn'd, 2315
    The king himself in person is set forth,
    Or hitherwards intended speedily,
    With strong and mighty preparation.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). He shall be welcome too. Where is his son,
    The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales, 2320
    And his comrades, that daff'd the world aside,
    And bid it pass?
  • Vernon. All furnish'd, all in arms;
    All plumed like estridges that with the wind
    Baited like eagles having lately bathed; 2325
    Glittering in golden coats, like images;
    As full of spirit as the month of May,
    And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer;
    Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls.
    I saw young Harry, with his beaver on, 2330
    His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd
    Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
    And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
    As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
    To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus 2335
    And witch the world with noble horsemanship.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). No more, no more: worse than the sun in March,
    This praise doth nourish agues. Let them come:
    They come like sacrifices in their trim,
    And to the fire-eyed maid of smoky war 2340
    All hot and bleeding will we offer them:
    The mailed Mars shall on his altar sit
    Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire
    To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh
    And yet not ours. Come, let me taste my horse, 2345
    Who is to bear me like a thunderbolt
    Against the bosom of the Prince of Wales:
    Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse,
    Meet and ne'er part till one drop down a corse.
    O that Glendower were come! 2350
  • Vernon. There is more news:
    I learn'd in Worcester, as I rode along,
    He cannot draw his power this fourteen days.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Forty let it be:
    My father and Glendower being both away,
    The powers of us may serve so great a day 2360
    Come, let us take a muster speedily:
    Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.
  • Earl of Douglas. Talk not of dying: I am out of fear
    Of death or death's hand for this one-half year.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

A public road near Coventry.

      next scene .


  • Falstaff. Bardolph, get thee before to Coventry; fill me a
    bottle of sack: our soldiers shall march through;
    we'll to Sutton Co'fil' tonight.
  • Falstaff. An if it do, take it for thy labour; and if it make
    twenty, take them all; I'll answer the coinage. Bid
    my lieutenant Peto meet me at town's end. 2375


  • Falstaff. If I be not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a soused
    gurnet. I have misused the king's press damnably.
    I have got, in exchange of a hundred and fifty 2380
    soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds. I press me
    none but good house-holders, yeoman's sons; inquire
    me out contracted bachelors, such as had been asked
    twice on the banns; such a commodity of warm slaves,
    as had as lieve hear the devil as a drum; such as 2385
    fear the report of a caliver worse than a struck
    fowl or a hurt wild-duck. I pressed me none but such
    toasts-and-butter, with hearts in their bellies no
    bigger than pins' heads, and they have bought out
    their services; and now my whole charge consists of 2390
    ancients, corporals, lieutenants, gentlemen of
    companies, slaves as ragged as Lazarus in the
    painted cloth, where the glutton's dogs licked his
    sores; and such as indeed were never soldiers, but
    discarded unjust serving-men, younger sons to 2395
    younger brothers, revolted tapsters and ostlers
    trade-fallen, the cankers of a calm world and a
    long peace, ten times more dishonourable ragged than
    an old faced ancient: and such have I, to fill up
    the rooms of them that have bought out their 2400
    services, that you would think that I had a hundred
    and fifty tattered prodigals lately come from
    swine-keeping, from eating draff and husks. A mad
    fellow met me on the way and told me I had unloaded
    all the gibbets and pressed the dead bodies. No eye 2405
    hath seen such scarecrows. I'll not march through
    Coventry with them, that's flat: nay, and the
    villains march wide betwixt the legs, as if they had
    gyves on; for indeed I had the most of them out of
    prison. There's but a shirt and a half in all my 2410
    company; and the half shirt is two napkins tacked
    together and thrown over the shoulders like an
    herald's coat without sleeves; and the shirt, to say
    the truth, stolen from my host at Saint Alban's, or
    the red-nose innkeeper of Daventry. But that's all 2415
    one; they'll find linen enough on every hedge.


  • Henry V. How now, blown Jack! how now, quilt!
  • Falstaff. What, Hal! how now, mad wag! what a devil dost thou
    in Warwickshire? My good Lord of Westmoreland, I 2420
    cry you mercy: I thought your honour had already been
    at Shrewsbury.
  • Earl of Westmoreland. Faith, Sir John,'tis more than time that I were
    there, and you too; but my powers are there already.
    The king, I can tell you, looks for us all: we must 2425
    away all night.
  • Falstaff. Tut, never fear me: I am as vigilant as a cat to
    steal cream.
  • Henry V. I think, to steal cream indeed, for thy theft hath
    already made thee butter. But tell me, Jack, whose 2430
    fellows are these that come after?
  • Henry V. I did never see such pitiful rascals.
  • Falstaff. Tut, tut; good enough to toss; food for powder, food
    for powder; they'll fill a pit as well as better: 2435
    tush, man, mortal men, mortal men.
  • Falstaff. 'Faith, for their poverty, I know not where they had
    that; and for their bareness, I am sure they never 2440
    learned that of me.
  • Henry V. No I'll be sworn; unless you call three fingers on
    the ribs bare. But, sirrah, make haste: Percy is
    already in the field.
  • Falstaff. What, is the king encamped? 2445
  • Falstaff. Well,
    To the latter end of a fray and the beginning of a feast
    Fits a dull fighter and a keen guest.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.

      next scene .


  • Earl of Douglas. You do not counsel well:
    You speak it out of fear and cold heart.
  • Vernon. Do me no slander, Douglas: by my life,
    And I dare well maintain it with my life,
    If well-respected honour bid me on, 2465
    I hold as little counsel with weak fear
    As you, my lord, or any Scot that this day lives:
    Let it be seen to-morrow in the battle
    Which of us fears.
  • Vernon. Come, come it nay not be. I wonder much,
    Being men of such great leading as you are,
    That you foresee not what impediments 2475
    Drag back our expedition: certain horse
    Of my cousin Vernon's are not yet come up:
    Your uncle Worcester's horse came but today;
    And now their pride and mettle is asleep,
    Their courage with hard labour tame and dull, 2480
    That not a horse is half the half of himself.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). So are the horses of the enemy
    In general, journey-bated and brought low:
    The better part of ours are full of rest.
  • Earl of Worcester. The number of the king exceedeth ours: 2485
    For God's sake. cousin, stay till all come in.

[The trumpet sounds a parley]


  • Blunt. I come with gracious offers from the king,
    if you vouchsafe me hearing and respect. 2490
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Welcome, Sir Walter Blunt; and would to God
    You were of our determination!
    Some of us love you well; and even those some
    Envy your great deservings and good name,
    Because you are not of our quality, 2495
    But stand against us like an enemy.
  • Blunt. And God defend but still I should stand so,
    So long as out of limit and true rule
    You stand against anointed majesty.
    But to my charge. The king hath sent to know 2500
    The nature of your griefs, and whereupon
    You conjure from the breast of civil peace
    Such bold hostility, teaching his duteous land
    Audacious cruelty. If that the king
    Have any way your good deserts forgot, 2505
    Which he confesseth to be manifold,
    He bids you name your griefs; and with all speed
    You shall have your desires with interest
    And pardon absolute for yourself and these
    Herein misled by your suggestion. 2510
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). The king is kind; and well we know the king
    Knows at what time to promise, when to pay.
    My father and my uncle and myself
    Did give him that same royalty he wears;
    And when he was not six and twenty strong, 2515
    Sick in the world's regard, wretched and low,
    A poor unminded outlaw sneaking home,
    My father gave him welcome to the shore;
    And when he heard him swear and vow to God
    He came but to be Duke of Lancaster, 2520
    To sue his livery and beg his peace,
    With tears of innocency and terms of zeal,
    My father, in kind heart and pity moved,
    Swore him assistance and perform'd it too.
    Now when the lords and barons of the realm 2525
    Perceived Northumberland did lean to him,
    The more and less came in with cap and knee;
    Met him in boroughs, cities, villages,
    Attended him on bridges, stood in lanes,
    Laid gifts before him, proffer'd him their oaths, 2530
    Gave him their heirs, as pages follow'd him
    Even at the heels in golden multitudes.
    He presently, as greatness knows itself,
    Steps me a little higher than his vow
    Made to my father, while his blood was poor, 2535
    Upon the naked shore at Ravenspurgh;
    And now, forsooth, takes on him to reform
    Some certain edicts and some strait decrees
    That lie too heavy on the commonwealth,
    Cries out upon abuses, seems to weep 2540
    Over his country's wrongs; and by this face,
    This seeming brow of justice, did he win
    The hearts of all that he did angle for;
    Proceeded further; cut me off the heads
    Of all the favourites that the absent king 2545
    In deputation left behind him here,
    When he was personal in the Irish war.
  • Blunt. Tut, I came not to hear this.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Then to the point.
    In short time after, he deposed the king; 2550
    Soon after that, deprived him of his life;
    And in the neck of that, task'd the whole state:
    To make that worse, suffer'd his kinsman March,
    Who is, if every owner were well placed,
    Indeed his king, to be engaged in Wales, 2555
    There without ransom to lie forfeited;
    Disgraced me in my happy victories,
    Sought to entrap me by intelligence;
    Rated mine uncle from the council-board;
    In rage dismiss'd my father from the court; 2560
    Broke oath on oath, committed wrong on wrong,
    And in conclusion drove us to seek out
    This head of safety; and withal to pry
    Into his title, the which we find
    Too indirect for long continuance. 2565
  • Blunt. Shall I return this answer to the king?
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Not so, Sir Walter: we'll withdraw awhile.
    Go to the king; and let there be impawn'd
    Some surety for a safe return again,
    And in the morning early shall my uncle 2570
    Bring him our purposes: and so farewell.
  • Blunt. I would you would accept of grace and love.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 4

York. The ARCHBISHOP’S palace.



  • Archbishop Scroop. Hie, good Sir Michael; bear this sealed brief
    With winged haste to the lord marshal;
    This to my cousin Scroop, and all the rest
    To whom they are directed. If you knew 2580
    How much they do to import, you would make haste.
  • Archbishop Scroop. Like enough you do.
    To-morrow, good Sir Michael, is a day 2585
    Wherein the fortune of ten thousand men
    Must bide the touch; for, sir, at Shrewsbury,
    As I am truly given to understand,
    The king with mighty and quick-raised power
    Meets with Lord Harry: and, I fear, Sir Michael, 2590
    What with the sickness of Northumberland,
    Whose power was in the first proportion,
    And what with Owen Glendower's absence thence,
    Who with them was a rated sinew too
    And comes not in, o'er-ruled by prophecies, 2595
    I fear the power of Percy is too weak
    To wage an instant trial with the king.
  • Sir Michael. Why, my good lord, you need not fear;
    There is Douglas and Lord Mortimer.
  • Sir Michael. But there is Mordake, Vernon, Lord Harry Percy,
    And there is my Lord of Worcester and a head
    Of gallant warriors, noble gentlemen.
  • Archbishop Scroop. And so there is: but yet the king hath drawn
    The special head of all the land together: 2605
    The Prince of Wales, Lord John of Lancaster,
    The noble Westmoreland and warlike Blunt;
    And moe corrivals and dear men
    Of estimation and command in arms.
  • Sir Michael. Doubt not, my lord, they shall be well opposed. 2610
  • Archbishop Scroop. I hope no less, yet needful 'tis to fear;
    And, to prevent the worst, Sir Michael, speed:
    For if Lord Percy thrive not, ere the king
    Dismiss his power, he means to visit us,
    For he hath heard of our confederacy, 2615
    And 'tis but wisdom to make strong against him:
    Therefore make haste. I must go write again
    To other friends; and so farewell, Sir Michael.