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History of Henry IV, Part I

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Act V, Scene 2

The rebel camp.



  • Earl of Worcester. O, no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard, 2770
    The liberal and kind offer of the king.
  • Earl of Worcester. Then are we all undone.
    It is not possible, it cannot be,
    The king should keep his word in loving us; 2775
    He will suspect us still and find a time
    To punish this offence in other faults:
    Suspicion all our lives shall be stuck full of eyes;
    For treason is but trusted like the fox,
    Who, ne'er so tame, so cherish'd and lock'd up, 2780
    Will have a wild trick of his ancestors.
    Look how we can, or sad or merrily,
    Interpretation will misquote our looks,
    And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,
    The better cherish'd, still the nearer death. 2785
    My nephew's trespass may be well forgot;
    it hath the excuse of youth and heat of blood,
    And an adopted name of privilege,
    A hair-brain'd Hotspur, govern'd by a spleen:
    All his offences live upon my head 2790
    And on his father's; we did train him on,
    And, his corruption being ta'en from us,
    We, as the spring of all, shall pay for all.
    Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know,
    In any case, the offer of the king. 2795
  • Vernon. Deliver what you will; I'll say 'tis so.
    Here comes your cousin.



  • Earl of Worcester. I told him gently of our grievances,
    Of his oath-breaking; which he mended thus, 2810
    By now forswearing that he is forsworn:
    He calls us rebels, traitors; and will scourge
    With haughty arms this hateful name in us.

[Re-enter the EARL OF DOUGLAS]

  • Earl of Douglas. Arm, gentlemen; to arms! for I have thrown 2815
    A brave defiance in King Henry's teeth,
    And Westmoreland, that was engaged, did bear it;
    Which cannot choose but bring him quickly on.
  • Earl of Worcester. The Prince of Wales stepp'd forth before the king,
    And, nephew, challenged you to single fight. 2820
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). O, would the quarrel lay upon our heads,
    And that no man might draw short breath today
    But I and Harry Monmouth! Tell me, tell me,
    How show'd his tasking? seem'd it in contempt?
  • Vernon. No, by my soul; I never in my life 2825
    Did hear a challenge urged more modestly,
    Unless a brother should a brother dare
    To gentle exercise and proof of arms.
    He gave you all the duties of a man;
    Trimm'd up your praises with a princely tongue, 2830
    Spoke to your deservings like a chronicle,
    Making you ever better than his praise
    By still dispraising praise valued in you;
    And, which became him like a prince indeed,
    He made a blushing cital of himself; 2835
    And chid his truant youth with such a grace
    As if he master'd there a double spirit.
    Of teaching and of learning instantly.
    There did he pause: but let me tell the world,
    If he outlive the envy of this day, 2840
    England did never owe so sweet a hope,
    So much misconstrued in his wantonness.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Cousin, I think thou art enamoured
    On his follies: never did I hear
    Of any prince so wild a libertine. 2845
    But be he as he will, yet once ere night
    I will embrace him with a soldier's arm,
    That he shall shrink under my courtesy.
    Arm, arm with speed: and, fellows, soldiers, friends,
    Better consider what you have to do 2850
    Than I, that have not well the gift of tongue,
    Can lift your blood up with persuasion.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord, here are letters for you.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). I cannot read them now. 2855
    O gentlemen, the time of life is short!
    To spend that shortness basely were too long,
    If 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; 2860
    If die, brave death, when princes die with us!
    Now, for our consciences, the arms are fair,
    When the intent of bearing them is just.

[Enter another Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord, prepare; the king comes on apace. 2865
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). I thank him, that he cuts me from my tale,
    For I profess not talking; only this—
    Let 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 2870
    In the adventure of this perilous day.
    Now, Esperance! Percy! and set on.
    Sound all the lofty instruments of war,
    And by that music let us all embrace;
    For, heaven to earth, some of us never shall 2875
    A second time do such a courtesy.

[The trumpets sound. They embrace, and exeunt]