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Henry IV, Part 1 - Act 1, scene 1
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Navigate this workHenry IV, Part 1 - Act 1, scene 1
Act 1, scene 1
King Henry meets with his advisers to discuss his proposed crusade to the Holy Land, but the discussion turns instead to new battles on England’s borders. In Wales, an English nobleman named Mortimer has been captured by Owen Glendower; in the north, England’s forces have prevailed over the Scots, but Hotspur, a young English nobleman, refuses to yield his prisoners to King Henry. In the face of these crises, the crusade is once again put off as the king calls a meeting at Windsor.Enter the King, Lord John of Lancaster, ⌜and the⌝ Earl
of Westmoreland, with others.
0001 So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
0002 Find we a time for frighted peace to pant
0003 And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
0004 To be commenced in strands afar remote.
0005 5 No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
0006 Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood.
0007 No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
0008 Nor bruise her flow’rets with the armèd hoofs
0009 Of hostile paces. Those opposèd eyes,
0010 10 Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
0011 All of one nature, of one substance bred,
0012 Did lately meet in the intestine shock
0013 And furious close of civil butchery,
0014 Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,
0015 15 March all one way and be no more opposed
0016 Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies.
0017 The edge of war, like an ill-sheathèd knife,
0018 No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
0019 As far as to the sepulcher of Christ—
0020 20 Whose soldier now, under whose blessèd cross
0021 We are impressèd and engaged to fight—
p. 90022 Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,
0023 Whose arms were molded in their mothers’ womb
0024 To chase these pagans in those holy fields
0025 25 Over whose acres walked those blessèd feet
0026 Which fourteen hundred years ago were nailed
0027 For our advantage on the bitter cross.
0028 But this our purpose now is twelve month old,
0029 And bootless ’tis to tell you we will go.
0030 30 Therefor we meet not now. Then let me hear
0031 Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,
0032 What yesternight our council did decree
0033 In forwarding this dear expedience.
0034 My liege, this haste was hot in question,
0035 35 And many limits of the charge set down
0036 But yesternight, when all athwart there came
0037 A post from Wales loaden with heavy news,
0038 Whose worst was that the noble Mortimer,
0039 Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
0040 40 Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
0041 Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
0042 A thousand of his people butcherèd,
0043 Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse,
0044 Such beastly shameless transformation
0045 45 By those Welshwomen done, as may not be
0046 Without much shame retold or spoken of.
0047 It seems then that the tidings of this broil
0048 Brake off our business for the Holy Land.
0049 This matched with other did, my gracious lord.
0050 50 For more uneven and unwelcome news
0051 Came from the north, and thus it did import:
0052 On Holy-rood Day the gallant Hotspur there,
0053 Young Harry Percy, and brave Archibald,
0054 That ever valiant and approvèd Scot,
p. 110055 55 At Holmedon met, where they did spend
0056 A sad and bloody hour—
0057 As by discharge of their artillery
0058 And shape of likelihood the news was told,
0059 For he that brought them, in the very heat
0060 60 And pride of their contention did take horse,
0061 Uncertain of the issue any way.
0062 Here is ⌜a⌝ dear, a true-industrious friend,
0063 Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
0064 Stained with the variation of each soil
0065 65 Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours,
0066 And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
0067 The Earl of Douglas is discomfited;
0068 Ten thousand bold Scots, two-and-twenty knights,
0069 Balked in their own blood, did Sir Walter see
0070 70 On Holmedon’s plains. Of prisoners Hotspur took
0071 Mordake, Earl of Fife and eldest son
0072 To beaten Douglas, and the Earl of Atholl,
0073 Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
0074 And is not this an honorable spoil?
0075 75 A gallant prize? Ha, cousin, is it not?
0076 In faith, it is a conquest for a prince to boast of.
0077 Yea, there thou mak’st me sad, and mak’st me sin
0078 In envy that my Lord Northumberland
0079 Should be the father to so blest a son,
0080 80 A son who is the theme of Honor’s tongue,
0081 Amongst a grove the very straightest plant,
0082 Who is sweet Fortune’s minion and her pride;
0083 Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him,
0084 See riot and dishonor stain the brow
0085 85 Of my young Harry. O, that it could be proved
0086 That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged
0087 In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,
p. 130088 And called mine “Percy,” his “Plantagenet”!
0089 Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.
0090 90 But let him from my thoughts. What think you, coz,
0091 Of this young Percy’s pride? The prisoners
0092 Which he in this adventure hath surprised
0093 To his own use he keeps, and sends me word
0094 I shall have none but Mordake, Earl of Fife.
0095 95 This is his uncle’s teaching. This is Worcester,
0096 Malevolent to you in all aspects,
0097 Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up
0098 The crest of youth against your dignity.
0099 But I have sent for him to answer this.
0100 100 And for this cause awhile we must neglect
0101 Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.
0102 Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we
0103 Will hold at Windsor. So inform the lords.
0104 But come yourself with speed to us again,
0105 105 For more is to be said and to be done
0106 Than out of anger can be utterèd.
WESTMORELAND 0107 I will, my liege.