Henry IV, Part 2 - Act 1, scene 1
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Act 1, scene 1
Northumberland, who had pleaded illness as an excuse for not appearing at the battle of Shrewsbury, learns that his son, Hotspur, is dead and that King Henry’s troops are up in arms. He throws away his crutch and prepares to do battle.Enter the Lord Bardolph at one door.
0043 Who keeps the gate here, ho?
⌜Enter the Porter.⌝
0044 Where is the Earl?
0045 What shall I say you are?
LORD BARDOLPH 0046 Tell thou the Earl
0047 5 That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.
0048 His Lordship is walked forth into the orchard.
0049 Please it your Honor knock but at the gate
0050 And he himself will answer.
Enter the Earl Northumberland, ⌜his head wrapped in a
kerchief and supporting himself with a crutch.⌝
LORD BARDOLPH 0051 Here comes the Earl.
0052 10 What news, Lord Bardolph? Every minute now
0053 Should be the father of some stratagem.
0054 The times are wild. Contention, like a horse
0056 And bears down all before him.
LORD BARDOLPH 0057 15 Noble earl,
0058 I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
0059 Good, an God will!
LORD BARDOLPH 0060 As good as heart can wish.
0061 The King is almost wounded to the death,
0062 20 And, in the fortune of my lord your son,
0063 Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts
0064 Killed by the hand of Douglas; young Prince John
0065 And Westmoreland and Stafford fled the field;
0066 And Harry Monmouth’s brawn, the hulk Sir John,
0067 25 Is prisoner to your son. O, such a day,
0068 So fought, so followed, and so fairly won,
0069 Came not till now to dignify the times
0070 Since Caesar’s fortunes.
NORTHUMBERLAND 0071 How is this derived?
0072 30 Saw you the field? Came you from Shrewsbury?
0073 I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence,
0074 A gentleman well bred and of good name,
0075 That freely rendered me these news for true.
0076 Here comes my servant Travers, who I sent
0077 35 On Tuesday last to listen after news.
0078 My lord, I overrode him on the way,
0079 And he is furnished with no certainties
0080 More than he haply may retail from me.
0081 Now, Travers, what good tidings comes with you?
0082 40 My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turned me back
0084 Outrode me. After him came spurring hard
0085 A gentleman, almost forspent with speed,
0086 That stopped by me to breathe his bloodied horse.
0087 45 He asked the way to Chester, and of him
0088 I did demand what news from Shrewsbury.
0089 He told me that rebellion had bad luck
0090 And that young Harry Percy’s spur was cold.
0091 With that he gave his able horse the head
0092 50 And, bending forward, struck his armèd heels
0093 Against the panting sides of his poor jade
0094 Up to the rowel-head, and starting so
0095 He seemed in running to devour the way,
0096 Staying no longer question.
NORTHUMBERLAND 0097 55 Ha? Again:
0098 Said he young Harry Percy’s spur was cold?
0099 Of Hotspur, Coldspur? That rebellion
0100 Had met ill luck?
LORD BARDOLPH 0101 My lord, I’ll tell you what:
0102 60 If my young lord your son have not the day,
0103 Upon mine honor, for a silken point
0104 I’ll give my barony. Never talk of it.
0105 Why should that gentleman that rode by Travers
0106 Give then such instances of loss?
LORD BARDOLPH 0107 65 Who, he?
0108 He was some hilding fellow that had stol’n
0109 The horse he rode on and, upon my life,
0110 Spoke at a venture.
0111 Look, here comes more news.
0112 70 Yea, this man’s brow, like to a title leaf,
0113 Foretells the nature of a tragic volume.
0115 Hath left a witnessed usurpation.—
0116 Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
0117 75 I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord,
0118 Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask
0119 To fright our party.
NORTHUMBERLAND 0120 How doth my son and brother?
0121 Thou tremblest, and the whiteness in thy cheek
0122 80 Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
0123 Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
0124 So dull, so dead in look, so woebegone,
0125 Drew Priam’s curtain in the dead of night
0126 And would have told him half his Troy was burnt;
0127 85 But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue,
0128 And I my Percy’s death ere thou report’st it.
0129 This thou wouldst say: “Your son did thus and thus;
0130 Your brother thus; so fought the noble Douglas”—
0131 Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds.
0132 90 But in the end, to stop my ear indeed,
0133 Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
0134 Ending with “Brother, son, and all are dead.”
0135 Douglas is living, and your brother yet,
0136 But for my lord your son—
NORTHUMBERLAND 0137 95 Why, he is dead.
0138 See what a ready tongue suspicion hath!
0139 He that but fears the thing he would not know
0140 Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others’ eyes
0141 That what he feared is chancèd. Yet speak,
0142 100 Morton.
0143 Tell thou an earl his divination lies,
0144 And I will take it as a sweet disgrace
0145 And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
0146 You are too great to be by me gainsaid,
0147 105 Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.
0148 Yet, for all this, say not that Percy’s dead.
0149 I see a strange confession in thine eye.
0150 Thou shak’st thy head and hold’st it fear or sin
0151 To speak a truth. If he be slain, ⟨say so.⟩
0152 110 The tongue offends not that reports his death;
0153 And he doth sin that doth belie the dead,
0154 Not he which says the dead is not alive.
0155 Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
0156 Hath but a losing office, and his tongue
0157 115 Sounds ever after as a sullen bell
0158 Remembered tolling a departing friend.
0159 I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
MORTON, ⌜to Northumberland⌝
0160 I am sorry I should force you to believe
0161 That which I would to God I had not seen,
0162 120 But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,
0163 Rend’ring faint quittance, wearied and outbreathed,
0164 To Harry Monmouth, whose swift wrath beat down
0165 The never-daunted Percy to the earth,
0166 From whence with life he never more sprung up.
0167 125 In few, his death, whose spirit lent a fire
0168 Even to the dullest peasant in his camp,
0169 Being bruited once, took fire and heat away
0170 From the best-tempered courage in his troops;
0171 For from his mettle was his party steeled,
0172 130 Which, once in him abated, all the rest
0173 Turned on themselves, like dull and heavy lead.
0174 And as the thing that’s heavy in itself
0175 Upon enforcement flies with greatest speed,
0176 So did our men, heavy in Hotspur’s loss,
0177 135 Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear
0178 That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim
0179 Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,
0181 So soon ta’en prisoner; and that furious Scot,
0182 140 The bloody Douglas, whose well-laboring sword
0183 Had three times slain th’ appearance of the King,
0184 Gan vail his stomach and did grace the shame
0185 Of those that turned their backs and in his flight,
0186 Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
0187 145 Is that the King hath won and hath sent out
0188 A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
0189 Under the conduct of young Lancaster
0190 And Westmoreland. This is the news at full.
0191 For this I shall have time enough to mourn.
0192 150 In poison there is physic, and these news,
0193 Having been well, that would have made me sick,
0194 Being sick, have in some measure made me well.
0195 And as the wretch whose fever-weakened joints,
0196 Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,
0197 155 Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
0198 Out of his keeper’s arms, even so my limbs,
0199 Weakened with grief, being now enraged with
0201 Are thrice themselves. Hence therefore, thou
0202 160 nice crutch.⌜He throws down his crutch.⌝
0203 A scaly gauntlet now with joints of steel
0204 Must glove this hand. And hence, thou sickly
0205 coif.⌜He removes his kerchief.⌝
0206 Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
0207 165 Which princes, fleshed with conquest, aim to hit.
0208 Now bind my brows with iron, and approach
0209 The ragged’st hour that time and spite dare bring
0210 To frown upon th’ enraged Northumberland.
0211 Let heaven kiss Earth! Now let not Nature’s hand
0212 170 Keep the wild flood confined. Let order die,
0213 And let this world no longer be a stage
0215 But let one spirit of the firstborn Cain
0216 Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set
0217 175 On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
0218 And darkness be the burier of the dead.
0219 [This strainèd passion doth you wrong, my lord.]
0220 Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honor.
0221 The lives of all your loving complices
0222 180 ⟨Lean⟩ on ⟨your⟩ health, the which, if you give o’er
0223 To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
0224 ⟨You cast th’ event of war, my noble lord,
0225 And summed the accompt of chance before you
0227 185 “Let us make head.” It was your presurmise
0228 That in the dole of blows your son might drop.
0229 You knew he walked o’er perils on an edge,
0230 More likely to fall in than to get o’er.
0231 You were advised his flesh was capable
0232 190 Of wounds and scars, and that his forward spirit
0233 Would lift him where most trade of danger
0235 Yet did you say “Go forth,” and none of this,
0236 Though strongly apprehended, could restrain
0237 195 The stiff-borne action. What hath then befall’n,
0238 Or what ⌜did⌝ this bold enterprise bring forth,
0239 More than that being which was like to be?⟩
0240 We all that are engagèd to this loss
0241 Knew that we ventured on such dangerous seas
0242 200 That if we wrought out life, ’twas ten to one;
0243 And yet we ventured, for the gain proposed
0244 Choked the respect of likely peril feared;
0245 And since we are o’erset, venture again.
0246 Come, we will all put forth, body and goods.
0247 205 ’Tis more than time.—And, my most noble lord,
0248 I hear for certain, and dare speak the truth:
0249 ⟨The gentle Archbishop of York is up
0250 With well-appointed powers. He is a man
0251 Who with a double surety binds his followers.
0252 210 My lord your son had only but the corpse,
0253 But shadows and the shows of men, to fight;
0254 For that same word “rebellion” did divide
0255 The action of their bodies from their souls,
0256 And they did fight with queasiness, constrained,
0257 215 As men drink potions, that their weapons only
0258 Seemed on our side. But, for their spirits and
0260 This word “rebellion,” it had froze them up
0261 As fish are in a pond. But now the Bishop
0262 220 Turns insurrection to religion.
0263 Supposed sincere and holy in his thoughts,
0264 He’s followed both with body and with mind,
0265 And doth enlarge his rising with the blood
0266 Of fair King Richard, scraped from Pomfret
0267 225 stones;
0268 Derives from heaven his quarrel and his cause;
0269 Tells them he doth bestride a bleeding land,
0270 Gasping for life under great Bolingbroke;
0271 And more and less do flock to follow him.⟩
0272 230 I knew of this before, but, to speak truth,
0273 This present grief had wiped it from my mind.
0274 Go in with me and counsel every man
0275 The aptest way for safety and revenge.
0276 Get posts and letters, and make friends with speed.
0277 235 Never so few, and never yet more need.