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Henry IV, Part 1

Henry IV, Part 1 Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Enter the KING, Lord John of LANCASTER, Earl of WESTMORELAND, with others

KING

So shaken as we are, so wan with care, Find we a time for frighted peace to pant And breathe short-winded accents of new broils To be commenced in strands afar remote. No more the thirsty entrance of this soil Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood. Nor more shall trenching war channel her fields, Nor bruise her flow’rets with the armed hoofs Of hostile paces. Those opposèd eyes, Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven, All of one nature, of one substance bred, Did lately meet in the intestine shock And furious close of civil butchery Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks, March all one way and be no more opposed Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies. The edge of war, like an ill-sheathèd knife, No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends, As far as to the sepulcher of Christ— Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross We are impressèd and engaged to fight— Forthwith a power of English shall we levy, Whose arms were molded in their mothers' womb To chase these pagans in those holy fields Over whose acres walked those blessèd feet Which fourteen hundred years ago were nailed For our advantage on the bitter cross. But this our purpose now is twelve month old, And bootless ’tis to tell you we will go. Therefor we meet not now. Then let me hear Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland, What yesternight our council did decree In forwarding this dear expedience.

KING

Even though we are shaken up and weak, we should try to find time in this moment of peace to catch our breath, and as we do this we can decide about where in the world to fight next. England's soil will no longer be wet with our own soldiers' blood; her fields will no longer be ruined by the invasions of war; and her flowers will no longer be crushed by the hooves of the warhorses. The two sides of this war—made up of men from the same countries, the same families even—are as similar to each other as shooting stars in the sky. Yet, even though these men have just fought against each other in a civil war and came close to destroying each other, they will now march together in a focused and orderly formation.  They will no longer stand against their friends and family. The violence of war, like a knife which has not been properly covered, will not hurt us any longer. Therefore friends, an English army will march as far as the Holy Land,  as soldiers of Christ, recruited and committed to fighting for what Jesus did for us on that cross. Our soldiers were born to remove atheists from the holy fields that Jesus walked on—as the feet which touched this sacred ground were nailed to the cross fourteen hundred years ago to redeem us of our sins. But we have been planning this trip for a year, and it is useless to tell you we are going as you already know—but that's not why we've met. Tell me now, my noble cousin Westmoreland: what did the Council decide last night about this vital expedition?

WESTMORELAND

My liege, this haste was hot in question, And many limits of the charge set down But yesternight: when all athwart there came A post from Wales loaden with heavy news, Whose worst was that the noble Mortimer, Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight Against the irregular and wild Glendower, Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken, A thousand of his people butcherèd, Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse, Such beastly shameless transformation By those Welshwomen done, as may not be Without much shame retold or spoken of.

WESTMORELAND

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KING

It seems then that the tidings of this broilBrake off our business for the Holy Land.

KING

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WESTMORELAND

This matched with other did, my gracious lord. For more uneven and unwelcome news Came from the north and thus it did import: On Holy-rood Day, the gallant Hotspur there, Young Harry Percy, and brave Archibald, That ever valiant and approvèd Scot, At Holmedon met, where they did spend A sad and bloody hour— As by discharge of their artillery And shape of likelihood the news was told; For he that brought them, in the very heat And pride of their contention did take horse, Uncertain of the issue any way.

WESTMORELAND

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KING

Here is a dear, a true-industrious friend, Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse. Stained with the variation of each soil Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours, And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news. The Earl of Douglas is discomfited; Ten thousand bold Scots, two-and-twenty knights, Balked in their own blood, did Sir Walter see On Holmedon’s plains . Of prisoners Hotspur took Mordake, Earl of Fife, and eldest son To beaten Douglas, and the Earl of Atholl, Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith. And is not this an honorable spoil? A gallant prize? Ha, cousin, is it not?

KING

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WESTMORELAND

In faith, it is a conquest for a prince to boast of.

WESTMORELAND

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KING

Yea, there thou mak’st me sad, and mak’st me sin In envy that my Lord Northumberland Should be the father to so blest a son, A son who is the theme of Honor’s tongue, Amongst a grove the very straightest plant, Who is sweet Fortune’s minion and her pride; Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him, See riot and dishonor stain the brow Of my young Harry. O, that it could be proved That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged In cradle-clothes our children where they lay, And called mine “Percy,” his “Plantagenet”! Then would I have his Harry, and he mine. But let him from my thoughts. What think you, coz, Of this young Percy’s pride? The prisoners, Which he in this adventure hath surprised To his own use he keeps, and sends me word I shall have none but Mordake, Earl of Fife.

KING

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WESTMORELAND

This is his uncle’s teaching. This is Worcester, Malevolent to you in all aspects, Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up The crest of youth against your dignity.

WESTMORELAND

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KING

But I have sent for him to answer this. And for this cause awhile we must neglect Our holy purpose to Jerusalem. Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we Will hold at Windsor. So inform the lords. But come yourself with speed to us again, For more is to be said and to be done Than out of anger can be utterèd.

KING

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WESTMORELAND

I will, my liege.

WESTMORELAND

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Exeunt

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Lani strange
About the Translator: Lani Strange

Lani is currently studying for an MA in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe. She has a BA in English and Latin Literature from the University of Warwick and worked as a Teacher of Drama for a year in between her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. She has a love for all things theatrical and spends all of her free time either watching theatre or taking part in it herself.