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Henry IV, Part 1

Henry IV, Part 1 Translation Act 1, Scene 3

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Enter the KING, NORTHUMBERLAND, WORCESTER, HOTSPUR, Sir Walter BLUNT, with others

KING

My blood hath been too cold and temperate, Unapt to stir at these indignities, And you have found me, for accordingly You tread upon my patience. But be sure I will from henceforth rather be myself, Mighty and to be feared, than my condition, Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down, And therefore lost that title of respect Which the proud soul ne'er pays but to the proud.

KING

I have been too cold and moderate, and I haven't reacted to these shameful deeds like I should have. You have noticed this, and you have abused my patience. But know this: from now on I will act like a king again, powerful and feared. I will not allow my natural characteristics, which are soft and light, to lose me the respect which powerful people will only give to other powerful people. 

WORCESTER

Our house, my sovereign liege, little deserves The scourge of greatness to be used on it, And that same greatness too which our own hands Have holp to make so portly.

WORCESTER

Your Majesty, our family—the Percy family—doesn't deserve to be punished by you and your power, as we helped you to get to this position of power in the first place. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord—

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord—

KING

Worcester, get thee gone; for I do see Danger and disobedience in thine eye. O sir, your presence is too bold and peremptory, And majesty might never yet endure The moody frontier of a servant brow. You have good leave to leave us. When we need Your use and counsel, we shall send for you.

KING

Worcester, leave now, for I can see danger and disobedience in your eye. Oh sir, you speak far too boldly and arrogantly, and royalty should never have to be worried about a servant's threatening frown. You have full permission to leave us. When we need your help and advice, we will send for you. 

Exit WORCESTER

KING

[To NORTHUMBERLAND] You were about to speak.

KING

[To NORTHUMBERLAND]  You were about to speak.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Yea, my good lord. Those prisoners in your Highness' name demanded, Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took, Were, as he says, not with such strength denied As is delivered to your Majesty: Either envy, therefore, or misprison Is guilty of this fault, and not my son.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Yes, my good lord. The prisoners that you asked for, which Harry Percy captured at Holmedon, were not kept away from you out of spite, as has been reported to you. Whoever told you this has just done it because they are jealous, or because there's been a misunderstanding. My son's done nothing wrong. 

HOTSPUR

My liege, I did deny no prisoners. But I remember, when the fight was done, When I was dry with rage and extreme toil, Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword, Came there a certain lord, neat, and trimly dressed, Fresh as a bridegroom, and his chin new reaped Showed like a stubble land at harvest home. He was perfumèd like a milliner, And ’twixt his finger and his thumb he held A pouncet box, which ever and anon He gave his nose and took ’t away again, Who therewith angry, when it next came there, Took it in snuff; and still he smiled and talked. And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by, He called them untaught knaves, unmannerly, To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse Betwixt the wind and his nobility. With many holiday and lady terms He questioned me; amongst the rest demanded My prisoners in your Majesty’s behalf. I then, all smarting with my wounds being cold, To be so pestered with a popinjay, Out of my grief and my impatience Answered neglectingly I know not what— He should, or he should not; for he made me mad To see him shine so brisk and smell so sweet And talk so like a waiting-gentlewoman Of guns, and drums, and wounds—God save the mark!— And telling me the sovereignest thing on earth Was parmacety for an inward bruise, And that it was great pity, so it was, This villanous saltpeter should be digged Out of the bowels of the harmless earth, Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed So cowardly, and but for these vile guns He would himself have been a soldier. This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord, I answered indirectly, as I said, And I beseech you, let not his report Come current for an accusation Betwixt my love and your high Majesty.

HOTSPUR

My lord, I didn't deny you any prisoners. But I do remember that just after the battle, when I was parched with thirst after fighting, when I was breathless, faint, and resting on my sword, a certain lord arrived. He was refined and elegantly dressed—bright like a bridegroom—and his beard was freshly cut, like a field after a harvest. He smelled very fancy. And he held a perfume box in his hand, which every so often he lifted to his nose, sniffed, and moved the box away again. He kept doing this as he continued to smile and talk to me. As the soldiers were carrying the dead bodies past us, he called them unsophisticated idiots, and rude for bringing an ugly, disgusting corpse where he could smell it. He questioned me, with his fancy, ladylike language and told me that I had to give up the prisoners to your Majesty. At that point, I was so annoyed by my unattended wounds and being pestered by that parrot, that I can't even remember what I said to him in my pain and my impatience to get away. I don't know whether I told him whether or not he could have the prisoners.  His shiny face, sweet smell, and hearing him talk about guns, drums, and wounds with the voice of a lady-in-waiting made me so angry! For God's sake! He told me that the best thing for a wound is parmaceti and that it was a pity the innocent earth had to be dug up in order to extract the key ingredient for gunpowder. He said that this gunpowder has cowardly destroyed many good, valiant men, and if it wasn't for horrible guns, he would have been a soldier himself. I answered this pointless, incoherent chatter casually, as I've already said. Please don't accept his report right away and let it ruin the relationship between me and you, your Majesty. 

BLUNT

The circumstance considered, good my lord, Whate'er Lord Harry Percy then had said To such a person and in such a place, At such a time, with all the rest retold, May reasonably die and never rise To do him wrong or any way impeach What then he said, so he unsay it now.

BLUNT

Considering the circumstances, my lord, whatever Lord Harry Percy said to that man, at such a time and place, should be allowed to be forgotten. It should never be used against him, and he should never be blamed for it, as long as he takes it all back now. 

KING

Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners, But with proviso and exception That we at our own charge shall ransom straight His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer, Who, on my soul, hath willfully betrayed The lives of those that he did lead to fight Against that great magician, damned Glendower, Whose daughter, as we hear, the Earl of March Hath lately married. Shall our coffers then Be emptied to redeem a traitor home? Shall we buy treason and indent with fears When they have lost and forfeited themselves? No, on the barren mountains let him starve, For I shall never hold that man my friend Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost To ransom home revolted Mortimer.

KING

But he is still refusing to give us the prisoners unless we agree to his terms and conditions. He says that we must pay for the ransom of his foolish brother-in-law, Mortimer, even though Mortimer willingly betrayed the soldiers that he took to fight that great magician, the cursed Glendower. We have even heard that Mortimer has recently married Glendower's daughter! Are we supposed to empty our purses just to bring a traitor home? Should I pay for treason and make a deal with a coward, when he has lost sight of even himself? No. Let him die out there. No-one who asks me to spend even a penny to save that treacherous Mortimer will be my friend. 

HOTSPUR

Revolted Mortimer! He never did fall off, my sovereign liege, But by the chance of war. To prove that true Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds, Those mouthèd wounds, which valiantly he took When on the gentle Severn’s sedgy bank In single opposition hand to hand He did confound the best part of an hour In changing hardiment with great Glendower. Three times they breathed, and three times did they drink, Upon agreement, of swift Severn’s flood, Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks, Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds And hid his crisp head in the hollow bank, Bloodstainèd with these valiant combatants. Never did bare and rotten policy Color her working with such deadly wounds, Nor could the noble Mortimer Receive so many, and all willingly. Then let not him be slandered with revolt.

HOTSPUR

Treacherous Mortimer? He never changed his allegiance, my lord, except in an accident of war. I can prove it, by describing to you all of the wounds—the gaping wounds—which he bravely received when fighting one-on-one with the great Glendower for almost an hour, exchanging brave blows. They stopped fighting three times to catch their breath, and three times to drink water from the Severn River. Even the Severn was scared of their bloody faces, and the bloody water they left behind flowed away to hide itself by the riverbank, out of sight. A traitor has never used deadly wounds to hide their treachery, and Mortimer would never have willingly received so many blows. Don't let him be falsely accused of treason.

KING

Thou dost belie him, Percy; thou dost belie him. He never did encounter with Glendower. I tell thee, he durst as well have met the devil alone As Owen Glendower for an enemy. Art thou not ashamed? But, sirrah, henceforth Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer. Send me your prisoners with the speediest means, Or you shall hear in such a kind from me As will displease you.— My lord Northumberland, We license your departure with your son.— Send us your prisoners, or you will hear of it.

KING

That's a lie, Percy, that's a lie—he never fought with Glendower. I am telling you, he would probably rather meet the devil for a fight than have Owen Glendower as his enemy. Aren't you ashamed of yourself? But, sir, from now on I don't want to hear anymore about Mortimer. Send me the prisoners as quickly as you can, or you will not enjoy my response. My lord Northumberland, you and your son are allowed to leave now. Send us the prisoners, or you will hear from us. 

Exit KING Henry, BLUNT, and train

HOTSPUR

An if the devil come and roar for them,I will not send them. I will after straightAnd tell him so, for I will ease my heart,Albeit I make a hazard of my head.

HOTSPUR

Even if the devil himself came and shouted at me, I would not hand over these prisoners. I should go after him and tell him that now, even if it costs me my head, it will relieve my heart. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

What, drunk with choler? stay and pause awhile.Here comes your uncle.

NORTHUMBERLAND

What, are you drunk with anger? Stay and think about it for a minute. Here comes your uncle. 

Enter WORCESTER

HOTSPUR

Speak of Mortimer? Zounds, I will speak of him, and let my soul Want mercy if I do not join with him. Yea, on his part I’ll empty all these veins And shed my dear blood drop by drop in the dust, But I will lift the downtrod Mortimer As high in the air as this unthankful King, As this ingrate and cankered Bolingbroke.

HOTSPUR

Not talk about Mortimer? Heavens, I will talk about him, and I'll be damned if I don't join him! I would empty all of my veins for him and watch my blood drip onto the ground, drop by drop! I will lift up the put-down Mortimer until he sits as high as this horrible King, this ungrateful and rotten Bolingbroke

NORTHUMBERLAND

[To WORCESTER] Brother, the King hath made your nephew mad.

NORTHUMBERLAND

[To WORCESTER] Brother, the King has made your nephew very angry. 

WORCESTER

Who struck this heat up after I was gone?

WORCESTER

Who started this argument after I left?

HOTSPUR

He will forsooth have all my prisoners, And when I urged the ransom once again Of my wife’s brother, then his cheek looked pale, And on my face he turned an eye of death, Trembling even at the name of Mortimer.

HOTSPUR

In truth, the King says that he is going to have all of my prisoners. When I brought up the issue of Mortimer's ransom, his cheeks turned pale, and he had a look of mortal fear on his face—that's how shook up he is just hearing Mortimer's name.

WORCESTER

I cannot blame him. Was not he proclaimedBy Richard, that dead is, the next of blood?

WORCESTER

I can't say I blame him. Didn't King Richard announce that Mortimer was next in line to the throne?

NORTHUMBERLAND

He was; I heard the proclamation. And then it was when the unhappy King— Whose wrongs in us God pardon!—did set forth Upon his Irish expedition; From whence he, intercepted, did return To be deposed and shortly murderèd.

NORTHUMBERLAND

He did; I heard the announcement. It happened right when the unlucky King Richard (God forgive us for what we did to him!) was setting out to invade Ireland. When this was interrupted, he came back to England, only to be removed from the throne and murdered soon after. 

WORCESTER

And for whose death we in the world’s wide mouthLive scandalized and foully spoken of.

WORCESTER

And now because of the role we played in King Richard's death, we are considered appalling, and the whole world speaks badly of us. 

HOTSPUR

But soft, I pray you. Did King Richard thenProclaim my brother Edmund MortimerHeir to the crown?

HOTSPUR

Hang on a minute, please. Did King Richard actually announce that my brother-in-law, Edmund Mortimer, was the next in line to the throne?

NORTHUMBERLAND

He did; myself did hear it.

NORTHUMBERLAND

He did. I heard him myself. 

HOTSPUR

Nay then, I cannot blame his cousin King That wished him on the barren mountains starve. But shall it be that you that set the crown Upon the head of this forgetful man And for his sake wear the detested blot Of murderous subornation—shall it be That you a world of curses undergo, Being the agents or base second means, The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather? O, pardon me that I descend so low To show the line and the predicament Wherein you range under this subtle King. Shall it for shame be spoken in these days, Or fill up chronicles in time to come, That men of your nobility and power Did gage them both in an unjust behalf (As both of you, God pardon it, have done) To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose, An plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke? And shall it in more shame be further spoken That you are fooled, discarded, and shook off By him for whom these shames you underwent? No, yet time serves wherein you may redeem Your banished honors and restore yourselves Into the good thoughts of the world again, Revenge the jeering and disdain’d contempt Of this proud King, who studies day and night To answer all the debt he owes to you Even with the bloody payment of your deaths. Therefore I say—

HOTSPUR

Well then, I can't blame the King for wanting Mortimer to starve out there. But is it okay that you, the men who put the crown on Henry's forgetful head—and bear the awful mark of murderous accusations for his sake—should be the subject of all the world's curses? When you were just the agents, or the instruments, in this plan? Would you blame the rope, the ladder, or the hangman even when someone is hanged? Sorry for associating you with such things, but I just wanted to show you the categories that you are ranked in, under this crafty King. Will you let people shame you in this way? Are you okay with the fact that historical accounts in the future will say that you noble and powerful men pledged yourself to an unjust cause (as you both actually did, God forgive you) to get rid of Richard—that sweet, lovely rose—and helped to plant this thorn, this wild rose, Bolingbroke? Will it be even more shameful when people realize that you have been tricked, and discarded by the person for whom you shamed yourselves in the first place? No, there is still time for you to redeem the honor you have lost, and win back your good reputations in this world. You can take revenge on the mocking and scorn of this arrogant King, who thinks all day and night about how he can repay you for your debts, and concludes that he will do so with your deaths. Therefore, I say—

WORCESTER

Peace, cousin, say no more. And now I will unclasp a secret book, And to your quick-conceiving discontents I’ll read you matter deep and dangerous, As full of peril and adventurous spirit As to o'erwalk a current roaring loud On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.

WORCESTER

Enough, nephew. Don't say anything else. I am going to tell you a secret, which has been locked away. I will unlock this secret and tell you a dark and dangerous story, which will please you in your anger. This story is full of peril and adventure, just like the feeling of walking across a fast-rushing river, balanced on an unsteady spear.

HOTSPUR

If he fall in, good night, or sink or swim! Send danger from the east unto the west, So honor cross it from the north to south, And let them grapple: O, the blood more stirs To rouse a lion than to start a hare!

HOTSPUR

If he falls in, then it's all over—it doesn't matter if he sinks or swims! Wherever this danger comes from, it's all right, as long as it provides the opportunity to win honor. It takes more courage to wake up a lion, than it does to scare a hare!

NORTHUMBERLAND

Imagination of some great exploitDrives him beyond the bounds of patience.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Thinking about this heroic adventure is making him lose his self-control. 

HOTSPUR

By heaven, methinks it were an easy leap To pluck bright honor from the pale-faced moon, Or dive into the bottom of the deep, Where fathom line could never touch the ground, And pluck up drownèd honor by the locks, So he that doth redeem her thence might wear Without corrival all her dignities. But out upon this half-faced fellowship!

HOTSPUR

By God, I feel like it would be easy to jump up and grab noble Honor off the moon's pale face. Or dive down to the bottom of the deepest ocean, and drag drowned Honor by her hair to the surface. That way the man who rescues her doesn't have to share the glory with anyone. Who wants to share glory?!

WORCESTER

[To NORTHUMBERLAND] He apprehends a world of figures here,But not the form of what he should attend.— [To HOTSPUR] Good cousin, give me audience for a while.

WORCESTER

[To NORTHUMBERLAND] He is using some lovely imagery here, but that's not what he should be paying attention to right now. 

[To HOTSPUR] Good nephew, listen to me for a while. 

HOTSPUR

I cry you mercy.

HOTSPUR

I apologize.

WORCESTER

Those same noble ScotsThat are your prisoners—

WORCESTER

The noble Scotsmen that you've taken as prisoners—

HOTSPUR

I’ll keep them all.By God, he shall not have a Scot of them.No, if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not.I’ll keep them, by this hand!

HOTSPUR

I will keep them all. I swear, the King's not getting a single Scot, not even if a Scotsman would save his soul. I swear to God, I'm keeping them!

WORCESTER

You start awayAnd lend no ear unto my purposes:Those prisoners you shall keep—

WORCESTER

You interrupt me before listening to what I have to say. You will get to keep the prisoners—

HOTSPUR

Nay, I will. That’s flat! He said he would not ransom Mortimer, Forbad my tongue to speak of Mortimer. But I will find him when he lies asleep, And in his ear I’ll hollo “Mortimer.” Nay, I’ll have a starling shall be taught to speak Nothing but “Mortimer,” and give it him To keep his anger still in motion.

HOTSPUR

Yes, I will. That's for sure! He's said that he will not pay Mortimer's ransom and has forbidden me from speaking of Mortimer. I'm going to find him when he's sleeping and shout "Mortimer" in his ear. No, better yet, I'm going to get a bird and teach it to say nothing but "Mortimer," and give it to the King to make sure he's always angry. 

WORCESTER

Hear you, cousin, a word.

WORCESTER

Listen to me, nephew, for a minute.

HOTSPUR

All studies here I solemnly defy, Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke. And that same sword-and-buckler Prince of Wales— But that I think his father loves him not And would be glad he met with some mischance— I would have him poisoned with a pot of ale.

HOTSPUR

I am going to give up all of my other interests to focus on irritating and tormenting this Bolingbroke and his unworthy son, the Prince of Wales. If I didn't think that Henry disliked his son and would be happy if something bad happened to him, I would poison his ale. 

WORCESTER

Farewell, kinsman. I’ll talk to youWhen you are better tempered to attend.

WORCESTER

Goodbye, nephew, I'll talk to you when you're in a better mood to listen. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

[To HOTSPUR] Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient foolArt thou to break into this woman’s mood,Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own!

NORTHUMBERLAND

[To HOTSPUR] You're an irritable and impatient idiot to keep chatting away like a woman, listening to no-one's voice but your own!

HOTSPUR

Why, look you, I am whipped and scourged with rods, Nettled and stung with pismires, when I hear Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke. In Richard’s time—what do you call the place? A plague upon it! It is in Gloucestershire. 'Twas where the madcap duke his uncle kept, His uncle York; where I first bowed my knee Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke. 'Sblood, when you and he came back from Ravenspurgh.

HOTSPUR

Hey, I feel like I am being whipped with rods, irritated and stung by ants when I hear about this vile politican, Bolingbroke. When Richard was alive—what was that place called? Damn it! It's in Gloucestershire. It's where that crazy duke's uncle lived, the Duke of York. It's the place where I first knelt and committed myself to this Bolingbroke. God! It was when you and he had just come back from Ravenspurgh.

NORTHUMBERLAND

At Berkley Castle.

NORTHUMBERLAND

At Berkley Castle.

HOTSPUR

You say true. Why, what a candy deal of courtesy This fawning greyhound then did proffer me: “Look when his infant fortune came to age,” And “gentle Harry Percy,” and “kind cousin.” O, the devil take such cozeners!— God forgive me! Good uncle, tell your tale. I have done.

HOTSPUR

That's it. What great courtesy that flattering dog gave me! "Look how the hopes of his youth have come true," and "gentle Harry Percy," and "kind cousin." Oh, to hell with cheats like him! I'm sorry. Good uncle, tell me your story. I'm finished. 

WORCESTER

Nay, if you have not, to it again.We will stay your leisure.

WORCESTER

Are you sure? If you're not, keep going. We will wait for you to be ready. 

HOTSPUR

I have done, i' faith.

HOTSPUR

I'm finished, I mean it. 

WORCESTER

Then once more to your Scottish prisoners: Deliver them up without their ransom straight, And make the Douglas' son your only mean For powers in Scotland, which, for divers reasons Which I shall send you written, be assured Will easily be granted.— ( to NORTHUMBERLAND ) You, my lord, Your son in Scotland being thus employed, Shall secretly into the bosom creep Of that same noble prelate, well beloved, The Archbishop.

WORCESTER

Then let's talk once more about your Scottish prisoners. Release them right now without a ransom. Build a relationship with Douglas and use him to build an army in Scotland. I know that he'll help you and I will send you a letter soon, explaining why. 

[To NORTHUMBERLAND] As for you, my lord, with your son busy in Scotland, you must secretly win the confidence of that noble, loved religious man, the Archbishop. 

HOTSPUR

Of York, is it not?

HOTSPUR

The Archbishop of York, do you mean?

WORCESTER

True; who bears hard His brother’s death at Bristol, the Lord Scroop. I speak not this in estimation, As what I think might be, but what I know Is ruminated, plotted, and set down, And only stays but to behold the face Of that occasion that shall bring it on.

WORCESTER

Yes, since he's deeply affected by the death of his brother, the Lord Scroop, in Bristol. What I am telling you is not just guesswork. It has been decided, plotted, and put in place, and they are now just waiting for the right opportunity to attack.

HOTSPUR

I smell it. Upon my life, it will do well.

HOTSPUR

I see what you mean. That will go well, I'm sure of it.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Before the game is afoot thou still let’st slip.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Don't let your dogs off the leash before the hunt has even started.

HOTSPUR

Why, it cannot choose but be a noble plot.And then the power of Scotland and of YorkTo join with Mortimer, ha?

HOTSPUR

Well, it can't help being a very good plan. And the armies of Scotland and of York will join up with Mortimer's, right?

WORCESTER

And so they shall.

WORCESTER

They will.

HOTSPUR

In faith, it is exceedingly well aimed.

HOTSPUR

Truthfully, it's an excellent plan.

WORCESTER

And ’tis no little reason bids us speed To save our heads by raising of a head, For, bear ourselves as even as we can, The King will always think him in our debt, And think we think ourselves unsatisfied, Till he hath found a time to pay us home. And see already how he doth begin To make us strangers to his looks of love.

WORCESTER

There are many reasons why we need to hurry to raise an army in order to save ourselves. Although we behave properly around him, the King will always feel in our debt for what we did in getting him the throne, and will think that we aren't happy until he has found a way to fully repay us. Haven't you noticed that he's already begun to stay away from us?

HOTSPUR

He does, he does. We’ll be revenged on him.

HOTSPUR

He does, he does. We will have our revenge on him.

WORCESTER

Cousin, farewell. No further go in this Than I by letters shall direct your course. When time is ripe, which will be suddenly, I’ll steal to Glendower and Lord Mortimer, Where you and Douglas and our powers at once, As I will fashion it, shall happily meet To bear our fortunes in our own strong arms, Which now we hold at much uncertainty.

WORCESTER

[To HOTSPUR] Goodbye, nephew. Don't do anything more until I write to you with instructions. When the time comes, which will be soon, I will go off to Glendower and Lord Mortimer. I will make it so that you, Douglas, and all of our armies will meet at the same time, and will carry out fates in our weapons, with a strength that we don't have right now.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Farewell, good brother. We shall thrive, I trust.

NORTHUMBERLAND

[To WORCESTER] Goodbye, my good brother. We will be successful, I am sure of it. 

HOTSPUR

Uncle, adieu: O, let the hours be shortTill fields and blows and groans applaud our sport.

HOTSPUR

[To WORCESTER] Goodbye, uncle. I hope it's not long until battlefields, wounds, and groans are the consequences of our mission!

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.