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Henry IV, Part 1

Henry IV, Part 1 Translation Act 2, Scene 3

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Enter HOTSPUR alone, reading a letter

HOTSPUR

But, for mine own part, my lord, I could be well contented to be there, in respect of the love I bear your house. He could be contented; why is he not, then? In respect of the love he bears our house—he shows in this he loves his own barn better than he loves our house. Let me see some more. The purpose you undertake is dangerous. Why, that’s certain. 'Tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to drink; but I tell you, my lordfool, out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower,safety. The purpose you undertake is dangerous, the friends you have named uncertain, the time itself unsorted, and your whole plot too light for the counterpoise of so great an opposition. Say you so, say you so? I say unto you again, you are a shallow, cowardly hind, and you lie. What a lack-brain is this! By the Lord, our plot is a good plot as ever was laid, our friends true and constant—a good plot, good friends,and full of expectation; an excellent plot, very good friends. What a frosty-spirited rogue is this! Why, my Lord of York commends the plot and the general course ofthe action. Zounds, an I were now by this rascal, I could brain him with his lady’s fan. Is there not my father, my uncle, and myself? Lord Edmund Mortimer, my Lord of York, and Owen Glendower? Is there not besides the Douglas? Have I not all their letters to meet me in arms by the ninth of the next month, and are they not some of them set forward already? What a pagan rascal isthis—an infidel! Ha, you shall see now in very sincerity of fear and cold heart, will he to the King and lay open all our proceedings. O, I could divide myself and go to buffets, for moving such a dish of skimmilk with so honorable an action! Hang him, let him tell the King. We are prepared. I will set forward tonight.

HOTSPUR

"As for me, my lord, I would be happy to be there, because of the love I have for your family." If he is happy to be here, then why isn't he? Because of the love I have for your family—it's clear he loves his own house more than he loves mine. I'll read some more. "Your mission is dangerous." Well, that's true, but it's also dangerous to catch a cold, to sleep, to drink. I can tell you, my silly lord, that even though stinging nettles are dangerous, we will be able to safely find the flower within them. "Your mission is dangerous, your allies are unreliable, the time unsuitable, and your whole conspiracy is too light to counterbalance an opponent like the King." Is that so? Is it? I will say it again, you are a silly, weak coward, and these are just lies. What an idiot he is! By God, our plan is as good as any plan that's ever been made; our allies are honest and reliable. It's a good plot, with good allies, and it's full of promise. It's even an excellent plan, with very good allies. What a cold-hearted idiot he is! Why, the Archbishop of York supports my plan and how the mission is developing. Heavens, if I was close to this rascal right now, I would smack him with his wife's fan. Don't we have the support of my father, my uncle, and myself?! Lord Edmund Mortimer, the Archbishop of York, and Owen Glendower?! And don't we also have Douglas? Don't I have letters from all of them agreeing to meet me with their armies by the ninth of next month, and some of them have even set off already? What an unbelievable idiot he is—a non-believer! Ha, just wait for him to run to the King and tell him all about our plan, he'll be so filled with fear. Oh, if only I could split myself in half and tell my other half how angry I am that I trusted such an unworthy person with such important news. To hell with him—let him tell the King! We're ready. I will set off tonight. 

Enter his lady, LADY PERCY

How now, Kate? I must leave you within these two hours.

How are you Kate? I have to leave within the next two hours. 

LADY PERCY

O my good lord, why are you thus alone? For what offense have I this fortnight been A banished woman from my Harry’s bed? Tell me, sweet lord, what is ’t that takes from thee Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep? Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth And start so often when thou sit’st alone? Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks And given my treasures and my rights of thee To thick-eyed musing and curst melancholy? In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watched, And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars, Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed, Cry “Courage! To the field!” And thou hast talk’d Of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents, Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets, Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin, Of prisoners' ransom and of soldiers slain, And all the currents of a heady fight. Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war, And thus hath so bestirred thee in thy sleep, That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow Like bubbles in a late-disturbèd stream, And in thy face strange motions have appeared, Such as we see when men restrain their breath On some great sudden hest. O, what portents are these? Some heavy business hath my lord in hand, And I must know it, else he loves me not.

LADY PERCY

Oh my good lord, why are you always alone? Why have you banned me from your bed for the past two weeks? Tell me, sweet lord, what has taken away your appetite, your desire, and your precious sleep? Why do you stare at the ground so much, and jump so often when you are sitting alone? Why have you lost the color in your cheeks? Why have you taken away the intimacy that is my pleasure and my right as your wife, and instead given it to this dark way of thinking and bad-tempered sadness? I have watched you in your restless sleep, and have heard you murmuring stories about war, as if you are giving commands to an army. You have cried out, "Have courage! To the field!" You have talked about advances and retreats, about trenches, tents, barriers, ramparts, defensive walls. You have talked about different cannons, about prisoners being ransomed, soldiers dying, and all of the things that happen in a violent battle. Your soul has also been at war, and has been disturbing you in your sleep. There have been beads of sweat on your forehead, that look like bubbles in a swirling stream. There have been strange expressions on your face, like the types we see when men hold their breath at a terrible, sudden request. Oh, what do these signs mean? You are plotting something serious, and I want to know what it is, or else you do not love me. 

HOTSPUR

What, ho!

HOTSPUR

[To the SERVANT] Hey, you!

Enter SERVANT

Is Gilliams with the packet gone?

Has Gilliams left with the letters?

SERVANT

He is, my lord, an hour ago.

SERVANT

He has, my lord, about an hour ago. 

HOTSPUR

Hath Butler brought those horses from the sheriff?

HOTSPUR

And did Butler bring those horses from the sheriff?

SERVANT

One horse, my lord, he brought even now.

SERVANT

He has brought one horse, my lord, just now. 

HOTSPUR

What horse? A roan, a crop-ear, is it not?

HOTSPUR

Which horse? A brown one, with its ears clipped?

SERVANT

It is, my lord.

SERVANT

Yes, that one, my lord. 

HOTSPUR

That roan shall be my throne.Well, I will back him straight. O, Esperance!Bid Butler lead him forth into the park.

HOTSPUR

That horse will be like my throne. I will mount him right away. Oh, be hopeful! Tell Butler to lead the horse into the field. 

Exit SERVANT

LADY PERCY

But hear you, my lord.

LADY PERCY

Listen to me, my lord.

HOTSPUR

What say’st thou, my lady?

HOTSPUR

What do you have to say, my lady?

LADY PERCY

What is it carries you away?

LADY PERCY

Why have you got so carried away? 

HOTSPUR

Why, my horse,My love, my horse.

HOTSPUR

Why, that's my horse's fault, my love—my horse's fault. 

LADY PERCY

Out, you mad-headed ape! A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen As you are tossed with. In faith, I’ll know your business, Harry, that I will. I fear my brother Mortimer doth stir About his title, and hath sent for you To line his enterprise; but if you go—

LADY PERCY

Stop it, you crazy idiot! Even a weasel doesn't have the same temper that you have. I swear, I'll find out what you're planning, Harry, that's for sure. I am worried that my brother Mortimer is going to take action to claim his rightful crown and has sent for you to support his mission. But if you go—

HOTSPUR

—So far afoot, I shall be weary, love.

HOTSPUR

—Such a long way on foot, I will be tired my love. 

LADY PERCY

Come, come, you paraquito, answer me Directly unto this question that I ask. In faith, I’ll break thy little finger, Harry, An if thou wilt not tell me all things true.

LADY PERCY

Come on, you little parrot, take my question seriously and answer me. I swear, I will break your little finger, Harry, if you don't tell me the whole truth. 

HOTSPUR

Away! Away, you trifler. Love, I love thee not. I care not for thee, Kate. This is no world To play with mammets and to tilt with lips. We must have bloody noses and cracked crowns, And pass them current too.—Gods me, my horse!— What say’st thou, Kate? What would’st thou have with me?

HOTSPUR

Go away! Go away, you shrew! Love? I don't love you. I don't even care about you, Kate. Now is not the time for playing with dolls and leaning in for silly kisses. Now is the time for bloody noses and battered heads, and we must inflict them on others too. Oh God, bring me my horse! What do you have to say, Kate? What do you want from me?

LADY PERCY

Do you not love me? Do you not indeed? Well, do not then, for since you love me not, I will not love myself. Do you not love me? Nay, tell me if you speak in jest or no.

LADY PERCY

You don't love me? Really? Well don't bother then, since if you don't love me, I won't love myself. You don't love me? Tell me if this is a joke or not. 

HOTSPUR

Come, wilt thou see me ride? And when I am a-horseback, I will swear I love thee infinitely. But hark you, Kate, I must not have you henceforth question me Whither I go, nor reason whereabout. Whither I must, I must; and to conclude, This evening must I leave you, gentle Kate. I know you wise, but yet no farther wise Than Harry Percy’s wife; constant you are, But yet a woman; and for secrecy No lady closer, for I well believe Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know, And so far will I trust thee, gentle Kate.

HOTSPUR

Come on, will you come and say goodbye? When I am on horseback, I will swear to love you forever. But listen, Kate. From now on you must not question me about where I am going, or the reasons why. If I must go, then I must. That's that. Therefore this evening I must leave you, dear Kate. I know you are wise, but you can only be as wise as the wife of Harry Percy should be; I know you are loyal, but you are still a woman. And no woman can keep a secret like you can, especially since you will not be able to speak about something you don't know. So that is as far as I will trust you, sweet Kate. 

LADY PERCY

How? So far?

LADY PERCY

Wow? That far?

HOTSPUR

Not an inch further. But hark you, Kate, Whither I go, thither shall you go too. Today will I set forth, tomorrow you. Will this content you, Kate?

HOTSPUR

Yes, and not an inch further. But listen here, Kate, wherever I go, you will go too. I will leave today and you will leave tomorrow. Will that make you happy, Kate?

LADY PERCY

It must, of force.

LADY PERCY

It will have to, out of necessity. 

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.