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Henry IV, Part 1

Henry IV, Part 1 Translation Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter HOTSPUR, WORCESTER, and DOUGLAS

HOTSPUR

Well said, my noble Scot. If speaking truth In this fine age were not thought flattery, Such attribution should the Douglas have As not a soldier of this season’s stamp Should go so general current through the world. By God, I cannot flatter. I do defy The tongues of soothers. But a braver place In my heart’s love hath no man than yourself. Nay, task me to my word; approve me, lord.

HOTSPUR

Well said, you wonderful Scotsman. If people nowadays didn't think that speaking the truth was the same thing as flattery, I would tell them that you, Douglas, should be praised more than any other soldier fighting right now, having gained such an impressive reputation already. Heaven knows, I'm not normally a flatterer. I hate people who constantly flatter others with their words. But you have a better place in my heart than any other man. Now test me on this love; make me prove it, my lord. 

DOUGLAS

Thou art the king of honor.No man so potent breathes upon the groundBut I will beard him.

DOUGLAS

You are an incredibly honorable man, but there is no-one, however powerful, that I cannot defy. 

HOTSPUR

Do so, and ’tis well.

HOTSPUR

Do it then.  That would be good. 

Enter a MESSENGER with letters

What letters hast thou there? [To DOUGLAS] I can but thank you.

What are those letters? 

[To DOUGLAS] I can only thank you. 

MESSENGER

These letters come from your father.

MESSENGER

These are letters from your father.

HOTSPUR

Letters from him! Why comes he not himself?

HOTSPUR

Just letters? Why hasn't he come to see me himself?

MESSENGER

He cannot come, my lord. He is grievous sick.

MESSENGER

He can't come my lord, he is incredibly sick. 

HOTSPUR

Zounds, how has he the leisure to be sickIn such a justling time? Who leads his power?Under whose government come they along?

HOTSPUR

God, how can he have the freedom to be sick at such a time of conflict?! Who is leading his army? Who is bringing them here?

MESSENGER

His letters bear his mind, not I, my lord.

MESSENGER

His letters will reveal his thoughts more than I can, my lord.

WORCESTER

I prithee, tell me, doth he keep his bed?

WORCESTER

Please, tell me, is he bedridden?

MESSENGER

He did, my lord, four days ere I set forth,And, at the time of my departure thence,He was much feared by his physicians.

MESSENGER

He was, my lord, when I set off four days ago. When I was leaving, the doctors were very worried about him. 

WORCESTER

I would the state of time had first been wholeEre he by sickness had been visited.His health was never better worth than now.

WORCESTER

I wish this sickness could have come after this present situation has been settled. His health has never been as important to us as it is now. 

HOTSPUR

Sick now? Droop now? This sickness doth infect The very lifeblood of our enterprise. 'Tis catching hither, even to our camp. He writes me here that inward sickness— And that his friends by deputation Could not so soon be drawn, nor did he think it meet To lay so dangerous and dear a trust On any soul removed but on his own; Yet doth he give us bold advertisement That with our small conjunction we should on To see how fortune is disposed to us, For, as he writes, there is no quailing now, Because the King is certainly possessed Of all our purposes. What say you to it?

HOTSPUR

He is sick now? He weakens now? This sickness infects the entire mission, then. And it will even infect us here, in our camp. He tells me in his letter about this internal sickness—and that his troops couldn't be assembled quickly enough by his deputies. He also didn't think that it was appropriate to let anyone other than himself carry out such a dangerous and important task. Yet, he does tell us to be confident and to go ahead with our small number of troops to see what our fortunes will be. He writes that now is not a time to be losing courage, since the King certainly knows about our plans to attack. What do you have to say about this?

WORCESTER

Your father’s sickness is a maim to us.

WORCESTER

Your father's sickness is a crippling injury to us.

HOTSPUR

A perilous gash, a very limb lopped off! And yet, in faith, it is not. His present want Seems more than we shall find it. Were it good To set the exact wealth of all our states All at one cast? To set so rich a main On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour? It were not good, for therein should we read The very bottom and the soul of hope, The very list, the very utmost bound Of all our fortunes.

HOTSPUR

A dangerous wound, almost like one of our limbs has been chopped right off! Yet, actually, it doesn't have to be. His absence now seems worse than it really is. Was it good for us to gamble everything that we have on a single throw of the dice? Was it right to bet so much on the chance of one uncertain hour? No, it wasn't good, since it meant that we had used up all of our hope, and pushed the absolute limit and boundary of our luck. 

DOUGLAS

Faith, and so we should, where now remains A sweet reversion. We may boldly spend Upon the hope of what is to come in. A comfort of retirement lives in this.

DOUGLAS

That's true, especially when you consider the hope of the inheritance we can expect. We should be bold now, in the hope of what is to come in the future. And the fact that we now we have some help in case we need to retreat

HOTSPUR

A rendezvous, a home to fly unto,If that the devil and mischance look bigUpon the maidenhead of our affairs.

HOTSPUR

Yes, it gives us a refuge, somewhere to retreat to, if things look like they are going badly in the first stages of our mission.

WORCESTER

But yet I would your father had been here. The quality and hair of our attempt Brooks no division. It will be thought By some that know not why he is away That wisdom, loyalty, and mere dislike Of our proceedings kept the Earl from hence. And think how such an apprehension May turn the tide of fearful faction And breed a kind of question in our cause. For well you know, we of the off'ring side Must keep aloof from strict arbitrament, And stop all sight-holes, every loop from whence The eye of reason may pry in upon us. This absence of your father’s draws a curtain That shows the ignorant a kind of fear Before not dreamt of.

WORCESTER

Still, I do wish that your father was here. The nature of our mission needs us all to be united together. Some people, who don't know that he is sick, will just think that the Earl stayed away out of wisdom, loyalty, and absolute dislike of what we are doing.And think about how these thoughts would affect people who are already scared, and raise doubts among our followers. For as you very well know, since we are the side making the attack, we have to try to avoid careful scrutiny. We have to close up all holes, all loopholes that people who are more rational might look through to criticize us. The fact that your father is not here opens the curtains, and shows ignorant people things that they had never been scared of before. 

HOTSPUR

You strain too far. I rather of his absence make this use: It lends a luster and more great opinion, A larger dare, to our great enterprise Than if the Earl were here, for men must think If we without his help can make a head To push against a kingdom, with his help We shall o'erturn it topsy-turvy down. Yet all goes well, yet all our joints are whole.

HOTSPUR

You are exaggerating. I would rather think of his absence in this way: it makes our mission better.  It gives our mission a better reputation, more boldness than if the Earl was here. It will make men think that if we can raise an army to stand against the King without his help, when he does join in the fighting, we will be able to topple the kingdom completely. Everything is okay, we still have all of our limbs. 

DOUGLAS

As heart can think. There is not such a wordSpoke of in Scotland as this term of fear.

DOUGLAS

I should hope so.  We don't understand the word fear in Scotland. 

Enter Sir Richard VERNON

HOTSPUR

My cousin Vernon, welcome, by my soul.

HOTSPUR

Welcome, kinsman Vernon. Truly, you are welcome. 

VERNON

Pray God my news be worth a welcome, lord.The Earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong,Is marching hitherwards, with him Prince John.

VERNON

I wish to God that the news I bring was worth such a welcome, my lord. The Earl of Westmoreland is marching here with seven thousand men, accompanied by Prince John. 

HOTSPUR

No harm, what more?

HOTSPUR

That's not an issue.  What else?

VERNON

And further I have learned,The King himself in person is set forth,Or hitherwards intended speedily,With strong and mighty preparation.

VERNON

I have also found out that the King himself has set off, and is on his way here quickly, with a huge, strong army.

HOTSPUR

He shall be welcome too. Where is his son, The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales, And his comrades, that daffed the world aside And bid it pass?

HOTSPUR

Well then, we will welcome him too. Where is his son, that quick-footed, foolish Prince of Wales, and his friends, who don't care about anything in this world? 

VERNON

All furnished, all in arms, All plumed like ostriches that with the wind Baited like eagles having lately bathed, Glittering in golden coats like images, As full of spirit as the month of May, And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer, Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls. I saw young Harry with his beaver on, His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly armed Rise from the ground like feathered Mercury And vaulted with such ease into his seat As if an angel dropped down from the clouds, To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus And witch the world with noble horsemanship.

VERNON

They are all prepared, all armed and ready. They are dressed up like feathered ostriches, they look like eagles beating their wings impatiently after they have just bathed. Their coats are shining like golden statues.  They are as energetic as the month of May, and are as beautiful as the midsummer sun. They are as excited as young goats, and as wild as young bulls. I saw young Harry with his helmet on, and the armor already on his thighs. Bravely armed with weapons, he rose from the ground like the messenger Mercury and jumped onto his horse so easily. It almost looked like an angel had fallen out of the sky, ready to ride on the fiery Pegasus and bewitch the world with his excellent riding. 

HOTSPUR

No more, no more! Worse than the sun in March This praise doth nourish agues. Let them come. They come like sacrifices in their trim, And to the fire-eyed maid of smoky war All hot and bleeding will we offer them. The mailèd Mars shall on his altar sit Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh And yet not ours. Come, let me taste my horse, Who is to bear me like a thunderbolt Against the bosom of the Prince of Wales. Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse, Meet and ne'er part till one drop down a corpse. O, that Glendower were come!

HOTSPUR

Stop talking! No more! This glowing praise makes me shudder more than the sun does in MarchLet them come. They come here dressed up and ready to be sacrificed, and we will offer them up, hot and bleeding, to the fiery goddess of war, Bellona. The god of war Mars will sit at his altar, up to his ears in blood. I am impatient, knowing that this prize is so close, and yet it is still not ours. Come, let me test my horse, ready to charge like a thunderbolt against this Prince of Wales. This Harry Percy will meet that Prince Harry, our horses will also meet, and we will not leave until one of us drops dead. Oh, if only Glendower was already here!

VERNON

There is more news.I learned in Worcester, as I rode along,He cannot draw his power this fourteen days.

VERNON

I have more news for you. I found out when I was riding along in Worcester that Glendower won't be able to assemble his army for two weeks!

DOUGLAS

That’s the worst tidings that I hear of yet.

DOUGLAS

That is the worst news yet. 

WORCESTER

Ay, by my faith, that bears a frosty sound.

WORCESTER

Yes, certainly, that is discouraging.

HOTSPUR

What may the King’s whole battle reach unto?

HOTSPUR

How many troops does the King have in total?

VERNON

To thirty thousand.

VERNON

About thirty thousand.

HOTSPUR

Forty let it be. My father and Glendower being both away, The powers of us may serve so great a day. Come, let us take a muster speedily. Doomsday is near. Die all, die merrily.

HOTSPUR

Why not let it be forty thousand?! Even though my father's and Glendower's men are not here, the troops that we do have could still be enough to win. Come, let's assemble and review our forces quickly. It's almost Doomsday. If we are going to die, let's do it cheerfully!

DOUGLAS

Talk not of dying. I am out of fearOf death or death’s hand for this one half year.

DOUGLAS

Don't talk about dying. I'm not going to be scared of death for the next six months.

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.