A line-by-line translation

Henry IV, Part 1

Henry IV, Part 1 Translation Act 5, Scene 2

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Enter WORCESTER and Sir Richard VERNON

WORCESTER

O no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,The liberal and kind offer of the King.

WORCESTER

Oh no, Sir Richard! My nephew cannot know about this kind and generous offer from the King.

VERNON

'Twere best he did.

VERNON

It would be better if he did. 

WORCESTER

Then are we all undone. It is not possible, it cannot be The King should keep his word in loving us. He will suspect us still and find a time To punish this offense in other faults. Suspicion all our lives shall be stuck full of eyes, For treason is but trusted like the fox, Who, never so tame, so cherished and locked up, Will have a wild trick of his ancestors. Look how we can, or sad or merrily, Interpretation will misquote our looks, And we shall feed like oxen at a stall, The better cherished still the nearer death. My nephew’s trespass may be well forgot; It hath the excuse of youth and heat of blood, And an adopted name of privilege— A hairbrained Hotspur governed by a spleen: All his offenses live upon my head And on his father’s. We did train him on, And, his corruption being ta'en from us, We as the spring of all shall pay for all. Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know In any case the offer of the King.

WORCESTER

The we would be ruined. There is no way that the King is going to keep his word and forgive us. He will always be suspicious and will find another reason to punish us for this rebellion. This suspicion will always be watching over us. Treason is like a fox—however tame it is, however cared for, even locked up, it still will have the inherited trait of savageness from its ancestors. Whether we look sad or happy, people will lie about our looks. And we will have to act like oxen at their stalls, only treated better when we are close to being slaughtered. My nephew's disloyalty might be forgotten with time, since it could be put down to youth and a bad temper. Also, his nickname lets him act like this—he is just the hare-brained Hotspur, controlled by his rash impulses. All of his offenses are going to be blamed on me and on his father. We encouraged him. And since we were the ones who originally convinced him to start this rebellion, we are the ones who will have to pay for it. Therefore, good Vernon, let's not tell Harry what the King has offered. 

VERNON

Deliver what you will; I’ll say ’tis so.

VERNON

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Enter HOTSPUR and DOUGLAS

Here comes your cousin.

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HOTSPUR

My uncle is returned.Deliver up my Lord of Westmoreland.—Uncle, what news?

HOTSPUR

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WORCESTER

The King will bid you battle presently.

WORCESTER

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DOUGLAS

Defy him by the Lord of Westmoreland.

DOUGLAS

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HOTSPUR

Lord Douglas, go you and tell him so.

HOTSPUR

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DOUGLAS

Marry, and shall, and very willingly.

DOUGLAS

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Exit DOUGLAS

WORCESTER

There is no seeming mercy in the King.

WORCESTER

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HOTSPUR

Did you beg any? God forbid!

HOTSPUR

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WORCESTER

I told him gently of our grievances, Of his oath-breaking, which he mended thus By now forswearing that he is forsworn. He calls us “rebels,” “traitors,” and will scourge With haughty arms this hateful name in us.

WORCESTER

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Enter DOUGLAS

DOUGLAS

Arm, gentlemen; to arms. For I have thrown A brave defiance in King Henry’s teeth, And Westmoreland, that was engaged, did bear it, Which cannot choose but bring him quickly on.

DOUGLAS

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WORCESTER

The Prince of Wales stepped forth before the King,And, nephew, challenged you to single fight.

WORCESTER

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HOTSPUR

O, would the quarrel lay upon our heads, And that no man might draw short breath today But I and Harry Monmouth! Tell me, tell me, How showed his tasking? Seemed it in contempt?

HOTSPUR

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VERNON

No, by my soul. I never in my life Did hear a challenge urged more modestly, Unless a brother should a brother dare To gentle exercise and proof of arms. He gave you all the duties of a man, Trimmed up your praises with a princely tongue, Spoke your deservings like a chronicle, Making you ever better than his praise By still dispraising praise valued in you, And, which became him like a prince indeed, He made a blushing cital of himself, And chid his truant youth with such a grace As if he mastered there a double spirit Of teaching and of learning instantly. There did he pause: but let me tell the world: If he outlive the envy of this day, England did never owe so sweet a hope, So much misconstrued in his wantonness.

VERNON

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HOTSPUR

Cousin, I think thou art enamorèd On his follies. Never did I hear Of any Prince so wild a liberty. But be he as he will, yet once ere night I will embrace him with a soldier’s arm, That he shall shrink under my courtesy.— Arm, arm with speed, and, fellows, soldiers, friends, Better consider what you have to do Than I that have not well the gift of tongue Can lift your blood up with persuasion.

HOTSPUR

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Enter a MESSENGER

MESSENGER

My lord, here are letters for you.

MESSENGER

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HOTSPUR

I cannot read them now.— O gentlemen, the time of life is short; To spend that shortness basely were too long If life did ride upon a dial’s point, Still ending at the arrival of an hour. An if we live, we live to tread on kings; If die, brave death, when princes die with us. Now, for our consciences, the arms are fair When the intent of bearing them is just.

HOTSPUR

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Enter another MESSENGER

SECOND MESSENGER

My lord, prepare. The King comes on apace.

SECOND MESSENGER

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HOTSPUR

I thank him that he cuts me from my tale, For I profess not talking. Only this: Let each man do his best. And here draw I a sword, Whose temper I intend to stain With the best blood that I can meet withal In the adventure of this perilous day. Now, Esperance! Percy! And set on. Sound all the lofty instruments of war, And by that music let us all embrace, For, heaven to earth, some of us never shall A second time do such a courtesy.

HOTSPUR

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Here they embrace. The trumpets sound.

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.