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SCENE I-The King's Camp near Shrewsbury.
Enter KING HENRY, PRINCE HENRY, PRINCE JOHN of Lancaster, SIR WALTER BLUNT, and SIR JOHN FALSTAFF.
K. Hen. How bloodily the sun begins to peer
Above yon busky hill! the day looks pale
At his distemperature.
P. Hen. The southern wind
Doth play the trumpet to his purposes;
And, by his hollow whistling in the leaves,
Foretells a tempest, and a blustering day.
K. Hen. Then with the losers let it sympathize; For nothing can seem foul to those that win.
Trumpet.-Enter WORCESTER and VERNON.
How now, my lord of Worcester? 'tis not well,
That you and I should meet upon such terms
As now we meet: You have deceived our trust;
And made us doff our easy robes of peace,
To crush our old limbs in ungentle steel:
This is not well, my lord, this is not well.
What say you to't? will you again unknit
This churlish knot of all-abhorred war ?
And move in that obedient orb again,
Where you would give a fair and natural light;
And be no more an exhaled meteor,
A prodigy of fear, and a portent
Of broached mischief to the unborn times?
Wor. Hear me, my liege:
For mine own part, I could be well content
To entertain the lag-end of my life
With quiet hours; for, I do protest,
I have not sought the day of this dislike.
K. Hen. You have not sought for it! how comes it then?
Fal. Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it.
P. Hen. Peace, chewet,t peace.
Wor. It pleased your majesty, to turn your looks
Of favour, from myself, and all our house;
And yet I must remember you, my lord,
We were the first and dearest of your friends.
For you, my staff of office did I break
In Richard's time; and posted day and night
To meet you on the way, and kiss your hand,
When yet you were in place and in account
Nothing so strong and fortunate as I.
It was myself, my brother, and his son,
That brought you home, and boldly did outdare
† A magpie.
The dangers of the time: You swore to us,-
And you did swear that oath at Doncaster,-
That you did nothing purpose 'gainst the state;
Nor claim no further than your new-fall'n right,
The seat of Gaunt, dukedom of Lancaster:
To this we swore our aid. But, in short space,
It rain'd down fortune showering on your head;
And such a flood of greatness fell on you,--
What with our help; what with the absent king;
What with the injuries of a wanton time;
The seeming sufferances that you had borne;
And the contrarious winds, that held the king
So long in his unlucky Irish wars,
That all in England did repute him dead,-
And, from this swarm of fair advantages,
You took occasion to be quickly woo'd
To gripe the general sway into your hand:
Forgot your oath to us at Doncaster;
And, being fed by us, you used us so
As that ungentle guli, the cuckoo's bird,
Useth the sparrow: did oppress our nest;
Grew by our feeding to so great a bulk,
That even our love durst not come near your sight,
For fear of swallowing; but with nimble wing
We were enforced, for safety sake, to fly
Out of your sight, and raise this present head:
Whereby we stand opposed by such means
As you yourself have forged against yourself;
By unkind usage, dangerous countenance,
And violation of all faith and troth
Sworn to us in your younger enterprise.
K. Hen. These things, indeed, you have articulated,*
Proclaim'd at market-crosses, read in churches;
To face the garment of rebellion
With some fine colour, that may please the eye
Of fickle changelings, and poor discontents,
Which gape, and rub the elbow, at the news
Of hurlyburly innovation:
And never yet did insurrection want
Such water-colours, to impaint his cause;
Nor moody beggars, starvingt for a time
Of pellmell havoc and confusion.
P. Hen. In both our armies, there is many a soul
Shall pay full dearly for this encounter,
If once they join in trial. Tell your nephew,
The prince of Wales doth join with all the world
In praise of Henry Percy; By my hopes,-
This present enterprise set off his head,+-
I do not think, a braver gentleman,
More active-valiant, or more valiant-young,
*Exhibited in articles.
Omitted from the consideration.
More daring, or more bold, is now alive,
To grace this latter age with noble deeds.
For my part, I may speak it to my shame,
I have a truant been to chivalry;
And so, I hear, he doth account me too:
Yet this before my father's majesty,-
I am content, that he shall take the odds
Of his great name and estimation;
And will, to save the blood on either side,
Try fortune with him in a single fight.
K. Hen. And, prince of Wales, so are we venture thee,
Albeit, considerations infinite
Do make against it :-No, good Worcester, no,
We love our people well; even those we love,
That are misled upon your cousin's part:
And, will they take the offer of our grace,
Both he, and they, and you, yea, every man,
Shall be my friend again, and I'll be his :
So tell your cousin, and bring me word
What he will do:-But if he will not yield,
Rebuke and dread correction wait on us,
And they shall do their office. So, be gone;
We will not now be troubled with reply:
We offer fair, take it advisedly.
[Exeunt WORCESTER and VERNON.
P. Hen. It will not be accepted, on my life; The Douglas and the Hotspur both together Are confident against the world in arms.
K. Hen. Hence, therefore, every leader to his charge,
For, on their answer, will we set on them:
And God befriend us, as our cause is just!
[Exeunt KING, BLUNT, and PRINCE JOHN. Fal. Hal, if thou see me down in the battle, and bestride me, so; 'tis a point of friendship.
P. Hen. Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship. Say thy prayers, and farewell.
Fal. I would it were bed-time, Hal, and all well,
P. Hen. Why, thou owest God a death.
[Exit. Fal. 'Tis not due yet; I would be loath to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, 'tis no matter; Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on; how then? Can honour set to a leg? No.___Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour? A word. What is in that word, honour? Air. A trim reckoning!-Who hath it? He that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it :-therefore I'll none of it: Honour is a mere scutcheon, and so ends my catechism.
SCENE II-The Rebel Camp.-Enter WORCESTER and
Wor. O, no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,
The liberal kind offer of the king.
Ver. "Twere best he did.
Wor. 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 offence in other faults:
Suspicion shall be all stuck full of eyes:
For treason is but trusted like the fox;
Who, ne'er so tame, so cherish'd, and lock'd 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 cherish'd, 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 hair-brain'd Hotspur, govern'd by a spleen :
All his offences 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.
Ver. Deliver what you will, I'll say, 'tis so.
Here comes your cousin.
Enter HOTSPUR and DOUGLAS; and Officers and Soldiers, behind.
Hot. My uncle is return'd:--Deliver up
My lord of Westmoreland.-Uncle, what news?
Wor. The king will bid you battle presently.
Doug. Defy him by the lord of Westmoreland.
Hot. Lord Douglas, go you and tell him so.
Doug. Marry, and shall, and very willingly.
Wor. There is no seeming mercy in the king.
Hot. Did you beg any? God forbid !
Wor. 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.
Doug. 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.
Wor. The prince of Wales stepp'd forth before the king, And, nephew, challenged you to single fight.
Hot. O, would the quarrel lay upon our heads;
And that no man might draw short breath to-day,
But I, and Harry Monmouth! Tell me, tell me,
How show'd his tasking? seem'd it in contempt ?
Ver. 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;
Trinim'd 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 with 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 master'd 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 owet so sweet a hope,
So much misconstrued in his wantonness.
Hot. Cousin, I think thou art enamour'd
Upon his follies; never did I hear
Of any prince, so wild, at liberty:-
But, be he as he will, yet once ere night
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.
Enter a MESSENGER.
Mess. My lord, here are letters for you.
Hot. 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 conscience, the arms are fair,
When the intent of bearing them is just.
Enter another MESSENGER.
Mess. My lord, prepare; the king comes on apace.
Hot. I thank him, that he cuts me from my tale,
I.e. not confined as a madman.