Henry IV Part I
Complete Shakespeare Text on One Page
Complete Annotated Text
The following version of Henry IV Part I is based on the text in the
1914 Oxford Edition of Shakespeare's works, edited by W. J. Craig.
text numbers the lines, including those with stage directions such
"Enter" and "Exit." Annotations (notes and definitions) appear in
boldfaced type within the text.
King Henry IV: Skilled politician who, as Henry
King Richard II's abdication and usurped the throne. As the oldest
son of the
Duke of Lancaster (John of Gaunt), Henry was the first English
the House of Lancaster, reigning from 1399 to 1413. During this
he battles uprisings by English, Scottish, and Welsh nobles.
Prince Henry of
son of the king. Known as Prince
Hal (or simply Hal or Harry) to his friends, he keeps company with
drinkers and robbers in London. But when the time comes to
fight the rebel forces, he distinguishes himself in battle and
respect of all. It cannot be determined whether the historical
Henry was a carousing mischief-maker, although unverifiable
characterize him as such. His chief battlefield foe, Henry Percy
Younger (Hotspur), refers to him as Harry Monmouth. The historical
Prince Henry was
born at Monmouth, a town in Wales, in 1387 and was only sixteen
when he fought in the Battle of Shrewsbury, recounted in Henry IV Part I.
Sir John Falstaff: Bosom
pal of Prince Henry and one of the great comic
characters in English literature. He is a fat, good-for-nothing
who spends his time bragging, wenching, sleeping, robbing,
drinking wine, and sparring verbally with anyone. He
delivers one of Shakespeare's most famous lines: "The better part
valour is discretion" (often misquoted as "Discretion is the
part of valour").
John of Lancaster:
Younger son of Henry IV.
Henry Percy the Younger (Hotspur):
Son of the Earl of Northumberland
(the elder Henry Percy). Henry, a fierce warrior, fights first on
the side of the king but changes his allegiance to become a rebel
leader. He is known as Hotspur, a name that symbolizes his pluck
and temperament as a warrior. Shakespeare depicts Hotspur as a
young man, perhaps in his late teens or early twenties. The
Hotspur, however, was thirty-nine at the time of the Battle of
Shrewsbury, recounted in Henry IV Part I.
Henry Percy the Elder:
Earl of Northumberland. He opposes the king
after first supporting him and forms an alliance with a Welsh
Thomas Percy: Earl of
Worcester and Hotspur's uncle.
Lady Percy: Elizabeth
Percy, wife of Hotspur and great-granddaughter of King Edward III.
was born into the Mortimer family in 1371 in Wales.
Edmund Mortimer: English
nobleman and rebel against the king. He is Hotspur's
Owen Glendower: Welsh
rebel leader and braggart, renowned for battlefield prowess.
Lady Mortimer: Wife of
Edmund Mortimer and daughter of Glendower.
Archibald: Earl of
Douglas. He leads the Scottish army as an ally of the Earl of
York and ally of Henry Percy the Elder. His name appears in
books as Richard Scrope, although the surname is pronounced SKROOP.
Earl of Westmoreland:
Nobleman in the king's army.
Sir Walter Blunt:
Nobleman in the king's army.
Sir Michael: Supporter of
Sir Richard Vernon: Rebel
Ned Poins: Drinking
companion of Prince Henry and Falstaff.
Gadshill, Peto, Bardolph:
Drinking companions of Prince Henry and Falstaff.
Mistress Quickly: Hostess
of the Boar's Head tavern in London's
Eastcheap section. Prince Henry, Falstaff, and their drinking
are among the tavern's best customers.
Francis: Waiter at the
Boar's Head tavern.
Sir John Bracy: King's friend. He appears at the
Boar's Head to summon Prince Henry to report to his father. Bracy
has no speaking part.
Servants of Hotspur.
officers, sheriff, vintner (wine merchant),
chamberlain (manager of an inn in Act 1, Scene 2), drawers
(tapsters or bartenders), carriers, travelers,
attendants, ostler (hostler, a person at an inn or a stable in
charge of the horses).
Complete Annotated Text
Annotations by Michael J. Cummings
Act 1, Scene 1: London. The
Act 1, Scene 2: A London
apartment of Prince Henry.
Act 1, Scene 3: London. The
Act 2, Scene 1: Rochester.
Act 2, Scene 2: The road by
Act 2, Scene 3: A room in
Act 2, Scene 4: Eastcheap
section of London. A room in the Boar's Head tavern.
Act 3, Scene 1: Bangor. A
room in the archdeacon's house.
Act 3, Scene 2: London. A
room in the palace.
Act 3, Scene 3: Eastcheap
section of London. A room in the Boar's Head tavern.
Act 4, Scene 1: The rebel
camp near Shrewsbury.
Act 4, Scene 2: A public
road near Coventry.
Act 4, Scene 3: The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.
Act 4, Scene 4: York. A room
in the archbishop's palace.
Act 5, Scene 1: The king's
camp near Shrewsbury.
Act 5, Scene 2: The rebel
camp near Shrewsbury.
Act 5, Scene 3: Between the
Act 5, Scene 4: Another part of the field.
Act 5, Scene 5: Another part
of the field.
1, Scene 1
London. The palace.
Enter KING HENRY, WESTMORELAND, and others.
KING HENRY: So shaken as we are, so wan with
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
To be commence’d in stronds afar remote.
[So shaken . .
. remote]: We
are nervous, shaken up, worried with care. But we must find time
this interval of peace to catch our breath and discuss new
combat that will commence on beaches (stronds) far from here.
No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood;
[No more . . .
blood: No more shall English soil be stained with English blood.]
No more shall trenching war
channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flowerets with the armed hoofs
Of hostile paces: those opposed
Our soldiers and their enemies]
Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
[All of . . .
bred: All brothers, as members of the human race]
Did lately meet in the intestine shock [gut-wrenching
And furious close of civil butchery,
Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,
March all one way, and be no more oppos’d
Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies:
[Shall now . .
. allies: Shall now march together as brothers and allies]
The edge of war, like an
No more shall cut his master. Therefore,
As far as to the sepulchre of Christ,—
Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
We are impressed and engag’d to fight,—
Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,
Whose arms were moulded in their mother’s womb
To chase these pagans in those holy fields
Over whose acres walk’d those blessed feet
Which fourteen hundred years ago were nail’d
For our advantage on the bitter cross.
Therefore, friends, our
armies will march together to chase the infidels from the Holy
a Crusade for Christ.]
But this our purpose [plan to go to the Holy Land] is a twelvemonth
And bootless [useless] ’tis to
tell you we will go:
Therefore we meet not now. Then let me hear
Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,
What yesternight [last night] our council did decree
In forwarding this dear expedience.
WESTMORELAND: My liege [lord], this haste was hot in question,
And many limits of the charge set down
But yesternight; when all athwart there came
A post [message] from
Wales loaden [laden] with
Whose worst was, that the noble Mortimer,
Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
And a thousand of his people butchered;
Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse,
Such beastly shameless transformation
By those Welshwomen done, as may not be
Without much shame re-told or spoken of.
KING HENRY: It seems then that the tidings of this broil [tumult;
Brake off our business for [prevent us from going to] the Holy Land.
WESTMORELAND: This match’d with other like, my gracious
[This . . .
like: This wasn't the only bad news we received.]
For more uneven and unwelcome news
Came from the north and thus it did import:
On Holy-rood day, the gallant Hotspur there,
Church feast day celebrating the cross (rood) on which Christ
Young Harry Percy and brave Archibald,
That ever-valiant and approved Scot,
At Holmedon met,
Battle site in the county of Northumberland in northeastern
Where they did spend a sad and bloody hour;
As by discharge of their artillery,
And shape of likelihood, the news was told;
For he that brought them, in the very heat
And pride of their contention did take horse,
Uncertain of the issue any way.
[Where they . .
. any way: Where they fought a brutal and bloody battle, as
attested to by the firing of big guns. The messenger who
brought news of the battle left the scene before the battle was
Therefore, he was uncertain of the outcome.]
KING HENRY: Here is a dear and true industrious
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
Stain’d with the variation of each soil
Betwixt [between] that Holmedon and this seat of
And he hath brought us smooth and
The Earl of Douglas is discomfited;
Ten thousand bold Scots, two and twenty knights,
Balk’d in their own blood did Sir Walter see
On Holmedon’s plains: of prisoners Hotspur took
Mordake the Earl of Fife, and eldest son
To beaten Douglas, and the Earls of Athol,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
And is not this an honourable spoil?
[And he . . .
spoil: And he has
reported that the Earl of Douglas has been defeated. With his own
Blunt saw ten thousand Scots—including twenty-two knights—lying in
their blood on the Holmedon battlefield. Hotspur captured
oldest son—Mordake, the Earl of Fife—and the earls of Athol,
Angus, and Menteith.]
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is
WESTMORELAND: In faith,
It is a conquest for a prince to boast of.
KING HENRY: Yea, there thou mak’st me sad and mak’st me
In envy that my Lord Northumberland
Should be the father to so blest a son,
A son who is the theme of honour’s tongue;
Amongst a grove the very straightest plant;
Who is sweet Fortune’s minion [favored person; servant; follower]:
Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him,
See riot and dishonour stain the brow
Of my young Harry [Prince Henry; Hal]. O! that it could be
That some night-tripping fairy had exchang’d
In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,
And call’d mine Percy [Hotspur], his Plantagenet [family name of Henry IV].
Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.
But let him from my thoughts. What think you,
Of this young Percy’s pride? the prisoners,
Which he in this adventure hath surpris’d,
To his own use he keeps, and sends me word,
I shall have none but Mordake Earl of Fife.
WESTMORELAND: This is his uncle’s teaching, this is
Worcester [Thomas Percy],
Malevolent to you in all aspects;
Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up
[makes . . . .
himself: Makes Hotspur exult in himself or take pride in
The crest of youth against your dignity.
KING HENRY: But I have sent for him to answer
And for this cause a while we must neglect
Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.
Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we
Will hold at Windsor; so inform the lords:
royal residence west of London]
But come yourself with speed to us again;
For more is to be said and to be done
Than out of anger can be uttered.
WESTMORELAND: I will, my liege.
1, Scene 2
A London apartment of Prince Henry
Enter the PRINCE and FALSTAFF.
FALSTAFF: Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?
PRINCE: Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack [dry white wine],
and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after
noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou
truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day?
unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes
capons, and clocks the
tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses [brothels;
whorehouses], and the
blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colour’d taffeta, I
no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time
FALSTAFF: Indeed, you come near me now, Hal; for we that
purses go by the moon and the seven stars, and not by Phoebus, he,
wandering knight so fair.’ And, I prithee [pray thee; beg
you], sweet wag, when
king,—as, God save thy Grace,—majesty, I should say, for grace
wilt have none,— [you lack grace—]
Greek mythology, another
name for Apollo, the sun god. Each day, he drove a golden chariot
(representing the sun) across the sky.]
PRINCE: What! none?
FALSTAFF: No, by my troth [faith; honor; fidelity]; not so much [not so much grace] as will serve to be prologue [grace before a
meal] to an egg and
PRINCE: Well, how then? come,
roundly, roundly. [Well, then, tell me what you're getting at.]
FALSTAFF: Marry [by the Virgin Mary], then, sweet wag, when thou art king,
us that are squires of the night’s body [people who work at
night] be called thieves
of the day’s
beauty: let us be Diana’s foresters [Diana: In ancient
mythology, the goddess of the moon, the forest, and hunting], gentlemen of the shade, minions [servants] of
the moon; and let men say, we be men of good government, being
as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under
countenance we steal.
PRINCE: Thou sayest well, and it
holds well too; for the
fortune of us that are the moon’s men doth ebb and flow like the
being governed as the sea is, by the moon.
[the fortune .
. . by the moon: Our luck rises and falls like sea tides, which
are governed by the gravity of the moon.]
As for proof now: a purse of
gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night and most dissolutely
spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearing ‘Lay by;’ and spent
crying ‘Bring in:’ now in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder,
by and by in as high a flow as the ridge of the
[As for . . .
gallows: Here's the
proof of what I'm saying. Suppose you steal a purse of gold on
Monday night and spent all of it by Tuesday morning. You got
purse by commanding, "Hand it over." You spent it by saying,
the drinks." So, at one moment you are at low tide, as low as the
of a ladder. The next moment you are at high tide, as high as the
of a gallows.]
FALSTAFF: By the Lord, thou sayest true, lad. And is not my
hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?
PRINCE: As the honey of Hybla my old lad of the castle.
And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?
[Hybla: Sicilian town famous for its
FALSTAFF: How now, how now, mad wag! what, in thy quips [witticisms] and thy
quiddities [quibbles; petty distinctions]? what a plague have I to do with a
old . . . castle: In the original
manuscript of Henry IV
Part 1, Sir John
Falstaff was named Sir John Oldcastle. Oldcastle was later changed to Falstaff.
"My old lad of the castle" is a pun alluding to Sir John
Apparently, this phrase was retained in the play even though
Oldcastle's name was
buff . . . durance: A buff jerkin was a sleeveless
PRINCE: Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the
FALSTAFF: Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning many a
. .reckoning: Called her so you could pay the bill]
PRINCE: Did I ever call for thee to pay thy
FALSTAFF: No; I’ll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all
PRINCE: Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would
stretch; and where it would not, I have used my
FALSTAFF: Yea, and so used it that; were it not here
that thou art heir apparent.—But. I prithee, sweet wag, shall
gallows standing in England when thou art king, and resolution
fobbed as it is with the rusty curb of old father antick the law?
not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.
[Yea . . .
thief: Yes, you used your
credit. But it is here obvious that the only reason your credit
good is that you will one day become king of England. By the way,
pray thee, when you are king, will the
shenanigans of people like me be curbed by the law?
Do not hang a thief when you are king.]
PRINCE: No; thou shalt.
FALSTAFF: Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I’ll be a brave
PRINCE: Thou judgest false already; I mean, thou shalt
have the hanging of the thieves and so become a rare
[thou shalt . .
. hangman: You'll be responsible for hanging thieves and earn a
reputation as a great hangman.]
FALSTAFF: Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it jumps with my
humour as well as waiting in the court, I can tell
[in some sort .
. . court: In a way, I
like the idea of waiting around to hang people just as much as I
waiting around in the royal court for something to happen.]
PRINCE: For obtaining of suits [For obtaining
answers to your requests]?
FALSTAFF: Yea, for obtaining of
suits, whereof the hangman hath
no lean wardrobe [pun on the prince's use of suits]. ’Sblood [By His blood,
referring to the blood of the crucified Christ], I am as melancholy as a gib cat [tomcat], or a lugged
In London in
Shakespeare's time, bear-baiting was a popular spectator sport. In
enclosed space, a bear chained to a stake was attacked by dogs. It
a bloody spectacle, as the bear raked claws over the dogs—or the
tore at the bear's flesh. A lugged bear was one that was overcome
lugged this way and that by the dogs.]
PRINCE: Or an old lion, or a lover’s lute.
FALSTAFF: Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.
bagpipe: Lincolnshire, a
county on the eastern coast of England, was famous in
time for bagpipes that critics outside the county said produced
PRINCE: What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of
[Hare: Solitary mammal, resembling a
rabbit but larger, thought of as melancholy.]
FALSTAFF: Thou hast the most unsavory similes [comparisons], and art [you are], indeed,
the most comparative, rascalliest, sweet young prince; but, Hal, I
prithee, trouble me no more with vanity. I would to God thou and I
where a commodity of good names were to be bought. An old lord of
council rated [criticized; reprimanded] me the other day in the street about you, sir, but I
marked him not; and yet he talked very wisely, but I regarded him
and yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.
[Moor-ditch: Moorditch, a smelly,
rundown section of London in Shakespeare's time.]
PRINCE: Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the
streets, and no man regards it.
Both Falstaff and the
prince allude to Chapter 1, Verse 20, of the Bible's Book of
The verse says, in essence, that wisdom calls out in the streets
FALSTAFF: O! thou hast damnable iteration [damnable talent
for repeating quotations],
and art indeed able
to corrupt a saint. Thou hast done much harm upon me, Hal; God
thee for it! Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am
a man should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked. I
give over this life [turn over a new leaf; mend my ways], and I will give it over; by the
Lord, an [if] I do not,
I am a villain: I’ll be damned for never a king’s son in
Christendom. [I will never be damned for any king's son in
PRINCE: Where shall we take a purse to-morrow,
FALSTAFF: Zounds! where thou wilt, lad, I’ll make one; an [if] I do not, call me a villain and
[Zounds (pronounced ZOONZ): Corrupted
exclamation for by His wounds—that is, by
the wounds of the crucified Christ]
PRINCE: I see a good amendment [change] of life in thee; from praying to
Enter POINS, at a distance.
FALSTAFF: Why, Hal, ’tis my vocation [purse snatching], Hal; ’tis no sin for a
man to labour in his vocation. Poins! Now shall we know if
have set a match. O! if men were to be saved by merit, what hole
hell were hot enough for him? This is the most omnipotent villain
ever cried ‘Stand!’ to a true man.
[Gadshill . . . match: Gadshill is
the name of a character, as line 56 indicates. It is also
the name of a town in the county of Kent near the city of
Gadshill borders the London metropolitan area.
It was the scene of many robberies.]
PRINCE: Good morrow, Ned.
[have set a match: Has an
opportunity for a robbery awaiting us.]
[O! if men . . . true man: O, if
are to be saved by good deeds, Poins doesn't have much to show
himself. He will burn in hell. He is the worst villain that ever
shouted to an honest man, "Stand fast. This is a holdup."
POINS: Good morrow, sweet Hal. What says Monsieur Remorse?
What says Sir John Sack [wine]-and-Sugar? Jack! how agrees the devil and thee
about thy soul, that thou soldest him on Good-Friday last for a
Madeira [strong white wine] and a cold capon’s leg?
PRINCE: Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have
his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs: he will
the devil his due.
POINS: Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the
PRINCE: Else he had been damned for cozening the
[Else . . .
devil: And if he didn't keep his word, he would be damned for
deceiving the devil.]
POINS: But my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four
o’clock, early at Gadshill! There are pilgrims going to Canterbury
rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses: I
vizards [masks; visors; disguises] for you all; you have horses for yourselves. Gadshill
night in Rochester; I have bespoke [ordered in
advance; reserved] supper
to-morrow night in Eastcheap [market district in London]:
we may do it as secure as sleep. If you will go I will stuff your
purses full of crowns; if you will not, tarry at home and be
FALSTAFF: Hear ye, Yedward [another form of Edward, Poins's first
name]: if I tarry at home
and go not, I’ll hang you for going.
POINS: You will, chops?
mouth. Poins is referring to Falstaff as a bigmouth who talks and
eats a lot.]
FALSTAFF: Hal, wilt thou make one? [Will you join us
in the robbery?]
PRINCE: Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by my
FALSTAFF: There’s neither honesty, manhood, nor good
in thee, nor thou camest not of the blood royal, if thou darest
stand for ten shillings.
PRINCE: Well, then, once in my days I’ll be a madcap. [Well, I'll be
foolish enough to go along with you this one time.]
FALSTAFF: Why, that’s well said.
PRINCE: Well, come what will, I’ll tarry at home. [On second thought,
I'll stay home.]
FALSTAFF: By the Lord, I’ll be a traitor then, when thou art
PRINCE: I care not.
POINS: Sir John, I prithee, leave the prince and me alone:
I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure that he shall
FALSTAFF: Well, God give thee the spirit of persuasion and
the ears of profiting, that what thou speakest may move, and what
hears may be believed, that the true prince may, for recreation
prove a false thief; for the poor abuses [petty crimes] of the time want countenance [promotion;
Farewell: you shall find me in Eastcheap.
PRINCE: Farewell, thou latter spring [late spring]! Farewell,
All-hallown summer! [Exit FALSTAFF.
refers to All Hallows Day (All Saints' Day), November 1. The
comparing Falstaff to Indian summer, says G.B. Harrison, author of
Shakespeare: the Complete Works
(New York: Harcourt, 1952, page 621.) Indian summer, a spell of
warm weather, often occurs in early November.]
POINS: Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us
to-morrow: I have a jest to execute that I cannot manage alone.
Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto, and Gadshill shall rob those men that we
already waylaid [targeted]; yourself and I will not be there; and when they have
the booty, if you and I do not rob them, cut this head from my
PRINCE: But how shall we part with them in setting
[But . . .
forth: But when we are all
leaving together to carry out the robbery, how will you and I
ourselves from Falstaff and the others?]
POINS: Why, we will set forth before or after them, and
appoint them a place of meeting, wherein it is at our pleasure to
to show up at the meeting place];
and then will they adventure upon the exploit themselves, which
shall have no sooner achieved but we’ll set upon
PRINCE: Yea, but ’tis like that they will know us by our
horses, by our habits, and by every other appointment, to be
POINS: Tut! our horses they
shall not see, I’ll tie them
in the wood; our vizards [disguises] we will change after we leave them; and,
sirrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce [stiff, coarse
inmask [cover] our noted
PRINCE: Yea, but I doubt they will be too hard for us [too hard to
overcome; too hard to fight].
POINS: Well, for two of them, I know them to be as
true-bred cowards as ever turned back; and for the third, if he
longer than he sees reason, I’ll forswear arms. The virtue of this
will be, the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will
us when we meet at supper: how thirty, at least, he fought with;
he used], what blows,
what extremities he endured; and in the reproof of
this lies the jest.
[And in . . .
jest: And the joke will be on him when we rebuke him for his
PRINCE: Well, I’ll go with thee: provide us all things
necessary and meet me to-morrow night in Eastcheap; there I’ll
POINS: Farewell, my lord. [Exit.
PRINCE: I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyok’d humour of your idleness:
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder’d at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But when they [holidays] seldom
come, they wish’d for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
[they wish'd .
. . accidents: Nothing pleases people more than holidays they wait
for with great anticipation.]
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off,
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am
By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o’er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
So, when . . .
set it off: When the
day arrives for me to become king, I will cease my foolish
with Poins, Falstaff, and others. People will be surprised that
buffoon as I can shine like bright metal. Thus, my shenanigans now
prince will contrast with my wise and sober behavior as king,
seem remarkable to my subjects.]
I’ll so offend to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will.
Alone on the stage, the
prince tells the audience that his seemingly immature behavior in
taverns and on the streets is merely a ruse to give the impression
he is a fool and prankster devoted to merrymaking. But when he
king, he says, he will reveal himself as shrewd, prudent, and
levelheaded. The people will then acclaim him, because they will
an intelligent, serious-minded king instead of a weak-minded
1, Scene 3
London. The palace.
Enter KING HENRY, NORTHUMBERLAND, WORCESTER, HOTSPUR, SIR WALTER
BLUNT, and others.
KING HENRY: My blood hath been too cold and
Unapt to stir at these indignities,
And you have found me; for
You tread upon my patience: but, be sure,
I will from henceforth rather be myself,
Mighty, and to be fear’d, than my condition,
[My blood . . .
fear'd: I have
been too mild and tolerant to rebuke you for your indignities
me. (The king is upset with Worcester and the others over an issue
involving captured prisoners.) And you have taken advantage of my
patience. But no more. From now on, I will be my old self—mighty
to be feared.]
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young
And therefore lost that title of respect
Which the proud soul ne’er pays but to the
WORCESTER: Our house [Our family, the Percys], my sovereign liege [lord], little deserves
The scourge of greatness to be us’d on it;
[scourge . . .
greatness: scourge of your anger]
And that same greatness too which
our own hands
Have holp to make so
[Have . . .
portly: Have helped to make you so powerful]
NORTHUMBERLAND: My lord,—
KING HENRY: Worcester, get thee gone; for I do
Danger and disobedience in thine eye.
O, sir, your presence is too bold and
And majesty might never yet endure
The moody frontier of a servant brow.
[And majesty .
. . brow: And I do not wish to endure your presence at this time.]
You have good leave to leave us; when we need
Your use and counsel we shall send for you. [Exit
[To NORTHUMBERLAND.] You were about to
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 deliver’d to your majesty:
Either envy, therefore, or misprision
Is guilty of this fault and not my son.
prisoners . . . son: Those
prisoners you wanted, the ones Hotspur captured at Holmedon, were not
deliberately kept from you. Either envy, neglect, or deceit by
person is responsible for this offense, not my son.]
HOTSPUR: My liege [lord], 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
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin, new reap’d,
Show’d like a stubble-land at harvest-home:
He was perfumed like a milliner [maker or seller of hats],
And ’twixt [between] his
finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
Small metal box, often
of ornate design, containing perfume. The carrier of the box
the perfume whenever foul odors pervaded the air.]
He gave his nose and took ’t away again;
Who therewith angry, when it next came there,
Took it in snuff: and still he smil’d and
And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
He call’d them untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corpse
Betwixt [between] the wind
and his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms
[holiday . . .
terms: Refined words; highfalutin talk.]
He question’d me; among the rest, demanded
My prisoners in your majesty’s behalf.
I then all smarting with my wounds being cold,
To be so pester’d with a popinjay [vain, conceited
Out of my grief and my impatience
Answer’d neglectingly, I know not what,
He should, or he should not; for he made me mad
[Answer'd . . .
should not: I answered halfheartedly—not fully realizing what I
was saying—that he could do as he wished.]
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!—
[God . . .
mark: God save us from this fool. Originally, God
save the mark
was an archery term intended to warn archers not to disturb an
that had hit its mark. It later became a term of contempt and
And telling me the sovereign’st
thing on earth
Was parmaceti for an inward bruise;
Spermaceti, a waxy
substance obtained from whales and used in healing ointments for
bruises and other skin injuries.]
And that it was great pity, so it was,
This villanous saltpetre should be digg’d
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had
So cowardly; and but for these vile guns,
[And that . . .
cowardly: And he told me
it was a great pity that saltpeter had to be dug up from the poor,
innocent earth to make the gunpowder that destroyed so many good
He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald unjointed chat [talk] of his, my lord,
I answer’d indirectly, as I said;
And I beseech [beg] you, let
not his report
Come current [serve as evidence] for an accusation
Betwixt [between] my love
and your high majesty.
BLUNT: The circumstance consider’d, good my lord [my good lord],
Whatever Harry Percy then had said
To such a person and in such a place,
At such a time, with all the rest re-told,
May reasonably die and never rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach [contradict]
What then he said, so he unsay it now.
KING HENRY: Why, yet he doth deny his
But with proviso and exception,
That we at our own charge shall ransom straight
His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer;
[Why, yet . . .
Mortimer: But he still
won't turn over his prisoners unless I meet this condition
that I pay ransom for his foolish brother-in-law, Mortimer.]
Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray’d
The lives of those that he did lead to fight
Against the great magician, damn’d Glendower,
Whose daughter, as we hear, the Earl of March [Mortimer]
Hath lately married. Shall our coffers then
Be emptied to redeem a traitor home?
Shall we buy treason, and indent with fears,
[indent . . . fears: Make a contract to ransom a sissy]
When they have lost and forfeited themselves?
[When . . .
themselves: When he has failed on the battlefield]
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 [traitorous] Mortimer.
HOTSPUR: Revolted Mortimer!
He never did fall off [shrink from his duty], my sovereign
But by the chance of war: to prove that true
Needs no more but one tongue for all those
Those mouthed wounds, which valiantly he took,
When on the gentle Severn’s sedgy bank,
in Wales and western England]
In single opposition, hand to hand,
He did confound the best part of an hour
In changing hardiment [bold combat] with great Glendower.
Three times they breath’d and three times did they
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
Blood-stained with these valiant combatants.
[Who then . . .
combatants: The river,
frightened by their fierce looks, flowed swiftly away and hid in a
hollow bank, its waters stained with the blood of the two
Never did base and rotten policy
Colour her working with such deadly wounds;
Nor never could the noble Mortimer
Receive so many [wounds], and all willingly:
Then let him not be slander’d with revolt.
KING HENRY: Thou dost belie [lie about] him, Percy, thou dost belie
He never did encounter with Glendower:
I tell thee,
He durst as well have met
the devil alone
[He . . .
alone: He might as well have dared to meet the devil alone.]
As Owen Glendower for an enemy.
Art thou not asham’d? 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’ll hear of it. [Exeunt KING
HENRY, BLUNT, and Train.
HOTSPUR: An if the devil come and roar for
I will not send them: I will after straight
straight: Catch up with him immediately]
And tell him so; for I will ease my heart,
Albeit I make a hazard of my head.
NORTHUMBERLAND: What! drunk with choler [anger]? stay, and pause
Here comes your uncle.
HOTSPUR: Speak of
’Zounds! I will speak of him; and let
Want mercy if I do not join with
In his behalf I’ll empty all these veins,
And shed my dear blood drop by drop i’ the dust,
But I will lift the down-trod Mortimer
As high i’ the air as this unthankful king,
As this ingrate and canker’d Bolingbroke [King Henry].
NORTHUMBERLAND: Brother, the king hath made your nephew
WORCESTER: Who struck this heat up after I was
HOTSPUR: He will, forsooth [in truth], have all my
And when I urg’d the ransom once again
Of my wife’s brother, then his cheek look’d
And on my face he turn’d an eye of death,
Trembling even at the name of Mortimer.
WORCESTER: I cannot blame him: was he not
By Richard that dead is the next of blood?
[was he . . .
blood: Was not Mortimer proclaimed by King Richard II, now dead,
as Richard's successor?]
NORTHUMBERLAND: He was; I heard the
And then it was when the unhappy king [Richard],—
Whose wrongs in us God pardon!—did set forth
Upon his Irish expedition;
From whence he, intercepted, did return
To be depos’d, and shortly murdered.
WORCESTER: And for whose death we in the world’s wide
Live scandaliz’d and foully spoken of.
[And for . . .
spoken of: And because we were complicit in his death, the world
speaks foully of us. We live in scandal.]
But, soft! [But wait a minute!] I pray you, did King Richard
Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer
Heir to the crown?
NORTHUMBERLAND: He did; myself did hear
HOTSPUR: Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king [Henry],
That wish’d 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 murd’rous 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?
[But shall . .
. hangman rather: But
is it right that you who put the crown on Henry's head should bear
blots on your reputation for being mere agents or means in
downfall and death? (After Henry deposed Richard and took the
Richard was imprisoned. It is believed that he starved to death in
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,
And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke?
[Shall it . . .
Bolingbroke: Shall it
be said now and in the future that you men used your nobility and
in an unjust plot against Richard and then replaced him with this
thorn, this disease, Henry IV?]
And shall it in more shame be
That you are fool’d, discarded, and shook off
By him [Henry IV] for
whom these shames ye underwent?
No; yet time serves wherein you may redeem
Your banish’d honours, 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.
[who studies .
. . deaths: Who stays
up day and night to figure out how to repay his debt to you. But
idea of repaying you is to kill you.]
WORCESTER: Peace, cousin! say no more:
And now I will unclasp a
[unclasp . . .
book: Reveal a secret]
And to your quick-conceiving discontents
[And . . .
discontent: And to address your concerns]
I’ll read you matter deep and
As full of peril and adventurous spirit
As to o’er-walk [walk across] a current [river] roaring loud,
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.
HOTSPUR: If he fall in, good night! or sink or
Send danger from the east unto the west,
So honour cross it from the north to south,
And let them grapple: O! the blood more stirs
[Send . . .
grapple: Shakespeare speaks of honor and danger as enemies that
grapple in the middle of the river.]
To rouse a lion than to start a hare.
NORTHUMBERLAND: Imagination of
some great exploit
Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.
HOTSPUR: By heaven methinks it were an easy
To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac’d moon,
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;
Shakespeare uses hyperbole, a figure of speech that grossly
exaggerates, to make his point. Hyperbole occurs when Hotspur
leaping to the moon and diving to the bottom of a seemingly
body of water.]
So he that doth redeem her thence might wear
Without corrival all her dignities:
But out upon this half-fac’d
[So he . . .
fellowship : So he who
redeems honor can enjoy all the dignities that flow from honor. He
have no rival, for there is no call for him to be half-faced—that
to share his honor with another "face" (person).]
WORCESTER: He apprehends a world of figures
But not the form of what he should attend.
Good cousin, give me audience for a while.
. . . while: Here,
Worcester begins by addressing Northumberland, saying that Hotspur
apprehends a fanciful world shaped by his lively imagination. Then
addresses Hotspur, telling him simply to listen and pay
HOTSPUR: I cry you mercy. [Forgive me; I will
WORCESTER: Those same noble
That are your 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.
WORCESTER: You start away,
And lend no ear unto my purposes.
Those prisoners you shall keep.
[You start . .
. purposes: Your mind
is drifting off, and you are not devoting full attention to what I
Now, hear me. You will keep those prisoners.]
HOTSPUR: Nay, I will; that’s flat [non-negotiable]:
He said he would not ransom Mortimer;
Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I’ll holla [holler; shout] ‘Mortimer!’
I’ll have a starling shall be taught to speak
Nothing but ‘Mortimer,’ and give it him,
To keep his anger still in motion.
WORCESTER: Hear you, cousin; a word.
HOTSPUR: All studies here I solemnly defy,
Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke:
And that same sword-and-buckler Prince of Wales [Prince Henry],
But that I think his father loves him not,
And would be glad he met with some mischance,
I would have him poison’d with a pot of ale.
WORCESTER: Farewell, kinsman: I will talk to
When you are better temper’d to attend [listen].
NORTHUMBERLAND: Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient
Art thou [Hotspur] to
break into this woman’s mood,
Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own!
HOTSPUR: Why, look you, I am whipp’d and scourg’d with
Nettled, and stung with pismires [ants], when I hear
Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke.
In Richard’s time,—what do ye call the place?—
A plague upon ’t—it is in Gloucestershire;—
’Twas where the madcap duke his uncle kept,
Edmund of Langley, first duke of York]
His uncle York; where I first bow’d my knee
Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke,
When you and he came back from
Ravenspurn, town in the county of East Yorkshire (full name: East
Riding of Yorkshire) on the northeast coast of England.]
NORTHUMBERLAND: At Berkeley Castle [castle in the
county of Gloucestershire, England].
HOTSPUR: You say true.
Why, what a candy deal of courtesy
[what a . . .
courtesy: What flattery]
This fawning greyhound then did
Look, ‘when his infant fortune came to age,’
And ‘gentle Harry Percy,’ and ‘kind cousin.’
[Look . . .
cousin: Look—my kind cousin, gentle Harry Percy (Hotspur)—has come
of age as a young man of promise.]
O! the devil take such cozeners [liars; tricksters]. God forgive me!
Good uncle, tell your tale, for I have done.
WORCESTER: Nay, if you have not, to ’t
We’ll stay your leisure.
[Nay, if . . .
leisure: Are you sure you're not finished with your story? If you
aren't, we'll stay and listen.]
HOTSPUR: I have done, i’
WORCESTER: Then once more to your Scottish
Deliver them up without their ransom straight,
And make the Douglas’ son your only mean [means]
For powers [troops; armies]
in Scotland; which, for divers [various; diverse] reasons
Which I shall send you written,
Will easily be granted. [To NORTHUMBERLAND.] You, my
Your son in Scotland being thus employ’d,
Shall secretly into the bosom creep
Of that same noble prelate well belov’d,
[Shall . . .
Archbishop: Shall secretly work your way into the favor of the
archbishop of York to make him an ally]
HOTSPUR: Of York, is it not?
WORCESTER: True; who bears hard
His brother’s death at Bristol, the Lord Scroop.
I speak not this in
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 makes clear
that Archbishop Scroop (Scrope) is ready to cooperate in the
against Henry IV and that troops stand ready to fight the king and
forces. The Scrope who died at Bristol was William le Scrope
(1350-1399), Earl of Wiltes.]
HOTSPUR: I smell it.
Upon my life it will do wondrous well.
NORTHUMBERLAND: Before the game’s afoot thou still lett’st
[Before . . .
slip: You want to fight even before the fighting begins.]
HOTSPUR: Why, it cannot choose but be a noble
And then the power of Scotland and of York,
To join with Mortimer, ha?
WORCESTER: And so they
HOTSPUR: In faith, it [the plan] is exceedingly well
WORCESTER: And ’tis no little reason bids us
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 'tis . . .
home: We must hurry to
save ourselves by mobilizing our troops. For, no matter how we
toward the king, he will always be irked that he is in our debt;
will think we want compensation. If he has his way, he will give
us—by arranging our deaths.]
And see already how he doth begin
To make us strangers to his looks of love.
HOTSPUR: He does, he does: we’ll be reveng’d on
WORCESTER: Cousin, farewell: no further go in
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.
NORTHUMBERLAND: Farewell, good brother: we shall thrive, I
HOTSPUR: Uncle, adieu [French, good-bye]: O! let the hours be
Till fields and blows and groans applaud our sport!
2, Scene 1
Rochester. An Innyard.
Enter a carrier, with a lanthorn [lantern] in his hand.
FIRST CARRIER: Heigh-ho! An ’t [If it] be not four by the day [four in the
morning] I’ll be hanged:
Charles’ Wain [a name for the Big Dipper, in the constellation Ursa
Major] is over the new
chimney, and yet our horse not packed. What, ostler [stableman at an
OSTLER: [Within.] Anon [soon], anon.
FIRST CARRIER: I prithee, Tom, beat Cut’s saddle, put a few
the point; the poor jade is wrung in the withers out of all
prithee: Ask you; beg you.
beat: Make the saddle smoother by
Cut: Name for a horse with a
docked tail—that is, a tail cut short.
flocks: Wool tufts.
point: Pommel, a curving, upward
projection on the front of a saddle.
jade: Worn-out horse.
withers: Front of a horse's back,
between the shoulder blades and neck.
cess: Measure. Thus, out of all cess is the same as saying beyond all
Enter another Carrier.
SECOND CARRIER: Peas and beans are as dank here as a dog,
and that is
the next way to give poor jades the bots; this house is turned
down since Robin Ostler died.
Botflies; (2) Disease of horses and cattle in which botfly larvae
infest the stomach and/or intestines.]
FIRST CARRIER: Poor fellow! never joyed since the price of
oats rose; it was the death of him.
SECOND CARRIER: I think this be the most villanous house in
London road for fleas: I am stung like a tench [fresh-water fish
vulnerable to insect infestation].
FIRST CARRIER: Like a tench! by the mass, there is ne’er a
king christen [Christian king] could be better bit than I have
been since the first
crow of a rooster].
SECOND CARRIER: Why, they will allow us ne’er a jordan [chamber pot], and then
we leak in the chimney; and your chamber-lie [urine] breeds fleas like a
fish vulnerable to insect infestation].
FIRST CARRIER: What, ostler! come away and be hanged, come
SECOND CARRIER: I have a gammon of bacon [smoked ham] and two razes [roots] of
ginger, to be delivered as far as Charing-cross [London district].
FIRST CARRIER: Godsbody! the turkeys in my pannier [large basket] are quite
starved. What, ostler! A plague on thee! hast thou never an eye in
head? canst not hear? An ’twere [If it were] not as good a deed as drink to break
the pate on thee [to crack your skull], I am a very villain. Come, and be
hanged! hast no
faith in thee?
Enter GADSHILL. 15
GADSHILL: Good morrow, carriers. What’s
FIRST CARRIER: I think it be two o’clock.
GADSHILL: I prithee, lend me thy lanthorn [lantern], to see my gelding in the
FIRST CARRIER: Nay, by God, soft: I know a trick worth two
of that, i’ faith.
Be aware; pay attention; take note.]
GADSHILL: I prithee, lend me thine.
SECOND CARRIER: Ay, when? canst tell? Lend me thy lanthorn,
quoth a’ [says he]? marry,
I’ll see thee hanged first.
GADSHILL: Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to
SECOND CARRIER: Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I
warrant thee. Come, neighbour Mugs, we’ll call up the gentlemen:
will along with company, for they have great charge. [Exeunt
[Come . . . great charge: Come, Mugs (first carrier). We'll call
the gentlemen. They will want to ride with others for protection,
they are transporting great valuables.]
GADSHILL: What, ho! chamberlain!
CHAMBERLAIN: [Within.] At hand, quoth pick-purse. [At hand, a
pickpocket would say.]
GADSHILL: That’s even as fair as, ‘at hand, quoth the
chamberlain’; for thou variest no more from picking of purses than
giving direction doth from labouring; thou layest the plot [robbery]
CHAMBERLAIN: Good morrow, Master Gadshill. It holds current
I told you yesternight: there’s a franklin [property holder
not of noble birth] in
the wild of Kent hath
brought three hundred marks with him in gold: I heard him tell it
one of his company last night at supper; a kind of auditor; one
hath abundance of charge [money] too, God knows what. They are up already and
call for eggs and butter: they will away
GADSHILL: Sirrah, if they meet not with Saint Nicholas’
clerks [robbers; thieves],
I’ll give thee this neck.
CHAMBERLAIN: No, I’ll none of it: I prithee, keep that for
hangman; for I know thou worship’st Saint Nicholas as truly as a
falsehood may. [Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of
repentant thieves. Gadshill, of course, is not repentant.]
GADSHILL: What talkest thou to me of the hangman? If I hang
I’ll make a fat pair of gallows; for if I hang, old Sir John [Falstaff] hangs with
me, and thou knowest he’s no starveling. Tut! there are other
hardy men; accomplished thieves] that thou dreamest not of, the which for sport sake are
content to do
the profession some grace; that would, if matters should be looked
into, for their own credit sake make all whole.
[if matters . .
. whole: If men of the law investigated a robbery, these thieves
would know how to appear innocent.]
I am joined with no
foot-landrakers, no long-staff sixpenny strikers, none of these
mustachio-purple-hued malt worms; but with
nobility and tranquillity,
burgomasters and great oneyers [great persons] such as can hold in [keep quiet;
operate in secret], such
as will strike
sooner than speak [will hit you sooner than divulge a secret], and speak sooner than drink, and
drink sooner than
pray: and yet I lie; for they pray continually to their saint, the
commonwealth [England]; or,
rather, not pray to her, but prey on her, for they
ride up and down on her and make her their boots [make her a victim
of robberies in which they come away with a great deal of booty] .
[foot-landrakers: Thieves who roam on
CHAMBERLAIN: What! the
commonwealth their boots? will she hold out water in foul
[long-staff sixpenny strikers:
Thieves who carry a staff and will rob someone for a mere six
[malt worm: Maltworm, a heavy
[burgomaster: High government official; judge; mayor]
[What! the . .
. way: What! Are you saying the government will act as boots that
keep out foul water?]
GADSHILL: She will, she will; justice hath liquored her [waterproofed her
steal as in a castle, cock-sure; we have the receipt of fern-seed,
Seed as tiny as a speck of dust. It was believed that it could
make its possessor invisible.]
CHAMBERLAIN: Nay, by my faith, I think you are more
the night than to fern-seed for your walking
GADSHILL: Give me thy hand: thou shalt have a share in our
purchase, as I am a true man.
CHAMBERLAIN: Nay, rather let me have it, as you are a false
GADSHILL: Go to; homo is a common name to all men. Bid the
ostler bring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy
2, Scene 2
The road by Gadshill.
Enter the PRINCE and POINS.
POINS: Come, shelter, shelter: I have removed Falstaff’s
horse, and he frets like a gummed velvet.
[he frets . . .
velvet: He wears away (worries) like cheap velvet with a gummed
PRINCE: Stand close.
Enter FALSTAFF. 5
FALSTAFF: Poins! Poins, and be hanged!
PRINCE: Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal! What a brawling dost
FALSTAFF: Where’s Poins, Hal?
PRINCE: He is walked up to the top of the hill: I’ll go seek
him. [Pretends to seek POINS, and retires.
FALSTAFF: I am accursed to rob in that thief’s company; the
hath removed my horse and tied him I know not where. If I travel
four foot by the squire [squier: square used in carpentry], further afoot I shall break my
Well, I doubt not but to die a fair death for all this, if I
hanging for killing that rogue. I have forsworn his company hourly
time this two-and-twenty years, and yet I am bewitched with the
company. If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love
I’ll be hanged: it could not be else: I have drunk medicines.
Hal! a plague upon you both! Bardolph! Peto! I’ll starve ere [before] I’ll rob [walk] a foot further. An ’twere not as good
a deed as drink to turn true man and leave these rogues, I am the
veriest [truest] varlet [knave; rogue]
that ever chewed with a tooth. Eight yards of uneven ground is
threescore and ten miles afoot with me, and the stony-hearted
[Eight yards .
. . with me: Walking eight yards of uneven ground is like walking
seventy miles for me.]
know it well enough. A plague upon ’t when thieves cannot be true
to another! [They whistle] Whew! A plague upon you
Give me my horse, you rogues; give me my horse and be
PRINCE: [Coming forward.] Peace, ye fatguts! lie down:
lay thine ear close to the ground, and list [listen] if thou canst hear the tread of
FALSTAFF: Have you any levers to lift me up again, being
down? ’Sblood! I’ll not bear mine own flesh so far afoot again for all
the coin in thy father’s exchequer [treasury]. What a plague mean ye to colt [trick; deceive] me thus?
PRINCE: Thou liest: thou art not colted; thou art
FALSTAFF: I prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse,
good king’s son.
PRINCE: Out, you rogue! shall I be your
FALSTAFF: Go, hang thyself in thine own heir apparent
garters! If I be
ta’en I’ll peach for this. An I have not ballads made on you all,
sung to filthy tunes, let a cup of sack be
my poison: when a jest is so
forward, and afoot too! I hate it.
[If I be . . .
hate it: If I'm arrested, I'll
inform on you. If I don't have filthy ballads that will be sung
you, then let me be poisoned with a cup of wine. Your joke on me
too far. And here I am on foot, without a horse. I hate my
FALSTAFF: So I do, against my will.
POINS: O! ’tis our setter: I know his
[O! . . .
voice: O! He's the one who set up the robbery victim.]
Enter BARDOLPH and PETO.
BARDOLPH: What news?
GADSHILL: Case ye, case ye; on with your vizards: there’s
the king’s coming down the hill; ’tis going to the king’s
[Case . . .
yourselves, disguise yourselves. Put on your masks. There's money
coming down the hill that's earmarked for the king's treasury.]
FALSTAFF: You lie, you rogue; ’tis going to the king’s
GADSHILL: There’s enough to make us all [enough for all of
FALSTAFF: To be hanged [or get us hanged].
PRINCE: Sirs, you four shall front [confront]
them in the narrow lane; Ned Poins and I will walk lower: if they
’scape from your encounter then they light on
PETO: How many be there of them?
GADSHILL: Some eight or ten.
FALSTAFF: ’Zounds! will
they not rob us?
PRINCE: What! a coward, Sir John Paunch? [What! Are you a
coward, Sir John Fatbelly?]
FALSTAFF: Indeed, I am not John of Gaunt, your grandfather;
but yet no coward, Hal.
[John of Gaunt:
Son of King Edward III. John (1340-1399) was born in Ghent,
Belgium. Ghent was
rendered in English as Gaunt;
hence, John of Gaunt. In referring to Gaunt, Falstaff uses a pun,
since the lower-cased gaunt means extremely
PRINCE: Well, we leave that
to the proof [Well, you'll have to prove that].
POINS: Sirrah Jack, thy horse stands behind the hedge: when
needst him there thou shalt find him. Farewell, and stand
FALSTAFF: Now cannot I strike him if I should be
PRINCE: [Aside to POINS.] Ned, where are our
POINS: Here, hard by; stand close. [Exeunt PRINCE and
FALSTAFF: Now my masters, happy man be his dole, say I:
every man to his business.
[happy . . .
dole: May each of you get your reward.]
First Trav. Come, neighbour; the boy shall lead our horses
down the hill; we’ll walk afoot awhile, and ease our
Travellers. Jesu bless us!
FALSTAFF: Strike; down with them; cut the villains’ throats:
ah! whoreson caterpillars! bacon-fed knaves! they hate us youth:
with them; fleece them.
Travellers. O! we are undone, both we and ours for
FALSTAFF: Hang ye, gorbellied [having a
knaves, are ye undone? No, ye fat
chuffs [rude persons]; I
would your store were here! On, bacons, on! What! ye knaves,
young men must live. You are grand-jurors are ye? We’ll jure ye,
faith. [Here they rob and bind them.
Re-enter the PRINCE and POINS.
PRINCE: The thieves have bound the true men. Now could
thou and I rob the thieves and go merrily to London, it would be
argument for a week, laughter for a month, and a good jest for
POINS: Stand close; I hear them coming.
FALSTAFF: Come, my masters; let us share, and then to horse
before day. An [if]
the Prince and Poins be not two arrant [thoroughgoing;
no equity stirring: there’s no more valour in that Poins than in a
PRINCE: Your money!
POINS: Villains! [As they are sharing, the PRINCE
and POINS set upon them. They all run away; and FALSTAFF,
blow or two, runs away too, leaving the booty
Prince Got with much ease. Now merrily to
The thieves are scatter’d and possess’d with
So strongly that they dare not meet each other;
Each takes his fellow for an officer [officer of the
Away, good Ned. Falstaff sweats to death
And lards the lean earth as he walks along:
Were ’t not for laughing I should pity him.
POINS: How the rogue roar’d!
2, Scene 3
Warkworth. A room in Warkworth Castle.
Enter HOTSPUR, reading a letter.
But for mine
own part, my lord, I could be well contented to be there, in
respect of the love I bear your house.
commenting] He could
be contented; why is he not then? In respect of the love he bears
house: he shows in this he loves his own barn better than he loves
house. Let me see some more.
reading] The purpose you undertake is dangerous;—
that’s certain; ’tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to drink;
I tell you, my lord fool, out of this nettle, danger, we pluck
purpose you undertake is dangerous; the friends you have named
uncertain; the time itself unsorted; and your whole plot too light
the counterpoise of so great an opposition.
commenting] Say you
so, say you so? I say unto you again, you are a shallow cowardly
and you lie. What a lack-brain is this! By the Lord, our plot is a
plot as ever was laid; our friends true and constant: a good plot,
friends, and full of expectation; an excellent plot, very good
What a frosty-spirited rogue is this! Why, my Lord of York
plot and the general course of the action. ’Zounds! an [if]
I were now by this rascal, I could brain him with his lady’s fan.
there not my father, my uncle, and myself? Lord Edmund Mortimer,
Lord of York, and Owen Glendower? Is there not besides the
Have I not all their letters to meet me in arms by the ninth of
next month, and are they not some of them set forward already?
pagan rascal is this! an infidel! Ha! you shall see now in very
sincerity of fear and cold heart, will he [go] to the king and lay open all our
proceedings. O! I could divide myself and go to buffets [blows; punches],
for moving such a dish of skim milk with so honourable an action.
him! let him tell the king; we are prepared. I will set forward
Enter LADY PERCY.
HOTSPUR: How now, Kate! I must leave you within these two
LADY PERCY: O, my good lord! why are you thus
For what offence have I this fortnight been
A banish’d woman from my Harry’s bed?
Tell me, sweet lord, what is ’t that takes from thee
Thy stomach [appetite],
pleasure, and thy golden sleep?
Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth,
And start so often when thou sitt’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 watch’d,
And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars,
Speak terms of manage [speak equestrian terms] to thy bounding steed,
Cry, ‘Courage! to the field!’ And thou hast talk’d
Of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents,
Of palisadoes [fortifications; defensive barriers], frontiers, parapets [bulwarks;
Of basilisks [bronze cannons],
of cannon, culverin [musket or cannon],
Of prisoners’ ransom, and of soldiers slain,
And all the currents [actions] of a heady fight.
Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war,
And thus hath so bestirr’d thee in thy sleep,
That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow,
Like bubbles in a late-disturbed stream;
And in thy face strange motions have appear’d,
Such as we see when men restrain their breath
On some great sudden hest [command; directive]. O! what portents are
Some heavy business hath my lord in hand,
And I must know it, else he loves me not.
HOTSPUR: What, ho!
Enter Servant. 40
Is Gilliams with the packet gone?
SERVANT: He is, my lord, an hour ago.
HOTSPUR: Hath Butler brought those horses from the
SERVANT: One horse, my lord, he brought even
HOTSPUR: What horse? a roan, a crop-ear, is it not?
[roan: Horse with
a coat that is reddish brown (bay), brownish orange (sorrel),
light brown, or black.]
[crop-ear: Horse with shortened
SERVANT: It is, my lord.
HOTSPUR: That roan shall be my throne.
Well, I will back [ride] him straight: O, Esperance!
O, Hope! O, Esperance
was a war cry.]
Bid Butler lead him forth into the park. [Exit
LADY PERCY: But hear you, my lord.
HOTSPUR: What sayst thou, my lady?
LADY PERCY: What is it carries you away?
HOTSPUR: Why, my horse, my love, my horse.
LADY PERCY: Out, you mad-headed ape!
A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen
As you are toss’d with. In faith,
[Out, you . . . toss'd with: Out with it! I know something's
bothering you. Not even a weasel is as active and aroused as you.]
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 [bolster; strengthen] his enterprise. But if you go—
HOTSPUR: So far afoot [walking so far], I shall be weary, love.
LADY PERCY: Come, come, you paraquito [parakeet], answer me
Directly unto this question that I ask.
In faith, I’ll break thy little finger, Harry,
An if thou will not tell me all things true.
Away, you trifler! Love! I love thee not,
I care not for thee, Kate: this is no world
To play with mammets [puppets; dolls] and to tilt [joust] with lips:
We must have bloody noses and crack’d crowns,
The top of the head,
cracked by a blow. There may be a double meaning here, the second
referring to the crown worn by Henry IV.]
And pass them current too. God’s me, my horse!
[And . . . too:
And pass them around like a flowing river current.]
What sayst thou, Kate? what wouldst thou have with me?
LADY PERCY: Do you not love me? do you not,
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.
HOTSPUR: Come, wilt thou see me ride?
And when I am o’ horseback, I will swear
I love thee infinitely. But hark you, Kate;
I must not have you henceforth question me
Whither [where] I go, nor
Whither I must, I must; and, to conclude,
This evening must I leave you, gentle Kate.
I know you wise; but yet no further 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;
secrecy . . . know: And for secrecy, no lady can top you. You
cannot reveal what you do not know.]
And so far will I trust thee, gentle Kate.
LADY PERCY: How! so far?
HOTSPUR: Not an inch further. But, hark you,
Whither I go, thither shall you go too;
To-day will I set forth, to-morrow you.
Will this content you, Kate?
LADY PERCY: It must, of
2, Scene 4
Eastcheap. A Room in the Boar’s Head tavern.
Enter the PRINCE and POINS.
PRINCE: Ned, prithee, come out of that fat [lacking
room, and lend me thy hand to laugh a little.
POINS: Where hast been, Hal?
PRINCE: With three or four loggerheads [numskulls] amongst three or four score hogsheads
for alcoholic beverages].
I have sounded the very base string of humility [I have been with
people who are as low as the lowest note on the scale.] Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash
and can call them all by their christen [christened;
as Tom, Dick, and Francis. They take it already upon their
that though I be but Prince of Wales, yet I am the king of
and tell me flatly I am no proud Jack, like Falstaff, but a
Corinthian [person who loves luxury and elegance; jolly-good fellow],
a lad of mettle, a good boy,—by the Lord, so they call me,—and
am king of England, I shall command all the good lads in
They call drinking deep, dyeing scarlet [perhaps because
the face turns red]; and
when you breathe in your watering [accidentally
inhale your beverage],
they cry ‘hem!’ and bid you play it off [swallow it].
To conclude, I am so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour,
I can drink with any tinker in his own language during my life. I
thee, Ned, thou hast lost much honour that thou wert not with me
this action. But, sweet Ned,—to sweeten which name of Ned, I give
this pennyworth of sugar, clapped even now into my hand by an
underskinker [bartender's assistant], one that never spake [spoke] other English in his life than—‘Eight shillings and
sixpence,’ and—‘You are welcome,’ with this shrill addition,—‘Anon
[soon], anon, sir! Score a pint of bastard [type of white
wine] in the Half-moon [a room in the
or so. But, Ned, to drive away the time till Falstaff come, I
do thou stand in some by-room, while I question my puny drawer to
end he gave me the sugar; and do thou never leave calling
that his tale to me may be nothing but ‘Anon.’ Step aside, and
show thee a precedent.
[And do thou .
. . precedent: Stay in
the room while calling "Francis!" so that he has to keep saying,
a minute." Step aside and I'll show you what I man.]
PRINCE: Thou art perfect.
POINS: Francis! [Exit POINS.
FRANCIS: Anon, anon, sir. Look down into the Pomgarnet,
PRINCE: Come hither, Francis.
FRANCIS: My lord.
PRINCE: How long hast thou to serve, Francis?
FRANCIS: Forsooth, five years, and as much as
POINS: [Within.] Francis!
FRANCIS: Anon, anon, sir.
PRINCE: Five years! by ’r lady [by the Virgin
Mary] a long lease for
clinking of pewter [pewter cups or mugs]. But, Francis, darest
thou be so valiant as to play
the coward with thy indenture [apprenticeship contract] and show it a fair pair of heels and
FRANCIS: O Lord, sir! I’ll be sworn upon all the books in
England, I could find in my heart—
[I'll be . . .
heart—: I'll swear on all the Bibles in England if I could find it
in my heart to—]
POINS: [Within.] Francis!
FRANCIS: Anon, sir.
PRINCE: How old art thou, Francis?
FRANCIS: Let me see—about Michaelmas next I shall
September 29, feast day of St. Michael the Archangel]
POINS: [Within.] Francis!
FRANCIS: Anon, sir. Pray you, stay [wait] a little, my lord.
PRINCE: Nay, but hark you, Francis. For the sugar thou
gavest me, ’twas a pennyworth, was ’t not?
FRANCIS: O Lord, sir! I would it had been two.
PRINCE: I will give thee for it a thousand pound: ask me
when thou wilt and thou shalt have it.
POINS: [Within.] Francis!
FRANCIS: Anon, anon.
PRINCE: Anon, Francis? [You want it right now, Francis?] No, Francis; but to-morrow,
Francis; or, Francis, o’ Thursday; or, indeed, Francis, when thou
FRANCIS: My lord?
PRINCE: Wilt thou rob this leathern-jerkin,
crystal-button, knot-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking,
[Wilt thou . .
. Spanish pouch—:
Prince Hal is referring to Francis's employer, the innkeeper, who
a leather jacket with crystal buttons, a ring with a large quartz
inset, and gray garters. He owns a pouch of high-grade leather.
Although the prince says the innkeeper is a knothead (knot-pated ),
the man's attire and possessions suggest that he is a successful
businessman."Wilt thou rob" means "Wilt thou rob your employer of
services by renouncing your apprenticeship contract and running
FRANCIS: O Lord, sir, who do you mean?
PRINCE: Why then, your brown bastard is your only drink;
for, look you, Francis, your white canvas doublet will sully. In
Barbary, sir, it cannot come to so much.
[Why, then . .
. much: Why, then,
cheap wine will be your only drink and your white jacket will get
dirty. In North Africa, sir, you won't come to much.]
FRANCIS: What, sir?
POINS: [Within.] Francis!
PRINCE: Away, you rogue! Dost thou not hear them
call? [Here they both call him; the Drawer stands amazed,
knowing which way to go.
VINTNER What! standest thou still, and hearest such a
calling? Look to the guests within. [Exit FRANCIS.] My
lord, old Sir John, with half a dozen more, are at the door: shall
let them in?
PRINCE: Let them alone awhile, and then open the
door. [Exit VINTNER.] Poins!
POINS: Anon, anon, sir.
PRINCE: Sirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the thieves are at
the door: shall we be merry?
POINS: As merry as crickets, my lad. But hark ye; what
cunning match have you made with this jest of the drawer? come,
[what cunning .
. . issue: What was the point of playing a joke on the apprentice
PRINCE: I am now of all humours that have show’d
themselves humours since the old days of goodman Adam to the pupil
of this present twelve o’clock at midnight.
[I am . . .
midnight: I am a man of
all the moods that men have experienced between the days of Adam
Garden of Eden and the present hour, midnight.]
[FRANCIS crosses the
stage, with wine.] What’s o’clock, Francis?
FRANCIS: Anon, anon, sir.
PRINCE: That ever this fellow should have fewer words than
a parrot, and yet the son of a woman! His industry is up-stairs
downstairs; his eloquence the parcel of a reckoning.
[That ever . .
. reckoning: Even a
parrot says more than this fellow, yet he's a human being. His job
to go up and down stairs endlessly. His whole vocabulary centers
items listed on a customer's bill.]
I am not yet of
Percy’s mind, the Hotspur of the North; he that kills me some six
seven dozen of Scots at a breakfast, washes his hands, and says to
wife, ‘Fie upon this quiet life! I want work.’ ‘O my sweet Harry,’
she, ‘how many hast thou killed to-day?’ ‘Give my roan horse a drench [oral
administration of a medicine ],’
says he, and answers, ‘Some fourteen,’ an
hour after, ‘a trifle, a
[and answers .
. . trifle: And answers an hour later, "I killed fourteen men, a
I prithee call in Falstaff: I’ll play Percy, and that damned
pig] shall play Dame
Mortimer his wife. ‘Rivo!’ [To your health; drink up]; says the drunkard.
Call in ribs [meat], call in
tallow [fat from cattle, sheep, and horses].
Enter FALSTAFF, GADSHILL, BARDOLPH, PETO, and FRANCIS.
POINS: Welcome, Jack: where hast thou been?
FALSTAFF: A plague of [on] all cowards, I say, and a vengeance too!
marry, and amen! Give me a cup of sack,
boy. Ere [before] I lead
this life long,
I’ll sew nether-stocks and mend them and foot them too. A plague
cowards! Give me a cup of sack, rogue.—Is
there no virtue extant [in existence]?
Hosiery, or stockings,
with two sections: the nether stocks, covering the calves, and the
upper stocks, covering the thighs. These two sections joined at
PRINCE: Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of
butter—pitiful-hearted Titan, that melted at the sweet tale of the
if thou didst then behold that compound.
[Didst thou . .
. compound: Did you
ever see the sun kiss a dish of butter? The butter melts at the
tale the sun tells. If you ever did see such a sight, then behold
Falstaff, who is a big lump of butter melting from being
FALSTAFF: You rogue, here’s lime in this sack
too: there is
nothing but roguery to be found in villanous man: yet a coward is
than a cup of sack with lime in it, a villanous coward!
lime to cheap wine was said to improve its sparkle, color, and
Go thy ways,
old Jack; die when thou wilt. If manhood, good manhood, be not
upon the face of the earth, then am I a shotten herring [herring that
spawned]. There live not
three good men unhanged in England, and one of them is fat and
old: God help the while! a bad world, I say. I would I were a
could sing psalms or anything. A plague of [on] all cowards, I say
[weaver . . .
psalms: G. B. Harrison says many weavers in England were Puritans
famous for psalm-singing (Shakespeare:
The Complete Works. New York: Harcourt, 1952, page 858).]
PRINCE: How now, wool-sack! what mutter you?
FALSTAFF: A king’s son! If I do not beat thee out of thy
kingdom with a dagger of lath [dagger made with thin wood], and drive all thy subjects afore
like a flock of wild geese, I’ll never wear hair on my face more.
Prince of Wales!
PRINCE: Why, you whoreson round man, what’s the
FALSTAFF: Are you not a coward? answer me to that; and Poins
POINS: ’Zounds! ye fat paunch, an [if] ye call me coward, I’ll stab
FALSTAFF: I call thee coward! I’ll see thee damned ere [before] I call
thee coward; but I would give a thousand pound I could run as fast
thou canst. You are straight enough in the shoulders; you care not
sees your back: call you that backing of your friends? A plague
such backing! give me them that will face me. Give me a cup of sack: I
am a rogue if I drunk to-day.
[you care . . .
to-day: You don't care
who sees your back when you run away. Is that the way you back
friends? Curse those who back down and run away from their
Give me people who will show their faces. Give me some wine. I am
a rogue if I had anything to drink today.]
PRINCE: O villain! thy lips are scarce wiped since thou
FALSTAFF: All’s one for that. [Whatever you say.] [He drinks.] A plague
of [on] all cowards, still say I.
PRINCE: What’s the matter?
FALSTAFF: What’s the matter? there be four of us here have
ta’en a thousand pound this day morning.
PRINCE: Where is it, Jack? where is it?
FALSTAFF: Where is it! taken from us it is: a hundred upon
poor four of us.
PRINCE: What, a hundred, man?
FALSTAFF: I am a rogue, if I were not at half-sword [half a sword's
length] with a
dozen of them two hours together. I have ’scap’d [escaped] by miracle. I am eight
times thrust through the doublet [jacket], four through the hose [stockings]; my buckler [small round
through and through; my sword hacked like a hand-saw: ecce signum!
Latin, behold the sign. Apparently, Falstaff is displaying rips,
tears, and holes.]
never dealt [fought] better
since I was a man: all would not do [all my efforts
were not enough to stop the assailants]. A plague of [on] all
cowards! Let them speak [Falstaff is pointing to Peto, Gadshill, and
Bardolph]: if they speak
more or less than truth, they
are villains and the sons of darkness.
PRINCE: Speak, sirs; how was it?
GADSHILL: We four set upon some dozen,—
FALSTAFF: Sixteen, at least, my lord.
GADSHILL: And bound them.
PETO: No, no, they were not bound.
FALSTAFF: You rogue, they were bound, every man of them; or
I am a Jew else, an Ebrew [Hebrew] Jew.
GADSHILL: As we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men
set upon us,—
FALSTAFF: And unbound the rest, and then come in the
PRINCE: What, fought ye with them all?
FALSTAFF: All! I know not what ye call all; but if I fought
with fifty of them, I am a bunch of radish: if there were not two
three and fifty upon poor old Jack, then am I no two-legged
PRINCE: Pray God you have not murdered some of
FALSTAFF: Nay, that’s past praying for: I have peppered two
them: two I am sure I have paid [knocked into kingdom come], two rogues in buckram suits. I tell
thee what, Hal, if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me
Thou knowest my old ward [defensive position; fighting stance]; here I lay, and thus I bore my point
rogues in buckram let drive at me,—
PRINCE: What, four? thou saidst but two even
FALSTAFF: Four, Hal; I told thee four.
POINS: Ay, ay, he said four.
FALSTAFF: These four came all a front, and mainly thrust at
I made me no more ado but took all their seven points in my target
PRINCE: Seven? why, there were but four even
FALSTAFF: In buckram.
POINS: Ay, four, in buckram suits.
FALSTAFF: Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain
hilts: I swear by the hilt of my sword.]
PRINCE: Prithee, let him alone; we shall have more
FALSTAFF: Dost thou hear me, Hal?
PRINCE: Ay, and mark thee [and listen to what you're saying] too, Jack.
FALSTAFF: Do so, for it is worth the listening to. These
in buckram that I told thee of,—
PRINCE: So, two more already.
FALSTAFF: Their points being broken,—
POINS: Down fell their hose.
FALSTAFF: Began to give me ground; but I followed me close,
came in foot and hand and with a thought seven of the eleven I
[Began . . .
paid: Began to back away,
but I followed them closely. And, with the speed of thought,
killed seven of the eleven.]
PRINCE: O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of
FALSTAFF: But, as the devil would have it, three misbegotten
knaves in Kendal-green [clothes made of cheap green cloth] came at my back and let drive at me;
for it was
so dark, Hal, that thou couldst not see thy hand.
PRINCE: These lies are like the father that begets them;
gross as a mountain, open; palpable.
palpable: The prince is saying
that Falstaff is like an open book. One can easily see into him
detect his lying nature.]
Why, thou clay-brained guts, thou
knotty-pated fool [numskull], thou whoreson, obscene, greasy
tallowketch [lump of fat],—
FALSTAFF: What, art thou mad? art thou mad? is not the truth
PRINCE: Why, how couldst thou know these men in
Kendal-green, when it was so dark thou couldst not see thy hand?
tell us your reason: what sayest thou to this?
POINS: Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.
FALSTAFF: What, upon compulsion? ’Zounds! an [if] I were at the
strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would not tell you on
compulsion. Give you a reason on compulsion! if reasons were as
as blackberries I would give no man a reason upon compulsion,
Form of torture. Those inflicting it first tied the victim's
behind his back. They then hoisted him to a certain height on a
attached to his wrists, perhaps using a pulley attached to a
then allowed him to fall to a point just above the ground,
pavement, causing severe pain and the dislocation of joints.]
PRINCE: I’ll be no longer
guilty of this sin: this
sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker, this
hill of flesh;—
[rack: Torture apparatus
consisting of a rectangular wooden frame. After a victim was
lie on it, his wrists were attached at the top of the frame and
ankles at the bottom. Then, with a ratchet device, he was
you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried
neat’s-tongue [ox's tongue],
you bull’s pizzle [penis], you stock-fish
cod]! O! for breath to
utter what is like thee; you tailor’s yard, you sheath, you
bow-case [case of a violin bow],
you vile standing-tuck [slender sword standing upright after being
stuck in the ground];—
PRINCE: Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again; and
when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak
POINS: Mark, Jack.
PRINCE: We two saw you four set on four and you bound
them, and were masters of their wealth. Mark now, how a plain tale
shall put you down. Then did we two set on you four, and, with a
out-faced you from [robbed from you] your prize, and have it; yea, and can
show it you
here in the house. And, Falstaff, you carried your guts away as
with as quick dexterity, and roared for mercy, and still ran and
roared, as ever I heard bull-calf. What a slave art thou, to hack
sword as thou hast done, and then say it was in fight! What trick,
device, what starting-hole [loophole] canst thou now find out to hide thee from
this open and apparent shame?
POINS: Come, let’s hear, Jack; what trick hast thou
FALSTAFF: By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that made ye.
Why, hear you, my masters: was it for me to kill the
Should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou knowest I am as
as Hercules; but beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true
prince. Instinct is a great matter, I was a coward on instinct. I
think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a
lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads, I am
have the money. Hostess, clap to the doors: watch to-night, pray
to-morrow. Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles of
fellowship come to you! What! shall we be merry? shall we have a
PRINCE: Content; and the argument shall be thy running
[argument . . . away: The subject of the play shall be how you ran
FALSTAFF: Ah! no more of that, Hal, an [if] thou lovest me!
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
QUICKLY: O Jesu! my lord the prince!
PRINCE: How now, my lady the hostess! what sayest thou to
QUICKLY: Marry [By the Virgin Mary], my lord, there is a nobleman of the
door would speak with you: he says he comes from your
PRINCE: Give him as much [money] as will make him a royal man, and
send him back again to my mother.
FALSTAFF: What manner of man is he?
QUICKLY: An old man.
FALSTAFF: What doth gravity [what makes the old
man get] out of his bed
at midnight? Shall I give him his answer?
PRINCE: Prithee, do, Jack.
FALSTAFF: Faith, and I’ll send him packing.
PRINCE: Now, sirs: by ’r lady, you fought fair; so did
you, Peto; so did you, Bardolph: you are lions too, you ran away
instinct, you will not touch the true prince; no, fie!
BARDOLPH: Faith, I ran when I saw others run.
PRINCE: Faith, tell me now in earnest, how came Falstaff’s
sword so hacked?
PETO: Why he hacked it with his dagger, and said he would
swear truth out of England but he would make you believe it was
fight, and persuaded us to do the like.
BARDOLPH: Yea, and to tickle our noses with spear-grass to
make them bleed, and then to beslubber our garments with it and
it was the blood of true men. I did [something] that I did not [do] this seven year
before; I blushed to hear his monstrous devices [plans for us].
PRINCE: O villain! thou stolest a cup of sack eighteen
years ago, and wert taken with the manner, and ever since thou
blushed extempore [off and on]. Thou hadst fire and sword on thy side, and yet thou
rannest away. What instinct hadst thou for it?
BARDOLPH: [Pointing to his face.] My lord, do you see
these meteors [swellings]? do
you behold these exhalations?
PRINCE: I do.
BARDOLPH: What think you they portend [mean; foretell]?
PRINCE: Hot livers and cold purses.
[hot . . .
purses: That you are angry and have an empty purse.]
BARDOLPH: Choler, my lord, if rightly
[Choler . . .
taken: Anger, my lord. You are right.]
PRINCE: No, if rightly taken, halter.—
[No . . .
halter: What it means is that you'll have a noose around your neck
if the law catches up with you.]
Here comes lean Jack, here comes bare-bone.—How now, my sweet
of bombast! How long is ’t ago, Jack, since thou sawest thine own
FALSTAFF: My own knee! when I was about thy years, Hal, I
not an eagle’s talon in the waist; I could have crept into any
[when I . . .
thumb-ring: When I was
about your age, my waist was not even the width of an eagle's
could have crawled through a thumb ring.]
A plague of [on] sighing and
grief! it blows a man up
like a bladder. There’s villainous news abroad: here [the old man at the
door] was Sir John Bracy
from your father: you must [go]
to the court in the morning. That same mad
fellow of the north, Percy, and he of Wales, that gave Amaimon [a spirit of hell;
a devil] the
bastinado and made Lucifer cuckold, and swore the devil [made the devil
swear to be] his true
liegeman [servant; subject]
upon the cross of a Welsh hook—what a plague call you
[bastinado: Form of torture in which the soles of the feet
were beaten with a cane or similar instrument]
POINS: Owen Glendower.
[cuckold: Husband of an unfaithful wife]
[Welsh hook: Weapon with a long shaft topped by a hook and a
FALSTAFF: Owen, Owen, the same; and his son-in-law Mortimer
old Northumberland; and that sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas,
runs o’ horseback up a hill perpendicular.
PRINCE: He that rides at high speed and with his pistol
kills a sparrow flying.
FALSTAFF: You have hit it.
PRINCE: So did he never the sparrow.
FALSTAFF: Well, that rascal hath good mettle [bravery;
substance] in him; he
will not run.
PRINCE: Why, what a rascal art thou then to praise him so
FALSTAFF: O’ horseback, ye cuckoo! but, afoot he will not
budge a foot.
PRINCE: Yes, Jack, upon instinct.
[Yes, Jack: Yes, he will
FALSTAFF: I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too,
one Mordake, and a thousand blue-caps [Scotsmen] more. Worcester is stolen away
to-night; thy father’s beard is turned white with the news: you
land now as cheap as stinking mackerel.
PRINCE: Why then, it is like, if there come a hot June and
this civil buffeting hold, we shall buy maidenheads as they buy
hob-nails, by the hundreds.
[Why . . .
hundreds: Well, then, it is
likely that when the heat of summer comes and civil war progresses
we shall be able to buy the virginity of women like hobnails (used
fasten the soles of shoes), by the hundreds.]
FALSTAFF: By the mass, lad, thou sayest true; it is like we
shall have good trading that way. But tell me, Hal, art thou not
horribly afeard? thou being heir apparent, could the world pick
out three such enemies again as that fiend Douglas, that spirit
and that devil Glendower? Art thou not horribly afraid? doth not
blood thrill at it?
Eucharistic liturgy, the main act of worship in the Roman Catholic
PRINCE: Not a whit, i’ faith; I lack some of thy instinct.
[I lack . . .
instinct: I lack some of your instinct for running away.]
FALSTAFF: Well, thou wilt be horribly chid [reprimanded] to-morrow when thou
comest to thy father: if thou love me, practise an answer.
answer: Practice what you will say to him.]
PRINCE: Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon
the particulars of my life.
[Do thou . . .
life: Pretend to be my father and question me about my life.]
FALSTAFF: Shall I? content: this chair shall be my state,
dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my crown.
[Shall . . .
crown: Shall I? I will.
This chair shall be my throne of state, this dagger shall be my
(staff serving as an emblem of authority), and this cushion shall
be my crown.]
PRINCE: Thy state is taken for a joint-stool, thy golden
sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown for a
bald crown [head]!
FALSTAFF: Well, an [if]
the fire of grace be not quite out of thee,
now shalt thou be moved. Give me a cup of sack to make mine eyes look
red, that it may be thought I have wept; for I must speak in
and I will do it in King Cambyses’ vein.
Cambyses II, king of Persia
between 529 and 522 BC. He was depicted as being highly emotional
highly bombastic in his speech in a play by Englishman Thomas
PRINCE: Well, here is my leg. [Makes a
[Well . . .
leg: Well, I bend my leg to bow to you.]
FALSTAFF: And here is my speech. Stand aside,
QUICKLY: O Jesu! This is excellent sport, i’
FALSTAFF: Weep not, sweet queen, for trickling tears are [in] vain.
QUICKLY: O, the father [O, Lord]! how he holds his countenance [he looks so
FALSTAFF: For God’s sake, lords, convey my tristful
For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes.
[For God's . .
. eyes: For God's sake, somebody take her out of here. All she
does is cry.]
QUICKLY: O Jesu! he doth it as like one of these harlotry
players as ever I see!
[he doth . . .
see: He acts as well as one of those stage players I have seen.]
FALSTAFF: Peace, good pint-pot! peace, good tickle-brain!
Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also
thou art accompanied: for though the camomile [fragrant plant], the more it is trodden
on the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted the
wears. That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother’s word,
own opinion; but chiefly, a villanous [villainous] trick of thine eye and a foolish
hanging of thy nether [lower] lip, that doth warrant me. If then thou be son to
me, here lies the point; why, being son to me, art thou so pointed
Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher [thief; idler] and eat blackberries? a
question not to be asked. Shall the son of England prove a thief
take purses? a question to be asked. There is a thing, Harry,
thou hast often heard of, and it is known to many in our land by
name of pitch [tar]: this
pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth defile [dirties you];
so doth the copany thou keepest; for, Harry, now I do not speak to
thee in drink, but in tears, not in pleasure but in passion, not
words only, but in woes also. And yet there is a virtuous man whom
have often noted in thy company, but I know not his
PRINCE: What manner of man, an it like your majesty [if it pleases your
FALSTAFF: A goodly portly [dignified] man, i’ faith, and a corpulent [fat]; of a
cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage; and, as
think, his age some fifty, or by ’r lady, inclining to threescore
now I remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man should be
given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his looks. If
the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree,
peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff: him
with, the rest banish. And tell me now, thou naughty varlet [rascal], tell me,
where hast thou been this month?
PRINCE: Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for [pretend to be] me,
and I’ll play my father.
FALSTAFF: Depose me? if thou dost it half so gravely, so
majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for
rabbit-sucker or a poulter’s hare.
[Depose . . .
hare: You want to remove
me as king? If you do so gravely and majestically, I won't
Just hang me up by the heels like a young rabbit or a poultry
PRINCE: Well, here I am set [ready].
FALSTAFF: And here I stand. Judge, my masters.
PRINCE: Now, Harry! whence come you?
[The prince now
pretends to be his father, the king, and Falstaff pretends to be
FALSTAFF: My noble lord, from Eastcheap.
PRINCE: The complaints I hear of thee are
my lord, they are false: nay, I’ll tickle ye for a young prince,
[I'll tickle .
. . faith: I'll please you by acting like a young prince. In good
faith, I swear I will.]
thou, ungracious boy? henceforth ne’er
look on me. Thou art violently carried away from grace: there is a
devil haunts thee in the likeness of a fat old man; a tun of man
[tun: Play on
words. A tun is wine cask that holds more than 250 gallons.
Falstaff is a tun of man in that he has a
"tun" of wine in his belly and a "ton" of flesh on his frame.]
companion. Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours [body of jelly], that
bolting-hutch [flour bin] of
beastliness, that swoln [swollen] parcel of dropsies [diseases], that huge
bombard [jug] of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag [bag for carrying
cloaks and other items]
of guts, that roasted
Manningtree ox [Manningtree: small town in Essex County,
England] with the pudding
in his belly, that reverend vice [devil; evil character in a morality
grey iniquity [old reprobate],
that father ruffian [father of crime], that vanity in years [vain old man]? Wherein is he
good but to taste sack and drink
it? wherein neat and cleanly [wherein skilled] but to
carve a capon and eat it? wherein cunning but in craft [deceit]? wherein crafty
[clever] but in villany [villainy]? wherein villanous but in all things?
wherein worthy but
FALSTAFF: I would your Grace would take me with you: whom
means your Grace?
[I would . . .
Grace: I wish you would explain what you are saying. To whom are
you referring, your Grace?]
PRINCE: That villanous abominable misleader of youth,
Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.
FALSTAFF: My lord, the man I know.
PRINCE: I know thou dost.
FALSTAFF: But to say I know [recognize] more harm in him than in myself
were to say more than I know. That he is old, the more the pity,
white hairs do witness it; but that he is, saving your reverence,
whoremaster, that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault, God
help the wicked! If to be old and merry be a sin, then many an old
that I know is damned: if to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh’s
kine [cows] are to be loved. No, my good lord;
banish Peto, banish Bardolph,
banish Poins; but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff,
Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant,
being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry’s
banish not him thy Harry’s company: banish plump Jack, and banish
[banish plump .
. . world: If you banish me, you banish all the world.]
PRINCE: I do, I will. [A knocking heard.
Exeunt MISTRESS QUICKLY, FRANCIS, and BARDOLPH.
BARDOLPH: O! my lord, my lord, the sheriff with a most
monstrous watch [large contingent of lawmen] is at the door.
FALSTAFF: Out, ye rogue! Play out [let's finish] the play: I have much to say in the
behalf of that Falstaff.
Re-enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
QUICKLY: O Jesu! my lord, my lord!
PRINCE: Heigh, heigh! the devil rides upon a fiddle-stick:
what’s the matter?
[devil . . .
fiddle-stick: There's no need for a fuss; don't get upset.]
QUICKLY: The sheriff and all the watch are at the door: they
are come to search the house. Shall I let them in?
FALSTAFF: Dost thou hear, Hal? never call a true piece of
a counterfeit: thou art essentially mad without seeming
[never call . . . so: Never call me a counterfeit piece of gold,
though I may appear to be such. On the other hand, you are mad
appearing to be so.]
PRINCE: And thou a natural coward without instinct.
FALSTAFF: I deny your major [argument;
contention]. If you will
deny the sheriff, so;
if not, let him enter: if I become not a cart as well as another
plague on my bringing up! I hope I shall as soon be strangled with
halter as another.
[if I become .
. . as another:
What the sheriff will do is put me on a cart and take me to the
gallows. If I don't look as impressive on the cart as any other
lawbreaker, a curse on my upbringing. And I hope I shall be just
compliant with the hangman as any other man sent to the gallows.]
PRINCE: Go, hide thee behind the arras [curtain; wall
hanging]: the rest walk
above. Now, my masters, for a true face and good
FALSTAFF: Both which I have had; but their date is out [has expired], and
therefore I’ll hide me. [Exeunt all but the PRINCE and
PRINCE: Call in the sheriff.
Enter Sheriff and Carrier.
Now, master sheriff, what’s your will with me?
SHERIFF: First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and
Hath follow’d certain men unto this house.
PRINCE: What men?
SHERIFF: One of them is well known, my gracious
A gross fat man.
CARRIER: As fat as
PRINCE: The man, I do assure you, is not here,
For I myself at this time have employ’d him.
And, sheriff, I will engage my word to thee,
That I will, by to-morrow dinner-time,
Send him to answer thee, or any man,
For anything he shall be charg’d withal:
And so let me entreat you leave the house.
SHERIFF: I will, my lord. There are two
Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks.
PRINCE: It may be so: if he have robb’d these
He shall be answerable; and so farewell.
SHERIFF: Good night, my noble lord.
PRINCE: I think it is good morrow [morning], is it not?
SHERIFF: Indeed, my lord, I think it be two o’clock.
[Exeunt Sheriff and Carrier.
PRINCE: This oily rascal is known as well as
Paul’s [St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill in London].
Go, call him forth.
PETO: Falstaff! fast asleep behind the arras, and snorting
like a horse.
PRINCE: Hark, how hard he fetches breath. Search his
pockets. [He searcheth his pockets, and findeth certain
papers.] What hast thou found?
PETO: Nothing but papers, my lord.
PRINCE: Let’s see what they be: read them.
Item, A capon 2s. 2d.
Item, Sauce 4d.
, two gallons
Item, Anchovies and sack after supper
Item, Bread ob.
d: pence (plural of penny)
PRINCE: O monstrous! but one half-penny-worth of bread to
this intolerable deal of sack!
[Wow! He bought
only a halfpenny worth of bread to go with two gallons of wine.]
What there is else, keep close; we’ll
read it at more advantage.
[Keep the list.
We'll look at the rest of the items on it later.]
There let him sleep till day. I’ll [go] to the
court in the morning. We must all [go] to the wars, and thy place [position and role
in it] shall be
I’ll procure this fat rogue a charge of foot; and, I know,
his death will be a march of twelve-score. The money shall be paid
again with advantage. Be with me betimes in the morning; and so
[I'll procure .
. . Peto: I'll get
Falstaff a command in the infantry, although I know the long
will be the death of him. As for the robbery we took part in, the
will be paid back with interest. Meet with me again in the
Good day, Peto.]
PETO: Good morrow, good my lord. [Exeunt.
3, Scene 1
Bangor. A room in the archdeacon’s house.
Enter HOTSPUR, WORCESTER, MORTIMER, and GLENDOWER.
MORTIMER: These promises are fair, the parties
And our induction full of prosperous hope.
[These . . .
hope: For our campaign
against Henry IV, our allies have assured us of their backing.
Therefore, we will begin our enterprise with great hope.]
HOTSPUR: Lord Mortimer, and cousin
Will you sit down?
And uncle Worcester: a plague upon it!
I have forgot the map.
GLENDOWER: No, here it is.
Sit, cousin Percy; sit, good cousin Hotspur;
For by that name as oft as Lancaster
Henry IV headed the royal House of Lancaster]
Doth speak of you, his cheek looks pale and with
A rising sigh he wishes you in heaven.
HOTSPUR: And you in hell, as often as he
Owen Glendower spoke of.
GLENDOWER: I cannot blame him: at my nativity [birth]
The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,
Of burning cressets; and at my birth
of burning pitch or
oil that were mounted on a pole and used as torches. Here,
uses cressets as a metaphor for stars.]
The frame and huge foundation of the earth
Shak’d like a coward.
HOTSPUR: Why, so it would have done at the same season, if
mother’s cat had but kittened, though yourself had never been
GLENDOWER: I say the earth did shake when I was
HOTSPUR: And I say the earth was not of my
If you suppose as fearing you it shook.
GLENDOWER: The heavens were all on fire, the earth did
HOTSPUR: O! then the earth shook to see the heavens on
And not in fear of your nativity.
Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth
In strange eruptions; oft the teeming earth
Is with a kind of colic pinch’d and vex’d
By the imprisoning of unruly wind
Within her womb; which, for enlargement
Shakes the old beldam earth, and topples down
Steeples and moss-grown towers. At your birth
[Diseased . . .
towers: The belly of
the earth, containing trapped wind, often expels this wind,
earthquakes that topple steeples and towers.]
Our grandam earth, having this distemperature,
In passion shook.
GLENDOWER: Cousin, of many men
I do not bear these crossings [challenges; insults]. Give me leave
To tell you once again that at my birth
The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,
The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds
Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields.
These signs have mark’d me extraordinary;
And all the courses of my life do show
I am not in the roll of common men.
Where is he living, clipp’d in with the sea
That chides the banks of England, Scotland,
Which calls me pupil, or hath read to me?
[Where is . . .
me: Show me
anyone—bound in by the ocean that laps England, Scotland, and
Wales—who read to me or taught me what I know.]
And bring him out that is but woman’s son
Can trace me in the tedious ways of art
And hold me pace in deep experiments.
[And bring . .
. experiments: And
produce any human being who can keep up with me in the tedious
magic and its experimental practices.]
HOTSPUR: I think there’s no man speaks better Welsh [drivel; nonsense].
I’ll to dinner.
MORTIMER: Peace, cousin Percy! you will make him
GLENDOWER: I can call spirits from the vasty
HOTSPUR: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
GLENDOWER: Why, I can teach thee, cousin, to
HOTSPUR: And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the
By telling truth: tell truth and shame the
If thou have power to raise him, bring him
And I’ll be sworn I have power to shame him
O! while you live, tell truth and shame the
MORTIMER: Come, come;
No more of this unprofitable chat.
GLENDOWER: Three times hath Henry Bolingbroke made
Against my power; thrice from the banks of Wye
And sandy-bottom’d Severn have I sent him
Bootless [without gain or advantage] home and weather-beaten
[Three . . .
back: Henry Bolingbroke
(Henry IV) has attacked me and my army three times, and three
beat him back from the Wye and Severn Rivers and sent him home
HOTSPUR: Home without boots, and in foul weather
How ’scapes [escapes] he
and chills], in the
GLENDOWER: Come, here’s the map: shall we divide our
According to our threefold order ta’en?
MORTIMER: The archdeacon hath divided it
Into three limits very equally.
England, from Trent [another river] and Severn
By south and east, is to my part assign’d:
All westward, Wales beyond the Severn shore,
And all the fertile land within that bound,
To Owen Glendower: and, dear coz, to you
The remnant northward, lying off from Trent.
And our indentures tripartite are drawn,
tripartite: Provisions of a three-part agreement or contract]
Which being sealed interchangeably,
A business that this night may execute,
To-morrow, cousin Percy, you and I
And my good Lord of Worcester will set forth
To meet your father and the Scottish power,
As is appointed us, at Shrewsbury [town near the Welsh
My father [father-in-law]
Glendower is not ready yet,
Nor shall we need his help these fourteen days.
[these . . .
days: For at least two weeks]
[To GLENDOWER.] Within that space you may have drawn
Your tenants, friends, and neighbouring
[Within . . .
gentlemen: Within those
two weeks, you will have time to muster forces consisting of
friends, and gentleman neighbors.]
GLENDOWER: A shorter time shall send me to you,
And in my conduct shall your ladies come,
From whom you now must steal and take no leave;
For there will be a world of water shed
Upon the parting of your wives and you.
[A shorter . .
. wives and you: In
less time than two weeks, I'll come to you with your wives.
you must steal away from your wives without saying good-bye.
you will have to endure their endless crying upon your departure.]
HOTSPUR: Methinks my moiety, north from Burton
In quantity equals not one of yours:
See how this river comes me cranking in,
And cuts me from the best of all my land
A huge half-moon, a monstrous cantle [segment of land;
tract of land partitioned from surrounding or adjacent land]
I’ll have the current in this place damm’d up,
And here the smug and silver Trent shall run
In a new channel, fair and evenly:
It shall not wind with such a deep indent,
To rob me of so rich a bottom here.
[Methinks . . .
bottom here: I think
my one-third share of the land is not equal to the other shares.
how the river cuts me off from the best of my land. But I can
dam that will change the winding course of the river in a way that
preserves more of my land.]
GLENDOWER: Not wind! it shall, it must; you see it
[Not . . .
doth: Not have a winding course? It shall. It must. You can see it
MORTIMER: Yea, but
Mark how he bears his course,
and runs me up
With like advantage on the other side;
Gelding the opposed continent as
As on the other side it takes from you.
[Mark how . . .
from you: Notice that
the River Trent bears its course in a way that cuts me out of just
much land as you lost.]
WORCESTER: Yea, but a little charge will trench him
And on this north side win this cape of land;
And then he runs straight and even.
[Yea, but . . .
even: Yes, but if a
little money is laid out, a trench can be dug to correct the
that the river runs straight and even.]
HOTSPUR: I’ll have it so; a little charge will do
GLENDOWER: I will not have it alter’d.
HOTSPUR: Will not
GLENDOWER: No, nor you shall not.
HOTSPUR: Who shall say me nay?
GLENDOWER: Why, that will I.
HOTSPUR: Let me not understand you then:
Speak it in Welsh.
GLENDOWER: I can speak English, lord, as well as
For I was train’d up in the English court;
Where, being but young, I framed to the harp
Many an English ditty [short song; short poem] lovely well,
And gave the tongue an helpful ornament;
A virtue that was never seen in you.
HOTSPUR: Marry, [by the
Virgin Mary] and I’m glad of it with all my
I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew
Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers [ballad singers];
I had rather hear a brazen canstick turn’d,
Or a dry wheel grate on the axle-tree;
[I had . . .
axle-tree: I would rather
hear the grinding sound of someone making a brass candlestick on a
lathe or turning an ungreased wheel on its axle.]
And that would set my teeth nothing on edge,
Nothing so much as mincing poetry:
’Tis like the forc’d gait of a shuffling nag [horse].
GLENDOWER: Come, you shall have Trent
HOTSPUR: I do not care: I’ll give thrice so much
To any well-deserving friend;
But in the way of bargain, mark you me,
I’ll cavil [complain; carp; nitpick] on the ninth part of a hair.
[I do not . . .
hair: I really don't
care. In fact, I am willing to give up three times as much land to
well-deserving friend. But know this: when I am striking a bargain
someone, I will argue over the smallest detail, no matter how
Are the indentures [provisions of the agreement] drawn? shall we be
GLENDOWER: The moon shines fair, you may away by
I’ll haste the writer and withal
Break with [inform] your
wives of your departure hence:
I am afraid my daughter will run mad,
So much she doteth on her Mortimer. [Exit.
MORTIMER: Fie, cousin Percy! how you cross [anger] my father [father-in-law,
HOTSPUR: I cannot choose: sometimes he angers
With telling me of the moldwarp [mole] and the ant,
Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies,
And of a dragon, and a finless fish,
A clip-wing’d griffin, and a moulten raven,
A couching lion, and a ramping
[griffin: Mythological beast with an
eagle's head and wings and the body of a lion]
And such a deal of skimble-skamble [confusing;
[moulten: Having shed its feathers]
[ramping: In a threatening position; rearing or crouching]
As puts me from my faith. I’ll tell thee what;
He held me last night at least nine hours
In reckoning up the several devils’ names
That were his lackeys: I cried ‘hum!’ and ‘well, go
But mark’d him not a word. O! he’s as tedious
As a tired horse, a railing wife;
Worse than a smoky house. I had rather live
With cheese and garlick in a windmill, far,
Than feed on cates [delicacies] and have him talk to me
In any summer-house in Christendom.
MORTIMER: In faith, he is a worthy
Exceedingly well read, and profited
In strange concealments, valiant as a lion
[profited . . .
concealments: knowledgable in magic and the supernatural]
And wondrous affable, and as bountiful
As mines of India. Shall I tell you, cousin?
India: India has worked diamond mines, as well as mineral and
other types of mines, since ancient times.]
He holds your temper in a high respect,
And curbs himself even of his natural scope
When you do cross his humour; faith, he does.
[He holds . . .
humour: He holds you in high respect and curbs his temper when you
say or do something that irritates him.]
I warrant you, that man is not alive
Might so have tempted him as you have done,
Without the taste of danger and reproof:
[I warrant . .
. reproof: I guarantee you that no living man except you has
tested his patience without punishment.]
But do not use it oft, let me entreat you.
WORCESTER: In faith, my lord [Hotspur], you are too wilful-blame [obstinate];
And since your coming hither have done enough
To put him quite beside his patience.
You must needs learn, lord, to amend this fault:
Though sometimes it show greatness, courage,
And that’s the dearest grace it renders you,—
Yet oftentimes it doth present harsh rage,
Defect of manners, want of government,
Pride, haughtiness, opinion, and disdain:
The least of which haunting a nobleman
Loseth men’s hearts and leaves behind a stain
Upon the beauty of all parts besides,
Beguiling them of commendation.
[The least . .
. nobleman: Even the
least of these faults will lose you men's hearts and stain your
qualities, robbing these qualities of the praise they deserve.]
HOTSPUR: Well, I am school’d; good manners be your
Here come our wives, and let us take our leave.
Re-enter GLENDOWER, with the Ladies.
MORTIMER: This is the deadly spite that angers
My wife can speak no English, I no Welsh.
GLENDOWER: My daughter weeps; she will not part with
She’ll be a soldier too: she’ll to the wars.
MORTIMER: Good father [father-in-law], tell her that she and my aunt
Shall follow in your conduct [shall follow you] speedily. [GLENDOWER speaks to
MORTIMER in Welsh, and she answers him in the
GLENDOWER: She’s desperate here; a peevish self-will’d
harlotry [a peevish, impudent woman], one that no persuasion can do good
upon. [She speaks to
MORTIMER in Welsh.
MORTIMER: I understand thy looks: that pretty
Which thou pour’st down from these swelling
I am too perfect in; and, but for shame,
In such a parley would I answer thee. [She speaks
[that pretty .
. . answer thee: Those
pretty tears that pour from your angelic eyes are a language I
understand. I would answer you in the same way if it weren't so
embarrassing for a man to cry.]
I understand thy kisses and thou mine,
And that’s a feeling disputation:
disputation: Emotional communication]
But I will never be a truant, love,
Till I have learn’d thy language; for thy tongue
[But . . .
language: But I will never rest, my love, until I have learned
Makes Welsh as sweet as ditties [short poems] highly penn’d,
Sung by a fair queen in a summer’s bower,
bower: Place shaded by leaves; arbor]
With ravishing division, to her lute.
music, the division of a note into several notes, as in a trill]
GLENDOWER: Nay, if you melt, then will she run mad.
MORTIMER: O! I am ignorance itself in
GLENDOWER: She bids you
Upon the wanton rushes [plants resembling grass] lay you down
And rest your gentle head upon her lap,
And she will sing the song that pleaseth you,
And on your eye-lids crown the god of sleep,
[god of sleep:
Apparent allusion to
Hypnos, the god of sleep in Greek mythology. His Roman name was
The son of the god of sleep was known as Morpheus in Greek and
Roman mythology. He was the god of dreams.]
Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness,
Making such difference ’twixt wake and sleep
As is the difference between day and night
The hour before the heavenly-harness’d team
Begins his golden progress in the east.
[The hour . . .
east: The hour before
dawn. "Heavenly-harness'd team" is an allusion to the horses
to the chariot of Apollo, the sun god in Greek mythology.
was a metaphor for the sun. Each day, he drove his golden chariot
across the sky, from east to west.]
MORTIMER: With all my heart I’ll sit and hear her
By that time will our book [contract; agreement], I think, be drawn.
GLENDOWER: Do so;
And those musicians that shall play to you
Hang in the air a thousand leagues [three thousand
And straight they shall be here: sit, and attend.
[And those . .
. attend: The music will be so beautiful that spirits of the air
shall play it.]
HOTSPUR: Come, Kate, thou art perfect in lying down: come,
quick, quick, that I may lay my head in thy lap.
LADY PERCY: Go, ye giddy goose. [GLENDOWER speaks some
Welsh words, and music is heard.
HOTSPUR: Now I perceive the devil understands
And ’tis no marvel he is so humorous [termperamental;
By ’r lady, he’s a good musician.
LADY PERCY: Then should you be nothing but musical for you
altogether governed by humours [strong emotions]. Lie still, ye thief, and hear the
sing in Welsh.
HOTSPUR: I had rather hear Lady, my brach [female hound], howl in Irish.
LADY PERCY: Wouldst thou have thy head
LADY PERCY: Then be still.
HOTSPUR: Neither; ’tis a woman’s fault [No. That's what
LADY PERCY: Now, God help thee!
HOTSPUR: To the Welsh lady’s bed.
LADY PERCY: What’s that? [What did you say?]
HOTSPUR: Peace! she sings. [A Welsh song sung by LADY
HOTSPUR: Come, Kate, I’ll have your song
LADY PERCY: Not mine, in good sooth. [Not mine, I
HOTSPUR: Not yours, ‘in good sooth!’ Heart! you swear like a
comfit-maker’s wife! Not you, ‘in good sooth;’ and, ‘as true as I
live;’ and, ‘as God shall mend me;’ and, ‘as sure as
And giv’st such sarcenet surety for
As if thou never walk’dst further than Finsbury.
yours . . . Finsbury: Hotspur says that when Lady Percy swears
attests to something she uses language as delicate as sarcenet,
silk. It is as if she has never gone out in the world and heard
language. It is as if she never traveled beyond Finsbury—a
shaded area in London.]
Swear me, Kate, like a lady as thou art,
[comfit: Sugar-coated fruit
garnished with a nut or seed.]
A good mouth-filling oath [curse]; and leave ‘in sooth,’
And such protest of pepper-gingerbread,
To velvet-guards and Sunday-citizens.
[And such . . .
citizens: And similar mild oaths to dainty people who wear velvet
or dress in other finery on Sundays.]
LADY PERCY: I will not sing.
HOTSPUR: ’Tis the next way to turn tailor or be red-breast
teacher. An [if] the
indentures [contracts; agreements] be drawn, I’ll away within these two hours;
and so, come in when ye will. [Exit.
['Tis . . .
teacher: Why can't you be
like a tailor, who likes to sing? You might become good enough at
teach red-breasted robins to sing.]
GLENDOWER: Come, come, Lord Mortimer; you are as
As hot Lord Percy is on fire to go.
By this our book is [agreement is] drawn; we will but seal [we will sign the
And then to horse immediately.
MORTIMER: With all my heart.
3, Scene 2
London. A room in the palace.
Enter KING HENRY, the PRINCE, and lords.
KING HENRY: Lords, give us leave; the Prince of Wales and
Must have some private conference: but be near at
For we shall presently have need of you. [Exeunt
I know not whether God will have it so,
For some displeasing service I have done,
That, in his secret doom, out of my blood
He’ll breed revengement and a scourge for me;
But thou dost in thy passages of
Make me believe that thou art only mark’d
For the hot vengeance and the rod of heaven
To punish my mistreadings. Tell me else,
Could such inordinate and low
Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean
Such barren pleasures, rude society,
As thou art match’d withal and grafted to [associated with],
Accompany the greatness of thy blood
And hold their level with thy princely heart?
[I know not . .
. princely heart: I
don't know whether God plans to punish me for some wrong I
The punishment would be some sort of revenge or scourge that comes
from my own blood. Of course, you
are from my blood. And I can't help thinking, in view of the
way you are conducting your life, that you are marked by God to be
the punishment that God inflicts on me for my offenses.
You can tell me otherwise, but it seems that your improper
desires put you on the same level as the rude and base people you
PRINCE: So please your majesty, I would I
Quit all offences with as clear excuse
As well as I am doubtless I can purge
Myself of many I am charg’d withal:
[I would . . .
withal: I wish I could
acquit myself of all offenses against me, but I have no doubt that
can prove myself innocent of many of the charges.]
Yet such extenuation let me beg,
As, in reproof of many tales devis’d,
Which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear,
By smiling pick-thanks and base newsmongers,
I may, for some things true, wherein my youth
Hath faulty wander’d and irregular,
Find pardon on my true submission.
[Yet such . . .
submission: Yet please
consider my side of the story against the tales told about me by
gossips and brown-nosers who court your favor. I can refute these
tales, although I will admit to you that I am guilty of some
foolishness and misbehavior in my youth.]
KING HENRY: God pardon thee! yet let me wonder,
At thy affections, which do hold a wing
Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors.
[At thy . . .
ancestors: At your behavior, which flies off in a direction far
different from that of your ancestors.]
Thy place in council thou hast
Which by thy younger brother is supplied,
And art almost an alien to the hearts
Of all the court and princes of my blood.
The hope and expectation of thy time
Is ruin’d, and the soul of every man
Prophetically do forethink thy fall.
[The hope . . .
fall: The hopes
and expectations everyone had for you when you were younger have
ruined. Now every man predicts your downfall.]
Had I so lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackney’d in the eyes of men,
So stale and cheap to vulgar company,
Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
Had still kept loyal to possession [continued reign of
Henry IV's predecessor, Richard II]
And left me in reputeless banishment,
A fellow of no mark nor likelihood.
[Had I . . .
likelihood: Had I acted
like you by going out and associating with low and vulgar people,
would have lost my support for becoming king and would have faced
By being seldom seen, I could not stir,
But like a comet I was wonder’d at;
That men would tell their children, ‘This is
Others would say, ‘Where? which is Bolingbroke?’
And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
And dress’d myself in such humility
That I did pluck allegiance from men’s hearts,
Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,
Even in the presence of the crowned king.
Thus did I keep my person fresh and new;
My presence, like a robe pontifical [like the robe of a
Ne’er seen but wonder’d at: and so my state,
Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast,
And won by rareness such
[Ne'er seen . .
. solemnity: Was rarely seen. But when it was
seen, it was marveled at. Thus, by showing myself only on special
occasions, I was regarded as a feast for the eyes and treated with
The skipping king [Richard II], he ambled up and down
With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits,
Soon kindled and soon burnt; carded his state,
[he ambled . .
. his state: He spent
too much time with court jesters and men whose intelligence
burned itself out, like kindling wood (bavin). He weakened and
(carded) his kingdom.]
Mingled his royalty with capering [frolicking;
Had his great name profaned with their scorns,
And gave his countenance, against his name,
To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push
Of every beardless vain comparative;
[Had his . . .
these fools to stain his reputation with their scorns and lost
laughing at and tolerating boys who mocked him.]
Grew a companion to the common streets,
himself to popularity;
That, being daily swallow’d by men’s eyes,
They surfeited with honey and began
To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a
More than a little is by much too much.
[That, being .
. . too much: Because
he appeared so often in public, among the common and low, the
got sick of seeing him in the same way that they get sick when
too much honey. More than a little honey is much too much of it.]
So, when he had occasion to be seen,
He was but as the cuckoo is in June,
Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such eyes
As, sick and blunted with community [with seeing him so
Afford no extraordinary gaze,
Such as is bent on sun-like majesty
When it shines seldom in admiring eyes;
But rather drows’d and hung their eyelids down,
Slept in his face, and render’d such aspect
As cloudy men use to their adversaries,
Being with his presence glutted, gorg’d, and
[But rather . .
. full: But the people
hardly looked at him; it was as if they were asleep. In fact, some
asleep. Overall, they paid him little attention, since he was such
commonplace sight among them.]
And in that very line, Harry, stand’st thou;
For thou hast lost thy princely privilege
With vile participation: not an eye
[With . . .
participation: By associating with vile people]
But is aweary of thy common sight,
Save mine, which hath desir’d to see thee more;
Which now doth that I would not have it do,
Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.
[Which now . .
. tenderness: My eyes now do what I don't want them to do: blind
themselves with tender tears.]
PRINCE: I shall hereafter, my thrice gracious
Be more myself.
KING HENRY: For all the world,
As thou art to this hour was Richard then
When I from France set foot at Ravenspurgh;
And even as I was then is Percy now.
[For all . . .
Percy now: Truly, you
are now as Richard was when I returned from France, landing at
Ravenspurgh, to overthrow him. Just as I was then—full of
rebellion—Henry Percy (Hotspur) is now.]
Now, by my sceptre and my soul to boot,
He hath more worthy interest to the state
Than thou the shadow of succession;
[Now, by . . .
succession: Sad to say, he now seems to have more right to the
throne of England than you.]
For of no right, nor colour like to right,
He doth fill fields with harness in the realm,
Turns head against the lion’s armed jaws,
And, being no more in debt to years than thou,
Leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on
To bloody battles and to bruising arms.
[For of . . .
arms: Even though he has
no legal right to the throne, he marshals armies against me. And
though he is no older than you, he leads older lords and even
What never-dying honour hath he got
Against renowned Douglas! whose high deeds,
Whose hot incursions and great name in arms,
Holds from all soldiers chief majority,
And military title capital,
Through all the kingdoms that acknowledge
[Holds . . .
Christ: Holds for
himself, above all other soldiers, a reputation as the greatest
in all the Christian kingdoms.]
Thrice hath this Hotspur, Mars in swathling
[Mars: In ancient Roman mythology, Mars was the god of war. In
Greek mythology, his name was Ares (AIR eez).
This infant warrior, in his enterprises
[swathling: Swaddling. In other words, Hotspur was a baby Mars.]
Douglas; ta’en [captured] him once,
Enlarged [freed] him and
made a friend of him,
To fill the mouth of deep defiance up
And shake the peace and safety of our throne.
And what say you to this? Percy, Northumberland,
The Archbishop’s Grace of York, Douglas,
Capitulate [form an alliance]
against us and are up.
But wherefore why] do I tell
these news to thee?
Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes,
Which art my near’st and dearest enemy?
[Why, Harry . .
. enemy: Why, Harry, do I tell this news to you, who are my
nearest and dearest enemy?]
Thou that art like enough, through vassal fear,
Base inclination, and the start of spleen,
To fight against me under Percy’s pay,
To dog his heels, and curtsy at his frowns,
To show how much thou art degenerate.
[Thou that . .
. degenerate: You are
likely enough—out of fear, your corrupt nature, and your
tendencies—to fight against me in the enemy army, paying homage to
Percy and showing how degenerate you are.]
PRINCE: Do not think so; you shall not find it
And God forgive them, that so much have sway’d
Your majesty’s good thoughts away from me!
I will redeem all this on Percy’s head,
[I will . . .
head: I will defeat Percy.]
And in the closing of some glorious day
Be bold to tell you that I am your son;
When I will wear a garment all of blood
And stain my favours in a bloody mask,
Which, wash’d away, shall scour my shame with
[And stain . .
. shame with it: And wear a mask of blood on my face. When I wash
it away, I will also wash away my shame.]
And that shall be the day, whene’er it lights [occurs],
That this same child of honour and renown,
This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight,
And your unthought-of Harry chance to meet.
For every honour sitting on his helm [helmet],—
Would they were multitudes, and on my head
My shames redoubled!—for the time will come
That I shall make this northern youth exchange
His glorious deeds for my indignities.
[for the time .
. . indignities: For
the time will come when I exchange my indignities for his glorious
deeds. He will suffer humiliation, and I will reap glory.]
Percy is but my factor, good my lord,
To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf;
And I will call him to so strict
That he shall render every glory up,
[Percy is . . .
behalf: The fact is,
Percy is serving me by storing up glorious deeds on my behalf. But
shall prove such a formidable foe against him that he will yield
these deeds to me.]
Yea, even the slightest worship [glory; recognition] of his time,
Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart.
This, in the name of God, I promise here:
The which, if he be pleas’d I shall perform,
I do beseech your majesty may salve [soothe; heal]
The long-grown wounds of my intemperance:
If not, the end of life cancels all bands,
[If not . . .
bands: If not, my death will cancel all my obligations (debts,
And I will die a hundred thousand deaths
Ere [before] I break the smallest parcel of this
KING HENRY: A hundred thousand rebels die in this [in this vow]:
Thou shalt have charge and sovereign trust
Enter SIR WALTER BLUNT.
How now, good Blunt! thy looks are full of speed [urgency].
BLUNT: So hath the business that I come to speak
Lord Mortimer of Scotland hath sent word
That Douglas and the English rebels met,
the other English rebels joined forces]
The eleventh of this month at Shrewsbury.
A mighty and a fearful head [army] they are,—
If promises be kept on every hand,—
As ever offer’d foul play in a state.
KING HENRY: The Earl of Westmoreland set forth
With him my son, Lord John of Lancaster;
For this advertisement [this news] is five days old.
On Wednesday next, Harry, you shall set forward;
On Thursday we ourselves will march: our meeting
Is Bridgenorth; and
Harry, you shall march
Bridgnorth (without the e),
a town in the English county of Shropshire, which borders Wales.]
Through Gloucestershire; by which account,
Our business valued, some twelve days hence
Our general forces at Bridgenorth shall meet.
Our hands are full of business: let’s away;
Advantage feeds him fat while men delay.
3, Scene 3
Eastcheap. A room in the Boar's Head tavern.
Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH.
FALSTAFF: Bardolph, am I not fallen away [have I not lost
weight] vilely since this
last action? do I not bate [shrink]?
do I not dwindle? Why, my skin hangs about me like an old lady’s
gown; I am withered like an old apple-john [type of apple that
withers when stored].
Well, I’ll repent [repent my wrongdoing], and that
suddenly [quickly], while
I am in some liking; [while there's still something left of me] I shall be out of heart shortly,
and then I shall have no strength to repent. An [if] I have not forgotten
what the inside of a church is made of, I am a peppercorn, a
horse: the inside of a church! Company, villanous [villainous] company, hath been
the spoil of me.
BARDOLPH: Sir John, you are so fretful, you cannot live
FALSTAFF: Why, there is it [why, you're right]: come, sing me a bawdy song; make me
merry. I was as virtuously given as a gentleman need to be;
enough: swore little; diced not above seven times a week; went to
bawdy-house not above once in a quarter of an hour; paid [back] money that I
borrowed three or four times; lived well and in good compass [moderation;
modesty]; and now I
live out of all order, out of all compass.
BARDOLPH: Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you must needs
be out of all compass, out of all reasonable compass, Sir
FALSTAFF: Do thou amend [change] thy face, and I’ll amend my life:
art our admiral, thou bearest the lanthorn [lantern] in the poop [rear section of a
ship], but ’tis [the lantern is] in the
nose of thee: thou art the Knight of the Burning
BARDOLPH: Why, Sir John, my face does you no
FALSTAFF: No, I’ll be sworn; I make as good use of it as
man doth of a Death’s head [skull], or a memento mori [reminder of death]: I never see thy face but
I think upon hell-fire and Dives [Dives (DY veez) was a wealthy man] that lived in purple; for there he is
in his robes, burning, burning. If thou wert any way given to
would swear by thy face; my oath should be, ‘By this fire, that’s
angel:’ but thou art altogether given over [given over to sin;
corrupted], and wert
indeed, but for
the light in thy face, the son of utter darkness.
indeed . . . darkness: And would indeed be the son of darkness if
it were not for the light in your face]
When thou rannest up
Gadshill in the night to catch my horse, if I did not think thou
been an ignis fatuus or a ball of wildfire, there’s no purchase in
money. O! thou art a perpetual
Latin for silly fire.
Ignus fatuus is a pale flame seen at night flitting or hovering
marshland. It is believed to result from gases emanating from
decomposing matter in the marshland.]
triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light.
Thou hast saved me a thousand marks in links [another word for torches] and torches, walking with
thee in the night betwixt [between] tavern and tavern: but the sack
hast drunk me [that you drank at my expense] would have bought me lights as good
cheap at the dearest
chandler’s in Europe.
[lights . . .
Europe: Candles from the shop that charges the highest price in
Europe. Chandler: candlemaker]
I have maintained that salamander [metaphor for nose] of yours
fire any time this two-and-thirty years; God reward me for
BARDOLPH: ’Sblood, I
would my face were in your belly.
FALSTAFF: God-a-mercy! so should I be sure to be
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
How now, Dame Partlet the hen! have you inquired yet who picked my
Mate of Chanticleer, a rooster in European fables]
QUICKLY: Why, Sir John, what do you think, Sir John? Do you
think I keep thieves in my house? I have searched, I have
has my husband, man by man, boy by boy, servant by servant: the
of a hair was never lost in my house before.
[the tithe . .
. before: Not even one-tenth of a hair was ever lost in my house
FALSTAFF: You lie, hostess: Bardolph was shaved and lost
hair; and I’ll be sworn my pocket was picked. Go to, you are a
QUICKLY: Who, I? No; I defy thee: God’s light! I was never
called so in my own house before.
FALSTAFF: Go to [come on now], I know you well enough.
QUICKLY: No, Sir John; you do not know me, Sir John: I know
you, Sir John: you owe me money, Sir John, and now you pick a
to beguile [cheat] me of it:
I bought you a dozen of shirts to your
FALSTAFF: Dowlas [coarse linen], filthy dowlas: I have given them
bakers’ wives, and they have made bolters [sieves for sifting
QUICKLY: Now, as I am true woman, holland of eight shillings
an ell. You owe money here besides, Sir John, for your diet [food] and
by-drinkings, and money lent
[holland: Linen of high
FALSTAFF: He [Bardolph] had his part of it; let him pay.
[shilling: Coin equal to twelve
[ell: Unit of measure equal to
[by-drinkings: Beverages consumed
QUICKLY: He! alas! he is poor; he hath
FALSTAFF: How! poor? look upon his face; what call you rich?
let them coin his nose, let them coin his cheeks. I’ll not pay a
denier. What! will you make a younker of me? shall I not take mine
in mine inn but I shall have my pocket
picked? I have lost a seal-ring
of my grandfather’s worth forty mark.
[How! . . .
forty mark: What! Your'e saying he is poor? Just
look at him. He has the face of a rich man. They should make coins
of his nose and cheeks. As for me, I won't pay a denier (small
little value circulating in Europe in Shakespeare's time). What!
you treat me like a child? Can't I have a moment's peace in this
without having my pocket picked? I have lost my grandfather's
ring (ring with a seal used to stamp its impression on the wax on
documents and envelopes
as a means of authentication). It was worth forty marks. (A mark
unit of currency circulating in England and Scotland. It was
13 shillings, 4 pence.)]
QUICKLY: O Jesu! I have heard the prince tell him, I know
not how oft, that that ring was copper.
used to make a ring or another object look like gold. A ring with
a copper surface was a cheap trinket.]
FALSTAFF: How! the prince is a Jack, a sneak-cup; ’sblood! an [if]
he were here, I would cudgel him like a dog, if he would say
[Jack: Worthless man; knave; jackass]
[sneak-cup: Person who steals
cups from taverns and inns]
Enter the PRINCE and POINS marching. FALSTAFF meets them,
playing on his truncheon [club; cudgel] like a fife.
FALSTAFF: How now, lad! is the wind in that door, i’ faith?
must we all march?
[is . . . door:
Is the wind blowing in the direction of the jail?]
BARDOLPH: Yea, two and two, Newgate fashion.
QUICKLY: My lord, I pray you, hear me.
PRINCE: What sayest thou, Mistress Quickly? How does thy
husband? I love him well, he is an honest man.
QUICKLY: Good my lord, hear me.
FALSTAFF: Prithee, let her alone, and list [listen] to me.
PRINCE: What sayest thou, Jack?
FALSTAFF: The other night I fell asleep here behind the
wall hanging] and had my
pocket picked: this house is turned bawdy-house; they pick
PRINCE: What didst thou lose, Jack?
FALSTAFF: Wilt thou believe me, Hal? three or four bonds [promissory notes] of
forty pound a-piece, and a seal-ring
PRINCE: A trifle; some eight-penny matter.
QUICKLY: So [that's what] I told him, my lord; and I said I heard your
Grace say so: and, my lord, he speaks most vilely of you, like a
foul-mouthed man as he is, and said he would cudgel
PRINCE: What! he did not?
QUICKLY: There’s neither faith, truth, nor womanhood in me
FALSTAFF: There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed
nor no more truth in thee than in a drawn fox; and for womanhood,
Marian may be the deputy’s wife of the ward to thee. Go, you
fox: Fox forced into the open from its hiding place. It resorts
trickery and cunning to escape its pursuers. Thus, Falstaff is
that Mistress Quickly has no more truth in her than a sly,
QUICKLY: Say, what thing? what thing?
[Maid Marian . . . to thee: An
folk dance, the morris, featured costumed characters who acted
story. Maid Marian was a character in one of the dances. A man
a woman's attire played her part as a clumsy fool. Falstaff is
that Mistress Quickly's womanhood is like that of the Maid
character—awkward and stupid. She is nothing like the wife of
the deputy of the ward, elegant and dignified.]
FALSTAFF: What thing! why, a thing to thank God
QUICKLY: I am no thing to thank God on, I would thou
shouldst know it; I am an honest man’s wife; and, setting thy
knighthood aside, thou art a knave to call me
FALSTAFF: Setting thy womanhood aside, thou art a beast to
QUICKLY: Say, what beast, thou knave thou?
FALSTAFF: What beast! why, an otter.
PRINCE: An otter, Sir John! why, an otter?
FALSTAFF: Why? she’s neither fish nor flesh; a man knows not
where to have her.
[Why? she's . .
. have her: Why, she's part fish and part mammal. One doesn't know
how to describe her.]
QUICKLY: Thou art an unjust man in saying so: thou or any
man knows where to have me, thou knave thou!
PRINCE: Thou sayest true, hostess; and he slanders thee most
QUICKLY: So he doth you, my lord; and said this other day
you ought [owed] him a
PRINCE: Sirrah! do I owe you a thousand
FALSTAFF: A thousand pound, Hal! a million: thy love is
worth a million; thou owest me thy love.
QUICKLY: Nay, my lord, he called you Jack, and said he would
FALSTAFF: Did I, Bardolph?
BARDOLPH: Indeed, Sir John, you said so.
FALSTAFF: Yea; if he said my ring was
PRINCE: I say ’tis copper: darest thou be as good as thy
FALSTAFF: Why, Hal, thou knowest, as thou art but man, I
but as thou art prince, I fear thee as I fear the roaring of the
PRINCE: And why not as the lion?
FALSTAFF: The king himself is to be feared as the lion: dost
thou think I’ll fear thee as I fear thy father? nay, an [if] I do, I pray
God my girdle [belt; sash]
PRINCE: O! if it should, how would thy guts fall about thy
knees. But, sirrah, there’s no room for faith, truth, or honesty
this bosom of thine; it is all filled up with guts and midriff.
an honest woman with picking thy pocket! Why, thou whoreson,
embossed [bulging; bloated; fat] rascal, if there were any thing in thy pocket but tavern
reckonings, memorandums of bawdy-houses, and one poor pennyworth
sugar-candy to make thee long-winded; if thy pocket were enriched
any other injuries but these, I am a villain. And yet you will
it, you will not pocket up wrong. Art thou not
[Why, thou . .
. villain: The prince is saying that Falstaff keeps nothing in his
pockets worth stealing.]
FALSTAFF: Dost thou hear, Hal? thou knowest in the state of
innocency Adam fell; and what should poor Jack Falstaff do in the
of villany [villainy]? Thou
seest I have more flesh than another man, and
therefore more frailty. You confess then, you picked my
[thou knowest .
. . villany: You know
that Adam fell when the world was in a state of innocence. What do
expect me to do now, when the world is in a state of sin?]
PRINCE: It appears so by the story.
FALSTAFF: Hostess, I forgive thee. Go make ready breakfast;
love thy husband, look to thy servants, cherish thy guests: thou
find me tractable to any honest reason: thou seest I am pacified.
Still! Nay prithee, be gone. [Exit MISTRESS QUICKLY.]
Hal, to the news at court: for the robbery, lad, how is that
PRINCE: O! my sweet beef, I must still be good angel to
thee: the money is paid back again.
FALSTAFF: O! I do not like that paying back; ’tis a double
PRINCE: I am good friends with my father and may do
FALSTAFF: Rob me the exchequer [king's treasury] the first thing thou dost, and
do it with unwashed hands too.
BARDOLPH: Do, my lord.
PRINCE: I have procured thee, Jack, a charge of foot [an infantry
FALSTAFF: I would it had been of horse [been a cavalry
command]. Where shall I
that can steal well? O! for a fine thief, of the age of
or there-abouts; I am heinously unprovided [dreadfully lacking
in thieves to serve me].
Well, God be thanked for
these rebels; they offend none but the virtuous: I laud them, I
BARDOLPH: My lord?
PRINCE: Go bear this letter to Lord John of
To my brother John [a younger brother of Prince Hal]; this to my Lord of
Go, Poins, to horse, to horse! for thou and I
Have thirty miles to ride ere [before] dinner-time.
Jack, meet me to-morrow in the Temple-hall [a law school]
At two o’clock in the afternoon:
There shalt thou know thy charge, and there
Money and order for their furniture [furnishings].
The land is burning; Percy stands on high;
And either we or they must lower lie. [Exeunt the PRINCE,
FALSTAFF: Rare words! brave world! Hostess, my breakfast;
O! I could wish this tavern were my drum. [Exit.
Act 4, Scene 1
The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.
Enter HOTSPUR, WORCESTER, and DOUGLAS.
HOTSPUR: Well said, my noble Scot: if speaking
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.
[if speaking .
. . world: If praising
a person in this age were not mistaken for flattery, I would laud
Douglas, as a warrior without equal in this world.]
By God, I cannot flatter; do defy
The tongues of soothers [flatterers]; but a braver place
In my heart’s love hath no man than yourself.
Nay, task me to my word; approve [test] me, lord.
DOUGLAS: Thou art the king of honour:
No man so potent breathes upon the ground
But I will beard him.
[No man . . . beard him: No man in the world is as potent a
warrior as you. I will jerk the beard of any man who denies that.]
HOTSPUR: Do so, and ’tis
Enter a Messenger, with letters.
What letters hast thou there? [To
I can but thank you.
MESSENGER: These letters come from your [Hotspur's] father.
HOTSPUR: Letters from him! why comes he not
MESSENGER: He cannot come, my lord: he’s grievous
HOTSPUR: ’Zounds! how
has he the leisure to be sick
In such a justling [unsettled; uncertain; disturbed] time? Who leads his power [forces]?
Under whose government come they along?
MESSENGER: His letters bear his mind, not I, my
WORCESTER: I prithee, tell me, doth he keep his bed?
[doth . . .
bed: Is he bedridden?]
MESSENGER: He did, my lord, four days ere [before] I set forth;
And at the time of my departure thence
He was much fear’d [worried about] by his physicians.
WORCESTER: I would the state of time had first been
Ere [before] he by sickness had been
His health was never better worth than now.
[I would . . .
than now: I wish his
illness had not afflicted him while the state itself is not in
We need him now more than ever before.]
HOTSPUR: Sick now! droop [be bedridden] now! this sickness doth
The very life-blood 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 remov’d but on his own.
[He writes . .
. his own: He writes about an inward sickness and says he could
not find a trustworthy person to take his place.]
Yet doth he give us bold advertisement [advice],
That with our small conjunction [army] we should on [march on],
To see how fortune is dispos’d to us;
For, as he writes, there is no quailing [going back] now,
Because the king is certainly possess’d [aware]
Of all our purposes. What say you to it?
WORCESTER: Your father’s sickness is a maim to
HOTSPUR: A perilous gash, a very limb lopp’d
And yet, in faith, ’tis not; his present want [absence]
Seems more than we shall find it. Were it good
To set the exact wealth of all our
All at one cast? to set so rich a main
On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?
[his present .
. . hour: His present
absence is not as detrimental to our cause as it seems. I now
we should not risk all our forces on a single cast of the
is, a single clash of armies. To do so would be foolish.]
It were not good; for therein should we read
The very bottom and the soul of hope,
The very list [limit], the very
utmost bound [boundary]
Of all our fortunes.
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.
[Faith . . . in
this: You're right. If we make do with what we have, we can
take heart in what will come later.]
HOTSPUR: A rendezvous, a home to fly unto,
If that the devil and mischance [bad luck] look big [frown]
Upon the maidenhead of our affairs.
WORCESTER: But yet, I would your father had been
The quality and hair [type; nature] 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.
[It will be . .
. hence: Some believe that your father disapproved of our plans
and, therefore, decided to stay away.]
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 offering side
Must keep aloof from strict arbitrement,
And stop all sight-holes, every loop from whence
The eye of reason may pry in upon us:
[[And think . .
. in upon us: And
think how such an interpretation of your father's absence may
those who only tenuously support us. They will question our cause.
Therefore, we must avoid strict examination of our plans, closing
access that would allow doubters to see close up what we have in
This absence of your father’s
draws a curtain,
That shows the ignorant a kind of fear
Before not dreamt of.
[draws . . .
dreamt of: Draws back a
curtain to reveal to the doubters fearful events that are really
products of their imaginations.]
HOTSPUR: You strain too far.
I rather of his absence make this use:
It lends a lustre and more great opinion,
A larger dare to our great enterprise,
Than if the earl [my father] were here; for men must think,
If we without his help, can make a head
To push against the kingdom, with his
We shall o’erturn it topsy-turvy down.
[for men must .
. . down: For men must
think this: if we can assemble an army without my father's help to
fight the king's forces, we will easily defeat our enemy once my
Yet all goes well, yet all our joints are whole.
[Yet . . .
whole: So all is well; we're in good shape.]
DOUGLAS: As heart can think: there is not such a
Spoke of in Scotland as this term of fear.
[As heart . . .
fear: My heart tells me that Hotspur is right. In Scotland, the
people are brave; they don't even use the word fear.]
Enter SIR RICHARD VERNON.
HOTSPUR: My cousin Vernon! welcome, by my
VERNON: Pray God my news be worth a welcome,
The Earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong,
Is marching hitherwards; with him Prince John.
HOTSPUR: No harm: what more?
VERNON: And further, I have learn’d,
The king himself in person is set forth,
Or hitherwards intended speedily,
With strong and mighty preparation.
HOTSPUR: He shall be welcome too. Where is his
The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales,
And his comrades, that daff’d the world aside,
Daffed, meaning frolicked,
played foolishly. The
prince playfully pushed the world aside.]
And bid it pass?
VERNON: All furnish’d, all in arms,
All plum’d like estridges [ostriches; ostrich feathers or down] that wing the wind,
Baited [with wings flapping] like eagles having lately bath’d,
Glittering in golden coats, like images [like works of art],
As full of spirit as the month of May,
And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer,
Wanton [unrestrained; frolicsome] as youthful goats, wild as young bulls.
I saw young Harry, with his beaver on,
piece of metal on the helmet of a suit or armor that protected the
in it enabled a warrior to see his enemies. A beaver could be
its hinges to allow air circulation and provide an unobstructed
His cushes on his thighs, gallantly arm’d,
Cuisses, which are plates of armor covering the front of the
Rise from the ground like feather’d Mercury,
ancient Roman mythology,
the messenger god. He was depicted as having wings on the sides of
feet. In Greek mythology, he was known as Hermes.]
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp’d down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus [winged horse in ancient mythology]
And witch [bewitch] the
world with noble horsemanship.
HOTSPUR: No more, no more: worse than the sun in
This praise doth nourish agues [fevers]. Let them come;
They come like sacrifices in their trim,
And to the fire-ey’d maid of smoky war [allusion to the
ancient goddess of war. Her Roman name was Minerva; her Greek,
All hot and bleeding will we offer them:
The mailed Mars [ancient Roman god of war] shall on his altar
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 corse [corpse].
O! that Glendower were come.
VERNON: There is more
I learn’d in Worcester, as I rode along,
He cannot draw his power these fourteen days.
DOUGLAS: That’s the worst tidings that I hear of
WORCESTER: Ay, by my faith, that bears a frosty
HOTSPUR: What may the king’s whole battle [army] reach unto?
VERNON: To 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:
[take a muster:
Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.
DOUGLAS: Talk not of dying: I am out of
Of death or death’s hand for this one half year.
Act 4, Scene 2
A public road near Coventry.
ninety-five miles northwest of London.]
Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH.
FALSTAFF: Bardolph, get thee before to Coventry; fill me a
sack: our soldiers shall march through: we’ll
to Sutton-Co’fil’ [Sutton-Coldfield, a town in the same county
BARDOLPH: Will you give me money, captain?
FALSTAFF: Lay out, lay out. [Get your own.]
BARDOLPH: This bottle makes an angel.
[This bottle .
. . angel: If I buy a bottle of sack for you, I will earn an
angel, a gold coin].
FALSTAFF: An if it do [if it does make an
angel], take it for thy
labour; and if it make twenty, take them all, I’ll answer the
coinage [I'll answer for what I owe you]. Bid my Lieutenant Peto meet me at
the town’s end.
BARDOLPH: I will, captain: farewell.
FALSTAFF: If I be not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a soused
[pickled] gurnet [gurnard, a sea
I have misused the king’s press damnably. I have got, in exchange
hundred and fifty soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds. I press
forcing men into military service][recruit] me none but good householders,
yeomen’s [yeoman: well-to-do farmer; freeholder]
sons; inquire me out contracted [engaged] bachelors, such as had been asked
on the banns [church announcement on three successive Sundays of a
scheduled wedding]; such
a commodity of warm slaves, as had as lief [soon][gun]
worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild-duck. I pressed me none
such toasts-and-butter, with hearts in their bellies no bigger
pins’ heads, and they
have bought out their services;
[I pressed me
none . . . trade-fallen: I drafted soft men
(toasts-and-butter) with less heart (courage) than the head of a
pin. They have bribed me to have others take their places.]
and now my whole charge consists of
ancients [second lieutenants], corporals, lieutenants, gentlemen of companies [gentlemen who
served in the battalions of noblemen], slaves as
ragged as Lazarus in the painted cloth [in a tapestry], where the glutton’s dogs licked
his sores; and such as indeed were never soldiers, but discarded
serving-men [dishonest servants], younger sons to younger brothers [young men who
would not inherit money or property], revolted tapsters [bartenders who
despised their work and quit] and
ostlers trade-fallen [unemployed stablemen], the cankers [victims
(literally, diseases)] of
a calm world and a long peace; ten
times more dishonourable ragged than an old faced ancient: and
have I, to fill up the rooms of [to replace] them that have bought out their
services, that you would think that I had a hundred and fifty
prodigals, lately come from swine-keeping, from eating draff [residue of
brewing, used to feed cattle] and husks.
A mad fellow met me on the way and told me I had unloaded all the
gibbets [gallows] and
pressed [recruited] the
dead bodies. No eye hath seen such scarecrows.
I’ll not march through Coventry with them, that’s flat: nay, and
villains march wide betwixt [between] the legs, as if they had gyves [shackles] on; for,
indeed I had the most of them out of prison. [That's no wonder,
because I recruited most of them from prison.] There’s but a shirt and a
half in all my company; and the half shirt is two napkins tacked
[sewn][was] stolen from my host [tavern host] at Saint
Alban’s [city north of London], or the red-nose inn-keeper of Daventry [city about 75
miles northwest of London].
But that’s all one;
they’ll find linen enough on every hedge. [Household laundry
was often spread out on hedges to dry.]
Enter the PRINCE and WESTMORELAND.
PRINCE: How now, blown Jack! how now, quilt!
[How . . .
quilt: What's up, bloated
Jack. Jack was the nickname of Sir John Falstaff. But it was also
name of a quilted jacket (gambeson) worn as armor with or without
plates or chainmail.]
FALSTAFF: What, Hal! How now, mad wag! what a devil dost
in Warwickshire? My good Lord of Westmoreland, I cry you mercy: I
thought your honour had already been at Shrewsbury.
WESTMORELAND: Faith, Sir John, ’tis more than time that I
should be there now], and
you too; but my powers [forces] are there already. The king, I can
tell you, looks for us all: we must away [travel] all night.
FALSTAFF: Tut, never fear me: I am as vigilant as a cat to
PRINCE: I think to steal cream indeed, for thy theft hath
already made thee butter [for your thieving has already turned you
into a tub of lard]. But
tell me, Jack, whose fellows are these
that come after?
FALSTAFF: Mine, Hal, mine.
PRINCE: I did never see such pitiful
FALSTAFF: Tut, tut; good enough to toss; food for powder, food
for powder; they’ll fill a pit as well as better: tush, man,
men, mortal men.
[good enough .
. . mortal men: They're
good enough to die in battle, and they're ready to yield their
the face of gunpowder. Why, they'll fill a grave as well as better
They're only mortals.]
WESTMORELAND: Ay, but, Sir John, methinks they are exceeding
poor and bare; too beggarly.
FALSTAFF: Faith, for their poverty, I know not where they
that; and for their bareness, I am sure they never learned that of
PRINCE: No, I’ll be sworn; unless you call three fingers
on the ribs bare. But sirrah, make haste: Percy is already in the
[No, I'll . . .
ribs bare: No, I'll
swear they never learned to be bare from you. After all, you have
fingers of fat on your ribs.]
FALSTAFF: What, is the king encamped?
WESTMORELAND: He is, Sir John: I fear we shall stay too
To the latter end of a fray and the beginning of a
Fits a dull fighter and a keen guest.
[Well . . .
guest: Well, a bad soldier arrives at the end of a battle, but a
good guest arrives right on time for a feast.]
Act 4, Scene 3
The rebel camp near Shrewsbury
Enter HOTSPUR, WORCESTER, DOUGLAS, and VERNON.
HOTSPUR: We’ll fight with him to-night.
WORCESTER: It may not be. [It won't happen.]
DOUGLAS: You give him then advantage.
VERNON: Not a whit. [Not at all.]
HOTSPUR: Why say you so? looks he not for supply? [Isn't he waiting
for more military support?]
VERNON: So do we.
HOTSPUR: His is certain, ours is doubtful.
WORCESTER: Good cousin [nephew], be advis’d: stir not
DOUGLAS: You do not counsel well:
You speak it out of fear and cold heart.
VERNON: Do me no slander, Douglas: by my
And I dare well maintain it with my life,—
If well-respected honour bid me on,
I hold as little counsel with weak fear
As you, my lord, or any Scot that this day
Let it be seen to-morrow in the battle
Which of us fears.
DOUGLAS: Yea, or to-night.
HOTSPUR: To-night, say I.
VERNON: Come, come, it may not be. I wonder
Being men of such great leading as you are,
That you foresee not what impediments
Drag back our expedition: certain horse
Of my cousin Vernon’s are not yet come
[Come . . . yet
come up: Come, come,
it's not wise to fight tonight. You are great leaders, but I
whether you foresee the problems that would confront us if we
tonight. Certain cavalry of my cousin Vernon have not yet
Your uncle Worcester’s horse [horsemen; cavalry] came but to-day;
And now their pride and mettle is asleep,
Their courage with hard labour tame and dull,
That not a horse is half the half of himself.
[And now . . .
himself: And now their
vigor and courage sleep after their arduous journey. Not one of
is even one-fourth of himself.]
HOTSPUR: So are the horses of the enemy
In general, journey-bated [wearied by traveling] and brought low:
The better part of ours are full of rest.
WORCESTER: The number of the king exceedeth
For God’s sake, cousin, stay till all come in. [The trumpet
sounds a parley.
Enter SIR WALTER BLUNT.
BLUNT: I come with gracious offers from the
If you vouchsafe [grant] me hearing and respect.
HOTSPUR: Welcome, Sir Walter Blunt; and would to
You were of our determination! [you were one of us!]
Some of us love you well; and even those some
Envy your great deservings and good name,
Because you are not of our quality,
But stand against us like an enemy.
[Some of . . .
enemy: Some of us love
you well. But even among those who love you are those who refuse
bow to your accomplishments and good name. They realize you do not
embrace our cause but stand against us.]
BLUNT: And God defend but still I should stand
So long as out of limit and true rule
You stand against anointed majesty.
[And God . . .
majesty: And may God support me against you as long as you remain
beyond the limit and true rule of his majesty.]
But, to my charge [to my reason for this parley]. The king hath sent to
The nature of your griefs, and whereupon
You conjure [bring forth]
from the breast of civil peace
Such bold hostility, teaching his duteous land
Audacious cruelty. If that the king
Have any way your good deserts [deeds; actions; achievements] forgot,—
Which he confesseth to be manifold,—
He bids you name your griefs; and with all speed
You shall have your desires with interest,
And pardon absolute for yourself and these
Herein misled by your suggestion [decision to oppose the king].
HOTSPUR: The king is kind [spoken sarcastically]; and well we know the
Knows at what time to promise, when to pay.
My father and my uncle and myself
Did give him that same royalty [crown] he wears;
And when he was not six-and-twenty strong,
Sick in the world’s regard, wretched and low,
A poor unminded outlaw sneaking home,
My father gave him welcome to the shore;
And when he [my father] heard
him swear and vow to God
He came but to be Duke of Lancaster,
To sue his livery [sue for his inheritance] and beg his peace,
With tears of innocency and terms of zeal,
My father, in kind heart and pity mov’d,
Swore him assistance and perform’d it too.
Now when the lords and barons of the realm
Perceiv’d Northumberland did lean to him,
[did lean to
him: Did favor him; did back him]
The more and less came in with cap and knee;
[with . . .
knee: With cap in hand to kneel before him]
Met him in boroughs, cities, villages,
Attended him on bridges, stood in lanes,
Laid gifts before him, proffer’d him their oaths [pledged him their
Gave him their heirs as pages, follow’d him
Even at the heels in golden multitudes [well-dressed
He presently, as greatness knows itself,
Steps me a little higher than his vow
Made to my father, while his blood was poor,
Upon the naked shore at Ravenspurgh;
[He presently . . . Ravenspurgh: Now, fully aware of his power as
he regards himself as much higher than he did when he met my
father at Ravenspurgh.]
And now, forsooth, takes on him to reform
Some certain edicts and some strait decrees
That lie too heavy on the commonwealth,
Cries out upon abuses, seems to weep
Over his country’s wrongs; and by this face,
This seeming brow of justice, did he win
The hearts of all that he did angle for;
Proceeded further; cut me off the heads
Of all the favourites that the absent king
In deputation left behind him here,
When he was personal in the Irish war.
[And now . . .
Irish war: And then he
pretended to sympathize with the people by instituting reforms to
wrongs and address abuses. His action won the hearts of the
afterward he arranged the beheadings of all King Richard's
deputies, who were running the government while the king was at
war in Ireland.]
BLUNT: Tut, I came not to hear this.
HOTSPUR: Then to the point.
In short time after, he [Henry] depos’d [dethroned and replaced] the king;
Soon after that, depriv’d him of his life;
And, in the neck of that, task’d [increased taxes on] the whole state;
To make that worse, suffer’d his kinsman March—
Who is, if every owner were well plac’d,
Indeed his king—to be engag’d in Wales,
There without ransom to lie forfeited;
Disgrac’d me in my happy
Sought to entrap me by intelligence;
Rated my uncle from the council-board;
In rage dismiss’d my father from the court;
Broke oath on oath, committed wrong on wrong;
And in conclusion drove us to seek out
This head of safety; and withal to pry
Into his title, the which we find
Too indirect for long continuance.
[To make that .
. . long continuance:
To make matters worse, he ordered Edmund Mortimer, the Earl of
March—who has a rightful claim to the English throne—to be
in Wales without allowing anyone to ransom him. He then
battlefield victories, spied on me in hopes of finding
evidence, fired my uncle from the council board, dismissed my
from the court, broke many oaths, and committed many wrongs. In
conclusion, he drove us to rebel and raise an army against him.
fact is, he is not the legitimate king.]
BLUNT: Shall I return this answer to the
HOTSPUR: Not so, Sir Walter: we’ll withdraw
Go to the king; and let there be impawn’d
Some surety for a safe return again,
And in the morning early shall my uncle
Bring him our purposes; and so farewell.
[Not so . . .
farewell: No, Sir
Walter. We'll just bide our time for a while. In the morning, my
shall go to the king and present our demands. We assume you shall
guarantee (impawn) his safe return.]
BLUNT: I would you would accept of grace and
HOTSPUR: And may be so we shall.
BLUNT: Pray God, you do! [Exeunt.
4, Scene 4
York. A room in the ARCHBISHOP’S palace.
Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK and SIR MICHAEL.
ARCHBISHOP: Hie, good Sir Michael; bear this sealed
With winged haste to the lord marshal;
This to my cousin Scroop, and all the rest
To whom they are directed. If you knew
How much they do import, you would make haste.
SIR MICHAEL: My good lord,
I guess their tenour [meaning].
ARCHBISHOP: Like enough you
To-morrow, good Sir Michael, is a day
Wherein the fortune of ten thousand men
Must bide the touch [hang in the balance; undergo a test; face a
challenge]; for, sir, at
As I am truly given to understand,
The king with mighty and quick-raised power
Meets with Lord Harry:
and, I fear, Sir Michael,
What with the sickness of Northumberland,—
Whose power was in the first proportion,—
And what with Owen Glendower’s absence thence,
Who with them was a rated sinew [power; warrior (literally, muscle)] too,
And comes not in, o’er-rul’d [overruled—that is, scared off] by prophecies [ill omens],—
I fear the power of Percy is too weak
To wage an instant trial [war; fight] with the king.
SIR MICHAEL: Why, my good lord, you need not
There is the Douglas and Lord Mortimer.
ARCHBISHOP: No, Mortimer is not there.
SIR MICHAEL: But there is Mordake, Vernon, Lord Harry
And there’s my Lord of Worcester, and a head [force]
Of gallant warriors, noble gentlemen.
ARCHBISHOP: And so there is; but yet the king hath
The special head of all the land together:
The Prince of Wales, Lord John of Lancaster,
The noble Westmoreland, and war-like Blunt;
And many moe [more] corrivals
[competitors] and dear men
Of estimation and command in arms.
SIR MICHAEL: Doubt not, my lord, they shall be well
ARCHBISHOP: I hope no less, yet needful ’tis to fear [yet there is good
reason to worry];
And, to prevent the worse, Sir Michael, speed:
For if Lord Percy thrive not [fares badly], ere [before] the king
Dismiss his power, he means to visit us,
For he hath heard of our confederacy,
And ’tis but wisdom to make strong against him:
[he means . . .
against him: He will
seek us out, for he has heard of our conspiracy against him. So it
makes good sense to strengthen ourselves against him.]
Therefore make haste. I must go write again
To other friends; and so farewell, Sir Michael.
5, Scene 1
The KING’S camp near Shrewsbury.
Enter KING HENRY, the PRINCE, JOHN OF LANCASTER, SIR WALTER BLUNT,
and SIR JOHN FALSTAFF.
KING HENRY: How bloodily the sun begins to
Above yon busky hill! the day looks pale
At his distemperature.
[How . . .
distemperature: How blood-red the sun looks as it peers over
yonder busky hill. (Busky is another word
for bosky, meaning well forested with brush, bushes,
trees, and other plant life.) The day turns pale when it views the
PRINCE: 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.
KING HENRY: Then with the losers let it
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 deceiv’d our trust,
And made us doff [remove] 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 it? will you again unknit
This churlish knot of all-abhorred war,
And move in that obedient orb again
Where you did give a fair and natural light,
And be no more an exhal’d meteor,
A prodigy of fear and a portent
Of broached mischief to the unborn times?
[will you again
. . . times: Are you
willing to untie the knot of hateful war and move in my circles
the way a bright light orbits the earth? Don't be an angry meteor
burns fear into the hearts of men and blazes with ill omens.
WORCESTER: Hear me, my liege [lord].
For mine own part, I could be well content
To entertain the lag-end [last part] of my life
With quiet hours; for I do protest
I have not sought the day of this dislike.
[I have . . .
dislike: I have not sought war against you.]
KING HENRY: You have not sought it! how comes it
FALSTAFF: Rebellion lay in his way, and he found
PRINCE: Peace, chewet, peace! [The prince says to
Falstaff, "Be quiet, meat pie .]
WORCESTER: It pleas’d your majesty to turn your
Of favour from myself and all our house;
And yet I must remember [remind] 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
Nothing so strong and fortunate as I.
[For you . . .
fortunate as I: For you, I gave up
my position under King Richard and was always there to greet you
your travels by kissing your hand even though you were lower in
position and regard than I was.]
It was myself, my brother, and his son,
That brought you home and boldly did outdare
The dangers of the time. You swore to us,
And you did swear that oath at Doncaster [city about 175
miles north of London],
That you did nothing purpose ’gainst the state,
[That you . . .
state: That you did not plan any upheaval against the kingdom]
Nor claim no further than your new-fall’n right,
The seat of Gaunt, dukedom of Lancaster.
[Nor claim . .
. Lancaster: Nor did you claim anything more than your right to
the estate of your deceased father.]
To this we swore our aid: but, in short space
It rain’d down fortune showering on your head,
[It rain'd . .
. head: Good fortune rained down on you.]
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;
[What with . .
. you hand: With our
help—at a time when the king was away, when the country was
and when the people thought the king dead—you took advantage of
Forgot your oath to us at Doncaster;
And being fed by us you us’d us so
As that ungentle gull, 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
For fear of swallowing; but with nimble wing
We were enforc’d, for safety’s sake, to fly
Out of your sight and raise this present head;
[And being fed
. . . present head:
Though we aided you, you used us in the same way that a cuckoo
sparrow—you took over our nest and ate our food. You ate so much
grew so huge that we were afraid to come near you for fear of
swallowed. (The last sentence may be interpreted figuratively to
indicate that Henry Bolingbroke usurped privileges, offices, and
power.) We were forced, for safety's sake, to abandon you and
army against you.]
Whereby we stand opposed by such means
As you yourself have forg’d against yourself
By unkind usage, dangerous countenance,
And violation of all faith and troth
Sworn to us in your younger enterprise.
KING HENRY: These things indeed, you have articulate [you have
previously complained about],
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:
[To face . . .
innovation: To give the
garment of your rebellion a beautiful color to please the eye of
impressionable citizens and malcontents. Your purpose was to get
to side with you. Now they embrace the news of civil disturbance
And never yet did insurrection want
Such water-colours to impaint his cause;
Nor moody beggars, starving for a
Of pell-mell havoc and confusion.
[And never . .
. confusion: And never
has a revolution occurred without efforts by its supporters to
its purpose in false colors. Nor has a revolution occurred without
backing of moody beggars who welcome disorder and confusion.]
PRINCE: In both our armies there is many a
Shall pay full dearly for this encounter,
If once they join in trial [the battle]. Tell your nephew,
The Prince of Wales [Hal]
doth join with all the world
In praise of Henry Percy [Hotspur]: by my hopes,
This present enterprise set off his head,
[This . . .
head: Not counting this present enterprise]
I do not think a braver gentleman,
More active-valiant or more valiant-young,
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
I[I have . . .
too: I have been
neglectful of my duties as a knight. Moreover, I hear that Hotspur
not regard me highly as a knight.]
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.
[Yet this . . .
single fight: Yet I
vow before my father that I would be happy if he risked his great
reputation to engage me in hand-to-hand combat. This single combat
would decide the outcome of the war and save lives.]
KING HENRY: And, Prince of Wales, so dare we venture
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.
[And, Prince .
. . be his: And, my
son, I would support you in this plan if there were not so many
standing against it. Worcester, I love our people. I even love
who have mistakenly joined your cause. If you and everyone else on
side would pledge loyalty to me, all of you would be my friends
and I would be yours.]
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
[but if . . .
advisedly: If he will
not accept my offer, then we will punish him and the rest of you
side. Go. Take my message to your camp. But say no more to me. I
heard enough from you. Our offer is fair; you and your compatriots
should accept it.]
PRINCE: It will not be accepted, on my
The Douglas and the Hotspur both together
Are confident against the world in arms.
[Are . .
. arms: Think they can defeat the whole world.]
KING HENRY: Hence, therefore, every leader to his
For, on their answer,
will we set on [attack] them;
And God befriend us, as our cause is just! [Exeunt KING
HENRY, BLUNT, and JOHN OF LANCASTER.
FALSTAFF: Hal, if thou see me down in the battle, and
me, so; ’tis a point of friendship.
[if thou . . .
friendship: If you see
me down in battle, stand over me with one foot on my right side
on my left in order to defend me. Won't you do that for a friend?]
PRINCE: Nothing but a colossus [giant] can do thee that friendship. Say thy
prayers, and farewell.
FALSTAFF: I would it were bed-time, Hal, and all
PRINCE: Why, thou owest God a death.
FALSTAFF: ’Tis not due yet [My death is 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?
should I die when God has not called on me to do so?] Well,
’tis no matter; honour pricks [drives] me on. Yea, but how if honour prick
off when I come on? [But what if honor abandons me?] how then? Can honour set to a leg [set a broken 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 that word, honour?
Air. A trim reckoning! [A flimsy thing.] Who hath it? he that died o’
Wednesday. Doth he
feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. It is insensible [cannot be heard] then? Yea, to the
dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction
not suffer it [The wagging tongues of detractors will not tolerate it]. Therefore I’ll none of it: honour is
a mere scutcheon [emblem on a tombstone];
and so ends my catechism [my question-and-answer lesson]. [Exit.
Act 5, Scene 2
The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.
Enter WORCESTER and VERNON.
WORCESTER: O, no! my nephew must not know, Sir
The liberal kind offer of the king.
VERNON:’Twere best 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 offence in other faults:
Suspicion all our lives shall be stuck
full of eyes;
[He will . . .
eyes: If we accept
his offer, he will still suspect us of plotting against him. Then
will find a time to punish us for our offenses and other faults.
eye in the realm will look upon us with suspicion.]
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.
[For treason .
. . ancestors: We will be looked upon as sly and treacherous, like
Look how we can, or sad or merrily,
Interpretation will misquote our looks,
[Look how . . .
looks: No matter how we appear, sad or merry, people will
misinterpret our looks and brand us traitors.]
And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,
The better cherished, still the nearer death.
[The better . .
. death: The better to fatten us up for slaughter.]
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 hare-brain’d Hotspur, govern’d by a spleen.
offenses against the king
may well be forgotten, considering that he is very young
and full of passion. He acts like his adopted name, Hotspur; he is
governed by strong emotion.]
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.
[All his . . .
pay for all: But the
king would blame me and his father for all of Hotspur's offenses.
all, we trained him and we inspired him to oppose the king. We are
the source of his transgressions, and we would pay for them.]
Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know
In any case the offer of the king.
VERNON: Deliver what you will, I’ll say ’tis so.
Here comes your cousin [nephew].
Enter HOTSPUR and DOUGLAS; Officers and Soldiers behind.
HOTSPUR: My uncle is return’d: deliver up [free; let loose]
My Lord of Westmoreland [a hostage]. Uncle, what news?
WORCESTER: The king will bid you battle
DOUGLAS: Defy him by [with a message carried by] the Lord of Westmoreland.
HOTSPUR: Lord Douglas, go you and tell him so.
DOUGLAS: Marry, and shall, and very willingly.
WORCESTER: There is no seeming mercy in the
HOTSPUR: Did you beg any? God forbid!
WORCESTER: I told him gently of our grievances,
Of his oath-breaking; which he mended thus,
By now forswearing that he is forsworn:
[I told . . .
forsworn: I told him
gently of our complaints and of his failure to live up to his
He denied that he broke promises and lied to us.]
He calls us rebels, traitors; and will scourge
With haughty arms this hateful name in us.
Re-enter DOUGLAS. 45
DOUGLAS: Arm, gentlemen! to arms! for I have
A brave defiance in King Henry’s teeth,
And Westmoreland, that was engag’d, did bear it;
Which cannot choose but bring him
[Arm . . .
quickly on: Get ready for
war! For I have sent Westmoreland, who has been our hostage, to
Henry with a defiant message that will provoke him.]
WORCESTER: The Prince of Wales [Hal] stepp’d forth before the
And, nephew, challeng’d you to single fight.
HOTSPUR: O! would the quarrel lay upon our heads [O, I wish the war
could be decided by our single combat],
And that no man might draw short breath to-day
But I and Harry Monmouth. Tell me, tell me,
How show’d his tasking [demeanor; manner]? seem’d it in contempt?
VERNON: No, by my soul; I never in my life
Did hear a challenge urg’d 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,
Trimm’d up your praises with a princely tongue,
Spoke your deservings like a chronicle [a history],
Making you ever better than his praise,
By still dispraising praise valu’d with you;
[By still . . .
you: By saying the high praise you receive is still not high
And, which became him like a prince indeed,
He made a blushing cital [recital; account] of himself,
And chid [chided; deplored]
his truant youth with such a grace
As if he master’d there a double spirit
Of teaching and of learning instantly.
[As if . . .
instantly: As if he had
instantly mastered the arts of teaching and learning; as if he
teacher instructing himself as a student]
There did he pause. But let me tell the world,
If he outlive the envy [ill will; vicious rivalry]; of this day,
England did never owe so sweet a hope,
So much misconstru’d in his wantonness.
[England . . .
never did own (have) so sweet a hope. He is much misunderstood
of his earlier misbehavior.]
HOTSPUR: Cousin, I think thou art enamoured
On his follies: never did I hear
In love with; deceived by]
Of any prince so wild a libertine.
But be he as he will, yet once ere [before] night
I will embrace him with a soldier’s arm,
That he shall shrink under my courtesy.
[But be . . .
courtesy: Regardless of
his worth or lack of it, he will shrink in fear of me when I fight
with a soldier's arm.]
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.
[Arm . . .
persuasion: Now everyone
quickly get ready for battle! Friends, soldiers—all of you good
fellows—think about what you will face on the battlefield. If I
gifted speaker, I would say more on this subject to arouse you to
Enter a Messenger.
MESSENGER: My lord, here are letters for you.
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.
[To spend . . .
hour: Although life is
short, it would be too long if you spent your time on lowly,
activities. It would be too long even if life lasted only one hour
the dial of a clock.]
An if we live, we live to tread on [overthrow] kings;
If die, brave death, when princes die with us!
[If . . . us:
If we die, it's a brave death when we die among princes.]
Now, for our consciences, the arms are fair,
When the intent of bearing them is just.
[the arms are .
. . just: Our fight is fair when the cause we are fighting for is
Enter another Messenger.
MESSENGER: My lord, prepare; the king comes on
HOTSPUR: I thank him that he cuts me from my
For I profess not talking. Only this,—
[I thank . . .
talking: I thank him for interrupting my speech, for I am not a
good public speaker.]
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. [The trumpets sound.
They embrace, and exeunt.
[And by . . .
courtesy: While the music plays, let us all embrace one another.
We may not get a second chance to do so.]
Act 5, Scene 3
Between the camps.
Excursions and parties fighting. Alarum [Sounding of an
Alarm] to the
battle. Then enter DOUGLAS and SIR WALTER BLUNT, meeting.
BLUNT: What is thy name, that in the battle
Thou crossest me? what honour dost thou seek
Upon my head?
[What is . . .
head: What's your name? I'd like to know who is attacking me and
what honor he hopes to win.]
DOUGLAS: Know then, my name is Douglas;
And I do haunt thee in the battle thus
Because some tell me that thou art a king.
Douglas mistakes Blunt for Henry IV.]
BLUNT: They tell thee
DOUGLAS: The Lord of Stafford dear to-day hath
Thy likeness; for, instead of thee, King Harry,
This sword hath ended him: so shall it thee,
Unless thou yield thee as my prisoner.
[The Lord . . .
Stafford resembles you, King Henry. And he dearly paid for this
resemblance when I killed him with my sword. I will kill you too
you agree to become my prisoner.]
BLUNT: I was not born a yielder, thou proud
And thou shalt find [me]
a king that will revenge
Lord Stafford’s death. [They fight, and BLUNT is
HOTSPUR: O, Douglas! hadst thou fought at Holmedon thus,
I never had triumph’d upon a Scot.
DOUGLAS: All’s done, all’s won: here breathless lies the
HOTSPUR: This, Douglas! no; I know this face full
A gallant knight he was, his name was Blunt;
furnish’d like the king himself.
DOUGLAS: A fool go with thy soul, whither [wherever] it goes!
A borrow’d title hast thou bought too dear:
Why didst thou tell me that thou wert a king?
HOTSPUR: The king hath many marching in his coats [under his coat of
DOUGLAS: Now, by my sword, I will kill all his
I’ll murder all his wardrobe, piece by piece,
Until I meet the king.
HOTSPUR: Up, and away!
Our soldiers stand full fairly [full of fight] for the day.
FALSTAFF: Though I could ’scape [escape] shot-free [shot: tavern bill] at London, I fear the shot
fire] here; here’s no
scoring [tallying up a bill] but upon the pate [head]. Soft! [wait a minute; take notice] who art thou? Sir
Walter Blunt: there’s honour for you! here’s no vanity! I am as
molten lead, and as heavy too: God keep lead out of me! I need no
weight than mine own bowels. I have led my ragamuffins [my ragged troops] where they are
peppered: there’s not three of my hundred and fifty left alive,
they are for the town’s end, to beg during life. But who
[they are for .
. . life: The ones
still alive have run to town to become beggars. Better to be a
beggar than a dead soldier.]
Enter the PRINCE
PRINCE: What! stand’st thou idle here? lend me thy
Many a nobleman lies stark and stiff
Under the hoofs of vaunting enemies,
Whose deaths are unreveng’d: prithee, lend me thy
FALSTAFF: O Hal! I prithee, give me leave to breathe awhile.
Turk Gregory never did such deeds in arms as I have done this day.
Gregory: Pope Gregory VII, an
eleventh-century pontiff hailed for his church reforms but accused
using cruel and brutal methods to achieve them. A Turk is a person
uses violence and ferocity to accomplish his goals. Here, Turk is used as an
have paid Percy [killed Hotspur], I have made him sure [safe to be around].
PRINCE: He is, indeed; and
living to kill thee. I prithee, lend me thy
FALSTAFF: Nay, before God, Hal, if Percy be alive, thou
not my sword; but take my pistol, if thou wilt.
PRINCE: Give it me. What! is it in the
FALSTAFF: Ay, Hal; ’tis hot, ’tis hot: there’s that will
city. [The PRINCE draws out a bottle of sack.
PRINCE: What! is ’t a time to jest and dally now?
[Throws it at him, and exit.
FALSTAFF: Well, if Percy be alive, I’ll pierce him. If he do
come in my way, so: if he do not, if I come in his, willingly, let
make a carbonado [piece of meat or fish scored and broiled] of me. I like not such grinning
honour as Sir Walter
hath: give me life; which if I can save, so; if not, honour comes
unlooked for, and there’s an end. [Exit.
[give me . . .
end: Give me life. If I
can save my own, good. If not, I will receive honor that I was not
looking for. That's that.]
Act 5, Scene 4
Another part of the field.
Alarums. Excursions. Enter KING HENRY, the PRINCE,
JOHN OF LANCASTER, and WESTMORELAND.
KING HENRY: I prithee,
Harry, withdraw thyself; thou bleed’st too much.
Lord John of Lancaster, go you with him.
LANCASTER: Not I, my lord, unless I did bleed
PRINCE: I beseech your majesty, make up,
Lest your retirement do amaze your friends.
[I beseech . .
. friends: I beg your majesty to advance on the enemy. If you
withdraw, you will dishearten your friends.]
KING HENRY: I will do so [I will advance].
My Lord of Westmoreland, lead him to his tent.
WESTMORELAND: Come, my lord, I’ll lead you to your
PRINCE: Lead me, my lord? I do not need your
And God forbid a shallow scratch should drive
The Prince of Wales from such a field as this,
Where stain’d nobility lies trodden on,
And rebels’ arms triumph in massacres!
LANCASTER: We breathe too long: come, cousin
Our duty this way lies: for God’s sake, come. [Exeunt JOHN
OF LANCASTER and WESTMORELAND.
PRINCE: By God, thou hast deceiv’d me,
I did not think thee lord of such a spirit:
[I did . . .
spirit: I didn't think you were so courageous.]
Before, I lov’d thee as a brother, John;
But now, I do respect thee as my soul.
KING HENRY: I saw him hold Lord Percy at the
With lustier maintenance than I did look for
Of such an ungrown [young and inexperienced] warrior.
PRINCE: O! this boy
Lends mettle [strength; bravery] to us all. [Exit.
Alarums. Enter DOUGLAS.
DOUGLAS: Another king! [Douglas had previously mistaken others
for Henry IV.] they grow
like Hydra’s heads:
Greek mythology, a serpent with nine heads. When one was struck
off, two grew in its place.]
I am the Douglas, fatal to all those
That wear those [enemy] colours on them: what art thou,
That counterfeit’st [pretend to be] the person of a
KING HENRY: The king himself; who, Douglas, grieves at
So many of his shadows [likenesses] thou hast met
And not the very king. I have two boys
Seek Percy and thyself about the field:
But, seeing thou fall’st on me so luckily,
I will assay [fight] thee; so
DOUGLAS: I fear thou art another
And yet, in faith, thou bear’st thee like a
But mine [my victim] I am
sure thou art, whoe’er thou be,
And thus I win thee. [They fight. KING HENRY being in
danger, re-enter the PRINCE.
PRINCE: Hold up thy head, vile Scot, or thou art
Never to hold it up again! the spirits
Of valiant Shirley, Stafford, Blunt, are in my
It is the Prince of Wales that threatens thee,
Who never promiseth but he means to pay. [They fight:
Cheerly [be cheerful], my
lord: how fares your Grace?
Sir Nicholas Gawsey hath for succour [help; support
And so hath Clifton: I’ll to Clifton straight.
KING HENRY: Stay, and breathe awhile.
Thou hast redeem’d thy lost opinion,
And show’d thou mak’st some tender of my life,
In this fair rescue thou hast brought to me.
[Stay . . .
brought to me: Stay and
catch your breath. You have redeemed yourself from your past
mistakes and misbehavior. Moreover, your rescue of me shows that
you care about
PRINCE: O God! they did me too much injury
That ever said I hearken’d for your death.
If it were so, I might have let alone
The insulting hand of Douglas over you;
Which would have been as speedy in your end
As all the poisonous potions in the world,
And sav’d the treacherous labour of your son.
KING HENRY: Make up to Clifton: I’ll to Sir Nicholas
HOTSPUR: If I mistake not, thou art Harry
PRINCE: Thou speak’st as if I would deny my
HOTSPUR: My name is Harry Percy.
PRINCE: Why, then, I see
A very valiant rebel of that name.
I am the Prince of Wales; and think not, Percy,
To share with me in glory any more:
[and think . .
. more: And don't think you can continue to share battlefield
glory with me.]
Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere;
Nor can one England brook [endure; support] a double reign,
Of Harry Percy and the Prince of Wales.
HOTSPUR: Nor shall it, Harry; for the hour is
To end the one of us; and would to God
Thy name in arms were now as great as mine!
[would to . . .
as mine: I wish to God
that you had as great a fighting reputation as I have. If you did,
would earn greater glory in killing you.]
PRINCE: I’ll make it greater ere [before] I part from thee;
And all the budding honours on thy crest [plume on a helmet]
I’ll crop [cut off], to
make a garland for my head.
HOTSPUR: I can no longer brook [endure; tolerate] thy vanities. [They
FALSTAFF: Well said, Hal! to it, Hal! Nay, you shall find no
boy’s play here, I can tell you.
Re-enter DOUGLAS; he fights with FALSTAFF, who falls down as if he
dead, and exit DOUGLAS. HOTSPUR is wounded, and falls.
HOTSPUR: O, Harry! thou hast robb’d me of my
I better brook the loss of brittle life
Than those proud titles thou hast won of me;
[I better . . .
won of me: I more readily accept the loss of life than the loss of
those proud titles you won from me.]
They wound my thoughts worse than
thy sword my flesh:
But thought’s the slave of life, and life time’s
And time, that takes survey of all the world,
Must have a stop. O! I could prophesy,
But that the earthy and cold hand of death
Lies on my tongue. No, Percy, thou art dust,
And food for— [Dies.
. . . food for: But
thought exists only as long as life, and life exists only as long
time allows it to. Time, which governs all the world, must end.
could make observations about the future, but the cold hand of
silences my tongue. Now, I am just a corpse, and food for—. (Percy
means that he is food for worms and insects.)
PRINCE: For worms, brave Percy. Fare thee well, great
Ill-weav’d [foolish; misguided] ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
When that this body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
But now, two paces [about six feet, or two strides] of the vilest earth
Is room enough: this earth, that bears thee
Bears not alive so stout a gentleman.
If thou wert sensible of courtesy [If you could hear
I should not make so dear a show of zeal:
But let my favours [tokens of respect] hide thy mangled
And, even in thy behalf, I’ll thank myself
For doing these fair rites of tenderness.
Adieu [good-bye], and take thy praise with thee to
Thy ignomy [ignominy, or dishonor, humiliation] sleep with thee in the
But not remember’d in thy epitaph! [He spies FALSTAFF on the
What! old acquaintance! could not all this flesh
Keep in a little life? Poor Jack, farewell!
I could have better spared [lost; given up] a better man.
O! I should have a heavy miss of thee [I should miss you
If I were much in love with vanity.
Death hath not struck so fat a deer to-day,
Though many dearer, in this bloody fray.
[Death . . .
fray: Death hasn't struck
down anyone as fat as you today in this bloody battle, but it has
claimed many who are dearer (more valuable as soldiers].
Embowell’d will I see thee by and by:
[Embowell'd: Disembowelled. A deer killed in a hunt
was disembowelled. See line 114.]
Till then in blood by noble Percy lie.
FALSTAFF: [Rising.] Embowelled! if thou embowel me
to-day, I’ll give you leave to powder [preserve in
vinegar or brine; pickle]
me and eat me too, to-morrow.
’Sblood! ’twas time to counterfeit [pretend to be
dead], or that hot
termagant [violent] Scot
me scot [tax; assessment]
and lot too. Counterfeit? I lie, I am no counterfeit: to die,
is to be a counterfeit; for he is but the counterfeit of a man,
hath not the life of a man; but to counterfeit dying, when a man
thereby liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect
of life indeed. The better part of valour is discretion; in the
better part, I have saved my life. ’Zounds!
I am afraid of this
gunpowder [fierce] Percy
though he be dead: how, if he should counterfeit too
[how, if he . .
. rise: Suppose he is also pretending to be dead and suddenly
By my faith I am afraid he would prove the better
counterfeit. Therefore I’ll make him sure [I'll make sure
he's dead]; yea, and I’ll
swear I killed
him. Why may not he rise as well as I? Nothing confutes me but
and nobody sees me: therefore, sirrah [stabbing him], with a
wound in your thigh come you along with me. [He takes
Re-enter the PRINCE and JOHN OF LANCASTER.
PRINCE: Come, brother John; full bravely hast thou
flesh’d [stabbed into flesh] 120
Thy maiden [unused]
LANCASTER: But, soft! [wait a minute; take notice] whom have we here?
Did you not tell me this fat man was dead?
PRINCE: I did; I saw him dead,
Breathless and bleeding on the ground.
Art thou alive? or is it fantasy
That plays upon our eyesight? I prithee, speak;
We will not trust our eyes without our ears:
Thou art not what thou seem’st.
FALSTAFF: No, that’s certain; I am not a double man: but if
be not Jack Falstaff, then am I a Jack [knave]. There is Percy [throwing
the body down]: if your father will do me any honour, so; if not,
him kill the next Percy himself. I look to be either earl or duke,
can assure you.
PRINCE: Why, Percy I killed myself, and saw thee
FALSTAFF: Didst thou? Lord, Lord! how this world is given to
lying. I grant you I was down and out of breath, and so was he;
rose both at an instant, and fought a long hour by Shrewsbury clock. If
I may be believed, so; if not, let them that should reward valour
the sin upon their own heads. I’ll take it upon my death, I gave
this wound in the thigh: if the man were alive and would deny it,
’zounds, I would make him eat a piece of my
LANCASTER: This is the strangest tale that e’er I
PRINCE: This is the strangest fellow, brother
Come, bring your luggage [Hotspur's body] nobly on your back:
For my part, if a lie may do thee grace [if it takes a lie to turn
you into a hero],
I’ll gild it with the happiest terms I have. [A retreat is
The trumpet sounds retreat; the day is ours.
Come, brother, let us to the highest of the
To see what friends are living, who are dead. [Exeunt the
and JOHN OF LANCASTER.
FALSTAFF: I’ll follow, as they say, for reward. He that
me, God reward him! If I do grow great, I’ll grow less; for I’ll
and leave sack [quit drinking], and live cleanly, as a nobleman
Act 5, Scene 5
Another part of the field.
The trumpets sound. Enter KING HENRY, the PRINCE, JOHN OF
LANCASTER, WESTMORELAND, and others, with WORCESTER and VERNON
KING HENRY: Thus ever did rebellion find rebuke. [Rebellions like
this one always end without success.]
Ill-spirited Worcester! did we not send grace
Pardon, and terms of love to all of you?
And wouldst thou turn our offers contrary?
Misuse the tenour of thy kinsman’s trust?
[And wouldst .
. . trust: And you misrepresented to your kinsmen our offers of
peace, betraying their trust in you.]
Three knights upon our party slain to-day,
A noble earl and many a creature else
Had been alive this hour,
If like a Christian, thou hadst truly borne
Betwixt our armies true intelligence.
. . . intelligence:
Three of our knights died today, along with a noble earl and other
warriors. They would be alive now if you had truthfully reported
terms of peace I offered in the negotations between our armies.]
WORCESTER: What I have done my safety [concern for my
welfare] urg’d me
And I embrace this fortune patiently,
Since not to be avoided it falls on me.
[And I . . . on
me: And I patiently await my unavoidable execution.]
KING HENRY: Bear Worcester to the death and Vernon
Other offenders we will pause upon. [Exeunt WORCESTER and
[Other . . .
upon: I'll have to think about what to do with other prisoners.]
How goes the field? [What news do you have from the battlefield?]
PRINCE: The noble Scot, Lord Douglas, when he
The fortune of the day quite turn’d from him,
The noble Percy slain, and all his men
Upon the foot of fear, fled with the rest;
[The noble . .
. rest: When the
noble Lord Douglas saw that fortune was turning against him—in
particular that Hotspur fell and that all his men were
fleeing—Douglas, too, ran from the battlefield.]
And falling from a hill he was so bruis’d
That the pursuers took him. At my tent
The Douglas is, and I beseech your Grace
I may dispose of him [I may decide his fate].
KING HENRY: With all my heart.
PRINCE: Then, brother John of Lancaster, to
This honourable bounty shall belong.
Go to the Douglas, and deliver him
Up to his pleasure, ransomless, and free:
His valour shown upon our crests to-day
[His valour . .
. to-day: His bravery in battle today]
Hath taught us how to cherish such high deeds,
Even in the bosom of our adversaries.
LANCASTER: I thank your Grace for this high
Which I shall give away [attend to] immediately.
KING HENRY: Then this remains, that we divide our power [army].
You, son John, and my cousin Westmoreland
Towards York shall bend you, with your dearest
To meet Northumberland and the prelate Scroop,
Who, as we hear, are busily in arms [are busy mustering
troops to fight us]:
Myself and you, son Harry, will towards Wales,
To fight with Glendower and the Earl of March.
Rebellion in this land shall lose his sway,
Meeting the check of such another day:
[Meeting . . .
day: Aftering meeting us on the battlefield another day]
And since this business so fair is done,
Let us not leave till all our own be won.
[Let us . . .
won: Let's continue to fight until we win a total victory.]