Henry IV Part I
The Complete Annotated Text on One Page
Annotations by Michael J. Cummings
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The following version of Henry IV Part I is based on the text in the authoritative 1914 Oxford Edition of Shakespeare's works, edited by W. J. Craig. The text numbers the lines, including those with stage directions such as "Enter" and "Exit." Annotations (notes and definitions) appear in boldfaced type within the text. Please note that the character list (dramatis personae) below includes descriptions and comments that did not appear in the original manuscript of the play or in the Oxford edition.
King Henry IV: Skilled politician who, as Henry Bolingbroke, forced 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 king in the House of Lancaster, reigning from 1399 to 1413. During this play, he battles uprisings by English, Scottish, and Welsh nobles.
Prince Henry of Wales: Older son of the king. Known as Prince Hal (or simply Hal or Harry) to his friends, he keeps company with a band of drinkers and robbers in London. But when the time comes to fight the rebel forces, he distinguishes himself in battle and wins the respect of all. It cannot be determined whether the historical Prince Henry was a carousing mischief-maker, although unverifiable stories characterize him as such. His chief battlefield foe, Henry Percy the 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 knight 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 of valour is discretion" (often misquoted as "Discretion is the better 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 very young man, perhaps in his late teens or early twenties. The historical 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 leader, Owen Glendower.
Thomas Percy: Earl of Worcester and Hotspur's uncle.
Lady Percy: Elizabeth (Kate) Percy, wife of Hotspur and great-granddaughter of King Edward III. She was born into the Mortimer family in 1371 in Wales.
Edmund Mortimer: English nobleman and rebel against the king. He is Hotspur's brother-in-law.
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 Northumberland.
Richard Scroop: Archbishop of York and ally of Henry Percy the Elder. His name appears in history 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 the archbishop.
Sir Richard Vernon: Rebel leader.
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 friends 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.
Gilliams, Butler: Servants of Hotspur.
Minor Characters: Lords, 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).
Henry IV Part I Annotated Text
Act 1, Scene 1: London. The palace.
Act 1, Scene 2: A London apartment of Prince Henry.
Act 1, Scene 3: London. The palace.
Act 2, Scene 1: Rochester. An innyard.
Act 2, Scene 2: The road by Gadshill.
Act 2, Scene 3: A room in Warkworth Castle.
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 camps.
Act 5, Scene 4: Another part of the field.
Act 5, Scene 5: Another part of the field.
London. The palace.
Enter KING HENRY, WESTMORELAND, and others.
KING HENRY: So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils 5
To be commence’d in stronds afar remote.
[So shaken . . . remote]: We are nervous, shaken up, worried with care. But we must find time in 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 10
Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,
[opposed eyes: 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 shock]
And furious close of civil butchery, 15
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 ill-sheathed knife,
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends, 20
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 25
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.
[Lines 20-29: Therefore, friends, our armies will march together to chase the infidels from the Holy Land in a Crusade for Christ.]
But this our purpose [plan to go to the Holy Land] is a twelvemonth old, 30
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. 35
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 heavy news;
Whose worst was, that the noble Mortimer, 40
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, 45
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; disturbance]
Brake off our business for [prevent us from going to] the Holy Land. 50
WESTMORELAND: This match’d with other like, my gracious lord;
[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,
[Holy-rood day: Church feast day celebrating the cross (rood) on which Christ died]
Young Harry Percy and brave Archibald, 55
That ever-valiant and approved Scot,
At Holmedon met,
[Holmedon: Battle site in the county of Northumberland in northeastern England]
Where they did spend a sad and bloody hour;
As by discharge of their artillery,
And shape of likelihood, the news was told; 60
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 over. Therefore, he was uncertain of the outcome.]
KING HENRY: Here is a dear and true industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse, 65
Stain’d with the variation of each soil
Betwixt [between] that Holmedon and this seat of ours;
And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
The Earl of Douglas is discomfited;
Ten thousand bold Scots, two and twenty knights, 70
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. 75
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 eyes, Blunt saw ten thousand Scots—including twenty-two knights—lying in their blood on the Holmedon battlefield. Hotspur captured Douglas's oldest son—Mordake, the Earl of Fife—and the earls of Athol, Murray, Angus, and Menteith.]
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?
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 sin 80
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]: 85
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 prov’d
That some night-tripping fairy had exchang’d
In cradle-clothes our children where they lay, 90
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, coz,
Of this young Percy’s pride? the prisoners,
Which he in this adventure hath surpris’d, 95
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 100
[makes . . . . himself: Makes Hotspur exult in himself or take pride in himself]
The crest of youth against your dignity.
KING HENRY: But I have sent for him to answer this;
And for this cause a while we must neglect
Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.
Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we 105
Will hold at Windsor; so inform the lords:
[Windsor: A 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. [Exeunt. 110
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 wouldst 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 see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
FALSTAFF: Indeed, you come near me now, Hal; for we that take purses go by the moon and the seven stars, and not by Phoebus, he, ‘that wandering knight so fair.’ And, I prithee [pray thee; beg you], sweet wag, when thou art king,—as, God save thy Grace,—majesty, I should say, for grace thou wilt have none,— [you lack grace—] 5
[Phoebus: In 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 butter.
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, let not 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 governed as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose 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 sea, 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 with crying ‘Bring in:’ now in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder, and by and by in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows. 10
[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 the purse by commanding, "Hand it over." You spent it by saying, "Bring in the drinks." So, at one moment you are at low tide, as low as the foot of a ladder. The next moment you are at high tide, as high as the ridge 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 honey.]
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 Oldcastle. Apparently, this phrase was retained in the play even though Oldcastle's name was changed.
buff . . . durance: A buff jerkin was a sleeveless leather jacket.
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 buff jerkin?
PRINCE: Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?
FALSTAFF: Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning many a time and oft. 15
[called . . .reckoning: Called her so you could pay the bill]
PRINCE: Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?
FALSTAFF: No; I’ll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.
PRINCE: Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch; and where it would not, I have used my credit.
FALSTAFF: Yea, and so used it that; were it not here apparent that thou art heir apparent.—But. I prithee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king, and resolution thus fobbed as it is with the rusty curb of old father antick the law? Do 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 was good is that you will one day become king of England. By the way, I 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. 20
FALSTAFF: Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I’ll be a brave judge.
PRINCE: Thou judgest false already; I mean, thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves and so become a rare hangman.
[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 you.
[in some sort . . . court: In a way, I like the idea of waiting around to hang people just as much as I like 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 bear. 25
[lugged bear: In London in Shakespeare's time, bear-baiting was a popular spectator sport. In an enclosed space, a bear chained to a stake was attacked by dogs. It was a bloody spectacle, as the bear raked claws over the dogs—or the dogs tore at the bear's flesh. A lugged bear was one that was overcome and 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.
[Lincolnshire bagpipe: Lincolnshire, a county on the eastern coast of England, was famous in Shakespeare's time for bagpipes that critics outside the county said produced harsh, indelicate sounds.]
PRINCE: What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of Moor-ditch?
[Hare: Solitary mammal, resembling a rabbit but larger, thought of as melancholy.]
[Moor-ditch: Moorditch, a smelly, rundown section of London in Shakespeare's time.]
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 knew where a commodity of good names were to be bought. An old lord of the 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 not; and yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.
PRINCE: Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it. 30
[Lines 29-30: Both Falstaff and the prince allude to Chapter 1, Verse 20, of the Bible's Book of Proverbs. The verse says, in essence, that wisdom calls out in the streets and public squares.]
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 forgive thee for it! Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am I, if a man should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked. I must 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 Christendom.]
PRINCE: Where shall we take a purse to-morrow, Jack?
FALSTAFF: Zounds! where thou wilt, lad, I’ll make one; an [if] I do not, call me a villain and baffle me.
[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 purse-taking.
Enter POINS, at a distance. 35
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 Gadshill have set a match. O! if men were to be saved by merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for him? This is the most omnipotent villain that 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 Rochester. Gadshill borders the London metropolitan area. It was the scene of many robberies.]
[have set a match: Has an opportunity for a robbery awaiting us.]
[O! if men . . . true man: O, if men are to be saved by good deeds, Poins doesn't have much to show for himself. He will burn in hell. He is the worst villain that ever shouted to an honest man, "Stand fast. This is a holdup."
PRINCE: Good morrow, Ned.
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 cup of 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 give the devil his due.
POINS: Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil. 40
PRINCE: Else he had been damned for cozening the devil.
[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 with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses: I have vizards [masks; visors; disguises] for you all; you have horses for yourselves. Gadshill lies to 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 hanged.
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?
[chops: Jaws; 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?] 45
PRINCE: Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by my faith.
FALSTAFF: There’s neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou camest not of the blood royal, if thou darest not 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.] 50
FALSTAFF: By the Lord, I’ll be a traitor then, when thou art king.
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 go.
FALSTAFF: Well, God give thee the spirit of persuasion and him the ears of profiting, that what thou speakest may move, and what he hears may be believed, that the true prince may, for recreation sake, prove a false thief; for the poor abuses [petty crimes] of the time want countenance [promotion; encouragement]. Farewell: you shall find me in Eastcheap.
PRINCE: Farewell, thou latter spring [late spring]! Farewell, All-hallown summer! [Exit FALSTAFF. 55
[All-hallown summer: All-hallown refers to All Hallows Day (All Saints' Day), November 1. The prince is comparing Falstaff to Indian summer, says G.B. Harrison, author ofShakespeare: 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 have 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 shoulders.
PRINCE: But how shall we part with them in setting forth?
[But . . . forth: But when we are all leaving together to carry out the robbery, how will you and I separate 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 fail [not to show up at the meeting place]; and then will they adventure upon the exploit themselves, which they shall have no sooner achieved but we’ll set upon them.
PRINCE: Yea, but ’tis like that they will know us by our horses, by our habits, and by every other appointment, to be ourselves.
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 fabric][occasion], to inmask [cover] our noted outward garments. 60
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 fight longer than he sees reason, I’ll forswear arms. The virtue of this jest will be, the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will tell us when we meet at supper: how thirty, at least, he fought with; what wards [defenses 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 exaggerations.]
PRINCE: Well, I’ll go with thee: provide us all things necessary and meet me to-morrow night in Eastcheap; there I’ll sup. Farewell.
POINS: Farewell, my lord. [Exit.
PRINCE: I know you all, and will awhile uphold 65
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, 70
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; 75
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 80
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. 85
So, when . . . set it off: When the day arrives for me to become king, I will cease my foolish behavior with Poins, Falstaff, and others. People will be surprised that such a buffoon as I can shine like bright metal. Thus, my shenanigans now as a prince will contrast with my wise and sober behavior as king, making me seem remarkable to my subjects.]
I’ll so offend to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will. [Exit.
[Lines 65-87: 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 that he is a fool and prankster devoted to merrymaking. But when he becomes king, he says, he will reveal himself as shrewd, prudent, and levelheaded. The people will then acclaim him, because they will have an intelligent, serious-minded king instead of a weak-minded simpleton.]
London. The palace.
Enter KING HENRY, NORTHUMBERLAND, WORCESTER, HOTSPUR, SIR WALTER BLUNT, and others.
KING HENRY: My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
Unapt to stir at these indignities,
And you have found me; for accordingly 5
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 against 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 and to be feared.]
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
And therefore lost that title of respect 10
Which the proud soul ne’er pays but to the proud.
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 portly. 15
[Have . . . portly: Have helped to make you so powerful]
NORTHUMBERLAND: My lord,—
KING HENRY: Worcester, get thee gone; for I do see
Danger and disobedience in thine eye.
O, sir, your presence is too bold and peremptory,
And majesty might never yet endure 20
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 WORCESTER.
[To NORTHUMBERLAND.] You were about to speak.
NORTHUMBERLAND: Yea, my good lord. 25
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 30
Is guilty of this fault and not my son.
[Those prisoners . . . son: Those prisoners you wanted, the ones Hotspur captured at Holmedon, were not deliberately kept from you. Either envy, neglect, or deceit by another 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, 35
Came there a certain lord, neat, and trimly dress’d,
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 40
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
[pouncet-box: Small metal box, often of ornate design, containing perfume. The carrier of the box sniffed 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 talk’d;
And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by, 45
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 50
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 person],
Out of my grief and my impatience
Answer’d neglectingly, I know not what, 55
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 arrow that had hit its mark. It later became a term of contempt and derision.]
And telling me the sovereign’st thing on earth 60
Was parmaceti for an inward bruise;
[parmaceti: 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 destroy’d 65
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 men.]
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 70
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, 75
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 prisoners, 80
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 (proviso): 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 85
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, 90
[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. 95
HOTSPUR: Revolted Mortimer!
He never did fall off [shrink from his duty], my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war: to prove that true
Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds,
Those mouthed wounds, which valiantly he took, 100
When on the gentle Severn’s sedgy bank,
[Severn: River 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 drink, 105
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. 110
[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 combatants.]
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. 115
KING HENRY: Thou dost belie [lie about] him, Percy, thou dost belie him:
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. 120
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, 125
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 them,
I will not send them: I will after straight
[after straight: Catch up with him immediately]
And tell him so; for I will ease my heart, 130
Albeit I make a hazard of my head.
NORTHUMBERLAND: What! drunk with choler [anger]? stay, and pause awhile:
Here comes your uncle.
HOTSPUR: Speak of Mortimer! 135
’Zounds! I will speak of him; and let my soul
Want mercy if I do not join with him:
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 140
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 mad.
WORCESTER: Who struck this heat up after I was gone?
HOTSPUR: He will, forsooth [in truth], have all my prisoners; 145
And when I urg’d the ransom once again
Of my wife’s brother, then his cheek look’d pale,
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 proclaim’d 150
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 proclamation:
And then it was when the unhappy king [Richard],—
Whose wrongs in us God pardon!—did set forth
Upon his Irish expedition; 155
From whence he, intercepted, did return
To be depos’d, and shortly murdered.
WORCESTER: And for whose death we in the world’s wide mouth
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.]
HOTSPUR: But, soft! [But wait a minute!] I pray you, did King Richard then 160
Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer
Heir to the crown?
NORTHUMBERLAND: He did; myself did hear it.
HOTSPUR: Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king [Henry],
That wish’d him on the barren mountains starve. 165
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, 170
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 Richard's downfall and death? (After Henry deposed Richard and took the throne, Richard was imprisoned. It is believed that he starved to death in captivity.)]
O! pardon me that I descend so low,
To show the line and the predicament
Wherein you range under this subtle king. 175
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, 180
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 power in an unjust plot against Richard and then replaced him with this thorn, this disease, Henry IV?]
And shall it in more shame be further spoken,
That you are fool’d, discarded, and shook off
By him [Henry IV] for whom these shames ye underwent? 185
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 190
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 his idea of repaying you is to kill you.]
Therefore, I say,—
WORCESTER: Peace, cousin! say no more:
And now I will unclasp a secret book, 195
[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 dangerous,
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. 200
HOTSPUR: If he fall in, good night! or sink or swim:
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. 205
NORTHUMBERLAND: Imagination of some great exploit
Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.
HOTSPUR: By heaven methinks it were an easy leap
To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac’d moon,
Or dive into the bottom of the deep, 210
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;
[Lines 206-212: Shakespeare uses hyperbole, a figure of speech that grossly exaggerates, to make his point. Hyperbole occurs when Hotspur speaks of leaping to the moon and diving to the bottom of a seemingly bottomless body of water.]
So he that doth redeem her thence might wear
Without corrival all her dignities:
But out upon this half-fac’d fellowship! 215
[So he . . . fellowship : So he who redeems honor can enjoy all the dignities that flow from honor. He will have no rival, for there is no call for him to be half-faced—that is, to share his honor with another "face" (person).]
WORCESTER: He apprehends a world of figures here,
But not the form of what he should attend.
Good cousin, give me audience for a while.
[He apprehends . . . while: Here, Worcester begins by addressing Northumberland, saying that Hotspur apprehends a fanciful world shaped by his lively imagination. Then he addresses Hotspur, telling him simply to listen and pay attention.]
HOTSPUR: I cry you mercy. [Forgive me; I will listen carefully.]
WORCESTER: Those same noble Scots 220
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. 225
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 say. Now, hear me. You will keep those prisoners.]
HOTSPUR: Nay, I will; that’s flat [non-negotiable]:
He said he would not ransom Mortimer; 230
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 235
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: 240
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 you 245
When you are better temper’d to attend [listen].
NORTHUMBERLAND: Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient fool
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 rods, 250
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, 255
[madcape duke: 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 Ravenspurgh.
[Ravenspurgh: 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]. 260
HOTSPUR: You say true.
Why, what a candy deal of courtesy
[what a . . . courtesy: What flattery]
This fawning greyhound then did proffer me!
Look, ‘when his infant fortune came to age,’
And ‘gentle Harry Percy,’ and ‘kind cousin.’ 265
[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 again;
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’ faith. 270
WORCESTER: Then once more to your Scottish prisoners.
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, be assur’d, 275
Will easily be granted. [To NORTHUMBERLAND.] You, my lord,
Your son in Scotland being thus employ’d,
Shall secretly into the bosom creep
Of that same noble prelate well belov’d,
The Archbishop. 280
[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 estimation,
As what I think might be, but what I know 285
Is ruminated, plotted and set down;
And only stays but to behold the face
Of that occasion that shall bring it on.
[Lines 282-288: Worcester makes clear that Archbishop Scroop (Scrope) is ready to cooperate in the rebellion against Henry IV and that troops stand ready to fight the king and his 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. 290
NORTHUMBERLAND: Before the game’s afoot thou still lett’st slip.
[Before . . . slip: You want to fight even before the fighting begins.]
HOTSPUR: Why, it cannot choose but be a noble plot:
And then the power of Scotland and of York,
To join with Mortimer, ha?
WORCESTER: And so they shall. 295
HOTSPUR: In faith, it [the plan] is exceedingly well aim’d.
WORCESTER: And ’tis no little reason bids us speed,
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, 300
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 behave toward the king, he will always be irked that he is in our debt; he will think we want compensation. If he has his way, he will give it to 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 him. 305
WORCESTER: Cousin, farewell: no further go in this,
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,— 310
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 trust.
HOTSPUR: Uncle, adieu [French, good-bye]: O! let the hours be short, 315
Till fields and blows and groans applaud our sport! [Exeunt.
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 inn]!
OSTLER: [Within.] Anon [soon], anon.
FIRST CARRIER: I prithee, Tom, beat Cut’s saddle, put a few flocks in the point; the poor jade is wrung in the withers out of all cess. 5
prithee: Ask you; beg you.
beat: Make the saddle smoother by beating it.
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 measure.
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 upside down since Robin Ostler died.
[bots: (1) 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 all 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 cock [morning crow of a rooster]. 10
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 loach [fresh-water fish vulnerable to insect infestation].
FIRST CARRIER: What, ostler! come away and be hanged, come away.
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 thy 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 o’clock?
FIRST CARRIER: I think it be two o’clock.
GADSHILL: I prithee, lend me thy lanthorn [lantern], to see my gelding in the stable.
FIRST CARRIER: Nay, by God, soft: I know a trick worth two of that, i’ faith.
[soft: Be aware; pay attention; take note.]
GADSHILL: I prithee, lend me thine. 20
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 London?
SECOND CARRIER: Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant thee. Come, neighbour Mugs, we’ll call up the gentlemen: they will along with company, for they have great charge. [Exeunt Carriers.
[Come . . . great charge: Come, Mugs (first carrier). We'll call upon the gentlemen. They will want to ride with others for protection, since they are transporting great valuables.]
GADSHILL: What, ho! chamberlain!
CHAMBERLAIN: [Within.] At hand, quoth pick-purse. [At hand, a pickpocket would say.] 25
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] how.
CHAMBERLAIN: Good morrow, Master Gadshill. It holds current that 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 to one of his company last night at supper; a kind of auditor; one that hath abundance of charge [money] too, God knows what. They are up already and call for eggs and butter: they will away presently.
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 the hangman; for I know thou worship’st Saint Nicholas as truly as a man of falsehood may. [Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of repentant thieves. Gadshill, of course, is not repentant.] 30
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 Troyans [Trojans: 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 mad 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 foot]
[long-staff sixpenny strikers: Thieves who carry a staff and will rob someone for a mere six pennies]
[malt worm: Maltworm, a heavy drinker]
[burgomaster: High government official; judge; mayor]
CHAMBERLAIN: What! the commonwealth their boots? will she hold out water in foul way?
[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 boots]. We steal as in a castle, cock-sure; we have the receipt of fern-seed, we walk invisible.
[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 beholding to the night than to fern-seed for your walking invisible.
GADSHILL: Give me thy hand: thou shalt have a share in our purchase, as I am a true man. 35
CHAMBERLAIN: Nay, rather let me have it, as you are a false thief.
GADSHILL: Go to; homo is a common name to all men. Bid the ostler bring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy knave. [Exeunt.
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 backing.]
PRINCE: Stand close.
Enter FALSTAFF. 5
FALSTAFF: Poins! Poins, and be hanged! Poins!
PRINCE: Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal! What a brawling dost thou keep!
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 rascal hath removed my horse and tied him I know not where. If I travel but four foot by the squire [squier: square used in carpentry], further afoot I shall break my wind [be winded]. Well, I doubt not but to die a fair death for all this, if I ’scape hanging for killing that rogue. I have forsworn his company hourly any time this two-and-twenty years, and yet I am bewitched with the rogue’s company. If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love him, I’ll be hanged: it could not be else: I have drunk medicines. Poins! 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 villains
[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 one to another! [They whistle] Whew! A plague upon you all! Give me my horse, you rogues; give me my horse and be hanged. 10
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 travellers.
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 uncolted.
FALSTAFF: I prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse, good king’s son.
PRINCE: Out, you rogue! shall I be your ostler? 15
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, and 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 about you, then let me be poisoned with a cup of wine. Your joke on me goes too far. And here I am on foot, without a horse. I hate my predicament.]
FALSTAFF: So I do, against my will.
POINS: O! ’tis our setter: I know his voice. 20
[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 money of the king’s coming down the hill; ’tis going to the king’s exchequer.
[Case . . . exchequer: Disguise 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 tavern.
GADSHILL: There’s enough to make us all [enough for all of us]. 25
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 us.
PETO: How many be there of them?
GADSHILL: Some eight or ten.
FALSTAFF: ’Zounds! will they not rob us? 30
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 thin.]
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 thou needst him there thou shalt find him. Farewell, and stand fast.
FALSTAFF: Now cannot I strike him if I should be hanged. 35
PRINCE: [Aside to POINS.] Ned, where are our disguises?
POINS: Here, hard by; stand close. [Exeunt PRINCE and POINS.
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 legs. 40
Travellers. Jesu bless us!
FALSTAFF: Strike; down with them; cut the villains’ throats: ah! whoreson caterpillars! bacon-fed knaves! they hate us youth: down with them; fleece them.
Travellers. O! we are undone, both we and ours for ever.
FALSTAFF: Hang ye, gorbellied [having a protruding stomach] 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, i’ faith. [Here they rob and bind them. Exeunt. 45
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 ever.
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; complete] cowards, there’s no equity stirring: there’s no more valour in that Poins than in a wild duck. 50
PRINCE: Your money!
POINS: Villains! [As they are sharing, the PRINCE and POINS set upon them. They all run away; and FALSTAFF, after a blow or two, runs away too, leaving the booty behind.
Prince Got with much ease. Now merrily to horse:
The thieves are scatter’d and possess’d with fear
So strongly that they dare not meet each other; 55
Each takes his fellow for an officer [officer of the law].
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! [Exeunt. 60
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.
[Hotspur commenting] He could be contented; why is he not then? In respect of the love he bears our house: he shows in this he loves his own barn better than he loves our house. Let me see some more.
[Hotspur reading] The purpose you undertake is dangerous;— 5
[Hotspur commenting] Why, that’s certain; ’tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to drink; but I tell you, my lord fool, out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
[Hotspur reading] The purpose you undertake is dangerous; the friends you have named uncertain; the time itself unsorted; and your whole plot too light for the counterpoise of so great an opposition.
[Hotspur commenting] Say you so, say you so? I say unto you again, you are a shallow cowardly hind, and you lie. What a lack-brain is this! By the Lord, our plot is a good plot as ever was laid; our friends true and constant: a good plot, good friends, and full of expectation; an excellent plot, very good friends. What a frosty-spirited rogue is this! Why, my Lord of York commends the plot and the general course of the action. ’Zounds! an [if] I were now by this rascal, I could brain him with his lady’s fan. Is there not my father, my uncle, and myself? Lord Edmund Mortimer, my Lord of York, and Owen Glendower? Is there not besides the Douglas? Have I not all their letters to meet me in arms by the ninth of the next month, and are they not some of them set forward already? What a pagan rascal 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. Hang him! let him tell the king; we are prepared. I will set forward to-night.
Enter LADY PERCY.
HOTSPUR: How now, Kate! I must leave you within these two hours. 10
LADY PERCY: O, my good lord! why are you thus alone?
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? 15
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? 20
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, 25
Of palisadoes [fortifications; defensive barriers], frontiers, parapets [bulwarks; protective embankments],
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, 30
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 35
On some great sudden hest [command; directive]. O! what portents are these?
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 sheriff?
SERVANT: One horse, my lord, he brought even now.
HOTSPUR: What horse? a roan, a crop-ear, is it not? 45
[roan: Horse with a coat that is reddish brown (bay), brownish orange (sorrel), light brown, or black.]
[crop-ear: Horse with shortened ears]
SERVANT: It is, my lord.
HOTSPUR: That roan shall be my throne.
Well, I will back [ride] him straight: O, Esperance!
[O, Esperance: O, Hope! O, Esperance was a war cry.]
Bid Butler lead him forth into the park. [Exit Servant.
LADY PERCY: But hear you, my lord. 50
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 55
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— 60
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. 65
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, 70
[crack'd crown: 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, indeed?
Well, do not, then; for since you love me not,
I will not love myself. Do you not love me? 75
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 80
Whither [where] I go, nor reason whereabout.
Whither I must, I must; and, to conclude,
This evening must I leave you, gentle Kate.
I know you wise; but yet no further wise
Than Harry Percy’s wife: constant you are, 85
But yet a woman: and for secrecy,
No lady closer; for I well believe
Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know;
[and for 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? 90
HOTSPUR: Not an inch further. But, hark you, Kate;
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 force. [Exeunt. 95
Eastcheap. A Room in the Boar’s Head tavern.
Enter the PRINCE and POINS.
PRINCE: Ned, prithee, come out of that fat [lacking ventilation; stuffy] 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 [casks 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 [group of three][bartenders], and can call them all by their christen [christened; Christian] names, as Tom, Dick, and Francis. They take it already upon their salvation, that though I be but Prince of Wales, yet I am the king of courtesy; 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 when I am king of England, I shall command all the good lads in Eastcheap. 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, that I can drink with any tinker in his own language during my life. I tell thee, Ned, thou hast lost much honour that thou wert not with me in this action. But, sweet Ned,—to sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee 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 tavern],’ or so. But, Ned, to drive away the time till Falstaff come, I prithee do thou stand in some by-room, while I question my puny drawer to what end he gave me the sugar; and do thou never leave calling ‘Francis!’ that his tale to me may be nothing but ‘Anon.’ Step aside, and I’ll show thee a precedent. 5
[And do thou . . . precedent: Stay in the room while calling "Francis!" so that he has to keep saying, "Just 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, Ralph. 10
[Pomgarnet: The Pomegranate Room.]
PRINCE: Come hither, Francis.
FRANCIS: My lord.
PRINCE: How long hast thou to serve, Francis?
FRANCIS: Forsooth, five years, and as much as to—
POINS: [Within.] Francis! 15
FRANCIS: Anon, anon, sir.
PRINCE: Five years! by ’r lady [by the Virgin Mary] a long lease for the 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 run from it?
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. 20
PRINCE: How old art thou, Francis?
FRANCIS: Let me see—about Michaelmas next I shall be—
[Michaelmas: 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? 25
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 wilt. But, Francis! 30
FRANCIS: My lord?
PRINCE: Wilt thou rob this leathern-jerkin, crystal-button, knot-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch,—
[Wilt thou . . . Spanish pouch—: Prince Hal is referring to Francis's employer, the innkeeper, who wears 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 your services by renouncing your apprenticeship contract and running away?"]
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? 35
POINS: [Within.] Francis!
PRINCE: Away, you rogue! Dost thou not hear them call? [Here they both call him; the Drawer stands amazed, not 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 I let them in?
PRINCE: Let them alone awhile, and then open the door. [Exit VINTNER.] Poins! 40
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’s the issue?
[what cunning . . . issue: What was the point of playing a joke on the apprentice bartender?]
PRINCE: I am now of all humours that have show’d themselves humours since the old days of goodman Adam to the pupil age 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 in the Garden of Eden and the present hour, midnight.]
[FRANCIS crosses the stage, with wine.] What’s o’clock, Francis? 45
FRANCIS: Anon, anon, sir. [Wait a moment, sir.] [Exit.
PRINCE: That ever this fellow should have fewer words than a parrot, and yet the son of a woman! His industry is up-stairs and 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 is to go up and down stairs endlessly. His whole vocabulary centers on the 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 or seven dozen of Scots at a breakfast, washes his hands, and says to his wife, ‘Fie upon this quiet life! I want work.’ ‘O my sweet Harry,’ says 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 trifle.’
[and answers . . . trifle: And answers an hour later, "I killed fourteen men, a mere trifle."
I prithee call in Falstaff: I’ll play Percy, and that damned brawn [fat 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 of all cowards! Give me a cup of sack, rogue.—Is there no virtue extant [in existence]? [He drinks. 50
[nether-stocks: Hosiery, or stockings, with two sections: the nether stocks, covering the calves, and the upper stocks, covering the thighs. These two sections joined at the knee.]
PRINCE: Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter—pitiful-hearted Titan, that melted at the sweet tale of the sun? 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 sweet 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 overheated.]
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 worse than a cup of sack with lime in it, a villanous coward!
[lime: Adding lime to cheap wine was said to improve its sparkle, color, and taste.]
Go thy ways, old Jack; die when thou wilt. If manhood, good manhood, be not forgot 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 grows old: God help the while! a bad world, I say. I would I were a weaver; I could sing psalms or anything. A plague of [on] all cowards, I say still.
[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 thee like a flock of wild geese, I’ll never wear hair on my face more. You Prince of Wales!
PRINCE: Why, you whoreson round man, what’s the matter? 55
FALSTAFF: Are you not a coward? answer me to that; and Poins there?
POINS: ’Zounds! ye fat paunch, an [if] ye call me coward, I’ll stab thee.
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 as thou canst. You are straight enough in the shoulders; you care not who sees your back: call you that backing of your friends? A plague upon 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 your friends? Curse those who back down and run away from their friends. 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 drunkest last.
FALSTAFF: All’s one for that. [Whatever you say.] [He drinks.] A plague of [on] all cowards, still say I. 60
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? 65
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 shield] cut through and through; my sword hacked like a hand-saw: ecce signum!
[ecce signum: Latin, behold the sign. Apparently, Falstaff is displaying rips, tears, and holes.]
I 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. 70
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 other.
PRINCE: What, fought ye with them all? 75
FALSTAFF: All! I know not what ye call all; but if I fought not with fifty of them, I am a bunch of radish: if there were not two or three and fifty upon poor old Jack, then am I no two-legged creature.
PRINCE: Pray God you have not murdered some of them.
FALSTAFF: Nay, that’s past praying for: I have peppered two of 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 horse. Thou knowest my old ward [defensive position; fighting stance]; here I lay, and thus I bore my point [sword]. Four rogues in buckram let drive at me,—
PRINCE: What, four? thou saidst but two even now.
FALSTAFF: Four, Hal; I told thee four. 80
POINS: Ay, ay, he said four.
FALSTAFF: These four came all a front, and mainly thrust at me. I made me no more ado but took all their seven points in my target [shield], thus.
PRINCE: Seven? why, there were but four even now.
FALSTAFF: In buckram.
POINS: Ay, four, in buckram suits. 85
FALSTAFF: Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.
[by these hilts: I swear by the hilt of my sword.]
PRINCE: Prithee, let him alone; we shall have more anon.
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 nine in buckram that I told thee of,— 90
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 paid.
[Began . . . paid: Began to back away, but I followed them closely. And, with the speed of thought, I killed seven of the eleven.]
PRINCE: O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two. 95
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.
[open; palpable: The prince is saying that Falstaff is like an open book. One can easily see into him and 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 the truth?
PRINCE: Why, how couldst thou know these men in Kendal-green, when it was so dark thou couldst not see thy hand? come, tell us your reason: what sayest thou to this?
POINS: Come, your reason, Jack, your reason. 100
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 plenty as blackberries I would give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.
[strappado: Form of torture. Those inflicting it first tied the victim's hands behind his back. They then hoisted him to a certain height on a rope attached to his wrists, perhaps using a pulley attached to a beam. They then allowed him to fall to a point just above the ground, floor, or pavement, causing severe pain and the dislocation of joints.]
[rack: Torture apparatus consisting of a rectangular wooden frame. After a victim was made to lie on it, his wrists were attached at the top of the frame and his ankles at the bottom. Then, with a ratchet device, he was "stretched."
PRINCE: I’ll be no longer guilty of this sin: this sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker, this huge hill of flesh;—
FALSTAFF: ’Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue [ox's tongue], you bull’s pizzle [penis], you stock-fish [dried 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 but this.
POINS: Mark, Jack. 105
[Mark: Pay attention; listen]
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 word, 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 nimbly, 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 thy sword as thou hast done, and then say it was in fight! What trick, what 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 now?
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 heir-apparent? Should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou knowest I am as valiant 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 shall think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads, I am glad you have the money. Hostess, clap to the doors: watch to-night, pray to-morrow. Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles of good fellowship come to you! What! shall we be merry? shall we have a play extempore [improvised]?
PRINCE: Content; and the argument shall be thy running away.
[argument . . . away: The subject of the play shall be how you ran away.
FALSTAFF: Ah! no more of that, Hal, an [if] thou lovest me! 110
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
QUICKLY: O Jesu! my lord the prince!
PRINCE: How now, my lady the hostess! what sayest thou to me?
QUICKLY: Marry [By the Virgin Mary], my lord, there is a nobleman of the court at door would speak with you: he says he comes from your father.
PRINCE: Give him as much [money] as will make him a royal man, and send him back again to my mother. 115
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. [Exit. 120
PRINCE: Now, sirs: by ’r lady, you fought fair; so did you, Peto; so did you, Bardolph: you are lions too, you ran away upon 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 done in 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 swear 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]. 125
PRINCE: O villain! thou stolest a cup of sack eighteen years ago, and wert taken with the manner, and ever since thou hast 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. 130
[hot . . . purses: That you are angry and have an empty purse.]
BARDOLPH: Choler, my lord, if rightly taken.
[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 creature of bombast! How long is ’t ago, Jack, since thou sawest thine own knee?
FALSTAFF: My own knee! when I was about thy years, Hal, I was not an eagle’s talon in the waist; I could have crept into any alderman’s thumb-ring.
[when I . . . thumb-ring: When I was about your age, my waist was not even the width of an eagle's talon; I 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 him? 135
[bastinado: Form of torture in which the soles of the feet were beaten with a cane or similar instrument]
[cuckold: Husband of an unfaithful wife]
[Welsh hook: Weapon with a long shaft topped by a hook and a spike.]
POINS: Owen Glendower.
FALSTAFF: Owen, Owen, the same; and his son-in-law Mortimer and old Northumberland; and that sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas, that 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. 140
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 for running!
FALSTAFF: O’ horseback, ye cuckoo! but, afoot he will not budge a foot.
PRINCE: Yes, Jack, upon instinct.
[Yes, Jack: Yes, he will run, Jack.]
FALSTAFF: I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too, and 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 may buy land now as cheap as stinking mackerel. 145
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 to 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 thee out three such enemies again as that fiend Douglas, that spirit Percy, and that devil Glendower? Art thou not horribly afraid? doth not thy blood thrill at it?
[mass: Eucharistic liturgy, the main act of worship in the Roman Catholic Church]
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.
[practise an answer: Practice what you will say to him.]
PRINCE: Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon the particulars of my life. 150
[Do thou . . . life: Pretend to be my father and question me about my life.]
FALSTAFF: Shall I? content: this chair shall be my state, this 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 scepter (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 pitiful 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 passion, and I will do it in King Cambyses’ vein. [Drinks.
[Cambyses: Cambyses II, king of Persia between 529 and 522 BC. He was depicted as being highly emotional and highly bombastic in his speech in a play by Englishman Thomas Preston (1537-1598).]
PRINCE: Well, here is my leg. [Makes a bow.
[Well . . . leg: Well, I bend my leg to bow to you.]
FALSTAFF: And here is my speech. Stand aside, nobility. 155
QUICKLY: O Jesu! This is excellent sport, i’ faith!
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 serious].
FALSTAFF: For God’s sake, lords, convey my tristful queen,
For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes. 160
[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 how 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 sooner it wears. That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother’s word, partly my 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 at? 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 and take purses? a question to be asked. There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard of, and it is known to many in our land by the 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 in words only, but in woes also. And yet there is a virtuous man whom I have often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.
PRINCE: What manner of man, an it like your majesty [if it pleases your majesty]?
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 I think, his age some fifty, or by ’r lady, inclining to threescore [sixty]; and now I remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man should be lewdly given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his looks. If then the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then, peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff: him keep 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. 165
FALSTAFF: Depose me? if thou dost it half so gravely, so majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for a 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 protest. Just hang me up by the heels like a young rabbit or a poultry dealer's hare.]
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 the prince.]
FALSTAFF: My noble lord, from Eastcheap. 170
PRINCE: The complaints I hear of thee are grievous.
FALSTAFF: ’Sblood, my lord, they are false: nay, I’ll tickle ye for a young prince, i’ faith.
[I'll tickle . . . faith: I'll please you by acting like a young prince. In good faith, I swear I will.]
PRINCE: Swearest 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 is
[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.]
thy 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 play], that 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 in nothing?
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. 175
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, his white hairs do witness it; but that he is, saving your reverence, a 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 host that I know is damned: if to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh’s lean kine [cows] are to be loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins; but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry’s company: banish not him thy Harry’s company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.
[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.
Re-enter BARDOLPH, running. 180
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? 185
[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 gold a counterfeit: thou art essentially mad without seeming so.
[never call . . . so: Never call me a counterfeit piece of gold, even though I may appear to be such. On the other hand, you are mad without 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 man, a plague on my bringing up! I hope I shall as soon be strangled with a 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 as 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 up above. Now, my masters, for a true face and good conscience. 190
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 PETO.
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 cry 195
Hath follow’d certain men unto this house.
PRINCE: What men?
SHERIFF: One of them is well known, my gracious lord,
A gross fat man.
CARRIER: As fat as butter. 200
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, 205
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 gentlemen
Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks.
PRINCE: It may be so: if he have robb’d these men, 210
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]. 215
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. 220
Item, A capon 2s. 2d.
Item, Sauce 4d.
Item, Sack, two gallons 5s. 8d.
Item, Anchovies and sack after supper 2s. 6d.
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 honourable.
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 back again with advantage. Be with me betimes in the morning; and so good morrow, Peto.
[I'll procure . . . Peto: I'll get Falstaff a command in the infantry, although I know the long marches will be the death of him. As for the robbery we took part in, the money will be paid back with interest. Meet with me again in the morning. Good day, Peto.]
PETO: Good morrow, good my lord. [Exeunt.
Bangor. A room in the archdeacon’s house.
Enter HOTSPUR, WORCESTER, MORTIMER, and GLENDOWER.
MORTIMER: These promises are fair, the parties sure,
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 Glendower, 5
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; 10
For by that name as oft as Lancaster
[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 hears
Owen Glendower spoke of. 15
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
[cressets: Cups of burning pitch or oil that were mounted on a pole and used as torches. Here, Shakespeare uses cressets as a metaphor for stars.]
The frame and huge foundation of the earth
Shak’d like a coward. 20
HOTSPUR: Why, so it would have done at the same season, if your mother’s cat had but kittened, though yourself had never been born.
GLENDOWER: I say the earth did shake when I was born.
HOTSPUR: And I say the earth was not of my mind,
If you suppose as fearing you it shook.
GLENDOWER: The heavens were all on fire, the earth did tremble. 25
HOTSPUR: O! then the earth shook to see the heavens on fire,
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 30
By the imprisoning of unruly wind
Within her womb; which, for enlargement striving,
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, causing earthquakes that topple steeples and towers.]
Our grandam earth, having this distemperature, 35
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, 40
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. 45
Where is he living, clipp’d in with the sea
That chides the banks of England, Scotland, Wales,
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 50
And hold me pace in deep experiments.
[And bring . . . experiments: And produce any human being who can keep up with me in the tedious ways of 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 mad.
GLENDOWER: I can call spirits from the vasty deep. 55
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 command
HOTSPUR: And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil 60
By telling truth: tell truth and shame the devil.
If thou have power to raise him, bring him hither,
And I’ll be sworn I have power to shame him hence.
O! while you live, tell truth and shame the devil!
MORTIMER: Come, come; 65
No more of this unprofitable chat.
GLENDOWER: Three times hath Henry Bolingbroke made head
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 back. 70
[Three . . . back: Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV) has attacked me and my army three times, and three times we beat him back from the Wye and Severn Rivers and sent him home without any gain.]
HOTSPUR: Home without boots, and in foul weather too!
How ’scapes [escapes] he agues [fever and chills], in the devil’s name?
GLENDOWER: Come, here’s the map: shall we divide our right
According to our threefold order ta’en?
MORTIMER: The archdeacon hath divided it 75
Into three limits very equally.
England, from Trent [another river] and Severn hitherto,
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, 80
To Owen Glendower: and, dear coz, to you
The remnant northward, lying off from Trent.
And our indentures tripartite are drawn,
[indentures tripartite: Provisions of a three-part agreement or contract]
Which being sealed interchangeably,
A business that this night may execute, 85
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 border].
My father [father-in-law] Glendower is not ready yet, 90
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 together
Your tenants, friends, and neighbouring gentlemen.
[Within . . . gentlemen: Within those two weeks, you will have time to muster forces consisting of tenants, friends, and gentleman neighbors.]
GLENDOWER: A shorter time shall send me to you, lords;
And in my conduct shall your ladies come, 95
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. Meanwhile, you must steal away from your wives without saying good-bye. Otherwise, you will have to endure their endless crying upon your departure.]
HOTSPUR: Methinks my moiety, north from Burton here,
In quantity equals not one of yours: 100
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 105
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. Notice how the river cuts me off from the best of my land. But I can build a 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 doth.
[Not . . . doth: Not have a winding course? It shall. It must. You can see it must.]
MORTIMER: Yea, but 110
Mark how he bears his course, and runs me up
With like advantage on the other side;
Gelding the opposed continent as much,
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 as much land as you lost.]
WORCESTER: Yea, but a little charge will trench him here, 115
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 problem so that the river runs straight and even.]
HOTSPUR: I’ll have it so; a little charge will do it.
GLENDOWER: I will not have it alter’d.
HOTSPUR: Will not you? 120
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. 125
GLENDOWER: I can speak English, lord, as well as you,
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; 130
A virtue that was never seen in you.
HOTSPUR: Marry, [by the Virgin Mary] and I’m glad of it with all my heart.
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, 135
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 turn’d. 140
HOTSPUR: I do not care: I’ll give thrice so much land
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 a well-deserving friend. But know this: when I am striking a bargain with someone, I will argue over the smallest detail, no matter how trivial.]
Are the indentures [provisions of the agreement] drawn? shall we be gone? 145
GLENDOWER: The moon shines fair, you may away by night:
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. 150
MORTIMER: Fie, cousin Percy! how you cross [anger] my father [father-in-law, Glendower]!
HOTSPUR: I cannot choose: sometimes he angers me
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, 155
A clip-wing’d griffin, and a moulten raven,
A couching lion, and a ramping cat,
[griffin: Mythological beast with an eagle's head and wings and the body of a lion]
[moulten: Having shed its feathers]
[ramping: In a threatening position; rearing or crouching]
And such a deal of skimble-skamble [confusing; meaningless] stuff
As puts me from my faith. I’ll tell thee what;
He held me last night at least nine hours 160
In reckoning up the several devils’ names
That were his lackeys: I cried ‘hum!’ and ‘well, go to.’
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 165
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 gentleman,
Exceedingly well read, and profited 170
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?
[mines of 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 175
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. 180
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, blood,— 185
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 190
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 good qualities, robbing these qualities of the praise they deserve.]
HOTSPUR: Well, I am school’d; good manners be your speed!
Here come our wives, and let us take our leave. 195
Re-enter GLENDOWER, with the Ladies.
MORTIMER: This is the deadly spite that angers me,
My wife can speak no English, I no Welsh.
GLENDOWER: My daughter weeps; she will not part with you:
She’ll be a soldier too: she’ll to the wars. 200
MORTIMER: Good father [father-in-law], tell her that she and my aunt Percy,
Shall follow in your conduct [shall follow you] speedily. [GLENDOWER speaks to LADY MORTIMER in Welsh, and she answers him in the same.
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 Welsh
Which thou pour’st down from these swelling heavens 205
I am too perfect in; and, but for shame,
In such a parley would I answer thee. [She speaks again.
[that pretty . . . answer thee: Those pretty tears that pour from your angelic eyes are a language I well 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:
[feelling disputation: Emotional communication]
But I will never be a truant, love, 210
Till I have learn’d thy language; for thy tongue
[But . . . language: But I will never rest, my love, until I have learned your language.]
Makes Welsh as sweet as ditties [short poems] highly penn’d,
Sung by a fair queen in a summer’s bower,
[summer's bower: Place shaded by leaves; arbor]
With ravishing division, to her lute.
[division: In music, the division of a note into several notes, as in a trill]
GLENDOWER: Nay, if you melt, then will she run mad. [She speaks again. 215
MORTIMER: O! I am ignorance itself in this.
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, 220
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 Somnus. 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 225
Begins his golden progress in the east.
[The hour . . . east: The hour before dawn. "Heavenly-harness'd team" is an allusion to the horses harnessed to the chariot of Apollo, the sun god in Greek mythology. Apollo 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 sing:
By that time will our book [contract; agreement], I think, be drawn.
GLENDOWER: Do so;
And those musicians that shall play to you 230
Hang in the air a thousand leagues [three thousand miles] from hence,
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 Welsh; 235
And ’tis no marvel he is so humorous [termperamental; emotional].
By ’r lady, he’s a good musician.
LADY PERCY: Then should you be nothing but musical for you are altogether governed by humours [strong emotions]. Lie still, ye thief, and hear the lady sing in Welsh.
HOTSPUR: I had rather hear Lady, my brach [female hound], howl in Irish.
LADY PERCY: Wouldst thou have thy head broken? 240
LADY PERCY: Then be still.
HOTSPUR: Neither; ’tis a woman’s fault [No. That's what women do.]
LADY PERCY: Now, God help thee!
HOTSPUR: To the Welsh lady’s bed. 245
LADY PERCY: What’s that? [What did you say?]
HOTSPUR: Peace! she sings. [A Welsh song sung by LADY MORTIMER.
HOTSPUR: Come, Kate, I’ll have your song too.
LADY PERCY: Not mine, in good sooth. [Not mine, I daresay.]
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 day:’ 250
And giv’st such sarcenet surety for thy oaths,
As if thou never walk’dst further than Finsbury.
[Not yours . . . Finsbury: Hotspur says that when Lady Percy swears or attests to something she uses language as delicate as sarcenet, a soft silk. It is as if she has never gone out in the world and heard profane language. It is as if she never traveled beyond Finsbury—a pleasant, shaded area in London.]
[comfit: Sugar-coated fruit garnished with a nut or seed.]
Swear me, Kate, like a lady as thou art,
A good mouth-filling oath [curse]; and leave ‘in sooth,’
And such protest of pepper-gingerbread, 255
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 singing to teach red-breasted robins to sing.]
GLENDOWER: Come, come, Lord Mortimer; you are as slow 260
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 agreement],
And then to horse immediately.
MORTIMER: With all my heart. [Exeunt.
London. A room in the palace.
Enter KING HENRY, the PRINCE, and lords.
KING HENRY: Lords, give us leave; the Prince of Wales and I
Must have some private conference: but be near at hand,
For we shall presently have need of you. [Exeunt Lords. 5
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 life 10
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 desires,
Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts, 15
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 committed. 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 behavior and desires put you on the same level as the rude and base people you associate with.]
PRINCE: So please your majesty, I would I could 20
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 I can prove myself innocent of many of the charges.]
Yet such extenuation let me beg,
As, in reproof of many tales devis’d, 25
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. 30
[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, Harry,
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 rudely lost,
Which by thy younger brother is supplied, 35
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. 40
[The hope . . . fall: The hopes and expectations everyone had for you when you were younger have been 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] 45
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, I would have lost my support for becoming king and would have faced an empty future.]
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 he;’ 50
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, 55
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 pope],
Ne’er seen but wonder’d at: and so my state,
Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast, 60
And won by rareness such solemnity.
[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 solemn respect.]
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 quickly burned itself out, like kindling wood (bavin). He weakened and debased (carded) his kingdom.]
Mingled his royalty with capering [frolicking; frivolous] fools, 65
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 . . . comparative: Allowed these fools to stain his reputation with their scorns and lost face by laughing at and tolerating boys who mocked him.]
Grew a companion to the common streets, 70
Enfeoff’d [attached] 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 little
More than a little is by much too much. 75
[That, being . . . too much: Because he appeared so often in public, among the common and low, the people got sick of seeing him in the same way that they get sick when they eat 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 often],
Afford no extraordinary gaze, 80
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, 85
Being with his presence glutted, gorg’d, and full.
[But rather . . . full: But the people hardly looked at him; it was as if they were asleep. In fact, some were asleep. Overall, they paid him little attention, since he was such a 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, 90
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 lord,
Be more myself. 95
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, 100
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, 105
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 even though he is no older than you, he leads older lords and even bishops against me.]
What never-dying honour hath he got
Against renowned Douglas! whose high deeds, 110
Whose hot incursions and great name in arms,
Holds from all soldiers chief majority,
And military title capital,
Through all the kingdoms that acknowledge Christ.
[Holds . . . Christ: Holds for himself, above all other soldiers, a reputation as the greatest warrior in all the Christian kingdoms.]
Thrice hath this Hotspur, Mars in swathling clothes, 115
[Mars: In ancient Roman mythology, Mars was the god of war. In Greek mythology, his name was Ares (AIR eez).
[swathling: Swaddling. In other words, Hotspur was a baby Mars.]
This infant warrior, in his enterprises
Discomfited [defeated] 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. 120
And what say you to this? Percy, Northumberland,
The Archbishop’s Grace of York, Douglas, Mortimer,
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, 125
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, 130
To show how much thou art degenerate.
[Thou that . . . degenerate: You are likely enough—out of fear, your corrupt nature, and your headstrong 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 so:
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, 135
[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 it: 140
[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],— 145
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, 150
To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf;
And I will call him to so strict account
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 I shall prove such a formidable foe against him that he will yield all these deeds to me.]
Yea, even the slightest worship [glory; recognition] of his time,
Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart. 155
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, 160
[If not . . . bands: If not, my death will cancel all my obligations (debts, bonds).]
And I will die a hundred thousand deaths
Ere [before] I break the smallest parcel of this vow.
KING HENRY: A hundred thousand rebels die in this [in this vow]:
Thou shalt have charge and sovereign trust herein.
Enter SIR WALTER BLUNT. 165
How now, good Blunt! thy looks are full of speed [urgency].
BLUNT: So hath the business that I come to speak of.
Lord Mortimer of Scotland hath sent word
That Douglas and the English rebels met,
[Douglas and the other English rebels joined forces]
The eleventh of this month at Shrewsbury. 170
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 to-day,
With him my son, Lord John of Lancaster; 175
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
[Bridgenorth: Bridgnorth (without the e), a town in the English county of Shropshire, which borders Wales.]
Through Gloucestershire; by which account, 180
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. [Exeunt.
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 loose 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 brewer’s 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 long.
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; virtuous enough: swore little; diced not above seven times a week; went to a 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. 5
BARDOLPH: Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you must needs be out of all compass, out of all reasonable compass, Sir John.
FALSTAFF: Do thou amend [change] thy face, and I’ll amend my life: thou 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 Lamp.
BARDOLPH: Why, Sir John, my face does you no harm.
FALSTAFF: No, I’ll be sworn; I make as good use of it as many a 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 virtue, I would swear by thy face; my oath should be, ‘By this fire, that’s God’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.
[and wert 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 hadst been an ignis fatuus or a ball of wildfire, there’s no purchase in money. O! thou art a perpetual
[ignus fatuus: Latin for silly fire. Ignus fatuus is a pale flame seen at night flitting or hovering over 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 that thou 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 with fire any time this two-and-thirty years; God reward me for it!
BARDOLPH: ’Sblood, I would my face were in your belly. 10
FALSTAFF: God-a-mercy! so should I be sure to be heart-burned.
Enter MISTRESS QUICKLY.
How now, Dame Partlet the hen! have you inquired yet who picked my pocket?
[Dame Partlet: 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 inquired, so has my husband, man by man, boy by boy, servant by servant: the tithe 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 before.]
FALSTAFF: You lie, hostess: Bardolph was shaved and lost many a hair; and I’ll be sworn my pocket was picked. Go to, you are a woman; go. 15
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 quarrel to beguile [cheat] me of it: I bought you a dozen of shirts to your back.
FALSTAFF: Dowlas [coarse linen], filthy dowlas: I have given them away to bakers’ wives, and they have made bolters [sieves for sifting flour] of them.
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 you, four-and-twenty pound.
[holland: Linen of high quality]
[shilling: Coin equal to twelve pennies]
[ell: Unit of measure equal to forty-five inches]
[by-drinkings: Beverages consumed between meals]
FALSTAFF: He [Bardolph] had his part of it; let him pay.
QUICKLY: He! alas! he is poor; he hath nothing.
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 ease 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 out of his nose and cheeks. As for me, I won't pay a denier (small coin of little value circulating in Europe in Shakespeare's time). What! Will you treat me like a child? Can't I have a moment's peace in this inn without having my pocket picked? I have lost my grandfather's signet 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 was a unit of currency circulating in England and Scotland. It was valued at 13 shillings, 4 pence.)]
QUICKLY: O Jesu! I have heard the prince tell him, I know not how oft, that that ring was copper.
[copper: Metal 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 so. 25
[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.
[Newgate: A London prison.]
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. 30
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 arras [curtain; wall hanging] and had my pocket picked: this house is turned bawdy-house; they pick pockets.
PRINCE: What didst thou lose, Jack? 35
FALSTAFF: Wilt thou believe me, Hal? three or four bonds [promissory notes] of forty pound a-piece, and a seal-ring of my grandfather’s.
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 you.
PRINCE: What! he did not?
QUICKLY: There’s neither faith, truth, nor womanhood in me else [if I'm lying]. 40
FALSTAFF: There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune; nor no more truth in thee than in a drawn fox; and for womanhood, Maid Marian may be the deputy’s wife of the ward to thee. Go, you thing, go.
[drawn fox: Fox forced into the open from its hiding place. It resorts to trickery and cunning to escape its pursuers. Thus, Falstaff is saying that Mistress Quickly has no more truth in her than a sly, deceptive fox.]
[Maid Marian . . . to thee: An English folk dance, the morris, featured costumed characters who acted out a story. Maid Marian was a character in one of the dances. A man wearing a woman's attire played her part as a clumsy fool. Falstaff is saying that Mistress Quickly's womanhood is like that of the Maid Marian character—awkward and stupid. She is nothing like the wife of the deputy of the ward, elegant and dignified.]
QUICKLY: Say, what thing? what thing?
FALSTAFF: What thing! why, a thing to thank God on.
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 so.
FALSTAFF: Setting thy womanhood aside, thou art a beast to say otherwise. 45
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! 50
PRINCE: Thou sayest true, hostess; and he slanders thee most grossly.
QUICKLY: So he doth you, my lord; and said this other day you ought [owed] him a thousand pound.
PRINCE: Sirrah! do I owe you a thousand pound?
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 cudgel you. 55
FALSTAFF: Did I, Bardolph?
BARDOLPH: Indeed, Sir John, you said so.
FALSTAFF: Yea; if he said my ring was copper.
PRINCE: I say ’tis copper: darest thou be as good as thy word now?
FALSTAFF: Why, Hal, thou knowest, as thou art but man, I dare; but as thou art prince, I fear thee as I fear the roaring of the lion’s whelp [cub]. 60
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] break!
PRINCE: O! if it should, how would thy guts fall about thy knees. But, sirrah, there’s no room for faith, truth, or honesty in this bosom of thine; it is all filled up with guts and midriff. Charge an honest woman with picking thy pocket! Why, thou whoreson, impudent, embossed [bulging; bloated; fat] rascal, if there were any thing in thy pocket but tavern reckonings, memorandums of bawdy-houses, and one poor pennyworth of sugar-candy to make thee long-winded; if thy pocket were enriched with any other injuries but these, I am a villain. And yet you will stand to it, you will not pocket up wrong. Art thou not ashamed?
[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 days of villany [villainy]? Thou seest I have more flesh than another man, and therefore more frailty. You confess then, you picked my pocket?
[thou knowest . . . villany: You know that Adam fell when the world was in a state of innocence. What do you expect me to do now, when the world is in a state of sin?]
PRINCE: It appears so by the story. 65
FALSTAFF: Hostess, I forgive thee. Go make ready breakfast; love thy husband, look to thy servants, cherish thy guests: thou shalt find me tractable to any honest reason: thou seest I am pacified. Still! Nay prithee, be gone. [Exit MISTRESS QUICKLY.] Now, Hal, to the news at court: for the robbery, lad, how is that answered?
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 labour.
PRINCE: I am good friends with my father and may do anything.
FALSTAFF: Rob me the exchequer [king's treasury] the first thing thou dost, and do it with unwashed hands too. 70
BARDOLPH: Do, my lord.
PRINCE: I have procured thee, Jack, a charge of foot [an infantry command].
FALSTAFF: I would it had been of horse [been a cavalry command]. Where shall I find one that can steal well? O! for a fine thief, of the age of two-and-twenty, 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 praise them.
BARDOLPH: My lord? 75
PRINCE: Go bear this letter to Lord John of Lancaster,
To my brother John [a younger brother of Prince Hal]; this to my Lord of Westmoreland.
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] 80
At two o’clock in the afternoon:
There shalt thou know thy charge, and there receive
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, POINS, and BARDOLPH. 85
FALSTAFF: Rare words! brave world! Hostess, my breakfast; come!
O! I could wish this tavern were my drum. [Exit.
The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.
Enter HOTSPUR, WORCESTER, and DOUGLAS.
HOTSPUR: Well said, my noble Scot: if speaking truth
In this fine age were not thought flattery,
Such attribution should the Douglas have, 5
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 you, Douglas, as a warrior without equal in this world.]
By God, I cannot flatter; do defy [despise]
The tongues of soothers [flatterers]; but a braver place
In my heart’s love hath no man than yourself. 10
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 well. 15
Enter a Messenger, with letters.
What letters hast thou there? [To DOUGLAS.]
I can but thank you.
MESSENGER: These letters come from your [Hotspur's] father.
HOTSPUR: Letters from him! why comes he not himself? 20
MESSENGER: He cannot come, my lord: he’s grievous sick.
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 lord. 25
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 whole 30
Ere [before] he by sickness had been visited:
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 good health. We need him now more than ever before.]
HOTSPUR: Sick now! droop [be bedridden] now! this sickness doth infect
The very life-blood of our enterprise;
’Tis catching hither, even to our camp. 35
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. 40
[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] 45
Of all our purposes. What say you to it?
WORCESTER: Your father’s sickness is a maim to us.
HOTSPUR: A perilous gash, a very limb lopp’d off:
And yet, in faith, ’tis not; his present want [absence]
Seems more than we shall find it. Were it good 50
To set the exact wealth of all our states
All at one cast? to set so rich a main
On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?
[his present . . . hour: His present absence is not as detrimental to our cause as it seems. I now realize we should not risk all our forces on a single cast of the dice—that 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, 55
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 60
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. 65
WORCESTER: But yet, I would your father had been here.
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 70
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 75
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 affect those who only tenuously support us. They will question our cause. Therefore, we must avoid strict examination of our plans, closing every access that would allow doubters to see close up what we have in mind.]
This absence of your father’s draws a curtain,
That shows the ignorant a kind of fear 80
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, 85
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 help
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 father rejoins us.]
Yet all goes well, yet all our joints are whole. 90
[Yet . . . whole: So all is well; we're in good shape.]
DOUGLAS: As heart can think: there is not such a word
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 soul.
VERNON: Pray God my news be worth a welcome, lord. 95
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, 100
Or hitherwards intended speedily,
With strong and mighty preparation.
HOTSPUR: He shall be welcome too. Where is his son,
The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales,
And his comrades, that daff’d the world aside, 105
[daff'd: 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], 110
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,
[beaver: Hinged piece of metal on the helmet of a suit or armor that protected the face. Holes in it enabled a warrior to see his enemies. A beaver could be raised on its hinges to allow air circulation and provide an unobstructed view.]
His cushes on his thighs, gallantly arm’d, 115
[cushes: Cuisses, which are plates of armor covering the front of the thighs.]
Rise from the ground like feather’d Mercury,
[Mercury: In ancient Roman mythology, the messenger god. He was depicted as having wings on the sides of his 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. 120
HOTSPUR: No more, no more: worse than the sun in March
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, Athena.]
All hot and bleeding will we offer them: 125
The mailed Mars [ancient Roman god of war] shall on his altar sit
Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire
To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh
And yet not ours. Come, let me taste my horse,
Who is to bear me like a thunderbolt 130
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 news: 135
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 yet.
WORCESTER: Ay, by my faith, that bears a frosty sound.
HOTSPUR: What may the king’s whole battle [army] reach unto? 140
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: 145
[take a muster: Prepare.]
Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.
DOUGLAS: Talk not of dying: I am out of fear
Of death or death’s hand for this one half year. [Exeunt.
A public road near Coventry.
[Coventry: City ninety-five miles northwest of London.]
Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH.
FALSTAFF: Bardolph, get thee before to Coventry; fill me a bottle of sack: our soldiers shall march through: we’ll to Sutton-Co’fil’ [Sutton-Coldfield, a town in the same county as Coventry] to-night.
BARDOLPH: Will you give me money, captain?
FALSTAFF: Lay out, lay out. [Get your own.] 5
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. [Exit.
FALSTAFF: If I be not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a soused [pickled] gurnet [gurnard, a sea fish]. I have misused the king’s press damnably. I have got, in exchange of a hundred and fifty soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds. I press [impressment; 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 twice 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 but such toasts-and-butter, with hearts in their bellies no bigger than 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 unjust 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 such 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 tattered 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 the 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. 10
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 the name of a quilted jacket (gambeson) worn as armor with or without metal plates or chainmail.]
FALSTAFF: What, Hal! How now, mad wag! what a devil dost thou 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 were there [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 steal cream.
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? 15
FALSTAFF: Mine, Hal, mine.
PRINCE: I did never see such pitiful rascals.
FALSTAFF: Tut, tut; good enough to toss; food for powder, food for powder; they’ll fill a pit as well as better: tush, man, mortal men, mortal men.
[good enough . . . mortal men: They're good enough to die in battle, and they're ready to yield their lives in the face of gunpowder. Why, they'll fill a grave as well as better men. 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 had that; and for their bareness, I am sure they never learned that of me. 20
PRINCE: No, I’ll be sworn; unless you call three fingers on the ribs bare. But sirrah, make haste: Percy is already in the field.
[No, I'll . . . ribs bare: No, I'll swear they never learned to be bare from you. After all, you have three fingers of fat on your ribs.]
FALSTAFF: What, is the king encamped?
WESTMORELAND: He is, Sir John: I fear we shall stay too long.
To the latter end of a fray and the beginning of a feast 25
Fits a dull fighter and a keen guest. [Exeunt.
[Well . . . guest: Well, a bad soldier arrives at the end of a battle, but a good guest arrives right on time for a feast.]
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. 5
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 to-night. 10
DOUGLAS: You do not counsel well:
You speak it out of fear and cold heart.
VERNON: Do me no slander, Douglas: by my life,—
And I dare well maintain it with my life,—
If well-respected honour bid me on, 15
I hold as little counsel with weak fear
As you, my lord, or any Scot that this day lives:
Let it be seen to-morrow in the battle
Which of us fears.
DOUGLAS: Yea, or to-night. 20
HOTSPUR: To-night, say I.
VERNON: Come, come, it may not be. I wonder much,
Being men of such great leading as you are,
That you foresee not what impediments 25
Drag back our expedition: certain horse
Of my cousin Vernon’s are not yet come up:
[Come . . . yet come up: Come, come, it's not wise to fight tonight. You are great leaders, but I wonder whether you foresee the problems that would confront us if we attack tonight. Certain cavalry of my cousin Vernon have not yet arrived.]
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, 30
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 them 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 ours: 35
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 king,
If you vouchsafe [grant] me hearing and respect.
HOTSPUR: Welcome, Sir Walter Blunt; and would to God 40
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. 45
[Some of . . . enemy: Some of us love you well. But even among those who love you are those who refuse to 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,
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 know
The nature of your griefs, and whereupon 50
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,— 55
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 king 60
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, 65
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, 70
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, 75
[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 loyalty],
Gave him their heirs as pages, follow’d him 80
Even at the heels in golden multitudes [well-dressed multitudes].
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; 85
[He presently . . . Ravenspurgh: Now, fully aware of his power as king, 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, 90
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, 95
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 right wrongs and address abuses. His action won the hearts of the people. But afterward he arranged the beheadings of all King Richard's favorite 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; 100
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; 105
Disgrac’d me in my happy victories;
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; 110
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 imprisoned in Wales without allowing anyone to ransom him. He then discredited my battlefield victories, spied on me in hopes of finding incriminating evidence, fired my uncle from the council board, dismissed my father from the court, broke many oaths, and committed many wrongs. In conclusion, he drove us to rebel and raise an army against him. The fact is, he is not the legitimate king.]
BLUNT: Shall I return this answer to the king? 115
HOTSPUR: Not so, Sir Walter: we’ll withdraw awhile.
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. 120
[Not so . . . farewell: No, Sir Walter. We'll just bide our time for a while. In the morning, my uncle 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 love.
HOTSPUR: And may be so we shall.
BLUNT: Pray God, you do! [Exeunt.
York. A room in the ARCHBISHOP’S palace.
Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK and SIR MICHAEL.
ARCHBISHOP: Hie, good Sir Michael; bear this sealed brief
With winged haste to the lord marshal;
This to my cousin Scroop, and all the rest 5
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 do. 10
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 Shrewsbury,
As I am truly given to understand,
The king with mighty and quick-raised power 15
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, 20
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 fear:
There is the Douglas and Lord Mortimer. 25
ARCHBISHOP: No, Mortimer is not there.
SIR MICHAEL: But there is Mordake, Vernon, Lord Harry Percy,
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 drawn 30
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. 35
SIR MICHAEL: Doubt not, my lord, they shall be well oppos’d.
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, 40
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. [Exeunt.
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 peer
Above yon busky hill! the day looks pale
At his distemperature. 5
[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 sun.]
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 sympathize, 10
For nothing can seem foul to those that win. [Trumpet sounds.
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, 15
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, 20
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? 25
[will you again . . . times: Are you willing to untie the knot of hateful war and move in my circles again the way a bright light orbits the earth? Don't be an angry meteor that 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. 30
[I have . . . dislike: I have not sought war against you.]
KING HENRY: You have not sought it! how comes it then?
FALSTAFF: Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it.
PRINCE: Peace, chewet, peace! [The prince says to Falstaff, "Be quiet, meat pie .]
WORCESTER: It pleas’d your majesty to turn your looks
Of favour from myself and all our house; 35
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, 40
When yet you were in place and in account
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 on 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, 45
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 50
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, 55
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 60
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 suffering, and when the people thought the king dead—you took advantage of the situation.]
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, 65
Grew by our feeding to so great a bulk
That even our love durst not come near your sight
For fear of swallowing; but with nimble wing
We were enforc’d, for safety’s sake, to fly
Out of your sight and raise this present head; 70
[And being fed . . . present head: Though we aided you, you used us in the same way that a cuckoo uses a sparrow—you took over our nest and ate our food. You ate so much and grew so huge that we were afraid to come near you for fear of being 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 raise an 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. 75
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, 80
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 them to side with you. Now they embrace the news of civil disturbance and revolution.]
And never yet did insurrection want
Such water-colours to impaint his cause;
Nor moody beggars, starving for a time 85
Of pell-mell havoc and confusion.
[And never . . . confusion: And never yet has a revolution occurred without efforts by its supporters to paint its purpose in false colors. Nor has a revolution occurred without the backing of moody beggars who welcome disorder and confusion.]
PRINCE: In both our armies there is many a soul
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 90
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 95
To grace this latter age with noble deeds.
For my part, I may speak it to my shame,
I have a truant been to chivalry;
And so I hear he doth account me too;
I[I have . . . too: I have been neglectful of my duties as a knight. Moreover, I hear that Hotspur does not regard me highly as a knight.]
Yet this before my father’s majesty— 100
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 thee, 105
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, 110
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 reasons standing against it. Worcester, I love our people. I even love those who have mistakenly joined your cause. If you and everyone else on your side would pledge loyalty to me, all of you would be my friends again 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, 115
And they shall do their office. So, be gone:
We will not now be troubled with reply;
We offer fair, take it advisedly. [Exeunt WORCESTER and VERNON.
[but if . . . advisedly: If he will not accept my offer, then we will punish him and the rest of you on his side. Go. Take my message to your camp. But say no more to me. I have heard enough from you. Our offer is fair; you and your compatriots should accept it.]
PRINCE: It will not be accepted, on my life.
The Douglas and the Hotspur both together 120
Are confident against the world in arms.
[Are . . . arms: Think they can defeat the whole world.]
KING HENRY: Hence, therefore, every leader to his charge;
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 bestride me, so; ’tis a point of friendship. 125
[if thou . . . friendship: If you see me down in battle, stand over me with one foot on my right side and one 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 well.
PRINCE: Why, thou owest God a death. [Exit.
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? [Why 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 me 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 will 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.
The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.
Enter WORCESTER and VERNON.
WORCESTER: O, no! my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,
The liberal kind offer of the king.
VERNON:’Twere best he did. 5
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: 10
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 he will find a time to punish us for our offenses and other faults. Every 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 a fox.]
Look how we can, or sad or merrily, 15
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; 20
And an adopted name of privilege,
A hare-brain’d Hotspur, govern’d by a spleen.
[My nephew's 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, 25
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. After 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]. 30
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 presently.
DOUGLAS: Defy him by [with a message carried by] the Lord of Westmoreland. 35
HOTSPUR: Lord Douglas, go you and tell him so.
DOUGLAS: Marry, and shall, and very willingly. [Exit.
WORCESTER: There is no seeming mercy in the king.
HOTSPUR: Did you beg any? God forbid!
WORCESTER: I told him gently of our grievances, 40
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 promises. 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 thrown
A brave defiance in King Henry’s teeth,
And Westmoreland, that was engag’d, did bear it;
Which cannot choose but bring him quickly on.
[Arm . . . quickly on: Get ready for war! For I have sent Westmoreland, who has been our hostage, to King Henry with a defiant message that will provoke him.]
WORCESTER: The Prince of Wales [Hal] stepp’d forth before the king, 50
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? 55
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, 60
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 enough]
And, which became him like a prince indeed, 65
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 were a teacher instructing himself as a student]
There did he pause. But let me tell the world, 70
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 . . . wantonness: England never did own (have) so sweet a hope. He is much misunderstood because of his earlier misbehavior.]
HOTSPUR: Cousin, I think thou art enamoured
On his follies: never did I hear 75
[enamoured on: 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 him with a soldier's arm.]
Arm, arm, with speed! And, fellows, soldiers, friends, 80
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 were a gifted speaker, I would say more on this subject to arouse you to meet the challenge.]
Enter a Messenger.
MESSENGER: My lord, here are letters for you. 85
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. 90
[To spend . . . hour: Although life is short, it would be too long if you spent your time on lowly, foolish activities. It would be too long even if life lasted only one hour on 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 just.]
Enter another Messenger. 95
MESSENGER: My lord, prepare; the king comes on apace.
HOTSPUR: I thank him that he cuts me from my tale,
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 100
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; 105
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.]
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 thus
Thou crossest me? what honour dost thou seek
Upon my head? 5
[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.
[Lines 6-8: Douglas mistakes Blunt for Henry IV.]
BLUNT: They tell thee true.
DOUGLAS: The Lord of Stafford dear to-day hath bought 10
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 . . . prisoner: 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 unless you agree to become my prisoner.]
BLUNT: I was not born a yielder, thou proud Scot;
And thou shalt find [me] a king that will revenge 15
Lord Stafford’s death. [They fight, and BLUNT is slain.
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 king. 20
HOTSPUR: This, Douglas! no; I know this face full well;
A gallant knight he was, his name was Blunt;
Semblably [similarly] furnish’d like the king himself. 25
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 arms].
DOUGLAS: Now, by my sword, I will kill all his coats; 30
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. [Exeunt.
Alarums. Enter FALSTAFF. 35
FALSTAFF: Though I could ’scape [escape] shot-free [shot: tavern bill] at London, I fear the shot [enemy 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 hot as molten lead, and as heavy too: God keep lead out of me! I need no more 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, and they are for the town’s end, to beg during life. But who comes here?
[they are for . . . life: The ones still alive have run to town to become beggars. Better to be a live beggar than a dead soldier.]
Enter the PRINCE.
PRINCE: What! stand’st thou idle here? lend me thy sword:
Many a nobleman lies stark and stiff
Under the hoofs of vaunting enemies, 40
Whose deaths are unreveng’d: prithee, lend me thy sword.
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. [Turk Gregory: Pope Gregory VII, an eleventh-century pontiff hailed for his church reforms but accused of using cruel and brutal methods to achieve them. A Turk is a person who uses violence and ferocity to accomplish his goals. Here, Turk is used as an adjective.]
I 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 sword.
FALSTAFF: Nay, before God, Hal, if Percy be alive, thou gett’st not my sword; but take my pistol, if thou wilt.
PRINCE: Give it me. What! is it in the case? 45
FALSTAFF: Ay, Hal; ’tis hot, ’tis hot: there’s that will sack a 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 him 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.]
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. 5
LANCASTER: Not I, my lord, unless I did bleed too.
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. 10
WESTMORELAND: Come, my lord, I’ll lead you to your tent.
PRINCE: Lead me, my lord? I do not need your help:
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, 15
And rebels’ arms triumph in massacres!
LANCASTER: We breathe too long: come, cousin Westmoreland,
Our duty this way lies: for God’s sake, come. [Exeunt JOHN OF LANCASTER and WESTMORELAND.
PRINCE: By God, thou hast deceiv’d me, Lancaster;
I did not think thee lord of such a spirit: 20
[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 point
With lustier maintenance than I did look for
Of such an ungrown [young and inexperienced] warrior. 25
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:
[Hydra: In 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 30
That wear those [enemy] colours on them: what art thou,
That counterfeit’st [pretend to be] the person of a king?
KING HENRY: The king himself; who, Douglas, grieves at heart
So many of his shadows [likenesses] thou hast met
And not the very king. I have two boys 35
Seek Percy and thyself about the field:
But, seeing thou fall’st on me so luckily,
I will assay [fight] thee; so defend thyself.
DOUGLAS: I fear thou art another counterfeit;
And yet, in faith, thou bear’st thee like a king: 40
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 like
Never to hold it up again! the spirits
Of valiant Shirley, Stafford, Blunt, are in my arms: 45
It is the Prince of Wales that threatens thee,
Who never promiseth but he means to pay. [They fight: DOUGLAS flies.
Cheerly [be cheerful], my lord: how fares your Grace?
Sir Nicholas Gawsey hath for succour [help; support troops] sent,
And so hath Clifton: I’ll to Clifton straight. 50
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 me.]
PRINCE: O God! they did me too much injury 55
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, 60
And sav’d the treacherous labour of your son.
KING HENRY: Make up to Clifton: I’ll to Sir Nicholas Gawsey. [Exit.
HOTSPUR: If I mistake not, thou art Harry Monmouth.
PRINCE: Thou speak’st as if I would deny my name. 65
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: 70
[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 come
To end the one of us; and would to God 75
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, I 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 fight. 80
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 were dead, and exit DOUGLAS. HOTSPUR is wounded, and falls.
HOTSPUR: O, Harry! thou hast robb’d me of my youth.
I better brook the loss of brittle life 85
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 fool;
And time, that takes survey of all the world,
Must have a stop. O! I could prophesy, 90
But that the earthy and cold hand of death
Lies on my tongue. No, Percy, thou art dust,
And food for— [Dies.
[But thought's . . . food for: But thought exists only as long as life, and life exists only as long as time allows it to. Time, which governs all the world, must end. Oh, I could make observations about the future, but the cold hand of death 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 heart!
Ill-weav’d [foolish; misguided] ambition, how much art thou shrunk! 95
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 dead,
Bears not alive so stout a gentleman. 100
If thou wert sensible of courtesy [If you could hear my praise],
I should not make so dear a show of zeal:
But let my favours [tokens of respect] hide thy mangled face,
And, even in thy behalf, I’ll thank myself
For doing these fair rites of tenderness. 105
Adieu [good-bye], and take thy praise with thee to heaven!
Thy ignomy [ignominy, or dishonor, humiliation] sleep with thee in the grave,
But not remember’d in thy epitaph! [He spies FALSTAFF on the ground.
What! old acquaintance! could not all this flesh
Keep in a little life? Poor Jack, farewell! 110
I could have better spared [lost; given up] a better man.
O! I should have a heavy miss of thee [I should miss you dearly]
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. 115
[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. [Exit.
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 had paid 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, who 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 image of life indeed. The better part of valour is discretion; in the which 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 and rise?
[how, if he . . . rise: Suppose he is also pretending to be dead and suddenly rises.]
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 eyes, and nobody sees me: therefore, sirrah [stabbing him], with a new wound in your thigh come you along with me. [He takes HOTSPUR on his back.
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] sword.
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. 125
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 I 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, let him kill the next Percy himself. I look to be either earl or duke, I can assure you. 130
PRINCE: Why, Percy I killed myself, and saw thee dead.
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; but we 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 bear the sin upon their own heads. I’ll take it upon my death, I gave him this wound in the thigh: if the man were alive and would deny it, ’zounds, I would make him eat a piece of my sword.
LANCASTER: This is the strangest tale that e’er I heard.
PRINCE: This is the strangest fellow, brother John.
Come, bring your luggage [Hotspur's body] nobly on your back: 135
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 sounded.
The trumpet sounds retreat; the day is ours.
Come, brother, let us to the highest of the field,
To see what friends are living, who are dead. [Exeunt the PRINCE and JOHN OF LANCASTER. 140
FALSTAFF: I’ll follow, as they say, for reward. He that rewards me, God reward him! If I do grow great, I’ll grow less; for I’ll purge [lose weight], and leave sack [quit drinking], and live cleanly, as a nobleman should do. [Exit.
Another part of the field.
The trumpets sound. Enter KING HENRY, the PRINCE, JOHN OF LANCASTER, WESTMORELAND, and others, with WORCESTER and VERNON prisoners.
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? 5
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, 10
If like a Christian, thou hadst truly borne
Betwixt our armies true intelligence.
[Three knights . . . 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 the 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 to;
And I embrace this fortune patiently,
Since not to be avoided it falls on me. 15
[And I . . . on me: And I patiently await my unavoidable execution.]
KING HENRY: Bear Worcester to the death and Vernon too:
Other offenders we will pause upon. [Exeunt WORCESTER and VERNON, guarded.
[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 saw
The fortune of the day quite turn’d from him, 20
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 25
I may dispose of him [I may decide his fate].
KING HENRY: With all my heart.
PRINCE: Then, brother John of Lancaster, to you
This honourable bounty shall belong.
Go to the Douglas, and deliver him 30
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 courtesy, 35
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 speed,
To meet Northumberland and the prelate Scroop, 40
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: 45
[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. [Exeunt.
[Let us . . . won: Let's continue to fight until we win a total victory.]