1 Lords, give us leave; the Prince of Wales and I 2 Must have some private conference; but be near at hand, 3 For we shall presently have need of you. Exeunt Lords 4 I know not whether God will have it so, 5 For some displeasing service I have done, 6 That, in his secret doom, out of my blood 7 He'll breed revengement and a scourge for me; 8 But thou dost in thy passages of life 9 Make me believe that thou art only mark'd 10 For the hot vengeance and the rod of heaven 11 To punish my mistreadings. Tell me else, 12 Could such inordinate and low desires, 13 Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts, 14 Such barren pleasures, rude society, 15 As thou art match'd withal and grafted to, 16 Accompany the greatness of thy blood 17 And hold their level with thy princely heart?
18 So please your majesty, I would I could 19 Quit all offences with as clear excuse 20 As well as I am doubtless I can purge 21 Myself of many I am charged withal: 22 Yet such extenuation let me beg, 23 As, in reproof of many tales devised, 24 which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear, 25 By smiling pick-thanks and base news-mongers, 26 I may, for some things true, wherein my youth 27 Hath faulty wander'd and irregular, 28 Find pardon on my true submission.
KING HENRY IV
29 God pardon thee! yet let me wonder, Harry, 30 At thy affections, which do hold a wing 31 Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors. 32 Thy place in council thou hast rudely lost. 33 Which by thy younger brother is supplied, 34 And art almost an alien to the hearts 35 Of all the court and princes of my blood: 36 The hope and expectation of thy time 37 Is ruin'd, and the soul of every man 38 Prophetically doth forethink thy fall. 39 Had I so lavish of my presence been, 40 So common-hackney'd in the eyes of men, 41 So stale and cheap to vulgar company, 42 Opinion, that did help me to the crown, 43 Had still kept loyal to possession 44 And left me in reputeless banishment, 45 A fellow of no mark nor likelihood. 46 By being seldom seen, I could not stir 47 But like a comet I was wonder'd at; 48 That men would tell their children 'This is he;' 49 Others would say 'Where, which is Bolingbroke?' 50 And then I stole all courtesy from heaven, 51 And dress'd myself in such humility 52 That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts, 53 Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths, 54 Even in the presence of the crowned king. 55 Thus did I keep my person fresh and new; 56 My presence, like a robe pontifical, 57 Ne'er seen but wonder'd at: and so my state, 58 Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast 59 And won by rareness such solemnity. 60 The skipping king, he ambled up and down 61 With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits, 62 Soon kindled and soon burnt; carded his state, 63 Mingled his royalty with capering fools, 64 Had his great name profaned with their scorns 65 And gave his countenance, against his name, 66 To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push 67 Of every beardless vain comparative, 68 Grew a companion to the common streets, 69 Enfeoff'd himself to popularity; 70 That, being daily swallow'd by men's eyes, 71 They surfeited with honey and began 72 To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little 73 More than a little is by much too much. 74 So when he had occasion to be seen, 75 He was but as the cuckoo is in June, 76 Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such eyes 77 As, sick and blunted with community, 78 Afford no extraordinary gaze, 79 Such as is bent on sun-like majesty 80 When it shines seldom in admiring eyes; 81 But rather drowzed and hung their eyelids down, 82 Slept in his face and render'd such aspect 83 As cloudy men use to their adversaries, 84 Being with his presence glutted, gorged and full. 85 And in that very line, Harry, standest thou; 86 For thou has lost thy princely privilege 87 With vile participation: not an eye 88 But is a-weary of thy common sight, 89 Save mine, which hath desired to see thee more; 90 Which now doth that I would not have it do, 91 Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.
92 I shall hereafter, my thrice gracious lord, 93 Be more myself.
KING HENRY IV
94 For all the world 95 As thou art to this hour was Richard then 96 When I from France set foot at Ravenspurgh, 97 And even as I was then is Percy now. 98 Now, by my sceptre and my soul to boot, 99 He hath more worthy interest to the state 100 Than thou the shadow of succession; 101 For of no right, nor colour like to right, 102 He doth fill fields with harness in the realm, 103 Turns head against the lion's armed jaws, 104 And, being no more in debt to years than thou, 105 Leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on 106 To bloody battles and to bruising arms. 107 What never-dying honour hath he got 108 Against renowned Douglas! whose high deeds, 109 Whose hot incursions and great name in arms 110 Holds from all soldiers chief majority 111 And military title capital 112 Through all the kingdoms that acknowledge Christ: 113 Thrice hath this Hotspur, Mars in swathling clothes, 114 This infant warrior, in his enterprises 115 Discomfited great Douglas, ta'en him once, 116 Enlarged him and made a friend of him, 117 To fill the mouth of deep defiance up 118 And shake the peace and safety of our throne. 119 And what say you to this? Percy, Northumberland, 120 The Archbishop's grace of York, Douglas, Mortimer, 121 Capitulate against us and are up. 122 But wherefore do I tell these news to thee? 123 Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes, 124 Which art my near'st and dearest enemy? 125 Thou that art like enough, through vassal fear, 126 Base inclination and the start of spleen 127 To fight against me under Percy's pay, 128 To dog his heels and curtsy at his frowns, 129 To show how much thou art degenerate.
130 Do not think so; you shall not find it so: 131 And God forgive them that so much have sway'd 132 Your majesty's good thoughts away from me! 133 I will redeem all this on Percy's head 134 And in the closing of some glorious day 135 Be bold to tell you that I am your son; 136 When I will wear a garment all of blood 137 And stain my favours in a bloody mask, 138 Which, wash'd away, shall scour my shame with it: 139 And that shall be the day, whene'er it lights, 140 That this same child of honour and renown, 141 This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight, 142 And your unthought-of Harry chance to meet. 143 For every honour sitting on his helm, 144 Would they were multitudes, and on my head 145 My shames redoubled! for the time will come, 146 That I shall make this northern youth exchange 147 His glorious deeds for my indignities. 148 Percy is but my factor, good my lord, 149 To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf; 150 And I will call him to so strict account, 151 That he shall render every glory up, 152 Yea, even the slightest worship of his time, 153 Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart. 154 This, in the name of God, I promise here: 155 The which if He be pleased I shall perform, 156 I do beseech your majesty may salve 157 The long-grown wounds of my intemperance: 158 If not, the end of life cancels all bands; 159 And I will die a hundred thousand deaths 160 Ere break the smallest parcel of this vow.
KING HENRY IV
161 A hundred thousand rebels die in this: 162 Thou shalt have charge and sovereign trust herein. Enter BLUNT 163 How now, good Blunt? thy looks are full of speed.
SIR WALTER BLUNT
164 So hath the business that I come to speak of. 165 Lord Mortimer of Scotland hath sent word 166 That Douglas and the English rebels met 167 The eleventh of this month at Shrewsbury 168 A mighty and a fearful head they are, 169 If promises be kept on every hand, 170 As ever offer'd foul play in the state.
KING HENRY IV
171 The Earl of Westmoreland set forth to-day; 172 With him my son, Lord John of Lancaster; 173 For this advertisement is five days old: 174 On Wednesday next, Harry, you shall set forward; 175 On Thursday we ourselves will march: our meeting 176 Is Bridgenorth: and, Harry, you shall march 177 Through Gloucestershire; by which account, 178 Our business valued, some twelve days hence 179 Our general forces at Bridgenorth shall meet. 180 Our hands are full of business: let's away; 181 Advantage feeds him fat, while men delay.