Henry the Fourth, Part One

By William Shakespeare

Yale University Press

Copyright © 2006 Burton Raffel
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-300-10815-6

Chapter One


Henry IV (King of England) Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales, the King's older son) John (Lord of Lancaster, the King's younger son) Earl of Westmoreland Sir Walter Blunt Thomas Percy (Earl of Worcester1) Henry Percy (his brother, Earl of Northumberland) Hotspur (Henry Percy the younger, Northumberland's son) Lady Percy (Hotspur's wife, Mortimer's sister) Edmund Mortimer (Earl of March) Lady Mortimer (Mortimer's wife, Glendower's daughter) Owen Glendower Douglas Sir Richard Vernon Richard Scroop (Archbishop of York) Sir Michael (friend of the Archbishop of York) Sir John Falstaff Poins, Peto, Bardolph, Gadshill (Falstaff's companions) Mistress Quickly (hostess of The Boar's Head, an inn in Eastcheap) Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Two Carriers, Ostler, Messengers, Travelers, Attendants

Act 1

SCENE 1 London, the palace

enter the King, John, Westmoreland, Sir Walter Blunt, with others

King 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 commenced in stronds afar remote. No more the thirsty entrance of this soil Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood, No more shall trenching war channel her11 fields, Nor bruise her flowrets with the arm��d hoofs Of hostile paces. Those oppos��d eyes, Which like the meteors of a troubled heaven, 10 All of one nature, of one substance bred, Did lately meet in the intestine shock And furious close of civil butchery, Shall now in mutual well-beseeming ranks March all one way, and be no more opposed 15 Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies. The edge of war, like an ill-sheath��d knife, No more shall cut his master. Therefore friends, As far as to the sepulcher of Christ, Whose soldier now, under whose bless��d cross 20 We are impress��d and engaged to fight, Forthwith a power of English shall we levy, Whose arms were molded in their mothers' womb To chase these pagans in those holy fields, Over whose acres walked those bless��d feet 25 Which fourteen hundred years ago were nailed For our advantage on the bitter cross. But this our purpose now is twelve month old, And bootless 'tis to tell you we will go. Therefore we meet not now. Then let me hear 30 Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland, What yesternight our council did decree In forwarding this dear expedience.

Westmoreland My liege. This haste was hot in question, And many limits of the charge set down 35 But yesternight. When all athwart there came A post from Wales, loaden with heavy news, Whose worst was that the noble Mortimer, Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight Against the irregular and wild Glendower, 40 Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken, A thousand of his people butchered, Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse, Such beastly, shameless transformation, By those Welsh women done, as may not be 45 (Without much shame) retold or spoken of. King It seems then that the tidings of this broil Brake off our business for the Holy Land. Westmoreland This matched with other did, my gracious lord, For more uneven and unwelcome news 50 Came from the North, and thus it did import. On Holy Rood day, the gallant Hotspur there, Young Harry Percy, and brave Archibald, That ever-valiant and approv��d Scot, At Holmedon met, where they did spend 55 A sad and bloody hour. As by discharge of their artillery, And shape of likelihood, the news was told, For he that brought them in the very heat And pride of their contention did take horse, 60 Uncertain of the issue any way.

King Here is a dear, a true industrious friend, Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse, Stained with the variation of each soil Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours. 65 And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news. The Earl of Douglas is discomfited, Ten thousand bold Scots, two-and-twenty knights Balked in their own blood, did Sir Walter see On Holmedon's plains. Of prisoners Hotspur took 70 Mordake, Earl of Fife, and eldest son To beaten Douglas, and the Earl of Athol, Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith. And is not this an honorable spoil? A gallant prize? Ha cousin, is it not? Westmoreland In faith 75

It is a conquest for a prince to boast of.

King Yea, there thou makst me sad, and makst me sin In envy, that my Lord Northumberland Should be the father to so blest a son. A son who is the theme of honor's tongue, 80 Amongst a grove the very straightest plant, Who is sweet Fortune's minion and her pride, Whilst I by looking on the praise of him See riot and dishonor stain the brow Of my young Harry. O that it could be proved 85 That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged In cradle clothes our children where they lay, And called mine Percy, his Plantagenet. Then would I have his Harry, and he mine. But let him from my thoughts. What think you coz 90 Of this young Percy's pride? The prisoners Which he in this adventure hath surprised 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, 95 Malevolent to you in all aspects, Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up The crest of youth against your dignity. King But I have sent for him to answer this. And for this cause a while we must neglect 100 Our holy purpose to Jerusalem. Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we Will hold at Windsor. So inform the lords. But come yourself with speed to us again, For more is to be said, and to be done, 105 Than out of anger can be uttered. Westmoreland I will my liege.

EXEUNT SCENE 2 London, the Prince of Wales' apartments enter the Prince of Wales and Sir John Falstaff Falstaff Now Hal, what time of day is it, lad? Hal Thou art so fat-witted with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping up on benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know. What a divel hast thou to 5 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, and the bless��d sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colored taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous, to demand 10 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 wand'ring knight so fair." And I prithee, sweet wag, when thou art king, as God save thy grace - Majesty 15 I should say, for grace thou wilt have none.

Hal What, none?

Falstaff No, by my troth, not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.

Hal Well, how then? Come, roundly, roundly. 20 Falstaff Marry then, sweet wag, when thou art king let not us that are squires of the night's body, be called thieves of the day's beauty. Let us be Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon, and let men say we be men of good government, being governed as the sea is, by our 25 noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal.

Hal 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. As for proof, now a 30 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. 35

Falstaff By the Lord thou sayst true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?

Hal As the honey of Hibla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?

Falstaff How now? How now, mad wag? What in thy 40 quips and thy quiddities? What a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?

Hal 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 45 and oft.

Hal Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?

Falstaff No, I'll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.

Hal Yea and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch, and where it would not, I have used my credit. 50

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 fubbed as it is with the rusty curb of old father Antic the law? Do not thou when thou art king hang 55 a thief.

Hal No, thou shalt.

Falstaff Shall I? O rare! By the Lord I'll be a brave judge.

Hal Thou judgest false already. I mean thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves, and so become a rare hangman. 60 Falstaff Well Hal, well. And in some sort it jumps with my humor, as well as waiting in the court, I can tell you.

Hal For obtaining of suits?

Falstaff Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof the hangman hath no 65 lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as melancholy as a gib cat, or a lugged bear.

Hal Or an old lion, or a lover's lute.

Falstaff Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.

Hal What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of Moor-ditch? 70

Falstaff Thou hast the most unsavory similes, and art 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 me the 75 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.

Hal Thou didst well, for wisdom cries out in the streets and 80 no man regards it.

Falstaff O, thou hast damnable iteration, 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, and I 85 will give it over. By the Lord and I do not, I am a villain. I'll be damned for never a king's son in Christendom.

Hal Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?

Falstaff Zounds, where thou wilt, lad, I'll make one. An I 90 do not, call me villain and baffle me. Hal I see a good amendment of life in thee, from praying

Falstaff Why Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal, 'tis no sin for a man to labor in his vocation.


Poins! Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match. O, 95 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.

Hal Good morrow, Ned.

Poins Good morrow, sweet Hal. What says Monsieur 100 Remorse? What says Sir John sack and sugar? Jack? How agrees the Divel and thee about thy soul, that thou soldest him on Good Friday last, for a cup of Madeira and a cold capon's leg?

Hal Sir John stands to his word, the Devil shall have his 105 bargain, for he108 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.

Hal Else he had been damned for cozening the 110 Devil.

Poins But my lads, my lads, tomorrow morning, by four o'clock early at Gad's Hill, there are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses. I have vizards for you all. You have horses 115 for yourselves. Gadshill lies tonight in Rochester, I have bespoke supper tomorrow night in Eastcheap. 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. 120

Falstaff Hear ye, Edward, if I tarry at home and go not, I'll hang you for going.

Poins You will, chops?

Falstaff Hal, wilt thou make one?

Hal Who, I rob? I a thief ? Not I, by my faith. 125

Falstaff There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou cam'st not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings. Hal Well then, once in my days I'll be a madcap. 130

Falstaff Why, that's well said.

Hal Well, come what will, I'll tarry at home.

Falstaff By the Lord, I'll be a traitor then, when thou art king.

Hal 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. 135

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 of the time want countenance. Farewell, you shall find me in Eastcheap.

Hal Farewell the latter spring, farewell all-hallown summer!


Excerpted from Henry the Fourth, Part Oneby William Shakespeare Copyright © 2006 by Burton Raffel. Excerpted by permission.
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