Henry IV, Part 1 - William Shakespeare - ebook
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Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second of Shakespeare's tetralogy that deals with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV (2 plays), and Henry V. Henry IV, Part 1 depicts a span of history that begins with Hotspur's battle at Homildon against the Douglas late in 1402 and ends with the defeat of the rebels at Shrewsbury in the middle of 1403. From the start it has been an extremely popular play both with the public and the critics.

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Henry IV, Part 1

William Shakespeare

Published: 1597Categorie(s): Non-Fiction, History, Fiction, Drama
About Shakespeare:

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 – died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623 two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world. 

Act I

SCENE I. London. The palace.

Enter KING HENRY, LORD JOHN OF LANCASTER, the EARL of WESTMORELAND, SIR WALTER BLUNT, and others

KING HENRY IV

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 To be commenced in strands afar remote. No more the thirsty entrance of this soil Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood; Nor more shall trenching war channel her fields, Nor bruise her flowerets with the armed hoofs Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes, Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven, 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 Against acquaintance, kindred and allies: The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife, No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends, As far as to the sepulchre of Christ, Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross We are impressed and engaged to fight, Forthwith a power of English shall we levy; Whose arms were moulded in their mothers' womb To chase these pagans in those holy fields Over whose acres walk'd those blessed feet Which fourteen hundred years ago were nail'd For our advantage on the bitter cross. 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 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 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, 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 Welshwomen done as may not be Without much shame retold or spoken of.

KING HENRY IV

It seems then that the tidings of this broil Brake off our business for the Holy Land.

WESTMORELAND

This match'd with other did, my gracious lord; For more uneven and unwelcome news 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 approved Scot, At Holmedon met, Where they did spend a sad and bloody hour, As by discharge of their artillery, And shape of likelihood, the news was told; For he that brought them, in the very heat And pride of their contention did take horse, Uncertain of the issue any way.

KING HENRY IV

Here is a dear, a true industrious friend, Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse. Stain'd with the variation of each soil Betwixt 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, 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 Earl of Athol, Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith: And is not this an honourable spoil? A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?

WESTMORELAND

In faith, It is a conquest for a prince to boast of.

KING HENRY IV

Yea, there thou makest me sad and makest me sin 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 and her pride: Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him, See riot and dishonour stain the brow Of my young Harry. O that it could be proved That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged In cradle-clothes our children where they lay, And call'd mine Percy, his Plantagenet! 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 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, Malevolent to you in all aspects; Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up The crest of youth against your dignity.

KING HENRY IV

But I have sent for him to answer this; And for this cause awhile we must neglect 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 Than out of anger can be uttered.

WESTMORELAND

I will, my liege.

Exeunt

SCENE II. London. An apartment of the Prince's.

Enter the PRINCE OF WALES and FALSTAFF

FALSTAFF

Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?

PRINCE HENRY

Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack 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 and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-coloured 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, sweet wag, when thou art king, as, God save thy grace,—majesty I should say, for grace thou wilt have none,—

PRINCE HENRY

What, none?

FALSTAFF

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

PRINCE HENRY

Well, how then? come, roundly, roundly.

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 noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal.

PRINCE HENRY

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 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.

FALSTAFF

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

PRINCE HENRY

As the honey of Hybla, 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 quips and thy quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?

PRINCE HENRY

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.

PRINCE HENRY

Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?

FALSTAFF

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

PRINCE HENRY

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 antic the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.

PRINCE HENRY

No; thou shalt.

FALSTAFF

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

PRINCE HENRY

Thou judgest false already: I mean, thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves and so become a rare 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.

PRINCE HENRY

For obtaining of suits?

FALSTAFF

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

PRINCE HENRY

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

FALSTAFF

Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.

PRINCE HENRY

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

FALSTAFF

Thou hast the most unsavoury 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 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 HENRY

Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and 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 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.

PRINCE HENRY

Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?

FALSTAFF

'Zounds, where thou wilt, lad; I'll make one; an I do not, call me villain and baffle me.

PRINCE HENRY

I see a good amendment of life in thee; from praying to purse-taking.

FALSTAFF

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

Enter POINS

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.

PRINCE HENRY

Good morrow, Ned.

POINS

Good morrow, sweet Hal. What says Monsieur Remorse? what says Sir John Sack 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 and a cold capon's leg?

PRINCE HENRY

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.

PRINCE HENRY

Else he had been damned for cozening 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 for you all; you have horses for yourselves: Gadshill lies to-night in Rochester: I have bespoke supper to-morrow 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.

FALSTAFF

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

POINS

You will, chops?

FALSTAFF

Hal, wilt thou make one?

PRINCE HENRY

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 HENRY

Well then, once in my days I'll be a madcap.

FALSTAFF

Why, that's well said.

PRINCE HENRY

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

FALSTAFF

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

PRINCE HENRY

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

PRINCE HENRY

Farewell, thou latter spring! farewell, All-hallown summer!

Exit Falstaff

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: yourself and I will not be there; and when they have the booty, if you and I do not rob them, cut this head off from my shoulders.

PRINCE HENRY

How shall we part with them in setting forth?

POINS