King Henry IV, Part 1.
(in Modern English)
Act 1 - Scene 3.

King Henry IV, Part 1: Act 1 - Scene 3.

KING HENRY IV.

My blood has been too cool...

My temper too even...

That I didn't stir at these indignities...

But now you've found me...

Because you're really trying my patience!

But you can be sure...

That from now on I will be myself...

Mighty and fearsome...

Rather than my former condition...

Which had been smooth as oil...

Soft as feathers...

And therefore lost that title of respect...

Which the proud soul never pays but to the proud.

WORCESTER.

Our family, sovereign liege...

Hardly deserves...

To have the scourge of greatness used on it.

Even less that same greatness which our hands...

Helped to build to such heights!

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Your Majesty...

KING HENRY IV.

Worcester, get gone!

I see danger and disobedience in your eyes...

Oh, sir!

Your manner is too bold and presumptuous...

And Majesty has never yet endured...

Impertinent looks from a servant's brow...

You have our full permission to leave...

When we need your services and advice...

We'll send for you...

You were about to speak.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Yes, my good lord.

Those prisoners demanded in your Highness' name...

Which Harry Percy captured here at Holmedon...

He says were not so emphatically refused...

As was reported to your Majesty...

Either envy, therefore, or mischief...

Is guilty of this affront...

Not my son.

HOTSPUR.

My liege, I held back no prisoners...

But I remember, when the fight was over...

When I was spent with rage and extreme toil...

Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword...

There came a certain lord...

Neat, and trimly dressed...

Fancy as a bridegroom...

And his newly shaven chin...

Was like a stubble patch at harvest.

He wore cologne like a milner...

Between his finger and his thumb he held...

A snuff-box, from which, time and again...

He fed his nose, bringing it, taking it away...

Then, getting angry when it next got there...

Took it in snuff.

Meanwhile he smiled and talked...

And as the nearby soldiers carried the dead...

He called them ruffians with no manners...

To bring a slovenly stinking corpse...

Upwind of his noble person.

With many gallant and ladylike terms...

He questioned me...

Among other things, demanded...

My prisoners on your majesty's behalf.

I then, aching with my wounds all cold...

Being pestered by such a popinjay...

Out of grief and impatience...

Answered neglectfully I don't know what...

He should or he should not!

Because it made me mad...

To see him shine so brisk and smell so sweet...

And talk like a courtly gentlewoman...

Of guns and drums and wounds!

God save the mark!

Telling me the most regal thing on earth...

Was panacea for an inner bruise...

And that it was truly a great pity...

This saltpeter should be dug up...

Out of the bowels of the harmless earth...

To make gunpowder...

Which had destroyed many a good tall fellow...

What a cowardly act!

And how if not for these vile guns...

He would himself have been a soldier.

This bald unrestrained chat of his, my lord...

I answered indirectly, like I said...

And I beseech you, don't let his report...

Hold water as an accusation...

To come between my love for your high Majesty!

SIR WALTER BLUNT.

All things considered, my good lord...

Whatever Lord Harry Percy had then said...

To such a person, in such a place...

At such a time, given all the rest...

It might reasonably die and never rise...

To do him wrong or impeach him in any way...

As long as he unsays what he said then now.

KING HENRY IV.

Why, he's still holding back his prisoners...

But now with the proviso and exception...

That we, at our own cost, should ransom...

His brother-in-law right away...

The foolish Mortimer, Earl of March...

Who, on my soul, has willingly betrayed...

The lives of those whom he led to fight...

Against that colossal charlatan...

Damned Glendower!

Whose daughter, we hear...

The Earl of March has recently married...

Shall our treasury, then...

Be bled dry to finance a traitor's way home?

Shall we commit treason and bring home...

A dangerous individual...

When his men have lost and surrendered themselves?

No...

Let him starve on the barren mountains!

For I shall never count a man my friend...

Whose tongue shall ask me...

For one penny's worth to ransom home...

That rebel Mortimer!

HOTSPUR.

Rebel Mortimer?

He never fell back, my sovereign liege...

Except by the natural course of war...

To attest that fact...

There's no need for more than one man's voice...

For all those wounds, which he bravely endured...

When he was on the gentle Severn river's bank...

In single opposition, hand to hand...

He spent the better part of an hour...

Exchanging hard blows with great Glendower!

Three times they paused for breath...

And three times they stopped to drink...

By mutual agreement, the swift Severn's flood...

That river, frightened by their bloody figures...

Fearfully rushed among the trembling reeds...

To hide his crisp head in the hollow bank...

Bloodstained from these valiant combatants!

Never had base and rotten subterfuge...

Colored its working with such deadly wounds!

Nor could the noble Mortimer...

Receive so many, and all willingly.

Then let not him be slandered...

With the accusation of rebellion.

KING HENRY IV.

You're lying to protect him, Percy...

You're lying to protect him...

He never had any encounter with Glendower.

I tell you what...

He may as well have met the devil himself...

As Owen Glendower for an enemy.

Aren't you ashamed of yourself?

But, my lad, from now on...

Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer.

Send me your prisoners post haste...

Or you shall hear from me...

In such a fashion as shall displease you!

My Lord Northumberland...

We allow your departure with your son...

Send us your prisoners, or you'll hear of it!

HOTSPUR.

Now if the devil himself comes roaring for them...

I will not send them...

I'll go to him now and announce it to his face!

'Cause I'd rather spill my guts...

Even if I risk my head!

NORTHUMBERLAND.

What, are you drunk with rage?

Hold on awhile!

Here comes your uncle!

HOTSPUR.

Speak of Mortimer!

God's wounds, I will speak of him!

And deny my soul mercy...

If I don't join with him!

Yes, on his side I'll empty all these veins...

And shed my dear blood drop by drop in the dust!

But I will lift the down-trodden Mortimer...

As high in the air...

As this thankless king now sits...

This ingrate and this cankered Bolingbroke!

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Brother, the king made your nephew salty.

WORCESTER.

Who cooked up this heat after I left?

HOTSPUR.

He said he wanted all my prisoners!

Yet when I urged him once more for the ransom...

Of my wife's brother, then his cheek turned pale...

And on my face he cast an eye of death...

Trembling even at the name of Mortimer!

WORCESTER.

I don't blame him!

Wasn't Mortimer proclaimed...

By the dead King Richard...

To be the next of blood?

NORTHUMBERLAND.

He was!

I heard the proclamation...

And that was when poor King Richard...

Whose wrongs we inherited, God pardon...

Set forth on his Irish expedition...

From which, when he returned...

He was ambushed and intercepted...

To be deposed and in short order murdered!

WORCESTER.

And for his death we, in the world's wide mouth...

Live scandalized and foully spoken of.

HOTSPUR.

But hold on a minute...

Did King Richard then...

Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer...

Heir to the crown?

NORTHUMBERLAND.

He did. I heard it myself.

HOTSPUR.

No, then I cannot blame his cousin king...

This Henry Bolingbroke...

That wished him to starve on the barren mountains...

But shall it be that you, who set the crown...

Upon the head of this ungrateful man...

And for his sake wear the detested blot...

Of murderous subversion...

Shall it be...

That you undergo a world of curses...

Since you were rather the agents...

The base second means...

The cords, the ladder, or the hangman?

Oh, pardon me that I descend so low...

As to make an outline of the predicament...

In which you range under this subtle king!

Shall it be spoken in these days for shame...

Or fill up chronicles in time to come...

That men of your nobility and power...

Did throw aside both nobility and power...

On an unjust behalf...

As blithely as both of you!

God pardon it!

You're done putting down Richard...

That sweet, lovely rose...

To plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke?

And shall it subsequently be spoken...

In yet more shame...

That you're fooled, discarded, and shaken off...

By him for whom you endured these shames?

No!

Yet the time creeps in when you may redeem...

Your banished honors and restore yourselves...

Into the good thoughts of the world again...

Revenge the jeering and disdainful contempt...

Of this vain king!

Who studies day and night...

To reimburse all the debt he owes you...

Even with the bloody payment of your deaths!

Therefore, I say...

WORCESTER.

Shut up, nephew...

Say no more!

Now let me unclasp a secret book...

And to your hastily conceived frustration...

I'll read you matters deep and dangerous!

As full of peril and adventurous spirit...

As could walk over a loud, roaring current...

With the unstable footing of a spear's point!

HOTSPUR.

If he falls in, good night!

Whether he sinks or swims...

Send danger from the east to the west...

So honor may cross it from north to south...

And let them grapple with one another...

Oh, the blood is stirred more...

By waking a lion than chasing a hare!

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Imagination of some great exploit...

Drives Harry past the bounds of patience...

HOTSPUR.

By heaven, I think it would be an easy leap...

To pluck bright Honor from the pale-faced moon...

Or dive into the ocean's depths...

Where fathom-lines could never touch the ground...

And pluck up drowned Honor...

By the locks of her flowing curly hair!

So he that redeems her might wear...

From then on without rival, all her dignities.

But blast this half-baked fellowship!

WORCESTER.

He sees a bunch of numbers in front of him...

But not the formula they define...

Good nephew, listen to me a minute!

HOTSPUR.

I grant you my mercy.

WORCESTER.

Those same noble Scotsmen...

That are your prisoners...

HOTSPUR.

I'll keep 'em all!

By God, he shall not have a Scot of them!

No, if a Scot shall save his soul, he shall not!

I'll keep them, by this hand...

WORCESTER.

You're getting riled up again...

Lending no ear to my plan.

Those prisoners you want to keep...

HOTSPUR.

No, I will, that's not up for debate!

He said he would not ransom Mortimer...

Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer!

But I'll find him when he's fast asleep...

And in his ear I'll holler 'Mortimer'

Cripes!

I'll have a parrot taught to say...

Only 'Mortimer' and give it to him...

To keep his anger always in motion...

WORCESTER.

Listen, please, nephew, a word...

HOTSPUR.

All studies I solemnly defy here...

Except how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke!

And also that sword-and-buckler Prince of Wales...

If I didn't think that his father...

Didn't love him and would be glad...

If the prince met with some accident...

I'd have him poisoned with a keg of beer!

WORCESTER.

See you later, nephew.

I'll talk to you...

When you've controlled your temper...

To listen to what I have to say.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient fool...

Are you to break into this womanly mood...

Hearing no tongue but your own!

HOTSPUR.

Hey, look here...

I've been whipped and scourged with rods!

Nettled and stung with thorned whips...

When I listened...

To this vile politician, Bolingbroke!

In Richard's time...

What do you call the place?

Curse it, it was in Gloucestershire...

Where that thug duke kept his uncle...

His uncle York!

Where I first bowed my knee...

To this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke!

God's blood!

When you and he came back from Ravenspurgh...

NORTHUMBERLAND.

At Berkeley castle...

HOTSPUR.

Yeah that's true...

Why, what a candied bunch of courtesies...

That fawning greyhound then offered me!

There was...

'When his infant fortune came to age'

And 'gentle Harry Percy' and 'kind cousin'

Oh, the devil take such con men!

God forgive me!

Good uncle, tell your tale...

I'm finished...

WORCESTER.

No, come on, please...

If you've got more to say, start again...

We'll wait for you.

HOTSPUR.

I'm really done now...

WORCESTER.

Then, once again...

About your Scottish prisoners.

Deliver them without any ransom quickly...

And make only the Douglas' son...

Your means for troops in Scotland.

A request which, for diverse reasons...

Which I shall send you in writing...

Be assured shall easily be granted.

You, my lord, go to Northumberland.

Your son, being thus busy in Scotland...

Shall secretly creep into the bosom...

Of that same noble well-beloved prelate:

The Archbishop.

HOTSPUR.

Of York, right?

WORCESTER.

Indeed!

The one who's mourning...

His brother's death at Bristol:

The Lord Scroop!

I'm not saying this to guess...

What I think might be...

But what I know to be true...

It's ruminated, plotted, and set down...

And it's only a matter of seeing the face...

Of that occasion which shall bring it on.

HOTSPUR.

I sense it...

On my life, it will work!

NORTHUMBERLAND.

He's not done speaking and you start again!

HOTSPUR.

Why, it can't help but be a great plot!

And then the powers of Scotland and of York...

Will join with Mortimer, right?

WORCESTER.

So they shall.

HOTSPUR.

Really, this is exceedingly well planned.

WORCESTER.

And there's no small need for speed...

To save our heads by raising up a head.

For, if we maintain an even temper...

The King will always think...

Himself to be indebted to us...

And think we think ourselves dissatisfied...

Till he's found a time to pay us!

See already how he has begun...

To estrange us from his kindly looks!

HOTSPUR.

He has, he has...

We'll be revenged on him!

WORCESTER.

Nephew, see you later.

Don't go any further in this...

Than I direct your course via letters.

When the time is ripe, which will be soon...

I'll sneak to Glendower and Lord Mortimer...

Where you, Douglas, and all our powers as one...

As I will fashion it, shall happily meet...

To seek our fortunes in our own strong arms...

Which now we bear with much uncertainty.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Good-bye, good brother.

We will thrive, I trust.

HOTSPUR.

Uncle, adieu!

Oh, let the hours be short...

Til fields and knocks and groans applaud our sport!

Previous: Act 1. Scene 2.

Next: Act 2. Scene 1.

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