Open main menu

 

ACT FIRST

 

Scene One

[London. The Palace]

Enter the King, Lord John of Lancaster, Earl of Westmoreland, 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
To be commenc'd in stronds afar remote. 4
No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flowerets with the armed hoofs 8
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 12
And furious close of civil butchery,
Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,
March all one way, and be no more oppos'd
Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies: 16
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 20
We are impressed and engag'd 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 24
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 months old, 28
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 32
In forwarding this dear expedience.

West. 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; 37
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 44
By those Welshwomen done, as may not be
Without much shame re-told or spoken of.

King. It seems then that the tidings of this broil
Brake off our business for the Holy Land. 48

West. 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, 52
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, 57
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 and true industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
Stain'd with the variation of each soil 64
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, 68
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, 72
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
And is not this an honourable spoil?
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?

West. In faith, 76
It is a conquest for a prince to boast of.

King. Yea, there thou mak'st me sad and mak'st me sin
In envy that my Lord Northumberland
Should be the father to so blest a son, 80
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, 84
See riot and dishonour stain the brow
Of my young Harry. O! that it could be prov'd
That some night-tripping fairy had exchang'd
In cradle-clothes our children where they lay, 88
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, 92
Which he in this adventure hath surpris'd,
To his own use he keeps, and sends me word,
I shall have none but Mordake Earl of Fife.

West. This is his uncle's teaching, this is Worcester, 96
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; 100
And for this cause a while we must neglect
Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.
Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we
Will hold at Windsor; so inform the lords: 104
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.

West. I will, my liege. Exeunt.

 

Scene Two

[The Same]

Enter Henry, Prince of Wales, and Sir John Falstaff.

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

Prince. 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-colour'd taffeta, I see no
reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to
demand the time of the day. 13

Fal. Indeed, you come near me now, Hal;
for we that take purses go by the moon and the
seven stars, and not by Phœbus, he, 'that wan-
dering 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,— 20

Prince. What! none?

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

Prince. Well, how then? come, roundly,
roundly. 25

Fal. 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, 33

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 go-
verned 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.

Fal. By the Lord, thou sayest true, lad. And
is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet
wench? 46

Prince. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of
the castle
. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet
robe of durance? 49

Fal. How now, how now, mad wag! what,
in thy quips and thy quiddities? what a plague
have I to do with a buff jerkin? 52

Prince. Why, what a pox have I to do with
my hostess of the tavern?

Fal. Well, thou hast called her to a reckon-
ing many a time and oft.

Prince. Did I ever call for thee to pay thy
part?

Fal. No; I'll give thee thy due, thou hast
paid all there. 60

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

Fal. 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 stand-
ing in England when thou art king, and resolu-
tion
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. 70

Prince. No; thou shalt.

Fal. Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I'll be a
brave judge. 73

Prince. Thou judgest false already; I mean,
thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves and
so become a rare hangman. 76

Fal. Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it
jumps with my humour as well as waiting in
the court, I can tell you.

Prince. For obtaining of suits? 80

Fal. 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. Or an old lion, or a lover's lute. 84

Fal. Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire
bagpipe.

Prince. What sayest thou to a hare, or the
melancholy of Moor-ditch? 88

Fal. Thou hast the most unsavory similes,
and art, indeed, the most comparative, rascal-
liest, 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. 98

Prince. Thou didst well; for wisdom cries
out in the streets, and no man regards it. 100

Fal. 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, an I do not, I am a villain: I'll be
damned for never a king's son in Christendom.

Prince. Where shall we take a purse to-
morrow. Jack? 111

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

Prince. I see a good amendment of life in
thee; from praying to purse-taking. 115

Fal. 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. 122

Prince. 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? 129

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.

Prince. Else he had been damned for cozen-
ing
the devil. 136

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. 147

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

Poins. You will, chops?

Fal. Hal, wilt thou make one?

Prince. Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by my
faith. 153

Fal. 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. 157

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

Fal. Why, that's well said. 160

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

Fal. By the Lord, I'll be a traitor then, when
thou art king. 164

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. 168

Fal. Well, God give thee the spirit of per-
suasion 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. 175

Prince. Farewell, thou latter spring! Fare-
well, 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 from my
shoulders. 185

Prince. But how shall we part with them in
setting forth?

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; and then
will they adventure upon the exploit themselves,
which they shall have no sooner achieved but
we'll set upon them. 193

Prince. Yea, but 'tis like that they will know
us by our horses, by our habits, and by every
other appointment, to be ourselves. 196

Poins. Tut! our horses they shall not see,
I'll tie them in the wood; our vizards we will
change after we leave them; and, sirrah, I have
cases of buckram for the nonce, to inmask our
noted outward garments. 201

Prince. Yea, but I doubt they will be too
hard for us.

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, what blows, what extremities he
endured; and in the reproof of this lies the jest.

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 Poins.

Prince. I know you all, and will awhile uphold 217
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, 221
That when he please again to be himself,
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. 225
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But when they seldom come, they wish'd for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents. 229
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off,
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am 232
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. 237
I'll so offend to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will. Exit.

 

Scene Three

[The Same]

Enter the King, Northumberland, Worcester, Hotspur, Sir Walter Blunt, and others.

 

King. My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
Unapt to stir at these indignities.
And you have found me; for accordingly
You tread upon my patience: but, be sure, 4
I will from henceforth rather be myself,
Mighty, and to be fear'd, than my condition,
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
And therefore lost that title of respect 8
Which the proud soul ne'er pays but to the proud.

Wor. Our house, my sovereign liege, little deserves
The scourge of greatness to be us'd on it;
And that same greatness too which our own hands 12
Have holp to make so portly.

North. My lord,—

King. Worcester, get thee gone; for I do see
Danger and disobedience in thine eye. 16
O, sir, your presence is too bold and peremptory,
And majesty might never yet endure
The moody frontier of a servant brow.
You have good leave to leave us; when we need
Your use and counsel we shall send for you. 21

Exit Worcester.

[To Northumberland.] You were about to speak.

North. Yea, my good lord.
Those prisoners in your highness' name demanded,
Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took, 24
Were, as he says, not with such strength denied
As is deliver'd to your majesty:
Either envy, therefore, or misprision
Is guilty of this fault and not my son. 28

Hot. My liege, 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, 32
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, 36
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
He gave his nose and took't away again;
Who therewith angry, when it next came there, 40
Took it in snuff: and still he smil'd and talk'd;
And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
He call'd them untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corpse 44
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms
He question'd me; among the rest, demanded
My prisoners in your majesty's behalf. 48
I then all smarting with my wounds being cold,
To be so pester'd with a popinjay,
Out of my grief and my impatience
Answer'd neglectingly, I know not what, 52
He should, or he should not; for he made me mad
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!—56
And telling me the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was parmaceti for an inward bruise;
And that it was great pity, so it was,
This villainous saltpetre should be digg'd 60
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd
So cowardly; and but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier. 64
This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answer'd indirectly, as I said;
And I beseech you, let not his report
Come current for an accusation 68
Betwixt my love and your high majesty.

Blunt. The circumstance consider'd, good my lord,
What e'er Lord Harry Percy then had said
To such a person and in such a place, 72
At such a time, with all the rest re-told,
May reasonably die and never rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he unsay it now. 76

King. Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners,
But with proviso and exception,
That we at our own charge shall ransom straight
His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer; 80
Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray'd
The lives of those that he did lead to fight
Against that great magician, damn'd Glendower,
Whose daughter, as we hear, the Earl of March
Hath lately married. Shall our coffers then 85
Be emptied to redeem a traitor home?
Shall we buy treason, and indent with fears,
When they have lost and forfeited themselves?
No, on the barren mountains let him starve; 89
For I shall never hold that man my friend
Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost
To ransom home revolted Mortimer. 92

Hot. Revolted Mortimer!
He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war: to prove that true
Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds, 96
Those mouthed wounds, which valiantly he took,
When on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank,
In single opposition, hand to hand,
He did confound the best part of an hour 100
In changing hardiment with great Glendower.
Three times they breath'd and three times did they drink,
Upon agreement, of swift Severn's flood,
Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks, 104
Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,
And hid his crisp head in the hollow bank
Blood-stained with these valiant combatants.
Never did base and rotten policy 108
Colour her working with such deadly wounds;
Nor never could the noble Mortimer
Receive so many, and all willingly:
Then let him not be slander'd with revolt. 112

King. Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou dost belie him:
He never did encounter with Glendower:
I tell thee,
He durst as well have met the devil alone 116
As Owen Glendower for an enemy.
Art thou not asham'd? But, sirrah, henceforth
Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer:
Send me your prisoners with the speediest means, 120
Or you shall hear in such a kind from me
As will displease you. My Lord Northumberland,
We license your departure with your son.
Send us your prisoners, or you will hear of it. 124

Exit King [with Blunt and train].

Hot. An if the devil come and roar for them,
I will not send them: I will after straight
And tell him so; for I will ease my heart,
Albeit I make a hazard of my head. 128

North. What! drunk with choler? stay, and pause awhile:
Here comes your uncle.

Enter Worcester.

Hot.Speak of Mortimer!
'Zounds! I will speak of him; and let my soul
Want mercy if I do not join with him: 132
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
As high i' the air as this unthankful king, 136
As this ingrate and canker'd Bolingbroke.

North. Brother, the king hath made your nephew mad.

Wor. Who struck this heat up after I was gone?

Hot. He will, forsooth, have all my prisoners;
And when I urg'd the ransom once again 141
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. 144

Wor. I cannot blame him: was he not proclaim'd
By Richard that dead is the next of blood?

North. He was; I heard the proclamation:
And then it was when the unhappy king,–148
Whose wrongs in us God pardon!—did set forth
Upon his Irish expedition;
From whence he, intercepted, did return
To be depos'd, and shortly murdered. 152

Wor. And for whose death we in the world's wide mouth
Live scandaliz'd and foully spoken of.

Hot. But, soft! I pray you, did King Richard then
Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer 156
Heir to the crown?

North.He did; myself did hear it.

Hot. Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king,
That wish'd him on the barren mountains starve.
But shall it be that you, that set the crown 160
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, 164
Being the agents, or base second means,
The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather?
O! pardon me that I descend so low,
To show the line and the predicament 168
Wherein you range under this subtle king.
Shall it for shame be spoken in these days,
Or fill up chronicles in time to come,
That men of your nobility and power, 172
Did gage them both in an unjust behalf,
As both of you—God pardon it!—have done,
To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose,
And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke?
And shall it in more shame be further spoken,
That you are fool'd, discarded, and shook off
By him for whom these shames ye underwent?
No; yet time serves wherein you may redeem 180
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
To answer all the debt he owes to you, 185
Even with the bloody payment of your deaths.
Therefore, I say,—

Wor.Peace, cousin! say no more:
And now I will unclasp a secret book, 188
And to your quick-conceiving discontents
I'll read you matter deep and dangerous,
As full of peril and adventurous spirit
As to o'er-walk a current roaring loud, 192
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.

Hot. 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, 196
And let them grapple: O! the blood more stirs
To rouse a lion than to start a hare.

North. Imagination of some great exploit
Drives him beyond the bounds of patience. 200

Hot. 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,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground, 204
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;
So he that doth redeem her thence might wear
Without corrival all her dignities:
But out upon this half-fac'd fellowship! 208

Wor. He apprehends a world of figures here,
But not the form of what he should attend.
Good cousin, give me audience for a while.

Hot. I cry you mercy.

Wor.Those same noble Scots 212
That are your prisoners,—

Hot.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.

Wor.You start away, 216
And lend no ear unto my purposes.
Those prisoners you shall keep.

Hot.Nay, I will; that's flat:
He said he would not ransom Mortimer;
Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer; 220
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla 'Mortimer!'
Nay,
I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak 224
Nothing but 'Mortimer,' and give it him,
To keep his anger still in motion.

Wor. Hear you, cousin; a word.

Hot. All studies here I solemnly defy, 228
Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke:
And that same sword-and-buckler Prince of Wales,
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. 233

Wor. Farewell, kinsman: I will talk to you
When you are better temper 'd to attend.

North. Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient fool 236
Art thou to break into this woman's mood,
Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own!

Hot. Why, look you, I am whipp'd and scourg'd with rods.
Nettled, and stung with pismires, when I hear
Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke. 241
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,
His uncle York; where I first bow'd my knee
Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke,
'Sblood!
When you and he came back from Ravenspurgh.

North. At Berkeley Castle. 249

Hot. You say true.
Why, what a candy deal of courtesy
This fawning greyhound then did proffer me!
Look, 'when his infant fortune came to age,' 253
And 'gentle Harry Percy,' and 'kind cousin.'
O! the devil take such cozeners. God forgive me!
Good uncle, tell your tale, for I have done. 256

Wor. Nay, if you have not, to 't again;
We'll stay your leisure.

Hot.I have done, i' faith.

Wor. Then once more to your Scottish prisoners,
Deliver them up without their ransom straight,
And make the Douglas' son your only mean 261
For powers in Scotland; which, for divers reasons
Which I shall send you written, be assur'd,
Will easily be granted. [To Northumberland.] You, my lord, 264
Your son in Scotland being thus employ'd,
Shall secretly into the bosom creep
Of that same noble prelate well belov'd,
The Archbishop. 268

Hot. Of York, is it not?

Wor. True; who bears hard
His brother's death at Bristol, the Lord Scroop.
I speak not this in estimation, 272
As what I think might be, but what I know
Is ruminated, plotted and set down;
And only stays but to behold the face
Of that occasion that shall bring it on. 276

Hot. I smell it.
Upon my life it will do wondrous well.

North. Before the game's afoot thou still lett'st slip.

Hot. Why, it cannot choose but be a noble plot: 280
And then the power of Scotland and of York,
To join with Mortimer, ha?

Wor.And so they shall.

Hot. In faith, it is exceedingly well aim'd.

Wor. And 'tis no little reason bids us speed,
To save our heads by raising of a head; 285
For, bear ourselves as even as we can,
The king will always think him in our debt,
And think we think ourselves unsatisfied, 288
Till he hath found a time to pay us home.
And see already how he doth begin
To make us strangers to his looks of love.

Hot. He does, he does: we'll be reveng'd on him. 292

Wor. 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; 296
Where you and Douglas and our powers at once,—
As I will fashion it,—shall happily meet,
To bear our fortunes in our own strong arms,
Which now we hold at much uncertainty. 300

North. Farewell, good brother: we shall thrive, I trust.

Hot. Uncle, adieu: O! let the hours be short,
Till fields and blows and groans applaud our sport!

Exeunt.

 

 

Footnotes to Act I


Scene One

4 stronds: coasts
5 Cf. n.
7 trenching: trench-digging
channel: make channels in
12 intestine: internal, civil
13 close: grapple
14 mutual well-beseeming ranks: ranks which have, most properly, a common interest
21 impressed: compelled into service
28 Cf. n.
29 bootless: useless
33 dear expedience: important expedition
34 hot in question: in hot debate
35 charge: expense
36 athwart: from an unexpected quarter
38 Mortimer; cf. n.
40 irregular: lawless
49 match'd: joined
50 uneven: disconcerting
52 Holy-rood day; cf. n.
53 Harry Percy; cf. n.
54 approved: well-tried
58 shape of likelihood: probability
69 balk'd: piled up (?)
71 Mordake; cf. n.
83 minion: darling
91 coz: cousin, used by the sovereign in addressing any nobleman
91-95 Cf. n.
97 Cf. n.
107 uttered; cf. n.


Scene Two

3 sack: sweet Spanish wine
9 bawds: panders
10 leaping-houses: brothels
16 Cf. n.
19-33 Cf. n.
24 roundly: plainly, to the point
26 Marry: an interjection, well; originally an oath, by the Virgin Mary
29 Diana's: the moon's
30 minions: servants
40 'Lay by': address of highwaymen to their victims
41 'Bring in': a call for wine
47 honey of Hybla: Sicilian honey
lad of the castle; cf. Appendix
48 buff jerkin: leather jacket worn by sheriff's officers; cf. n.
49 durance: a stuff noted for its durability
51 quips: jests
quiddities: subtleties, puns
67 resolution: determination, boldness
68 fobbed: tricked
69 antic: buffoon
73 brave: fine
78 jumps: agrees
humour: temperament, inclination
81 obtaining of suits: the clothes of the criminal were the hangman's perquisite
82 'Sblood: God's blood
83 gib cat: tom cat
lugged bear: bear led by a rope
87 hare; cf. n.
88 Moor-ditch; cf. n.
90 comparative: witty, i.e., full of witty comparisons
93 commodity: supply
101 damnable iteration; cf. n.
112 'Zounds: God's wounds
113 baffle: hang by the heels (a punishment inflicted on recreant knights)
118 Gadshill; cf. n.
set a match: planned a robbery
135 cozening: cheating
141 vizards: masks
144 Eastcheap; cf. n.
150 chops: fat face
177 All-hallown summer: All Saints' summer; cf. n.
195 habits: clothes
196 appointment: equipment
199 sirrah; cf. n.
200 cases of buckram: cloaks of coarse linen
for the nonce: for the occasion
201 noted: well-known
206 the third; cf. n.
211 wards: guards in fencing
212 reproof: refutation
218 unyok'd humour: unrestrained caprices
220 contagious: pestilential
229 accidents: events
234 sullen: dull


Scene Three

3 found me: guessed my character
6 condition: natural disposition
13 portly: stately
19 moody: angry
frontier: the outworks of a fort, used figuratively
26 deliver'd: reported
27 misprision: misapprehension
36 milliner; cf. n.
38 pouncet-box: a perforated box for perfumes
41 in snuff: as an offence (with play on the word snuff)
46 holiday and lady terms: choice and ladylike expressions
50 popinjay: parrot
51 grief: pain
56 God save the mark; cf. n.
57 sovereign'at: of most supreme excellence
58 parmaceti: corrupted form of spermaceti, a substance found in whale-oil
62 tall: valiant
75 impeach: call in question
80 brother-in-law; cf. n. on ll. 145–6
84 Earl of March: Mortimer
87 indent: bargain
94 fall off: desert
100 confound: consume
101 changing hardiment: exchanging valour
106 crisp: curled, i.e., rippled
109 Colour: disguise
145-146 Cf. n.
149 in us: at our hands
163 murd'rous subornation: secret prompting to murder
168 line: rank
predicament: situation, classification
169 range: stand
173 gage them: pledge themselves
176 canker: dog-rose
183 disdain'd: disdainful
207 corrival: rival
208 half-fac'd: half and half
209 apprehends: imagines
figures: unpractical fancies
212 cry you mercy: beg your pardon
224 starling: a bird with remarkable powers of mimicry
228 defy: renounce
230 sword and buckler: arms carried by the lower classes; hence, ruffianly
240 pismires: ants
244 kept: lived
245 York; cf. n.
251 candy deal: sugary lot
255 cozeners: swindlers
258 stay: await
271 Scroop; cf. n.
272 estimation: conjecture
279 still: always
lett'st slip: art letting the hounds loose from the leash
285 head: army
286 even: prudently
293 cousin: kinsman
298 happily: perchance, if all goes well