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The First Part of Henry IV:
Act 4, Scene 1


           [Enter HOTSPUR, WORCESTER,
           and DOUGLAS.]

      HOTSPUR
  1   Well said, my noble Scot: if speaking truth
  2   In this fine age were not thought flattery,
  3   Such attribution should the Douglas have,
  4   As not a soldier of this season's stamp
  5   Should go so general current through the world.
  6   By God, I cannot flatter; I do defy
  7   The tongues of soothers; but a braver place
  8   In my heart's love hath no man than yourself:
  9   Nay, task me to my word; approve me, lord.

      EARL OF DOUGLAS
 10   Thou art the king of honour:
 11   No man so potent breathes upon the ground
 12   But I will beard him.

      HOTSPUR
 12                                   Do so, and 'tis well.

           Enter one [a MESSENGER] with letters.

 13   What letters hast thou there?—I can but thank you.

      Messenger
 14   These letters come from your father.

      HOTSPUR
 15   Letters from him! why comes he not himself?

      Messenger
 16   He cannot come, my lord; he is grievous sick.

      HOTSPUR
 17   'Zounds! how has he the leisure to be sick
 18   In such a justling time? Who leads his power?
 19   Under whose government come they along?

      Messenger
 20   His letters bear his mind, not I, my lord.

      EARL OF WORCESTER
 21   I prithee, tell me, doth he keep his bed?

      Messenger
 22   He did, my lord, four days ere I set forth;
 23   And at the time of my departure thence
 24   He was much fear'd by his physicians.

      EARL OF WORCESTER
 25   I would the state of time had first been whole
 26   Ere he by sickness had been visited:
 27   His health was never better worth than now.

      HOTSPUR
 28   Sick now! droop now! this sickness doth infect
 29   The very life-blood of our enterprise;
 30   'Tis catching hither, even to our camp.
 31   He writes me here, that inward sickness—
 32   And that his friends by deputation could not
 33   So soon be drawn, nor did he think it meet
 34   To lay so dangerous and dear a trust
 35   On any soul remov'd but on his own.
 36   Yet doth he give us bold advertisement,
 37   That with our small conjunction we should on,
 38   To see how fortune is disposed to us;
 39   For, as he writes, there is no quailing now.
 40   Because the king is certainly possess'd
 41   Of all our purposes. What say you to it?

      EARL OF WORCESTER
 42   Your father's sickness is a maim to us.

      HOTSPUR
 43   A perilous gash, a very limb lopp'd off:
 44   And yet, in faith, it is not; his present want
 45   Seems more than we shall find it: were it good
 46   To set the exact wealth of all our states
 47   All at one cast? to set so rich a main
 48   On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?
 49   It were not good; for therein should we read
 50   The very bottom and the soul of hope,
 51   The very list, the very utmost bound
 52   Of all our fortunes.

      EARL OF DOUGLAS
 52                                   'Faith, and so we should;
 53   Where now remains a sweet reversion:
 54   We may boldly spend upon the hope of what
 55   Is to come in:
 56   A comfort of retirement lives in this.

      HOTSPUR
 57   A rendezvous, a home to fly unto.
 58   If that the devil and mischance look big
 59   Upon the maidenhead of our affairs.

      EARL OF WORCESTER
 60   But yet I would your father had been here.
 61   The quality and hair of our attempt
 62   Brooks no division: it will be thought
 63   By some, that know not why he is away,
 64   That wisdom, loyalty and mere dislike
 65   Of our proceedings kept the earl from hence:
 66   And think how such an apprehension
 67   May turn the tide of fearful faction
 68   And breed a kind of question in our cause;
 69   For well you know we of the offering side
 70   Must keep aloof from strict arbitrement,
 71   And stop all sight-holes, every loop from whence
 72   The eye of reason may pry in upon us:
 73   This absence of your father's draws a curtain,
 74   That shows the ignorant a kind of fear
 75   Before not dreamt of.

      HOTSPUR
 75                                     You strain too far.
 76   I rather of his absence make this use:
 77   It lends a lustre and more great opinion,
 78   A larger dare to our great enterprise,
 79   Than if the earl were here; for men must think,
 80   If we without his help can make a head
 81   To push against a kingdom, with his help
 82   We shall o'erturn it topsy-turvy down.
 83   Yet all goes well, yet all our joints are whole.

      EARL OF DOUGLAS
 84   As heart can think: there is not such a word
 85   Spoke of in Scotland as this term of fear.

           Enter SIR RICHARD VERNON.

      HOTSPUR
 86   My cousin Vernon, welcome, by my soul.

      VERNON
 87   Pray God my news be worth a welcome, lord.
 88   The Earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong,
 89   Is marching hitherwards; with him Prince John.

      HOTSPUR
 90   No harm: what more?

      VERNON
 90                               And further, I have learn'd,
 91   The king himself in person is set forth,
 92   Or hitherwards intended speedily,
 93   With strong and mighty preparation.

      HOTSPUR
 94   He shall be welcome too. Where is his son,
 95   The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales,
 96   And his comrades, that daff'd the world aside,
 97   And bid it pass?

      VERNON
 97                           All furnish'd, all in arms;
 98   All plumed like estridges that with the wind
 99   Baited like eagles having lately bathed;
100   Glittering in golden coats, like images;
101   As full of spirit as the month of May,
102   And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer;
103   Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls.
104   I saw young Harry, with his beaver on,
105   His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd
106   Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
107   And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
108   As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
109   To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus
110   And witch the world with noble horsemanship.

      HOTSPUR
111   No more, no more: worse than the sun in March,
112   This praise doth nourish agues. Let them come:
113   They come like sacrifices in their trim,
114   And to the fire-eyed maid of smoky war
115   All hot and bleeding will we offer them:
116   The mailed Mars shall on his altar sit
117   Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire
118   To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh
119   And yet not ours. Come, let me taste my horse,
120   Who is to bear me like a thunderbolt
121   Against the bosom of the Prince of Wales:
122   Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse,
123   Meet and ne'er part till one drop down a corse.
124   O that Glendower were come!

      VERNON
124                                             There is more news:
125   I learn'd in Worcester, as I rode along,
126   He cannot draw his power this fourteen days.

      EARL OF DOUGLAS
127   That's the worst tidings that I hear of yet.

      WORCESTER
128   Ay, by my faith, that bears a frosty sound.

      HOTSPUR
129   What may the king's whole battle reach unto?

      VERNON
130   To thirty thousand.

      HOTSPUR
130                                   Forty let it be:
131   My father and Glendower being both away,
132   The powers of us may serve so great a day
133   Come, let us take a muster speedily:
134   Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.

      EARL OF DOUGLAS
135   Talk not of dying: I am out of fear
136   Of death or death's hand for this one-half year.

           Exeunt.

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