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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act II. Scene III.

The First Part of King Henry the Fourth

Warkworth.A Room in the Castle.

Enter HOTSPUR, reading a letter.

  • But for mine own part, my lord, I could be well contented to be there, in respect of the love I bear your house.
  • He could be contented; why is he not then? In respect of the love he bears our house: he shows in this he loves his own barn better than he loves our house. Let me see some more.

  • The purpose you undertake is dangerous;—
  • Why, that’s certain; ’tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to drink; but I tell you, my lord fool, out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.

  • The purpose you undertake is dangerous; the friends you have named uncertain; the time itself unsorted; and your whole plot too light for the counterpoise of so great an opposition.
  • Say you so, say you so? I say unto you again, you are a shallow cowardly hind, and you lie. What a lack-brain is this! By the Lord, our plot is a good plot as ever was laid; our friends true and constant: a good plot, good friends, and full of expectation; an excellent plot, very good friends. What a frosty-spirited rogue is this! Why, my Lord of York commends the plot and the general course of the action. ’Zounds! an I were now by this rascal, I could brain him with his lady’s fan. Is there not my father, my uncle, and myself? Lord Edmund Mortimer, my Lord of York, and Owen Glendower? Is there not besides the Douglas? Have I not all their letters to meet me in arms by the ninth of the next month, and are they not some of them set forward already? What a pagan rascal is this! an infidel! Ha! you shall see now in very sincerity of fear and cold heart, will he to the king and lay open all our proceedings. O! I could divide myself and go to buffets, for moving such a dish of skim milk with so honourable an action. Hang him! let him tell the king; we are prepared. I will set forward to-night.

    Enter LADY PERCY.

    How now, Kate! I must leave you within these two hours.

    Lady P.O, my good lord! why are you thus alone?

    For what offence have I this fortnight been

    A banish’d woman from my Harry’s bed?

    Tell me, sweet lord, what is ’t that takes from thee

    Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep?

    Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth,

    And start so often when thou sitt’st alone?

    Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks,

    And given my treasures and my rights of thee

    To thick-eyed musing and curst melancholy?

    In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watch’d,

    And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars,

    Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed,

    Cry, ‘Courage! to the field!’ And thou hast talk’d

    Of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents,

    Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets,

    Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin,

    Of prisoners’ ransom, and of soldiers slain,

    And all the currents of a heady fight.

    Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war,

    And thus hath so bestirr’d thee in thy sleep,

    That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow,

    Like bubbles in a late-disturbed stream;

    And in thy face strange motions have appear’d,

    Such as we see when men restrain their breath

    On some great sudden hest. O! what portents are these?

    Some heavy business hath my lord in hand,

    And I must know it, else he loves me not.

    Hot.What, ho!

    Enter Servant.

    Is Gilliams with the packet gone?

    Serv.He is, my lord, an hour ago.

    Hot.Hath Butler brought those horses from the sheriff?

    Serv.One horse, my lord, he brought even now.

    Hot.What horse? a roan, a crop-ear, is it not?

    Serv.It is, my lord.

    Hot.That roan shall be my throne.

    Well, I will back him straight: O, Esperance!

    Bid Butler lead him forth into the park.[Exit Servant.

    Lady P.But hear you, my lord.

    Hot.What sayst thou, my lady?

    Lady P.What is it carries you away?

    Hot.Why, my horse, my love, my horse.

    Lady P.Out, you mad-headed ape!

    A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen

    As you are toss’d with. In faith,

    I’ll know your business, Harry, that I will.

    I fear my brother Mortimer doth stir

    About his title, and hath sent for you

    To line his enterprise. But if you go—

    Hot.So far afoot, I shall be weary, love.

    Lady P.Come, come, you paraquito, answer me

    Directly unto this question that I ask.

    In faith, I’ll break thy little finger, Harry,

    An if thou will not tell me all things true.


    Away, you trifler! Love! I love thee not,

    I care not for thee, Kate: this is no world

    To play with mammets and to tilt with lips:

    We must have bloody noses and crack’d crowns,

    And pass them current too. God’s me, my horse!

    What sayst thou, Kate? what wouldst thou have with me?

    Lady P.Do you not love me? do you not, indeed?

    Well, do not, then; for since you love me not,

    I will not love myself. Do you not love me?

    Nay, tell me if you speak in jest or no.

    Hot.Come, wilt thou see me ride?

    And when I am o’ horseback, I will swear

    I love thee infinitely. But hark you, Kate;

    I must not have you henceforth question me

    Whither I go, nor reason whereabout.

    Whither I must, I must; and, to conclude,

    This evening must I leave you, gentle Kate.

    I know you wise; but yet no further wise

    Than Harry Percy’s wife: constant you are,

    But yet a woman: and for secrecy,

    No lady closer; for I well believe

    Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know;

    And so far will I trust thee, gentle Kate.

    Lady P.How! so far?

    Hot.Not an inch further. But, hark you, Kate;

    Whither I go, thither shall you go too;

    To-day will I set forth, to-morrow you.

    Will this content you, Kate?

    Lady P.It must, of force.[Exeunt.