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

Act III. Scene I.

The First Part of King Henry the Fourth

Bangor.A Room in the Archdeacon’s House.


Mort.These promises are fair, the parties sure,

And our induction full of prosperous hope.

Hot.Lord Mortimer, and cousin Glendower,

Will you sit down?

And uncle Worcester: a plague upon it!

I have forgot the map.

Glend.No, here it is.

Sit, cousin Percy; sit, good cousin Hotspur;

For by that name as oft as Lancaster

Doth speak of you, his cheek looks pale and with

A rising sigh he wishes you in heaven.

Hot.And you in hell, as often as he hears

Owen Glendower spoke of.

Glend.I cannot blame him: at my nativity

The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,

Of burning cressets; and at my birth

The frame and huge foundation of the earth

Shak’d like a coward.

Hot.Why, so it would have done at the same season, if your mother’s cat had but kittened, though yourself had never been born.

Glend.I say the earth did shake when I was born.

Hot.And I say the earth was not of my mind,

If you suppose as fearing you it shook.

Glend.The heavens were all on fire, the earth did tremble.

Hot.O! then the earth shook to see the heavens on fire,

And not in fear of your nativity.

Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth

In strange eruptions; oft the teeming earth

Is with a kind of colic pinch’d and vex’d

By the imprisoning of unruly wind

Within her womb; which, for enlargement striving,

Shakes the old beldam earth, and topples down

Steeples and moss-grown towers. At your birth

Our grandam earth, having this distemperature,

In passion shook.

Glend.Cousin, of many men

I do not bear these crossings. Give me leave

To tell you once again that at my birth

The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,

The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds

Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields.

These signs have mark’d me extraordinary;

And all the courses of my life do show

I am not in the roll of common men.

Where is he living, clipp’d in with the sea

That chides the banks of England, Scotland, Wales,

Which calls me pupil, or hath read to me?

And bring him out that is but woman’s son

Can trace me in the tedious ways of art

And hold me pace in deep experiments.

Hot.I think there’s no man speaks better Welsh.

I’ll to dinner.

Mort.Peace, cousin Percy! you will make him mad.

Glend.I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Hot.Why, so can I, or so can any man;

But will they come when you do call for them?

Glend.Why, I can teach thee, cousin, to command

The devil.

Hot.And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil

By telling truth: tell truth and shame the devil.

If thou have power to raise him, bring him hither,

And I’ll be sworn I have power to shame him hence.

O! while you live, tell truth and shame the devil!

Mort.Come, come;

No more of this unprofitable chat.

Glend.Three times hath Henry Bolingbroke made head

Against my power; thrice from the banks of Wye

And sandy-bottom’d Severn have I sent him

Bootless home and weather-beaten back.

Hot.Home without boots, and in foul weather too!

How ’scapes he agues, in the devil’s name?

Glend.Come, here’s the map: shall we divide our right

According to our threefold order ta’en?

Mort.The archdeacon hath divided it

Into three limits very equally.

England, from Trent and Severn hitherto,

By south and east, is to my part assign’d:

All westward, Wales beyond the Severn shore,

And all the fertile land within that bound,

To Owen Glendower: and, dear coz, to you

The remnant northward, lying off from Trent.

And our indentures tripartite are drawn,

Which being sealed interchangeably,

A business that this night may execute,

To-morrow, cousin Percy, you and I

And my good Lord of Worcester will set forth

To meet your father and the Scottish power,

As is appointed us, at Shrewsbury.

My father Glendower is not ready yet,

Nor shall we need his help these fourteen days.

[To GLENDOWER.]Within that space you may have drawn together

Your tenants, friends, and neighbouring gentlemen.

Glend.A shorter time shall send me to you, lords;

And in my conduct shall your ladies come,

From whom you now must steal and take no leave;

For there will be a world of water shed

Upon the parting of your wives and you.

Hot.Methinks my moiety, north from Burton here,

In quantity equals not one of yours:

See how this river comes me cranking in,

And cuts me from the best of all my land

A huge half-moon, a monstrous cantle out.

I’ll have the current in this place damm’d up,

And here the smug and silver Trent shall run

In a new channel, fair and evenly:

It shall not wind with such a deep indent,

To rob me of so rich a bottom here.

Glend.Not wind! it shall, it must; you see it doth.

Mort.Yea, but

Mark how he bears his course, and runs me up

With like advantage on the other side;

Gelding the opposed continent as much,

As on the other side it takes from you.

Wor.Yea, but a little charge will trench him here,

And on this north side win this cape of land;

And then he runs straight and even.

Hot.I’ll have it so; a little charge will do it.

Glend.I will not have it alter’d.

Hot.Will not you?

Glend.No, nor you shall not.

Hot.Who shall say me nay?

Glend.Why, that will I.

Hot.Let me not understand you then:

Speak it in Welsh.

Glend.I can speak English, lord, as well as you,

For I was train’d up in the English court;

Where, being but young, I framed to the harp

Many an English ditty lovely well,

And gave the tongue an helpful ornament;

A virtue that was never seen in you.

Hot.Marry, and I’m glad of it with all my heart.

I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew

Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers;

I had rather hear a brazen canstick turn’d,

Or a dry wheel grate on the axle-tree;

And that would set my teeth nothing on edge,

Nothing so much as mincing poetry:

’Tis like the forc’d gait of a shuffling nag.

Glend.Come, you shall have Trent turn’d.

Hot.I do not care: I’ll give thrice so much land

To any well-deserving friend;

But in the way of bargain, mark you me,

I’ll cavil on the ninth part of a hair.

Are the indentures drawn? shall we be gone?

Glend.The moon shines fair, you may away by night:

I’ll haste the writer and withal

Break with your wives of your departure hence:

I am afraid my daughter will run mad,

So much she doteth on her Mortimer.[Exit.

Mort.Fie, cousin Percy! how you cross my father!

Hot.I cannot choose: sometimes he angers me

With telling me of the moldwarp and the ant,

Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies,

And of a dragon, and a finless fish,

A clip-wing’d griffin, and a moulten raven,

A couching lion, and a ramping cat,

And such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff

As puts me from my faith. I’ll tell thee what;

He held me last night at least nine hours

In reckoning up the several devils’ names

That were his lackeys: I cried ‘hum!’ and ‘well, go to.’

But mark’d him not a word. O! he’s as tedious

As a tired horse, a railing wife;

Worse than a smoky house. I had rather live

With cheese and garlick in a windmill, far,

Than feed on cates and have him talk to me

In any summer-house in Christendom.

Mort.In faith, he is a worthy gentleman,

Exceedingly well read, and profited

In strange concealments, valiant as a lion

And wondrous affable, and as bountiful

As mines of India. Shall I tell you, cousin?

He holds your temper in a high respect,

And curbs himself even of his natural scope

When you do cross his humour; faith, he does.

I warrant you, that man is not alive

Might so have tempted him as you have done,

Without the taste of danger and reproof:

But do not use it oft, let me entreat you.

Wor.In faith, my lord, you are too wilful-blame;

And since your coming hither have done enough

To put him quite beside his patience.

You must needs learn, lord, to amend this fault:

Though sometimes it show greatness, courage, blood,—

And that’s the dearest grace it renders you,—

Yet oftentimes it doth present harsh rage,

Defect of manners, want of government,

Pride, haughtiness, opinion, and disdain:

The least of which haunting a nobleman

Loseth men’s hearts and leaves behind a stain

Upon the beauty of all parts besides,

Beguiling them of commendation.

Hot.Well, I am school’d; good manners be your speed!

Here come our wives, and let us take our leave.

Re-enter GLENDOWER, with the Ladies.

Mort.This is the deadly spite that angers me,

My wife can speak no English, I no Welsh.

Glend.My daughter weeps; she will not part with you:

She’ll be a soldier too: she’ll to the wars.

Mort.Good father, tell her that she and my aunt Percy,

Shall follow in your conduct speedily.[GLENDOWER speaks to LADY MORTIMER in Welsh, and she answers him in the same.

Glend.She’s desperate here; a peevish self-will’d harlotry, one that no persuasion can do good upon.[She speaks to MORTIMER in Welsh.

Mort.I understand thy looks: that pretty Welsh

Which thou pour’st down from these swelling heavens

I am too perfect in; and, but for shame,

In such a parley would I answer thee.[She speaks again.

I understand thy kisses and thou mine,

And that’s a feeling disputation:

But I will never be a truant, love,

Till I have learn’d thy language; for thy tongue

Makes Welsh as sweet as ditties highly penn’d,

Sung by a fair queen in a summer’s bower,

With ravishing division, to her lute.

Glend.Nay, if you melt, then will she run mad.[She speaks again.

Mort.O! I am ignorance itself in this.

Glend.She bids you

Upon the wanton rushes lay you down

And rest your gentle head upon her lap,

And she will sing the song that pleaseth you,

And on your eye-lids crown the god of sleep,

Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness,

Making such difference ’twixt wake and sleep

As is the difference between day and night

The hour before the heavenly-harness’d team

Begins his golden progress in the east.

Mort.With all my heart I’ll sit and hear her sing:

By that time will our book, I think, be drawn.

Glend.Do so;

And those musicians that shall play to you

Hang in the air a thousand leagues from hence,

And straight they shall be here: sit, and attend.

Hot.Come, Kate, thou art perfect in lying down: come, quick, quick, that I may lay my head in thy lap.

Lady. P.Go, ye giddy goose.[GLENDOWER speaks some Welsh words, and music is heard.

Hot.Now I perceive the devil understands Welsh;

And ’tis no marvel he is so humorous.

By ’r lady, he’s a good musician.

Lady P.Then should you be nothing but musical for you are altogether governed by humours. Lie still, ye thief, and hear the lady sing in Welsh.

Hot.I had rather hear Lady, my brach, howl in Irish.

Lady P.Wouldst thou have thy head broken?


Lady P.Then be still.

Hot.Neither; ’tis a woman’s fault.

Lady P.Now, God help thee!

Hot.To the Welsh lady’s bed.

Lady P.What’s that?

Hot.Peace! she sings.[A Welsh song sung by LADY MORTIMER.

Hot.Come, Kate, I’ll have your song too.

Lady P.Not mine, in good sooth.

Hot.Not yours, ‘in good sooth!’ Heart! you swear like a comfit-maker’s wife! Not you, ‘in good sooth;’ and, ‘as true as I live;’ and, ‘as God shall mend me;’ and, ‘as sure as day:’

And giv’st such sarcenet surety for thy oaths,

As if thou never walk’dst further than Finsbury.

Swear me, Kate, like a lady as thou art,

A good mouth-filling oath; and leave ‘in sooth,’

And such protest of pepper-gingerbread,

To velvet-guards and Sunday-citizens.

Come, sing.

Lady P.I will not sing.

Hot.’Tis the next way to turn tailor or be red-breast teacher. An the indentures be drawn, I’ll away within these two hours; and so, come in when ye will.[Exit.

Glend.Come, come, Lord Mortimer; you are as slow

As hot Lord Percy is on fire to go.

By this our book is drawn; we will but seal,

And then to horse immediately.

Mort.With all my heart.[Exeunt.