List iconHenry IV, Part 1List icon

Henry IV, Part 1
Act 1, scene 1

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Henry IV, Part 1, culminates in the battle of Shrewsbury between the king’s army and rebels seeking his crown. The…

Act 1, scene 1

King Henry meets with his advisers to discuss his proposed crusade to the Holy Land, but the discussion turns instead…

Act 1, scene 2

Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff taunt each other, Hal warning Falstaff that he will one day be hanged as…

Act 1, scene 3

King Henry meets with Hotspur, Hotspur’s father (Northumberland), and his uncle (Worcester) to demand that Hotspur yield his prisoners to…

Act 2, scene 1

Gadshill, the “setter” for Falstaff and his fellow thieves, seeks information at an inn about the travelers whom they plan…

Act 2, scene 2

Falstaff, Peto, Bardolph, and Gadshill rob the travelers and are, in turn, robbed by Prince Hal and Poins in disguise.

Act 2, scene 3

Hotspur reads a letter from a nobleman who refuses to join the rebellion against King Henry. Lady Percy enters to…

Act 2, scene 4

At a tavern in Eastcheap, Prince Hal and Poins amuse themselves by tormenting a young waiter while waiting for Falstaff…

Act 3, scene 1

Hotspur, Worcester, Mortimer, and the leader of the Welsh rebels, Glendower, meet in Wales to make final the terms of…

Act 3, scene 2

Prince Hal reconciles himself with his father by swearing to fight the rebels and to defeat Hotspur.

Act 3, scene 3

Falstaff tries to swindle the Hostess of the inn. Prince Hal offers Falstaff a command in the infantry.

Act 4, scene 1

Hotspur, Worcester, and Douglas learn that Hotspur’s father, Northumberland, is too sick to join them in the coming battle. They…

Act 4, scene 2

Falstaff discloses to the audience how he has misused his commission as an officer to take money from men eager…

Act 4, scene 3

As Hotspur argues with his fellow commanders about when to fight, they are visited by Sir Walter Blunt, who brings…

Act 4, scene 4

The archbishop of York and Sir Michael, who sympathize with Hotspur, debate the chances of his success against the king’s…

Act 5, scene 1

Worcester and Vernon visit the king’s camp, where Worcester repeats the grievances that he says have led to the rebellion….

Act 5, scene 2

Worcester lies to Hotspur, telling him that the king made no offer of pardon and is ready to begin the…

Act 5, scene 3

The battle begins. Douglas kills Blunt, who is disguised as King Henry. Falstaff enters alone to disclose to the audience…

Act 5, scene 4

Prince Hal saves King Henry from death at the hands of Douglas. Hal then meets Hotspur. While they are fighting,…

Act 5, scene 5

The king’s forces having won, King Henry condemns Worcester and Vernon to death, and the king and his supporters prepare…

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 1
Enter the King, Lord John of Lancaster, and the 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 commenced in strands afar remote.
5 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 flow’rets with the armèd hoofs
 Of hostile paces. Those opposèd eyes,
10 Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
 All of one nature, of one substance bred,
 Did lately meet in the intestine shock
 And furious close of civil butchery,
 Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,
15 March all one way and be no more opposed
 Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies.
 The edge of war, like an ill-sheathèd knife,
 No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
 As far as to the sepulcher of Christ—
20 Whose soldier now, under whose blessèd cross
 We are impressèd and engaged to fight—
7

9
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 1

 Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,
 Whose arms were molded in their mothers’ womb
 To chase these pagans in those holy fields
25 Over whose acres walked those blessèd feet
 Which fourteen hundred years ago were nailed
 For our advantage on the bitter cross.
 But this our purpose now is twelve month old,
 And bootless ’tis to tell you we will go.
30 Therefor we meet not now. Then let me hear
 Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,
 What yesternight our council did decree
 In forwarding this dear expedience.
WESTMORELAND 
 My liege, this haste was hot in question,
35 And many limits of the charge set down
 But yesternight, when all athwart there came
 A post from Wales loaden with heavy news,
 Whose worst was that the noble Mortimer,
 Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
40 Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
 Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
 A thousand of his people butcherèd,
 Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse,
 Such beastly shameless transformation
45 By those Welshwomen done, as may not be
 Without much shame retold or spoken of.
KING 
 It seems then that the tidings of this broil
 Brake off our business for the Holy Land.
WESTMORELAND 
 This matched with other did, my gracious lord.
50 For more uneven and unwelcome news
 Came from the north, and thus it did import:
 On Holy-rood Day the gallant Hotspur there,
 Young Harry Percy, and brave Archibald,
 That ever valiant and approvèd Scot,

11
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 1

55 At Holmedon met, where they did spend
 A sad and bloody hour—
 As by discharge of their artillery
 And shape of likelihood the news was told,
 For he that brought them, in the very heat
60 And pride of their contention did take horse,
 Uncertain of the issue any way.
KING 
 Here is a dear, a true-industrious friend,
 Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
 Stained with the variation of each soil
65 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,
 Balked in their own blood, did Sir Walter see
70 On Holmedon’s plains. Of prisoners Hotspur took
 Mordake, Earl of Fife and eldest son
 To beaten Douglas, and the Earl of Atholl,
 Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
 And is not this an honorable spoil?
75 A gallant prize? Ha, cousin, is it not?
WESTMORELAND 
 In faith, 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 Honor’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,
 See riot and dishonor stain the brow
85 Of my young Harry. O, that it could be proved
 That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged
 In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,

13
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 1. SC. 2

 And called mine “Percy,” his “Plantagenet”!
 Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.
90 But let him from my thoughts. What think you, coz,
 Of this young Percy’s pride? The prisoners
 Which he in this adventure hath surprised
 To his own use he keeps, and sends me word
 I shall have none but Mordake, Earl of Fife.
WESTMORELAND 
95 This is his uncle’s teaching. This is Worcester,
 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 awhile we must neglect
 Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.
 Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we
 Will hold at Windsor. So inform the lords.
 But come yourself with speed to us again,
105 For more is to be said and to be done
 Than out of anger can be utterèd.
WESTMORELAND I will, my liege.
They exit.