List iconHenry IV, Part 1List icon

Henry IV, Part 1
Act 4, scene 1

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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…

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Scene 1
Enter Hotspur, Worcester, and Douglas.

HOTSPUR 
 Well said, my noble Scot. If speaking truth
 In this fine age were not thought flattery,
 Such attribution should the Douglas have
 As not a soldier of this season’s stamp
5 Should go so general current through the world.
 By God, I cannot flatter. I do defy
 The tongues of soothers. But a braver place
 In my heart’s love hath no man than yourself.
 Nay, task me to my word; approve me, lord.
DOUGLAS 10Thou art the king of honor.
 No man so potent breathes upon the ground
 But I will beard him.
HOTSPUR  Do so, and ’tis well.

Enter a Messenger with letters.


 What letters hast thou there?  To Douglas. I can but
15 thank you.
MESSENGER These letters come from your father.
HOTSPUR 
 Letters from him! Why comes he not himself?
MESSENGER 
 He cannot come, my lord. He is grievous sick.
157

159
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 4. SC. 1

HOTSPUR 
 Zounds, how has he the leisure to be sick
20 In such a justling time? Who leads his power?
 Under whose government come they along?
MESSENGER , handing letter to Hotspur, who begins
 reading it
 
 His letters bears his mind, not I, my lord.
WORCESTER 
 I prithee, tell me, doth he keep his bed?
MESSENGER 
 He did, my lord, four days ere I set forth,
25 And, at the time of my departure thence,
 He was much feared by his physicians.
WORCESTER 
 I would the state of time had first been whole
 Ere he by sickness had been visited.
 His health was never better worth than now.
HOTSPUR 
30 Sick now? Droop now? This sickness doth infect
 The very lifeblood of our enterprise.
 ’Tis catching hither, even to our camp.
 He writes me here that inward sickness—
 And that his friends by deputation
35 Could not so soon be drawn, nor did he think it
 meet
 To lay so dangerous and dear a trust
 On any soul removed but on his own;
 Yet doth he give us bold advertisement
40 That with our small conjunction we should on
 To see how fortune is disposed to us,
 For, as he writes, there is no quailing now,
 Because the King is certainly possessed
 Of all our purposes. What say you to it?
WORCESTER 
45 Your father’s sickness is a maim to us.

161
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 4. SC. 1

HOTSPUR 
 A perilous gash, a very limb lopped off!
 And yet, in faith, it is not. His present want
 Seems more than we shall find it. Were it good
 To set the exact wealth of all our states
50 All at one cast? To set so rich a main
 On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?
 It were not good, for therein should we read
 The very bottom and the soul of hope,
 The very list, the very utmost bound
55 Of all our fortunes.
DOUGLAS 
 Faith, and so we should, where now remains
 A sweet reversion. We may boldly spend
 Upon the hope of what is to come in.
 A comfort of retirement lives in this.
HOTSPUR 
60 A rendezvous, a home to fly unto,
 If that the devil and mischance look big
 Upon the maidenhead of our affairs.
WORCESTER 
 But yet I would your father had been here.
 The quality and hair of our attempt
65 Brooks no division. It will be thought
 By some that know not why he is away
 That wisdom, loyalty, and mere dislike
 Of our proceedings kept the Earl from hence.
 And think how such an apprehension
70 May turn the tide of fearful faction
 And breed a kind of question in our cause.
 For well you know, we of the off’ring side
 Must keep aloof from strict arbitrament,
 And stop all sight-holes, every loop from whence
75 The eye of reason may pry in upon us.
 This absence of your father’s draws a curtain

163
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 4. SC. 1

 That shows the ignorant a kind of fear
 Before not dreamt of.
HOTSPUR  You strain too far.
80 I rather of his absence make this use:
 It lends a luster and more great opinion,
 A larger dare, to our great enterprise
 Than if the Earl were here, for men must think
 If we without his help can make a head
85 To push against a kingdom, with his help
 We shall o’erturn it topsy-turvy down.
 Yet all goes well; yet all our joints are whole.
DOUGLAS 
 As heart can think. There is not such a word
 Spoke of in Scotland as this term of fear.

Enter Sir Richard Vernon.

HOTSPUR 
90 My cousin Vernon, welcome, by my soul.
VERNON 
 Pray God my news be worth a welcome, lord.
 The Earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong,
 Is marching hitherwards, with him Prince John.
HOTSPUR 
 No harm, what more?
VERNON 95 And further I have learned
 The King himself in person is set forth,
 Or hitherwards intended speedily,
 With strong and mighty preparation.
HOTSPUR 
 He shall be welcome too. Where is his son,
100 The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales,
 And his comrades, that daffed the world aside
 And bid it pass?
VERNON  All furnished, all in arms,
 All plumed like estridges that with the wind
105 Bated like eagles having lately bathed,

165
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 4. SC. 1

 Glittering in golden coats like images,
 As full of spirit as the month of May,
 And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer,
 Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls.
110 I saw young Harry with his beaver on,
 His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly armed,
 Rise from the ground like feathered Mercury
 And vaulted with such ease into his seat
 As if an angel dropped down from the clouds,
115 To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus
 And witch the world with noble horsemanship.
HOTSPUR 
 No more, no more! Worse than the sun in March
 This praise doth nourish agues. Let them come.
 They come like sacrifices in their trim,
120 And to the fire-eyed maid of smoky war
 All hot and bleeding will we offer them.
 The mailèd Mars shall on his altar sit
 Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire
 To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh
125 And yet not ours. Come, let me taste my horse,
 Who is to bear me like a thunderbolt
 Against the bosom of the Prince of Wales.
 Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse,
 Meet and ne’er part till one drop down a corse.
130 O, that Glendower were come!
VERNON  There is more news.
 I learned in Worcester, as I rode along,
 He cannot draw his power this fourteen days.
DOUGLAS 
 That’s the worst tidings that I hear of yet.
WORCESTER 
135 Ay, by my faith, that bears a frosty sound.
HOTSPUR 
 What may the King’s whole battle reach unto?

167
Henry IV, Part I
ACT 4. SC. 2

VERNON 
 To thirty thousand.
HOTSPUR  Forty let it be.
 My father and Glendower being both away,
140 The powers of us may serve so great a day.
 Come, let us take a muster speedily.
 Doomsday is near. Die all, die merrily.
DOUGLAS 
 Talk not of dying. I am out of fear
 Of death or death’s hand for this one half year.
They exit.