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Henry the Fourth Part 1

by William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 



Henry the Fourth Part 1 Act 1 Scene 1



London. The palace

Enter the KING, Lord John of LANCASTER, Earl of WESTMORELAND, with others

Enter the KING, Lord John of LANCASTER, Earl of WESTMORELAND, with others

KING

So shaken as we are, so wan with care,

so=as

Find we (let us find) a time for frighted peace to pant

And breathe short-winded accents of new broils

short-winded=short-of-breath

accents of new broils=words of new conflicts

To be commenced in strands afar remote.

No more the thirsty entrance of this soil

entrance=mouth (as if soil had a mouth)

Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood.

(in civil war)

Nor more shall trenching war channel her fields

trenching war channel=scarring war furrow

Nor bruise her flow’rets with the armed hoofs

Of hostile paces. Those opposèd eyes,

hostile paces=war horses

opposed eyes=hostile eyes

Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven

(All of one nature, of one substance bred)

Did lately meet in the intestine shock

intestine=domestic

And furious close of civil butchery

close=confrontation

Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,

well-beseeming=orderly

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—

sepulcher=tomb

Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross

We are impressèd and engaged to fight—

impressed=forced to enlist

Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,

a power=an army

levy=conscript

Whose arms were molded in their mothers' womb

To chase these pagans in those holy fields

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.

bootless ‘tis=useless it is

Therefore we meet not now. Then let me hear

Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,

of you=from you

What yesternight our council did decree

In forwarding this dear expedience.

forwarding=promoting

dear expedience=important haste

 

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.

No more the thirsty entrance of this soil

Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood.

Nor more shall trenching war channel her fields,

Nor bruise her flow’rets with the armed hoofs

Of hostile paces. Those opposèd eyes,

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,

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—

Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross

We are impressèd and engaged to fight—

Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,

Whose arms were molded in their mothers' womb

To chase these pagans in those holy fields

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.

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,

liege=sovereign

And many limits of the charge [were] set down,

charge=assignment

But yesternight: when all athwart there came

but yesternight  when=when yesternight

athwart=going against our proceedings

A post from Wales loaden with heavy news,

Whose worst was that the noble Mortimer,

Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight

Against the irregular and wild Glendower,

Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,

[and] A thousand of his people butcherèd,

Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse,

Such beastly shameless transformation

By those Welshwomen done, as may not be

Without much shame retold or spoken of.

 

WESTMORELAND

My liege, this haste was hot in question,

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

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

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

broil=turmoil

Brake off our business for the Holy Land.

 

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,

For more uneven and unwelcome news

uneven=unsettling

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,

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

them=news (plural)

And pride of their contention did take horse,

Uncertain of the issue any way.

 

WESTMORELAND

This matched with other did, my gracious lord.

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,

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

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

variation of each soil=different kinds of mud

Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours,

And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.

The Earl of Douglas is discomfited;

discomfited=defeated

Ten thousand bold Scots, two-and-twenty knights,

Balked in their own blood, did Sir Walter see

balked=piled up

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?

A gallant prize? Ha, cousin, is it not?

 

KING

Here is a dear, a true-industrious friend,

Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse.

Stained with the variation of each soil

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

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?

A gallant prize? Ha, cousin, is it not?

 

WESTMORELAND

In faith, it is a conquest for a prince to boast of.

 

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,

A son who is the theme of Honor’s tongue,

Amongst a grove the very straightest plant,

plant=tree

Who is sweet Fortune’s minion and her pride;

minion=darling

Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him,

See riot and dishonor stain the brow

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

And called mine “Percy,” his “Plantagenet”!

Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.

But let him from my thoughts. What think you, coz,

let him=release him

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.

(Hotspur (Harry Percy) is keeping the prisoners that he captured, whereas  policy requires that he turn them over to the king)

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,

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

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,

And called mine “Percy,” his “Plantagenet”!

Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.

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

This is his uncle’s teaching. This is Worcester,

Malevolent to you in all aspects,

Which makes him prune himself and bristle up

prune  himself=trim his feathers (like a bird)

The crest of youth against your dignity.

dignity=dignified age

 

WESTMORELAND

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,

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.

so inform=of this matter inform

But come yourself with speed to us again,

For more is to be said and to be done

Than out of anger can be utterèd.

out of anger=in anger at Hotspur

 

KING

But I have sent for him to answer this.

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,

For more is to be said and to be done

Than out of anger can be utterèd.

 

WESTMORELAND

I will, my liege.

 

WESTMORELAND

I will, my liege.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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