William Shakespeare, The Histories
(Oxford, 1916)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  
[Created: 1 August, 2021]
[Updated: February 6, 2023 ]
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This title is part of “The Guillaumin Collection” within “The Digital Library of Liberty and Power”. It has been more richly coded and has some features which other titles in the library do not have, such as the original page numbers, formatting which makes it look as much like the original text as possible, and a citation tool which makes it possible for scholars to link to an individual paragraph which is of interest to them. These titles are also available in a variety of eBook formats for reading on portable devices.

William Shakespeare, The Complete Works (London: Oxford University Press, 1916).http://davidmhart.com/liberty/OtherWorks/Shakespeare/1916-OxfordCompleteWorks/EnhancedHTMLversion/Shakespeare_Histories1916.html


This book is part of a collection of works by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).


Editor’s Note

This “enhanced HTML” version of the plays is taken from The Complete Works of William Shakespeare edited by Craig and published by OUP in 1916. Because of the length of the book and the complexities of the coding I have taken the plays and split them into into three parts following the practice of the First Folio edition: The Comedies, The Histories, and The Tragedies. The entire book (which also includes the poems) with a simpler coding can be found here in HTML and facs. PDF [125.3 MB].

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (London: Oxford University Press, 1916).

For the component parts, see:



Table of Contents (abbreviated)




Table of Contents (full)




Shakespeare's The Histories



King John.
Prince Henry, Son to the King.
Arthur, Duke of Britaine, Nephew to the King.
The Earl of Pembroke.
The Earl of Essex.
The Earl of Salisbury.
The Lord Bigot.
Hubert de Burgh.
Robert Faulconbridge, Son to Sir Robert Faulconbridge.
Philip the Bastard, his half-brother.
James Gurney, Servant to Lady Faulconbridge.
Peter of Pomfret, a Prophet.
Philip, King of France.
Lewis, the Dauphin.
Lymoges, Duke of Austria.
Cardinal Pandulph, the Pope’s Legate.
Melun, a French Lord.
Chatillon, Ambassador from France.
Queen Elinor, Mother to King John.
Constance, Mother to Arthur.
Blanch of Spain, Niece to King John.
Lady Faulconbridge.
Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.



Scene.Sometimes in England, and sometimes in France.


Scene I.— A Room of State in the Palace.

Enter King John, Queen Elinor, Pembroke, Essex, Salisbury, and Others, with Chatillon.

K. John.

Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?


Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of France,

In my behaviour, to the majesty,

The borrow’d majesty of England here.  4


A strange beginning; ‘borrow’d majesty!’

K. John.

Silence, good mother; hear the embassy.


Philip of France, in right and true behalf

Of thy deceased brother Geffrey’s son,  8

Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim

To this fair island and the territories,

To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine;

Desiring thee to lay aside the sword  12

Which sways usurpingly these several titles,

And put the same into young Arthur’s hand,

Thy nephew and right royal sovereign.

K. John.

What follows if we disallow of this?


The proud control of fierce and bloody war,  17

To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld.

K. John.

Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,

Controlment for controlment: so answer France.


Then take my king’s defiance from my mouth,  21

The furthest limit of my embassy.

K. John.

Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace:

Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;  24

For ere thou canst report I will be there,

The thunder of my cannon shall be heard.

So, hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath

And sullen presage of your own decay.  28

An honourable conduct let him have:

Pembroke, look to’t. Farewell, Chatillon.

[Exeunt Chatillon and Pembroke.


What now, my son! have I not ever said

How that ambitious Constance would not cease

Till she had kindled France and all the world  33

Upon the right and party of her son?

This might have been prevented and made whole

With very easy arguments of love,  36

Which now the manage of two kingdoms must

With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.

K. John.

Our strong possession and our right for us.


Your strong possession much more than your right,  40

Or else it must go wrong, with you and me:

So much my conscience whispers in your ear,

Which none but heaven and you and I shall hear.

Enter a Sheriff, who whispers Essex.


My liege, here is the strangest controversy,  44

Come from the country to be judg’d by you,

That e’er I heard: shall I produce the men?

K. John.

Let them approach.

[Exit Sheriff.

Our abbeys and our priories shall pay  48

This expedition’s charge.

Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert Faulconbridge and Philip, his Bastard Brother.

What men are you?


Your faithful subject I, a gentleman

Born in Northamptonshire, and eldest son,

As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge,  52

A soldier, by the honour-giving hand

Of Cœur-de-Lion knighted in the field.

K. John.

What art thou?


The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge.  56

K. John.

Is that the elder, and art thou the heir?

You came not of one mother then, it seems.


Most certain of one mother, mighty king,

That is well known: and, as I think, one father:

But for the certain knowledge of that truth  61

I put you o’er to heaven and to my mother:

Of that I doubt, as all men’s children may.


Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy mother  64

And wound her honour with this diffidence.


I, madam? no, I have no reason for it;

That is my brother’s plea and none of mine;

The which if he can prove, a’ pops me out  68

At least from fair five hundred pound a year:

Heaven guard my mother’s honour and my land!

K. John.

A good blunt fellow. Why, being younger born,

Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?  72


I know not why, except to get the land.

But once he slander’d me with bastardy:

But whe’r I be as true-begot or no,

That still I lay upon my mother’s head;  76

But that I am as well-begot, my liege,—

Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!—

Compare our faces and be judge yourself.

If old Sir Robert did beget us both,  80

And were our father, and this son like him;

O old Sir Robert, father, on my knee

I give heaven thanks I was not like to thee!

K. John.

Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us here!  84


He hath a trick of Cœur-de-Lion’s face;

The accent of his tongue affecteth him.

Do you not read some tokens of my son

In the large composition of this man?  88

K. John.

Mine eye hath well examined his parts,

And finds them perfect Richard. Sirrah, speak:

What doth move you to claim your brother’s land?


Because he hath a half-face, like my father.  92

With half that face would he have all my land;

A half-fac’d groat five hundred pound a year!


My gracious liege, when that my father liv’d,

Your brother did employ my father much,—  96


Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land:

Your tale must be how he employ’d my mother.


And once dispatch’d him in an embassy

To Germany, there with the emperor  100

To treat of high affairs touching that time.

The advantage of his absence took the king,

And in the mean time sojourn’d at my father’s;

Where how he did prevail I shame to speak,  104

But truth is truth: large lengths of seas and shores

Between my father and my mother lay,—

As I have heard my father speak himself,—

When this same lusty gentleman was got.  108

Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath’d

His lands to me, and took it on his death

That this my mother’s son was none of his;

An if he were, he came into the world  112

Full fourteen weeks before the course of time.

Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine,

My father’s land, as was my father’s will.

K. John.

Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;

Your father’s wife did after wedlock bear him,

And if she did play false, the fault was hers;

Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands

That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother,

Who, as you say, took pains to get this son,  121

Had of your father claim’d this son for his?

In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept

This calf bred from his cow from all the world;

In sooth he might: then, if he were my brother’s,

My brother might not claim him; nor your father,

Being none of his, refuse him: this concludes;

My mother’s son did get your father’s heir;  128

Your father’s heir must have your father’s land.


Shall then my father’s will be of no force

To dispossess that child which is not his?


Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,

Than was his will to get me, as I think.  133


Whe’r hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge

And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land,

Or the reputed son of Cœur-de-Lion,  136

Lord of thy presence and no land beside?


Madam, an if my brother had my shape,

And I had his, Sir Robert his, like him;

And if my legs were two such riding-rods,  140

My arms such eel-skins stuff’d, my face so thin

That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose

Lest men should say, ‘Look, where three-far-things goes!’

And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,  144

Would I might never stir from off this place,

I’d give it every foot to have this face:

I would not be Sir Nob in any case.


I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy fortune,  148

Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me?

I am a soldier and now bound to France.


Brother, take you my land, I’ll take my chance.

Your face hath got five hundred pounds a year,

Yet sell your face for five pence and ’tis dear.

Madam, I’ll follow you unto the death.


Nay, I would have you go before me thither.


Our country manners give our betters way.  156

K. John.

What is thy name?


Philip, my liege, so is my name begun;

Philip, good old Sir Robert’s wife’s eldest son.

K. John.

From henceforth bear his name whose form thou bearest:  160

Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great;

Arise Sir Richard, and Plantagenet.


Brother by the mother’s side, give me your hand:

My father gave me honour, yours gave land.  164

Now blessed be the hour, by night or day,

When I was got, Sir Robert was away!


The very spirit of Plantagenet!

I am thy grandam, Richard: call me so.  168


Madam, by chance but not by truth; what though?

Something about, a little from the right,

In at the window, or else o’er the hatch:

Who dares not stir by day must walk by night,

And have is have, however men do catch.  173

Near or far off, well won is still well shot,

And I am I, howe’er I was begot.

K. John.

Go, Faulconbridge: now hast thou thy desire;  176

A landless knight makes thee a landed squire.

Come, madam, and come, Richard: we must speed

For France, for France, for it is more than need.


Brother, adieu: good fortune come to thee!  180

For thou wast got i’ the way of honesty.

[Exeunt all but the Bastard.

A foot of honour better than I was,

But many a many foot of land the worse.

Well, now can I make any Joan a lady.  184

‘Good den, Sir Richard!’ ‘God-a-mercy, fellow!’

And if his name be George, I’ll call him Peter;

For new-made honour doth forget men’s names:

’Tis too respective and too sociable  188

For your conversion. Now your traveller,

He and his toothpick at my worship’s mess,

And when my knightly stomach is suffic’d,

Why then I suck my teeth, and catechize  192

My picked man of countries: ‘My dear sir,’—

Thus, leaning on mine elbow, I begin,—

‘I shall beseech you,’—that is question now;

And then comes answer like an absey-book:  196

‘O, sir,’ says answer, ‘at your best command;

At your employment; at your service, sir:’

‘No, sir,’ says question, ‘I, sweet sir, at yours:’

And so, ere answer knows what question would,

Saving in dialogue of compliment,  201

And talking of the Alps and Apennines,

The Pyrenean and the river Po,

It draws toward supper in conclusion so.  204

But this is worshipful society

And fits the mounting spirit like myself;

For he is but a bastard to the time,

That doth not smack of observation;  208

And so am I, whether I smack or no;

And not alone in habit and device,

Exterior form, outward accoutrement,

But from the inward motion to deliver  212

Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age’s tooth:

Which, though I will not practise to deceive,

Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;

For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising.  216

But who comes in such haste in riding-robes?

What woman-post is this? hath she no husband

That will take pains to blow a horn before her?

Enter Lady Faulconbridge and James Gurney.

O me! it is my mother. How now, good lady!

What brings you here to court so hastily?  221

Lady F.

Where is that slave, thy brother? where is he,

That holds in chase mine honour up and down?


My brother Robert? old Sir Robert’s son?  224

Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man?

Is it Sir Robert’s son that you seek so?

Lady F.

Sir Robert’s son! Ay, thou unreverend boy,

Sir Robert’s son: why scorn’st thou at Sir Robert?  228

He is Sir Robert’s son, and so art thou.


James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave awhile?


Good leave, good Philip.


Philip! sparrow! James,

There’s toys abroad: anon I’ll tell thee more.

[Exit Gurney.

Madam, I was not old Sir Robert’s son:  233

Sir Robert might have eat his part in me

Upon Good-Friday and ne’er broke his fast.

Sir Robert could do well: marry, to confess,  236

Could he get me? Sir Robert could not do it:

We know his handiwork: therefore, good mother,

To whom am I beholding for these limbs?

Sir Robert never holp to make this leg.  240

Lady F.

Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,

That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honour?

What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?


Knight, knight, good mother, Basilisco-like.  244

What! I am dubb’d; I have it on my shoulder.

But, mother, I am not Sir Robert’s son;

I have disclaim’d Sir Robert and my land;

Legitimation, name, and all is gone.  248

Then, good my mother, let me know my father;

Some proper man, I hope; who was it, mother?

Lady F.

Hast thou denied thyself a Faulconbridge?


As faithfully as I deny the devil.  252

Lady F.

King Richard Cœur-de-Lion was thy father:

By long and vehement suit I was seduc’d

To make room for him in my husband’s bed.

Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge!

Thou art the issue of my dear offence,  257

Which was so strongly urg’d past my defence.


Now, by this light, were I to get again,

Madam, I would not wish a better father.  260

Some sins do bear their privilege on earth,

And so doth yours; your fault was not your folly:

Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,

Subjected tribute to commanding love,  264

Against whose fury and unmatched force

The aweless lion could not wage the fight,

Nor keep his princely heart from Richard’s hand.

He that perforce robs lions of their hearts  268

May easily win a woman’s. Ay, my mother,

With all my heart I thank thee for my father!

Who lives and dares but say thou didst not well

When I was got, I’ll send his soul to hell.  272

Come, lady, I will show thee to my kin;

And they shall say, when Richard me begot,

If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin:

Who says it was, he lies: I say, ’twas not.  276



Scene I.— France. Before the Walls of Angiers.

Enter, on one side, the Duke of Austria, and Forces; on the other, Philip, King of France, and Forces, Lewis, Constance, Arthur, and Attendants.

K. Phi.

Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.

Arthur, that great forerunner of thy blood,

Richard, that robb’d the lion of his heart

And fought the holy wars in Palestine,  4

By this brave duke came early to his grave:

And, for amends to his posterity,

At our importance hither is he come,

To spread his colours, boy, in thy behalf,  8

And to rebuke the usurpation

Of thy unnatural uncle, English John:

Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.


God shall forgive you Cœur-de-Lion’s death  12

The rather that you give his offspring life,

Shadowing their right under your wings of war.

I give you welcome with a powerless hand,

But with a heart full of unstained love:  16

Welcome before the gates of Angiers, duke.

K. Phi.

A noble boy! Who would not do thee right?


Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,

As seal to this indenture of my love,  20

That to my home I will no more return

Till Angiers, and the right thou hast in France,

Together with that pale, that white-fac’d shore,

Whose foot spurns back the ocean’s roaring tides  24

And coops from other lands her islanders,

Even till that England, hedg’d in with the main,

That water-walled bulwark, still secure

And confident from foreign purposes,  28

Even till that utmost corner of the west

Salute thee for her king: till then, fair boy,

Will I not think of home, but follow arms.


O! take his mother’s thanks, a widow’s thanks,  32

Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength

To make a more requital to your love.


The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords

In such a just and charitable war.  36

K. Phi.

Well then, to work: our cannon shall be bent

Against the brows of this resisting town.

Call for our chiefest men of discipline,

To cull the plots of best advantages:  40

We’ll lay before this town our royal bones,

Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen’s blood,

But we will make it subject to this boy.


Stay for an answer to your embassy,

Lest unadvis’d you stain your swords with blood.

My Lord Chatillon may from England bring

That right in peace which here we urge in war;

And then we shall repent each drop of blood  48

That hot rash haste so indirectly shed.

Enter Chatillon.

K. Phi.

A wonder, lady! lo, upon thy wish,

Our messenger, Chatillon, is arriv’d!

What England says, say briefly, gentle lord;  52

We coldly pause for thee; Chatillon, speak.


Then turn your forces from this paltry siege

And stir them up against a mightier task.

England, impatient of your just demands,  56

Hath put himself in arms: the adverse winds,

Whose leisure I have stay’d, have given him time

To land his legions all as soon as I;

His marches are expedient to this town,  60

His forces strong, his soldiers confident.

With him along is come the mother-queen,

An Ate, stirring him to blood and strife;

With her her niece, the Lady Blanch of Spain;

With them a bastard of the king’s deceas’d;  65

And all the unsettled humours of the land,

Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,

With ladies’ faces and fierce dragons’ spleens,  68

Have sold their fortunes at their native homes,

Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,

To make a hazard of new fortunes here.

In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits  72

Than now the English bottoms have waft o’er

Did never float upon the swelling tide,

To do offence and scathe in Christendom.

[Drums heard within.

The interruption of their churlish drums  76

Cuts off more circumstance: they are at hand,

To parley or to fight; therefore prepare.

K. Phi.

How much unlook’d for is this expedition!


By how much unexpected, by so much

We must awake endeavour for defence,  81

For courage mounteth with occasion:

Let them be welcome then, we are prepar’d.

Enter King John, Elinor, Blanch, the Bastard, Lords, and Forces.

K. John.

Peace be to France, if France in peace permit  84

Our just and lineal entrance to our own;

If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven,

Whiles we, God’s wrathful agent, do correct

Their proud contempt that beats his peace to heaven.  88

K. Phi.

Peace be to England, if that war return

From France to England, there to live in peace.

England we love; and, for that England’s sake

With burden of our armour here we sweat:  92

This toil of ours should be a work of thine;

But thou from loving England art so far

That thou hast under-wrought his lawful king,

Cut off the sequence of posterity,  96

Out-faced infant state, and done a rape

Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.

Look here upon thy brother Geffrey’s face:

These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his;  100

This little abstract doth contain that large

Which died in Geffrey, and the hand of time

Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.

That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,  104

And this his son; England was Geffrey’s right

And this is Geffrey’s. In the name of God

How comes it then that thou art call’d a king,

When living blood doth in these temples beat,

Which owe the crown that thou o’ermasterest?

K. John.

From whom hast thou this great commission, France,

To draw my answer from thy articles?

K. Phi.

From that supernal judge, that stirs good thoughts  112

In any breast of strong authority,

To look into the blots and stains of right:

That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:

Under whose warrant I impeach thy wrong,  116

And by whose help I mean to chastise it.

K. John.

Alack! thou dost usurp authority.

K. Phi.

Excuse; it is to beat usurping down.


Who is it thou dost call usurper, France?  120


Let me make answer; thy usurping son.


Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king,

That thou mayst be a queen, and check the world!


My bed was ever to thy son as true

As thine was to thy husband, and this boy  125

Liker in feature to his father Geffrey

Than thou and John in manners; being as like

As rain to water, or devil to his dam.  128

My boy a bastard! By my soul I think

His father never was so true begot:

It cannot be an if thou wert his mother.


There’s a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.  132


There’s a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.




Hear the crier.


What the devil art thou?


One that will play the devil, sir, with you,

An a’ may catch your hide and you alone.  136

You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,

Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard.

I’ll smoke your skin coat, an I catch you right.

Sirrah, look to’t; i’ faith, I will, i’ faith.  140


O! well did he become that lion’s robe,

That did disrobe the lion of that robe.


It lies as sightly on the back of him

As great Alcides’ shows upon an ass:  144

But, ass, I’ll take that burden from your back,

Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.


What cracker is this same that deafs our ears

With this abundance of superfluous breath?  148

King,—Lewis, determine what we shall do straight.

K. Phil.

Women and fools, break off your conference.

King John, this is the very sum of all:

England and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,

In right of Arthur do I claim of thee.  153

Wilt thou resign them and lay down thy arms?

K. John.

My life as soon: I do defy thee, France.

Arthur of Britaine, yield thee to my hand;  156

And out of my dear love I’ll give thee more

Than e’er the coward hand of France can win.

Submit thee, boy.


Come to thy grandam, child.


Do, child, go to it grandam, child;  160

Give grandam kingdom, and it grandam will

Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig:

There’s a good grandam.


Good my mother, peace!

I would that I were low laid in my grave:  164

I am not worth this coil that’s made for me.


His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.


Now shame upon you, whe’r she does or no!

His grandam’s wrongs, and not his mother’s shames,  168

Draw those heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes,

Which heaven shall take in nature of a fee;

Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be brib’d

To do him justice and revenge on you.  172


Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!


Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!

Call not me slanderer; thou and thine usurp

The dominations, royalties, and rights  176

Of this oppressed boy: this is thy eld’st son’s son,

Infortunate in nothing but in thee:

Thy sins are visited in this poor child;

The canon of the law is laid on him,  180

Being but the second generation

Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb.

K. John.

Bedlam, have done.


I have but this to say,

That he’s not only plagued for her sin,  184

But God hath made her sin and her the plague

On this removed issue, plagu’d for her,

And with her plague, her sin; his injury

Her injury, the beadle to her sin,  188

All punish’d in the person of this child,

And all for her. A plague upon her!


Thou unadvised scold, I can produce

A will that bars the title of thy son.  192


Ay, who doubts that? a will! a wicked will;

A woman’s will; a canker’d grandam’s will!

K. Phi.

Peace, lady! pause, or be more temperate:

It ill beseems this presence to cry aim  196

To these ill-tuned repetitions.

Some trumpet summon hither to the walls

These men of Angiers: let us hear them speak

Whose title they admit, Arthur’s or John’s.  200

Trumpet sounds. Enter Citizens upon the Walls.

First Cit.

Who is it that hath warn’d us to the walls?

K. Phi.

’Tis France, for England.

K. John.

England for itself.

You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects,—

K. Phi.

You loving men of Angiers, Arthur’s subjects,  204

Our trumpet call’d you to this gentle parle,—

K. John.

For our advantage; therefore hear us first.

These flags of France, that are advanced here

Before the eye and prospect of your town,  208

Have hither march’d to your endamagement:

The cannons have their bowels full of wrath,

And ready mounted are they to spit forth

Their iron indignation ’gainst your walls:  212

All preparation for a bloody siege

And merciless proceeding by these French

Confronts your city’s eyes, your winking gates;

And but for our approach those sleeping stones,

That as a waist do girdle you about,  217

By the compulsion of their ordinance

By this time from their fixed beds of lime

Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made  220

For bloody power to rush upon your peace.

But on the sight of us your lawful king,—

Who painfully with much expedient march

Have brought a countercheck before your gates,

To save unscratch’d your city’s threaten’d cheeks,—  225

Behold, the French amaz’d vouchsafe a parle;

And now, instead of bullets wrapp’d in fire,

To make a shaking fever in your walls,  228

They shoot but calm words folded up in smoke,

To make a faithless error in your ears:

Which trust accordingly, kind citizens,

And let us in, your king, whose labour’d spirits,

Forwearied in this action of swift speed,  233

Crave harbourage within your city walls.

K. Phi.

When I have said, make answer to us both.

Lo! in this right hand, whose protection  236

Is most divinely vow’d upon the right

Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet,

Son to the elder brother of this man,

And king o’er him and all that he enjoys:  240

For this down-trodden equity, we tread

In war-like march these greens before your town,

Being no further enemy to you

Than the constraint of hospitable zeal,  244

In the relief of this oppressed child,

Religiously provokes. Be pleased then

To pay that duty which you truly owe

To him that owes it, namely, this young prince;

And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear,  249

Save in aspect, have all offence seal’d up;

Our cannons’ malice vainly shall be spent

Against the invulnerable clouds of heaven;  252

And with a blessed and unvex’d retire,

With unhack’d swords and helmets all unbruis’d,

We will bear home that lusty blood again

Which here we came to spout against your town,  256

And leave your children, wives, and you, in peace.

But if you fondly pass our proffer’d offer,

’Tis not the roundure of your old-fac’d walls

Can hide you from our messengers of war,  260

Though all these English and their discipline

Were harbour’d in their rude circumference.

Then tell us, shall your city call us lord,

In that behalf which we have challeng’d it?  264

Or shall we give the signal to our rage

And stalk in blood to our possession?

First Cit.

In brief, we are the King of England’s subjects:

For him, and in his right, we hold this town.  268

K. John.

Acknowledge then the king, and let me in.

First Cit.

That can we not; but he that proves the king,

To him will we prove loyal: till that time

Have we ramm’d up our gates against the world.

K. John.

Doth not the crown of England prove the king?  273

And if not that, I bring you witnesses,

Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England’s breed,—


Bastards, and else.  276

K. John.

To verify our title with their lives.

K. Phi.

As many and as well-born bloods as those,—


Some bastards too.

K. Phi.

Stand in his face to contradict his claim.  280

First Cit.

Till thou compound whose right is worthiest,

We for the worthiest hold the right from both.

K. John.

Then God forgive the sins of all those souls

That to their everlasting residence,  284

Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,

In dreadful trial of our kingdom’s king!

K. Phi.

Amen, Amen! Mount, chevaliers! to arms!


Saint George, that swing’d the dragon, and e’er since  288

Sits on his horse back at mine hostess’ door,

Teach us some fence! [To Austria.] Sirrah, were I at home,

At your den, sirrah, with your lioness,

I would set an ox-head to your lion’s hide,  292

And make a monster of you.


Peace! no more.


O! tremble, for you hear the lion roar.

K. John.

Up higher to the plain; where we’ll set forth

In best appointment all our regiments.  296


Speed then, to take advantage of the field.

K. Phi.

It shall be so; [To Lewis.] and at the other hill

Command the rest to stand. God, and our right!


Alarums and excursions; then a retreat. Enter a French Herald, with trumpets, to the gates.

F. Her.

You men of Angiers, open wide your gates,  300

And let young Arthur, Duke of Britaine, in,

Who, by the hand of France this day hath made

Much work for tears in many an English mother,

Whose sons he scatter’d on the bleeding ground;

Many a widow’s husband grovelling lies,  305

Coldly embracing the discolour’d earth;

And victory, with little loss, doth play

Upon the dancing banners of the French,  308

Who are at hand, triumphantly display’d,

To enter conquerors and to proclaim

Arthur of Britaine England’s king and yours.

Enter English Herald, with trumpets.

E. Her.

Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells;  312

King John, your king and England’s, doth approach,

Commander of this hot malicious day.

Their armours, that march’d hence so silver-bright,

Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen’s blood;

There stuck no plume in any English crest  317

That is removed by a staff of France;

Our colours do return in those same hands

That did display them when we first march’d forth;  320

And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, come

Our lusty English, all with purpled hands

Dy’d in the dying slaughter of their foes.

Open your gates and give the victors way.  324

First Cit.

Heralds, from off our towers we might behold,

From first to last, the onset and retire

Of both your armies; whose equality

By our best eyes cannot be censured:  328

Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answer’d blows;

Strength match’d with strength, and power confronted power:

Both are alike; and both alike we like.

One must prove greatest: while they weigh so even,  332

We hold our town for neither, yet for both.

Re-enter the two Kings, with their powers, severally.

K. John.

France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away?

Say, shall the current of our right run on?

Whose passage, vex’d with thy impediment,  336

Shall leave his native channel and o’erswell

With course disturb’d even thy conflning shores,

Unless thou let his silver water keep

A peaceful progress to the ocean.  340

K. Phi.

England, thou hast not sav’d one drop of blood,

In this hot trial, more than we of France;

Rather, lost more: and by this hand I swear,

That sways the earth this climate overlooks,  344

Before we will lay down our just-borne arms,

We’ll put thee down, ’gainst whom these arms we bear,

Or add a royal number to the dead,

Gracing the scroll that tells of this war’s loss  348

With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.


Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers

When the rich blood of kings is set on fire!

O! now doth Death line his dead chaps with steel;  352

The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs;

And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men,

In undetermin’d differences of kings.

Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus?  356

Cry ‘havoc!’ kings; back to the stained field,

You equal-potents, fiery-kindled spirits!

Then let confusion of one part confirm

The other’s peace; till then, blows, blood, and death!  360

K. John.

Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?

K. Phi.

Speak, citizens, for England; who’s your king?

First Cit.

The King of England, when we know the king.

K. Phi.

Know him in us, that here hold up his right.  364

K. John.

In us, that are our own great deputy,

And bear possession of our person here,

Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.

First Cit.

A greater power than we denies all this;  368

And, till it be undoubted, we do lock

Our former scruple in our strong-barr’d gates,

Kings of ourselves; until our fears, resolv’d,

Be by some certain king purg’d and depos’d.  372


By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, kings,

And stand securely on their battlements

As in a theatre, whence they gape and point

At your industrious scenes and acts of death.  376

Your royal presences be rul’d by me:

Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,

Be friends awhile and both conjointly bend

Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town.  380

By east and west let France and England mount

Their battering cannon charged to the mouths,

Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawl’d down

The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city:  384

I’d play incessantly upon these jades,

Even till unfenced desolation

Leave them as naked as the vulgar air.

That done, dissever your united strengths,  388

And part your mingled colours once again;

Turn face to face and bloody point to point;

Then, in a moment, Fortune shall cull forth

Out of one side her happy minion,  392

To whom in favour she shall give the day,

And kiss him with a glorious victory.

How like you this wild counsel, mighty states?

Smacks it not something of the policy?  396

K. John.

Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,

I like it well. France, shall we knit our powers

And lay this Angiers even with the ground;

Then after fight who shall be king of it?  400


An if thou hast the mettle of a king,

Being wrong’d as we are by this peevish town,

Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,

As we will ours, against these saucy walls;  404

And when that we have dash’d them to the ground,

Why then defy each other, and, pell-mell,

Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell.

K. Phi.

Let it be so. Say, where will you assault?  408

K. John.

We from the west will send destruction

Into this city’s bosom.


I from the north.

K. Phi.

Our thunder from the south

Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.  412


O, prudent discipline! From north to south

Austria and France shoot in each other’s mouth:

I’ll stir them to it. Come, away, away!

First Cit.

Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe a while to stay,  416

And I shall show you peace and fair-fac’d league;

Win you this city without stroke or wound;

Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds,

That here come sacrifices for the field.  420

Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.

K. John.

Speak on with favour: we are bent to hear.

First Cit.

That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanch,

Is near to England: look upon the years  424

Of Lewis the Dauphin and that lovely maid.

If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,

Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch?

If zealous love should go in search of virtue,  428

Where should he find it purer than in Blanch?

If love ambitious sought a match of birth,

Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanch?

Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,  432

Is the young Dauphin every way complete:

If not complete of, say he is not she;

And she again wants nothing, to name want,

If want it be not that she is not he:  436

He is the half part of a blessed man,

Left to be finished by such a she;

And she a fair divided excellence,

Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.  440

O! two such silver currents, when they join,

Do glorify the banks that bound them in;

And two such shores to two such streams made one,

Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings,  444

To these two princes, if you marry them.

This union shall do more than battery can

To our fast-closed gates; for at this match,

With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,  448

The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope,

And give you entrance; but without this match,

The sea enraged is not half so deaf,

Lions more confident, mountains and rocks  452

More free from motion, no, not death himself

In mortal fury half so peremptory,

As we to keep this city.


Here’s a stay,

That shakes the rotten carcase of old Death  456

Out of his rags! Here’s a large mouth, indeed,

That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and seas,

Talks as familiarly of roaring lions

As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs.  460

What cannoneer begot this lusty blood?

He speaks plain cannon fire, and smoke and bounce;

He gives the bastinado with his tongue;

Our ears are cudgell’d; not a word of his  464

But buffets better than a fist of France.

’Zounds! I was never so bethump’d with words

Since I first call’d my brother’s father dad.


[Aside to King John.] Son, list to this conjunction, make this match;  468

Give with our niece a dowry large enough;

For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie

Thy now unsur’d assurance to the crown,

That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe  472

The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit.

I see a yielding in the looks of France;

Mark how they whisper: urge them while their souls

Are capable of this ambition,  476

Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath

Of soft petitions, pity and remorse,

Cool and congeal again to what it was.

First Cit.

Why answer not the double majesties  480

This friendly treaty of our threaten’d town?

K. Phi.

Speak England first, that hath been forward first

To speak unto this city: what say you?

K. John.

If that the Dauphin there, thy princely son,  484

Can in this book of beauty read ‘I love,’

Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen:

For Anjou, and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers,

And all that we upon this side the sea,—  488

Except this city now by us besieg’d,—

Find liable to our crown and dignity,

Shall gild her bridal bed and make her rich

In titles, honours, and promotions,  492

As she in beauty, education, blood,

Holds hand with any princess of the world.

K. Phi.

What sayst thou, boy? look in the lady’s face.


I do, my lord; and in her eye I find  496

A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,

The shadow of myself form’d in her eye;

Which, being but the shadow of your son

Becomes a sun, and makes your son a shadow:

I do protest I never lov’d myself  501

Till now infixed I beheld myself,

Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.

[Whispers with Blanch.


Drawn in the flattering table of her eye!

Hang’d in the frowning wrinkle of her brow!

And quarter’d in her heart! he doth espy

Himself love’s traitor: this is pity now,

That hang’d and drawn and quarter’d, there should be  508

In such a love so vile a lout as he.


My uncle’s will in this respect is mine:

If he see aught in you that makes him like,

That anything he sees, which moves his liking,

I can with ease translate it to my will;  513

Or if you will, to speak more properly,

I will enforce it easily to my love.

Further I will not flatter you, my lord,  516

That all I see in you is worthy love,

Than this: that nothing do I see in you,

Though churlish thoughts themselves should be your judge,

That I can find should merit any hate.  520

K. John.

What say these young ones? What say you, my niece?


That she is bound in honour still to do

What you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say.

K. John.

Speak then, Prince Dauphin; can you love this lady?  524


Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love;

For I do love her most unfeignedly.

K. John.

Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, Maine,

Poictiers, and Anjou, these five provinces,  528

With her to thee; and this addition more,

Full thirty thousand marks of English coin.

Philip of France, if thou be pleas’d withal,

Command thy son and daughter to join hands.

K. Phi.

It likes us well. Young princes, close your hands.  533


And your lips too; for I am well assur’d

That I did so when I was first assur’d.

K. Phi.

Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates,  536

Let in that amity which you have made;

For at Saint Mary’s chapel presently

The rites of marriage shall be solemniz’d.

Is not the Lady Constance in this troop?  540

I know she is not; for this match made up

Her presence would have interrupted much:

Where is she and her son? tell me, who knows.


She is sad and passionate at your highness’ tent.  544

K. Phi.

And, by my faith, this league that we have made

Will give her sadness very little cure.

Brother of England, how may we content

This widow lady? In her right we came;  548

Which we, God knows, have turn’d another way,

To our own vantage.

K. John.

We will heal up all;

For we’ll create young Arthur Duke of Britaine

And Earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town

We make him lord of. Call the Lady Constance:

Some speedy messenger bid her repair

To our solemnity: I trust we shall,

If not fill up the measure of her will,  556

Yet in some measure satisfy her so,

That we shall stop her exclamation.

Go we, as well as haste will suffer us,

To this unlook’d-for unprepared pomp.  560

[Exeunt all except the Bastard. The Citizens retire from the walls.


Mad world! mad kings! mad composition!

John, to stop Arthur’s title in the whole,

Hath willingly departed with a part;

And France, whose armour conscience buckled on,  564

Whom zeal and charity brought to the field

As God’s own soldier, rounded in the ear

With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,

That broker, that still breaks the pate of faith,

That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,  569

Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids,

Who having no external thing to lose

But the word ‘maid,’ cheats the poor maid of that,  572

That smooth-fac’d gentleman, tickling Commodity,

Commodity, the bias of the world;

The world, who of itself is peized well,

Made to run even upon even ground,  576

Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,

This sway of motion, this Commodity,

Makes it take head from all indifferency,

From all direction, purpose, course, intent:  580

And this same bias, this Commodity,

This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,

Clapp’d on the outward eye of fickle France,

Hath drawn him from his own determin’d aid,

From a resolv’d and honourable war,  585

To a most base and vile-concluded peace.

And why rail I on this Commodity?

But for because he hath not woo’d me yet.  588

Not that I have the power to clutch my hand

When his fair angels would salute my palm;

But for my hand, as unattempted yet,

Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.  592

Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail,

And say there is no sin but to be rich;

And being rich, my virtue then shall be

To say there is no vice but beggary.  596

Since kings break faith upon Commodity,

Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee!



Scene I.— France. The French King’s Tent.

Enter Constance, Arthur, and Salisbury.


Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace!

False blood to false blood join’d! gone to be friends!

Shall Lewis have Blanch, and Blanch those provinces?

It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard;  4

Be well advis’d, tell o’er thy tale again:

It cannot be; thou dost but say ’tis so.

I trust I may not trust thee, for thy word

Is but the vain breath of a common man:  8

Believe me, I do not believe thee, man;

I have a king’s oath to the contrary.

Thou shalt be punish’d for thus frighting me,

For I am sick and capable of fears;  12

Oppress’d with wrongs, and therefore full of fears;

A widow, husbandless, subject to fears;

A woman, naturally born to fears;

And though thou now confess thou didst but jest,  16

With my vex’d spirits I cannot take a truce,

But they will quake and tremble all this day.

What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head?

Why dost thou look so sadly on my son?  20

What means that hand upon that breast of thine?

Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum,

Like a proud river peering o’er his bounds?

Be these sad signs confirmers of thy words?  24

Then speak again; not all thy former tale,

But this one word, whether thy tale be true.


As true as I believe you think them false

That give you cause to prove my saying true.  28


O! if thou teach me to believe this sorrow,

Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die;

And let belief and life encounter so

As doth the fury of two desperate men  32

Which in the very meeting fall and die.

Lewis marry Blanch! O boy! then where art thou?

France friend with England what becomes of me?

Fellow, be gone! I cannot brook thy sight:  36

This news hath made thee a most ugly man.


What other harm have I, good lady, done,

But spoke the harm that is by others done?


Which harm within itself so heinous is

As it makes harmful all that speak of it.  41


I do beseech you, madam, be content.


If thou, that bidd’st me be content, wert grim,

Ugly and slanderous to thy mother’s womb,  44

Full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains,

Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,

Patch’d with foul moles and eye-offending marks,

I would not care, I then would be content;  48

For then I should not love thee, no, nor thou

Become thy great birth, nor deserve a crown.

But thou art fair; and at thy birth, dear boy,

Nature and Fortune join’d to make thee great:

Of Nature’s gifts thou mayst with lilies boast  53

And with the half-blown rose. But Fortune, O!

She is corrupted, chang’d, and won from thee:

She adulterates hourly with thine uncle John,  56

And with her golden hand hath pluck’d on France

To tread down fair respect of sovereignty,

And made his majesty the bawd to theirs.

France is a bawd to Fortune and King John,  60

That strumpet Fortune, that usurping John!

Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn?

Envenom him with words, or get thee gone

And leave those woes alone which I alone  64

Am bound to underbear.


Pardon me, madam,

I may not go without you to the kings.


Thou mayst, thou shalt: I will not go with thee.

I will instruct my sorrows to be proud;  68

For grief is proud and makes his owner stoop.

To me and to the state of my great grief

Let kings assemble; for my grief’s so great

That no supporter but the huge firm earth  72

Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit;

Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.

[Seats herself on the ground.

Enter King John, King Philip, Lewis, Blanch, Elinor, the Bastard, Duke of Austria, and Attendants.

K. Phi.

’Tis true, fair daughter; and this blessed day

Ever in France shall be kept festival:  76

To solemnize this day the glorious sun

Stays in his course and plays the alchemist,

Turning with splendour of his precious eye

The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold:  80

The yearly course that brings this day about

Shall never see it but a holiday.


[Rising.] A wicked day, and not a holy day!

What hath this day deserv’d? what hath it done

That it in golden letters should be set  85

Among the high tides in the calendar?

Nay, rather turn this day out of the week,

This day of shame, oppression, perjury:  88

Or, if it must stand still, let wives with child

Pray that their burdens may not fall this day,

Lest that their hopes prodigiously be cross’d:

But on this day let seamen fear no wrack;  92

No bargains break that are not this day made;

This day all things begun come to ill end;

Yea, faith itself to hollow falsehood change!

K. Phi.

By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause  96

To curse the fair proceedings of this day:

Have I not pawn’d to you my majesty?


You have beguil’d me with a counterfeit

Resembling majesty, which, being touch’d and tried,  100

Proves valueless: you are forsworn, forsworn;

You came in arms to spill mine enemies’ blood,

But now in arms you strengthen it with yours:

The grappling vigour and rough frown of war

Is cold in amity and painted peace,  105

And our oppression hath made up this league.

Arm, arm, you heavens, against these perjur’d kings!

A widow cries; be husband to me, heavens!  108

Let not the hours of this ungodly day

Wear out the day in peace; but, ere sunset,

Set armed discord ’twixt these perjur’d kings!

Hear me! O, hear me!


Lady Constance, peace!


War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war.  113

O, Lymoges! O, Austria! thou dost shame

That bloody spoil. thou slave, thou wretch, thou coward!

Thou little valiant, great in villany!  116

Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!

Thou Fortune’s champion, that dost never fight

But when her humorous ladyship is by

To teach thee safety! thou art perjur’d too,  120

And sooth’st up greatness. What a fool art thou,

A ramping fool, to brag, and stamp and swear

Upon my party! Thou cold-blooded slave,

Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side?

Been sworn my soldier? bidding me depend  125

Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength?

And dost thou now fall over to my foes?

Thou wear a hon’s hide! doff it for shame,  128

And hang a calf’s-skin on those recreant limbs.


O! that a man should speak those words to me.


And hang a calf’s-skin on those recreant limbs.


Thou dar’st not say so, villain, for thy life.  132


And hang a calf’s-skin on those recreant limbs.

K. John.

We like not this; thou dost forget thyself.

Enter Pandulph.

K. Phi.

Here comes the holy legate of the pope.


Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven!

To thee, King John, my holy errand is.  137

I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal,

And from Pope Innocent the legate here,

Do in his name religiously demand  140

Why thou against the church, our holy mother,

So wilfully dost spurn; and, force perforce,

Keep Stephen Langton, chosen Archbishop

Of Canterbury, from that holy see?  144

This, in our foresaid holy father’s name,

Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee.

K. John.

What earthly name to interrogatories

Can task the free breath of a sacred king?  148

Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name

So slight, unworthy and ridiculous,

To charge me to an answer, as the pope.

Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of England  152

Add thus much more: that no Italian priest

Shall tithe or toll in our dominions;

But as we under heaven are supreme head,

So under him that great supremacy,  156

Where we do reign, we will alone uphold,

Without the assistance of a mortal hand:

So tell the pope; all reverence set apart

To him, and his usurp’d authority.  160

K. Phi.

Brother of England, you blaspheme in this.

K. John.

Though you and all the kings of Christendom

Are led so grossly by this meddling priest,

Dreading the curse that money may buy out;

And, by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust,  165

Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,

Who in that sale sells pardon from himself;

Though you and all the rest so grossly led  168

This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherish;

Yet I alone, alone do me oppose

Against the pope, and count his friends my foes.


Then, by the lawful power that I have,

Thou shalt stand curs’d and excommunicate:

And blessed shall he be that doth revolt

From his allegiance to a heretic;

And meritorious shall that hand be call’d,  176

Canonized and worshipp’d as a saint,

That takes away by any secret course

Thy hateful life.


O! lawful let it be

That I have room with Rome to curse awhile.

Good father cardinal, cry thou amen  181

To my keen curses; for without my wrong

There is no tongue hath power to curse him right.


There’s law and warrant, lady, for my curse.  184


And for mine too: when law can do no right,

Let it be lawful that law bar no wrong.

Law cannot give my child his kingdom here,

For he that holds his kingdom holds the law:

Therefore, since law itself is perfect wrong,  189

How can the law forbid my tongue to curse?


Philip of France, on peril of a curse,

Let go the hand of that arch-heretic,  192

And raise the power of France upon his head,

Unless he do submit himself to Rome.


Look’st thou pale, France? do not let go thy hand.


Look to that, devil, lest that France repent,  196

And by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul.


King Philip, listen to the cardinal.


And hang a calf’s-skin on his recreant limbs.


Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these wrongs,  200



Your breeches best may carry them.

K. John.

Philip, what sayst thou to the cardinal?


What should he say, but as the cardinal?


Bethink you, father; for the difference

Is purchase of a heavy curse from Rome,  205

Or the light loss of England for a friend:

Forego the easier.


That’s the curse of Rome.


O Lewis, stand fast! the devil tempts thee here,  208

In likeness of a new untrimmed bride.


The Lady Constance speaks not from her faith,

But from her need.


O! if thou grant my need,

Which only lives but by the death of faith,  212

That need must needs infer this principle,

That faith would live again by death of need:

O! then, tread down my need, and faith mounts up;

Keep my need up, and faith is trodden down.

K. John.

The king is mov’d, and answers not to this.  217


O! be remov’d from him, and answer well.


Do so, King Philip: hang no more in doubt.


Hang nothing but a calf’s-skin, most sweet lout.  220

K. Phi.

I am perplex’d, and know not what to say.


What canst thou say but will perplex thee more,

If thou stand excommunicate and curs’d?

K. Phi.

Good reverend father, make my person yours,  224

And tell me how you would bestow yourself.

This royal hand and mine are newly knit,

And the conjunction of our inward souls

Married in league, coupled and link’d together

With all religious strength of sacred vows;  229

The latest breath that gave the sound of words

Was deep-sworn faith, peace, amity, true love,

Between our kingdoms and our royal selves;  232

And even before this truce, but new before,

No longer than we well could wash our hands

To clap this royal bargain up of peace,

Heaven knows, they were besmear’d and overstain’d  236

With slaughter’s pencil, where revenge did paint

The fearful difference of incensed kings:

And shall these hands, so lately purg’d of blood,

So newly join’d in love, so strong in both,  240

Unyoke this seizure and this kind regreet?

Play fast and loose with faith? so jest with heaven,

Make such unconstant children of ourselves,

As now again to snatch our palm from palm,

Unswear faith sworn, and on the marriage-bed

Of smiling peace to march a bloody host,

And make a riot on the gentle brow

Of true sincerity? O! holy sir,  248

My reverend father, let it not be so!

Out of your grace, devise, ordain, impose

Some gentle order, and then we shall be bless’d

To do your pleasure and continue friends.  252


All form is formless, order orderless,

Save what is opposite to England’s love.

Therefore to arms! be champion of our church,

Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse,

A mother’s curse, on her revolting son.  257

France, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue,

A chafed lion by the mortal paw,

A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,  260

Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.

K. Phi.

I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.


So mak’st thou faith an enemy to faith:

And like a civil war sett’st oath to oath,  264

Thy tongue against thy tongue. O! let thy vow

First made to heaven, first be to heaven perform’d;

That is, to be the champion of our church.

What since thou swor’st is sworn against thyself

And may not be performed by thyself;  269

For that which thou hast sworn to do amiss

Is not amiss when it is truly done;

And being not done, where doing tends to ill,

The truth is then most done not doing it.  273

The better act of purposes mistook

Is to mistake again; though indirect,

Yet indirection thereby grows direct,  276

And falsehood falsehood cures, as fire cools fire

Within the scorched veins of one new-burn’d.

It is religion that doth make vows kept;

But thou hast sworn against religion  280

By what thou swear’st, against the thing thou swear’st,

And mak’st an oath the surety for thy truth

Against an oath: the truth thou art unsure

To swear, swears only not to be forsworn;  284

Else what a mockery should it be to swear!

But thou dost swear only to be forsworn;

And most forsworn, to keep what thou dost swear.

Therefore thy later vows against thy first  288

Is in thyself rebellion to thyself;

And better conquest never canst thou make

Than arm thy constant and thy nobler parts

Against these giddy loose suggestions:  292

Upon which better part our prayers come in,

If thou vouchsafe them; but, if not, then know

The peril of our curses light on thee

So heavy as thou shalt not shake them off,  296

But in despair die under their black weight.


Rebellion, flat rebellion!


Will’t not be?

Will not a calf’s-skin stop that mouth of thine?


Father, to arms!


Upon thy wedding-day?  300

Against the blood that thou hast married?

What! shall our feast be kept with slaughter’d men?

Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,

Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?  304

O husband, hear me! ay, alack! how new

Is husband in my mouth; even for that name,

Which till this time my tongue did ne’er pronounce,

Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms  308

Against mine uncle.


O! upon my knee,

Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee,

Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom

Forethought by heaven.  312


Now shall I see thy love: what motive may

Be stronger with thee than the name of wife?


That which upholdeth him that thee upholds,

His honour: O! thine honour, Lewis, thine honour.  316


I muse your majesty doth seem so cold,

When such profound respects do pull you on.


I will denounce a curse upon his head.

K. Phi.

Thou shalt not need. England, I’ll fall from thee.  320


O fair return of banish’d majesty!


O foul revolt of French inconstancy!

K. John.

France, thou shalt rue this hour within this hour.


Old Time the clock-setter, that bald sexton Time,  324

Is it as he will? well then, France shall rue.


The sun’s o’ercast with blood: fair day, adieu!

Which is the side that I must go withal?

I am with both: each army hath a hand;  328

And in their rage, I having hold of both,

They whirl asunder and dismember me.

Husband, I cannot pray that thou mayst win;

Uncle, I needs must pray that thou mayst lose;

Father, I may not wish the fortune thine;  333

Grandam, I will not wish thy wishes thrive:

Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose;

Assured loss before the match be play’d.  336


Lady, with me; with me thy fortune lies.


There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.

K. John.

Cousin, go draw our puissance together.

[Exit Bastard.

France, I am burn’d up with inflaming wrath;

A rage whose heat hath this condition,  341

That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,

The blood, and dearest-valu’d blood of France.

K. Phi.

Thy rage shall burn thee up, and thou shalt turn  344

To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:

Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy.

K. John.

No more than he that threats. To arms let’s hie!


Scene II.— The Same. Plains near Angiers.

Alarums; excursions. Enter the Bastard, with the Duke of Austria’s head.


Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous hot;

Some airy devil hovers in the sky

And pours down mischief. Austria’s head lie there,

While Philip breathes.  4

Enter King John, Arthur, and Hubert.

K. John.

Hubert, keep this boy. Philip, make up,

My mother is assailed in our tent,

And ta’en, I fear.


My lord, I rescu’d her;

Her highness is in safety, fear you not:  8

But on, my liege; for very little pains

Will bring this labour to a happy end.


Scene III.— The Same.

Alarums; excursions; retreat. Enter King John, Elinor, Arthur, the Bastard, Hubert, and Lords.

K. John.

[To Elinor.] So shall it be; your grace shall stay behind

So strongly guarded. [To Arthur.] Cousin, look not sad:

Thy grandam loves thee; and thy uncle will

As dear be to thee as thy father was.  4


O! this will make my mother die with grief.

K. John.

[To the Bastard.] Cousin, away for England! haste before;

And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags

Of hoarding abbots; set at liberty  8

Imprison’d angels: the fat ribs of peace

Must by the hungry now be fed upon:

Use our commission in his utmost force.


Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back  12

When gold and silver becks me to come on.

I leave your highness. Grandam, I will pray,—

If ever I remember to be holy,—

For your fair safety; so I kiss your hand.  16


Farewell, gentle cousin.

K. John.

Coz, farewell.

[Exit Bastard.


Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word.

[She takes Arthur aside.

K. John.

Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,

We owe thee much: within this wall of flesh  20

There is a soul counts thee her creditor,

And with advantage means to pay thy love:

And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath

Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.  24

Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,

But I will fit it with some better time.

By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham’d

To say what good respect I have of thee.  28


I am much bounden to your majesty.

K. John.

Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet;

But thou shalt have; and creep time ne’er so slow,

Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.  32

I had a thing to say, but let it go:

The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,

Attended with the pleasures of the world,

Is all too wanton and too full of gawds  36

To give me audience: if the midnight bell

Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,

Sound one into the drowsy race of night;

If this same were a churchyard where we stand,

And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs;  41

Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,

Had bak’d thy blood and made it heavy-thick,

Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,

Making that idiot, laughter, keep men’s eyes  45

And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,

A passion hateful to my purposes;

Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,  48

Hear me without thine ears, and make reply

Without a tongue, using conceit alone,

Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words;

Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,  52

I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts:

But ah! I will not: yet I love thee well;

And, by my troth, I think thou lov’st me well.


So well, that what you bid me undertake,  56

Though that my death were adjunct to my act,

By heaven, I would do it.

K. John.

Do not I know thou wouldst?

Good Hubert! Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye

On yon young boy: I’ll tell thee what, my friend,  60

He is a very serpent in my way;

And wheresoe’er this foot of mine doth tread

He lies before me: dost thou understand me?

Thou art his keeper.


And I’ll keep him so  64

That he shall not offend your majesty.

K. John.



My lord?

K. John.

A grave.


He shall not live.

K. John.


I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee;

Well, I’ll not say what I intend for thee:  68

Remember. Madam, fare you well:

I’ll send those powers o’er to your majesty.


My blessing go with thee!

K. John.

For England, cousin; go:

Hubert shall be your man, attend on you  72

With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho!


Scene IV.— The Same. The French King’s Tent.

Enter King Philip, Lewis, Pandulph, and Attendants.

K. Phi.

So, by a roaring tempest on the flood,

A whole armado of convicted sail

Is scatter’d and disjoin’d from fellowship.


Courage and comfort! all shall yet go well.  4

K. Phi.

What can go well when we have run so ill?

Are we not beaten? Is not Angiers lost?

Arthur ta’en prisoner? divers dear friends slain?

And bloody England into England gone,  8

O’erbearing interruption, spite of France?


What he hath won that hath he fortified:

So hot a speed with such advice dispos’d,

Such temperate order in so fierce a cause,  12

Doth want example: who hath read or heard

Of any kindred action like to this?

K. Phi.

Well could I bear that England had this praise,

So we could find some pattern of our shame.  16

Enter Constance.

Look, who comes here! a grave unto a soul;

Holding the eternal spirit, against her will,

In the vile prison of afflicted breath.

I prithee lady, go away with me.  20


Lo now! now see the issue of your peace.

K. Phi.

Patience, good lady! comfort, gentle Constance!


No, I defy all counsel, all redress,

But that which ends all counsel, true redress,  24

Death, death: O, amiable lovely death!

Thou odoriferous stench! sound rottenness!

Arise forth from the couch of lasting night,

Thou hate and terror to prosperity,  28

And I will kiss thy detestable bones,

And put my eyeballs in thy vaulty brows,

And ring these fingers with thy household worms,

And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust,

And be a carrion monster like thyself:  33

Come, grin on me; and I will think thou smil’st

And buss thee as thy wife! Misery’s love,

O! come to me.

K. Phi

O fair affliction, peace!  36


No, no, I will not, having breath to cry:

O! that my tongue were in the thunder’s mouth!

Then with a passion would I shake the world,

And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy  40

Which cannot hear a lady’s feeble voice,

Which scorns a modern invocation.


Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.


Thou art not holy to belie me so;  44

I am not mad: this hair I tear is mine;

My name is Constance; I was Geffrey’s wife;

Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost!

I am not mad: I would to heaven I were!  48

For then ’tis like I should forget myself:

O! if I could, what grief should I forget.

Preach some philosophy to make me mad,

And thou shalt be canoniz’d, cardinal;  52

For being not mad but sensible of grief,

My reasonable part produces reason

How I may be deliver’d of these woes,

And teaches me to kill or hang myself:  56

If I were mad, I should forget my son,

Or madly think a babe of clouts were he.

I am not mad: too well, too well I feel

The different plague of each calamity.  60

K. Phi.

Bind up those tresses. O! what love I note

In the fair multitude of those her hairs:

Where but by chance a silver drop hath fallen,

Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends  64

Do glue themselves in sociable grief;

Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,

Sticking together in calamity.


To England, if you will.

K. Phi.

Bind up your hairs.  68


Yes, that I will; and wherefore will I do it?

I tore them from their bonds, and cried aloud

‘O! that these hands could so redeem my son,

As they have given these hairs their liberty!’  72

But now I envy at their liberty,

And will again commit them to their bonds,

Because my poor child is a prisoner.

And, father cardinal, I have heard you say  76

That we shall see and know our friends in heaven.

If that be true, I shall see my boy again;

For since the birth of Cain, the first male child,

To him that did but yesterday suspire,  80

There was not such a gracious creature born.

But now will canker-sorrow eat my bud

And chase the native beauty from his cheek,

And he will look as hollow as a ghost,  84

As dim and meagre as an ague’s fit,

And so he’ll die; and, rising so again,

When I shall meet him in the court of heaven

I shall not know him: therefore never, never  88

Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.


You hold too heinous a respect of grief.


He talks to me, that never had a son.

K. Phi.

You are as fond of grief as of your child.  92


Grief fills the room up of my absent child,

Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,

Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,

Remembers me of all his gracious parts,  96

Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form:

Then have I reason to be fond of grief.

Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,

I could give better comfort than you do.  100

I will not keep this form upon my head

When there is such disorder in my wit.

O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!

My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!  104

My widow-comfort, and my sorrows’ cure!


K. Phi.

I fear some outrage, and I’ll follow her.



There’s nothing in this world can make me joy:

Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,  108

Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;

And bitter shame hath spoil’d the sweet world’s taste,

That it yields nought but shame and bitterness.


Before the curing of a strong disease,

Even in the instant of repair and health,  113

The fit is strongest: evils that take leave,

On their departure most of all show evil.

What have you lost by losing of this day?  116


All days of glory, joy, and happiness.


If you had won it, certainly you had.

No, no; when Fortune means to men most good,

She looks upon them with a threatening eye.  120

’Tis strange to think how much King John hath lost

In this which he accounts so clearly won.

Are not you griev’d that Arthur is his prisoner?


As heartily as he is glad he hath him.


Your mind is all as youthful as your blood.  125

Now hear me speak with a prophetic spirit;

For even the breath of what I mean to speak

Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub,

Out of the path which shall directly lead  129

Thy foot to England’s throne; and therefore mark.

John hath seiz’d Arthur; and it cannot be,

That whiles warm life plays in that infant’s veins  132

The misplac’d John should entertain an hour,

One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest.

A sceptre snatch’d with an unruly hand

Must be as boisterously maintain’d as gain’d;

And he that stands upon a slippery place  137

Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up:

That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall;

So be it, for it cannot be but so.  140


But what shall I gain by young Arthur’s fall?


You, in the right of Lady Blanch your wife,

May then make all the claim that Arthur did.


And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.


How green you are and fresh in this old world!  145

John lays you plots; the times conspire with you;

For he that steeps his safety in true blood

Shall find but bloody safety and untrue.  148

This act so evilly borne shall cool the hearts

Of all his people and freeze up their zeal,

That none so small advantage shall step forth

To check his reign, but they will cherish it;  152

No natural exhalation in the sky,

No scope of nature, no distemper’d day,

No common wind, no customed event,

But they will pluck away his natural cause  156

And call them meteors, prodigies, and signs,

Abortives, presages, and tongues of heaven,

Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.


May be he will not touch young Arthur’s life,  160

But hold himself safe in his prisonment.


O! sir, when he shall hear of your approach,

If that young Arthur be not gone already,

Even at that news he dies; and then the hearts

Of all his people shall revolt from him  165

And kiss the lips of unacquainted change,

And pick strong matter of revolt and wrath

Out of the bloody fingers’ ends of John.  168

Methinks I see this hurly all on foot:

And, O! what better matter breeds for you

Than I have nam’d. The bastard Faulconbridge

Is now in England ransacking the church,  172

Offending charity: if but a dozen French

Were there in arms, they would be as a call

To train ten thousand English to their side;

Or as a little snow, tumbled about,  176

Anon becomes a mountain. O noble Dauphin!

Go with me to the king. ’Tis wonderful

What may be wrought out of their discontent

Now that their souls are topful of offence.  180

For England go; I will whet on the king.


Strong reasons make strong actions. Let us go:

If you say ay, the king will not say no.



Scene I.— Northampton. A Room in the Castle.

Enter Hubert and Two Attendants.


Heat me these irons hot; and look thou stand

Within the arras: when I strike my foot

Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth,

And bind the boy which you shall find with me  4

Fast to the chair: be heedful. Hence, and watch.

First Attend.

I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.


Uncleanly scruples! fear not you: look to’t.

[Exeunt Attendants.

Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.

Enter Arthur.


Good morrow, Hubert.


Good morrow, little prince.


As little prince,—having so great a title

To be more prince,—as may be. You are sad.


Indeed, I have been merrier.


Mercy on me!  12

Methinks nobody should be sad but I:

Yet I remember, when I was in France,

Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,

Only for wantonness. By my christendom,  16

So I were out of prison and kept sheep,

I should be as merry as the day is long;

And so I would be here, but that I doubt

My uncle practises more harm to me:  20

He is afraid of me, and I of him.

Is it my fault that I was Geffrey’s son?

No, indeed, is’t not; and I would to heaven

I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.


[Aside.] If I talk to him with his innocent prate  25

He will awake my mercy which lies dead:

Therefore I will be sudden and dispatch.


Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-day:  28

In sooth, I would you were a little sick,

That I might sit all night and watch with you:

I warrant I love you more than you do me.


[Aside.] His words do take possession of my bosom.  32

Read here, young Arthur.

[Showing a paper.

[Aside.] How now, foolish rheum!

Turning dispiteous torture out of door!

I must be brief, lest resolution drop

Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears.  36

Can you not read it? is it not fair writ?


Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect.

Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?


Young boy, I must.


And will you?


And I will.  40


Have you the heart? When your head did but ache,

I knit my handkercher about your brows,—

The best I had, a princess wrought it me,—

And I did never ask it you again;  44

And with my hand at midnight held your head,

And like the watchful minutes to the hour,

Still and anon cheer’d up the heavy time,

Saying, ‘What lack you?’ and, ‘Where lies your grief?’  48

Or, ‘What good love may I perform for you?’

Many a poor man’s son would have lain still,

And ne’er have spoke a loving word to you;

But you at your sick-service had a prince.  52

Nay, you may think my love was crafty love,

And call it cunning: do an if you will.

If heaven be pleas’d that you must use me ill,

Why then you must. Will you put out mine eyes?  56

These eyes that never did nor never shall

So much as frown on you?


I have sworn to do it;

And with hot irons must I burn them out.


Ah! none but in this iron age would do it!  60

The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,

Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears

And quench this fiery indignation

Even in the matter of mine innocence;  64

Nay, after that, consume away in rust,

But for containing fire to harm mine eye.

Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer’d iron?

An if an angel should have come to me  68

And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,

I would not have believ’d him; no tongue but Hubert’s.


[Stamps.] Come forth.

Re-enter Attendants, with cord, irons, &c.

Do as I bid you do.  72


O! save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out

Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.


Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.


Alas! what need you be so boisterousrough?  76

I will not struggle; I will stand stone-still.

For heaven’s sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!

Nay, hear me, Hubert: drive these men away,

And I will sit as quiet as a lamb;  80

I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,

Nor look upon the iron angerly.

Thrust but these men away, and I’ll forgive you,

Whatever torment you do put me to.  84


Go, stand within: let me alone with him.

First Attend.

I am best pleas’d to be from such a deed.

[Exeunt Attendants.


Alas! I then have chid away my friend:

He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart.  88

Let him come back, that his compassion may

Give life to yours.


Come, boy, prepare yourself.


Is there no remedy?


None, but to lose your eyes.


O heaven! that there were but a mote in yours,  92

A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,

Any annoyance in that precious sense;

Then feeling what small things are boisterous there,

Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.  96


Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue.


Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues

Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes:

Let me not hold my tongue; let me not, Hubert:

Or Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,  101

So I may keep mine eyes: O! spare mine eyes,

Though to no use but still to look on you:

Lo! by my troth, the instrument is cold  104

And would not harm me.


I can heat it, boy.


No, in good sooth; the fire is dead with grief,

Being create for comfort, to be us’d

In undeserv’d extremes: see else yourself;  108

There is no malice in this burning coal;

The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out

And strew’d repentant ashes on his head.


But with my breath I can revive it, boy.  112


An if you do you will but make it blush

And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert:

Nay, it perchance will sparkle in your eyes;

And like a dog that is compell’d to fight,  116

Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.

All things that you should use to do me wrong

Deny their office: only you do lack

That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends,

Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.  121


Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eyes

For all the treasure that thine uncle owes:

Yet am I sworn and I did purpose, boy,  124

With this same very iron to burn them out.


O! now you look like Hubert, all this while

You were disguised.


Peace! no more. Adieu.

Your uncle must not know but you are dead;

I’ll fill these dogged spies with false reports:  129

And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure,

That Hubert for the wealth of all the world

Will not offend thee.


O heaven! I thank you, Hubert.


Silence! no more, go closely in with me:  133

Much danger do I undergo for thee.


Scene II.— The Same. A Room of State in the Palace.

Enter King John, crowned; Pembroke, Salisbury, and other Lords. The King takes his state.

K. John.

Here once again we sit, once again crown’d,

And look’d upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes.


This ‘once again,’ but that your highness pleas’d,

Was once superfluous: you were crown’d before,

And that high royalty was ne’er pluck’d off,  5

The faiths of men ne’er stained with revolt;

Fresh expectation troubled not the land

With any long’d-for change or better state.  8


Therefore, to be possess’d with double pomp,

To guard a title that was rich before,

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,

To throw a perfume on the violet,  12

To smooth the ice, or add another hue

Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light

To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.  16


But that your royal pleasure must be done,

This act is as an ancient tale new told,

And in the last repeating troublesome,

Being urged at a time unseasonable.  20


In this the antique and well-noted face

Of plain old form is much disfigured;

And, like a shifted wind unto a sail,

It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about,

Startles and frights consideration,  25

Makes sound opinion sick and truth suspected,

For putting on so new a fashion’d robe.


When workmen strive to do better than well  28

They do confound their skill in covetousness;

And oftentimes excusing of a fault

Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse:

As patches set upon a little breach  32

Discredit more in hiding of the fault

Than did the fault before it was so patch’d.


To this effect, before you were newcrown’d,

We breath’d our counsel: but it pleas’d your highness  36

To overbear it, and we are all well pleas’d;

Since all and every part of what we would

Doth make a stand at what your highness will.

K. John.

Some reasons of this double coronation  40

I have possess’d you with and think them strong;

And more, more strong,—when lesser is my fear,—

I shall indue you with: meantime but ask

What you would have reform’d that is not well;

And well shall you perceive how willingly  45

I will both hear and grant you your requests.


Then I,—as one that am the tongue of these

To sound the purposes of all their hearts,—  48

Both for myself and them,—but, chief of all,

Your safety, for the which myself and them

Bend their best studies,—heartily request

The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint

Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent  53

To break into this dangerous argument:

If what in rest you have in right you hold,

Why then your fears,—which, as they say, attend

The steps of wrong,—should move you to mew up

Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days

With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth

The rich advantage of good exercise?  60

That the time’s enemies may not have this

To grace occasions, let it be our suit

That you have bid us ask, his liberty;

Which for our goods we do no further ask  64

Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,

Counts it your weal he have his liberty.

Enter Hubert.

K. John.

Let it be so: I do commit his youth

To your direction. Hubert, what news with you?

[Taking him apart.


This is the man should do the bloody deed;  69

He show’d his warrant to a friend of mine:

The image of a wicked hemous fault

Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his  72

Does show the mood of a much troubled breast;

And I do fearfully believe ’tis done,

What we so fear’d he had a charge to do.


The colour of the king doth come and go

Between his purpose and his conscience,  77

Like heralds ’twixt two dreadful battles set:

His passion is so ripe it needs must break.


And when it breaks, I fear will issue thence  80

The foul corruption of a sweet child’s death.

K. John.

We cannot hold mortality’s strong hand:

Good lords, although my will to give is living,

The suit which you demand is gone and dead:

He tells us Arthur is deceas’d to-night.  85


Indeed we fear’d his sickness was past cure.


Indeed we heard how near his death he was

Before the child himself felt he was sick:  88

This must be answer’d, either here or hence.

K. John.

Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?

Think you I bear the shears of destiny?

Have I commandment on the pulse of life?  92


It is apparent foul play; and ’tis shame

That greatness should so grossly offer it:

So thrive it in your game! and so, farewell.


Stay yet, Lord Salisbury; I’ll go with thee,  96

And find the inheritance of this poor child,

His little kingdom of a forced grave.

That blood which ow’d the breadth of all this isle,

Three foot of it doth hold: bad world the while!  100

This must not be thus borne: this will break out

To all our sorrows, and ere long I doubt.

[Exeunt Lords.

K. John.

They burn in indignation. I repent:

There is no sure foundation set on blood,  104

No certain life achiev’d by others’ death.

Enter a Messenger.

A fearful eye thou hast: where is that blood

That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks?

So foul a sky clears not without a storm:  108

Pour down thy weather: how goes all in France?


From France to England. Never such a power

For any foreign preparation

Was levied in the body of a land.  112

The copy of your speed is learn’d by them;

For when you should be told they do prepare,

The tidings come that they are all arriv’d.

K. John.

O! where hath our intelligence been drunk?  116

Where hath it slept? Where is my mother’s care

That such an army could be drawn in France,

And she not hear of it?


My liege, her ear

Is stopp’d with dust: the first of April died  120

Your noble mother; and, as I hear, my lord,

The Lady Constance in a frenzy died

Three days before: but this from rumour’s tongue

I idly heard; if true or false I know not.  124

K. John.

Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!

O! make a league with me, till I have pleas’d

My discontented peers. What! mother dead!

How wildly then walks my estate in France!  128

Under whose conduct came those powers of France

That thou for truth giv’st out are landed here?


Under the Dauphin.

K. John.

Thou hast made me giddy

With these ill tidings.

Enter the Bastard, and Peter of Pomfret.

Now, what says the world  132

To your proceedings? do not seek to stuff

My head with more ill news, for it is full.


But if you be afeard to hear the worst,

Then let the worst unheard fall on your head.

K. John.

Bear with me, cousin, for I was amaz’d  137

Under the tide; but now I breathe again

Aloft the flood, and can give audience

To any tongue, speak it of what it will.  140


How I have sped among the clergymen,

The sums I have collected shall express.

But as I travell’d hither through the land,

I find the people strangely fantasied,  144

Possess’d with rumours, full of idle dreams,

Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear.

And here’s a prophet that I brought with me

From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found  148

With many hundreds treading on his heels;

To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rimes,

That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,

Your highness should deliver up your crown.  152

K. John.

Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?


Foreknowing that the truth will fall out so.

K. John.

Hubert, away with him; imprison him:

And on that day at noon, whereon, he says,  156

I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang’d.

Deliver him to safety, and return,

For I must use thee.

[Exit Hubert, with Peter.

O my gentle cousin,

Hear’st thou the news abroad, who are arriv’d?


The French, my lord; men’s mouths are full of it:  161

Besides, I met Lord Bigot and Lord Salisbury,

With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,

And others more, going to seek the grave  164

Of Arthur, whom they say is kill’d to-night

On your suggestion.

K. John.

Gentle kinsman, go,

And thrust thyself into their companies.

I have a way to win their loves again;  168

Bring them before me.


I will seek them out.

K. John.

Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.

O! let me have no subject enemies

When adverse foreigners affright my towns  172

With dreadful pomp of stout invasion.

Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels,

And fly like thought from them to me again.


The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.  176

K. John.

Spoke like a sprightful noble gentleman.

[Exit Bastard.

Go after him; for he perhaps shall need

Some messenger betwixt me and the peers;

And be thou he.


With all my heart, my liege.


K. John.

My mother dead!

Re-enter Hubert.


My lord, they say five moons were seen to-night:

Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about

The other four in wondrous motion.  184

K. John.

Five moons!


Old men and beldams in the streets

Do prophesy upon it dangerously:

Young Arthur’s death is common in their mouths;

And when they talk of him, they shake their heads  188

And whisper one another in the ear;

And he that speaks, doth gripe the hearer’s wrist

Whilst he that hears makes fearful action,

With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.  192

I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,

The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,

With open mouth swallowing a tailor’s news;

Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,

Standing on slippers,—which his nimble haste

Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,—

Told of a many thousand warlike French,

That were embattailed and rank’d in Kent.  200

Another lean unwash’d artificer

Cuts off his tale and talks of Arthur’s death.

K. John.

Why seek’st thou to possess me with these fears?

Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur’s death?

Thy hand hath murder’d him: I had a mighty cause  205

To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.


No had, my lord! why, did you not provoke me?

K. John.

It is the curse of kings to be attended  208

By slaves that take their humours for a warrant

To break within the bloody house of life,

And on the winking of authority

To understand a law, to know the meaning  212

Of dangerous majesty, when, perchance, it frowns

More upon humour than advis’d respect.


Here is your hand and seal for what I did.

K. John.

O! when the last account ’twixt heaven and earth  216

Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal

Witness against us to damnation.

How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds

Makes ill deeds done! Hadst not thou been by,

A fellow by the hand of nature mark’d,  221

Quoted and sign’d to do a deed of shame,

This murder had not come into my mind;

But taking note of thy abhorr’d aspect,  224

Finding thee fit for bloody villany,

Apt, liable to be employ’d in danger,

I faintly broke with thee of Arthur’s death;

And thou, to be endeared to a king,  228

Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.


My lord,—

K. John.

Hadst thou but shook thy head or made a pause

When I spake darkly what I purposed,  232

Or turn’d an eye of doubt upon my face,

As bid me tell my tale in express words,

Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,

And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me:  236

But thou didst understand me by my signs

And didst in signs again parley with sin;

Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,

And consequently thy rude hand to act  240

The deed which both our tongues held vile to name.

Out of my sight, and never see me more!

My nobles leave me; and my state is brav’d,

Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers:

Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,  245

This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,

Hostility and civil tumult reigns

Between my conscience and my cousin’s death.


Arm you against your other enemies,

I’ll make a peace between your soul and you.

Young Arthur is alive: this hand of mine

Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,  252

Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.

Within this bosom never enter’d yet

The dreadful motion of a murderous thought;

And you have slander’d nature in my form,  256

Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,

Is yet the cover of a fairer mind

Than to be butcher of an innocent child.

K. John.

Doth Arthur live? O! haste thee to the peers,  260

Throw this report on their incensed rage,

And make them tame to their obedience.

Forgive the comment that my passion made

Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,  264

And foul imaginary eyes of blood

Presented thee more hideous than thou art.

O! answer not; but to my closet bring

The angry lords, with all expedient haste.  268

I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.


Scene III.— The Same. Before the Castle.

Enter Arthur, on the Walls.


The wall is high; and yet will I leap down

Good ground, be pitiful and hurt me not!

There’s few or none do know me; if they did,

This ship-boy’s semblance hath disguis’d me quite.  4

I am afraid; and yet I’ll venture it.

If I get down, and do not break my limbs,

I’ll find a thousand shifts to get away:

As good to die and go, as die and stay.  8

[Leaps down.

O me! my uncle’s spirit is in these stones:

Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!


Enter Pembroke, Salisbury, and Bigot.


Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmundsbury.

It is our safety, and we must embrace  12

This gentle offer of the perilous time.


Who brought that letter from the cardinal?


The Count Melun, a noble lord of France;

Whose private with me of the Dauphin’s love,  16

Is much more general than these lines import.


To-morrow morning let us meet him then.


Or rather then set forward; for ’twill be

Two long days’ journey, lords, or e’er we meet.

Enter the Bastard.


Once more to-day well met, distemper’d lords!  21

The king by me requests your presence straight.


The king hath dispossess’d himself of us:

We will not line his thin bestained cloak  24

With our pure honours, nor attend the foot

That leaves the print of blood where’er it walks.

Return and tell him so: we know the worst.


Whate’er you think, good words, I think, were best.  28


Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now.


But there is little reason in your grief;

Therefore ’twere reason you had manners now.


Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.


’Tis true; to hurt his master, no man else.  33


This is the prison.

[Seeing Arthur.

What is he lies here?


O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty!

The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.  36


Murder, as hating what himself hath done,

Doth lay it open to urge on revenge.


Or when he doom’d this beauty to a grave,

Found it too precious-princely for a grave.  40


Sir Richard, what think you? Have you beheld,

Or have you read, or heard? or could you think?

Or do you almost think, although you see,

That you do see? could thought, without this object,  44

Form such another? This is the very top,

The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,

Of murder’s arms: this is the bloodiest shame,

The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,  48

That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage

Presented to the tears of soft remorse.


All murders past do stand excus’d in this:

And this, so sole and so unmatchable,  52

Shall give a holiness, a purity,

To the yet unbegotten sin of times;

And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,

Exampled by this heinous spectacle.  56


It is a damned and a bloody work;

The graceless action of a heavy hand,

If that it be the work of any hand.


If that it be the work of any hand!  60

We had a kind of light what would ensue:

It is the shameful work of Hubert’s hand;

The practice and the purpose of the king:

From whose obedience I forbid my soul,  64

Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,

And breathing to his breathless excellence

The incense of a vow, a holy vow,

Never to taste the pleasures of the world,  68

Never to be infected with delight,

Nor conversant with ease and idleness,

Till I have set a glory to this hand,

By giving it the worship of revenge.  72


Our souls religiously confirm thy words.


Our souls religiously confirm thy words.

Enter Hubert.


Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you:

Arthur doth live: the king hath sent for you.


O! he is bold and blushes not at death.

Avaunt, thou hateful villain! get thee gone.  77


I am no villain.


[Drawing his sword.] Must I rob the law?


Your sword is bright, sir; put it up again.


Not till I sheathe it in a murderer’s skin.


Stand back, Lord Salisbury, stand back, I say:  81

By heaven, I think my sword’s as sharp as yours.

I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,

Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;  84

Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget

Your worth, your greatness, and nobility.


Out, dunghill! dar’st thou brave a nobleman?


Not for my life; but yet I dare defend

My innocent life against an emperor.  89


Thou art a murderer.


Do not prove me so;

Yet I am none. Whose tongue soe’er speaks false,

Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.  92


Cut him to pieces.


Keep the peace, I say.


Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.


Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:

If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,  96

Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,

I’ll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime:

Or I’ll so maul you and your toasting-iron,

That you shall think the devil is come from hell.


What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?  101

Second a villain and a murderer?


Lord Bigot, I am none.


Who kill’d this prince?


’Tis not an hour since I left him well:

I honour’d him, I lov’d him; and will weep  105

My date of life out for his sweet life’s loss.


Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,

For villany is not without such rheum;  108

And he, long traded in it, makes it seem

Like rivers of remorse and innocency.

Away with me, all you whose souls abhor

The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house;

For I am stifled with this smell of sin.  113


Away toward Bury; to the Dauphin there!


There tell the king he may inquire us out.

[Exeunt Lords.


Here’s a good world! Knew you of this fair work?  116

Beyond the infinite and boundless reach

Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,

Art thou damn’d, Hubert.


Do but hear me, sir.


Ha! I’ll tell thee what;  120

Thou art damn’d as black—nay, nothing is so black;

Thou art more deep damn’d than Prince Lucifer:

There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell

As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.  124


Upon my soul,—


If thou didst but consent

To this most cruel act, do but despair;

And if thou want’st a cord, the smallest thread

That ever spider twisted from her womb  128

Will serve to strangle thee; a rush will be a beam

To hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself,

Put but a little water in a spoon,

And it shall be as all the ocean,  132

Enough to stifle such a villain up.

I do suspect thee very grievously.


If I in act, consent, or sin of thought,

Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath  136

Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,

Let hell want pains enough to torture me.

I left him well.


Go, bear him in thine arms.

I am amaz’d, methinks, and lose my way  140

Among the thorns and dangers of this world.

How easy dost thou take all England up!

From forth this morsel of dead royalty,

The life, the right and truth of all this realm  144

Is fled to heaven; and England now is left

To tug and scamble and to part by the teeth

The unow’d interest of proud swelling state.

Now for the bare-pick’d bone of majesty  148

Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest,

And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:

Now powers from home and discontents at home

Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,—  152

As doth a raven on a sick-fallen beast,—

The imminent decay of wrested pomp.

Now happy he whose cloak and ceinture can

Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child

And follow me with speed: I’ll to the king:  157

A thousand businesses are brief in hand,

And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.



Scene I.— The Same. A Room in the Palace.

Enter King John, Pandulph with the crown, and Attendants.

K. John.

Thus have I yielded up into your hand

The circle of my glory.


[Giving John the crown.] Take again

From this my hand, as holding of the pope,

Your sovereign greatness and authority.  4

K. John.

Now keep your holy word: go meet the French,

And from his holiness use all your power

To stop their marches ’fore we are inflam’d.

Our discontented counties do revolt,  8

Our people quarrel with obedience,

Swearing allegiance and the love of soul

To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.

This inundation of mistemper’d humour  12

Rests by you only to be qualified:

Then pause not; for the present time’s so sick,

That present medicine must be minister’d,

Or overthrow incurable ensues.  16


It was my breath that blew this tempest up

Upon your stubborn usage of the pope;

But since you are a gentle convertite,

My tongue shall hush again this storm of war  20

And make fair weather in your blustering land.

On this Ascension-day, remember well,

Upon your oath of service to the pope,

Go I to make the French lay down their arms.


K. John.

Is this Ascension-day? Did not the prophet  25

Say that before Ascension-day at noon

My crown I should give off? Even so I have:

I did suppose it should be on constraint;  28

But, heaven be thank’d, it is but voluntary.

Enter the Bastard.


All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out

But Dover Castle: London hath receiv’d,

Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers:

Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone  33

To offer service to your enemy;

And wild amazement hurries up and down

The little number of your doubtful friends.  36

K. John.

Would not my lords return to me again

After they heard young Arthur was alive?


They found him dead and cast into the streets,

An empty casket, where the jewel of life  40

By some damn’d hand was robb’d and ta’en away.

K. John.

That villain Hubert told me he did live.


So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew.

But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad?

Be great in act, as you have been in thought;  45

Let not the world see fear and sad distrust

Govern the motion of a kingly eye:

Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;  48

Threaten the threatener, and outface the brow

Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes,

That borrow their behaviours from the great,

Grow great by your example and put on  52

The dauntless spirit of resolution.

Away! and glister like the god of war

When he intendeth to become the field:

Show boldness and aspiring confidence.  56

What! shall they seek the lion in his den

And fright him there? and make him tremble there?

O! let it not be said. Forage, and run

To meet displeasure further from the doors,  60

And grapple with him ere he comes so nigh.

K. John.

The legate of the pope hath been with me,

And I have made a happy peace with him;

And he hath promis’d to dismiss the powers  64

Led by the Dauphin.


O inglorious league!

Shall we, upon the footing of our land,

Send fair-play orders and make compromise,

Insinuation, parley and base truce  68

To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy,

A cocker’d silken wanton, brave our fields,

And flesh his spirit in a war-like soul,

Mocking the air with colours idly spread,  72

And find no check? Let us, my liege, to arms:

Perchance the cardinal cannot make your peace;

Or if he do, let it at least be said

They saw we had a purpose of defence.  76

K. John.

Have thou the ordering of this present time.


Away then, with good courage! yet, I know,

Our party may well meet a prouder foe.


Scene II.— A Plain, near St. Edmundsbury. The French Camp.

Enter, in arms, Lewis, Salisbury, Melun, Pembroke, Bigot, and Soldiers.


My Lord Melun, let this be copied out,

And keep it safe for our remembrance.

Return the precedent to these lords again;

That, having our fair order written down,  4

Both they and we, perusing o’er these notes,

May know wherefore we took the sacrament,

And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.


Upon our sides it never shall be broken.  8

And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear

A voluntary zeal, an unurg’d faith

To your proceedings; yet, believe me, prince,

I am not glad that such a sore of time  12

Should seek a plaster by contemn’d revolt,

And heal the inveterate canker of one wound

By making many. O! it grieves my soul

That I must draw this metal from my side  16

To be a widow-maker! O! and there

Where honourable rescue and defence

Cries out upon the name of Salisbury.

But such is the infection of the time,  20

That, for the health and physic of our right,

We cannot deal but with the very hand

Of stern injustice and confused wrong.

And is’t not pity, O my grieved friends!  24

That we, the sons and children of this isle,

Were born to see so sad an hour as this;

Wherein we step after a stranger march

Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up  28

Her enemies’ ranks,—I must withdraw and weep

Upon the spot of this enforced cause,—

To grace the gentry of a land remote,

And follow unacquainted colours here?  32

What, here? O nation! that thou couldst remove;

That Neptune’s arms, who clippeth thee about,

Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself,

And gripple thee unto a pagan shore;  36

Where these two Christian armies might combine

The blood of malice in a vein of league,

And not to spend it so unneighbourly!


A noble temper dost thou show in this;

And great affections wrestling in thy bosom  41

Do make an earthquake of nobility.

O! what a noble combat hast thou fought

Between compulsion and a brave respect.  44

Let me wipe off this honourable dew,

That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks:

My heart hath melted at a lady’s tears,

Being an ordinary inundation;  48

But this effusion of such manly drops,

This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul,

Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amaz’d

Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven  52

Figur’d quite o’er with burning meteors.

Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury,

And with a great heart heave away this storm:

Commend these waters to those baby eyes  56

That never saw the giant world enrag’d;

Nor met with fortune other than at feasts,

Full warm of blood, of mirth, of gossiping.

Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deep  60

Into the purse of rich prosperity

As Lewis himself: so, nobles, shall you all,

That knit your sinews to the strength of mine.

Enter Pandulph attended.

And even there, methinks, an angel spake:  64

Look, where the holy legate comes apace,

To give us warrant from the hand of heaven,

And on our actions set the name of right

With holy breath.


Hail, noble prince of France!  68

The next is this: King John hath reconcil’d

Himself to Rome; his spirit is come in

That so stood out against the holy church,

The great metropolis and see of Rome.  72

Therefore thy threat’ning colours now wind up,

And tame the savage spirit of wild war,

That, like a lion foster’d up at hand,

It may lie gently at the foot of peace,  76

And be no further harmful than in show.


Your grace shall pardon me; I will not back:

I am too high-born to be propertied,

To be a secondary at control,  80

Or useful serving-man and instrument

To any sovereign state throughout the world.

Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars

Between this chastis’d kingdom and myself,  84

And brought in matter that should feed this fire;

And now ’tis far too huge to be blown out

With that same weak wind which enkindled it.

You taught me how to know the face of right,  88

Acquainted me with interest to this land,

Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart;

And come you now to tell me John hath made

His peace with Rome? What is that peace to me?  92

I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,

After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;

And, now it is half-conquer’d, must I back

Because that John hath made his peace with Rome?  96

Am I Rome’s slave? What penny hath Rome borne,

What men provided, what munition sent,

To underprop this action? is’t not I

That undergo this charge? who else but I,  100

And such as to my claim are liable,

Sweat in this business and maintain this war?

Have I not heard these islanders shout out,

Vive le roy! as I have bank’d their towns?  104

Have I not here the best cards for the game

To win this easy match play’d for a crown?

And shall I now give o’er the yielded set?

No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said.  108


You look but on the outside of this work.


Outside or inside, I will not return

Till my attempt so much be glorified

As to my ample hope was promised  112

Before I drew this gallant head of war,

And cull’d these fiery spirits from the world,

To outlook conquest and to win renown

Even in the jaws of danger and of death.  116

[Trumpet sounds.

What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?

Enter the Bastard, attended.


According to the fair play of the world,

Let me have audience; I am sent to speak:

My holy Lord of Milan, from the king  120

I come, to learn how you have dealt for him;

And, as you answer, I do know the scope

And warrant limited unto my tongue.


The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite,

And will not temporize with my entreaties:  125

He flatly says he’ll not lay down his arms.


By all the blood that ever fury breath’d,

The youth says well. Now hear our English king;  128

For thus his royalty doth speak in me.

He is prepar’d; and reason too he should:

This apish and unmannerly approach,

This harness’d masque and unadvised revel,  132

This unhair’d sauciness and boyish troops,

The king doth smile at; and is well prepar’d

To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms,

From out the circle of his territories.  136

That hand which had the strength, even at your door,

To cudgel you and make you take the hatch;

To dive, like buckets, in concealed wells;

To crouch in litter of your stable planks:  140

To lie like pawns lock’d up in chests and trunks;

To hug with swine; to seek sweet safety out

In vaults and prisons; and to thrill and shake,

Even at the crying of your nation’s crow,  144

Thinking this voice an armed Englishman:

Shall that victorious hand be feebled here

That in your chambers gave you chastisement?

No! Know, the gallant monarch is in arms,  148

And like an eagle o’er his aiery towers,

To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.

And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,

You bloody Neroes, ripping up the womb  152

Of your dear mother England, blush for shame:

For your own ladies and pale-visag’d maids

Like Amazons come tripping after drums,

Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change,  156

Their neelds to lances, and their gentle hearts

To fierce and bloody inclination.


There end thy brave, and turn thy face in peace;

We grant thou canst outscold us: fare thee well;

We hold our time too precious to be spent  161

With such a brabbler.


Give me leave to speak.


No, I will speak.


We will attend to neither.

Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war  164

Plead for our interest and our being here.


Indeed, your drums, being beaten, will cry out;

And so shall you, being beaten. Do but start

An echo with the clamour of thy drum,  168

And even at hand a drum is ready brac’d

That shall reverberate all as loud as thine;

Sound but another, and another shall

As loud as thine rattle the welkin’s ear  172

And mock the deep-mouth’d thunder: for at hand,—

Not trusting to this halting legate here,

Whom he hath us’d rather for sport than need,—

Is warlike John; and in his forehead sits  176

A bare-ribb’d death, whose office is this day

To feast upon whole thousands of the French.


Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.


And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not doubt.


Scene III.— The Same. A Field of Battle.

Alarums. Enter King John and Hubert.

K. John.

How goes the day with us? O! tell me, Hubert.


Badly, I fear. How fares your majesty?

K. John.

This fever, that hath troubled me so long,

Lies heavy on me: O! my heart is sick.  4

Enter a Messenger.


My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulconbridge,

Desires your majesty to leave the field,

And send him word by me which way you go.

K. John.

Tell him, toward Swinstead, to the abbey there.  8


Be of good comfort: for the great supply

That was expected by the Dauphin here,

Are wrack’d three nights ago on Goodwin sands.

This news was brought to Richard but even now.

The French fight coldly, and retire themselves.  13

K. John.

Ay me! this tyrant fever burns me up,

And will not let me welcome this good news.

Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight;

Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint.  17


Scene IV.— The Same. Another Part of the Same.

Enter Salisbury, Pembroke, Bigot, and Others.


I did not think the king so stor’d with friends.


Up once again; put spirit in the French:

If they miscarry we miscarry too.


That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge,

In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.  5


They say King John, sore sick, hath left the field.

Enter Melun wounded, and led by Soldiers.


Lead me to the revolts of England here.


When we were happy we had other names.


It is the Count Melun.


Wounded to death.


Fly, noble English; you are bought and sold;

Unthread the rude eye of rebellion,

And welcome home again discarded faith.  12

Seek out King John and fall before his feet;

For if the French be lords of this loud day,

He means to recompense the pains you take

By cutting off your heads. Thus hath he sworn,

And I with him, and many moe with me,  17

Upon the altar at Saint Edmundsbury;

Even on that altar where we swore to you

Dear amity and everlasting love.  20


May this be possible? may this be true?


Have I not hideous death within my view,

Retaining but a quantity of life,

Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax  24

Resolveth from his figure ’gainst the fire?

What in the world should make me now deceive,

Since I must lose the use of all deceit?

Why should I then be false, since it is true  28

That I must die here and live hence by truth?

I say again, if Lewis do win the day,

He is forsworn, if e’er those eyes of yours

Behold another day break in the east:  32

But even this night, whose black contagious breath

Already smokes about the burning crest

Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied sun,

Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire,

Paying the fine of rated treachery  37

Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives,

If Lewis by your assistance win the day.

Commend me to one Hubert with your king;  40

The love of him, and this respect besides,

For that my grandsire was an Englishman,

Awakes my conscience to confess all this.

In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence  44

From forth the noise and rumour of the field,

Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts

In peace, and part this body and my soul

With contemplation and devout desires.  48


We do believe thee: and beshrew my soul

But I do love the favour and the form

Of this most fair occasion, by the which

We will untread the steps of damned flight,  52

And like a bated and retired flood,

Leaving our rankness and irregular course,

Stoop low within those bounds we have o’erlook’d,

And calmly run on in obedience,  56

Even to our ocean, to our great King John.

My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence,

For I do see the cruel pangs of death

Right in thine eye. Away, my friends! New flight;

And happy newness, that intends old right.  61

[Exeunt, leading off Melun.

Scene V.— The Same. The French Camp.

Enter Lewis and his Train.


The sun of heaven methought was loath to set,

But stay’d and made the western welkin blush,

When the English measur’d backward their own ground

In faint retire. O! bravely came we off,  4

When with a volley of our needless shot,

After such bloody toil, we bid good night,

And wound our tottering colours clearly up,

Last in the field, and almost lords of it!  8

Enter a Messenger.


Where is my prince, the Dauphin?


Here: what news?


The Count Melun is slain; the English lords,

By his persuasion, are again fall’n off;

And your supply, which you have wish’d so long,

Are cast away and sunk, on Goodwin sands.  13


Ah, foul shrewd news! Beshrew thy very heart!

I did not think to be so sad to-night

As this hath made me. Who was he that said  16

King John did fly an hour or two before

The stumbling night did part our weary powers?


Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.


Well; keep good quarter and good care to-night:  20

The day shall not be up so soon as I,

To try the fair adventure of to-morrow.


Scene VI.— An open Place in the neighbourhood of Swinstead Abbey.

Enter the Bastard and Hubert, severally.


Who’s there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or I shoot.


A friend. What art thou?


Of the part of England.


Whither dost thou go?


What’s that to thee? Why may not I demand  4

Of thine affairs as well as thou of mine?


Hubert, I think?


Thou hast a perfect thought:

I will upon all hazards well believe

Thou art my friend, that know’st my tongue so well.  8

Who art thou?


Who thou wilt: and if thou please,

Thou mayst befriend me so much as to think

I come one way of the Plantagenets.


Unkind remembrance! thou and eyeless night  12

Have done me shame: brave soldier, pardon me,

That any accent breaking from thy tongue

Should ’scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.


Come, come; sans compliment, what news abroad?  16


Why, here walk I in the black brow of night,

To find you out.


Brief, then; and what’s the news?


O! my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,

Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.  20


Show me the very wound of this ill news:

I am no woman; I’ll not swound at it.


The king, I fear, is poison’d by a monk:

I left him almost speechless; and broke out  24

To acquaint you with this evil, that you might

The better arm you to the sudden time

Than if you had at leisure known of this.


How did he take it? who did taste to him?  28


A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain,

Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king

Yet speaks, and peradventure may recover.


Whom didst thou leave to tend his majesty?  32


Why, know you not? the lords are all come back,

And brought Prince Henry in their company;

At whose request the king hath pardon’d them,

And they are all about his majesty.  36


Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,

And tempt us not to bear above our power!

I’ll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night,

Passing these flats, are taken by the tide;  40

These Lincoln Washes have devoured them:

Myself, well-mounted, hardly have escap’d.

Away before! conduct me to the king;

I doubt he will be dead or ere I come.


Scene VII.— The Orchard of Swinstead Abbey.

Enter Prince Henry, Salisbury, and Bigot.

P. Hen.

It is too late: the life of all his blood

Is touch’d corruptibly; and his pure brain,—

Which some suppose the soul’s frail dwelling-house,—

Doth, by the idle comments that it makes,  4

Foretell the ending of mortality.

Enter Pembroke.


His highness yet doth speak; and holds belief

That, being brought into the open air,

It would allay the burning quality  8

Of that fell poison which assaileth him.

P. Hen.

Let him be brought into the orchard here.

Doth he still rage?

[Exit Bigot.


He is more patient

Than when you left him: even now he sung.  12

P. Hen.

O, vanity of sickness! fierce extremes

In their continuance will not feel themselves.

Death, having prey’d upon the outward parts,

Leaves them invisible; and his siege is now  16

Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds

With many legions of strange fantasies,

Which, in their throng and press to that last hold,

Confound themselves. ’Tis strange that death should sing.  20

I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,

Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death,

And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings

His soul and body to their lasting rest  24


Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born

To set a form upon that indigest

Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.

Re-enter Bigot and Attendants carrying King John in a chair.

K. John.

Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room;  28

It would not out at windows, nor at doors.

There is so hot a summer in my bosom

That all my bowels crumble up to dust:

I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen  32

Upon a parchment, and against this fire

Do I shrink up.

P. Hen.

How fares your majesty?

K. John.

Poison’d, ill-fare; dead, forsook, cast off;

And none of you will bid the winter come  36

To thrust his icy fingers in my maw;

Nor let my kingdom’s rivers take their course

Through my burn’d bosom; nor entreat the north

To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips  40

And comfort me with cold. I do not ask you much:

I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait

And so ingrateful you deny me that.

P. Hen.

O! that there were some virtue in my tears,  44

That might relieve you.

K John.

The salt in them is hot.

Within me is a hell; and there the poison

Is as a fiend confin’d to tyrannize

On unreprievable condemned blood.  48

Enter the Bastard.


O! I am scalded with my violent motion

And spleen of speed to see your majesty.

K. John.

O cousin! thou art come to set mine eye:

The tackle of my heart is crack’d and burn’d,  52

And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail

Are turned to one thread, one little hair;

My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,

Which holds but till thy news be uttered;  56

And then all this thou seest is but a clod

And module of confounded royalty.


The Dauphin is preparing hitherward,

Where heaven he knows how we shall answer him:  60

For in a night the best part of my power,

As I upon advantage did remove,

Were in the Washes all unwarily

Devoured by the unexpected flood.  64

[The King dies.


You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear.

My liege! my lord! But now a king, now thus.

P. Hen.

Even so must I run on, and even so stop.

What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,

When this was now a king, and now is clay?  69


Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind

To do the office for thee of revenge,

And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,

As it on earth hath been thy servant still.  73

Now, now, you stars, that move in your right spheres,

Where be your powers? Show now your mended faiths,

And instantly return with me again,  76

To push destruction and perpetual shame

Out of the weak door of our fainting land.

Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought:

The Dauphin rages at our very heels.  80


It seems you know not then so much as we.

The Cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,

Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin,

And brings from him such offers of our peace  84

As we with honour and respect may take,

With purpose presently to leave this war.


He will the rather do it when he sees

Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.  88


Nay, it is in a manner done already;

For many carriages he hath dispatch’d

To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel

To the disposing of the cardinal:  92

With whom yourself, myself, and other lords,

If you think meet, this afternoon will post

To consummate this business happily.


Let it be so. And you, my noble prince,

With other princes that may best be spar’d,  97

Shall wait upon your father’s funeral.

P. Hen.

At Worcester must his body be interr’d;

For so he will’d it.


Thither shall it then.  100

And happily may your sweet self put on

The lineal state and glory of the land!

To whom, with all submission, on my knee,

I do bequeath my faithful services  104

And true subjection everlastingly.


And the like tender of our love we make,

To rest without a spot for evermore.

P. Hen.

I have a kind soul that would give you thanks,  108

And knows not how to do it but with tears.


O! let us pay the time but needful woe

Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.

This England never did, nor never shall,  112

Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,

But when it first did help to wound itself.

Now these her princes are come home again,

Come the three corners of the world in arms,  116

And we shall shock them. Nought shall make us rue,

If England to itself do rest but true.






King Richard the Second.
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, } Uncles to the King.
Edmund of Langley, Duke of York,  }
Henry, surnamed Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, Son to John of Gaunt: afterwards King Henry IV.
Duke of Aumerle, Son to the Duke of York.
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
Duke of Surrey.
Earl of Salisbury.
Lord Berkeley.
Bushy, } Servants to King Richard.
Bagot, }
Green,  }
Earl of Northumberland.
Henry Percy, surnamed Hotspur, his Son.
Lord Ross.
Lord Willoughby.
Lord Fitzwater.
Bishop of Carlisle.
Abbot of Westminster.
Lord Marshal.
Sir Pierce of Exton.
Sir Stephen Scroop.
Captain of a Band of Welshmen.
Queen to King Richard.
Duchess of Gloucester.
Duchess of York.
Lady attending on the Queen.
Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Gardeners, Keeper, Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants.



Scene.Dispersedly in England and Wales.


Scene I.— London. A Room in the Palace.

Enter King Richard, attended; John of Gaunt, and other Nobles.

K. Rich.

Old John of Gaunt, time-honour’d Lancaster,

Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,

Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son,

Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,  4

Which then our leisure would not let us hear,

Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?


I have, my liege.

K. Rich.

Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him,  8

If he appeal the duke on ancient malice,

Or worthily, as a good subject should,

On some known ground of treachery in him?


As near as I could sift him on that argument,  12

On some apparent danger seen in him

Aim’d at your highness, no inveterate malice.

K. Rich.

Then call them to our presence: face to face,

And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear

The accuser and the accused freely speak:  17

[Exeunt some Attendants.

High-stomach’d are they both, and full of ire,

In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.

Re-enter Attendants, with Bolingbroke and Mowbray.


Many years of happy days befall  20

My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!


Each day still better other’s happiness;

Until the heavens, envying earth’s good hap,

Add an immortal title to your crown!  24

K. Rich.

We thank you both: yet one but flatters us,

As well appeareth by the cause you come;

Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.

Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object  28

Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?


First,—heaven be the record to my speech!—

In the devotion of a subject’s love,

Tendering the precious safety of my prince,  32

And free from other misbegotten hate,

Come I appellant to this princely presence.

Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee,

And mark my greeting well; for what I speak  36

My body shall make good upon this earth,

Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.

Thou art a traitor and a miscreant;

Too good to be so and too bad to live,  40

Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,

The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.

Once more, the more to aggravate the note,

With a foul traitor’s name stuff I thy throat;  44

And wish, so please my sovereign, ere I move,

What my tongue speaks, my right drawn sword may prove.


Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal:

’Tis not the trial of a woman’s war,  48

The bitter clamour of two eager tongues,

Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain;

The blood is hot that must be cool’d for this:

Yet can I not of such tame patience boast  52

As to be hush’d and nought at all to say.

First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me

From giving reins and spurs to my free speech;

Which else would post until it had return’d  56

These terms of treason doubled down his throat.

Setting aside his high blood’s royalty,

And let him be no kinsman to my liege,

I do defy him, and I spit at him;  60

Call him a slanderous coward and a villain:

Which to maintain I would allow him odds,

And meet him, were I tied to run afoot

Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,  64

Or any other ground inhabitable,

Wherever Englishman durst set his foot.

Meantime let this defend my loyalty:

By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.  68


Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage,

Disclaiming here the kindred of the king;

And lay aside my high blood’s royalty,

Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except:  72

If guilty dread have left thee so much strength

As to take up mine honour’s pawn, then stoop:

By that, and all the rites of knighthood else,

Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,  76

What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.


I take it up; and by that sword I swear,

Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder,

I’ll answer thee in any fair degree,  80

Or chivalrous design of knightly trial:

And when I mount, alive may I not light,

If I be traitor or unjustly fight!

K. Rich.

What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray’s charge?  84

It must be great that can inherit us

So much as of a thought of ill in him.


Look, what I speak, my life shall prove it true;

That Mowbray hath receiv’d eight thousand nobles  88

In name of lendings for your highness’ soldiers,

The which he hath detain’d for lewd employments,

Like a false traitor and injurious villain.

Besides I say and will in battle prove,  92

Or here or elsewhere to the furthest verge

That ever was survey’d by English eye,

That all the treasons for these eighteen years

Complotted and contrived in this land,  96

Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.

Further I say and further will maintain

Upon his bad life to make all this good,

That he did plot the Duke of Gloucester’s death,

Suggest his soon believing adversaries,  101

And consequently, like a traitor coward,

Sluic’d out his innocent soul through streams of blood:

Which blood, like sacrificing Abel’s, cries,  104

Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,

To me for justice and rough chastisement;

And, by the glorious worth of my descent,

This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.  108

K. Rich.

How high a pitch his resolution soars!

Thomas of Norfolk, what sayst thou to this?


O! let my sovereign turn away his face

And bid his ears a little while be deaf,  112

Till I have told this slander of his blood

How God and good men hate so foul a liar.

K. Rich.

Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears:

Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom’s heir,—

As he is but my father’s brother’s son,—  117

Now, by my sceptre’s awe I make a vow,

Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood

Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize  120

The unstooping firmness of my upright soul.

He is our subject, Mowbray; so art thou:

Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.


Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,  124

Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest.

Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais

Disburs’d I duly to his highness’ soldiers;

The other part reserv’d I by consent,  128

For that my sovereign liege was in my debt

Upon remainder of a dear account,

Since last I went to France to fetch his queen.

Now swallow down that lie. For Gloucester’s death,  132

I slew him not; but to mine own disgrace

Neglected my sworn duty in that case.

For you, my noble Lord of Lancaster,

The honourable father to my foe,  136

Once did I lay an ambush for your life,

A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul;

But ere I last receiv’d the sacrament

I did confess it, and exactly begg’d  140

Your Grace’s pardon, and I hope I had it.

This is my fault: as for the rest appeal’d,

It issues from the rancour of a villain,

A recreant and most degenerate traitor;  144

Which in myself I boldly will defend,

And interchangeably hurl down my gage

Upon this overweening traitor’s foot,

To prove myself a loyal gentleman  148

Even in the best blood chamber’d in his bosom.

In haste whereof, most heartily I pray

Your highness to assign our trial day.

K. Rich.

Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul’d by me;  152

Let’s purge this choler without letting blood:

This we prescribe, though no physician;

Deep malice makes too deep incision:

Forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed,  156

Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.

Good uncle, let this end where it begun;

We’ll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.


To be a make-peace shall become my age:  160

Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk’s gage.

K. Rich.

And, Norfolk, throw down his.


When, Harry, when?

Obedience bids I should not bid again.

K. Rich.

Norfolk, throw down, we bid; there is no boot.  164


Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot.

My life thou shalt command, but not my shame:

The one my duty owes; but my fair name,—

Despite of death that lives upon my grave,—  168

To dark dishonour’s use thou shalt not have.

I am disgrac’d, impeach’d, and baffled here,

Pierc’d to the soul with slander’s venom’d spear,

The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood  172

Which breath’d this poison.

K. Rich.

Rage must be withstood:

Give me his gage: lions make leopards tame.


Yea, but not change his spots: take but my shame,

And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,  176

The purest treasure mortal times afford

Is spotless reputation; that away,

Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.

A jewel in a ten-times-barr’d-up chest  180

Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.

Mine honour is my life; both grow in one;

Take honour from me, and my life is done:

Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try;

In that I live and for that will I die.  185

K. Rich.

Cousin, throw down your gage: do you begin.


O! God defend my soul from such deep sin.

Shall I seem crest fall’n in my father’s sight,  188

Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height

Before this out-dar’d dastard? Ere my tongue

Shall wound mine honour with such feeble wrong,

Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear  192

The slavish motive of recanting fear,

And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace,

Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray’s face.

[Exit Gaunt.

K. Rich.

We were not born to sue, but to command:  196

Which since we cannot do to make you friends,

Be ready, as your lives shall answer it,

At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert’s day:

There shall your swords and lances arbitrate  200

The swelling difference of your settled hate:

Since we cannot atone you, we shall see

Justice design the victor’s chivalry.

Marshal, command our officers-at-arms  204

Be ready to direct these home alarms.


Scene II.— The Same. A Room in the Duke of Lancaster’s Palace.

Enter Gaunt and Duchess of Gloucester.


Alas! the part I had in Woodstock’s blood

Doth more solicit me than your exclaims,

To stir against the butchers of his life.

But since correction lieth in those hands  4

Which made the fault that we cannot correct,

Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven;

Who, when they see the hours ripe on earth,

Will rain hot vengeance on offenders’ heads.  8


Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur?

Hath love in thy old blood no living fire?

Edward’s seven sons, whereof thyself art one,

Were as seven vials of his sacred blood,  12

Or seven fair branches springing from one root:

Some of those seven are dried by nature’s course,

Some of those branches by the Destinies cut;

But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloucester,

One vial full of Edward’s sacred blood,  17

One flourishing branch of his most royal root,

Is crack’d, and all the precious liquor spilt;

Is hack’d down, and his summer leaves all vaded,

By envy’s hand and murder’s bloody axe.  21

Ah, Gaunt! his blood was thine: that bed, that womb,

That metal, that self-mould, that fashion’d thee

Made him a man; and though thou liv’st and breath’st,  24

Yet art thou slain in him: thou dost consent

In some large measure to thy father’s death

In that thou seest thy wretched brother die,

Who was the model of thy father’s life.  28

Call it not patience, Gaunt; it is despair:

In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughter’d

Thou show’st the naked pathway to thy life,

Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee:  32

That which in mean men we entitle patience

Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts.

What shall I say? to safeguard thine own life,

The best way is to venge my Gloucester’s death.


God’s is the quarrel; for God’s substitute,  37

His deputy anointed in his sight,

Hath caus’d his death; the which if wrongfully,

Let heaven revenge, for I may never lift  40

An angry arm against his minister.


Where then, alas! may I complain myself?


To God, the widow’s champion and defence.


Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.

Thou go’st to Coventry, there to behold  45

Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight:

O! sit my husband’s wrongs on Hereford’s spear,

That it may enter butcher Mowbray’s breast.  48

Or if misfortune miss the first career,

Be Mowbray’s sins so heavy in his bosom

That they may break his foaming courser’s back,

And throw the rider headlong in the lists,  52

A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford!

Farewell, old Gaunt: thy sometimes brother’s wife

With her companion grief must end her life.


Sister, farewell; I must to Coventry.

As much good stay with thee as go with me!  57


Yet one word more. Grief boundeth where it falls,

Not with the empty hollowness, but weight:

I take my leave before I have begun,  60

For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.

Commend me to my brother, Edmund York.

Lo! this is all: nay, yet depart not so;

Though this be all, do not so quickly go;  64

I shall remember more. Bid him—ah, what?—

With all good speed at Plashy visit me.

Alack! and what shall good old York there see

But empty lodgings and unfurnish’d walls,  68

Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones?

And what hear there for welcome but my groans?

Therefore commend me; let him not come there,

To seek out sorrow that dwells every where.  72

Desolate, desolate will I hence, and die:

The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.


Scene III.— Open Space, near Coventry. Lists set out, and a Throne. Heralds, &c., attending.

Enter the Lord Marshal and Aumerle.


My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm’d?


Yea, at all points, and longs to enter in.


The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,

Stays but the summons of the appellant’s trumpet.  4


Why then, the champions are prepar’d, and stay

For nothing but his majesty’s approach.

Flourish. Enter King Richard, who takes his seat on his Throne; Gaunt, Bushy, Bagot, Green, and Others, who take their places. A trumpet is sounded, and answered by another trumpet within. Then enter Mowbray, in armour, defendant, preceded by a Herald.

K. Rich.

Marshal, demand of yonder champion

The cause of his arrival here in arms:  8

Ask him his name, and orderly proceed

To swear him in the justice of his cause.


In God’s name, and the king’s, say who thou art,

And why thou com’st thus knightly clad in arms,

Against what man thou com’st, and what thy quarrel.  13

Speak truly, on thy knighthood and thine oath:

As so defend thee heaven and thy valour!


My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,  16

Who hither come engaged by my oath,—

Which God defend a knight should violate!—

Both to defend my loyalty and truth

To God, my king, and his succeeding issue,  20

Against the Duke of Hereford that appeals me;

And, by the grace of God and this mine arm,

To prove him, in defending of myself,

A traitor to my God, my king, and me:  24

And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!

[He takes his seat.

Trumpet sounds. Enter Bolingbroke, appellant, in armour, preceded by a Herald.

K. Rich.

Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms,

Both who he is and why he cometh hither

Thus plated in habiliments of war;  28

And formally, according to our law,

Depose him in the justice of his cause.


What is thy name? and wherefore com’st thou hither,

Before King Richard in his royal lists?  32

Against whom comest thou? and what’s thy quarrel?

Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!


Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,

Am I; who ready here do stand in arms,  36

To prove by God’s grace and my body’s valour,

In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,

That he’s a traitor foul and dangerous,

To God of heaven, King Richard, and to me:  40

And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!


On pain of death, no person be so bold

Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists,

Except the marshal and such officers  44

Appointed to direct these fair designs.


Lord marshal, let me kiss my sovereign’s hand,

And bow my knee before his majesty:

For Mowbray and myself are like two men  48

That vow a long and weary pilgrimage;

Then let us take a ceremonious leave

And loving farewell of our several friends.


The appellant in all duty greets your highness,  52

And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave.

K. Rich.

[Descends from his throne.] We will descend and fold him in our arms.

Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,

So be thy fortune in this royal fight!  56

Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed,

Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.


O! let no noble eye profane a tear

For me, if I be gor’d with Mowbray’s spear.  60

As confident as is the falcon’s flight

Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight.

My loving lord, I take my leave of you;

Of you, my noble cousin, Lord Aumerle;  64

Not sick, although I have to do with death,

But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.

Lo! as at English feasts, so I regreet

The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet:

O thou, the earthly author of my blood,  69

Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,

Doth with a two-fold vigour lift me up

To reach at victory above my head,  72

Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers,

And with thy blessings steel my lance’s point,

That it may enter Mowbray’s waxen coat,

And furbish new the name of John a Gaunt,  76

Even in the lusty haviour of his son.


God in thy good cause make thee prosperous!

Be swift like lightning in the execution;

And let thy blows, doubly redoubled,  80

Fall like amazing thunder on the casque

Of thy adverse pernicious enemy:

Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live.


Mine innocency and Saint George to thrive!

[He takes his seat.


[Rising.] However God or fortune cast my lot,  85

There lives or dies, true to King Richard’s throne,

A loyal, just, and upright gentleman.

Never did captive with a freer heart  88

Cast off his chains of bondage and embrace

His golden uncontroll’d enfranchisement,

More than my dancing soul doth celebrate

This feast of battle with mine adversary.  92

Most mighty liege, and my companion peers,

Take from my mouth the wish of happy years.

As gentle and as jocund as to jest,

Go I to fight: truth has a quiet breast.  96

K. Rich.

Farewell, my lord: securely I espy

Virtue with valour couched in thine eye.

Order the trial, marshal, and begin.

[The King and the Lords return to their seats.


Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,  100

Receive thy lance; and God defend the right!


[Rising.] Strong as a tower in hope, I cry ‘amen.’


[To an Officer.] Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk.

First Her.

Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,  104

Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself,

On pain to be found false and recreant,

To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray,

A traitor to his God, his king, and him;  108

And dares him to set forward to the fight.

Sec. Her.

Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,

On pain to be found false and recreant,

Both to defend himself and to approve  112

Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,

To God, his sovereign, and to him, disloyal;

Courageously and with a free desire,

Attending but the signal to begin.  116


Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants.

[A charge sounded.

Stay, stay, the king hath thrown his warderdown.

K. Rich.

Let them lay by their helmets and their spears,

And both return back to their chairs again:  120

Withdraw with us; and let the trumpets sound

While we return these dukes what we decree.

[A long flourish.

[To the Combatants.] Draw near,

And list what with our council we have done.

For that our kingdom’s earth should not be soil’d  125

With that dear blood which it hath fostered;

And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect

Of civil wounds plough’d up with neighbours’ swords;  128

And for we think the eagle-winged pride

Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts,

With rival-hating envy, set on you

To wake our peace, which in our country’s cradle  132

Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep;

Which so rous’d up with boist’rous untun’d drums,

With harsh-resounding trumpets’ dreadful bray,

And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,  136

Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace

And make us wade even in our kindred’s blood:

Therefore, we banish you our territories:

You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life,  140

Till twice five summers have enrich’d our fields,

Shall not regreet our fair dominions,

But tread the stranger paths of banishment.


Your will be done: this must my comfort be,  144

That sun that warms you here shall shine on me;

And those his golden beams to you here lent

Shall point on me and gild my banishment.

K. Rich.

Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom,  148

Which I with some unwillingness pronounce:

The sly slow hours shall not determinate

The dateless limit of thy dear exile;

The hopeless word of ‘never to return’  152

Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.


A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,

And all unlook’d for from your highness’ mouth:

A dearer merit, not so deep a maim  156

As to be cast forth in the common air,

Have I deserved at your highness’ hands.

The language I have learn’d these forty years,

My native English, now I must forego;  160

And now my tongue’s use is to me no more

Than an unstringed viol or a harp,

Or like a cunning instrument cas’d up,

Or, being open, put into his hands  164

That knows no touch to tune the harmony:

Within my mouth you have engaol’d my tongue,

Doubly portcullis’d with my teeth and lips;

And dull, unfeeling, barren ignorance  168

Is made my gaoler to attend on me.

I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,

Too far in years to be a pupil now:

What is thy sentence then but speechless death,

Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath?  173

K. Rich.

It boots thee not to be compassionate:

After our sentence plaining comes too late.


Then, thus I turn me from my country’s light,  176

To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.


K. Rich.

Return again, and take an oath with thee.

Lay on our royal sword your banish’d hands;

Swear by the duty that you owe to God—  180

Our part therein we banish with yourselves—

To keep the oath that we administer.

You never shall,—so help you truth and God!—

Embrace each other’s love in banishment;  184

Nor never look upon each other’s face;

Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile

This low’ring tempest of your home-bred hate;

Nor never by advised purpose meet  188

To plot, contrive, or complot any ill

’Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.


I swear.


And I, to keep all this.  192


Norfolk, so far, as to mine enemy:—

By this time, had the king permitted us,

One of our souls had wander’d in the air,

Banish’d this frail sepulchre of our flesh,  196

As now our flesh is banish’d from this land:

Confess thy treasons ere thou fly the realm;

Since thou hast far to go, bear not along

The clogging burden of a guilty soul.  200


No, Bolingbroke: if ever I were traitor,

My name be blotted from the book of life,

And I from heaven banish’d as from hence!

But what thou art, God, thou, and I do know;  204

And all too soon, I fear, the king shall rue.

Farewell, my liege. Now no way can I stray;

Save back to England, all the world’s my way.


K. Rich.

Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes  208

I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspect

Hath from the number of his banish’d years

Pluck’d four away.—[To Bolingbroke.] Six frozen winters spent,

Return with welcome home from banishment.


How long a time lies in one little word!  213

Four lagging winters and four wanton springs

End in a word: such is the breath of kings.


I thank my liege, that in regard of me

He shortens four years of my son’s exile;  217

But little vantage shall I reap thereby:

For, ere the six years that he hath to spend

Can change their moons and bring their times about,  220

My oil-dried lamp and time-bewasted light

Shall be extinct with age and endless night;

My inch of taper will be burnt and done,

And blindfold death not let me see my son.  224

K. Rich.

Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.


But not a minute, king, that thou canst give:

Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,

And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow;

Thou canst help time to furrow me with age.  229

But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage;

Thy word is current with him for my death,

But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.

K. Rich.

Thy son is banish’d upon good advice,  233

Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave:

Why at our justice seem’st thou then to lower?


Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.  236

You urg’d me as a judge; but I had rather

You would have bid me argue like a father.

O! had it been a stranger, not my child,

To smooth his fault I should have been more mild:  240

A partial slander sought I to avoid,

And in the sentence my own life destroy’d.

Alas! I look’d when some of you should say,

I was too strict to make mine own away;  244

But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue

Against my will to do myself this wrong.

K. Rich.

Cousin, farewell; and, uncle, bid him so:

Six years we banish him, and he shall go.  248

[Flourish. Exeunt King Richard and Train.


Cousin, farewell: what presence must not know,

From where you do remain let paper show.


My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride,

As far as land will let me, by your side.  252


O! to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,

That thou return’st no greeting to thy friends?


I have too few to take my leave of you,

When the tongue’s office should be prodigal  256

To breathe the abundant dolour of the heart.


Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.


Joy absent, grief is present for that time.


What is six winters? they are quickly gone.  260


To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.


Call it a travel that thou tak’st for pleasure.


My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,

Which finds it an inforced pilgrimage.  264


The sullen passage of thy weary steps

Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set

The precious jewel of thy home return.


Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make  268

Will but remember me what a deal of world

I wander from the jewels that I love.

Must I not serve a long apprenticehood

To foreign passages, and in the end,  272

Having my freedom, boast of nothing else

But that I was a journeyman to grief?


All places that the eye of heaven visits

Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.  276

Teach thy necessity to reason thus;

There is no virtue like necessity.

Think not the king did banish thee,

But thou the king. Woe doth the heavier sit,

Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.  281

Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour,

And not the king exil’d thee; or suppose

Devouring pestilence hangs in our air,  284

And thou art flying to a fresher clime.

Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it

To lie that way thou go’st, not whence thou com’st.

Suppose the singing birds musicians,  288

The grass whereon thou tread’st the presence strew’d,

The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more

Than a delightful measure or a dance;

For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite  292

The man that mocks at it and sets it light.


O! who can hold a fire in his hand

By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?

Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite  296

By bare imagination of a feast?

Or wallow naked in December snow

By thinking on fantastic summer’s heat?

O, no! the apprehension of the good  300

Gives but the greater feeling to the worse:

Fell sorrow’s tooth doth never rankle more

Than when it bites, but lanceth not the sore.


Come, come, my son, I’ll bring thee on thy way.  304

Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay.


Then, England’s ground, farewell; sweet soil, adieu:

My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet!

Where’er I wander, boast of this I can,  308

Though banish’d, yet a true-born Englishman.


Scene IV.— London. A Room in the King’s Castle.

Enter King Richard, Bagot, and Green at one door; Aumerle at another.

K. Rich

We did observe. Cousin Aumerle,

How far brought you high Hereford on his way?


I brought high Hereford, if you call him so,

But to the next highway, and there I left him.  4

K. Rich.

And say, what store of parting tears were shed?


Faith, none for me; except the northeast wind,

Which then blew bitterly against our faces,

Awak’d the sleeping rheum, and so by chance  8

Did grace our hollow parting with a tear.

K. Rich.

What said our cousin when you parted with him?



And, for my heart disdained that my tongue  12

Should so profane the word, that taught me craft

To counterfeit oppression of such grief

That words seem’d buried in my sorrow’s grave.

Marry, would the word ‘farewell’ have lengthen’d hours  16

And added years to his short banishment,

He should have had a volume of farewells;

But, since it would not, he had none of me.

K. Rich.

He is our cousin, cousin; but ’tis doubt,  20

When time shall call him home from banishment,

Whether our kinsman come to see his friends.

Ourself and Bushy, Bagot here and Green

Observ’d his courtship to the common people,  24

How he did seem to dive into their hearts

With humble and familiar courtesy,

What reverence he did throw away on slaves,

Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles

And patient underbearing of his fortune,  29

As ’twere to banish their affects with him.

Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench;

A brace of draymen bid God speed him well,  32

And had the tribute of his supple knee,

With ‘Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends;’

As were our England in reversion his,

And he our subjects’ next degree in hope.  36


Well, he is gone; and with him go these thoughts.

Now for the rebels which stand out in Ireland;

Expedient manage must be made, my liege,

Ere further leisure yield them further means  40

For their advantage and your highness’ loss.

K. Rich.

We will ourself in person to this war.

And, for our coffers with too great a court

And liberal largess are grown somewhat light,

We are enforc’d to farm our royal realm;  45

The revenue whereof shall furnish us

For our affairs in hand. If that come short,

Our substitutes at home shall have blank charters;

Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich,  49

They shall subscribe them for large sums of gold,

And send them after to supply our wants;

For we will make for Ireland presently.  52

Enter Bushy.

Bushy, what news?


Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord,

Suddenly taken, and hath sent post-haste

To entreat your majesty to visit him.  56

K. Rich.

Where lies he?


At Ely House.

K. Rich.

Now, put it, God. in his physician’s mind

To help him to his grave immediately!  60

The lining of his coffers shall make coats

To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.

Come, gentlemen, let’s all go visit him:

Pray God we may make haste, and come too late.





Scene I.— London. An Apartment in Ely House.

Gaunt on a couch; the Duke of York and Others standing by him.


Will the king come, that I may breathe my last

In wholesome counsel to his unstaid youth?


Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath;

For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.  4


O! but they say the tongues of dying men

Enforce attention like deep harmony:

Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain,

For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.  8

He that no more must say is listen’d more

Than they whom youth and ease have taught to glose;

More are men’s ends mark’d than their lives before:

The setting sun, and music at the close,  12

As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,

Writ in remembrance more than things long past:

Though Richard my life’s counsel would not hear,

My death’s sad tale may yet undeaf his ear.  16


No; it is stopp’d with other flattering sounds,

As praises of his state: then there are fond

Lascivious metres, to whose venom sound

The open ear of youth doth always listen:  20

Report of fashions in proud Italy,

Whose manners still our tardy apish nation

Limps after in base imitation.

Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity,—  24

So it be new there’s no respect how vile,—

That is not quickly buzz’d into his ears?

Then all too late comes counsel to be heard,

Where will doth mutiny with wit’s regard.  28

Direct not him whose way himself will choose:

’Tis breath thou lack’st, and that breath wilt thou lose.


Methinks I am a prophet new inspir’d,

And thus expiring do foretell of him:  32

His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,

For violent fires soon burn out themselves;

Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;

He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;  36

With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:

Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,

Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.

This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,  40

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war,  44

This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious stone set in the silver sea,

Which serves it in the office of a wall,

Or as a moat defensive to a house,  48

Against the envy of less happier lands,

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,

This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,

Fear’d by their breed and famous by their birth,  52

Renowned for their deeds as far from home,—

For Christian service and true chivalry,—

As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry

Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son:  56

This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,

Dear for her reputation through the world,

Is now leas’d out,—I die pronouncing it,—

Like to a tenement, or pelting farm:  60

England, bound in with the triumphant sea,

Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege

Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,

With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds:  64

That England, that was wont to conquer others,

Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.

Ah! would the scandal vanish with my life,

How happy then were my ensuing death.  68

Enter King Richard and Queen; Aumerle, Bushy, Green, Bagot, Ross, and Willoughby.


The king is come: deal mildly with his youth;

For young hot colts, being rag’d, do rage the more.


How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster?

K. Rich.

What comfort, man? How is’t with aged Gaunt?  72


O! how that name befits my composition;

Old Gaunt indeed, and gaunt in being old:

Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast;  75

And who abstains from meat that is not gaunt?

For sleeping England long time have I watch’d;

Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt.

The pleasure that some fathers feed upon

Is my strict fast, I mean my children’s looks;  80

And therein fasting hast thou made me gaunt.

Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave,

Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.

K. Rich.

Can sick men play so nicely with their names?  84


No; misery makes sport to mock itself:

Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me,

I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee.

K. Rich.

Should dying men flatter with those that live?  88


No, no; men living flatter those that die.

K. Rich.

Thou, now a-dying, sayst thou flatter’st me.


O, no! thou diest, though I the sicker be.

K. Rich.

I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill.  92


Now, he that made me knows I see thee ill;

Ill in myself to see, and in thee seeing ill.

Thy death-bed is no lesser than thy land

Wherein thou liest in reputation sick:  96

And thou, too careless patient as thou art,

Committ’st thy anointed body to the cure

Of those physicians that first wounded thee:

A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,  100

Whose compass is no bigger than thy head;

And yet, incaged in so small a verge,

The waste is no whit lesser than thy land.

O! had thy grandsire, with a prophet’s eye,  104

Seen how his son’s son should destroy his sons,

From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame,

Deposing thee before thou wert possess’d,

Which art possess’d now to depose thyself.  108

Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world,

It were a shame to let this land by lease;

But for thy world enjoying but this land,

Is it not more than shame to shame it so?  112

Landlord of England art thou now, not king:

Thy state of law is bond-slave to the law,


K. Rich.

And thou a lunatic lean-witted fool,

Presuming on an ague’s privilege,  116

Dar’st with thy frozen admonition

Make pale our cheek, chasing the royal blood

With fury from his native residence.

Now, by my seat’s right royal majesty,  120

Wert thou not brother to great Edward’s son,—

This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head

Should run thy head from thy unreverent shoulders.


O! spare me not, my brother Edward’s son,  124

For that I was his father Edward’s son.

That blood already, like the pelican,

Hast thou tapp’d out and drunkenly carous’d:

My brother Gloucester, plain well-meaning soul,—

Whom fair befall in heaven ’mongst happy souls!—  129

May be a precedent and witness good

That thou respect’st not spilling Edward’s blood:

Join with the present sickness that I have;  132

And thy unkindness be like crooked age,

To crop at once a too-long wither’d flower.

Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!

These words hereafter thy tormentors be!  136

Convey me to my bed, then to my grave:

Love they to live that love and honour have.

[Exit, borne out by his Attendants.

K. Rich.

And let them die that age and sullens have;

For both hast thou, and both become the grave.


I do beseech your majesty, impute his words  141

To wayward sickliness and age in him:

He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear

As Harry, Duke of Hereford, were he here.  144

K. Rich.

Right, you say true: as Hereford’s love, so his;

As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.

Enter Northumberland.


My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your majesty.

K. Rich.

What says he?  148


Nay, nothing; all is said:

His tongue is now a stringless instrument;

Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent.


Be York the next that must be bankrupt so!  152

Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.

K. Rich.

The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he:

His time is spent; our pilgrimage must be.

So much for that. Now for our Irish wars.  156

We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns,

Which live like venom where no venom else

But only they have privilege to live.

And for these great affairs do ask some charge,

Towards our assistance we do seize to us  161

The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables,

Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d.


How long shall I be patient? Ah! how long  164

Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?

Not Gloucester’s death, nor Hereford’s banishment,

Not Gaunt’s rebukes, nor England’s private wrongs,

Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke  168

About his marriage, nor my own disgrace,

Have ever made me sour my patient cheek,

Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign’s face.

I am the last of noble Edward’s sons,  172

Of whom thy father, Prince of Wales, was first;

In war was never lion rag’d more fierce,

In peace was never gentle lamb more mild,

Than was that young and princely gentleman.

His face thou hast, for even so look’d he,  177

Accomplish’d with the number of thy hours;

But when he frown’d, it was against the French,

And not against his friends; his noble hand  180

Did win what he did spend, and spent not that

Which his triumphant father’s hand had won:

His hands were guilty of no kindred’s blood,

But bloody with the enemies of his kin.  184

O, Richard! York is too far gone with grief,

Or else he never would compare between.

K. Rich.

Why, uncle, what’s the matter?


O! my liege.

Pardon me, if you please; if not, I, pleas’d  188

Not to be pardon’d, am content withal.

Seek you to seize and gripe into your hands

The royalties and rights of banish’d Hereford?

Is not Gaunt dead, and doth not Hereford live?

Was not Gaunt just, and is not Harry true?  193

Did not the one deserve to have an heir?

Is not his heir a well-deserving son?

Take Hereford’s rights away, and take from Time

His charters and his customary rights;  197

Let not to-morrow then ensue to-day;

Be not thyself; for how art thou a king

But by fair sequence and succession?  200

Now, afore God,—God forbid I say true!—

If you do wrongfully seize Hereford’s rights,

Call in the letters-patent that he hath

By his attorneys-general to sue  204

His livery, and deny his offer’d homage,

You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,

You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts,

And prick my tender patience to those thoughts

Which honour and allegiance cannot think.  209

K. Rich.

Think what you will: we seize into our hands

His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.


I’ll not be by the while: my liege, farewell:  212

What will ensue hereof, there’s none can tell;

But by bad courses may be understood

That their events can never fall out good.


K. Rich.

Go, Bushy, to the Earl of Wiltshire straight:  216

Bid him repair to us to Ely House

To see this business. To-morrow next

We will for Ireland; and ’tis time, I trow:

And we create, in absence of ourself,  220

Our uncle York lord governor of England;

For he is just, and always lov’d us well.

Come on, our queen: to-morrow must we part;

Be merry, for our time of stay is short.


[Exeunt King, Queen, Bushy, Aumerle, Green, and Bagot.


Well, lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead.  225


And living too; for now his son is duke.


Barely in title, not in revenue.


Richly in both, if justice had her right.


My heart is great; but it must break with silence,  229

Ere’t be disburden’d with a liberal tongue.


Nay, speak thy mind; and let him ne’er speak more

That speaks thy words again to do thee harm!


Tends that thou’dst speak to the Duke of Hereford?  233

If it be so, out with it boldly, man;

Quick is mine ear to hear of good towards him.


No good at all that I can do for him,  236

Unless you call it good to pity him,

Bereft and gelded of his patrimony.


Now, afore God, ’tis shame such wrongs are borne

In him, a royal prince, and many more  240

Of noble blood in this declining land.

The king is not himself, but basely led

By flatterers; and what they will inform,

Merely in hate, ’gainst any of us all,  244

That will the king severely prosecute

’Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs.


The commons hath he pill’d with grievous taxes,

And quite lost their hearts: the nobles hath he fin’d  248

For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.


And daily new exactions are devis’d;

As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what:

But what, o’ God’s name, doth become of this?


Wars have not wasted it, for warr’d he hath not,  253

But basely yielded upon compromise

That which his ancestors achiev’d with blows.

More hath he spent in peace than they in wars.


The Earl of Wiltshire hath the realm in farm.  257


The king’s grown bankrupt, like a broken man.


Reproach and dissolution hangeth over him.


He hath not money for these Irish wars,

His burdenous taxations notwithstanding,  261

But by the robbing of the banish’d duke.


His noble kinsman: most degenerate king!

But, lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing,  264

Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm;

We see the wind sit sore upon our sails,

And yet we strike not, but securely perish.


We see the very wrack that we must suffer;  268

And unavoided is the danger now,

For suffering so the causes of our wrack.


Not so: even through the hollow eyes of death

Ispy life peering; but I dare not say  272

How near the tidings of our comfort is.


Nay, let us share thy thoughts, as thou dost ours.


Be confident to speak, Northumberland:

We three are but thyself: and, speaking so,  276

Thy words are but as thoughts; therefore, be bold.


Then thus: I have from Port le Blanc, a bay

In Brittany, receiv’d intelligence

That Harry Duke of Hereford, Rainold Lord Cobham,  280

That late broke from the Duke of Exeter,

His brother, Archbishop late of Canterbury,

Sir Thomas Erpingham, Sir John Ramston,

Sir John Norbery, Sir Robert Waterton, and Francis Quoint,  284

All these well furnish’d by the Duke of Britaine,

With eight tall ships, three thousand men of war,

Are making hither with all due expedience,

And shortly mean to touch our northern shore.

Perhaps they had ere this, but that they stay  289

The first departing of the king for Ireland.

If then we shall shake off our slavish yoke,

Imp out our drooping country’s broken wing,

Redeem from broking pawn the blemish’d crown,

Wipe off the dust that hides our sceptre’s gilt,

And make high majesty look like itself,

Away with me in post to Ravenspurgh;  296

But if you faint, as fearing to do so,

Stay and be secret, and myself will go.


To horse, to horse! urge doubts to them that fear.


Hold out my horse, and I will first be there.


Scene II.— The Same. A Room in the Palace.

Enter Queen, Bushy, and Bagot.


Madam, your majesty is too much sad:

You promis’d, when you parted with the king,

To lay aside life-harming heaviness,

And entertain a cheerful disposition.  4


To please the king I did; to please myself

I cannot do it; yet I know no cause

Why I should welcome such a guest as grief,

Save bidding farewell to so sweet a guest  8

As my sweet Richard: yet, again, methinks,

Some unborn sorrow, ripe in fortune’s womb,

Is coming towards me, and my inward soul  11

With nothing trembles; at some thing it grieves

More than with parting from my lord the king.


Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,

Which show like grief itself, but are not so.

For sorrow’s eye, glazed with blinding tears,  16

Divides one thing entire to many objects;

Like perspectives, which rightly gaz’d upon

Show nothing but confusion; ey’d awry

Distinguish form: so your sweet majesty,  20

Looking awry upon your lord’s departure,

Finds shapes of grief more than himself to wail;

Which, look’d on as it is, is nought but shadows

Of what it is not. Then, thrice-gracious queen,

More than your lord’s departure weep not: more’s not seen;  25

Or if it be, ’tis with false sorrow’s eye,

Which for things true weeps things imaginary.


It may be so; but yet my inward soul

Persuades me it is otherwise: howe’er it be,  29

I cannot but be sad, so heavy sad,

As, though in thinking on no thought I think,

Makes me with heavy nothing faint and shrink.


’Tis nothing but conceit, my gracious lady.  33


’Tis nothing less: conceit is still deriv’d

From some forefather grief; mine is not so,

For nothing hath begot my something grief;  36

Or something hath the nothing that I grieve:

’Tis in reversion that I do possess;

But what it is, that is not yet known; what

I cannot name; ’tis nameless woe, I wot.  40

Enter Green.


God save your majesty! and well met, gentlemen:

I hope the king is not yet shipp’d for Ireland.


Why hop’st thou so? ’tis better hope he is,  43

For his designs crave haste, his haste good hope:

Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipp’d?


That he, our hope, might have retir’d his power,

And driven into despair an enemy’s hope,

Who strongly hath set footing in this land:  48

The banish’d Bolingbroke repeals himself,

And with uplifted arms is safe arriv’d

At Ravenspurgh.


Now God in heaven forbid!


Ah! madam, ’tis too true: and that is worse,  52

The Lord Northumberland, his son young Henry Percy,

The Lords of Ross, Beaumond, and Willoughby,

With all their powerful friends, are fled to him.


Why have you not proclaim’d Northumberland  56

And all the rest of the revolted faction traitors?


We have: whereupon the Earl of Worcester

Hath broke his staff, resign’d his stewardship,

And all the household servants fled with him  60

To Bolingbroke.


So, Green, thou art the midwife to my woe,

And Bolingbroke my sorrow’s dismal heir:

Now hath my soul brought forth her prodigy,  64

And I, a gasping new-deliver’d mother,

Have woe to woe, sorrow to sorrow join’d.


Despair not, madam.


Who shall hinder me?

I will despair, and be at enmity  68

With cozening hope: he is a flatterer,

A parasite, a keeper-back of death,

Who gently would dissolve the bands of life,

Which false hope lingers in extremity.  72

Enter York.


Here comes the Duke of York.


With signs of war about his aged neck:

O! full of careful business are his looks.

Uncle, for God’s sake, speak comfortable words.


Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts:  77

Comfort’s in heaven; and we are on the earth,

Where nothing lives but crosses, cares, and grief.

Your husband, he is gone to save far off,  80

Whilst others come to make him lose at home:

Here am I left to underprop his land,

Who, weak with age, cannot support myself.

Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made;

Now shall he try his friends that flatter’d him.

Enter a Servant.


My lord, your son was gone before I came.


He was? Why, so! go all which way it will!

The nobles they are fled, the commons they are cold,  88

And will, I fear, revolt on Hereford’s side.

Sirrah, get thee to Plashy, to my sister Gloucester;

Bid her send me presently a thousand pound.

Hold, take my ring.  92


My lord, I had forgot to tell your lordship:

To-day, as I came by, I called there;

But I shall grieve you to report the rest.


What is’t, knave?  96


An hour before I came the duchess died.


God for his mercy! what a tide of woes

Comes rushing on this woeful land at once!

I know not what to do: I would to God,—  100

So my untruth had not provok’d him to it,—

The king had cut off my head with my brother’s.

What! are there no posts dispatch’d for Ireland?

How shall we do for money for these wars?  104

Come, sister,—cousin, I would say,—pray, pardon me.—

Go, fellow, get thee home; provide some carts

And bring away the armour that is there.

[Exit Servant.

Gentlemen, will you go muster men? If I know

How or which way to order these affairs  109

Thus thrust disorderly into my hands,

Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen:

The one is my sovereign, whom both my oath

And duty bids defend; the other again  113

Is my kinsman, whom the king hath wrong’d,

Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right.

Well, somewhat we must do. Come, cousin,  116

I’ll dispose of you. Gentlemen, go muster up your men,

And meet me presently at Berkeley Castle.

I should to Plashy too:

But time will not permit. All is uneven,  120

And every thing is left at six and seven.

[Exeunt York and Queen.


The wind sits fair for news to go to Ireland,

But none returns. For us to levy power

Proportionable to the enemy  124

Is all unpossible.


Besides, our nearness to the king in love

Is near the hate of those love not the king.


And that’s the wavering commons; for their love  128

Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them,

By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate.


Wherein the king stands generally condemn’d.


If judgment lie in them, then so do we,

Because we ever have been near the king.  133


Well, I’ll for refuge straight to Bristol Castle;

The Earl of Wiltshire is already there.


Thither will I with you; for little office  136

Will the hateful commons perform for us,

Except like curs to tear us all to pieces.

Will you go along with us?


No; I will to Ireland to his majesty.

Farewell: if heart’s presages be not vain,  141

We three here part that ne’er shall meet again.


That’s as York thrives to beat back Bolingbroke.


Alas, poor duke! the task he undertakes  144

Is numbering sands and drinking oceans dry:

Where one on his side fights, thousands will fly.

Farewell at once; for once, for all, and ever.


Well, we may meet again.


I fear me, never.  148


Scene III.— The Wolds in Gloucestershire.

Enter Bolingbroke and Northumberland, with Forces.


How far is it, my lord, to Berkeley now?


Believe me, noble lord,

I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire:

These high wild hills and rough uneven ways  4

Draw out our miles and make them wearisome;

But yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar,

Making the hard way sweet and delectable.

But I bethink me what a weary way  8

From Ravenspurgh to Cotswold will be found

In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company,

Which, I protest, hath very much beguil’d

The tediousness and process of my travel:  12

But theirs is sweeten’d with the hope to have

The present benefit which I possess;

And hope to joy is little less in joy

Than hope enjoy’d: by this the weary lords  16

Shall make their way seem short, as mine hath done

By sight of what I have, your noble company.


Of much less value is my company

Than your good words. But who comes here?

Enter Henry Percy.


It is my son, young Harry Percy,  21

Sent from my brother Worcester, whencesoever.

Harry, how fares your uncle?

H. Percy.

I had thought, my lord, to have learn’d his health of you.  24


Why, is he not with the queen?

H. Percy.

No, my good lord; he hath forsook the court,

Broken his staff of office, and dispers’d

The household of the king.


What was his reason?  28

He was not so resolv’d when last we spake together.

H. Percy.

Because your lordship was proclaimed traitor.

But he, my lord, is gone to Ravenspurgh,

To offer service to the Duke of Hereford,  32

And sent me over by Berkeley to discover

What power the Duke of York had levied there;

Then with direction to repair to Ravenspurgh.


Have you forgot the Duke of Hereford, boy?  36

H. Percy.

No, my good lord; for that is not forgot

Which ne’er I did remember: to my knowledge

I never in my life did look on him.


Then learn to know him now: this is the duke.  40

H. Percy.

My gracious lord, I tender you my service,

Such as it is, being tender, raw, and young,

Which elder days shall ripen and confirm

To more approved service and desert.  44


I thank thee, gentle Percy; and be sure

I count myself in nothing else so happy

As in a soul remembering my good friends;

And as my fortune ripens with thy love,  48

It shall be still thy true love’s recompense:

My heart this covenant makes, my hand thus seals it.


How far is it to Berkeley? and what stir

Keeps good old York there with his men of war?

H. Percy.

There stands the castle, by yon tuft of trees,  53

Mann’d with three hundred men, as I have heard;

And in it are the Lords of York, Berkeley, and Seymour;

None else of name and noble estimate.  56

Enter Ross and Willoughby.


Here come the Lords of Ross and Willoughby,

Bloody with spurring, fiery-red with haste.


Welcome, my lords. I wot your love pursues

A banish’d traitor; all my treasury  60

Is yet but unfelt thanks, which, more enrich’d,

Shall be your love and labour’s recompense.


Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord.


And far surmounts our labour to attain it.  64


Evermore thanks, the exchequer of the poor;

Which, till my infant fortune comes to years,

Stands for my bounty. But who comes here?

Enter Berkeley.


It is my Lord of Berkeley, as I guess.


My lord of Hereford, my message is to you.  69


My lord, my answer is—to Lancaster;

And I am come to seek that name in England;

And I must find that title in your tongue  72

Before I make reply to aught you say.


Mistake me not, my lord; ’tis not my meaning

To raze one title of your honour out:

To you, my lord, I come, what lord you will,  76

From the most gracious regent of this land,

The Duke of York, to know what pricks you on

To take advantage of the absent time

And fright our native peace with self-born arms.

Enter York, attended.


I shall not need transport my words by you:  81

Here comes his Grace in person.

My noble uncle!



Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee,

Whose duty is deceivable and false.  84


My gracious uncle—


Tut, tut!

Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle:

I am no traitor’s uncle; and that word ‘grace’

In an ungracious mouth is but profane.  89

Why have those banish’d and forbidden legs

Dar’d once to touch a dust of England’s ground?

But then, more ‘why?’ why have they dar’d to march  92

So many miles upon her peaceful bosom,

Frighting her pale-fac’d villages with war

And ostentation of despised arms?

Com’st thou because the anointed king is hence?

Why, foolish boy, the king is left behind,  97

And in my loyal bosom lies his power.

Were I but now the lord of such hot youth

As when brave Gaunt thy father, and myself,  100

Rescu’d the Black Prince, that young Mars of men,

From forth the ranks of many thousand French,

O! then, how quickly should this arm of mine,

Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee  104

And minister correction to thy fault!


My gracious uncle, let me know my fault:

On what condition stands it and wherein?


Even in condition of the worst degree,

In gross rebellion and detested treason:  109

Thou art a banish’d man, and here art come

Before the expiration of thy time,

In braving arms against thy sovereign.  112


As I was banish’d, I was banish’d Hereford;

But as I come, I come for Lancaster.

And, noble uncle, I beseech your Grace

Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye:  116

You are my father, for methinks in you

I see old Gaunt alive: O! then, my father,

Will you permit that I shall stand condemn’d

A wandering vagabond; my rights and royalties

Pluck’d from my arms perforce and given away

To upstart unthrifts? Wherefore was I born?

If that my cousin king be King of England,

It must be granted I am Duke of Lancaster.  124

You have a son, Aumerle, my noble kinsman;

Had you first died, and he been thus trod down,

He should have found his uncle Gaunt a father,

To rouse his wrongs and chase them to the bay.

I am denied to sue my livery here,  129

And yet my letters-patent give me leave:

My father’s goods are all distrain’d and sold,

And these and all are all amiss employ’d.  132

What would you have me do? I am a subject,

And challenge law: attorneys are denied me,

And therefore personally I lay my claim

To my inheritance of free descent.  136


The noble duke hath been too much abus’d.


It stands your Grace upon to do him right.


Base men by his endowments are made great.


My lords of England, let me tell you this:  140

I have had feeling of my cousin’s wrongs,

And labour’d all I could to do him right;

But in this kind to come, in braving arms,

Be his own carver and cut out his way,  144

To find out right with wrong, it may not be;

And you that do abet him in this kind

Cherish rebellion and are rebels all.


The noble duke hath sworn his coming is  148

But for his own; and for the right of that

We all have strongly sworn to give him aid;

And let him ne’er see joy that breaks that oath!


Well, well, I see the issue of these arms:  152

I cannot mend it, I must needs confess,

Because my power is weak and all ill left;

But if I could, by him that gave me life,

I would attach you all and make you stoop  156

Unto the sovereign mercy of the king;

But since I cannot, be it known to you

I do remain as neuter. So, fare you well;

Unless you please to enter in the castle  160

And there repose you for this night.


An offer, uncle, that we will accept:

But we must win your Grace to go with us

To Bristol Castle; which they say is held  164

By Bushy, Bagot, and their complices,

The caterpillars of the commonwealth,

Which I have sworn to weed and pluck away.


It may be I will go with you; but yet I’ll pause;  168

For I am loath to break our country’s laws.

Nor friends nor foes, to me welcome you are:

Things past redress are now with me past care.


Scene IV.— A Camp in Wales.

Enter Salisbury and a Captain.


My Lord of Salisbury, we have stay’d ten days,

And hardly kept our countrymen together,

And yet we hear no tidings from the king;

Therefore we will disperse ourselves: farewell.  4


Stay yet another day, thou trusty Welshman:

The king reposeth all his confidence in thee.


’Tis thought the king is dead: we will not stay.

The bay-trees in our country are all wither’d  8

And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven,

The pale-fac’d moon looks bloody on the earth

And lean-look’d prophets whisper fearful change,

Rich men look sad and ruffians dance and leap,

The one in fear to lose what they enjoy,  13

The other to enjoy by rage and war:

These signs forerun the death or fall of kings.

Farewell: our countrymen are gone and fled,  16

As well assur’d Richard their king is dead.



Ah, Richard! with the eyes of heavy mind

I see thy glory like a shooting star

Fall to the base earth from the firmament.  20

Thy sun sets weeping in the lowly west,

Witnessing storms to come, woe, and unrest.

Thy friends are fled to wait upon thy foes,

And crossly to thy good all fortune goes.



Scene I.— Bristol. Bolingbroke’s Camp.

Enter Bolingbroke, York, Northumberland, Henry Percy, Willoughby, Ross; Officers behind, with Bushy and Green prisoners.


Bring forth these men.

Bushy and Green, I will not vex your souls—

Since presently your souls must part your bodies—

With too much urging your pernicious lives,  4

For ’twere no charity; yet, to wash your blood

From off my hands, here in the view of men

I will unfold some causes of your deaths.

You have misled a prince, a royal king,  8

A happy gentleman in blood and lineaments,

By you unhappied and disfigur’d clean:

You have in manner with your sinful hours

Made a divorce betwixt his queen and him,  12

Broke the possession of a royal bed,

And stain’d the beauty of a fair queen’s cheeks

With tears drawn from her eyes by your foul wrongs.

Myself, a prince by fortune of my birth,  16

Near to the king in blood, and near in love

Till you did make him misinterpret me,

Have stoop’d my neck under your injuries,

And sigh’d my English breath in foreign clouds,

Eating the bitter bread of banishment;  21

Whilst you have fed upon my signories,

Dispark’d my parks, and felled my forest woods,

From mine own windows torn my household coat,  24

Raz’d out my impress, leaving me no sign,

Save men’s opinions and my living blood,

To show the world I am a gentleman.

This and much more, much more than twice all this,  28

Condemns you to the death. See them deliver’d over

To execution and the hand of death.


More welcome is the stroke of death to me

Than Bolingbroke to England. Lords, farewell.


My comfort is, that heaven will take our souls  33

And plague injustice with the pains of hell.


My Lord Northumberland, see them dispatch’d.

[Exeunt Northumberland and Others, with Bushy and Green.

Uncle, you say the queen is at your house;  36

For God’s sake, fairly let her be entreated:

Tell her I send to her my kind commends;

Take special care my greetings be deliver’d.


A gentleman of mine I have dispatch’d

With letters of your love to her at large.  41


Thanks, gentle uncle. Come, lords, away,

To fight with Glendower and his complices:

Awhile to work, and after holiday.


Scene II.— The Coast of Wales. A Castle in view.

Flourish: drams and trumpets. Enter King Richard, the Bishop of Carlisle, Aumerle, and Soldiers.

K. Rich.

Barkloughly Castle call they this at hand?


Yea, my lord. How brooks your Grace the air,

After your late tossing on the breaking seas?

K. Rich.

Needs must I like it well: I weep for joy  4

To stand upon my kingdom once again.

Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,

Though rebels wound thee with their horses’ hoofs:

As a long-parted mother with her child  8

Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,

So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,

And do thee favour with my royal hands.

Feed not thy sovereign’s foe, my gentle earth,  12

Nor with thy sweets comfort his revenous sense;

But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom,

And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way,

Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet  16

Which with usurping steps do trample thee.

Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies;

And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower,

Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder  20

Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch

Throw death upon thy sovereign’s enemies.

Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords:

This earth shall have a feeling and these stones

Prove armed soldiers, ere her native king  25

Shall falter under foul rebellion’s arms.


Fear not, my lord: that power that made you king

Hath power to keep you king in spite of all.  28

The means that heaven yields must be embrac’d,

And not neglected; else, if heaven would,

And we will not, heaven’s offer we refuse,

The proffer’d means of succour and redress.  32


He means, my lord, that we are too remiss;

Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security,

Grows strong and great in substance and in friends.

K. Rich.

Discomfortable cousin! know’st thou not  36

That when the searching eye of heaven is hid

Behind the globe, and lights the lower world,

Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen,

In murders and in outrage bloody here;  40

But when, from under this terrestrial ball

He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines

And darts his light through every guilty hole,

Then murders, treasons, and detested sins,  44

The cloak of night being pluck’d from off their backs,

Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves?

So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke,

Who all this while hath revell’d in the night  48

Whilst we were wandering with the antipodes,

Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,

His treasons will sit blushing in his face,

Not able to endure the sight of day,  52

But self-affrighted tremble at his sin.

Not all the water in the rough rude sea

Can wash the balm from an anointed king;

The breath of worldly men cannot depose  56

The deputy elected by the Lord.

For every man that Bolingbroke hath press’d

To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,

God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay  60

A glorious angel: then, if angels fight,

Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.

Enter Salisbury.

Welcome, my lord: how far off lies your power?


Nor near nor further off, my gracious lord,  64

Than this weak arm: discomfort guides my tongue

And bids me speak of nothing but despair.

One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,

Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth.  68

O! call back yesterday, bid time return,

And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men:

To-day, to-day, unhappy day too late,

O’erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune, and thy state;  72

For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead,

Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispers’d, and fled.


Comfort, my liege! why looks your Grace so pale?

K. Rich.

But now, the blood of twenty thousand men  76

Did triumph in my face, and they are fled;

And till so much blood thither come again

Have I not reason to look pale and dead?

All souls that will be safe, fly from my side;  80

For time hath set a blot upon my pride.


Comfort, my liege! remember who you are.

K. Rich.

I had forgot myself. Am I not king?

Awake, thou sluggard majesty! thou sleepest.  84

Is not the king’s name twenty thousand names?

Arm, arm, my name! a puny subject strikes

At thy great glory. Look not to the ground,

Ye favourites of a king: are we not high?  88

High be our thoughts: I know my uncle York

Hath power enough to serve our turn. But who comes here?

Enter Sir Stephen Scroop.


More health and happiness betide my liege

Than can my care-tun’d tongue deliver him!  92

K. Rich.

Mine ear is open and my heart prepar’d:

The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.

Say, is my kingdom lost? why, ’twas my care;

And what loss is it to be rid of care?  96

Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?

Greater he shall not be: if he serve God

We’ll serve him too, and be his fellow so:

Revolt our subjects? that we cannot mend;  100

They break their faith to God as well as us:

Cry woe, destruction, ruin, loss, decay;

The worst is death, and death will have his day.


Glad am I that your highness is so arm’d  104

To bear the tidings of calamity.

Like an unseasonable stormy day

Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores,

As if the world were all dissolv’d to tears,  108

So high above his limits swells the rage

Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land

With hard bright steel and hearts harder than steel.

White-beards have arm’d their thin and hairless scalps  112

Against thy majesty; and boys, with women’s voices,

Strive to speak big, and clap their female joints

In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown;

Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows  116

Of double-fatal yew against thy state;

Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills

Against thy seat: both young and old rebel,

And all goes worse than I have power to tell.  120

K. Rich.

Too well, too well thou tell’st a tale so ill.

Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? where is Bagot?

What is become of Bushy? where is Green?

That they have let the dangerous enemy  124

Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?

If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it.

I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.


Peace have they made with him, indeed, my lord.  128

K. Rich.

O villains, vipers, damn’d without redemption!

Dogs, easily won to fawn on any man!

Snakes, in my heart-blood warm’d, that sting my heart!

Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas!

Would they make peace? terrible hell make war

Upon their spotted souls for this offence!


Sweet love, I see, changing his property,

Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate.  136

Again uncurse their souls; their peace is made

With heads and not with hands: those whom you curse

Have felt the worst of death’s destroying wound

And lie full low, grav’d in the hollow ground.  140


Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?


Yea, all of them at Bristol lost their heads.


Where is the duke my father with his power?

K. Rich.

No matter where. Of comfort no man speak:  144

Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;

Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes

Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth;

Let’s choose executors and talk of wills:  148

And yet not so—for what can we bequeath

Save our deposed bodies to the ground?

Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke’s,

And nothing can we call our own but death,  152

And that small model of the barren earth

Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.

For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground

And tell sad stories of the death of kings:  156

How some have been depos’d, some slain in war,

Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos’d,

Some poison’d by their wives, some sleeping kill’d;

All murder’d: for within the hollow crown  160

That rounds the mortal temples of a king

Keeps Death his court, and there the antick sits,

Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp;

Allowing him a breath, a little scene,  164

To monarchize, be fear’d, and kill with looks,

Infusing him with self and vain conceit

As if this flesh which walls about our life

Were brass impregnable; and humour’d thus

Comes at the last, and with a little pin  169

Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!

Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood

With solemn reverence: throw away respect,  172

Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty,

For you have but mistook me all this while:

I live with bread like you, feel want,

Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,  176

How can you say to me I am a king?


My lord, wise men ne’er sit and wail their woes,

But presently prevent the ways to wail.

To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,

Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,

And so your follies fight against yourself.

Fear and be slain; no worse can come to fight:

And fight and die is death destroying death;  184

Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.


My father hath a power; inquire of him

And learn to make a body of a limb.

K. Rich.

Thou chid’st me well. Proud Boling broke, I come  188

To change blows with thee for our day of doom.

This ague-fit of fear is over-blown;

An easy task it is, to win our own.—

Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?

Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.


Men judge by the complexion of the sky

The state and inclination of the day;

So may you by my dull and heavy eye,  196

My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.

I play the torturer, by small and small

To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken.

Your uncle York is join’d with Bolingbroke,  200

And all your northern castles yielded up,

And all your southern gentlemen in arms

Upon his party.

K. Rich.

Thou hast said enough.

[To Aumerle.] Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth  204

Of that sweet way I was in to despair!

What say you now? What comfort have we now?

By heaven, I’ll hate him everlastingly

That bids me be of comfort any more.  208

Go to Flint Castle: there I’ll pine away;

A king, woe’s slave, shall kingly woe obey.

That power I have, discharge; and let them go

To ear the land that hath some hope to grow,

For I have none: let no man speak again  213

To alter this, for counsel is but vain.


My liege, one word.

K. Rich.

He does me double wrong,

That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.

Discharge my followers: let them hence away,

From Richard’s night to Bolingbroke’s fair day.


Scene III.— Wales. Before Flint Castle.

Enter, with drum and colours, Bolingbroke and Forces; York, Northumberland, and Others.


So that by this intelligence we learn

The Welshmen are dispers’d and Salisbury

Is gone to meet the king, who lately landed

With some few private friends upon this coast.  4


The news is very fair and good, my lord:

Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.


It would beseem the Lord Northumberland

To say, ‘King Richard:’ alack the heavy day  8

When such a sacred king should hide his head!


Your Grace mistakes; only to be brief

Left I his title out.


The time hath been,

Would you have been so brief with him, he would  12

Have been so brief with you, to shorten you,

For taking so the head, your whole head’s length.


Mistake not, uncle, further than you should.


Take not, good cousin, further than you should,  16

Lest you mistake the heavens are o’er our heads.


I know it, uncle; and oppose not myself

Against their will. But who comes here?

Enter Henry Percy.

Welcome, Harry: what, will not this castle yield?  20

H. Percy.

The castle royally is mann’d, my lord,

Against thy entrance.



Why, it contains no king?

H. Percy.

Yes, my good lord,  24

It doth contain a king: King Richard lies

Within the limits of yon lime and stone;

And with him are the Lord Aumerle, Lord Salisbury,

Sir Stephen Scroop; besides a clergyman  28

Of holy reverence; who, I cannot learn.


O! belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.


[To North.] Noble lord,

Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle,  32

Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley

Into his ruin’d ears, and thus deliver:

Henry Bolingbroke

On both his knees doth kiss King Richard’s hand,

And sends allegiance and true faith of heart  37

To his most royal person; hither come

Even at his feet to lay my arms and power,

Provided that my banishment repeal’d,  40

And lands restor’d again be freely granted.

If not, I’ll use the advantage of my power,

And lay the summer’s dust with showers of blood

Rain’d from the wounds of slaughter’d Englishmen:  44

The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke

It is, such crimson tempest should bedrench

The fresh green lap of fair King Richard’s land,

My stooping duty tenderly shall show.  48

Go, signify as much, while here we march

Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.

Let’s march without the noise of threat’ning drum,

That from the castle’s totter’d battlements  52

Our fair appointments may be well perus’d.

Methinks King Richard and myself should meet

With no less terror than the elements

Of fire and water, when their thundering shock

At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven.

Be he the fire, I’ll be the yielding water:

The rage be his, while on the earth I rain

My waters; on the earth, and not on him.  60

March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.

A Parley sounded, and answered by a Trumpet within. Flourish. Enter on the Walls King Richard, the Bishop of Carlisle, Aumerle, Scroop, and Salisbury.

H. Percy.

See, see, King Richard doth himself appear,

As doth the blushing discontented sun

From out the fiery portal of the east,  64

When he perceives the envious clouds are bent

To dim his glory and to stain the track

Of his bright passage to the occident.


Yet looks he like a king: behold, his eye,

As bright as is the eagle’s, lightens forth  69

Controlling majesty: alack, alack, for woe,

That any harm should stain so fair a show!

K. Rich.

[To Northumberland.] We are amaz’d; and thus long have we stood  72

To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,

Because we thought ourself thy lawful king:

And if we be, how dare thy joints forget

To pay their awful duty to our presence?  76

If we be not, show us the hand of God

That hath dismiss’d us from our stewardship;

For well we know, no hand of blood and bone

Can gripe the sacred handle of our sceptre,  80

Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.

And though you think that all, as you have done,

Have torn their souls by turning them from us,

And we are barren and bereft of friends;  84

Yet know, my master, God omnipotent,

Is mustering in his clouds on our behalf

Armies of pestilence; and they shall strike

Your children yet unborn and unbegot,  88

That lift your vassal hands against my head

And threat the glory of my precious crown.

Tell Bolingbroke,—for yond methinks he is,—

That every stride he makes upon my land  92

Is dangerous treason: he is come to open

The purple testament of bleeding war;

But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,

Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers’ sons  96

Shall ill become the flower of England’s face,

Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace

To scarlet indignation, and bedew

Her pastures’ grass with faithful English blood.


The king of heaven forbid our lord the king  101

Should so with civil and uncivil arms

Be rush’d upon! Thy thrice-noble cousin,

Harry Bolingbroke, doth humbly kiss thy hand;

And by the honourable tomb he swears,  105

That stands upon your royal grandsire’s bones,

And by the royalties of both your bloods,

Currents that spring from one most gracious head,  108

And by the buried hand of war-like Gaunt,

And by the worth and honour of himself,

Comprising all that may be sworn or said,

His coming hither hath no further scope  112

Than for his lineal royalties and to beg

Enfranchisement immediate on his knees:

Which on thy royal party granted once,

His glittering arms he will commend to rust,  116

His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart

To faithful service of your majesty.

This swears he, as he is a prince, is just;

And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him.  120

K. Rich.

Northumberland, say, thus the king returns:

His noble cousin is right welcome hither;

And all the number of his fair demands

Shall be accomplish’d without contradiction:  124

With all the gracious utterance thou hast

Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.

[Northumberland retires to Bolingbroke.

[To Aumerle.] We do debase ourself, cousin, do we not,

To look so poorly and to speak so fair?  128

Shall we call back Northumberland and send

Defiance to the traitor, and so die?


No, good my lord; let’s fight with gentle words,

Till time lend friends and friends their helpful swords.  132

K. Rich.

O God! O God! that e’er this tongue of mine,

That laid the sentence of dread banishment

On yond proud man, should take it off again

With words of sooth. O! that I were as great

As is my grief, or lesser than my name,  137

Or that I could forget what I have been,

Or not remember what I must be now.

Swell’st thou, proud heart? I’ll give thee scope to beat,  140

Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.


Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.

K. Rich.

What must the king do now? Must he submit?

The king shall do it: must he be depos’d?  144

The king shall be contented: must he lose

The name of king? o’ God’s name, let it go:

I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads,

My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,  148

My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown,

My figur’d goblets for a dish of wood,

My sceptre for a palmer’s walking-staff,

My subjects for a pair of carved saints,  152

And my large kingdom for a little grave,

A little little grave, an obscure grave;

Or I’ll be buried in the king’s highway,

Some way of common trade, where subjects’ feet

May hourly trample on their sovereign’s head;

For on my heart they tread now whilst I live;

And buried once, why not upon my head?  159

Aumerle, thou weep’st, my tender-hearted cousin!

We’ll make foul weather with despised tears;

Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn,

And make a dearth in this revolting land.

Or shall we play the wantons with our woes,  164

And make some pretty match with shedding tears?

As thus; to drop them still upon one place,

Till they have fretted us a pair of graves

Within the earth; and, there inlaid: ‘There lies

Two kinsmen digg’d their graves with weeping eyes.’  169

Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see

I talk but idly and you laugh at me.

Most mighty prince, my Lord Northumberland,

What says King Bolingbroke? will his majesty

Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?

You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ay.


My lord, in the base court he doth attend  176

To speak with you; may’t please you to come down?

K. Rich.

Down, down, I come; like glistering Phaethon,

Wanting the manage of unruly jades.

In the base court? Base court, where kings grow base,  180

To come at traitors’ calls and do them grace.

In the base court? Come down? Down, court! down, king!

For night-owls shriek where mounting larks should sing.

[Exeunt from above.


What says his majesty?


Sorrow and grief of heart  184

Makes him speak fondly, like a frantic man:

Yet he is come.

Enter King Richard, and his Attendants.


Stand all apart,

And show fair duty to his majesty.


My gracious lord,—  189

K. Rich.

Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee

To make the base earth proud with kissing it:

Me rather had my heart might feel your love  192

Than my unpleas’d eye see your courtesy.

Up, cousin, up; your heart is up, I know,

Thus high at least, although your knee be low.


My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.  196

K. Rich.

Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.


So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,

As my true service shall deserve your love.

K. Rich.

Well you deserve: they well deserve to have  200

That know the strong’st and surest way to get.

Uncle, give me your hand: nay, dry your eyes;

Tears show their love, but want their remedies.

Cousin, I am too young to be your father,  204

Though you are old enough to be my heir.

What you will have I’ll give, and willing too;

For do we must what force will have us do.

Set on towards London. Cousin, is it so?  208


Yea, my good lord.

K. Rich.

Then I must not say no.

[Flourish. Exeunt.

Scene IV.— Langley. The Duke of York’s Garden.

Enter the Queen and two Ladies.


What sport shall we devise here in this garden,

To drive away the heavy thought of care?

First Lady.

Madam, we’ll play at bowls.


’Twill make me think the world is full of rubs;  4

And that my fortune runs against the bias.

First Lady.

Madam, we’ll dance.


My legs can keep no measure in delight

When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief:

Therefore, no dancing, girl; some other sport.  9

First Lady.

Madam, we’ll tell tales.


Of sorrow or of joy?

First Lady.

Of either, madam.


Of neither, girl:  12

For if of joy, being altogether wanting,

It doth remember me the more of sorrow;

Or if of grief, being altogether had,

It adds more sorrow to my want of joy:  16

For what I have I need not to repeat,

And what I want it boots not to complain.

First Lady.

Madam, I’ll sing.


’Tis well that thou hast cause;

But thou shouldst please me better wouldst thou weep.  20

First Lady.

I could weep, madam, would it do you good.


And I could sing would weeping do me good,

And never borrow any tear of thee.

But stay, here come the gardeners:  24

Let’s step into the shadow of these trees.

My wretchedness unto a row of pins,

They’ll talk of state; for every one doth so

Against a change: woe is forerun with woe.  28

[Queen and Ladies retire.

Enter a Gardener and two Servants.


Go, bind thou up yon dangling apricocks,

Which, like unruly children, make their sire

Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight:

Give some supportance to the bending twigs.  32

Go thou, and like an executioner,

Cut off the heads of too fast growing sprays,

That look too lofty in our commonwealth:

All must be even in our government.  36

You thus employ’d, I will go root away

The noisome weeds, that without profit suck

The soil’s fertility from wholesome flowers.

First Serv.

Why should we in the compass of a pale  40

Keep law and form and due proportion,

Showing, as in a model, our firm estate,

When our sea-walled garden, the whole land,

Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers chok’d up,  44

Her fruit-trees all unprun’d, her hedges ruin’d,

Her knots disorder’d, and her wholesome herbs

Swarming with caterpillars?


Hold thy peace:

He that hath suffer’d this disorder’d spring  48

Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf;

The weeds that his broad-spreading leaves did shelter,

That seem’d in eating him to hold him up,

Are pluck’d up root and all by Bolingbroke;  52

I mean the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green.

First Serv.

What! are they dead?


They are; and Bolingbroke

Hath seiz’d the wasteful king. O! what pity is it

That he hath not so trimm’d and dress’d his land

As we this garden. We at time of year  57

Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees,

Lest, being over-proud with sap and blood,

With too much riches it confound itself:  60

Had he done so to great and growing men,

They might have liv’d to bear and he to taste

Their fruits of duty: superfluous branches

We lop away that bearing boughs may live:  64

Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,

Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down.

First Serv.

What! think you then the king shall be depos’d?


Depress’d he is already, and depos’d

’Tis doubt he will be: letters came last night  69

To a dear friend of the good Duke of York’s,

That tell black tidings.


O! I am press’d to death through want of speaking.

[Coming forward.

Thou, old Adam’s likeness, set to dress this garden,  73

How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this unpleasing news?

What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee

To make a second fall of cursed man?  76

Why dost thou say King Richard is depos’d?

Dar’st thou, thou little better thing than earth,

Divine his downfall? Say, where, when, and how

Cam’st thou by these ill tidings? speak, thou wretch.  80


Pardon me, madam: little joy have I

To breathe these news, yet what I say is true.

King Richard, he is in the mighty hold

Of Bolingbroke; their fortunes both are weigh’d:

In your lord’s scale is nothing but himself,  85

And some few vanities that make him light;

But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,

Besides himself, are all the English peers,  88

And with that odds he weighs King Richard down.

Post you to London and you’ll find it so;

I speak no more than every one doth know.


Nimble mischance. that art so light of foot,  92

Doth not thy embassage belong to me,

And am I last that knows it? O! thou think’st

To serve me last, that I may longest keep

Thy sorrow in my breast. Come, ladies, go,  96

To meet at London London’s king in woe.

What! was I born to this, that my sad look

Should grace the triumph of great Bolingbroke?

Gardener, for telling me these news of woe,  100

Pray God the plants thou graft’st may never grow.

[Exeunt Queen and Ladies.


Poor queen! so that thy state might be no worse,

I would my skill were subject to thy curse.

Here did she fall a tear; here, in this place,  104

I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace;

Rue, even for ruth, here shortly shall be seen,

In the remembrance of a weeping queen.



Scene I.— London. Westminster Hall.

The Lords spiritual on the right side of the throne: the Lords temporal on the left; the Commons below. Enter Bolingbroke, Aumerle, Surrey, Northumberland, Henry Percy, Fitzwater, another Lord, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Abbot of Westminster, and Attendants. Officers behind with Bagot.


Call forth Bagot.

Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind;

What thou dost know of noble Gloucester’s death,

Who wrought it with the king, and who perform’d  4

The bloody office of his timeless end.


Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.


Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man.


My Lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue  8

Scorns to unsay what once it hath deliver’d.

In that dead time when Gloucester’s death was plotted,

I heard you say, ‘Is not my arm of length,

That reacheth from the restful English court  12

As far as Calais, to my uncle’s head?’

Amongst much other talk, that very time,

I heard you say that you had rather refuse

The offer of a hundred thousand crowns  16

Than Bolingbroke’s return to England;

Adding withal, how blest this land would be

In this your cousin’s death.


Princes and noble lords,

What answer shall I make to this base man?  20

Shall I so much dishonour my fair stars,

On equal terms to give him chastisement?

Either I must, or have mine honour soil’d

With the attainder of his slanderous lips.  24

There is my gage, the manual seal of death,

That marks thee out for hell: I say thou liest,

And will maintain what thou hast said is false

In thy heart-blood, though being all too base  28

To stain the temper of my knightly sword.


Bagot, forbear; thou shalt not take it up.


Excepting one, I would he were the best

In all this presence that hath mov’d me so.  32


If that thy valour stand on sympathies,

There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine:

By that fair sun which shows me where thou stand’st,

I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spak’st it,

That thou wert cause of noble Gloucester’s death.  37

If thou deny’st it twenty times, thou liest;

And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart,

Where it was forged, with my rapier’s point.  40


Thou dar’st not, coward, live to see that day.


Now, by my soul, I would it were this hour.


Fitzwater, thou art damn’d to hell for this.

H. Percy.

Aumerle, thou liest; his honour is as true  44

In this appeal as thou art all unjust;

And that thou art so, there I throw my gage,

To prove it on thee to the extremest point

Of mortal breathing: seize it if thou dar’st.  48


And if I do not may my hands rot off

And never brandish more revengeful steel

Over the glittering helmet of my foe!


I task the earth to the like, forsworn Aumerle;  52

And spur thee on with full as many lies

As may be holla’d in thy treacherous ear

From sun to sun: there is my honour’s pawn;

Engage it to the trial if thou dar’st.  56


Who sets me else? by heaven, I’ll throw at all:

I have a thousand spirits in one breast,

To answer twenty thousand such as you.


My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well  60

The very time Aumerle and you did talk.


’Tis very true: you were in presence then;

And you can witness with me this is true.


As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.  64


Surrey, thou best.


Dishonourable boy!

That he shall lie so heavy on my sword

That it shall render vengeance and revenge,

Till thou the lie-giver and that lie do lie  68

In earth as quiet as thy father’s skull.

In proof whereof, there is my honour’s pawn:

Engage it to the trial if thou dar’st.


How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse!  72

If I dare eat, or drink, or breathe, or live,

I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness,

And spit upon him, whilst I say he lies,

And lies, and lies: there is my bond of faith  76

To tie thee to my strong correction.

As I intend to thrive in this new world,

Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal:

Besides, I heard the banish’d Norfolk say  80

That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men

To execute the noble duke at Calais.


Some honest Christian trust me with a gage.

That Norfolk lies, here do I throw down this,  84

If he may be repeal’d to try his honour.


These differences shall all rest under gage

Till Norfolk be repeal’d: repeal’d he shall be,

And though mine enemy, restor’d again  88

To all his lands and signories; when he’s return’d,

Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.


That honourable day shall ne’er be seen.

Many a time hath banish’d Norfolk fought  92

For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,

Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross

Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens;

And toil’d with works of war, retir’d himself  96

To Italy; and there at Venice gave

His body to that pleasant country’s earth,

And his pure soul unto his captain Christ,

Under whose colours he had fought so long.  100


Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead?


As surely as I live, my lord.


Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul to the bosom

Of good old Abraham! Lords appellants,  104

Your differences shall all rest under gage

Till we assign you to your days of trial.

Enter York, attended.


Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee

From plume-pluck’d Richard; who with willing soul  108

Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields

To the possession of thy royal hand.

Ascend his throne, descending now from him;

And long live Henry, of that name the fourth!


In God’s name, I’ll ascend the regal throne.  113


Marry, God forbid!

Worst in this royal presence may I speak,

Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.  116

Would God that any in this noble presence

Were enough noble to be upright judge

Of noble Richard! then, true noblesse would

Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.  120

What subject can give sentence on his king?

And who sits here that is not Richard’s subject?

Thieves are not judg’d but they are by to hear,

Although apparent guilt be seen in them;  124

And shall the figure of God’s majesty,

His captain, steward, deputy elect,

Anointed, crowned, planted many years,

Be judg’d by subject and inferior breath,  128

And he himself not present? O! forfend it, God,

That in a Christian climate souls refin’d

Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed.

I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,  132

Stirr’d up by God thus boldly for his king.

My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,

Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford’s king;

And if you crown him, let me prophesy,  136

The blood of English shall manure the ground

And future ages groan for this foul act;

Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,

And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars  140

Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound;

Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny

Shall here inhabit, and this land be call’d

The field of Golgotha and dead men’s skulls.  144

O! if you rear this house against this house,

It will the woefullest division prove

That ever fell upon this cursed earth.

Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,  148

Lest child, child’s children, cry against you ‘woe!’


Well have you argu’d, sir; and, for your pains,

Of capital treason we arrest you here.

My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge  152

To keep him safely till his day of trial.

May it please you, lords, to grant the commons’ suit?


Fetch hither Richard, that in common view

He may surrender; so we shall proceed  156

Without suspicion.


I will be his conduct.



Lords, you that here are under our arrest,

Procure your sureties for your days of answer.

[To Carlisle.] Little are we beholding to your love,  160

And little look’d for at your helping hands.

Re-enter York, with King Richard, and Officers bearing the Crown, &c.

K. Rich.

Alack! why am I sent for to a king

Before I have shook off the regal thoughts

Wherewith I reign’d? I hardly yet have learn’d

To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my limbs:

Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me

To this submission. Yet I well remember

The favours of these men: were they not mine?  168

Did they not sometime cry, ‘All haill’ to me?

So Judas did to Christ: but he, in twelve,

Found truth in all but one; I, in twelve thousand, none.

God save the king! Will no man say, amen?  172

Am I both priest and clerk? well then, amen.

God save the king! although I be not he;

And yet, amen, if heaven do think him me.

To do what service am I sent for hither?  176


To do that office of thine own good will

Which tired majesty did make thee offer,

The resignation of thy state and crown

To Henry Bolingbroke.  180

K. Rich.

Give me the crown. Here, cousin, seize the crown;

Here cousin,

On this side my hand and on that side thine.

Now is this golden crown like a deep well  184

That owes two buckets filling one another;

The emptier ever dancing in the air,

The other down, unseen and full of water:

That bucket down and full of tears am I,  188

Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high.


I thought you had been willing to resign.

K. Rich.

My crown, I am; but still my griefs are mine.

You may my glories and my state depose,  192

But not my griefs; still am I king of those.


Part of your cares you give me with your crown.

K. Rich.

Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down.

My care is loss of care, by old care done;  196

Your care is gain of care, by new care won.

The cares I give I have, though given away;

They tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.


Are you contented to resign the crown?  200

K. Rich.

Ay, no; no, ay; for I must nothing be;

Therefore no no, for I resign to thee.

Now mark me how I will undo myself:

I give this heavy weight from off my head,  204

And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,

The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;

With mine own tears I wash away my balm,

With mine own hands I give away my crown,  208

With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,

With mine own breath release all duteous rites:

All pomp and majesty I do forswear;

My manors, rents, revenues, I forego;  212

My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny:

God pardon all oaths that are broke to me!

God keep all vows unbroke are made to thee!

Make me, that nothing have, with nothing griev’d,

And thou with all pleas’d, that hast all achiev’d!

Long mayst thou live in Richard’s seat to sit,

And soon lie Richard in an earthy pit!

God save King Henry, unking’d Richard says,

And send him many years of sunshine days!  221

What more remains?


[Offering a paper.] No more, but that you read

These accusations and these grievous crimes

Committed by your person and your followers

Against the state and profit of this land;  225

That, by confessing them, the souls of men

May deem that you are worthily depos’d.

K. Rich.

Must I do so? and must I ravel out

My weav’d-up follies? Gentle Northumberland,

If thy offences were upon record,

Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop

To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,  232

There shouldst thou find one heinous article,

Containing the deposing of a king,

And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,

Mark’d with a blot, damn’d in the book of heaven.

Nay, all of you that stand and look upon me,  237

Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,

Though some of you with Pilate wash your hands,

Showing an outward pity; yet you Pilates  240

Have here deliver’d me to my sour cross,

And water cannot wash away your sin.


My lord, dispatch; read o’er these articles.

K. Rich.

Mine eyes are full of tears, I cannot see:  244

And yet salt water blinds them not so much

But they can see a sort of traitors here.

Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself,

I find myself a traitor with the rest;  248

For I have given here my soul’s consent

To undeck the pompous body of a king;

Made glory base and sovereignty a slave,

Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant,  252


My lord,—

K. Rich.

No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man,

Nor no man’s lord; I have no name, no title,

No, not that name was given me at the font,  256

But ’tis usurp’d: alack the heavy day!

That I have worn so many winters out,

And know not now what name to call myself.

O! that I were a mockery king of snow,  260

Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,

To melt myself away in water-drops.

Good king, great king,—and yet not greatly good,

An if my word be sterling yet in England,  264

Let it command a mirror hither straight,

That it may show me what a face I have,

Since it is bankrupt of his majesty.


Go some of you and fetch a looking-glass.

[Exit an Attendant.


Read o’er this paper while the glass doth come.  269

K. Rich.

Fiend! thou torment’st me ere I come to hell.


Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.


The commons will not then be satisfied.

K. Rich.

They shall be satisfied: I’ll read enough  273

When I do see the very book indeed

Where all my sins are writ, and that’s myself.

Re-enter Attendant, with a glass.

Give me the glass, and therein will I read.  276

No deeper wrinkles yet? Hath sorrow struck

So many blows upon this face of mine

And made no deeper wounds? O, flattering glass!

Like to my followers in prosperity,  280

Thou dost beguile me. Was this face the face

That every day under his household roof

Did keep ten thousand men? Was this the face

That like the sun did make beholders wink?  284

Was this the face that fac’d so many follies,

And was at last out-fac’d by Bolingbroke?

A brittle glory shineth in this face:

As brittle as the glory is the face;  288

[Dashes the glass against the ground.

For there it is, crack’d in a hundred shivers.

Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport,

How soon my sorrow hath destroy’d my face.


The shadow of your sorrow hath destroy’d  292

The shadow of your face.

K. Rich.

Say that again.

The shadow of my sorrow! Ha! let’s see:

’Tis very true, my grief lies all within;

And these external manners of laments  296

Are merely shadows to the unseen grief

That swells with silence in the tortur’d soul;

There lies the substance: and I thank thee, king,

For thy great bounty, that not only giv’st  300

Me cause to wail, but teachest me the way

How to lament the cause. I’ll beg one boon,

And then be gone and trouble you no more.

Shall I obtain it?


Name it, fair cousin.  304

K. Rich.

‘Fair cousin!’ I am greater than a king;

For when I was a king, my flatterers

Were then but subjects; being now a subject,

I have a king here to my flatterer.  308

Being so great, I have no need to beg.


Yet ask.

K. Rich.

And shall I have?


You shall.  312

K. Rich.

Then give me leave to go.



K. Rich.

Whither you will, so I were from your sights.


Go, some of you convey him to the Tower.  316

K. Rich.

O, good! convey? conveyers are you all,

That rise thus nimbly by a true king’s fall.

[Exeunt King Richard and Guard.


On Wednesday next we solemnly set down

Our coronation: lords, prepare yourselves.  320

[Exeunt all except the Bishop of Carlisle, the Abbot of Westminster, and Aumerle.


A woeful pageant have we here beheld.


The woe’s to come; the children yet unborn

Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn.


You holy clergymen, is there no plot

To rid the realm of this pernicious blot?  325


My lord,

Before I freely speak my mind herein,

You shall not only take the sacrament  328

To bury mine intents, but also to effect

Whatever I shall happen to devise.

I see your brows are full of discontent,

Your hearts of sorrow, and your eyes of tears:

Come home with me to supper; I will lay  333

A plot shall show us all a merry day.



Scene I.— London. A Street leading to the Tower.

Enter the Queen and Ladies.


This way the king will come; this is the way

To Julius Cæsar’s ill-erected tower,

To whose flint bosom my condemned lord

Is doom’d a prisoner by proud Bolingbroke.  4

Here let us rest, if this rebellious earth

Have any resting for her true king’s queen.

Enter King Richard and Guard.

But soft, but see, or rather do not see,

My fair rose wither: yet look up, behold,  8

That you in pity may dissolve to dew,

And wash him fresh again with true-love tears.

Ah! thou, the model where old Troy did stand,

Thou map of honour, thou King Richard’s tomb,

And not King Richard; thou most beauteous inn,  13

Why should hard-favour’d grief be lodg’d in thee,

When triumph is become an alehouse guest?

K. Rich.

Join not with grief, fair woman, do not so,  16

To make my end too sudden: learn, good soul,

To think our former state a happy dream;

From which awak’d, the truth of what we are

Shows us but this. I am sworn brother, sweet,

To grim Necessity, and he and I  21

Will keep a league till death. Hie thee to France,

And cloister thee in some religious house:

Our holy lives must win a new world’s crown,  24

Which our profane hours here have stricken down.


What! is my Richard both in shape and mind

Transform’d and weaken’d! Hath Bolingbroke depos’d

Thine intellect? hath he been in thy heart?  28

The lion dying thrusteth forth his paw

And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage

To be o’erpower’d; and wilt thou, pupil-like,

Take thy correction mildly, kiss the rod,  32

And fawn on rage with base humility,

Which art a lion and a king of beasts?

K. Rich.

A king of beasts indeed; if aught but beasts,

I had been still a happy king of men.  36

Good sometime queen, prepare thee hence for France,

Think I am dead, and that even here thou tak’st,

As from my death-bed, my last living leave.

In winter’s tedious nights sit by the fire  40

With good old folks, and let them tell thee tales

Of woeful ages, long ago betid;

And ere thou bid good night, to quit their grief,

Tell thou the lamentable tale of me,  44

And send the hearers weeping to their beds:

For why the senseless brands will sympathize

The heavy accent of thy moving tongue,

And in compassion weep the fire out;  48

And some will mourn in ashes, some coal-black,

For the deposing of a rightful king.

Enter Northumberland, attended.


My lord, the mind of Bolingbroke is chang’d;

You must to Pomfret, not unto the Tower.  52

And, madam, there is order ta’en for you;

With all swift speed you must away to France.

K. Rich.

Northumberland, thou ladder wherewithal

The mounting Bolingbroke ascends my throne,

The time shall not be many hours of age  57

More than it is, ere foul sin gathering head

Shall break into corruption. Thou shalt think,

Though he divide the realm and give thee half,

It is too little, helping him to all;  61

And he shall think that thou, which know’st the way

To plant unrightful kings, wilt know again,

Being ne’er so little urg’d, another way  64

To pluck him headlong from the usurped throne.

The love of wicked friends converts to fear;

That fear to hate, and hate turns one or both

To worthy danger and deserved death.  68


My guilt be on my head, and there an end.

Take leave and part; for you must part forthwith.

K. Rich.

Doubly divorc’d! Bad men, ye violate

A two-fold marriage; ’twixt my crown and me,

And then, betwixt me and my married wife.  73

Let me unkiss the oath ’twixt thee and me;

And yet not so, for with a kiss ’twas made.

Part us, Northumberland: I towards the north,

Where shivering cold and sickness pines the clime;  77

My wife to France: from whence, set forth in pomp,

She came adorned hither like sweet May,

Sent back like Hallowmas or short’st of day.  80


And must we be divided? must we part?

K. Rich.

Ay, hand from hand, my love, and heart from heart.


Banish us both and send the king with me.


That were some love but little policy.  84


Then whither he goes, thither let me go.

K. Rich.

So two, together weeping, make one woe.

Weep thou for me in France, I for thee here;

Better far off, than near, be ne’er the near.  88

Go, count thy way with sighs, I mine with groans.


So longest way shall have the longest moans.

K. Rich.

Twice for one step I’ll groan, the way being short,

And piece the way out with a heavy heart.  92

Come, come, in wooing sorrow let’s be brief,

Since, wedding it, thero is such length in grief.

One kiss shall stop our mouths, and dumbly part;

Thus give I mine, and thus take I thy heart.  96

[They kiss.


Give me mine own again; ’twere no good part

To take on me to keep and kill thy heart.

[They kiss again.

So, now I have mine own again, be gone,

That I may strive to kill it with a groan.  100

K. Rich.

We make woe wanton with this fond delay:

Once more, adieu; the rest let sorrow say.


Scene II.— The Same. A Room in the Duke of York’s Palace.

Enter York and his Duchess.


My lord, you told me you would tell the rest,

When weeping made you break the story off,

Of our two cousins coming into London.


Where did I leave?


At that sad stop, my lord,  4

Where rude misgovern’d hands, from windows’ tops,

Threw dust and rubbish on King Richard’s head.


Then, as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke,

Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,  8

Which his aspiring rider seem’d to know,

With slow but stately pace kept on his course,

While all tongues cried, ‘God save thee, Bolingbroke!’

You would have thought the very windows spake,  12

So many greedy looks of young and old

Through casements darted their desiring eyes

Upon his visage, and that all the walls

With painted imagery had said at once  16

‘Jesu preserve thee! welcome, Bolingbroke!’

Whilst he, from one side to the other turning,

Bare-headed, lower than his proud steed’s neck,

Bespake them thus, ‘I thank you, countrymen:’

And thus still doing, thus he pass’d along.  21


Alack, poor Richard! where rode he the whilst?


As in a theatre, the eyes of men,

After a well-grac’d actor leaves the stage,  24

Are idly bent on him that enters next,

Thinking his prattle to be tedious;

Even so, or with much more contempt, men’s eyes

Did scowl on Richard: no man cried, ‘God save him;’  28

No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home;

But dust was thrown upon his sacred head,

Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,

His face still combating with tears and smiles,  32

The badges of his grief and patience,

That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel’d

The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,

And barbarism itself have pitied him.  36

But heaven hath a hand in these events,

To whose high will we bound our calm contents.

To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now,

Whose state and honour I for aye allow.  40


Here comes my son Aumerle.


Aumerle that was;

But that is lost for being Richard’s friend,

And, madam, you must call him Rutland now.

I am in parliament pledge for his truth  44

And lasting fealty to the new-made king.

Enter Aumerle.


Welcome, my son: who are the violets now

That strew the green lap of the new come spring?


Madam, I know not, nor I greatly care not:  48

God knows I had as lief be none as one.


Well, bear you well in this new spring of time,

Lest you be cropp’d before you come to prime.

What news from Oxford? hold those justs and triumphs?  52


For aught I know, my lord, they do.


You will be there, I know.


If God prevent it not, I purpose so.


What seal is that that hangs without thy bosom?  56

Yea, look’st thou pale? let me see the writing.


My lord, ’tis nothing.


No matter then, who sees it:

I will be satisfied; let me see the writing.


I do beseech your Grace to pardon me:

It is a matter of small consequence,  61

Which for some reasons I would not have seen.


Which for some reasons, sir, I mean to see.

I fear, I fear,—


What should you fear?  64

’Tis nothing but some bond he’s enter’d into

For gay apparel ’gainst the triumph day.


Bound to himself! what doth he with a bond

That he is bound to? Wife, thou art a fool.  68

Boy, let me see the writing.


I do beseech you, pardon me; I may not show it.


I will be satisfied; let me see it, I say.

[Snatches it, and reads.

Treason! foul treason! villain! traitor! slave!  72


What is the matter, my lord?


Ho! who is within there?

Enter a Servant.

Saddle my horse.

God for his mercy! what treachery is here!


Why, what is it, my lord?  76


Give me my boots, I say; saddle my horse.

Now, by mine honour, by my life, my troth,

I will appeach the villain.

[Exit Servant.


What’s the matter?


Peace, foolish woman.  80


I will not peace. What is the matter, Aumerle?


Good mother, be content; it is no more

Than my poor life must answer.


Thy life answer!


Bring me my boots: I will unto the king.  84

Re-enter Servant with boots.


Strike him, Aumerle. Poor boy, thou art amaz’d.

[To Servant.] Hence, villain! never more come in my sight.

[Exit Servant.


Give me my boots, I say.


Why, York, what wilt thou do?  88

Wilt thou not hide the trespass of thine own?

Have we more sons, or are we like to have?

Is not my teeming date drunk up with time?

And wilt thou pluck my fair son from mine age,

And rob me of a happy mother’s name?  93

Is he not like thee? is he not thine own?


Thou fond, mad woman,

Wilt thou conceal this dark conspiracy?  96

A dozen of them here have ta’en the sacrament,

And interchangeably set down their hands,

To kill the king at Oxford.


He shall be none;

We’ll keep him here: then, what is that to him?


Away, fond woman! were he twenty times  101

My son, I would appeach him.


Hadst thou groan’d for him

As I have done, thou’dst be more pitiful.

But now I know thy mind: thou dost suspect

That I have been disloyal to thy bed,  105

And that he is a bastard, not thy son:

Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind:

He is as like thee as a man may be,  108

Not like to me, nor any of my kin,

And yet I love him.


Make way, unruly woman!



After, Aumerle! Mount thee upon his horse;

Spur post, and get before him to the king,  112

And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee.

I’ll not be long behind; though I be old,

I doubt not but to ride as fast as York:

And never will I rise up from the ground  116

Till Bolingbroke have pardon’d thee. Away! be gone.


Scene III.— Windsor. A Room in the Castle.

Enter Bolingbroke as King; Henry Percy, and other Lords.


Can no man tell of my unthrifty son?

’Tis full three months since I did see him last.

If any plague hang over us, ’tis he.

I would to God, my lords, he might be found:  4

Inquire at London, ’mongst the taverns there,

For there, they say, he daily doth frequent,

With unrestrained loose companions,

Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes  8

And beat our watch and rob our passengers;

While he, young wanton and effeminate boy,

Takes on the point of honour to support

So dissolute a crew.  12

H. Percy.

My lord, some two days since I saw the prince,

And told him of these triumphs held at Oxford.


And what said the gallant?

H. Percy.

His answer was: he would unto the stews,  16

And from the common’st creature pluck a glove,

And wear it as a favour; and with that

He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.


As dissolute as desperate; yet, through both,  20

I see some sparkles of a better hope,

Which elder days may happily bring forth.

But who comes here?

Enter Aumerle.


Where is the king?


What means

Our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly?


God save your Grace! I do beseech your majesty,  26

To have some conference with your Grace alone.


Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.

[Exeunt H. Percy and Lords.

What is the matter with our cousin now?  29


[Kneels.] For ever may my knees grow to the earth,

My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth,

Unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.  32


Intended or committed was this fault?

If on the first, how heinous e’er it be,

To win thy after-love I pardon thee.


Then give me leave that I may turn the key,  36

That no man enter till my tale be done.


Have thy desire.

[Aumerle locks the door.


[Within.] My liege, beware! look to thyself;

Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.  40


[Drawing.] Villain, I’ll make thee safe.


Stay thy revengeful hand; thou hast no cause to fear.


[Within.] Open the door, secure, foolhardy king:

Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?  44

Open the door, or I will break it open.

[Bolingbroke unlocks the door; and afterwards relocks it.

Enter York.


What is the matter, uncle? speak;

Recover breath; tell us how near is danger,

That we may arm us to encounter it.  48


Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know

The treason that my haste forbids me show.


Remember, as thou read’st, thy promise pass’d:

I do repent me; read not my name there;  52

My heart is not confederate with my hand.


’Twas, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.

I tore it from the traitor’s bosom, king;

Fear, and not love, begets his penitence.  56

Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove

A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.


O heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy!

O loyal father of a treacherous son!  60

Thou sheer, immaculate, and silver fountain,

From whence this stream through muddy passages

Hath held his current and defil’d himself!

Thy overflow of good converts to bad,  64

And thy abundant goodness shall excuse

This deadly blot in thy digressing son.


So shall my virtue be his vice’s bawd,

And he shall spend mine honour with his shame,

As thriftless sons their scraping fathers’ gold.  69

Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,

Or my sham’d life in his dishonour lies:

Thou kill’st me in his life; giving him breath,  72

The traitor lives, the true man’s put to death.


[Within.] What ho, my liege! for God’s sake let me in.


What shrill-voic’d suppliant makes this eager cry?


[Within.] A woman, and thine aunt, great king; ’tis I.  76

Speak with me, pity me, open the door:

A beggar begs, that never begg’d before.


Our scene is alter’d from a serious thing,

And now chang’d to ‘The Beggar and the King.’

My dangerous cousin, let your mother in:  81

I know she’s come to pray for your foul sin.

[Aumerle unlocks the door.


If thou do pardon, whosoever pray,

More sins, for this forgiveness, prosper may.  84

This fester’d joint cut off, the rest rests sound;

This, let alone, will all the rest confound.

Enter Duchess.


O king! believe not this hard-hearted man:

Love, loving not itself, none other can.  88


Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?

Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?


Sweet York, be-patient.


Hear me, gentle liege.


Rise up, good aunt.


Not yet, I thee beseech.  92

For ever will I walk upon my knees,

And never see day that the happy sees,

Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy,

By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.  96


Unto my mother’s prayers I bend my knee.



Against them both my true joints bended be.


Ill mayst thou thrive if thou grant any grace!


Pleads he in earnest? look upon his face;  100

His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest;

His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast:

He prays but faintly and would be denied;

We pray with heart and soul and all beside:  104

His weary joints would gladly rise, I know;

Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow:

His prayers are full of false hypocrisy;

Ours of true zeal and deep integrity.  108

Our prayers do out-pray his; then let them have

That mercy which true prayer ought to have.


Good aunt, stand up.


Nay, do not say ‘stand up;’

But ‘pardon’ first, and afterwards ‘stand up.’

An if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,  113

‘Pardon’ should be the first word of thy speech.

I never long’d to hear a word till now;

Say ‘pardon,’ king; let pity teach thee how:  116

The word is short, but not so short as sweet;

No word like ‘pardon,’ for kings’ mouths so meet.


Speak it in French, king; say, ‘pardonnez moy.’


Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy?  120

Ah! my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord,

That sett’st the word itself against the word.

Speak ‘pardon’ as ’tis current in our land;

The chopping French we do not understand.  124

Thine eye begins to speak, set thy tongue there,

Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear,

That hearing how our plants and prayers do pierce,

Pity may move thee pardon to rehearse.  128


Good aunt, stand up.


I do not sue to stand;

Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.


I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.


O happy vantage of a kneeling knee!

Yet am I sick for fear: speak it again;  133

Twice saying ‘pardon’ doth not pardon twain,

But makes one pardon strong.


With all my heart

I pardon him.


A god on earth thou art.  136


But for our trusty brother-in-law and the abbot,

With all the rest of that consorted crew,

Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.

Good uncle, help to order several powers  140

To Oxford, or where’er these traitors are:

They shall not live within this world, I swear,

But I will have them, if I once know where.

Uncle, farewell: and cousin too, adieu:  144

Your mother well hath pray’d, and prove you true.


Come, my old son: I pray God make thee new.


Scene IV.— Another Room in the Castle.

Enter Exton and a Servant.


Didst thou not mark the king, what words he spake?

‘Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?’

Was it not so?


Those were his very words.


‘Have I no friend?’ quoth he: he spake it twice,  4

And urg’d it twice together, did he not?


He did.


And speaking it, he wistly looked on me,

As who should say, ‘I would thou wert the man

That would divorce this terror from my heart;’

Meaning the king at Pomfret. Come, let’s go:

I am the king’s friend, and will rid his foe.


Scene V.— Pomfret. The Dungeon of the Castle.

Enter King Richard.

K. Rich.

I have been studying how I may compare

This prison where I live unto the world:

And for because the world is populous,

And here is not a creature but myself,  4

I cannot do it; yet I’ll hammer it out.

My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul;

My soul the father: and these two beget

A generation of still-breeding thoughts,  8

And these same thoughts people this little world

In humours like the people of this world,

For no thought is contented. The better sort,

As thoughts of things divine, are intermix’d  12

With scruples, and do set the word itself

Against the word:

As thus, ‘Come, little ones;’ and then again,

‘It is as hard to come as for a camel  16

To thread the postern of a needle’s eye.’

Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot

Unlikely wonders; how these vain weak nails

May tear a passage through the flinty ribs  20

Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls;

And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.

Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves

That they are not the first of fortune’s slaves,  24

Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars

Who sitting in the stocks refuge their shame,

That many have and others must sit there:

And in this thought they find a kind of ease,  28

Bearing their own misfortune on the back

Of such as have before endur’d the like.

Thus play I in one person many people,

And none contented: sometimes am I king;  32

Then treason makes me wish myself a beggar,

And so I am: then crushing penury

Persuades me I was better when a king;

Then am I king’d again; and by and by  36

Think that I am unking’d by Bolingbroke,

And straight am nothing: but whate’er I be,

Nor I nor any man that but man is

With nothing shall be pleas’d, till he be eas’d  40

With being nothing. Music do I hear?


Ha, ha! keep time. How sour sweet music is

When time is broke and no proportion kept!

So is it in the music of men’s lives.  44

And here have I the daintiness of ear

To check time broke in a disorder’d string;

But for the concord of my state and time

Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.  48

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;

For now hath time made me his numbering clock:

My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar

Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,  52

Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,

Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.

Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is

Are clamorous groans, that strike upon my heart

Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans

Show minutes, times, and hours; but my time

Runs posting on in Bolingbroke’s proud joy,

While I stand fooling here, his Jack o’ the clock.

This music mads me: let it sound no more;  61

For though it have holp madmen to their wits,

In me it seems it will make wise men mad.

Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!  64

For ’tis a sign of love, and love to Richard

Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.

Enter Groom of the Stable.


Hail, royal prince!

K. Rich.

Thanks, noble peer;

The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.  68

What art thou? and how comest thou hither, man,

Where no man never comes but that sad dog

That brings me food to make misfortune live?


I was a poor groom of thy stable, king,

When thou wert king; who, travelling towards York,  73

With much ado at length have gotten leave

To look upon my sometimes royal master’s face.

O! how it yearn’d my heart when I beheld  76

In London streets, that coronation day

When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary,

That horse that thou so often hast bestrid,

That horse that I so carefully have dress’d.  80

K. Rich.

Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend,

How went he under him?


So proudly as if he disdain’d the ground.

K. Rich.

So proud that Bolingbroke was on his back!  84

That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand;

This hand hath made him proud with clapping him.

Would he not stumble? Would he not fall down,—

Since pride must have a fall,—and break the neck  88

Of that proud man that did usurp his back?

Forgiveness, horse! why do I rail on thee,

Since thou, created to be aw’d by man,

Wast born to bear? I was not made a horse;  92

And yet I bear a burden like an ass,

Spur-gall’d and tir’d by jauncing Bolingbroke.

Enter Keeper, with a dish.


[To the Groom.] Fellow, give place; here is no longer stay.

K. Rich.

If thou love me, ’tis time thou wert away.  96


What my tongue dares not, that my heart shall say.



My lord, will’t please you to fall to?

K. Rich.

Taste of it first, as thou art wont to do.


My lord, I dare not: Sir Pierce of Exton, who lately came from the king, commands the contrary.

K. Rich.

The devil take Henry of Lancaster, and thee!

Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.  104

[Strikes the Keeper.


Help, help, help!

Enter Exton and Servants, armed.

K. Rich.

How now! what means death in this rude assault?

Villain, thine own hand yields thy death’s instrument.

[Snatching a weapon and killing one.

Go thou and fill another room in hell.  108

[He kills another: then Exton strikes him down.

That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire

That staggers thus my person. Exton, thy fierce hand

Hath with the king’s blood stain’d the king’s own land.

Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high,  112

Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.



As full of valour as of royal blood:

Both have I spilt; O! would the deed were good;

For now the devil, that told me I did well,  116

Says that this deed is chronicled in hell.

This dead king to the living king I’ll bear.

Take hence the rest and give them burial here.


Scene VI.— Windsor. An Apartment in the Castle.


Enter Bolingbroke and York, with Lords and Attendants.


Kind uncle York, the latest news we hear

Is that the rebels have consum’d with fire

Our town of Cicester in Gloucestershire;

But whether they be ta’en or slain we hear not.  4

Enter Northumberland.

Welcome, my lord. What is the news?


First, to thy sacred state wish I all happiness.

The next news is: I have to London sent

The heads of Salisbury, Spencer, Blunt, and Kent.  8

The manner of their taking may appear

At large discoursed in this paper here.


We thank thee, gentle Percy, for thy pains,

And to thy worth will add right worthy gains.  12

Enter Fitzwater.


My lord, I have from Oxford sent to London

The heads of Brocas and Sir Bennet Seely,

Two of the dangerous consorted traitors

That sought at Oxford thy dire overthrow.  16


Thy pains, Fitzwater, shall not be forgot;

Right noble is thy merit, well I wot.

Enter Henry Percy, with the Bishop of Carlisle.

H. Percy.

The grand conspirator, Abbot of Westminster,

With clog of conscience and sour melancholy,  20

Hath yielded up his body to the grave;

But here is Carlisle living, to abide

Thy kingly doom and sentence of his pride.


Carlisle, this is your doom:  24

Choose out some secret place, some reverend room,

More than thou hast, and with it joy thy life;

So, as thou livest in peace, die free from strife:

For though mine enemy thou hast ever been,  28

High sparks of honour in thee have I seen.

Enter Exton, with Attendants bearing a coffin


Great king, within this coffin I present

Thy buried fear: herein all breathless lies

The mightiest of thy greatest enemies,  32

Richard of Bordeaux, by me hither brought.


Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast wrought

A deed of slander with thy fatal hand

Upon my head and all this famous land.  36


From your own mouth, my lord, did I this deed.


They love not poison that do poison need,

Nor do I thee: though I did wish him dead,

I hate the murderer, love him murdered.  40

The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour,

But neither my good word nor princely favour:

With Cain go wander through the shade of night,

And never show thy head by day nor light.  44

Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe,

That blood should sprinkle me to make me grow:

Come, mourn with me for that I do lament,

And put on sullen black incontinent.  48

I’ll make a voyage to the Holy Land,

To wash this blood off from my guilty hand.

March sadly after; grace my mournings here,

In weeping after this untimely bier.






King Henry the Fourth.
Henry, Prince of Wales, } Sons to the King.
John of Lancaster,       }
Earl of Westmoreland.
Sir Walter Blunt.
Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester.
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland.
Henry Percy, surnamed Hotspur, his son.
Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.
Richard Scroop, Archbishop of York.
Archibald, Earl of Douglas.
Owen Glendower.
Sir Richard Vernon.
Sir John Falstaff.
Sir Michael, a Friend to the Archbishop of York.
Lady Percy, Wife to Hotspur, and Sister to Mortimer.
Lady Mortimer, Daughter to Glendower, and Wife to Mortimer.
Mistress Quickly, Hostess of the Boar’s Head Tavern in Eastcheap.
Lords, Officers, Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Drawers, two Carriers, Travellers, and Attendants.





Scene I.— London. The Palace.

Enter King Henry, Westmoreland, and Others.

K. Hen.

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 commenc’d in stronds afar remote.  4

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 flowerets with the armed hoofs  8

Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,

Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,

All of one nature, of one substance bred,

Did lately meet in the intestine shock  12

And furious close of civil butchery,

Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,

March all one way, and be no more oppos’d

Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies:  16

The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife,

No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,

As far as to the sepulchre of Christ,—

Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross  20

We are impressed and engag’d to fight,—

Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,

Whose arms were moulded in their mother’s womb

To chase these pagans in those holy fields  24

Over whose acres walk’d those blessed feet

Which fourteen hundred years ago were nail’d

For our advantage on the bitter cross.

But this our purpose is a twelvemonth old,  28

And bootless ’tis to tell you we will go:

Therefore we meet not now. Then let me hear

Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,

What yesternight our council did decree  32

In forwarding this dear expedience.


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;  37

Whose worst was, that the noble Mortimer,

Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight

Against the irregular and wild Glendower,  40

Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,

And a thousand of his people butchered;

Upon whose dead corpse’ there was such misuse,

Such beastly shameless transformation  44

By those Welshwomen done, as may not be

Without much shame re-told or spoken of.

K. Hen.

It seems then that the tidings of this broil

Brake off our business for the Holy Land.  48


This match’d with other like, 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,  52

Young Harry Percy and brave Archibald,

That ever-valiant and approved Scot,

At Holmedon met,

Where they did spend a sad and bloody hour;

As by discharge of their artillery,  57

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,  60

Uncertain of the issue any way.

K. Hen.

Here is a dear and true industrious friend,

Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,

Stain’d with the variation of each soil  64

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,  68

Balk’d in their own blood did Sir Walter see

On Holmedon’s plains: of prisoners Hotspur took

Mordake the Earl of Fife, and eldest son

To beaten Douglas, and the Earls of Athol,  72

Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.

And is not this an honourable spoil?

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


In faith,  76

It is a conquest for a prince to boast of.

K. Hen.

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 honour’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,  84

See riot and dishonour stain the brow

Of my young Harry. O! that it could be prov’d

That some night-tripping fairy had exchang’d

In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,  88

And call’d 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,  92

Which he in this adventure hath surpris’d,

To his own use he keeps, and sends me word,

I shall have none but Mordake Earl of Fife.


This is his uncle’s teaching, this is Worcester,  96

Malevolent to you in all aspects;

Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up

The crest of youth against your dignity.

K. Hen.

But I have sent for him to answer this;  100

And for this cause a while we must neglect

Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.

Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we

Will hold at Windsor; so inform the lords:  104

But come yourself with speed to us again;

For more is to be said and to be done

Than out of anger can be uttered.


I will, my hege.


Scene II.— The Same. An Apartment of the Prince’s.

Enter the Prince and Falstaff.


Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?


Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colour’d taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.  13


Indeed, you come near me now, Hal; for we that take purses go by the moon and the seven stars, and not by Phœbus, he, ‘that wandering knight so fair.’ And, I prithee, sweet wag, when thou art king,—as, God save thy Grace,—majesty, I should say, for grace thou wilt have none,—  20


What! none?


No, by my troth; not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.


Well, how then? come, roundly, roundly.  25


Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us that are squires of the night’s body be called thieves of the day’s beauty: let us be Diana’s foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon; and let men say, we be men of good government, being governed as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal.  33


Thou sayest well, and it holds well too; for the fortune of us that are the moon’s men doth ebb and flow like the sea, being governed as the sea is, by the moon. As for proof now: a purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearing ‘Lay by;’ and spent with crying ‘Bring in:’ now in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder, and by and by in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.


By the Lord, thou sayest true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?  46


As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?  49


How now, how now, mad wag! what, in thy quips and thy quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?  52


Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?


Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning many a time and oft.  56


Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?


No; I’ll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.  60


Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch; and where it would not, I have used my credit.


Yea, and so used it that, were it not here apparent that thou art their apparent.—But, I prithee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king, and resolution thus fobbed as it is with the rusty curb of old father antick the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.  70


No; thou shalt.


Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I’ll be a brave judge.  73


Thou judgest false already; I mean, thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves and so become a rare hangman.  76


Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it jumps with my humour as well as waiting in the court, I can tell you.


For obtaining of suits?  80


Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof the hangman hath no lean wardrobe. ’Sblood, I am as melancholy as a gib cat, or a lugged bear.


Or an old lion, or a lover’s lute.  84


Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe.


What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of Moor-ditch?  88


Thou hast the most unsavory similes, and art, indeed, the most comparative, rascalliest, sweet young prince; but, Hal, I prithee, trouble me no more with vanity. I would to God thou and I knew where a commodity of good names were to be bought. An old lord of the council rated me the other day in the street about you, sir, but I marked him not; and yet he talked very wisely, but I regarded him not; and yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.  98


Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it.  100


O! thou hast damnable iteration, and art indeed able to corrupt a saint. Thou hast done much harm upon me, Hal; God forgive thee for it! Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am I, if a man should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked. I must give over this life, and I will give it over; by the Lord, an I do not, I am a villain: I’ll be damned for never a king’s son in Christendom.


Where shall we take a purse to-morrow, Jack?  111


Zounds! where thou wilt, lad, I’ll make one; an I do not, call me a villain and baffle me.


I see a good amendment of life in thee; from praying to purse-taking.  115

Enter Poins, at a distance.


Why, Hal, ’tis my vocation, Hal; ’tis no sin for a man to labour in his vocation. Poins! Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match. O! if men were to be saved by merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for him? This is the most omnipotent villain that ever cried ‘Stand!’ to a true man.  122


Good morrow, Ned.


Good morrow, sweet Hal. What says Monsieur Remorse? What says Sir John Sack-and-Sugar? Jack! how agrees the devil and thee about thy soul, that thou soldest him on Good-Friday last for a cup of Madeira and a cold capon’s leg?  129


Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs: he will give the devil his due.


Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.


Else he had been damned for cozening the devil.  136


But my lads, my lads, to-morrow morning, by four o’clock, early at Gadshill! There are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses: I have vizards for you all; you have horses for yourselves. Gadshill lies to night in Rochester; I have bespoke supper to-morrow night in Eastcheap: we may do it as secure as sleep. If you will go I will stuff your purses full of crowns; if you will not, tarry at home and be hanged.  147


Hear ye, Yedward: if I tarry at home and go not, I’ll hang you for going.


You will, chops?


Hal, wilt thou make one?


Who, I rob? I a thief? not I, by my faith.  153


There’s neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou camest not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.  157


Well, then, once in my days I’ll be a madcap.


Why, that’s well said.  160


Well, come what will, I’ll tarry at home.


By the Lord, I’ll be a traitor then, when thou art king.  164


I care not.


Sir John, I prithee, leave the prince and me alone: I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure that he shall go.  168


Well, God give thee the spirit of persuasion and him the ears of profiting, that what thou speakest may move, and what he hears may be believed, that the true prince may, for recreation sake, prove a false thief; for the poor abuses of the time want countenance. Farewell: you shall find me in Eastcheap.  175


Farewell, thou latter spring! Farewell, All-hallown summer!

[Exit Falstaff.


Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us to-morrow: I have a jest to execute that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto, and Gadshill shall rob those men that we have already waylaid; yourself and I will not be there; and when they have the booty, if you and I do not rob them, cut this head from my shoulders.  185


But how shall we part with them in setting forth?


Why, we will set forth before or after them, and appoint them a place of meeting, wherein it is at our pleasure to fail; and then will they adventure upon the exploit themselves, which they shall have no sooner achieved but we’ll set upon them.  193


Yea, but ’tis like that they will know us by our horses, by our habits, and by every other appointment, to be ourselves.  196


Tut! our horses they shall not see, I’ll tie them in the wood; our vizards we will change after we leave them; and, sirrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce, to inmask our noted outward garments.  201


Yea, but I doubt they will be too hard for us.


Well, for two of them, I know them to be as true-bred cowards as ever turned back; and for the third, if he fight longer than he sees reason, I’ll forswear arms. The virtue of this jest will be, the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will tell us when we meet at supper: how thirty, at least, he fought with; what wards, what blows, what extremities he endured; and in the reproof of this lies the jest.


Well, I’ll go with thee: provide us all things necessary and meet me to-morrow night in Eastcheap; there I’ll sup. Farewell.


Farewell, my lord.



I know you all, and will awhile uphold  217

The unyok’d humour of your idleness:

Yet herein will I imitate the sun,

Who doth permit the base contagious clouds

To smother up his beauty from the world,  221

That when he please again to be himself,

Being wanted, he may be more wonder’d at,

By breaking through the foul and ugly mists

Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.  225

If all the year were playing holidays,

To sport would be as tedious as to work;

But when they seldom come, they wish’d for come,

And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.  229

So, when this loose behaviour I throw off,

And pay the debt I never promised,

By how much better than my word I am  232

By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes;

And like bright metal on a sullen ground,

My reformation, glittering o’er my fault,

Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes

Than that which hath no foil to set it off.  237

I’ll so offend to make offence a skill;

Redeeming time when men think least I will.


Scene III.— The Same. The Palace.

Enter King Henry, Northumberland, Worcester, Hotspur, Sir Walter Blunt, and Others.

K. Hen.

My blood hath been too cold and temperate,

Unapt to stir at these indignities,

And you have found me; for accordingly

You tread upon my patience: but, be sure,  4

I will from henceforth rather be myself,

Mighty, and to be fear’d, than my condition,

Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,

And therefore lost that title of respect  8

Which the proud soul ne’er pays but to the proud.


Our house, my sovereign liege, little deserves

The scourge of greatness to be us’d on it;

And that same greatness too which our own hands  12

Have holp to make so portly.


My lord,—

K. Hen.

Worcester, get thee gone; for I do see

Danger and disobedience in thine eye.  16

O, sir, your presence is too bold and peremptory,

And majesty might never yet endure

The moody frontier of a servant brow.

You have good leave to leave us; when we need

Your use and counsel we shall send for you.  21

[Exit Worcester.

[To Northumberland.] You were about to speak.


Yea, my good lord.

Those prisoners in your highness’ name demanded,

Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took,  24

Were, as he says, not with such strength denied

As is deliver’d to your majesty:

Either envy, therefore, or misprision

Is guilty of this fault and not my son.  28


My liege, I did deny no prisoners:

But I remember, when the fight was done,

When I was dry with rage and extreme toil,

Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,  32

Came there a certain lord, neat, and trimly dress’d,

Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin, new reap’d,

Show’d like a stubble-land at harvest-home:

He was perfumed like a milliner,  36

And ’twixt his finger and his thumb he held

A pouncet-box, which ever and anon

He gave his nose and took’t away again;

Who therewith angry, when it next came there,

Took it in snuff: and still he smil’d and talk’d;

And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,

He call’d them untaught knaves, unmannerly,

To bring a slovenly unhandsome corpse  44

Betwixt the wind and his nobility.

With many holiday and lady terms

He question’d me; among the rest, demanded

My prisoners in your majesty’s behalf.  48

I then all smarting with my wounds being cold,

To be so pester’d with a popinjay,

Out of my grief and my impatience

Answer’d neglectingly, I know not what,  52

He should, or he should not; for he made me mad

To see him shine so brisk and smell so sweet

And talk so like a waiting-gentlewoman

Of guns, and drums, and wounds,—God save the mark!—  56

And telling me the sovereign’st thing on earth

Was parmaceti for an inward bruise;

And that it was great pity, so it was,

This villanous saltpetre should be digg’d  60

Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,

Which many a good tall fellow had destroy’d

So cowardly; and but for these vile guns,

He would himself have been a soldier.  64

This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord,

I answer’d indirectly, as I said;

And I beseech you, let not his report

Come current for an accusation  68

Betwixt my love and your high majesty.


The circumstance consider’d, good my lord,

Whatever Harry Percy then had said

To such a person and in such a place,  72

At such a time, with all the rest re-told,

May reasonably die and never rise

To do him wrong, or any way impeach

What then he said, so he unsay it now.  76

K. Hen.

Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners,

But with proviso and exception,

That we at our own charge shall ransom straight

His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer;  80

Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray’d

The lives of those that he did lead to fight

Against the great magician, damn’d Glendower,

Whose daughter, as we hear, the Earl of March

Hath lately married. Shall our coffers then  85

Be emptied to redeem a traitor home?

Shall we buy treason, and indent with fears,

When they have lost and forfeited themselves?

No, on the barren mountains let him starve;  89

For I shall never hold that man my friend

Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost

To ransom home revolted Mortimer.  92


Revolted Mortimer!

He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,

But by the chance of war: to prove that true

Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds,  96

Those mouthed wounds, which valiantly he took,

When on the gentle Severn’s sedgy bank,

In single opposition, hand to hand,

He did confound the best part of an hour  100

In changing hardiment with great Glendower.

Three times they breath’d and three times did they drink,

Upon agreement, of swift Severn’s flood,

Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks,  104

Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,

And hid his crisp head in the hollow bank

Blood-stained with these valiant combatants.

Never did base and rotten policy  108

Colour her working with such deadly wounds;

Nor never could the noble Mortimer

Receive so many, and all willingly:

Then let him not be slander’d with revolt.  112

K. Hen.

Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou dost belie him:

He never did encounter with Glendower:

I tell thee,

He durst as well have met the devil alone  116

As Owen Glendower for an enemy.

Art thou not asham’d? But, sirrah, henceforth

Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer:

Send me your prisoners with the speediest means,  120

Or you shall hear in such a kind from me

As will displease you. My Lord Northumberland,

We license your departure with your son.

Send us your prisoners, or you’ll hear of it.  124

[Exeunt King Henry, Blunt, and Train.


An if the devil come and roar for them,

I will not send them: I will after straight

And tell him so; for I will ease my heart,

Albeit I make a hazard of my head.  128


What! drunk with choler? stay, and pause awhile:

Here comes your uncle.

Re-enter Worcester.


Speak of Mortimer!

’Zounds! I will speak of him; and let my soul

Want mercy if I do not join with him:  132

In his behalf I’ll empty all these veins,

And shed my dear blood drop by drop i’ the dust,

But I will lift the down-trod Mortimer

As high i’ the air as this unthankful king,  136

As this ingrate and canker’d Bolingbroke.


Brother, the king hath made your nephew mad.


Who struck this heat up after I was gone?


He will, forsooth, have all my prisoners;

And when I urg’d the ransom once again  141

Of my wife’s brother, then his cheek look’d pale,

And on my face he turn’d an eye of death,

Trembling even at the name of Mortimer.  144


I cannot blame him: was he not proclaim’d

By Richard that dead is the next of blood?


He was; I heard the proclamation:

And then it was when the unhappy king,—  148

Whose wrongs in us God pardon!—did set forth

Upon his Irish expedition;

From whence he, intercepted, did return

To be depos’d, and shortly murdered.  152


And for whose death we in the world’s wide mouth

Live scandaliz’d and foully spoken of.


But, soft! I pray you, did King Richard then

Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer  156

Heir to the crown?


He did; myself did hear it.


Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king,

That wish’d him on the barren mountains starve.

But shall it be that you, that set the crown  160

Upon the head of this forgetful man,

And for his sake wear the detested blot

Of murd’rous subornation, shall it be,

That you a world of curses undergo,  164

Being the agents, or base second means,

The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather?

O! pardon me that I descend so low,

To show the line and the predicament  168

Wherein you range under this subtle king.

Shall it for shame be spoken in these days,

Or fill up chronicles in time to come,

That men of your nobility and power,  172

Did gage them both in’an unjust behalf,

As both of you—God pardon it!—have done,

To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose,

And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke?

And shall it in more shame be further spoken,

That you are fool’d, discarded, and shook off

By him for whom these shames ye underwent?

No; yet time serves wherein you may redeem  180

Your banish’d honours, and restore yourselves

Into the good thoughts of the world again;

Revenge the jeering and disdain’d contempt

Of this proud king, who studies day and night

To answer all the debt he owes to you,  185

Even with the bloody payment of your deaths.

Therefore, I say,—


Peace, cousin! say no more:

And now I will unclasp a secret book,  188

And to your quick-conceiving discontents

I’ll read you matter deep and dangerous,

As full of peril and adventurous spirit

As to o’er-walk a current roaring loud,  192

On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.


If he fall in, good night! or sink or swim:

Send danger from the east unto the west,

So honour cross it from the north to south,  196

And let them grapple: O! the blood more stirs

To rouse a lion than to start a hare.


Imagination of some great exploit

Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.  200


By heaven methinks it were an easy leap

To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac’d moon,

Or dive into the bottom of the deep,

Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,  204

And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;

So he that doth redeem her thence might wear

Without corrival all her dignities:

But out upon this half-fac’d fellowship!  208


He apprehends a world of figures here,

But not the form of what he should attend.

Good cousin, give me audience for a while.


I cry you mercy.


Those same noble Scots  212

That are your prisoners,—


I’ll keep them all;

By God, he shall not have a Scot of them:

No, if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not:

I’ll keep them, by this hand.


You start away,  216

And lend no ear unto my purposes.

Those prisoners you shall keep.


Nay, I will; that’s flat:

He said he would not ransom Mortimer;

Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer;  220

But I will find him when he lies asleep,

And in his ear I’ll holla ‘Mortimer!’


I’ll have a starling shall be taught to speak  224

Nothing but ‘Mortimer,’ and give it him,

To keep his anger still in motion.


Hear you, cousin; a word.


All studies here I solemnly defy,  228

Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke:

And that same sword-and-buckler Prince of Wales,

But that I think his father loves him not,

And would be glad he met with some mischance,

I would have him poison’d with a pot of ale.  233


Farewell, kinsman: I will talk to you

When you are better temper’d to attend.


Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient fool  236

Art thou to break into this woman’s mood,

Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own!


Why, look you, I am whipp’d and scourg’d with rods,

Nettled, and stung with pismires, when I hear

Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke.  241

In Richard’s time,—what do ye call the place?—

A plague upon’t—it is in Gloucestershire;—

’Twas where the madcap duke his uncle kept,

His uncle York; where I first bow’d my knee

Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke,


When you and he came back from Ravenspurgh.


At Berkeley Castle.  249


You say true.

Why, what a candy deal of courtesy

This fawning greyhound then did proffer me!

Look, ‘when his infant fortune came to age,’  253

And ‘gentle Harry Percy,’ and ‘kind cousin.’

O! the devil take such cozeners. God forgive me!

Good uncle, tell your tale, for I have done.  256


Nay, if you have not, to’t again;

We’ll stay your leisure.


I have done, i’ faith.


Then once more to your Scottish prisoners.

Deliver them up without their ransom straight,

And make the Douglas’ son your only mean  261

For powers in Scotland; which, for divers reasons

Which I shall send you written, be assur’d,

Will easily be granted. [To Northumberland.] You, my lord,  264

Your son in Scotland being thus employ’d,

Shall secretly into the bosom creep

Of that same noble prelate well belov’d,

The Archbishop.  268


Of York, is it not?


True; who bears hard

His brother’s death at Bristol, the Lord Scroop.

I speak not this in estimation,  272

As what I think might be, but what I know

Is ruminated, plotted and set down;

And only stays but to behold the face

Of that occasion that shall bring it on.  276


I smell it.

Upon my life it will do wondrous well.


Before the game’s afoot thou still lett’st slip.


Why, it cannot choose but be a noble plot:  280

And then the power of Scotland and of York,

To join with Mortimer, ha?


And so they shall.


In faith, it is exceedingly well aim’d.


And ’tis no little reason bids us speed,

To save our heads by raising of a head;  285

For, bear ourselves as even as we can,

The king will always think him in our debt,

And think we think ourselves unsatisfied,  288

Till he hath found a time to pay us home.

And see already how he doth begin

To make us strangers to his looks of love.


He does, he does: we’ll be reveng’d on him.  292


Cousin, farewell: no further go in this,

Than I by letters shall direct your course.

When time is ripe,—which will be suddenly,—

I’ll steal to Glendower and Lord Mortimer;  296

Where you and Douglas and our powers at once,—

As I will fashion it,—shall happily meet,

To bear our fortunes in our own strong arms,

Which now we hold at much uncertainty.  300


Farewell, good brother: we shall thrive, I trust.


Uncle, adieu: O! let the hours be short,

Till fields and blows and groans applaud our sport!



Scene I.— Rochester. An Inn-Yard.

Enter a Carrier, with a lanthorn in his hand.

First Car.

Heigh-ho! An’t be not four by the day I’ll be hanged: Charles’ Wain is over the new chimney, and yet our horse not packed. What, ostler!  4


[Within.] Anon, anon.

First Car.

I prithee, Tom, beat Cut’s saddle, put a few flocks in the point; the poor jade is wrung in the withers out of all cess.  8

Enter another Carrier.

Sec. Car.

Peas and beans are as dank here as a dog, and that is the next way to give poor jades the bots; this house is turned upside down since Robin Ostler died.  12

First Car.

Poor fellow! never joyed since the price of oats rose; it was the death of him.

Sec. Car.

I think this be the most villanous house in all London road for fleas: I am stung like a tench.  17

First Car.

Like a tench! by the mass, there is ne’er a king christen could be better bit than I have been since the first cock.  20

Sec. Car.

Why, they will allow us ne’er a jordan, and then we leak in the chimney; and your chamber-lie breeds fleas like a loach.

First Car.

What, ostler! come away and be hanged, come away.  25

Sec. Car.

I have a gammon of bacon and two razes of ginger, to be delivered as far as Charing-cross.  28

First Car.

Godsbody! the turkeys in my pannier are quite starved. What, ostler! A plague on thee! hast thou never an eye in thy head? canst not hear? An ’twere not as good a deed as drink to break the pate on thee, I am a very villain. Come, and be hanged! hast no faith in thee?

Enter Gadshill.


Good morrow, carriers. What’s o’clock?

First Car.

I think it be two o’clock.  37


I prithee, lend me thy lanthorn, to see my gelding in the stable.

First Car.

Nay, by God, soft: I know a trick worth two of that, i’ faith.  41


I prithee, lend me thine.

Sec. Car.

Ay, when? canst tell? Lend me thy lanthorn, quoth a’? marry, I’ll see thee hanged first.  45


Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to London?

Sec. Car.

Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant thee. Come, neighbour Mugs, we’ll call up the gentlemen: they will along with company, for they have great charge.

[Exeunt Carriers.


What, ho! chamberlain!  52


[Within.] ‘At hand, quoth pick-purse.’


That’s even as fair as, ‘at hand, quoth the chamberlain’; for thou variest no more from picking of purses than giving direction doth from labouring; thou layest the plot how.  57

Enter Chamberlain.


Good morrow, Master Gadshill. It holds current that I told you yesternight: there’s a franklin in the wild of Kent hath brought three hundred marks with him in gold: I heard him tell it to one of his company last night at supper; a kind of auditor; one that hath abundance of charge too, God knows what. They are up already and call for eggs and butter: they will away presently.


Sirrah, if they meet not with Saint Nicholas’ clerks, I’ll give thee this neck.  68


No, I’ll none of it: I prithee, keep that for the hangman; for I know thou worship’st Saint Nicholas as truly as a man of falsehood may.  72


What talkest thou to me of the hangman? If I hang I’ll make a fat pair of gallows; for if I hang, old Sir John hangs with me, and thou knowest he’s no starveling. Tut! there are other Troyans that thou dreamest not of, the which for sport sake are content to do the profession some grace; that would, if matters should be looked into, for their own credit sake make all whole. I am joined with no foot-land-rakers, no long-staff sixpenny strikers, none of these mad mustachio-purple-hued malt worms; but with nobility and tranquillity, burgomasters and great oneyers such as can hold in, such as will strike sooner than speak, and speak sooner than drink, and drink sooner than pray: and yet I lie; for they pray continually to their saint, the commonwealth; or, rather, not pray to her, but prey on her, for they ride up and down on her and make her their boots.


What! the commonwealth their boots? will she hold out water in foul way?  93


She will, she will; justice hath liquored her. We steal as in a castle, cock-sure; we have the receipt of fern-seed, we walk invisible.  96


Nay, by my faith, I think you are more beholding to the night than to fern-seed for your walking invisible.


Give me thy hand: thou shalt have a share in our purchase, as I am a true man.  101


Nay, rather let me have it, as you are a false thief.


Go to; homo is a common name to all men. Bid the ostler bring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy knave.  106


Scene II.— The Road by Gadshill.

Enter the Prince and Poins.


Come, shelter, shelter: I have removed Falstaff’s horse, and he frets like a gummed velvet.


Stand close.  4

Enter Falstaff.


Poins! Poins, and be hanged! Poins!


Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal! What a brawling dost thou keep!


Where’s Poins, Hal?  8


He is walked up to the top of the hill: I’ll go seek him.

[Pretends to seek Poins, and retires.


I am accursed to rob in that thief’s company; the rascal hath removed my horse and tied him I know not where. If I travel but four foot by the squire further afoot I shall break my wind. Well, I doubt not but to die a fair death for all this, if I ’scape hanging for killing that rogue. I have forsworn his company hourly any time this two-and-twenty years, and yet I am bewitched with the rogue’s company. If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love him, I’ll be hanged: it could not be else: I have drunk medicines. Poins! Hal! a plague upon you both! Bardolph! Peto! I’ll starve ere I’ll rob a foot further. An ’twere not as good a deed as drink to turn true man and leave these rogues, I am the veriest varlet that ever chewed with a tooth. Eight yards of uneven ground is threescore and ten miles afoot with me, and the stony-hearted villains know it well enough. A plague upon’t when thieves cannot be true one to another! [They whistle ] Whew! A plague upon you all! Give me my horse, you rogues; give me my horse and be hanged.  34


[Coming forward.] Peace, ye fatguts! lie down: lay thine ear close to the ground, and list if thou canst hear the tread of travellers.  38


Have you any levers to lift me up again, being down? ’Sblood! I’ll not bear mine own flesh so far afoot again for all the coin in thy father’s exchequer. What a plague mean ye to colt me thus?


Thou liest: thou art not colted; thou art uncolted.  45


I prithee, good Prince Hal, help me to my horse, good king’s son.


Out, you rogue! shall I be your ostler?


Go, hang thyself in thine own heir apparent garters! If I be ta’en I’ll peach for this. An I have not ballads made on you all, and sung to filthy tunes, let a cup of sack be my poison: when a jest is so forward, and afoot too! I hate it.  53

Enter Gadshill.




So I do, against my will.


O! ’tis our setter: I know his voice.

Enter Bardolph and Peto.


What news?  57


Case ye, case ye; on with your vizards: there’s money of the king’s coming down the hill; ’tis going to the king’s exchequer.  60


You lie, you rogue; ’tis going to the king’s tavern.


There’s enough to make us all.


To be hanged.  64


Sirs, you four shall front them in the narrow lane; Ned Poins and I will walk lower: if they ’scape from your encounter then they light on us.  68


How many be there of them?


Some eight or ten.


’Zounds! will they not rob us?


What! a coward, Sir John Paunch?


Indeed, I am not John of Gaunt, your grandfather; but yet no coward, Hal.  74


Well, we leave that to the proof.


Sirrah Jack, thy horse stands behind the hedge: when thou needst him there thou shalt find him. Farewell, and stand fast.


Now cannot I strike him if I should be hanged.  80


[Aside to Poins.] Ned, where are our disguises?


Here, hard by; stand close.

[Exeunt Prince and Poins.


Now my masters, happy man be his dole, say I: every man to his business.  85

Enter Travellers.

First Trav.

Come, neighbour; the boy shall lead our horses down the hill; we’ll walk afoot awhile, and ease our legs.  88




Jesu bless us!


Strike; down with them; cut the villains’ throats: ah! whoreson caterpillars! bacon-fed knaves! they hate us youth: down with them; fleece them.


O! we are undone, both we and ours for ever.  96


Hang ye, gorbellied knaves, are ye undone? No, ye fat chuffs; I would your store were here! On, bacons, on! What! ye knaves, young men must live. You are grand-jurors are ye? We’ll jure ye, i’ faith.  101

[Here they rob and bind them. Exeunt.

Re-enter the Prince and Poins.


The thieves have bound the true men. Now could thou and I rob the thieves and go merrily to London, it would be argument for a week, laughter for a month, and a good jest for ever.  106


Stand close; I hear them coming.

Re-enter Thieves.


Come, my masters; let us share, and then to horse before day. An the Prince and Poins be not two arrant cowards, there’s no equity stirring: there’s no more valour in that Poins than in a wild duck.  112


Your money!



[As they are sharing, the Prince and Poins set upon them. They all run away; and Falstaff, after a blow or two, runs away too, leaving the booty behind.


Got with much ease. Now merrily to horse:

The thieves are scatter’d and possess’d with fear

So strongly that they dare not meet each other;

Each takes his fellow for an officer.

Away, good Ned. Falstaff sweats to death

And lards the lean earth as he walks along:  120

Were’t not for laughing I should pity him.


How the rogue roar’d!


Scene III.— 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;—  8

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.  12

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.  16

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.  40

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?  44

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?  48

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,  52

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,  56

Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets,

Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin,

Of prisoners’ ransom, and of soldiers slain,

And all the currents of a heady fight.  60

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;  64

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,  68

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


What, ho!

Enter Servant.

Is Gilliams with the packet gone?


He is, my lord, an hour ago.


Hath Butler brought those horses from the sheriff?  72


One horse, my lord, he brought even now.


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


It is, my lord.


That roan shall be my throne.

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

Bid Butler lead him forth into the park.  77

[Exit Servant.

Lady P.

But hear you, my lord.


What sayst thou, my lady?

Lady P.

What is it carries you away?  80


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,  84

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—  88


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,  92

An if thou wilt not tell me all things true.



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

I care not for thee, Kate: this is no world  96

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?  100

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.  104


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  108

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  112

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.  117

Lady P.

How! so far?


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

Whither I go, thither shall you go too;  120

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

Will this content you, Kate?

Lady P.

It must, of force.


Scene IV.— Eastcheap. A Room in the Boar’s Head Tavern.

Enter the Prince and Poins.


Ned, prithee, come out of that fat room, and lend me thy hand to laugh a little.


Where hast been, Hal?  3


With three or four loggerheads amongst three or four score hogsheads. I have sounded the very base string of humility. Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers, and can call them all by their christen names, as Tom, Dick, and Francis. They take it already upon their salvation, that though I be but Prince of Wales, yet I am the king of courtesy; and tell me flatly I am no proud Jack, like Falstaff, but a Corinthian, a lad of mettle, a good boy,—by the Lord, so they call me,—and when I am king of England, I shall command all the good lads in Eastcheap. They call drinking deep, dyeing scarlet; and when you breathe in your watering, they cry ‘hem!’ and bid you play it off. To conclude, I am so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour, that I can drink with any tinker in his own language during my life. I tell thee, Ned, thou hast lost much honour that thou wert not with me in this action. But, sweet Ned,—to sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee this pennyworth of sugar, clapped even now into my hand by an underskinker, one that never spake other English in his life than—‘Eight shillings and sixpence,’ and—‘You are welcome,’ with this shrill addition,—‘Anon, anon, sir! Score a pint of bastard in the Half-moon,’ or so. But, Ned, to drive away the time till Falstaff come, I prithee do thou stand in some by-room, while I question my puny drawer to what end he gave me the sugar; and do thou never leave calling ‘Francis!’ that his tale to me may be nothing but ‘Anon.’ Step aside, and I’ll show thee a precedent.  37




Thou art perfect.



[Exit Poins.

Enter Francis.


Anon, anon, sir. Look down into the Pomgarnet, Ralph.


Come hither, Francis.


My lord.  44


How long hast thou to serve, Francis?


Forsooth, five years, and as much as to—


[Within.] Francis!


Anon, anon, sir.  48


Five years! by’r lady a long lease for the clinking of pewter. But, Francis, darest thou be so valiant as to play the coward with thy indenture and show it a fair pair of heels and run from it?  53


O Lord, sir! I’ll be sworn upon all the books in England, I could find in my heart—


[Within.] Francis!  56


Anon, sir.


How old art thou, Francis?


Let me see—about Michaelmas next I shall be—  60


[Within.] Francis!


Anon, sir. Pray you, stay a little, my lord.


Nay, but hark you, Francis. For the sugar thou gavest me, ’twas a pennyworth, was’t not?  66


O Lord, sir! I would it had been two.


I will give thee for it a thousand pound: ask me when thou wilt and thou shalt have it.


[Within.] Francis!


Anon, anon.  72


Anon, Francis? No, Francis; but to-morrow, Francis; or, Francis, o’ Thursday; or, indeed, Francis, when thou wilt. But, Francis!  76


My lord?


Wilt thou rob this leathern-jerkin, crystal-button, knot-pated, agate-ring, pukestocking, caddis-garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch,—  81


O Lord, sir, who do you mean?


Why then, your brown bastard is your only drink; for, look you, Francis, your white canvas doublet will sully. In Barbary, sir, it cannot come to so much.


What, sir?


[Within.] Francis!  88


Away, you rogue! Dost thou not hear them call?

[Here they both call him; the Drawer stands amazed, not knowing which way to go.

Enter Vintner.


What! standest thou still, and hearest such a calling? Look to the guests within. [Exit Francis.] My lord, old Sir John, with half a dozen more, are at the door: shall I let them in?


Let them alone awhile, and then open the door. [Exit Vintner.] Poins!  97

Re-enter Poins.


Anon, anon, sir.


Sirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the thieves are at the door: shall we be merry?  100


As merry as crickets, my lad. But hark ye; what cunning match have you made with this jest of the drawer? come, what’s the issue?  104


I am now of all humours that have show’d themselves humours since the old days of goodman Adam to the pupil age of this present twelve o’clock at midnight. [Francis crosses the stage, with wine.] What’s o’clock, Francis?  110


Anon, anon, sir.



That ever this fellow should have fewer words than a parrot, and yet the son of a woman! His industry is up-stairs and down-stairs; his eloquence the parcel of a reckoning. I am not yet of Percy’s mind, the Hotspur of the North; he that kills me some six or seven dozen of Scots at a breakfast, washes his hands, and says to his wife, ‘Fie upon this quiet life! I want work.’ ‘O my sweet Harry,’ says she, ‘how many hast thou killed to-day?’ ‘Give my roan horse a drench,’ says he, and answers, ‘Some fourteen,’ an hour after, ‘a trifle, a trifle.’ I prithee call in Falstaff: I’ll play Percy, and that damned brawn shall play Dame Mortimer his wife. ‘Rivo!’ says the drunkard. Call in ribs, call in tallow.  127

Enter Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph, Peto, and Francis.


Welcome, Jack: where hast thou been?


A plague of all cowards, I say, and a vengeance too! marry, and amen! Give me a cup of sack, boy. Ere I lead this life long, I’ll sew nether-stocks and mend them and foot them too. A plague of all cowards! Give me a cup of sack, rogue.—Is there no virtue extant?

[He drinks.


Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter—pitiful-hearted Titan, that melted at the sweet tale of the sun? if thou didst then behold that compound.  138


You rogue, here’s lime in this sack too: there is nothing but roguery to be found in villanous man: yet a coward is worse than a cup of sack with lime in it, a villanous coward! Go thy ways, old Jack; die when thou wilt. If manhood, good manhood, be not forgot upon the face of the earth, then am I a shotten herring. There live not three good men unhanged in England, and one of them is fat and grows old: God help the while! a bad world, I say. I would I were a weaver; I could sing psalms or anything. A plague of all cowards, I say still.


How now, wool-sack! what mutter you?  152


A king’s son! If I do not beat thee out of thy kingdom with a dagger of lath, and drive all thy subjects afore thee like a flock of wild geese, I’ll never wear hair on my face more. You Prince of Wales!  157


Why, you whoreson round man, what’s the matter?


Are you not a coward? answer me to that; and Poins there?  161


’Zounds! ye fat paunch, an ye call me coward, I’ll stab thee.


I call thee coward! I’ll see thee damned ere I call thee coward; but I would give a thousand pound I could run as fast as thou canst. You are straight enough in the shoulders; you care not who sees your back: call you that backing of your friends? A plague upon such backing! give me them that will face me. Give me a cup of sack: I am a rogue if I drunk to-day.  172


O villain! thy lips are scarce wiped since thou drunkest last.


All’s one for that. [He drinks.] A plague of all cowards, still say I.  176


What’s the matter?


What’s the matter? there be four of us here have ta’en a thousand pound this day morning.  180


Where is it, Jack? where is it?


Where is it! taken from us it is: a hundred upon poor four of us.


What, a hundred, man?  184


I am a rogue, if I were not at half-sword with a dozen of them two hours together. I have ’scap’d by miracle. I am eight times thrust through the doublet, four through the hose; my buckler out through and through; my sword hacked like a hand-saw: ecce signum! I never dealt better since I was a man: all would not do. A plague of all cowards! Let them speak: if they speak more or less than truth, they are villains and the sons of darkness.


Speak, sirs; how was it?


We four set upon some dozen,—  196


Sixteen, at least, my lord.


And bound them.


No, no, they were not bound.


You rogue, they were bound, every man of them; or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew.


As we were sharing, some six or seven fresh men set upon us,—  204


And unbound the rest, and then come in the other.


What, fought ye with them all?


All! I know not what ye call all; but if I fought not with fifty of them, I am a bunch of radish: if there were not two or three and fifty upon poor old Jack, then am I no two-legged creature.  212


Pray God you have not murdered some of them.


Nay, that’s past praying for: I have peppered two of them: two I am sure I have paid, two rogues in buckram suits. I tell thee what, Hal, if I tell thee a lie, spit in my face, call me horse. Thou knowest my old ward; here I lay, and thus I bore my point. Four rogues in buckram let drive at me,—  221


What, four? thou saidst but two even now.


Four, Hal; I told thee four.  224


Ay, ay, he said four.


These four came all a-front, and mainly thrust at me. I made me no more ado but took all their seven points in my target, thus.  228


Seven? why, there were but four even now.


In buckram.


Ay, four, in buckram suits.  232


Seven, by these hilts, or I am a villain else.


Prithee, let him alone; we shall have more anon.  236


Dost thou hear me, Hal?


Ay, and mark thee too, Jack.


Do so, for it is worth the listening to.

These nine in buckram that I told thee of,—  240


So, two more already.


Their points being broken,—


Down fell their hose.


Began to give me ground; but I followed me close, came in foot and hand and with a thought seven of the eleven I paid.


O monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two.  248


But, as the devil would have it, three misbegotten knaves in Kendal-green came at my back and let drive at me; for it was so dark, Hal, that thou couldst not see thy hand.  252


These lies are like the father that begets them; gross as a mountain, open, palpable. Why, thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson, obscene, greasy tallowketch,—  257


What, art thou mad? art thou mad? is not the truth the truth?


Why, how couldst thou know these men in Kendal-green, when it was so dark thou couldst not see thy hand? come, tell us your reason: what sayest thou to this?  263


Come, your reason, Jack, your reason.


What, upon compulsion? ’Zounds! an I were at the strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would not tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on compulsion! If reasons were as plenty as blackberries I would give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.  270


I’ll be no longer guilty of this sin: this sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker, this huge hill of flesh;—  273


’Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s pizzle, you stock-fish! O! for breath to utter what is like thee; you tailor’s yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing-tuck;—  278


Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again; and when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this.  281


Mark, Jack.


We two saw you four set on four and you bound them, and were masters of their wealth. Mark now, how a plain tale shall put you down. Then did we two set on you four, and, with a word, out-faced you from your prize, and have it; yea, and can show it you here in the house. And, Falstaff, you carried your guts away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roared for mercy, and still ran and roared, as ever I heard bull-calf. What a slave art thou, to hack thy sword as thou hast done, and then say it was in fight! What trick, what device, what starting-hole canst thou now find out to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?  296


Come, let’s hear, Jack; what trick hast thou now?


By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that made ye. Why, hear you, my masters: was it for me to kill the heir-apparent? Should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Hercules; but beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true prince. Instinct is a great matter, I was a coward on instinct. I shall think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince. But, by the Lord, lads, I am glad you have the money. Hostess, clap to the doors: watch to-night, pray to-morrow. Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles of good fellowship come to you! What! shall we be merry? shall we have a play extempore?  313


Content; and the argument shall be thy running away.


Ah! no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me!  317

Enter Mistress Quickly.


O Jesu! my lord the prince!


How now, my lady the hostess! what sayest thou to me?  320


Marry, my lord, there is a nobleman of the court at door would speak with you: he says he comes from your father.


Give him as much as will make him a royal man, and send him back again to my mother.


What manner of man is he?  326


An old man.


What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight? Shall I give him his answer?


Prithee, do, Jack.  330


Faith, and I’ll send him packing.



Now, sirs: by’r lady, you fought fair; so did you, Peto; so did you, Bardolph: you are lions too, you ran away upon instinct, you will not touch the true prince; no, fie!


Faith, I ran when I saw others run.  336


Faith, tell me now in earnest, how came Falstaff’s sword so hacked?


Why he hacked it with his dagger, and said he would swear truth out of England but he would make you believe it was done in fight, and persuaded us to do the like.  342


Yea, and to tickle our noses with spear-grass to make them bleed, and then to beslubber our garments with it and swear it was the blood of true men. I did that I did not this seven year before; I blushed to hear his monstrous devices.  348


O villain! thou stolest a cup of sack eighteen years ago, and wert taken with the manner, and ever since thou hast blushed extempore. Thou hadst fire and sword on thy side, and yet thou rannest away. What instinct hadst thou for it?


[Pointing to his face.] My lord, do you see these meteors? do you behold these exhalations?  357


I do.


What think you they portend?


Hot livers and cold purses.  360


Choler, my lord, if rightly taken.


No, if rightly taken, halter.—

Re-enter Falstaff.

Here comes lean Jack, here comes bare-bone.—How now, my sweet creature of bombast! How long is’t ago, Jack, since thou sawest thine own knee?  366


My own knee! when I was about thy years, Hal, I was not an eagle’s talon in the waist; I could have crept into any alderman’s thumb-ring. A plague of sighing and grief! it blows a man up like a bladder. There’s villanous news abroad: here was Sir John Bracy from your father: you must to the court in the morning. That same mad fellow of the north, Percy, and he of Wales, that gave Amaimon the bastinado and made Lucifer cuckold, and swore the devil his true liegeman upon the cross of a Welsh hook—what a plague call you him?  378


Owen Glendower.


Owen, Owen, the same; and his son-in-law Mortimer and old Northumberland; and that sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas, that runs o’ horseback up a hill perpendicular.


He that rides at high speed and with his pistol kills a sparrow flying.  385


You have hit it.


So did he never the sparrow.


Well, that rascal hath good mettle in him; he will not run.  389


Why, what a rascal art thou then to praise him so for running!


O’ horseback, ye cuckoo! but, afoot he will not budge a foot.  393


Yes, Jack, upon instinct.


I grant ye, upon instinct. Well, he is there too, and one Mordake, and a thousand blue-caps more. Worcester is stolen away to-night; thy father’s beard is turned white with the news: you may buy land now as cheap as stinking mackerel.  400


Why then, it is like, if there come a hot June and this civil buffeting hold, we shall buy maidenheads as they buy hob-nails, by the hundreds.  404


By the mass, lad, thou sayest true; it is like we shall have good trading that way. But tell me, Hal, art thou not horribly afeard? thou being heir apparent, could the world pick thee out three such enemies again as that fiend Douglas, that spirit Percy, and that devil Glendower? Art thou not horribly afraid? doth not thy blood thrill at it?  412


Not a whit, i’ faith; I lack some of thy instinct.


Well, thou wilt be horribly chid to-morrow when thou comest to thy father: if thou love me, practise an answer.  417


Do thou stand for my father, and examine me upon the particulars of my life.


Shall I? content: this chair shall be my state, this dagger my sceptre, and this cushion my crown.  422


Thy state is taken for a joint-stool, thy golden sceptre for a leaden dagger, and thy precious rich crown for a pitiful bald crown!  425


Well, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee, now shalt thou be moved. Give me a cup of sack to make mine eyes look red, that it may be thought I have wept; for I must speak in passion, and I will do it in King Cambyses’ vein.



Well, here is my leg.

[Makes a bow.


And here is my speech. Stand aside, nobility.  434


O Jesu! This is excellent sport, i’ faith!


Weep not, sweet queen, for trickling tears are vain.  436


O, the father! how he holds his countenance.


For God’s sake, lords, convey my tristful queen,

For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes.  440


O Jesu! he doth it as like one of these harlotry players as ever I see!


Peace, good pint-pot! peace, good tickle-brain! Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also how thou art accompanied: for though the camomile, the more it is trodden on the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted the sooner it wears. That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother’s word, partly my own opinion; but chiefly, a villanous trick of thine eye and a foolish hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant me. If then thou be son to me, here lies the point; why, being son to me, art thou so pointed at? Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher and eat blackberries? a question not to be asked. Shall the son of England prove a thief and take purses? a question to be asked. There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard of, and it is known to many in our land by the name of pitch: this pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth defile; so doth the company thou keepest; for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee in drink, but in tears, not in pleasure but in passion, not in words only, but in woes also. And yet there is a virtuous man whom I have often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.  467


What manner of man, an it like your majesty?


A goodly portly man, i’ faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage; and, as I think, his age some fifty, or by’r lady, inclining to threescore; and now I remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man should be lewdly given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his looks. If then the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then, peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that Falstaff: him keep with, the rest banish. And tell me now, thou naughty varlet, tell me, where hast thou been this month?


Dost thou speak like a king? Do thou stand for me, and I’ll play my father.  483


Depose me? if thou dost it half so gravely, so majestically, both in word and matter, hang me up by the heels for a rabbit-sucker or a poulter’s hare.


Well, here I am set.  488


And here I stand. Judge, my masters.


Now, Harry! whence come you?


My noble lord, from Eastcheap.


The complaints I hear of thee are grievous.  493


’Sblood, my lord, they are false: nay,

I’ll tickle ye for a young prince, i’ faith.


Swearest thou, ungracious boy? henceforth ne’er look on me. Thou art violently carried away from grace: there is a devil haunts thee in the likeness of a fat old man; a tun of man is thy companion. Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swoln parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years? Wherein is he good but to taste sack and drink it? wherein neat and cleanly but to carve a capon and eat it? wherein cunning but in craft? wherein crafty but in villany? wherein villanous but in all things? wherein worthy but in nothing?  512


I would your Grace would take me with you: whom means your Grace?


That villanous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.


My lord, the man I know.  517


I know thou dost.


But to say I know more harm in him than in myself were to say more than I know. That he is old, the more the pity, his white hairs do witness it; but that he is, saving your reverence, a whoremaster, that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked! If to be old and merry be a sin, then many an old host that I know is damned: if to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh’s lean kine are to be loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins; but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry’s company: banish not him thy Harry’s company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.  535


I do, I will.

[A knocking heard.

[Exeunt Mistress Quickly, Francis, and Bardolph.

Re-enter Bardolph, running.


O! my lord, my lord, the sheriff with a most monstrous watch is at the door.


Out, ye rogue! Play out the play: I have much to say in the behalf of that Falstaff.

Re-enter Mistress Quickly.


O Jesu! my lord, my lord!  541


Heigh, heigh! the devil rides upon a fiddle-stick: what’s the matter?


The sheriff and all the watch are at the door: they are come to search the house. Shall I let them in?  546


Dost thou hear, Hal? never call a true piece of gold a counterfeit: thou art essentially mad without seeming so.  549


And thou a natural coward without instinct.


I deny your major. If you will deny the sheriff, so; if not, let him enter: if I become not a cart as well as another man, a plague on my bringing up! I hope I shall as soon be strangled with a halter as another.  556


Go, hide thee behind the arras: the rest walk up above. Now, my masters, for a true face and good conscience.


Both which I have had; but their date is out, and therefore I’ll hide me.  561

[Exeunt all but the Prince and Peto.


Call in the sheriff.

Enter Sheriff and Carrier.

Now, master sheriff, what’s your will with me?


First, pardon me, my lord. A hue and cry  564

Hath follow’d certain men unto this house.


What men?


One of them is well known, my gracious lord,

A gross fat man.


As fat as butter.  568


The man, I do assure you, is not here,

For I myself at this time have employ’d him.

And, sheriff, I will engage my word to thee,

That I will, by to-morrow dinner-time,  572

Send him to answer thee, or any man,

For anything he shall be charg’d withal:

And so let me entreat you leave the house.


I will, my lord. There are two gentlemen  576

Have in this robbery lost three hundred marks.


It may be so: if he have robb’d these men,

He shall be answerable; and so farewell.


Good night, my noble lord.  580


I think it is good morrow, is it not?


Indeed, my lord, I think it be two o’clock.

[Exeunt Sheriff and Carrier.


This oily rascal is known as well as Paul’s.

Go, call him forth.  584


Falstaff! fast asleep behind the arras, and snorting like a horse.


Hark, how hard he fetches breath.

Search his pockets. [He searcheth his pockets, and findeth certain papers.] What hast thou found?  590


Nothing but papers, my lord.


Let’s see what they be: read them.


Item, A capon 2s. 2d.
Item, Sauce 4l.
Item, Sack, two gallons 5s. 8l.
Item, Anchovies and sack after supper 2s. 6l.
Item, Bread ob.


O monstrous! but one half-pennyworth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack! What there is else, keep close; we’ll read it at more advantage. There let him sleep till day. I’ll to the court in the morning. We must all to the wars, and thy place shall be honourable. I’ll procure this fat rogue a charge of foot; and, I know, his death will be a march of twelve-score. The money shall be paid back again with advantage. Be with me betimes in the morning; and so good morrow, Peto.  608


Good morrow, good my lord.



Scene I.— Bangor. A Room in the Archdeacon’s House.

Enter Hotspur, Worcester, Mortimer, and Glendower.


These promises are fair, the parties sure,

And our induction full of prosperous hope.


Lord Mortimer, and cousin Glendower,

Will you sit down?  4

And uncle Worcester: a plague upon it!

I have forgot the map.


No, here it is.

Sit, cousin Percy; sit, good cousin Hotspur;

For by that name as oft as Lancaster  8

Doth speak of you, his cheek looks pale and with

A rising sigh he wishes you in heaven.


And you in hell, as often as he hears

Owen Glendower spoke of.  12


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  16

Shak’d like a coward.


Why, so it would have done at the same season, if your mother’s cat had but kittened, though yourself had never been born.  20


I say the earth did shake when I was born.


And I say the earth was not of my mind,

If you suppose as fearing you it shook.


The heavens were all on fire, the earth did tremble.  24


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  28

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  33

Our grandam earth, having this distemperature,

In passion shook.


Cousin, of many men

I do not bear these crossings. Give me leave  36

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;  41

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  44

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  48

And hold me pace in deep experiments.


I think there’s no man speaks better Welsh.

I’ll to dinner.


Peace, cousin Percy! you will make him mad.  52


I can call spirits from the vasty deep.


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

But will they come when you do call for them?


Why, I can teach thee, cousin, to command  56

The devil.


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,  60

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

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


Come, come;

No more of this unprofitable chat.  64


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.  68


Home without boots, and in foul weather too!

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


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

According to our threefold order ta’en?  72


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:  76

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.  80

And our indentures tripartite are drawn,

Which being sealed interchangeably,

A business that this night may execute,

To-morrow, cousin Percy, you and I  84

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,  88

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.


A shorter time shall send me to you, lords;  92

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.  96


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  100

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:  104

It shall not wind with such a deep indent,

To rob me of so rich a bottom here.


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


Yea, but  108

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.  112


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.


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


I will not have it alter’d.


Will not you?  117


No, nor you shall not.


Who shall say me nay?


Why, that will I.


Let me not understand you then:

Speak it in Welsh.  120


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,  124

And gave the tongue an helpful ornament;

A virtue that was never seen in you.


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

I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew  128

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:  133

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


Come, you shall have Trent turn’d.


I do not care: I’ll give thrice so much land  136

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?


The moon shines fair, you may away by night:  141

I’ll haste the writer and withal

Break with your wives of your departure hence:

I am afraid my daughter will run mad,  144

So much she doteth on her Mortimer.



Fie, cousin Percy! how you cross my father!


I cannot choose: sometimes he angers me

With telling me of the moldwarp and the ant,

Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies,  149

And of a dragon, and a finless fish,

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

A couching lion, and a ramping cat,  152

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  156

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,  161

Than feed on cates and have him talk to me

In any summer-house in Christendom.


In faith, he is a worthy gentleman,  164

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?  168

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  172

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.


In faith, my lord, you are too wilfulblame;  176

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,—  180

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:  184

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.  188


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.


This is the deadly spite that angers me,

My wife can speak no English, I no Welsh.  192


My daughter weeps; she will not part with you:

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


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

Shall follow in your conduct speedily.  196

[Glendower speaks to Lady Mortimer in Welsh, and she answers him in the same.


She’s desperate here; a peevish self-will’d harlotry, one that no persuasion can do good upon.

[She speaks to Mortimer in Welsh.


I understand thy looks: that pretty Welsh  200

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,  204

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,  209

With ravishing division, to her lute.


Nay, if you melt, then will she run mad.

[She speaks again.


O! I am ignorance itself in this.  212


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,  217

Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness,

Making such difference ’twixt wake and sleep

As is the difference between day and night  220

The hour before the heavenly-harness’d team

Begins his golden progress in the east.


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

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


Do so;  225

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.  228


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.  232

[Glendower speaks some Welsh words, and music is heard.


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.


I had rather hear Lady, my brach, how! in Irish.  240

Lady P.

Wouldst thou have thy head broken?



Lady P.

Then be still.


Neither; ’tis a woman’s fault.  244

Lady P.

Now, God help thee!


To the Welsh lady’s bed.

Lady P.

What’s that?


Peace! she sings.  248

[A Welsh song sung by Lady Mortimer.


Come, Kate, I’ll have your song too.

Lady P.

Not mine, in good sooth.


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.  256

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.  260

Come, sing.

Lady P.

I will not sing.


’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.



Come, come, Lord Mortimer; you are as slow

As hot Lord Percy is on fire to go.  268

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

And then to horse immediately.


With all my heart.


Scene II.— London. A Room in the Palace.

Enter King Henry, the Prince, and Lords.

K. Hen.

Lords, give us leave; the Prince of Wales and I

Must have some private conference: but be near at hand,

For we shall presently have need of you.

[Exeunt Lords.

I know not whether God will have it so,  4

For some displeasing service I have done,

That, in his secret doom, out of my blood

He’ll breed revengement and a scourge for me;

But thou dost in thy passages of life  8

Make me believe that thou art only mark’d

For the hot vengeance and the rod of heaven

To punish my mistreadings. Tell me else,

Could such inordinate and low desires,  12

Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts,

Such barren pleasures, rude society,

As thou art match’d withal and grafted to,

Accompany the greatness of thy blood  16

And hold their level with thy princely heart?


So please your majesty, I would I could

Quit all offences with as clear excuse

As well as I am doubtless I can purge  20

Myself of many I am charg’d withal:

Yet such extenuation let me beg,

As, in reproof of many tales devis’d,

Which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear,

By smiling pick-thanks and base newsmongers,

I may, for some things true, wherein my youth

Hath faulty wander’d and irregular,

Find pardon on my true submission.  28

K. Hen.

God pardon thee! yet let me wonder, Harry,

At thy affections, which do hold a wing

Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors.

Thy place in council thou hast rudely lost,  32

Which by thy younger brother is supplied,

And art almost an alien to the hearts

Of all the court and princes of my blood.

The hope and expectation of thy time  36

Is ruin’d, and the soul of every man

Prophetically do forethink thy fall.

Had I so lavish of my presence been,

So common-hackney’d in the eyes of men,  40

So stale and cheap to vulgar company,

Opinion, that did help me to the crown,

Had still kept loyal to possession

And left me in reputeless banishment,  44

A fellow of no mark nor likelihood.

By being seldom seen, I could not stir,

But like a comet I was wonder’d at;

That men would tell their children, ‘This is he;’

Others would say, ‘Where? which is Bolingbroke?’  49

And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,

And dress’d myself in such humility

That I did pluck allegiance from men’s hearts,

Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,

Even in the presence of the crowned king.

Thus did I keep my person fresh and new;

My presence, like a robe pontifical,  56

Ne’er seen but wonder’d at: and so my state,

Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast,

And won by rareness such solemnity.

The skipping king, he ambled up and down  60

With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits,

Soon kindled and soon burnt; carded his state,

Mingled his royalty with capering fools,

Had his great name profaned with their scorns,

And gave his countenance, against his name,  65

To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push

Of every beardless vain comparative;

Grew a companion to the common streets,  68

Enfeoff’d himself to popularity;

That, being daily swallow’d by men’s eyes,

They surfeited with honey and began

To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little

More than a little is by much too much.  73

So, when he had occasion to be seen,

He was but as the cuckoo is in June,

Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such eyes

As, sick and blunted with community,  77

Afford no extraordinary gaze,

Such as is bent on sun-like majesty

When it shines seldom in admiring eyes;  80

But rather drows’d and hung their eyelids down,

Slept in his face, and render’d such aspect

As cloudy men use to their adversaries,

Being with his presence glutted, gorg’d, and full.

And in that very line, Harry, stand’st thou;  85

For thou hast lost thy princely privilege

With vile participation: not an eye

But is aweary of thy common sight,  88

Save mine, which hath desir’d to see thee more;

Which now doth that I would not have it do,

Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.


I shall hereafter, my thrice gracious lord,  92

Be more myself.

K. Hen.

For all the world,

As thou art to this hour was Richard then

When I from France set foot at Ravenspurgh;

And even as I was then is Percy now.  96

Now, by my sceptre and my soul to boot,

He hath more worthy interest to the state

Than thou the shadow of succession;

For of no right, nor colour like to right,  100

He doth fill fields with harness in the realm,

Turns head against the lion’s armed jaws,

And, being no more in debt to years than thou,

Leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on  104

To bloody battles and to bruising arms.

What never-dying honour hath he got

Against renowned Douglas! whose high deeds,

Whose hot incursions and great name in arms,

Holds from all soldiers chief majority,  109

And military title capital,

Through all the kingdoms that acknowledge Christ.

Thrice hath this Hotspur, Mars in swathling clothes,  112

This infant warrior, in his enterprises

Discomfited great Douglas; ta’en him once,

Enlarged him and made a friend of him,

To fill the mouth of deep defiance up  116

And shake the peace and safety of our throne.

And what say you to this? Percy, Northumberland,

The Archbishop’s Grace of York, Douglas, Mortimer,

Capitulate against us and are up.  120

But wherefore do I tell these news to thee?

Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes,

Which art my near’st and dearest enemy?

Thou that art like enough, through vassal fear,

Base inclination, and the start of spleen,  125

To fight against me under Percy’s pay,

To dog his heels, and curtsy at his frowns,

To show how much thou art degenerate.  128


Do not think so; you shall not find it so:

And God forgive them, that so much have sway’d

Your majesty’s good thoughts away from me!

I will redeem all this on Percy’s head,  132

And in the closing of some glorious day

Be bold to tell you that I am your son;

When I will wear a garment all of blood

And stain my favours in a bloody mask,  136

Which, wash’d away, shall scour my shame with it:

And that shall be the day, whene’er it lights,

That this same child of honour and renown,

This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight,  140

And your unthought of Harry chance to meet.

For every honour sitting on his helm,—

Would they were multitudes, and on my head

My shames redoubled!—for the time will come

That I shall make this northern youth exchange

His glorious deeds for my indignities.

Percy is but my factor, good my lord,

To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf;  148

And I will call him to so strict account

That he shall render every glory up,

Yea, even the slightest worship of his time,

Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart.  152

This, in the name of God, I promise here:

The which, if he be pleas’d I shall perform,

I do beseech your majesty may salve

The long-grown wounds of my intemperance:  156

If not, the end of life cancels all bands,

And I will die a hundred thousand deaths

Ere break the smallest parcel of this vow.

K. Hen.

A hundred thousand rebels die in this:  160

Thou shalt have charge and sovereign trust herein.

Enter Sir Walter Blunt.

How now, good Blunt! thy looks are full of speed.


So hath the business that I come to speak of.

Lord Mortimer of Scotland hath sent word  164

That Douglas and the English rebels met,

The eleventh of this month at Shrewsbury.

A mighty and a fearful head they are,—

If promises be kept on every hand,—  168

As ever offer’d foul play in a state.

K. Hen.

The Earl of Westmoreland set forth to-day,

With him my son, Lord John of Lancaster;

For this advertisement is five days old.  172

On Wednesday next, Harry, you shall set forward;

On Thursday we ourselves will march: our meeting

Is Bridgenorth; and Harry, you shall march

Through Gloucestershire; by which account,  176

Our business valued, some twelve days hence

Our general forces at Bridgenorth shall meet.

Our hands are full of business: let’s away;

Advantage feeds him fat while men delay.  180


Scene III.— Eastcheap. A Room in the Boar’s Head Tavern.

Enter Falstaff and Bardolph.


Bardolph, am I not fallen away vilely since this last action? do I not bate? do I not dwindle? Why, my skin hangs about me like an old lady’s loose gown; I am withered like an old apple-john. Well, I’ll repent, and that suddenly, while I am in some liking; I shall be out of heart shortly, and then I shall have no strength to repent. An I have not forgotten what the inside of a church is made of, I am a peppercorn, a brewer’s horse: the inside of a church! Company, villanous company, hath been the spoil of me.  12


Sir John, you are so fretful, you cannot live long.


Why, there is it: come, sing me a bawdy song; make me merry. I was as virtuously given as a gentleman need to be; virtuous enough: swore little; diced not above seven times a week; went to a bawdy-house not above once in a quarter—of an hour; paid money that I borrowed three or four times; lived well and in good compass; and now I live out of all order, out of all compass.  23


Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you must needs be out of all compass, out of all reasonable compass, Sir John.  26


Do thou amend thy face, and I’ll amend my life: thou art our admiral, thou bearest the lanthorn in the poop, but ’tis in the nose of thee: thou art the Knight of the Burning Lamp.


Why, Sir John, my face does you no harm.  32


No, I’ll be sworn; I make as good use of it as many a man doth of a Death’s head, or a memento mori: I never see thy face but I think upon hell-fire and Dives that lived in purple; for there he is in his robes, burning, burning. If thou wert any way given to virtue, I would swear by thy face; my oath should be, ‘By this fire, that’s God’s angel:’ but thou art altogether given over, and wert indeed, but for the light in thy face, the son of utter darkness. When thou rannest up Gadshill in the night to catch my horse, if I did not think thou hadst been an igius fatuus or a ball of wildfire, there’s no purchase in money. O! thou art a perpetual triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light. Thou hast saved me a thousand marks in links and torches, walking with thee in the night betwixt tavern and tavern: but the sack that thou hast drunk me would have bought me lights as good cheap at the dearest chandler’s in Europe. I have maintained that salamander of yours with fire any time this two-and-thirty years; God reward me for it!  55


’Sblood, I would my face were in your belly.


God-a-mercy! so should I be sure to be heart-burned.

Enter Mistress Quickly.

How now, Dame Partlet the hen! have you inquired yet who picked my pocket?  61


Why, Sir John, what do you think, Sir John? Do you think I keep thieves in my house? I have searched, I have inquired, so has my husband, man by man, boy by boy, servant by servant: the tithe of a hair was never lost in my house before.  67


You lie, hostess: Bardolph was shaved and lost many a hair; and I’ll be sworn my pocket was picked. Go to, you are a woman; go.


Who, I? No; I defy thee: God’s light!

I was never called so in my own house before.  72


Go to, I know you well enough.


No, Sir John; you do not know me, Sir John: I know you, Sir John: you owe me money, Sir John, and now you pick a quarrel to beguile me of it: I bought you a dozen of shirts to your back.  78


Dowlas, filthy dowlas: I have given them away to bakers’ wives, and they have made bolters of them.  81


Now, as I am true woman, holland of eight shillings an ell. You owe money here besides, Sir John, for your diet and by-drinkings, and money lent you, four-and-twenty pound.  85


He had his part of it; let him pay.


He! alas! he is poor; he hath nothing.


How! poor? look upon his face; what call you rich? let them coin his nose, let them coin his cheeks. I’ll not pay a denier. What! will you make a younker of me? shall I not take mine ease in mine inn but I shall have my pocket picked? I have lost a seal-ring of my grandfather’s worth forty mark.


O Jesu! I have heard the prince tell him, I know not how oft, that that ring was copper.  97


How! the prince is a Jack, a sneak-cup; ’sblood! an he were here, I would cudgel him like a dog, if he would say so.  100

Enter the Prince and Poins marching. Falstaff meets them, playing on his truncheon like a fife.


How now, lad! is the wind in that door, i’ faith? must we all march?


Yea, two and two, Newgate fashion.


My lord, I pray you, hear me.  104


What sayest thou, Mistress Quickly?

How does thy husband? I love him well, he is an honest man.


Good my lord, hear me.  108


Prithee, let her alone, and list to me.


What sayest thou, Jack?


The other night I fell asleep here behind the arras and had my pocket picked: this house is turned bawdy-house; they pick pockets.  113


What didst thou lose, Jack?


Wilt thou believe me, Hal? three or four bonds of forty pound a-piece, and a seal-ring of my grandfather’s.  117


A trifle; some eight-penny matter.


So I told him, my lord; and I said I heard your Grace say so: and, my lord, he speaks most vilely of you, like a foul-mouthed man as he is, and said he would cudgel you.  122


What! he did not?


There’s neither faith, truth, nor womanhood in me else.  125


There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune; nor no more truth in thee than in a drawn fox; and for womanhood, Maid Marian may be the deputy’s wife of the ward to thee. Go, you thing, go.


Say, what thing? what thing?


What thing! why, a thing to thank God on.  133


I am no thing to thank God on, I would thou shouldst know it; I am an honest man’s wife; and, setting thy knighthood aside, thou art a knave to call me so.  137


Setting thy womanhood aside, thou art a beast to say otherwise.


Say, what beast, thou knave thou?  140


What beast! why, an otter.


An otter, Sir John! why, an otter?


Why? she’s neither fish nor flesh; a man knows not where to have her.  144


Thou art an unjust man in saying so: thou or any man knows where to have me, thou knave thou!


Thou sayest true, hostess; and he slanders thee most grossly.  149


So he doth you, my lord; and said this other day you ought him a thousand pound.


Sirrah! do I owe you a thousand pound?  153


A thousand pound, Hal! a million: thy love is worth a million; thou owest me thy love.


Nay, my lord, he called you Jack, and said he would cudgel you.  157


Did I, Bardolph?


Indeed, Sir John, you said so.


Yea; if he said my ring was copper.  160


I say ’tis copper: darest thou be as good as thy word now?


Why, Hal, thou knowest, as thou art but man, I dare; but as thou art prince, I fear thee as I fear the roaring of the lion s whelp.  165


And why not as the lion?


The king himself is to be feared as the lion: dost thou think I’ll fear thee as I fear thy father? nay, an I do, I pray God my girdle break!  170


O! if it should, how would thy guts fall about thy knees. But, sirrah, there’s no room for faith, truth, or honesty in this bosom of thine; it is all filled up with guts and midriff. Charge an honest woman with picking thy pocket! Why, thou whoreson, impudent, embossed rascal, if there were any thing in thy pocket but tavern reckonings, memorandums of bawdy-houses, and one poor pennyworth of sugar-candy to make thee long-winded; if thy pocket were enriched with any other injuries but these, I am a villain. And yet you will stand to it, you will not pocket up wrong. Art thou not ashamed?  183


Dost thou hear, Hal? thou knowest in the state of innocency Adam fell; and what should poor Jack Falstaff do in the days of villany? Thou seest I have more flesh than another man, and therefore more frailty. You confess then, you picked my pocket?  189


It appears so by the story.


Hostess, I forgive thee. Go make ready breakfast; love thy husband, look to thy servants, cherish thy guests: thou shalt find me tractable to any honest reason: thou seest I am pacified. Still! Nay prithee, be gone. [Exit Mistress Quickly.] Now, Hal, to the news at court: for the robbery, lad, how is that answered?  197


O! my sweet beef, I must still be good angel to thee: the money is paid back again.


O! I do not like that paying back; ’tis a double labour.  201


I am good friends with my father and may do anything.


Rob me the exchequer the first thing thou dost, and do it with unwashed hands too.


Do, my lord.


I have procured thee, Jack, a charge of foot.  208


I would it had been of horse. Where shall I find one that can steal well? O! for a fine thief, of the age of two-and-twenty, or thereabouts; I am heinously unprovided. Well, God be thanked for these rebels; they offend none but the virtuous: I laud them, I praise them.




My lord?  216


Go bear this letter to Lord John of Lancaster,

To my brother John; this to my Lord of Westmoreland.

Go, Poins, to horse, to horse! for thou and I

Have thirty miles to ride ere dinner-time.  220

Jack, meet me to-morrow in the Temple-hall

At two o’clock in the afternoon:

There shalt thou know thy charge, and there receive

Money and order for their furniture.  224

The land is burning; Percy stands on high;

And either we or they must lower lie.

[Exeunt the Prince, Poins, and Bardolph.


Rare words! brave world! Hostess, my breakfast; come!

O! I could wish this tavern were my drum.  228



Scene I.— The Rebel Camp near Shrewsbury.

Enter Hotspur, Worcester, and Douglas.


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  4

Should go so general current through the world.

By God, I cannot flatter; do defy

The tongues of soothers; but a braver place

In my heart’s love hath no man than yourself.  8

Nay, task me to my word; approve me, lord.


Thou art the king of honour:

No man so potent breathes upon the ground

But I will beard him.


Do so, and ’tis well.  12

Enter a Messenger, with letters.

What letters hast thou there? [To Douglas.] I can but thank you.


These letters come from your father.


Letters from him! why comes he not himself?


He cannot come, my lord: he’s grievous sick.  16


’Zounds! how has he the leisure to be sick

In such a justling time? Who leads his power?

Under whose government come they along?


His letters bear his mind, not I, my lord.  20


I prithee, tell me, doth he keep his bed?


He did, my lord, four days ere I set forth;

And at the time of my departure thence

He was much fear’d by his physicians.  24


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.


Sick now! droop now! this sickness doth infect  28

The very life-blood of our enterprise;

’Tis catching hither, even to our camp,

He writes me here, that inward sickness—

And that his friends by deputation could not  32

So soon be drawn; nor did he think it meet

To lay so dangerous and dear a trust

On any soul remov’d but on his own.

Yet doth he give us bold advertisement,  36

That with our small conjunction we should on,

To see how fortune is dispos’d to us;

For, as he writes, there is no quailing now,

Because the king is certainly possess’d  40

Of all our purposes. What say you to it?


Your father’s sickness is a maim to us.


A perilous gash, a very limb lopp’d off:

And yet, in faith, ’tis not; his present want  44

Seems more than we shall find it. Were it good

To set the exact wealth of all our states

All at one cast? to set so rich a main

On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?  48

It were not good; for therein should we read

The very bottom and the soul of hope,

The very list, the very utmost bound

Of all our fortunes.


Faith, and so we should;  52

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.  56


A rendezvous, a home to fly unto,

If that the devil and mischance look big

Upon the maidenhead of our affairs.


But yet, I would your father had been here.  60

The quality and hair of our attempt

Brooks no division. It will be thought

By some, that know not why he is away,

That wisdom, loyalty, and mere dislike  64

Of our proceedings, kept the earl from hence.

And think how such an apprehension

May turn the tide of fearful faction

And breed a kind of question in our cause;  68

For well you know we of the offering side

Must keep aloof from strict arbitrement,

And stop all sight-holes, every loop from whence

The eye of reason may pry in upon us:  72

This absence of your father’s draws a curtain,

That shows the ignorant a kind of fear

Before not dreamt of.


You strain too far.

I rather of his absence make this use:  76

It lends a lustre 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  80

To push against the kingdom, with his help

We shall o’erturn it topsy-turvy down.

Yet all goes well, yet all our joints are whole.


As heart can think: there is not such a word  84

Spoke of in Scotland as this term of fear.

Enter Sir Richard Vernon.


My cousin Vernon! welcome, by my soul.


Pray God my news be worth a welcome, lord.

The Earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong,

Is marching hitherwards; with him Prince John.


No harm: what more?


And further, I have learn’d,

The king himself in person is set forth,

Or hitherwards intended speedily,  92

With strong and mighty preparation.


He shall be welcome too. Where is his son,

The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales,

And his comrades, that daff’d the world aside,  96

And bid it pass?


All furnish’d, all in arms,

All plum’d like estridges that wing the wind,

Baited like eagles having lately bath’d,

Glittering in golden coats, like images,  100

As full of spirit as the month of May,

And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer,

Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls.

I saw young Harry, with his beaver on,  104

His cushes on his thighs, gallantly arm’d,

Rise from the ground like feather’d Mercury,

And vaulted with such ease into his seat,

As if an angel dropp’d down from the clouds,

To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus  109

And witch the world with noble horsemanship.


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,  113

And to the fire-ey’d maid of smoky war

All hot and bleeding will we offer them:

The mailed Mars shall on his altar sit  116

Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire

To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh

And yet not ours. Come, let me taste my horse,

Who is to bear me like a thunderbolt  120

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.

O! that Glendower were come.


There is more news:  124

I learn’d in Worcester, as I rode along,

He cannot draw his power these fourteen days.


That’s the worst tidings that I hear of yet.


Ay, by my faith, that bears a frosty sound.  123


What may the king’s whole battle reach unto?


To thirty thousand.


Forty let it be:

My father and Glendower being both away,

The powers of us may serve so great a day.  132

Come, let us take a muster speedily:

Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.


Talk not of dying: I am out of fear

Of death or death’s hand for this one half year.


Scene II.— A public Road near Coventry.

Enter Falstaff and Bardolph.


Bardolph, get thee before to Coventry; fill me a bottle of sack: our soldiers shall march through: we’ll to Sutton-Co’fil’ to-night.


Will you give me money, captain?  4


Lay out, lay out.


This bottle makes an angel.


An if it do, take it for thy labour; and if it make twenty, take them all, I’ll answer the coinage. Bid my Lieutenant Peto meet me at the town’s end.  10


I will, captain: farewell.



If I be not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a soused gurnet. I have misused the king’s press damnably. I have got, in exchange of a hundred and fifty soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds. I press me none but good householders, yeomen’s sons; inquire me out contracted bachelors, such as had been asked twice on the banns; such a commodity of warm slaves, as had as lief hear the devil as a drum; such as fear the report of a caliver worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild-duck. I pressed me none but such toasts-and-butter, with hearts in their bellies no bigger than pins’ heads, and they have bought out their services; and now my whole charge consists of ancients, corporals, lieutenants, gentlemen of companies, slaves as ragged as Lazarus in the painted cloth, where the glutton’s dogs licked his sores; and such as indeed were never soldiers, but discarded unjust serving-men, younger sons to younger brothers, revolted tapsters and ostlers trade-fallen, the cankers of a calm world and a long peace; ten times more dishonourable ragged than an old faced ancient: and such have I, to fill up the rooms of them that have bought out their services, that you would think that I had a hundred and fifty tattered prodigals, lately come from swine-keeping, from eating draff and husks. A mad fellow met me on the way and told me I had unloaded all the gibbets and pressed the dead bodies. No eye hath seen such scarecrows. I’ll not march through Coventry with them, that’s flat: nay, and the villains march wide betwixt the legs, as if they had gyves on; for, indeed I had the most of them out of prison. There’s but a shirt and a half in all my company; and the half shirt is two napkins tacked together and thrown over the shoulders like a herald’s coat without sleeves; and the shirt, to say the truth, stolen from my host at Saint Alban’s, or the red-nose inn-keeper of Daventry. But that’s all one; they’ll find linen enough on every hedge.  53

Enter the Prince and Westmoreland.


How now, blown Jack! how now, quilt!


What, Hal! How now, mad wag! what a devil dost thou in Warwickshire? My good Lord of Westmoreland, I cry you mercy: I thought your honour had already been at Shrewsbury.


Faith, Sir John, ’tis more than time that I were there, and you too; but my powers are there already. The king, I can tell you, looks for us all: we must away all night.  63


Tut, never fear me: I am as vigilant as a cat to steal cream.


I think to steal cream indeed, for thy theft hath already made thee butter. But tell me, Jack, whose fellows are these that come after?


Mine, Hal, mine.  70


I did never see such pitiful rascals.


Tut, tut; good enough to toss; food for powder, food for powder; they’ll fill a pit as well as better: tush, man, mortal men, mortal men.


Ay, but, Sir John, methinks they are exceeding poor and bare; too beggarly.  76


Faith, for their poverty, I know not where they had that; and for their bareness, I am sure they never learned that of me.  79


No, I’ll be sworn; unless you call three fingers on the ribs bare. But sirrah, make haste: Percy is already in the field.


What, is the king encamped?


He is, Sir John: I fear we shall stay too long.  84



To the latter end of a fray and the beginning of a feast

Fits a dull fighter and a keen guest.


Scene III.— The Rebel Camp near Shrewsbury.

Enter Hotspur, Worcester, Douglas, and Vernon.


We’ll fight with him to-night.


It may not be.


You give him then advantage.


Not a whit.


Why say you so? looks he not for supply?


So do we.


His is certain, ours is doubtful.  4


Good cousin, be advis’d: stir not to-night.


Do not, my lord.


You do not counsel well:

You speak it out of fear and cold heart.


Do me no slander, Douglas: by my life,—

And I dare well maintain it with my life,—  9

If well-respected honour bid me on,

I hold as little counsel with weak fear

As you, my lord, or any Scot that this day lives:

Let it be seen to-morrow in the battle  13

Which of us fears.


Yea, or to-night.




To-night, say I.


Come, come, it may not be. I wonder much,  16

Being men of such great leading as you are,

That you foresee not what impediments

Drag back our expedition: certain horse

Of my cousin Vernon’s are not yet come up:  20

Your uncle Worcester’s horse came but to-day;

And now their pride and mettle is asleep,

Their courage with hard labour tame and dull,

That not a horse is half the half of himself.  24


So are the horses of the enemy

In general, journey-bated and brought low:

The better part of ours are full of rest.


The number of the king exceedeth ours:

For God’s sake, cousin, stay till all come in.  29

[The trumpet sounds a parley.

Enter Sir Walter Blunt.


I come with gracious offers from the king,

If you vouchsafe me hearing and respect.


Welcome, Sir Walter Blunt; and would to God  32

You were of our determination!

Some of us love you well; and even those some

Envy your great deservings and good name,

Because you are not of our quality,  36

But stand against us like an enemy.


And God defend but still I should stand so,

So long as out of limit and true rule

You stand against anointed majesty.  40

But, to my charge. The king hath sent to know

The nature of your griefs, and whereupon

You conjure from the breast of civil peace

Such bold hostility, teaching his duteous land  44

Audacious cruelty. If that the king

Have any way your good deserts forgot,—

Which he confesseth to be manifold,—

He bids you name your griefs; and with all speed  48

You shall have your desires with interest,

And pardon absolute for yourself and these

Herein misled by your suggestion.


The king is kind; and well we know the king  52

Knows at what time to promise, when to pay.

My father and my uncle and myself

Did give him that same royalty he wears;

And when he was not six-and-twenty strong,  56

Sick in the world’s regard, wretched and low,

A poor unminded outlaw sneaking home,

My father gave him welcome to the shore;

And when he heard him swear and vow to God

He came but to be Duke of Lancaster,  61

To sue his livery and beg his peace,

With tears of innocency and terms of zeal,

My father, in kind heart and pity mov’d,  64

Swore him assistance and perform’d it too.

Now when the lords and barons of the realm

Perceiv’d Northumberland did lean to him,

The more and less came in with cap and knee;

Met him in boroughs, cities, villages,  69

Attended him on bridges, stood in lanes,

Laid gifts before him, proffer’d him their oaths,

Gave him their heirs as pages, follow’d him  72

Even at the heels in golden multitudes.

He presently, as greatness knows itself,

Steps me a little higher than his vow

Made to my father, while his blood was poor,  76

Upon the naked shore at Ravenspurgh;

And now, forsooth, takes on him to reform

Some certain edicts and some strait decrees

That lie too heavy on the commonwealth,  80

Cries out upon abuses, seems to weep

Over his country’s wrongs; and by this face,

This seeming brow of justice, did he win

The hearts of all that he did angle for;  84

Proceeded further; cut me off the heads

Of all the favourites that the absent king

In deputation left behind him here,

When he was personal in the Irish war.  88


Tut, I came not to hear this.


Then to the point.

In short time after, he depos’d the king;

Soon after that, depriv’d him of his life;

And, in the neck of that, task’d the whole state;

To make that worse, suffer’d his kinsman March—  93

Who is, if every owner were well plac’d,

Indeed his king—to be engag’d in Wales,

There without ransom to lie forfeited;  96

Disgrac’d me in my happy victories;

Sought to entrap me by intelligence;

Rated my uncle from the council-board;

In rage dismiss’d my father from the court;  100

Broke oath on oath, committed wrong on wrong;

And in conclusion drove us to seek out

This head of safety; and withal to pry

Into his title, the which we find  104

Too indirect for long continuance.


Shall I return this answer to the king?


Not so, Sir Walter: we’ll withdraw awhile.

Go to the king; and let there be impawn’d  108

Some surety for a safe return again,

And in the morning early shall my uncle

Bring him our purposes; and so farewell.


I would you would accept of grace and love.  112


And may be so we shall.


Pray God, you do!


Scene IV.— York. A Room in the Archbishop’s Palace.

Enter the Archbishop of York and Sir Michael.


Hie, good Sir Michael; bear this sealed brief

With winged haste to the lord marshal;

This to my cousin Scroop, and all the rest

To whom they are directed. If you knew  4

How much they do import, you would make haste.

Sir M.

My good lord,

I guess their tenour.


Like enough you do.

To-morrow, good Sir Michael, is a day  8

Wherein the fortune of ten thousand men

Must bide the touch; for, sir, at Shrewsbury,

As I am truly given to understand,

The king with mighty and quick-raised power  12

Meets with Lord Harry: and, I fear, Sir Michael,

What with the sickness of Northumberland,—

Whose power was in the first proportion,—

And what with Owen Glendower’s absence thence,  16

Who with them was a rated sinew too,

And comes not in, o’er-rul’d by prophecies,—

I fear the power of Percy is too weak

To wage an instant trial with the king.  20

Sir M.

Why, my good lord, you need not fear:

There is the Douglas and Lord Mortimer.


No, Mortimer is not there.

Sir M.

But there is Mordake, Vernon, Lord Harry Percy,  24

And there’s my Lord of Worcester, and a head

Of gallant warriors, noble gentlemen.


And so there is; but yet the king hath drawn

The special head of all the land together:  28

The Prince of Wales, Lord John of Lancaster,

The noble Westmoreland, and war-like Blunt;

And many moe corrivals and dear men

Of estimation and command in arms.  32

Sir M.

Doubt not, my lord, they shall be well oppos’d.


I hope no less, yet needful ’tis to fear;

And, to prevent the worse, Sir Michael, speed:

For if Lord Percy thrive not, ere the king  36

Dismiss his power, he means to visit us,

For he hath heard of our confederacy,

And ’tis but wisdom to make strong against him:

Therefore make haste. I must go write again  40

To other friends; and so farewell, Sir Michael.



Scene I.— The King’s Camp near Shrewsbury.

Enter King Henry, the Prince, John of Lancaster, Sir Walter Blunt, and Sir John Falstaff.

K. Hen.

How bloodily the sun begins to peer

Above yon busky hill! the day looks pale

At his distemperature.


The southern wind

Doth play the trumpet to his purposes,  4

And by his hollow whistling in the leaves

Foretells a tempest and a blustering day.

K. Hen.

Then with the losers let it sympathize,

For nothing can seem foul to those that win.  8

[Trumpet sounds.

Enter Worcester and Vernon.

How now, my Lord of Worcester! ’tis not well

That you and I should meet upon such terms

As now we meet. You have deceiv’d our trust,

And made us doff our easy robes of peace,  12

To crush our old limbs in ungentle steel:

This is not well, my lord; this is not well.

What say you to it? will you again unknit

This churlish knot of all-abhorred war,  16

And move in that obedient orb again

Where you did give a fair and natural light,

And be no more an exhal’d meteor,

A prodigy of fear and a portent  20

Of broached mischief to the unborn times?


Hear me, my liege.

For mine own part, I could be well content

To entertain the lag-end of my life  24

With quiet hours; for I do protest

I have not sought the day of this dislike.

K. Hen.

You have not sought it! how comes it then?


Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it.


Peace, chewet, peace!  29


It pleas’d your majesty to turn your looks

Of favour from myself and all our house;

And yet I must remember you, my lord,  32

We were the first and dearest of your friends.

For you my staff of office did I break

In Richard’s time; and posted day and night

To meet you on the way, and kiss your hand,  36

When yet you were in place and in account

Nothing so strong and fortunate as I.

It was myself, my brother, and his son,

That brought you home and boldly did outdare

The dangers of the time. You swore to us,  41

And you did swear that oath at Doncaster,

That you did nothing purpose ’gainst the state,

Nor claim no further than your new-fall’n right,

The seat of Gaunt, dukedom of Lancaster.  45

To this we swore our aid: but, in short space

It rain’d down fortune showering on your head,

And such a flood of greatness fell on you,  48

What with our help, what with the absent king,

What with the injuries of a wanton time,

The seeming sufferances that you had borne,

And the contrarious winds that held the king  52

So long in his unlucky Irish wars,

That all in England did repute him dead:

And from this swarm of fair advantages

You took occasion to be quickly woo’d  56

To gripe the general sway into your hand;

Forgot your oath to us at Doncaster;

And being fed by us you us’d us so

As that ungentle gull, the cuckoo’s bird,  60

Useth the sparrow: did oppress our nest,

Grew by our feeding to so great a bulk

That even our love durst not come near your sight

For fear of swallowing; but with nimble wing  64

We were enforc’d, for safety’s sake, to fly

Out of your sight and raise this present head;

Whereby we stand opposed by such means

As you yourself have forg’d against yourself  68

By unkind usage, dangerous countenance,

And violation of all faith and troth

Sworn to us in your younger enterprise.

K. Hen.

These things indeed, you have articulate,  72

Proclaim’d at market-crosses, read in churches,

To face the garment of rebellion

With some fine colour that may please the eye

Of fickle changelings and poor discontents,  76

Which gape and rub the elbow at the news

Of hurlyburly innovation:

And never yet did insurrection want

Such water-colours to impaint his cause;  80

Nor moody beggars, starving for a time

Of pell-mell havoc and confusion.


In both our armies there is many a soul

Shall pay full dearly for this encounter,  84

If once they join in trial. Tell your nephew,

The Prince of Wales doth join with all the world

In praise of Henry Percy: by my hopes,

This present enterprise set off his head,  88

I do not think a braver gentleman,

More active-valiant or more valiant-young,

More daring or more bold, is now alive

To grace this latter age with noble deeds.  92

For my part, I may speak it to my shame,

I have a truant been to chivalry;

And so I hear he doth account me too;

Yet this before my father’s majesty—  96

I am content that he shall take the odds

Of his great name and estimation,

And will, to save the blood on either side,

Try fortune with him in a single fight.  100

K. Hen.

And, Prince of Wales, so dare we venture thee,

Albeit considerations infinite

Do make against it. No, good Worcester, no,

We love our people well; even those we love  104

That are misled upon your cousin’s part;

And, will they take the offer of our grace,

Both he and they and you, yea, every man

Shall be my friend again, and I’ll be his.  108

So tell your cousin, and bring me word

What he will do; but if he will not yield,

Rebuke and dread correction wait on us,

And they shall do their office. So, be gone:  112

We will not now be troubled with reply;

We offer fair, take it advisedly.

[Exeunt Worcester and Vernon.


It will not be accepted, on my life.

The Douglas and the Hotspur both together  116

Are confident against the world in arms.

K. Hen.

Hence, therefore, every leader to his charge;

For, on their answer, will we set on them;

And God befriend us, as our cause is just!  120

[Exeunt King Henry, Blunt, and John of Lancaster.


Hal, if thou see me down in the battle, and bestride me, so; ’tis a point of friendship.


Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship. Say thy prayers, and farewell.


I would it were bed-time, Hal, and all well.  126


Why, thou owest God a death.



’Tis not due yet: I would be loath to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, ’tis no matter; honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour? a word. What is that word, honour? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? he that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. It is insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore I’ll none of it: honour is a mere scutcheon; and so ends my catechism.  143


Scene II.— The Rebel Camp near Shrewsbury.

Enter Worcester and Vernon.


O, no! my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,

The liberal kind offer of the king.


’Twere best he did.


Then are we all undone.

It is not possible, it cannot be,  4

The king should keep his word in loving us;

He will suspect us still, and find a time

To punish this offence in other faults:

Suspicion all our lives shall be stuck full of eyes;  8

For treason is but trusted like the fox,

Who, ne’er so tame, so cherish’d, and lock’d up,

Will have a wild trick of his ancestors.

Look how we can, or sad or merrily,  12

Interpretation will misquote our looks,

And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,

The better cherish’d, still the nearer death.

My nephew’s trespass may be well forgot,  16

It hath the excuse of youth and heat of blood;

And an adopted name of privilege,

A hare-brain’d Hotspur, govern’d by a spleen.

All his offences live upon my head  20

And on his father’s: we did train him on;

And, his corruption being ta’en from us,

We, as the spring of all, shall pay for all.

Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know  24

In any case the offer of the king.


Deliver what you will, I’ll say ’tis so.

Here comes your cousin.

Enter Hotspur and Douglas; Officers and Soldiers behind.


My uncle is return’d: deliver up  28

My Lord of Westmoreland. Uncle, what news?


The king will bid you battle presently.


Defy him by the Lord of Westmoreland.


Lord Douglas, go you and tell him so.  32


Marry, and shall, and very willingly.



There is no seeming mercy in the king.


Did you beg any? God forbid!


I told him gently of our grievances,  36

Of his oath-breaking; which he mended thus,

By now forswearing that he is forsworn:

He calls us rebels, traitors; and will scourge

With haughty arms this hateful name in us.  40

Re-enter Douglas.


Arm, gentlemen! to arms! for I have thrown

A brave defiance in King Henry’s teeth,

And Westmoreland, that was engag’d, did bear it;

Which cannot choose but bring him quickly on.


The Prince of Wales stepp’d forth before the king,  45

And, nephew, challeng’d you to single fight.


O! would the quarrel lay upon our heads,

And that no man might draw short breath to-day  48

But I and Harry Monmouth. Tell me, tell me,

How show’d his tasking? seem’d it in contempt?


No, by my soul; I never in my life

Did hear a challenge urg’d more modestly,  52

Unless a brother should a brother dare

To gentle exercise and proof of arms.

He gave you all the duties of a man,

Trimm’d up your praises with a princely tongue,

Spoke your deservings like a chronicle,  57

Making you ever better than his praise,

By still dispraising praise valu’d with you;

And, which became him like a prince indeed,  60

He made a blushing cital of himself,

And chid his truant youth with such a grace

As if he master’d there a double spirit

Of teaching and of learning instantly.  64

There did he pause. But let me tell the world,

If he outlive the envy of this day,

England did never owe so sweet a hope,

So much misconstru’d in his wantonness.  68


Cousin, I think thou art enamoured

On his follies: never did I hear

Of any prince so wild a libertine.

But be he as he will, yet once ere night  72

I will embrace him with a soldier’s arm,

That he shall shrink under my courtesy.

Arm, arm, with speed! And, fellows, soldiers, friends,

Better consider what you have to do,  76

Than I, that have not well the gift of tongue,

Can lift your blood up with persuasion.

Enter a Messenger.


My lord, here are letters for you.


I cannot read them now.  80

O gentlemen! the time of life is short;

To spend that shortness basely were too long,

If life did ride upon a dial’s point,

Still ending at the arrival of an hour.  84

An if we live, we live to tread on kings;

If die, brave death, when princes die with us!

Now, for our consciences, the arms are fair,

When the intent of bearing them is just.  88

Enter another Messenger.


My lord, prepare; the king comes on apace.


I thank him that he cuts me from my tale,

For I profess not talking. Only this,—

Let each man do his best: and here draw I  92

A sword, whose temper I intend to stain

With the best blood that I can meet withal

In the adventure of this perilous day.

Now, Esperance! Percy! and set on.  96

Sound all the lofty instruments of war,

And by that music let us all embrace;

For, heaven to earth, some of us never shall

A second time do such a courtesy.  100

[The trumpets sound. They embrace, and exeunt.

Scene III.— Between the Camps.

Excursions and Parties fighting. Alarum to the Battle. Then enter Douglas and Sir Walter Blunt, meeting.


What is thy name, that in the battle thus

Thou crossest me? what honour dost thou seek

Upon my head?


Know then, my name is Douglas;

And I do haunt thee in the battle thus  4

Because some tell me that thou art a king.


They tell thee true.


The Lord of Stafford dear to-day hath bought

Thy likeness; for, instead of thee, King Harry,  8

This sword hath ended him: so shall it thee,

Unless thou yield thee as my prisoner.


I was not born a yielder, thou proud Scot;

And thou shalt find a king that will revenge  12

Lord Stafford’s death.

[They fight, and Blunt is slain.

Enter Hotspur.


O, Douglas! hadst thou fought at Holmedon thus,

I never had triumph’d upon a Scot.


All’s done, all’s won: here breathless lies the king.  16






This, Douglas! no; I know this face full well;

A gallant knight he was, his name was Blunt;  20

Semblably furnish’d like the king himself.


A fool go with thy soul, whither it goes!

A borrow’d title hast thou bought too dear:

Why didst thou tell me that thou wert a king?


The king hath many marching in his coats.  25


Now, by my sword, I will kill all his coats;

I’ll murder all his wardrobe, piece by piece,

Until I meet the king.


Up, and away!  28

Our soldiers stand full fairly for the day.


Alarums. Enter Falstaff.


Though I could ’scape shot-free at London, I fear the shot here; here’s no scoring but upon the pate. Soft! who art thou? Sir Walter Blunt: there’s honour for you! here’s no vanity! I am as hot as molten lead, and as heavy too: God keep lead out of me! I need no more weight than mine own bowels. I have led my ragamuffins where they are peppered: there’s not three of my hundred and fifty left alive, and they are for the town’s end, to beg during life. But who comes here?  40

Enter the Prince.


What! stand’st thou idle here? lend me thy sword:

Many a nobleman lies stark and stiff

Under the hoofs of vaunting enemies,

Whose deaths are unreveng’d: prithee, lend me thy sword.  44


O Hal! I prithee, give me leave to breathe awhile. Turk Gregory never did such deeds in arms as I have done this day. I have paid Percy, I have made him sure.  48


He is, indeed; and living to kill thee.

I prithee, lend me thy sword.


Nay, before God, Hal, if Percy be alive, thou gett’st not my sword; but take my pistol, if thou wilt.  53


Give it me. What! is it in the case?


Ay, Hal; ’tis hot, ’tis hot: there’s that will sack a city.  56

[The Prince draws out a bottle of sack.


What! is’t a time to jest and dally now?

[Throws it at him, and exit.


Well, if Percy be alive, I’ll pierce him. If he do come in my way, so: if he do not, if I come in his, willingly, let him make a carbonado of me. I like not such grinning honour as Sir Walter hath: give me life; which if I can save, so; if not, honour comes unlooked for, and there’s an end.


Scene IV.— Another Part of the Field.

Alarums. Excursions. Enter King Henry, the Prince, John of Lancaster, and Westmoreland.

K. Hen.

I prithee,

Harry, withdraw thyself; thou bleed’st too much.

Lord John of Lancaster, go you with him.


Not I, my lord, unless I did bleed too.  4


I beseech your majesty, make up,

Lest your retirement do amaze your friends.

K. Hen.

I will do so.

My Lord of Westmoreland, lead him to his tent.  8


Come, my lord, I’ll lead you to your tent.


Lead me, my lord? I do not need your help:

And God forbid a shallow scratch should drive

The Prince of Wales from such a field as this,  12

Where stain’d nobility lies trodden on,

And rebels’ arms triumph in massacres!


We breathe too long: come, cousin Westmoreland,

Our duty this way lies: for God’s sake, come.  16

[Exeunt John of Lancaster and Westmoreland.


By God, thou hast deceiv’d me, Lancaster;

I did not think thee lord of such a spirit:

Before, I lov’d thee as a brother, John;

But now, I do respect thee as my soul.  20

K. Hen.

I saw him hold Lord Percy at the point

With lustier maintenance than I did look for

Of such an ungrown warrior.


O! this boy

Lends mettle to us all.


Alarums. Enter Douglas.


Another king! they grow like Hydra’s heads:  25

I am the Douglas, fatal to all those

That wear those colours on them: what art thou,

That counterfeit’st the person of a king?  28

K. Hen.

The king himself; who, Douglas, grieves at heart

So many of his shadows thou hast met

And not the very king. I have two boys

Seek Percy and thyself about the field:  32

But, seeing thou fall’st on me so luckily,

I will assay thee; so defend thyself.


I fear thou art another counterfeit;

And yet, in faith, thou bear’st thee like a king:

But mine I am sure thou art, whoe’er thou be,

And thus I win thee.

[They fight. King Henry being in danger, re-enter the Prince.


Hold up thy head, vile Scot, or thou art like

Never to hold it up again! the spirits  40

Of valiant Shirley, Stafford, Blunt, are in my arms:

It is the Prince of Wales that threatens thee,

Who never promiseth but he means to pay.

[They fight: Douglas flies.

Cheerly, my lord: how fares your Grace?  44

Sir Nicholas Gawsey hath for succour sent,

And so hath Clifton: I’ll to Clifton straight.

K. Hen.

Stay, and breathe awhile.

Thou hast redeem’d thy lost opinion,  48

And show’d thou mak’st some tender of my life,

In this fair rescue thou hast brought to me.


O God! they did me too much injury

That ever said I hearken’d for your death.  52

If it were so, I might have let alone

The insulting hand of Douglas over you;

Which would have been as speedy in your end

As all the poisonous potions in the world,  56

And sav’d the treacherous labour of your son.

K. Hen.

Make up to Clifton: I’ll to Sir Nicholas Gawsey.


Enter Hotspur.


If I mistake not, thou art Harry Monmouth.


Thou speak’st as if I would deny my name.  60


My name is Harry Percy.


Why, then, I see

A very valiant rebel of that name.

I am the Prince of Wales; and think not, Percy,

To share with me in glory any more:  64

Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere;

Nor can one England brook a double reign,

Of Harry Percy and the Prince of Wales.


Nor shall it, Harry; for the hour is come  68

To end the one of us; and would to God

Thy name in arms were now as great as mine!


I’ll make it greater ere I part from thee;

And all the budding honours on thy crest  72

I’ll crop, to make a garland for my head.


I can no longer brook thy vanities.

[They fight.

Enter Falstaff.


Well said, Hal! to it, Hal! Nay, you shall find no boy’s play here, I can tell you.  76

Re-enter Douglas; he fights with Falstaff, who falls down as if he were dead, and exit Douglas. Hotspur is wounded, and falls.


O, Harry! thou hast robb’d me of my youth.

I better brook the loss of brittle life

Than those proud titles thou hast won of me;

They wound my thoughts worse than thy sword my flesh:  80

But thought’s the slave of life, and life time’s fool;

And time, that takes survey of all the world,

Must have a stop. O! I could prophesy,

But that the earthy and cold hand of death  84

Lies on my tongue. No, Percy, thou art dust,

And food for—



For worms, brave Percy. Fare thee well, great heart!

Ill-weav’d ambition, how much art thou shrunk!

When that this body did contain a spirit,  89

A kingdom for it was too small a bound;

But now, two paces of the vilest earth

Is room enough: this earth, that bears thee dead,  92

Bears not alive so stout a gentleman.

If thou wert sensible of courtesy,

I should not make so dear a show of zeal:

But let my favours hide thy mangled face,  96

And, even in thy behalf, I’ll thank myself

For doing these fair rites of tenderness.

Adieu, and take thy praise with thee to heaven!

Thy ignomy sleep with thee in the grave,  100

But not remember’d in thy epitaph!

[He spies Falstaff on the ground.

What! old acquaintance! could not all this flesh

Keep in a little life? Poor Jack, farewell!

I could have better spar’d a better man.  104

O! I should have a heavy miss of thee

If I were much in love with vanity.

Death hath not struck so fat a deer to-day,

Though many dearer, in this bloody fray.  108

Embowell’d will I see thee by and by:

Till then in blood by noble Percy lie.



[Rising.] Embowelled! if thou embowel me to-day, I’ll give you leave to powder me and eat me too, to-morrow. ’Sblood! ’twas time to counterfeit, or that hot termagant Scot had paid me scot and lot too. Counterfeit? I lie, I am no counterfeit: to die, is to be a counterfeit; for he is but the counterfeit of a man, who hath not the life of a man; but to counterfeit dying, when a man thereby liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life indeed. The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part, I have saved my life. ’Zounds! I am afraid of this gunpowder Percy though he be dead: how, if he should counterfeit too and rise? By my faith I am afraid he would prove the better counterfeit. Therefore I’ll make him sure; yea, and I’ll swear I killed him. Why may not he rise as well as I? Nothing confutes me but eyes, and nobody sees me: therefore, sirrah [stabbing him], with a new wound in your thigh come you along with me.

[He takes Hotspur on his back.

Re-enter the Prince and John of Lancaster.


Come, brother John; full bravely hast thou flesh’d  132

Thy maiden sword.


But, soft! whom have we here?

Did you not tell me this fat man was dead?


I did; I saw him dead,

Breathless and bleeding on the ground.  136

Art thou alive? or is it fantasy

That plays upon our eyesight? I prithee, speak;

We will not trust our eyes without our ears:

Thou art not what thou seem’st.  140


No, that’s certain; I am not a double man: but if I be not Jack Falstaff, then am I a Jack. There is Percy [throwing the body down]: if your father will do me any honour, so; if not, let him kill the next Percy himself. I look to be either earl or duke, I can assure you.


Why, Percy I killed myself, and saw thee dead.  147


Didst thou? Lord, Lord! how this world is given to lying. I grant you I was down and out of breath, and so was he; but we rose both at an instant, and fought a long hour by Shrewsbury clock. If I may be believed, so; if not, let them that should reward valour bear the sin upon their own heads. I’ll take it upon my death, I gave him this wound in the thigh: if the man were alive and would deny it, ’zounds, I would make him eat a piece of my sword.  157


This is the strangest tale that e’er I heard.


This is the strangest fellow, brother John.

Come, bring your luggage nobly on your back:

For my part, if a lie may do thee grace,  161

I’ll gild it with the happiest terms I have.

[A retreat is sounded.

The trumpet sounds retreat; the day is ours.

Come, brother, let us to the highest of the field,

To see what friends are living, who are dead.  165

[Exeunt the Prince and John of Lancaster.


I’ll follow, as they say, for reward. He that rewards me, God reward him! If I do grow great, I’ll grow less; for I’ll purge, and leave sack, and live cleanly, as a nobleman should do.


Scene V.— Another Part of the Field.

The trumpets sound. Enter King Henry, the Prince, John of Lancaster, Westmoreland, and Others, with Worcester and Vernon prisoners.

K. Hen.

Thus ever did rebellion find rebuke.

Ill-spirited Worcester! did we not send grace,

Pardon, and terms of love to all of you?

And wouldst thou turn our offers contrary?  4

Misuse the tenour of thy kinsman’s trust?

Three knights upon our party slain to-day,

A noble earl and many a creature else

Had been alive this hour,  8

If like a Christian, thou hadst truly borne

Betwixt our armies true intelligence.


What I have done my safety urg’d me to;

And I embrace this fortune patiently,  12

Since not to be avoided it falls on me.

K. Hen.

Bear Worcester to the death and Vernon too:

Other offenders we will pause upon.

[Exeunt Worcester and Vernon, guarded.

How goes the field?  16


The noble Scot, Lord Douglas, when he saw

The fortune of the day quite turn’d from him,

The noble Percy slain, and all his men

Upon the foot of fear, fled with the rest;  20

And falling from a hill he was so bruis’d

That the pursuers took him. At my tent

The Douglas is, and I beseech your Grace

I may dispose of him.

K. Hen.

With all my heart.  24


Then, brother John of Lancaster, to you

This honourable bounty shall belong.

Go to the Douglas, and deliver him

Up to his pleasure, ransomless, and free:  28

His valour shown upon our crests to-day

Hath taught us how to cherish such high deeds,

Even in the bosom of our adversaries.


I thank your Grace for this high courtesy,  32

Which I shall give away immediately.

K. Hen.

Then this remains, that we divide our power.

You, son John, and my cousin Westmoreland

Towards York shall bend you, with your dearest speed,  36

To meet Northumberland and the prelate Scroop,

Who, as we hear, are busily in arms:

Myself and you, son Harry, will towards Wales,

To fight with Glendower and the Earl of March.

Rebellion in this land shall lose his sway,  41

Meeting the check of such another day:

And since this business so fair is done,

Let us not leave till all our own be won.






Rumour, the Presenter.
King Henry the Fourth.
Henry, Prince of Wales; afterwards King Henry the Fifth. } His Sons.
George, Duke of Clarence,                                                          }
John of Lancaster,                                                           }
Humphrey of Gloucester,                                                }
Earl of Warwick,          } Of the King’s party.
Earl of Westmoreland, }
Earl of Surrey,             }
Gower,                          }
Harcourt,                     }
Blunt,                            }
Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench.
A Servant of the Chief Justice.
Earl of Northumberland,                   } Opposites to the King.
Richard Scroop, Archbishop of York, }
Lord Mowbray,                                  }
Lord Hastings,                                   }
Lord Bardolph,                                  }
Sir John Colevile,                              }
Travers and Morton, Retainers of Northumberland.
Sir John Falstaff.
His Page.
Shallow and Silence, Country Justices.
Davy, Servant to Shallow.
Mouldy, Shadow, Wart, Feeble, and Bullcalf, Recruits.
Fang and Snare, Sheriff’s Officers.
A Porter.
A Dancer, Speaker of the Epilogue.
Lady Northumberland.
Lady Percy.
Mistress Quickly, Hostess of a tavern in Eastcheap.
Doll Tearsheet.
Lords and Attendants; Officers, Soldiers, Messenger, Drawers, Beadles, Grooms, &c.





Warkworth. Before Northumberland’s Castle.

Enter Rumour, painted full of tongues


Open your ears; for which of you will stop

The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks?

I, from the orient to the drooping west,

Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold  4

The acts commenced on this ball of earth:

Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,

The which in every language I pronounce,

Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.  8

I speak of peace, while covert enmity

Under the smile of safety wounds the world:

And who but Rumour, who but only I,

Make fearful musters and prepar’d defence,  12

Whilst the big year, swoln with some other grief,

Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,

And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe

Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,  16

And of so easy and so plain a stop

That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,

The still-discordant wavering multitude,

Can play upon it. But what need I thus  20

My well-known body to anatomize

Among my household? Why is Rumour here?

I run before King Harry’s victory;

Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury  24

Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops,

Quenching the flame of bold rebellion

Even with the rebels’ blood. But what mean I

To speak so true at first? my office is  28

To noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fell

Under the wrath of noble Hotspur’s sword,

And that the king before the Douglas’ rage

Stoop’d his anointed head as low as death.  32

This have I rumour’d through the peasant towns

Between the royal field of Shrewsbury

And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,

Where Hotspur’s father, old Northumberland,

Lies crafty-sick. The posts come tiring on,  37

And not a man of them brings other news

Than they have learn’d of me: from Rumour’s tongues

They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.



Scene I.— Warkworth. Before Northumberland’s Castle.

Enter Lord Bardolph.

L. Bard.

Who keeps the gate here? ho!

[The Porter opens the gate.

Where is the earl?


What shall I say you are?

L. Bard.

Tell thou the earl

That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.


His Lordship is walk’d forth into the orchard:  4

Please it your honour knock but at the gate,

And he himself will answer.

Enter Northumberland.

L. Bard.

Here comes the earl.

[Exit Porter.


What news, Lord Bardolph? every minute now

Should be the father of some stratagem.  8

The times are wild; contention, like a horse

Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose

And bears down all before him.

L. Bard.

Noble earl,

I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.  12


Good, an God will!

L. Bard.

As good as heart can wish.

The king is almost wounded to the death;

And, in the fortune of my lord your son,

Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts  16

Kill’d by the hand of Douglas; young Prince John

And Westmoreland and Stafford fled the field.

And Harry Monmouth’s brawn, the hulk Sir John,

Is prisoner to your son: O! such a day,  20

So fought, so follow’d, and so fairly won,

Came not till now to dignify the times

Since Cæsar’s fortunes.


How is this deriv’d?

Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury?

L. Bard.

I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence;  25

A gentleman well bred and of good name,

That freely render’d me these news for true.


Here comes my servant Travers, whom I sent  28

On Tuesday last to listen after news.

L. Bard.

My lord, I over-rode him on the way;

And he is furnish’d with no certainties

More than he haply may retail from me.  32

Enter Travers.


Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you?


My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turn’d me back

With joyful tidings; and, being better hors’d,

Out-rode me. After him came spurring hard  36

A gentleman, almost forspent with speed,

That stopp’d by me to breathe his bloodied horse.

He ask’d the way to Chester; and of him

I did demand what news from Shrewsbury.  40

He told me that rebellion had bad luck,

And that young Harry Percy’s spur was cold.

With that he gave his able horse the head,

And, bending forward struck his armed heels  44

Against the panting sides of his poor jade

Up to the rowel-head, and, starting so,

He seem’d in running to devour the way,

Staying no longer question.


Ha! Again:  48

Said he young Harry Percy’s spur was cold?

Of Hotspur, Coldspur? that rebellion

Had met ill luck?

L. Bard.

My lord, I’ll tell you what:

If my young lord your son have not the day,  52

Upon mine honour, for a silken point

I’ll give my barony: never talk of it.


Why should the gentleman that rode by Travers

Give then such instances of loss?

L. Bard.

Who, he?  56

He was some hilding fellow that had stolen

The horse he rode on, and, upon my life,

Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.

Enter Morton.


Yea, this man’s brow, like to a title-leaf,  60

Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:

So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood

Hath left a witness’d usurpation.

Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?


I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;

Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask

To fright our party.


How doth my son and brother?

Thou tremblest, and the whiteness in thy cheek

Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.  69

Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,

So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,

Drew Priam’s curtain in the dead of night,  72

And would have told him half his Troy was burn’d;

But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue,

And I my Percy’s death ere thou report’st it.

This thou wouldst say, ‘Your son did thus and thus;  76

Your brother thus; so fought the noble Douglas;’

Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds:

But in the end, to stop mine ear indeed,

Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,  80

Ending with ‘Brother, son, and all are dead.’


Douglas is living, and your brother, yet;

But, for my lord your son,—


Why, he is dead.—

See, what a ready tongue suspicion hath!  84

He that but fears the thing he would not know

Hath by instinct knowledge from others’ eyes

That what he fear’d is chanced. Yet speak, Morton:

Tell thou thy earl his divination lies,  88

And I will take it as a sweet disgrace

And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.


You are too great to be by me gainsaid;

Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.  92


Yet, for all this, say not that Percy’s dead.

I see a strange confession in thine eye:

Thou shak’st thy head, and hold’st it fear or sin

To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so;  96

The tongue offends not that reports his death:

And he doth sin that doth belie the dead,

Not he which says the dead is not alive.

Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news  100

Hath but a losing office, and his tongue

Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,

Remember’d knolling a departing friend.

L. Bard.

I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.  104


I am sorry I should force you to believe

That which I would to God I had not seen;

But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,

Rendering faint quittance, wearied and outbreath’d,  108

To Harry Monmouth; whose swift wrath beat down

The never-daunted Percy to the earth,

From whence with life he never more sprung up.

In few, his death,—whose spirit lent a fire  112

Even to the dullest peasant in his camp,—

Being bruited once, took fire and heat away

From the best-temper’d courage in his troops;

For from his metal was his party steel’d;  116

Which once in him abated, all the rest

Turn’d on themselves, like dull and heavy lead:

And as the thing that’s heavy in itself,

Upon enforcement flies with greatest speed,  120

So did our men, heavy in Hotspur’s loss,

Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear

That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim

Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,  124

Fly from the field. Then was that noble Worcester

Too soon ta’en prisoner; and that furious Scot,

The bloody Douglas, whose well-labouring sword

Had three times slain the appearance of the king,  128

’Gan vail his stomach, and did grace the shame

Of those that turn’d their backs; and in his flight,

Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all

Is, that the king hath won, and hath sent out

A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,  133

Under the conduct of young Lancaster

And Westmoreland. This is the news at full.


For this I shall have time enough to mourn.  136

In poison there is physic; and these news,

Having been well, that would have made me sick,

Being sick, have in some measure made me well:

And as the wretch, whose fever-weaken’d joints,

Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,  141

Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire

Out of his keeper’s arms, even so my limbs,

Weaken’d with grief, being now enrag’d with grief,  144

Are thrice themselves. Hence, therefore, thou nice crutch!

A scaly gauntlet now, with joints of steel

Must glove this hand: and hence, thou sickly quoif!

Thou art a guard too wanton for the head  148

Which princes, flesh’d with conquest, aim to hit.

Now bind my brows with iron; and approach

The ragged’st hour that time and spite dare bring

To frown upon the enrag’d Northumberland!  152

Let heaven kiss earth! now let not nature’s hand

Keep the wild flood confin’d! let order die!

And let this world no longer be a stage

To feed contention in a lingering act;  156

But let one spirit of the first-born Cain

Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set

On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,

And darkness be the burier of the dead!  160


This strained passion doth you wrong, my lord.

L. Bard.

Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honour.


The lives of all your loving complices

Lean on your health; the which, if you give o’er

To stormy passion must perforce decay.  165

You cast the event of war, my noble lord,

And summ’d the account of chance, before you said,

‘Let us make head.’ It was your presurmise  168

That in the dole of blows your son might drop:

You knew he walk’d o’er perils, on an edge,

More likely to fall in than to get o’er;

You were advis’d his flesh was capable  172

Of wounds and scars, and that his forward spirit

Would lift him where most trade of danger rang’d:

Yet did you say, ‘Go forth;’ and none of this,

Though strongly apprehended, could restrain  176

The stiff-borne action: what hath then befallen,

Or what hath this bold enterprise brought forth,

More than that being which was like to be?

L. Bard.

We all that are engaged to this loss

Knew that we ventur’d on such dangerous seas

That if we wrought out life ’twas ten to one;

And yet we ventur’d, for the gain propos’d

Chok’d the respect of likely peril fear’d;  184

And since we are o’erset, venture again.

Come, we will all put forth, body and goods.


’Tis more than time: and, my most noble lord,

I hear for certain, and do speak the truth,  188

The gentle Archbishop of York is up,

With well-appointed powers: he is a man

Who with a double surety binds his followers.

My lord your son had only but the corpse’,  192

But shadows and the shows of men to fight;

For that same word, rebellion, did divide

The action of their bodies from their souls;

And they did fight with queasiness, constrain’d,

As men drink potions, that their weapons only

Seem’d on our side: but, for their spirits and souls,

This word, rebellion, it had froze them up,

As fish are in a pond. But now the bishop  200

Turns insurrection to religion:

Suppos’d sincere and holy in his thoughts,

He’s follow’d both with body and with mind,

And doth enlarge his rising with the blood  204

Of fair King Richard, scrap’d from Pomfret stones;

Derives from heaven his quarrel and his cause;

Tells them he doth bestride a bleeding land,

Gasping for life under great Bolingbroke;  208

And more and less do flock to follow him.


I knew of this before; but, to speak truth,

This present grief had wip’d it from my mind.

Go in with me; and counsel every man  212

The aptest way for safety and revenge:

Get posts and letters, and make friends with speed:

Never so few, and never yet more need.


Scene II.— London. A Street.

Enter Sir John Falstaff, with his Page bearing his sword and buckler.


Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water?


He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy water; but, for the party that owed it, he might have more diseases than he knew for.  5


Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me: the brain of this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent anything that tends to laughter, more than I invent or is invented on me: I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men. I do here walk before thee like a sow that hath overwhelmed all her litter but one. If the prince put thee into my service for any other reason than to set me off, why then I have no judgment. Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to be worn in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never manned with an agate till now; but I will set you neither in gold nor silver, but in vile apparel, and send you back again to your master, for a jewel; the juvenal, the prince your master, whose chin is not yet fledged. I will sooner have a beard grow in the palm of my hand than he shall get one on his cheek; and yet he will not stick to say, his face is a face-royal: God may finish it when he will, it is not a hair amiss yet: he may keep it still as a face-royal, for a barber shall never earn sixpence out of it; and yet he will be crowing as if he had writ man ever since his father was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace, but he is almost out of mine, I can assure him. What said Master Dombledon about the satin for my short cloak and my slops?  33


He said, sir, you should procure him better assurance than Bardolph; he would not take his bond and yours: he liked not the security.  37


Let him be damned like the glutton! may his tongue be hotter! A whoreson Achitophel! a rascally yea-forsooth knave! to bear a gentleman in hand, and then stand upon security. The whoreson smooth-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes, and bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is thorough with them in honest taking up, then they must stand upon security. I had as lief they would put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to stop it with security. I looked a’ should have sent me two and twenty yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and he sends me security. Well, he may sleep in security; for he hath the horn of abundance, and the lightness of his wife shines through it: and yet cannot he see, though he have his own lanthorn to light him. Where’s Bardolph?  54


He’s gone into Smithfield to buy your worship a horse.


I bought him in Paul’s, and he’ll buy me a horse in Smithfield: an I could get me but a wife in the stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived.  60

Enter the Lord Chief Justice and Servant.


Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the prince for striking him about Bardolph.


Wait close; I will not see him.  64

Ch. Just.

What’s he that goes there?


Falstaff, an’t please your lordship.

Ch. Just.

He that was in question for the robbery?  68


He, my lord; but he hath since done good service at Shrewsbury, and, as I hear, is now going with some charge to the Lord John of Lancaster.  72

Ch. Just.

What, to York? Call him back again.


Sir John Falstaff!


Boy, tell him I am deaf.  76


You must speak louder, my master is deaf.

Ch. Just.

I am sure he is, to the hearing of anything good. Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him.


Sir John!  82


What! a young knave, and beg! Is there not wars? is there not employment? doth not the king lack subjects? do not the rebels want soldiers? Though it be a shame to be on any side but one, it is worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side, were it worse than the name of rebellion can tell how to make it.


You mistake me, sir.  90


Why, sir, did I say you were an honest man? setting my knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied in my throat if I had said so.  94


I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and your soldiership aside, and give me leave to tell you you lie in your throat if you say I am any other than an honest man.  98


I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that which grows to me! If thou gett’st any leave of me, hang me: if thou takest leave, thou wert better be hanged. You hunt-counter: hence! avaunt!


Sir, my lord would speak with you.  104

Ch. Just.

Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.


My good lord! God give your lordship good time of day. I am glad to see your lordship abroad; I heard say your lordship was sick: I hope your lordship goes abroad by advice. Your lordship, though not clean past your youth, hath yet some smack of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I most humbly beseech your lordship to have a reverend care of your health.  115

Ch. Just.

Sir John, I sent for you before your expedition to Shrewsbury.


An’t please your lordship, I hear his majesty is returned with some discomfort from Wales.  120

Ch. Just.

I talk not of his majesty. You would not come when I sent for you.


And I hear, moreover, his highness is fallen into this same whoreson apoplexy.  124

Ch. Just.

Well, heaven mend him! I pray you, let me speak with you.


This apoplexy is, as I take it, a kind of lethargy, an’t please your lordship; a kind of sleeping in the blood, a whoreson tingling.  129

Ch. Just.

What tell you me of it? be it as it is.


It hath its original from much grief, from study and perturbation of the brain. I have read the cause of his effects in Galen: it is a kind of deafness.

Ch. Just.

I think you are fallen into the disease, for you hear not what I say to you.  137


Very well, my lord, very well: rather, an’t please you, it is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal.  141

Ch. Just.

To punish you by the heels would amend the attention of your ears; and I care not if I do become your physician.  144


I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient: your lordship may minister the potion of imprisonment to me in respect of poverty; but how I should be your patient to follow your prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a scruple, or indeed a scruple itself.  150

Ch. Just.

I sent for you, when there were matters against you for your life, to come speak with me.


As I was then advised by my learned counsel in the laws of this land-service, I did not come.  156

Ch. Just.

Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in great infamy.


He that buckles him in my belt cannot live in less.  160

Ch. Just.

Your means are very slender, and your waste is great.


I would it were otherwise: I would my means were greater and my waist slenderer.  164

Ch. Just.

You have misled the youthful prince.


The young prince hath misled me: I am the fellow with the great belly, and he my dog.  168

Ch. Just.

Well, I am loath to gall a new-healed wound: your day’s service at Shrewsbury hath a little gilded over your night’s exploit on Gadshill: you may thank the unquiet time for your quiet o’er-posting that action.  173


My lord!

Ch. Just.

But since all is well, keep it so: wake not a sleeping wolf.  176


To wake a wolf is as bad as to smell a fox.

Ch. Just.

What! you are as a candle, the better part burnt out.  180


A wassail candle, my lord; all tallow: if I did say of wax, my growth would approve the truth.

Ch. Just.

There is not a white hair on your face but should have his effect of gravity.  185


His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.

Ch. Just.

You follow the young prince up and down, like his ill angel.  188


Not so, my lord; your ill angel is light, but I hope he that looks upon me will take me without weighing: and yet, in some respects, I grant, I cannot go, I cannot tell. Virtue is of so little regard in these costermonger times that true valour is turned bear-herd: pregnancy is made a tapster, and hath his quick wit wasted in giving reckonings: all the other gifts appertinent to man, as the malice of this age shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry. You that are old consider not the capacities of us that are young; you measure the heat of our livers with the bitterness of your galls; and we that are in the vaward of our youth, I must confess, are wags too.  203

Ch. Just.

Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are written down old with all the characters of age? Have you not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard, a decreasing leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken, your wind short, your chin double, your wit single, and every part about you blasted with antiquity, and will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John!  212


My lord, I was born about three of the clock in the afternoon, with a white head, and something a round belly. For my voice, I have lost it with hollaing, and singing of anthems. To approve my youth further, I will not: the truth is, I am only old in judgment and understanding; and he that will caper with me for a thousand marks, let him lend me the money, and have at him! For the box o’ the ear that the prince gave you, he gave it like a rude prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have checked him for it, and the young lion repents; marry, not in ashes and sackcloth, but in new silk and old sack.  226

Ch. Just.

Well, God send the prince a better companion!


God send the companion a better prince! I cannot rid my hands of him.  230

Ch. Just.

Well, the king hath severed you and Prince Harry. I hear you are going with Lord John of Lancaster against the archbishop and the Earl of Northumberland.  234


Yea; I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look you pray, all you that kiss my lady Peace at home, that our armies join not in a hot day; for, by the Lord, I take but two shirts out with me, and I mean not to sweat extraordinarily: if it be a hot day, and I brandish anything but my bottle, I would I might never spit white again. There is not a dangerous action can peep out his head but I am thrust upon it. Well, I cannot last ever. But it was always yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing, to make it too common. If you will needs say I am an old man, you should give me rest. I would to God my name were not so terrible to the enemy as it is: I were better to be eaten to death with rust than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion.  251

Ch. Just.

Well, be honest, be honest; and God bless your expedition.


Will your lordship lend me a thousand pound to furnish me forth?  255

Ch. Just.

Not a penny; not a penny; you are too impatient to bear crosses. Fare you well: commend me to my cousin Westmoreland.  258

[Exeunt Chief Justice and Servant.