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HENRY, Prince of Wales,

Prince JOHN of Lancaster, Sons to the King.
Earl of Westmoreland, Friends to the King.

THOMAS PERCY, Earl of Worcester.

HENRY PERCY, Earl of Northumberland.

HENRY PERCY, surnamed Hotspur, his Son.


SCROOP, Archbishop of York.

ARCHIBALD, Earl of Douglas.



LADY PERCY, Wife to Hotspur, and Sister to Mortimer. LADY MORTIMER, Daughter to Glendower, and Wife to Mortimer.

MRS. QUICKLY, Hostess of a Tavern in Eastcheap.

Lords, Officers, Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Drawers, two Carriers Travellers, and Attendants.

SCENE. England.





SCENE I. London. A Room in the Palace.


King Henry. So shaken as we are, so wan with


Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,

And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
To be commenced in stronds1 afar remote.

No more the thirsty entrance of this soil 2

Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flow'rets with the armed hoofs
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

1 Strands, banks of the sea.

2 Upon this passage the reader is favored with three pages of notes in the Variorum Shakspeare. Steevens adopted Monk Mason's bold conjectural emendation, and reads:

"No more the thirsty Erinnys of this soil;"

Mr. Douce proposed to read entrails instead of entrance; and Steevens once thought that we should read entrants. The following explanation of the text is modified from that of Malone." No more shall this soil have the lips of her thirsty entrance (i. e. surface) daubed with the blood of her own children."

And furious close of civil butchery,
Shall now, in mutual, well-beseeming ranks,
March all one way; and be no more opposed
Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies.
The edge of war, like an ill-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
We are impressed and engaged to fight,)
Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,1
Whose arms were moulded in their mother's womb,
To chase these pagans, in those holy fields,
Over whose acres walked those blessed feet,
Which, fourteen hundred years ago, were nailed,
For our advantage, on the bitter cross.
But this our purpose is a twelvemonth old,
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,
In forwarding this dear expedience.3


West. My liege, this haste was hot in question,
And many limits of the charge set down
But yesternight; when, all athwart, there came
A post from Wales, loaden with heavy news;
Whose worst was,-that the noble Mortimer,
Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
And a thousand of his people butchered;
Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse,
Such beastly, shameless transformation,

By those Welshwomen" done, as may not be,
Without much shame, retold or spoken of.

1 To levy a power to a place has been shown by Mr. Gifford to be neither unexampled nor corrupt, but good, authorized English.

2 For that cause.

3 Expedition.

↑ Limits here seem to mean appointments or determinations.

5 See Thomas of Walsingham, p. 557, or Holinshed, p. 528.

K. Hen. It seems, then, that the tidings of this broil Brake off our business for the Holy Land.

West. This, matched with other, did, my gracious lord;

For more uneven and unwelcome news

Came from the north, and thus it did import.
On Holyrood-day,' the gallant Hotspur there,
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,

And shape of likelihood, the news was told;
For he that brought them, in the very heat
And pride of their contention, did take horse,
Uncertain of the issue any way.

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K. Hen. Here is a dear and true-industrious friend, Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse, Stained with the variation of each soil

Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours;

And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
The earl of Douglas is discomfited;

Ten thousand bold Scots, two-and-twenty knights,
Balked in their own blood, did sir Walter see


On Holmedon's plains. Of prisoners, Hotspur took Mordake the earl of Fife, and eldest son


To beaten Douglas, and the earls of Athol,

Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith."

1 i. e. September 14th.


2 "This Harry Percy was surnamed, for his often pricking, Henry Hotspur, as one that seldom times rested, if there were anie service to be done abroad."-Holinshed's Hist. of Scotland, p. 240.

3 Archibald Douglas, earl Douglas.

4 Balked in their own blood, is heaped, or laid on heaps, in their own blood. A balk was a ridge or bank of earth standing up between two furrows; and to balk was to throw up the earth so as to form those heaps or banks.

5 Mordake, earl of Fife, who was son to the duke of Albany, regent of Scotland, is here called the son of earl Douglas, through a mistake, into which the Poet was led by the omission of a comma in the passage whence he took this account of the Scottish prisoners.

6 This is a mistake of Holinshed in his English History, for in that of Scotland, pp. 259, 262, 419, he speaks of the earl of Fife and Menteith as one and the same person.

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And is not this an honorable spoil?

A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?
West. In faith,

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 of so blest a son;

A son, who is the theme of honor's tongue;
Amongst a grove, the very straightest plant;
Who is sweet fortune's minion, and her pride;
Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him,
See riot and dishonor stain the brow

Of my young Harry. O that it could be proved,
That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged
In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,
And called mine-Percy, his-Plantagenet!
Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.
But let him from my thoughts.-What think you, coz,
Of this young Percy's pride? the prisoners,'
Which he in this adventure hath surprised,

To his own use he keeps; and sends me word,

I shall have none but Mordake, earl of Fife.

West. This is his uncle's teaching; this is Worcester, Malevolent to you in all aspects; 2

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;
And, for this cause, awhile we must neglect
Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.

Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we
Will hold at Windsor; so inform the lords:
But come yourself with speed to us again;

1 Percy had an exclusive right to these prisoners, except the earl of Fife. By the law of arms, every man who had taken any captive, whose redemption did not exceed ten thousand crowns, had him clearly to himself to acquit or ransom at his pleasure. But Percy could not refuse the earl of Fife to the king; for, being a prince of the royal blood (son to the duke of Albany, brother to king Robert III.), Henry might justly claim him, by his acknowledged military prerogative.

2 An astrological allusion.

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