Henry IV, Part II Act I
by William Shakespeare

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Act I, Scene 1

ACT I.

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SCENE 1. The same.

[Enter Lord Bardolph.]

LORD BARDOLPH.
Who keeps the gate here, ho?

[The Porter opens the gate.]

Where is the earl?

PORTER.
What shall I say you are?

LORD BARDOLPH.
Tell thou the earl
That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.

PORTER.
His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard:
Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,
And he himself will answer.

[Enter Northumberland.]

LORD BARDOLPH.
Here comes the earl.

[Exit Porter.]

NORTHUMBERLAND.
What news, Lord Bardolph? every minute now
Should be the father of some stratagem:
The times are wild; contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose
And bears down all before him.

LORD BARDOLPH.
Noble earl,
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.

NORTHUMBERLAND.
Good, an God will!

LORD BARDOLPH.
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
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,
So fought, so follow'd and so fairly won,
Came not till now to dignify the times,
Since Caesar's fortunes!

NORTHUMBERLAND.
How is this derived?
Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury?

LORD BARDOLPH.
I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence,
A gentleman well bred and of good name,
That freely render'd me these news for true.

NORTHUMBERLAND.
Here comes my servant Travers, whom I sent
On Tuesday last to listen after news.

[Enter Travers.]

LORD BARDOLPH.
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.

NORTHUMBERLAND.
Now, Travers, what good tidings comes with you?

TRAVERS.
My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better horsed,
Out-rode me. After him came spurring hard
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:
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
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.

NORTHUMBERLAND.
Ha! Again:
Said he young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur Coldspur? that rebellion
Had met ill luck?

LORD BARDOLPH.
My lord, I'll tell you what;
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon mine honour, for a silken point
I'll give my barony: never talk of it.

NORTHUMBERLAND.
Why should that gentleman that rode by Travers
Give then such instances of loss?

LORD BARDOLPH.
Who, he?
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.]

NORTHUMBERLAND.
Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strand whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
MORTON. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask
To fright our party.

NORTHUMBERLAND.
How doth my son and brother?
Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dread in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him half his Troy was burnt;
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;
Your brother thus: so fought the noble Douglas:"
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds:
But in the end, to stop my ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with "Brother, son, and all are dead."

MORTON.
Douglas is living, and your brother, yet:
But, for my lord your son,--

NORTHUMBERLAND.
Why, he is dead.
See what a ready...

(The entire section is 4,998 words.)