Henry IV, Part 1

by: William Shakespeare

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Enter WORCESTER and Sir Richard VERNON
WORCESTER and Sir Richard VERNON enter.
O no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,
The liberal and kind offer of the King.
Oh no, Sir Richard, my nephew cannot be told about the generous and kind offer the King made.
'Twere best he did.
But he should be told.
   Then are we all undone.
It is not possible, it cannot be
5The King should keep his word in loving us.
He will suspect us still and find a time
To punish this offense in other faults.
Suspicion all our lives shall be stuck full of eyes,
For treason is but trusted like the fox,
10Who, never so tame, so cherished and locked up,
Will have a wild trick of his ancestors.
Look how we can, or sad or merrily,
Interpretation will misquote our looks,
And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,
15The better cherished still the nearer death.
My nephew’s trespass may be well forgot;
It hath the excuse of youth and heat of blood,
And an adopted name of privilege—
A hairbrained Hotspur governed by a spleen:
20All his offenses live upon my head
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
25In any case the offer of the King.
It will be the end of all of us! There is absolutely no way that the King will keep his word and trust us again. He will always be wary of us. He’ll find other reasons to punish us for this rebellion. For the rest of our lives he and his loyalists will look on us with suspicion. Treason is like a fox: you can tame it, care for it, and put it in a cage, but it will always have the wild instincts it inherited from its ancestors. No matter how we look—sad or happy—people will interpret our looks in the worst possible light. We’ll be like oxen in a stall: the better they’re fed, the closer they are to being slaughtered.
My nephew’s disloyalty might be forgiven: his young age and hot temper will excuse it. Plus, his nickname gives him permission: Hotspur the Harebrain, always flaring up. All his offenses will be blamed on me and his father. After all, we encouraged him, and since we taught him to be angry at the King, we’ll pay for it. So cousin, don’t by any means let Harry know what the King offered.
Deliver what you will; I’ll say ’tis so.
Tell him what you want, and I’ll back you up.