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Enter the KING , Lord John of LANCASTER , Earl of WESTMORELAND , with others
The KING , Lord John of LANCASTER , the Earl of WESTMORELAND , and others enter.

KING

So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
To be commenced in strands afar remote.
5 No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood.
Nor more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flow’rets with the armed hoofs
Of hostile paces. Those opposèd eyes,
10 Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
Did lately meet in the intestine shock
And furious close of civil butchery
Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,
15 March all one way and be no more opposed
Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies.
The edge of war, like an ill-sheathèd knife,
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
As far as to the sepulcher of Christ—
20 Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
We are impressèd and engaged to fight—
Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,
Whose arms were molded in their mothers' womb
To chase these pagans in those holy fields
25 Over whose acres walked those blessèd feet
Which fourteen hundred years ago were nailed
For our advantage on the bitter cross.

KING

Despite how shaken and pale with worry we are, let’s take advantage of this moment of peace to catch our breath, and as we pant we’ll speak about the battles we’ll soon fight in foreign lands. England will no longer be wet with her own people’s blood. War will no longer damage her fields, and warhorses will no longer trample her flowers. The soldiers on either side of this vicious civil war were countrymen and brothers, as similar to one another as shooting stars. They may have clashed recently, but now they will march together in beautiful formation, no longer struggling against family and friend. War is like a mishandled knife: it can cut its owner, but it will no longer cut us. My friends, we are now soldiers for Christ, and we take his blessed cross as our battle flag. We’ll raise a new army of Englishmen and march all the way to the Holy Land. Our soldiers were born to chase non-believers from that holy ground touched by Jesus' feet—feet which, fourteen hundred years ago, were nailed to the cross for our sins.
But this our purpose now is twelve month old,
And bootless ’tis to tell you we will go.
30 Therefor we meet not now. Then let me hear
Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,
What yesternight our council did decree
In forwarding this dear expedience.
But that’s been my plan for a year now, so there’s no point in telling you all this again. That’s not the issue at hand. So tell me, my noble kinsman Westmoreland, what my royal advisors decided last night about this important undertaking.

WESTMORELAND

My liege, this haste was hot in question,
35 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
40 Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
A thousand of his people butcherèd,
Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse,
Such beastly shameless transformation
45 By those Welshwomen done, as may not be
Without much shame retold or spoken of.

WESTMORELAND

Your Highness, there was hot debate about this urgent mission, and many responsibilities had just been assigned when we were suddenly cut off by a messenger with bad news from Wales. The worst of it was that the noble Mortimer, who was leading the men of Herefordshire in battle against that barbarian Glendower, was captured. A thousand of his men have been butchered, their dead corpses desecrated by the Welsh women. The things they did were so horrible that I’m too ashamed to report them.

KING

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

KING

I suppose this news disrupts our plans to invade the Holy Land.

WESTMORELAND

This matched with other did, my gracious lord.
50 For more uneven and unwelcome news
Came from the north and thus it did import:
On Holy-rood Day, the gallant Hotspur there,
Young Harry Percy, and brave Archibald,
That ever valiant and approvèd Scot,
55 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
60 And pride of their contention did take horse,
Uncertain of the issue any way.

WESTMORELAND

This and other things, your Highness: even more unsettling and unwelcome news has arrived from the north. On Holy Cross Day, the heroic young Harry Percy—who we know as Hotspur—fought at Holmeden against Archibald, Earl of Douglas, that brave and battle-proven Scotsman. The two of them fought a long and bloody battle there, judging by the way the guns were firing. The messenger who brought the news left when the battle was at its height, so he couldn’t say for sure who had won.

KING

Here is a dear, a true-industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse.
Stained with the variation of each soil
65 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
70 On Holmedon’s plains. Of prisoners Hotspur took
Mordake, Earl of Fife, and eldest son
To beaten Douglas, and the Earl of Atholl,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
And is not this an honorable spoil?
75 A gallant prize? Ha, cousin, is it not?

KING

My loyal, hard-working friend Sir Walter Blunt has arrived here at court, fresh off his horse and covered with the mud of every town from Holmedon to here. He’s brought us very welcome news. The Earl of Douglas has been defeated. Blunt saw ten thousand Scotsmen and twenty-two knights piled up in their own blood on the fields of Holmedon. Hotspur took these men prisoner: Douglas' son Mordake, the Earl of Fife; as well as the Earls of Athol, Murray, Angus, and Menteith. That’s a valuable group! A fantastic catch, isn’t it, kinsman?

WESTMORELAND

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

WESTMORELAND

Truly, that’s a conquest to make even a prince brag.

KING

Yea, there thou mak’st me sad, and mak’st me sin
In envy that my Lord Northumberland
Should be the father to so blest a son,
80 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
85 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.
90 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.

KING

Yes, and that makes me sad. Seeing Lord Northumberland with such a blessed son makes me commit the sin of envy. When honor speaks, it speaks about Hotspur. In a grove of trees, Hotspur stands straightest. He is the favorite darling of Fortune. When I see how he is praised, I can only see my own son, Harry, and his reputation for wildness and dishonor. If only it could be proven that a fairy had come to their cradles at night and switched them! Then the Percy family would have my Harry, and we Plantagenets would have Hotspur! But stop thinking about Harry now. Westmoreland, what do you make of young Percy’s arrogance? He says he’ll keep all the

prisoners

Prisoners taken in battle were supposed to be turned over to the King so that he could collect ransoms from them. Hotspur’s refusal to do this breaks the usual rules and upsets King Henry.

prisoners
he captured for himself, and will only send me Mordrake, Earl of Fife.

WESTMORELAND

95 This is his uncle’s teaching. This is Worcester,
Malevolent to you in all aspects,
Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up
The crest of youth against your dignity.

WESTMORELAND

His uncle Worcester put him up to that. It is just like Worcester to act against you in all ways. He’s the one making Hotspur behave like this, flaunting his youth in the face of your dignified age.

KING

But I have sent for him to answer this.
100 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,
105 For more is to be said and to be done
Than out of anger can be utterèd.

KING

I’ve sent for Hotspur to explain himself. We’ll have to postpone the plans for our crusade to Jerusalem. Go tell my advisers that our next meeting will be Wednesday at Windsor. Then hurry back here. There’s more to be said and done, but I’m too angry now to speak.

WESTMORELAND

I will, my liege.

WESTMORELAND

I will, my lord.
Exeunt
They exit.