Original Text

Modern Text

I had rather hear a brazen can’stick turned,
Or a dry wheel grate on the axletree,
And that would set my teeth nothing an edge,
Nothing so much as mincing poetry.
130'Tis like the forced gait of a shuffling nag.
I’d rather hear a piece of brass turned on a lathe, or a ungreased wheel grind on its axle. Nothing sets my teeth on edge so as much as finicky poetry; it’s like the lurching steps of a lame horse.

GLENDOWER

Come, you shall have Trent turned.

GLENDOWER

Fine. Change the Trent’s course.

HOTSPUR

I do not care. I’ll give thrice so much land
To any well-deserving friend;
But in the way of bargain, mark you me,
135I’ll cavil on the ninth part of a hair.
Are the indentures drawn? Shall we be gone?

HOTSPUR

I don’t care. I’d gladly give away three times as much land to any friend who deserved it. But when it comes to negotiating a deal, mark my words: I’ll haggle over the smallest fraction of a hair. Are the agreements drawn up? Are we ready to leave?

GLENDOWER

The moon shines fair. You may away by night.
I’ll haste the writer, and withal
Break with your wives of your departure hence.
140I am afraid my daughter will run mad,
So much she doteth on her Mortimer.

GLENDOWER

The moon is bright; you can leave during the night. I’ll tell the man writing up our documents to hurry, and I’ll tell your wives you’re leaving. I’m afraid my daughter will go mad because she loves Mortimer so much.
Exit GLENDOWER
GLENDOWER exits.

MORTIMER

Fie, cousin Percy, how you cross my father!

MORTIMER

Damn, kinsman Percy! How angry you make my father-in-law!

HOTSPUR

I cannot choose. Sometime he angers me
With telling me of the moldwarp and the ant,
145Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies,
And of a dragon and a finless fish,
A clip-winged griffin and a moulten raven,
A couching lion and a ramping cat,
And such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff
150As puts me from my faith. I tell you what—
He held me last night at least nine hours
In reckoning up the several devils' names
That were his lackeys. I cried “Hum,” and “Well, go to,”
But marked him not a word. O, he is as tedious

HOTSPUR

I can’t help it. He makes me angry with all his talk. Moles and ants, Merlin and his prophecies, dragons, a fish with no fins, a griffin without wings, a raven without feathers, a crouching lion and a cat rearing up to pounce. He talks so much mumbo-jumbo that I don’t know what to believe anymore. I’ll tell you this: he kept me awake last night for at least nine hours, listing the names of all the devils that serve him. I said, “Hmm,” and, “How interesting,” but he didn’t hear a word. Oh, he’s as tedious as a tired horse or a nagging wife; he’s worse than a smoke-filled house.