Henry IV, Part 1

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 3 Scene 2
No Fear Act 3 Scene 2 Page 4

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Now, by my scepter, and my soul to boot,
He hath more worthy interest to the state
Than thou, the shadow of succession.
100For of no right, nor color like to right,
He doth fill fields with harness in the realm,
Turns head against the lion’s armèd jaws,
And, being no more in debt to years than thou,
Leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on
105To bloody battles and to bruising arms.
What never-dying honor hath he got
Against renownèd Douglas, whose high deeds,
Whose hot incursions and great name in arms,
Holds from all soldiers chief majority
110And military title capital
Through all the kingdoms that acknowledge Christ.
Thrice hath this Hotspur, Mars in swathling clothes,
This infant warrior, in his enterprises
Discomfited great Douglas, ta'en him once,
115Enlargèd him, and made a friend of him,
To fill the mouth of deep defiance up
And shake the peace and safety of our throne.
And what say you to this? Percy, Northumberland,
The Archbishop’s Grace of York, Douglas, Mortimer,
120Capitulate against us and are up.
But wherefore do I tell these news to thee?
Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes,
Which art my nearest and dearest enemy?
Thou that art like enough, through vassal fear,
125Base inclination, and the start of spleen,
To fight against me under Percy’s pay,
To dog his heels, and curtsy at his frowns,
To show how much thou art degenerate.
I swear on my scepter and my soul, he has more of a right to the throne than you, you shadowy copy of a king. For without a right to the throne—nor anything even resembling a right—he has filled the kingdom’s battlefields with armies. He seeks to lead an army against the King, into the jaws of the lion. And even though he is no older than you are, he leads old statesmen and venerable bishops into bloody battles and violent wars. What lasting honor he won, by beating the renowned Douglas! That man’s great exploits, violent invasions, and glorious military reputation had won him praise throughout the Christian world as the most outstanding soldier.
And yet Hotspur, this


Mars = Roman god of war

in baby clothes, this infant warrior, has defeated Douglas three times, captured him once, then freed him and made him his ally. Now they have become a huge threat to my throne. And what do you have to say about this? Percy, Northumberland, the Archbishop of York, Douglas, and Mortimer have banded together, and now they are after me. But why am I telling you this?
Why should I tell you about my foes, Harry, when you are my most beloved and most dangerous enemy? With your sycophantic fear, your vulgar inclinations, and your short temper, I wouldn’t be surprised if you left me to fight under Percy, following his heels like a dog and bowing to him when he frowns. Just to prove what a degenerate you are.


Do not think so. You shall not find it so.
130And God forgive them that so much have swayed
Your Majesty’s good thoughts away from me.


Don’t think that; that will not happen. God forgive whoever turned you against me like this! I’ll redeem myself by beating Percy. And at the end of some