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Henry IV, Part 1

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 4 Scene 1
No Fear Act 4 Scene 1 Page 2

Original Text

Modern Text

HOTSPUR

Zounds, how has he the leisure to be sick
In such a justling time? Who leads his power?
Under whose government come they along?

HOTSPUR

Damn! How can he take the leisure of being sick at such a frantic time? Who’s in charge of his army? Who’s leading them here?

MESSENGER

20His letters bear his mind, not I, my lord.

MESSENGER

His letters will tell you his plans, my lord, not I.

WORCESTER

I prithee, tell me, doth he keep his bed?

WORCESTER

Pardon me, but is he bedridden?

MESSENGER

He did, my lord, four days ere I set forth,
And, at the time of my departure thence,
He was much feared by his physicians.

MESSENGER

He had been, sir, for four days before I left. And on the day I left, his doctors were extremely concerned.

WORCESTER

25I would the state of time had first been whole
Ere he by sickness had been visited.
His health was never better worth than now.

WORCESTER

I wish he’d waited till things were settled before he went and got sick. We’ve never needed him more than now.

HOTSPUR

Sick now? Droop now? This sickness doth infect
The very lifeblood of our enterprise.
30'Tis catching hither, even to our camp.
He writes me here that inward sickness—
And that his friends by deputation
Could not so soon be drawn, nor did he think it meet
To lay so dangerous and dear a trust
35On any soul removed but on his own;
Yet doth he give us bold advertisement
That with our small conjunction we should on
To see how fortune is disposed to us,
For, as he writes, there is no quailing now,
40Because the King is certainly possessed
Of all our purposes. What say you to it?

HOTSPUR

Sick now? Faint now? His disease is infecting our entire project. It’s spread all the way to here, right to our camp. He writes that some internal illness—and that his allies couldn’t be gathered so quickly by one of his deputies. Besides, he didn’t think it was appropriate to delegate such a dangerous and important task to someone other than himself. But he also says that we should be bold and press on with our small contingent. For, as he writes, there’s no turning back now, since the King surely knows our plans. What do you think?

WORCESTER

Your father’s sickness is a maim to us.

WORCESTER

Your father’s sickness is a serious injury to us.

HOTSPUR

A perilous gash, a very limb lopped off!
And yet, in faith, it is not. His present want
45Seems more than we shall find it. Were it good
To set the exact wealth of all our states
All at one cast? To set so rich a main
On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?
It were not good, for therein should we read
50The very bottom and the soul of hope,
The very list, the very utmost bound
Of all our fortunes.

HOTSPUR

It’s a perilous wound, like losing a limb. And yet, truly, it’s not that bad; the loss of my father seems worse than it is. After all, is it a good idea to bet all our resources on one throw of the dice? Or to gamble such a rich stake on a single hazardous event? No, because that would mean we had reached the end of our hope, and the very limit of our luck.