Henry IV, Part 1

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 2

page Act 4 Scene 2 Page 2

Original Text

Modern Text

they have bought out their services, and now my whole charge consists of ancients, corporals, lieutenants, gentlemen of companies—slaves as ragged as Lazarus in the painted cloth, where the glutton’s dogs licked his sores; and such as indeed were never soldiers, but discarded, unjust servingmen, younger sons to younger brothers, revolted tapsters, and ostlers tradefallen, the cankers of a calm world and a long peace, ten times more dishonorable-ragged than an old feazed ancient; and such have I to fill up the rooms of them that have bought out their services, that you would think that I had a hundred and fifty tattered prodigals lately come from swine-keeping, from eating draff and husks. A mad fellow met me on the way and told me I had unloaded all the gibbets and pressed the dead bodies. No eye hath seen such scarecrows. I’ll not march through Coventry with them, that’s flat. Nay, and the villains march wide betwixt the legs as if they had gyves on, for indeed I had the most of them out of prison. There’s not a shirt and a half in all my company, and the half shirt is two napkins tacked together and thrown over the shoulders like a herald’s coat without sleeves; and the shirt, to say the truth, stolen from my host at Saint Albans or the red-nose innkeeper of Daventry. But that’s all one; they’ll find linen enough on every hedge.
more than a wounded bird or a maimed duck might. I recruited only the soft-hearted, who each had as much courage as could fit on a pin head and bribed me to avoid fighting. So now, my battalion is made up of flag bearers, corporals, lieutenants, and crooks as ragged as


In the Bible, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

in those paintings where the dogs are licking the sores on his body. I have men who’ve never been soldiers: servants dismissed for their dishonesty; youngest sons with no hope of an inheritance; runaway apprentice bartenders; unemployed stable boys. When the world is calm and peaceful, these men are blisters on society. They’re ten times more ragged than an old, tattered flag, and they’re the kind of men I have to replace the ones who bribed me. You’d think I had a hundred and fifty men who’d just come from pig farming, who eat scraps and garbage. One madman saw us on the march and told me that it looked as if I’d unloaded all the gallows and drafted all the dead bodies. No one’s ever seen such a group of scarecrows. I’m not going to march through Coventry with them tonight, that’s for sure. They march with their legs wide apart, as though they had chains on their ankles. Which makes sense, since I drafted most of them out of jails. There’s only a shirt and a half in the whole group, and the half-shirt is really just two napkins sewn together and thrown over the shoulders like a cape. And the whole shirt, to tell the truth, was stolen from a tavern owner in St. Alban’s, or maybe that drunken innkeeper in Daventry. But that doesn’t matter. They’ll be able to steal plenty of clothing from the hedges, where the washers hang the laundry out to dry.


How now, blown Jack? How now, quilt?


What’s up, swollen


A “jack” was also a quilted jacket.

What’s up, quilt?