So did our men, heavy in Hotspur’s loss,
Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear
125That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim
Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,
Fly from the field. Then was the noble Worcester
Too soon ta'en prisoner; and that furious Scot,
The bloody Douglas, whose well-laboring sword
130Had three times slain th'appearance of the King,
Gan vail his stomach and did grace the shame
Of those that turned their backs and in his flight,
Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
Is that the King hath won and hath sent out
135A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
Under the conduct of young Lancaster
And Westmoreland. This is the news at full.
Hotspur’s death, suddenly started moving fast—faster than arrows flying toward a target—but they flew toward safety, not toward the battle. Soon, Worcester, that furious Scotsman, was captured. The warlike Douglas, who killed three enemies disguised as King Henry, began to lose courage: he ran away as well, lending his authority to the shameful retreat. But running in fear, he stumbled and was captured.
The bottom line is that King Henry has won. He’s sent a speedy force after you, sir, led by young John of Lancaster and Westmoreland. That is the whole story.
For this I shall have time enough to mourn.
In poison there is physic, and these news,
140Having been well, that would have made me sick,
Being sick, have in some measure made me well.
And as the wretch whose fever-weakened joints,
Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,
Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
145Out of his keeper’s arms, even so my limbs,
Weakened with grief, being now enraged with grief,
Are thrice themselves. Hence therefore, thou nice crutch.
A scaly gauntlet now with joints of steel
Must glove this hand. And hence, thou sickly coif.
150Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
Which princes, fleshed with conquest, aim to hit.
Now bind my brows with iron, and approach
The ragged’st hour that time and spite dare bring
To frown upon th'enraged Northumberland.
155Let heaven kiss earth! Now let not Nature’s hand
Keep the wild flood confined. Let order die,
And let this world no longer be a stage
There will be time to mourn for this. Sometimes poison can be a kind of medicine: this news, which would have made me sick had I been well, has, because I am sick, made me well. A dying man—his joints weakened by fever, dangling like useless hinges and crumpling under the man’s own weight—will sometimes be stuck with a fit of impatience, causing him to burst out of his caretaker’s arms. My limbs are like that now; once weakened by grief, they’re now enraged by grief, and are three times as powerful as they were before. Away from me, you unmanly crutch! Chain mail armor will cover my hands now. Away from me, you invalid’s cap! You are too fanciful a helmet for this head which is now the target of kings, grown arrogant with their victories. Wrap my head in iron, and then attack me with the roughest things that destiny and hatred will dare to bring upon me in my rage. Let the sky come crashing down! Let the ocean overflow the shores! Let law and order die! And let the world no longer be a stage for a long, drawn-out struggle: let the spirit of