When I was dry with rage and extreme toil, 
. . . 
Came there a certain lord, neat and trimly dressed, 
Fresh as a bridegroom, and his chin, new-reaped 
Showed like a stubble-land at harvest-home. 
He was perfumèd like a milliner, 
. . . 
With many holiday and lady terms 
He questioned me; amongst the rest demanded 
My prisoners in your majesty’s behalf. 
I then, all smarting with my wounds being cold— 
To be so pestered with a popinjay!— 
Out of my grief and my impatience 
Answered neglectingly, I know not what— 
He should, or should not—for he made me mad 
To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet, 
And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman
. . . 
So cowardly, and but for these vile guns 
He would himself have been a soldier. 
(Act 1, scene 3, lines 32–66)

Hotspur gives this speech to Henry to explain why he did not release a group of prisoners when ordered to do so by Henry’s messenger. Hotspur says this messenger confronted him immediately after a pitched battle and that the man disgusted him with his ridiculous foppishness. The speech is important because of the early insight it offers into Hotspur’s character. He is a soldier through and through, and he has no patience for weakness or the mannered niceties of courtly behavior. It is also somewhat ironic that Hotspur’s speech about the messenger is so long and elaborate. Despite taking such pains to portray himself as a man of action rather than words, his description of his encounter with this man is remarkably vivid and eloquent.

Away, you trifler. Love, I love thee not. 
I care not for thee, Kate. This is no world 
To play with mammets and to tilt with lips. 
We must have bloody noses and cracked crowns, 
And pass them current too. 
(Act 2, scene 3, lines 95–99)

Hotspur addresses these words to his wife, Lady Percy, who pleads with him to stay with her and show her some physical affection. His words here are clearly unkind and dismissive, and they further establish the audience’s understanding of Hotspur as unrelenting in his pursuit of achievement on the battlefield. He opposes Lady Percy’s world of romance to his own world of “bloody noses and cracked crowns,” and he insists he has no time for love, which he likens to playing with dolls (“mammets”). Yet, depending on how the actor plays them, these lines might have a subtle undercurrent of flirtation suggested by the fact that he addresses his wife as “love” even as he tells her, “I love thee not.” A similarly flirtatious dynamic comes through in act 3, scene 2, when Hotspur takes his leave of Lady Percy in Wales.

Let them come. 
They come like sacrifices in their trim, 
And to the fire-eyed maid of smoky war 
All hot and bleeding will we offer them. 
The mailèd Mars shall on his altar sit 
Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire 
To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh 
And yet not ours. Come, let me taste my horse, 
Who is to bear me like a thunderbolt 
Against the bosom of the Prince of Wales. 
Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse, 
Meet and ne’er part till one drop down a corse. 
(Act 4, scene 1, lines 118–29)

Hotspur delivers these lines after Vernon describes a vision of Prince Harry on horseback. Vernon likens Harry to the Roman god Mercury and praises his “noble horsemanship” (4.1.116). Disgusted by Vernon’s obvious reverence for the prince, Hotspur cuts him off and responds with his own self-aggrandizing image. Here, Hotspur imagines himself as “the mailèd Mars”—the Roman god of war, which stands opposed to Mercury, the god of commerce. Now that the two men are rhetorical equals, they can stand toe to toe in a proper fight: “Harry to Harry.” Hotspur is ready to battle to the death to defend the honor he prizes above all else.