King Henry IV, Part 1 By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 3

HOT.
Speak of Mortimer!
Zounds, I will speak of him; and let my soul
Want mercy, if I do not join with him:
Yea, on his part I'll empty all these veins,
And shed my dear blood drop by drop i' the dust,
But I will lift the down-trod Mortimer
As high i' the air as this unthankful King,
As this ingrate and canker'd Bolingbroke.

NORTH.

[To Worcester.]

Brother, the King hath made your nephew mad.

WOR.
Who struck this heat up after I was gone?

HOT.
He will, forsooth, have all my prisoners;
And when I urged the ransom once again
Of my wife's brother, then his cheek look'd pale,
And on my face he turn'd an eye of death,
Trembling even at the name of Mortimer.

WOR.
I cannot blame him: was not he proclaim'd
By Richard that dead is the next of blood?

NORTH.
He was; I heard the proclamation:
And then it was when the unhappy King —
Whose wrongs in us God pardon! — did set forth
Upon his Irish expedition;
From whence he intercepted did return
To be deposed, and shortly murdered.

WOR.
And for whose death we in the world's wide mouth
Live scandalized and foully spoken of.

HOT.
But, soft! I pray you; did King Richard then
Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer
Heir to the crown?

NORTH.
He did; myself did hear it.

HOT.
Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin King,
That wish'd him on the barren mountains starve.
But shall it be, that you, that set the crown
Upon the head of this forgetful man,
And for his sake wear the detested blot
Of murderous subornation, — shall it be,
That you a world of curses undergo,
Being the agents, or base second means,
The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather? —
O, pardon me, that I descend so low,
To show the line and the predicament
Wherein you range under this subtle King; —
Shall it, for shame, be spoken in these days,
Or fill up chronicles in time to come,
That men of your nobility and power
Did gage them both in an unjust behalf, —
As both of you, God pardon it! have done, —
To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose,
And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke?
And shall it, in more shame, be further spoken,
That you are fool'd, discarded, and shook off
By him for whom these shames ye underwent?
No! yet time serves, wherein you may redeem
Your banish'd honours, and restore yourselves
Into the good thoughts of the world again;
Revenge the jeering and disdain'd contempt
Of this proud King, who studies day and night
To answer all the debt he owes to you
Even with the bloody payment of your deaths:
Therefore, I say, —

WOR.
Peace, cousin, say no more:
And now I will unclasp a secret book,
And to your quick-conceiving discontent
I'll read you matter deep and dangerous;
As full of peril and adventurous spirit
As to o'er-walk a current roaring loud
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.

HOT.
If we fall in, good night, or sink or swim!
Send danger from the east unto the west,
So honour cross it from the north to south,
And let them grapple. O, the blood more stirs
To rouse a lion than to start a hare!

NORTH.
Imagination of some great exploit
Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.

HOT.
By Heaven, methinks it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced Moon;
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;
So he that doth redeem her thence might wear
Without corrival all her dignities:
But out upon this half-faced fellowship!

WOR.
He apprehends a world of figures here,
But not the form of what he should attend. —
Good cousin, give me audience for a while.

HOT.
I cry you mercy.

WOR.
Those same noble Scots
That are your prisoners, —

HOT.
I'll keep them all;
By God, he shall not have a Scot of them;
No, if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not:
I'll keep them, by this hand.

WOR.
You start away,
And lend no ear unto my purposes.
Those prisoners you shall keep; —

HOT.
Nay, I will; that's flat.
He said he would not ransom Mortimer;
Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla Mortimer!
Nay,
I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak
Nothing but Mortimer, and give it him,
To keep his anger still in motion.

WOR.
Hear you, cousin; a word.

HOT.
All studies here I solemnly defy,
Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke:
And that same sword-and-buckler Prince of Wales,
But that I think his father loves him not,
And would be glad he met with some mischance,
I'd have him poison'd with a pot of ale.

WOR.
Farewell, kinsman: I will talk to you
When you are better temper'd to attend.

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