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

Methinks my moiety, north from Burton here,
In quantity equals not one of yours.
See how this river comes me cranking in,
And cuts me from the best of all my land
A huge half-moon, a monstrous cantle out.
I'll have the current in this place damn'd up;
And here the smug and sliver Trent shall run
In a new channel, fair and evenly:
It shall not wind with such a deep indent,
To rob me of so rich a bottom here.

Not wind? it shall, it must; you see it doth.

Yea, but
Mark how he bears his course, and runs me up
With like advantage on the other side;
Gelding th' opposed continent as much
As on the other side it takes from you.

Yea, but a little charge will trench him here,
And on this north side win this cape of land;
And then he runneth straight and evenly.

I'll have it so: a little charge will do it.

I will not have it alter'd.

Will not you?

No, nor you shall not.

Who shall say me nay?

Why, that will I.

Let me not understand you, then; speak it in Welsh.

I can speak English, lord, as well as you;
For I was train'd up in the English Court;
Where, being but young, I framed to the harp
Many an English ditty lovely well,
And gave the tongue a helpful ornament,
A virtue that was never seen in you.

Marry, and I am glad of it with all my heart:
I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew,
Than one of these same metre ballet-mongers;
I had rather hear a brazen canstick turn'd,
Or a dry wheel grate on the axletree;
And that would set my teeth nothing on edge,
Nothing so much as mincing poetry:
'Tis like the forced gait of a shuffling nag.

Come, you shall have Trent turn'd.

I do not care: I'll give thrice so much land
To any well-deserving friend;
But in the way of bargain, mark ye me,
I'll cavil on the ninth part of a hair.
Are the indentures drawn? shall we be gone?

The Moon shines fair; you may away by night:
I'll in and haste the writer, and withal
Break with your wives of your departure hence:
I am afraid my daughter will run mad,
So much she doteth on her Mortimer.


Fie, cousin Percy! how you cross my father!

I cannot choose: sometimes he angers me
With telling me of the moldwarp and the ant,
Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies,
And of a dragon and a finless fish,
A clip-wing'd griffin and a moulten raven,
A couching lion and a ramping cat,
And such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff
As puts me from my faith. I tell you what,
He held me last night at the least nine hours
In reckoning up the several devils' names
That were his lacqueys: I cried hum, and well,
But mark'd him not a word. O, he's as tedious
As a tired horse, a railing wife;
Worse than a smoky house: I had rather live
With cheese and garlic in a windmill, far,
Than feed on cates and have him talk to me
In any summer-house in Christendom.

In faith, he is a worthy gentleman;
Exceedingly well-read, and profited
In strange concealments; valiant as a lion,
And wondrous affable, and as bountiful
As mines of India. Shall I tell you, cousin?
He holds your temper in a high respect,
And curbs himself even of his natural scope
When you do cross his humour; faith, he does:
I warrant you, that man is not alive
Might so have tempted him as you have done,
Without the taste of danger and reproof:
But do not use it oft, let me entreat you.

In faith, my lord, you are too wilful-blunt;
And since your coming hither have done enough
To put him quite beside his patience.
You must needs learn, lord, to amend this fault:
Though sometimes it show greatness, courage, blood —
And that's the dearest grace it renders you, —
Yet oftentimes it doth present harsh rage,
Defect of manners, want of government,
Pride, haughtiness, opinion, and disdain;
The least of which haunting a nobleman
Loseth men's hearts, and leaves behind a stain
Upon the beauty of all parts besides,
Beguiling them of commendation.

Well, I am school'd: good manners be your speed!
Here come our wives, and let us take our leave.

[Re-enter Glendower, with Lady Mortimer and Lady Percy.]

This is the deadly spite that angers me,
My wife can speak no English, I no Welsh.

My daughter weeps: she will not part with you;
She'll be a soldier too, she'll to the wars.

Good father, tell her that she and my aunt Percy
Shall follow in your conduct speedily.

[Glendower speaks to Lady Mortimer in Welsh, and she answers
him in the same.]

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