King Henry IV, Part 1 By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 4

O Harry, thou hast robb'd me of my youth!
I better brook the loss of brittle life
Than those proud titles thou hast won of me;
They wound my thoughts worse than thy sword my flesh:
But thoughts the slave of life, and life Time's fool,
And Time, that takes survey of all the world,
Must have a stop. O, I could prophesy,
But that the earthy and cold hand of death
Lies on my tongue: no, Percy, thou art dust,
And food for —


For worms, brave Percy: fare thee well, great heart!
Ill-weaved ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
When that this body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
But now two paces of the vilest earth
Is room enough. This earth that bears thee dead
Bears not alive so stout a gentleman.
If thou wert sensible of courtesy,
I should not make so dear a show of zeal:
But let my favours hide thy mangled face;
And, even in thy behalf, I'll thank myself
For doing these fair rites of tenderness.
Adieu, and take thy praise with thee to Heaven!
Thy ignominy sleep with thee in the grave,
But not remember'd in thy epitaph! —

[Sees Falstaff on the ground.]

What, old acquaintance? could not all this flesh
Keep in a little life? Poor Jack, farewell!
I could have better spared a better man:
O, I should have a heavy miss of thee,
If I were much in love with vanity!
Death hath not struck so fat a deer to-day,
Though many dearer, in this bloody fray.
Embowell'd will I see thee by-and-by:
Till then in blood by noble Percy lie.


[Rising.] Embowell'd! if thou embowel me to-day, I'll give you leave
to powder me and eat me too to-morrow. 'Sblood, 'twas time to
counterfeit, or that hot termagant Scot had paid me scot and lot too.
Counterfeit! I lie; I am no counterfeit: to die, is to be a
counterfeit; for he is but the counterfeit of a man who hath not the
life of a man: but to counterfeit dying, when a man thereby liveth,
is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life indeed.
The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I
have saved my life. —
Zwounds, I am afraid of this gunpowder Percy, though he be dead: how,
if he should counterfeit too, and rise? by my faith, I am afraid he
would prove the better counterfeit. Therefore I'll make him sure; yea,
and I'll swear I kill'd him. Why may not he rise as well as I?
Nothing confutes me but eyes, and nobody sees me. Therefore,
sirrah, with a new wound in your thigh, come you along with me.

[Takes Hotspur on his hack.]

[Re-enter Prince Henry and Lancaster.]

Come, brother John; full bravely hast thou flesh'd
Thy maiden sword.

But, soft! whom have we here?
Did you not tell me this fat man was dead?

I did; I saw him dead, breathless and bleeding
Upon the ground. —
Art thou alive? or is it fantasy
That plays upon our eyesight? I pr'ythee, speak;
We will not trust our eyes without our ears.
Thou art not what thou seem'st.

No, that's certain; I am not a double man: but if I be not
Jack Falstaff, then am I a Jack. There is Percy! [Throwing the
body down.] if your father will do me any honour, so; if not, let
him kill the next Percy himself. I look to be either earl or
duke, I can assure you.

Why, Percy I kill'd myself, and saw thee dead.

Didst thou? — Lord, Lord, how this world is given to lying! —
I grant you I was down and out of breath; and so was he: but
we rose both at an instant, and fought a long hour by Shrewsbury
clock. If I may be believed, so; if not, let them that should
reward valour bear the sin upon their own heads. I'll take it upon
my death, I gave him this wound in the thigh: if the man were
alive, and would deny it, zwounds, I would make him eat a piece of
my sword.

This is the strangest tale that ever I heard.

This is the strangest fellow, brother John. —
Come, bring your luggage nobly on your back:
For my part, if a lie may do thee grace,
I'll gild it with the happiest terms I have. —

[A retreat is sounded.]

The trumpet sounds retreat; the day is ours.
Come, brother, let's to th' highest of the field,
To see what friends are living, who are dead.

[Exeunt Prince Henry and Lancaster.]

I'll follow, as they say, for reward. He that rewards me, God
reward him! If I do grow great, I'll grow less; for I'll purge,
and leave sack, and live cleanly as a nobleman should do.

[Exit, bearing off the body.]

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