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SCENE I. London. The palace.

BLUNT, and others.

King. So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
To be commenced in stronds afar remote.
No more the thirsty entrance of this soil

Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flowerets with the armed hoofs
Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,

4. stronds, strands, shores.
5. the thirsty entrance of this
soil, the thirsty pores of the soil
of England. The image is from
Gen. iv. 2, where Cain is cursed
from the earth, which hath
opened her mouth to receive

thy brother's blood from thy hand.'

9. those opposed eyes, the eyes of contending armies; the intent gaze of two forces as they rush together being vividly put for the forces themselves.

Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
Did lately meet in the intestine shock
And furious close of civil butchery

Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,
March all one way and be no more opposed
Against acquaintance, kindred and allies:
The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife,
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
As far as to the sepulchre of Christ,

Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
We are impressed and engaged to fight,
Forthwith a power of English shall we levy;
Whose arms were moulded in their mothers'

To chase these pagans in those holy fields
Over whose acres walk'd those blessed feet
Which fourteen hundred years ago were nail'd
For our advantage on the bitter cross.

But this our purpose now is twelve month


And bootless 'tis to tell you we will go :

Therefore we meet not now. Then let me hear
Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,
What yesternight our council did decree
In forwarding this dear expedience.

West. My liege, this haste was hot in question,

And many limits of the charge set down
But yesternight: when all athwart there came
A post from Wales loaden with heavy news;

13. furious close, fierce hand

to-hand grapple.

14. mutual, combined.

30. Therefore, etc., it is not for this that we are met.




33. this dear expedience, this momentous enterprise.

34. hot in question, being warmly debated.

35. limits of the charge, express and definite instructions.

Whose worst was, that the noble Mortimer,
Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
A thousand of his people butchered;

Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse,
Such beastly shameless transformation,
By those Welshwomen done as may not be
Without much shame retold or spoken of.

King. It seems then that the tidings of this broil

Brake off our business for the Holy Land.

West. This match'd with other did, my gracious lord;

For more uneven and unwelcome news
Came from the north, and thus it did import:
On Holy-rood day, the gallant Hotspur there,
Young Harry Percy and brave Archibald,

38. the noble Mortimer. Two historical Edmund Mortimers were confused by Holinshed, and hence by Shakespeare. The

Elizabeth, m. H. Percy (Hotspur).



following table shows their relationship to one another and to Lady Percy :

Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March.

Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl
of March.

Anne, m. Richard, Earl of Cambridge (Hen. V. ii. 2. 11).

In the play the Mortimer who had a title to the crown is identified with Glendower's captive; he is inconsistently spoken of as brother to Hotspur and his wife (1 i. 3. 142, ii. 3. 78), and as their nephew (1 iii. 1. 196). In i. 3. these two Mortimers are further identified with Roger Mortimer,

Sir Edmund Mortimer (1376-1409)

(def. by Glendower).

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That ever-valiant and approved Scot,

At Holmedon met,

Where they did spend a sad and bloody hour,
As, by discharge of their artillery,

And shape of likelihood, the news was told ;
For he that brought them, in the very heat.
And pride of their contention did take horse,
Uncertain of the issue any way.

King. Here is a dear, a true industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
Stain'd with the variation of each soil
Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours;
And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
The Earl of Douglas is discomfited:

Ten thousand bold Scots, two and twenty knights,
Balk'd in their own blood did Sir Walter see


On Holmedon's plains. Of prisoners, Hotspur took 70 Mordake the Earl of Fife, and eldest son

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biguous word 'shot.' In another account of the battle, however (Hist. of Scotland, ii. 254, quot. Stone, p. 132), Holinshed speaks expressly of the 'incessant shot of arrows.' It is probable that Shakespeare understood perfectly that Holinshed meant arrows, and chose himself to mean the more impressive discharge of cannon.

62. industrious, active.

69. Balk'd, lying in 'balks' or level ridges dividing the furrows.

71. Mordake the Earl of Fife, and eldest son, etc. This was

Murdoch Stewart, eldest son
not of Douglas but of the Duke
of Albany. Shakespeare was
probably misled by the omission
of a comma in Holinshed (ed.
2): 'Mordacke earl of Fife, son
to the gouernour [,] Archembald
earle Dowglas'; but as Mr.
Stone shows, Shakespeare must
have learnt elsewhere that Mor-
dake was the eldest son; either
from Holinshed's Hist. of Scot-
land, where however he is cor-
rectly stated to have been eldest
son of Albany, or by inference
from his title Earl of Fife.'
This is therefore to be regarded
as a slip of Shakespeare's.
the other hand he was misled by
Holinshed into supposing Men-
teith to be a separate person.
This was in fact another title of
Murdoch's. (Hol. ed. Stone,
p. 132.)


To beaten Douglas; and the Earl of Athol,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith:
And is not this an honourable spoil?
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?
West. In faith,

It is a conquest for a prince to boast of.

King. Yea, there thou makest me sad and makest me sin

In envy that my Lord Northumberland
Should be the father to so blest a son,

A son who is the theme of honour's tongue ;
Amongst a grove, the very straightest plant;
Who is sweet Fortune's minion and her pride:
Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him,
See riot and dishonour stain the brow
Of my young Harry. O that it could be proved
That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged
In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,
And call'd mine Percy, his Plantagenet !
Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.
But let him from my thoughts. What think you,


Of this young Percy's pride? the prisoners,
Which he in this adventure hath surprised,
To his own use he keeps; and sends me word,
I shall have none but Mordake Earl of Fife.

West. This is his uncle's teaching: this is

Malevolent to you in all aspects;

Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up
The crest of youth against your dignity.

King. But I have sent for him to answer this;

96. Worcester, Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, younger brother of the Earl of Northumberland.




97. in all aspects, (like a malignant planet) in every 'position' and through every 'influence.'

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