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    Act 4. Scene I

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    Chapter 10
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    SCENE I. The rebel camp near Shrewsbury.

    Enter HOTSPUR, WORCESTER, and DOUGLAS
    HOTSPUR
    Well said, my noble Scot: if speaking truth
    In this fine age were not thought flattery,
    Such attribution should the Douglas have,
    As not a soldier of this season's stamp
    Should go so general current through the world.
    By God, I cannot flatter; I do defy
    The tongues of soothers; but a braver place
    In my heart's love hath no man than yourself:
    Nay, task me to my word; approve me, lord.

    EARL OF DOUGLAS
    Thou art the king of honour:
    No man so potent breathes upon the ground
    But I will beard him.

    HOTSPUR
    Do so, and 'tis well.

    Enter a Messenger with letters

    What letters hast thou there?--I can but thank you.

    Messenger
    These letters come from your father.

    HOTSPUR
    Letters from him! why comes he not himself?

    Messenger
    He cannot come, my lord; he is grievous sick.

    HOTSPUR
    'Zounds! how has he the leisure to be sick
    In such a rustling time? Who leads his power?
    Under whose government come they along?

    Messenger
    His letters bear his mind, not I, my lord.

    EARL OF WORCESTER
    I prithee, tell me, doth he keep his bed?

    Messenger
    He did, my lord, four days ere I set forth;
    And at the time of my departure thence
    He was much fear'd by his physicians.

    EARL OF WORCESTER
    I would the state of time had first been whole
    Ere he by sickness had been visited:
    His health was never better worth than now.

    HOTSPUR
    Sick now! droop now! this sickness doth infect
    The very life-blood of our enterprise;
    'Tis catching hither, even to our camp.
    He writes me here, that inward sickness--
    And that his friends by deputation could not
    So soon be drawn, nor did he think it meet
    To lay so dangerous and dear a trust
    On any soul removed but on his own.
    Yet doth he give us bold advertisement,
    That with our small conjunction we should on,
    To see how fortune is disposed to us;
    For, as he writes, there is no quailing now.
    Because the king is certainly possess'd
    Of all our purposes. What say you to it?

    EARL OF WORCESTER
    Your father's sickness is a maim to us.

    HOTSPUR
    A perilous gash, a very limb lopp'd off:
    And yet, in faith, it is not; his present want
    Seems more than we shall find it: were it good
    To set the exact wealth of all our states
    All at one cast? to set so rich a main
    On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?
    It were not good; for therein should we read
    The very bottom and the soul of hope,
    The very list, the very utmost bound
    Of all our fortunes.

    EARL OF DOUGLAS
    'Faith, and so we should;
    Where now remains a sweet reversion:
    We may boldly spend upon the hope of what
    Is to come in:
    A comfort of retirement lives in this.

    HOTSPUR
    A rendezvous, a home to fly unto.
    If that the devil and mischance look big
    Upon the maidenhead of our affairs.

    EARL OF WORCESTER
    But yet I would your father had been here.
    The quality and hair of our attempt
    Brooks no division: it will be thought
    By some, that know not why he is away,
    That wisdom, loyalty and mere dislike
    Of our proceedings kept the earl from hence:
    And think how such an apprehension
    May turn the tide of fearful faction
    And breed a kind of question in our cause;
    For well you know we of the offering side
    Must keep aloof from strict arbitrement,
    And stop all sight-holes, every loop from whence
    The eye of reason may pry in upon us:
    This absence of your father's draws a curtain,
    That shows the ignorant a kind of fear
    Before not dreamt of.

    HOTSPUR
    You strain too far.
    I rather of his absence make this use:
    It lends a lustre and more great opinion,
    A larger dare to our great enterprise,
    Than if the earl were here; for men must think,
    If we without his help can make a head
    To push against a kingdom, with his help
    We shall o'erturn it topsy-turvy down.
    Yet all goes well, yet all our joints are whole.

    EARL OF DOUGLAS
    As heart can think: there is not such a word
    Spoke of in Scotland as this term of fear.

    Enter SIR RICHARD VERNON

    HOTSPUR
    My cousin Vernon, welcome, by my soul.

    VERNON
    Pray God my news be worth a welcome, lord.
    The Earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong,
    Is marching hitherwards; with him Prince John.

    HOTSPUR
    No harm: what more?

    VERNON
    And further, I have learn'd,
    The king himself in person is set forth,
    Or hitherwards intended speedily,
    With strong and mighty preparation.

    HOTSPUR
    He shall be welcome too. Where is his son,
    The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Wales,
    And his comrades, that daff'd the world aside,
    And bid it pass?

    VERNON
    All furnish'd, all in arms;
    All plumed like estridges that with the wind
    Baited like eagles having lately bathed;
    Glittering in golden coats, like images;
    As full of spirit as the month of May,
    And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer;
    Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls.
    I saw young Harry, with his beaver on,
    His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd
    Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
    And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
    As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
    To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus
    And witch the world with noble horsemanship.

    HOTSPUR
    No more, no more: worse than the sun in March,
    This praise doth nourish agues. 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 mailed 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.
    O that Glendower were come!

    VERNON
    There is more news:
    I learn'd in Worcester, as I rode along,
    He cannot draw his power this fourteen days.

    EARL OF DOUGLAS
    That's the worst tidings that I hear of yet.

    WORCESTER
    Ay, by my faith, that bears a frosty sound.

    HOTSPUR
    What may the king's whole battle reach unto?

    VERNON
    To thirty thousand.

    HOTSPUR
    Forty let it be:
    My father and Glendower being both away,
    The powers of us may serve so great a day
    Come, let us take a muster speedily:
    Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.

    EARL OF DOUGLAS
    Talk not of dying: I am out of fear
    Of death or death's hand for this one-half year.

    Exeunt
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