Act IV. Scene I. - The Rebel Camp near Shrewsbury.
Hotspur of King Henry's vast forces: "Let them
At the rebel camp, the rebels learn that they will
be fighting weaker than expected; Hotspur's father,
Henry Percy, The Earl of Northhumberland cannot join
them, owing to illness. Hotspur though disheartened,
quickly regains his enthusiasm. Vernon arrives, announcing
that not only do King Henry's forces number thirty thousand,
but also that Glendower's forces are unlikely to
be available either since they need another two weeks
time to be gathered. Hotspur now facing certain defeat,
looks death in the eye, determined to win no matter
what the odds...
Act IV opens to the scene of the rebels (Hotspur,
Worcester and Douglas) discussing future plans at their
rebel camp near Shrewsbury. Hotspur and Douglas are
talking, Hotspur flattering Douglas and Douglas returning
the favor (Lines 1-12).
A Messenger bearing a letter now interrupts Hotspur
and Douglas who learn the letter is from Hotspur's
father, Henry Percy, The Earl of Northhumberland. We
quickly learn that The Earl is grievously sick (Line
16), so much so that his own physicians fear for him
Hotspur now echoes the thoughts held by many in the
rebellion that without the Earl their enterprise (the
rebellion) is lost and without a leader (Lines 28-41).
Worcester agrees, calling Hotspur's father's
illness "a maim [blow] to us" (Line 42).
Hotspur reconsiders his gloomy outlook, seeking to
grab victory from the jaws of defeat. Hotspur now wonders
aloud whether it was such a good idea to risk all their
forces in a single action and decides it was not (Lines
Besides as Hotspur says, there can be no turning back,
King Henry now is almost certainly aware of their plans
Worcester now offers up the belief that the Earl's
absence in their fight may cause others unaware of the
Earl's sickness, to think the Earl did not approve
of their revolt, arguing that "The eye of reason
may pry in upon us:" (Line 72).
Hotspur has another idea. He suggests that should they
fight without their full strength and were they to win
against the King Henry's forces, such a victory
would encourage others to believe and support their
revolt (Line 80-83).
Douglas supports this (Line 84) and now Sir Richard
Vernon enters, with news of the King Henry's forces.
We quickly learn that the Earl of Westmoreland is marching
"hitherwards;" or towards them with a force
of seven thousand men accompanied by Prince John (Line
Hotspur ever fearless, replies "No harm:"
(no worry), (Line 88), learning from Vernon that King
Henry himself has also set off towards them "With
strong and mighty preparation" (strong and well-prepared
forces), (Line 93).
Hotspur again is unaffected by this, arrogantly exclaiming
"He shall be welcome too" (Line 94).
Hotspur now asks of "The nimble-footed madcap
Prince of Wales [Hal]," (Line 95) learning that
he too is making preparations to fight, Vernon describing
Hal's forces as "All furnish'd, all in
arms," (all furnished, all carrying arms) (Line
Vernon appears quite impressed by Hal's forces, commenting
on how Hal's forces are "Baited like eagles
having lately bath'd," and how Hal's forces
are "As full of spirit as the month of May,"
Vernon also remarks that he saw Hal and that he appears
a changed man, resolute with purpose, "gallantly
arm'd," (Line 104) and ready to fight, his
admiration suggesting just how much Hal must have changed.
Understandably Hotspur has heard quite enough, pleading
"No more, no more:", arguing that the praise
Vernon lavishes on their enemy is "worse than the
sun in March" (Line 112).
Hotspur however quickly regains his composure, saying
"Let them come;"(Line 112), savoring the opportunity
to fight especially with Hal. Hotspur is confident of
success, after all Glendower will be on their side (Lines
Vernon again has news and again it is not good....
Apparently Glendower needs more time to gather his
forces; he will not be ready for at least another fourteen
days. Douglas is not pleased, nor is Worcester and now
Hotspur makes the mistake of asking Vernon just how
large the King Henry's forces will finally be...
Vernon does not mince words, saying King Henry's
forces will ultimately number "thirty thousand"
men (Line 129).
Hotspur again challenges defeat with blind determination,
exclaiming, "Forty let it be:" (let it be
forty thousand, I don't care), (Line 130).
Hotspur is still confident that though "Doomsday
is near;" (the end) without his father's and
Glendower's forces, they will still fight, Douglas
refusing to even admit to the very real possibility
that they will now die...
Act IV. Scene II. - A public Road near Coventry.
Prince Hal on Falstaff's rag tag soldiers: "I
did never see such pitiful rascals."
Falstaff ashamedly leads his ragtag troops towards
Coventry, pretending that he is not ashamed of them.
Hal meets him, laughing at Falstaff's expense about
his troops. Falstaff, Hal and Westmoreland head off
together for Shrewsbury to meet the rebels in battle...
On a public road near Coventry, we see Falstaff and
Bardolph marching with their company of soldiers towards
Coventry. Falstaff orders Bardolph to refill his supply
of sack (Line 1), and instructs Peto to meet with him
(Falstaff) at the end of the town (Line 10).
Falstaff explains that he is "not ashamed of my
soldiers, I am a soused gurnet" (I am ashamed of
my troops), (Line 12).
Nonetheless Falstaff now bitterly complains that the
rag-tag company of soldiers he has received are definitely
second rate to say the least, Falstaff describing them
as rather lowly men, so unappealing to the eye that
he says "No eye hath [has] seen such scarecrows."
Falstaff resolves not to take them through Coventry
since there is "but a shirt and a half in all my
company;" with the rest of his men are wearing
rags (Lines 12-53).
Prince Henry (Hal) and Westmoreland now meet Falstaff,
Falstaff wondering why Westmoreland is not already at
Hal asks Falstaff who these lowly men are that follow
Falstaff answers not quite proudly that the ragged
men following him are "Mine, Hal, mine" (Line
70), Hal saying, "I did never see such pitiful
rascals" (I have never seen such pitiful rascals),
Falstaff though embarrassed by his company, is still
somewhat proud of them, pushing aside Hal's criticisms
and remarking that they will fight as well as any other
man, saying "tush, man, mortal men, mortal men"
to Hal's less than impressed comments (Line 75).
Westmoreland disagrees, saying Falstaff's men
are "exceeding [exceedingly] poor and bare;"
The Prince is not taking all this too seriously and
suggests they make speed for the battlefield since "Percy
is already in the field" (Percy is already waiting
on the battlefield), (Line 81).
All three now depart for Shrewsbury...
Act IV. Scene III. - The Rebel Camp near Shrewsbury.
The rebels disagree on strategy. Douglas and Hotspur
want to attack King Henry's troops immediately
at night, reasoning that King Henry's troops are tired
from their travels. Vernon and Worcester disagree, advising
caution as their own troops are not yet fully gathered
and King Henry presently outnumbers them. Sir Walter
Blunt arrives offering a compromise from King Henry
that could prevent war. Hotspur says no but adds that
in the morning Hotspur's uncle (Worcester) shall meet
with King Henry to discuss matters further...
Meanwhile at the rebel camp, Hotspur wants to fight
immediately at night (Line 1).
Worcester and Vernon disagree but Douglas takes Hotspur's
side suggesting that by not attacking, they help their
Douglas also suggests that Vernon and Worcester are
giving Hotspur bad advise out of "fear and cold
heart" (Line 7).
The arguing continues, Hotspur summing up his viewpoint
with the idea that King Henry's men are tired from
their travels whereas his men are well rested and therefore
in better shape to fight.
Worcester disagrees. Whilst Hotspur wants to attack
at night since he knows King Henry's men are tired
and looking forward to sleep, Worcester points out that
King Henry's forces outnumber their own; they should
wait until all their forces are in place (Line 29).
To the sound of a trumpet which sounds a parley, Sir
Walter Blunt now arrives, announcing that "I come
with gracious offers from the king, / If you vouchsafe
[guarantee] me hearing and respect" (I bring gracious
offers from the king if you promise to hear me out and
not attack me), (Line 30).
Sir Walter announces that he is here on behalf of King
Henry IV to offer up a compromise or remedy for "The
nature of your griefs," (your problems with King
Henry IV) so as to avoid fighting and war (Lines 38-51).
Sir Walter explains that King Henry IV will settle
their griefs with great speed and interest if he can
be told the nature of the rebellion's grief with
their "king" (Lines 44-51).
Hotspur does not take this very seriously, cynically
remarking that "The king is kind; and well we [we
all] know the king / Knows at what time to promise,"
and "when to pay" for the services of others such
as the Percy family of the north (Line 52).
Hotspur now retells the story of how it was the Percy
family who helped King Henry IV when he was weak and
how once King Henry IV with the Percy family's help
"depos'd [deposed / removed] the king;"
(King Richard II), (Line 91), King Henry IV showed his
gratitude to the Percy family by ignoring his obligations
to Mortimer, dismissed Hotspur's father from the
court and ultimately "Broke oath on oath, committed
wrong on wrong;" (Line 101) until the Percy family
had no choice but to defend themselves (Lines 102-105).
Sir Walter Blunt asks Hotspur now if this is their
final word to King Henry. Hotspur says no, in the morning
Hotspur's uncle (Worcester) shall meet King Henry to
discuss matters further...
Act IV. Scene IV. - York. A Room in the Archbishop's
The Archbishop of York makes plans, making it quite
clear that he knows Hotspur faces King Henry's
forces without the help of Northhumberland and Glendower.
Sir Michael though, is confident of victory even when
it is learned that Mortimer's forces will not be
there either. The rebel forces will only number those
men under Hotspur's, Douglas' Mordake's,
Vernon's, and Worcester's control. The Archbishop
knows the stakes are high should their rebellion fail...
Meanwhile in York, The Archbishop of York instructs
Sir Michael to dispatch various letters to the Archbishop's
allies, namely "the lord marshall;", his cousin
Scroop, and several others. The Archbishop tells Sir
Michael if he knew the importance of the letters contents,
he would deliver them with great speed (Lines 1-4).
The Archbishop makes it quite clear that he knows Hotspur
faces King Henry's forces without the help of Northhumberland
and Glendower to bolster Hotspur's forces (Line
Sir Michael is not concerned, after all, Mortimer and
Douglas's forces will be there to support Hotspur
At this point the Archbishop tells Sir Michael that
"Mortimer is not there" (Line 23).
Again Sir Michael is not worried; Mordake, Vernon,
Lord Harry Percy (Hotspur, Young Henry Percy) and Worcester
will guarantee victory (Line 24).
The Archbishop is not so certain, pointing out that
King Henry IV has amassed a formidable force in the
Prince of Wales (Hal), Lord John of Lancaster and "The
noble Westmoreland," and "war-like Blunt;"
Sir Michael will not be scared, saying "Doubt
not, my lord, they shall be well oppos'd [opposed]"
The Archbishop knows better... He hopes for the best,
telling Sir Michael to deliver his letters. The Archbishop
knows that if the Percy (Hotspur and company) fails,
as a co-conspirator in the rebellion, so will he, since
King Henry IV will almost certainly pay him a visit
after the battle (Lines 34-41).