William Shakespeare's King Henry the Fourth is forever famous for the comic character Falstaff who infamously proclaims "discretion is the better part of valour".
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HOME > Plays > The First Part of King Henry the Fourth > Act IV. Scene IV.

The First Part of King Henry the Fourth

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Act IV. Scene IV.

Scene IV.—Pork. A Room in the ARCH-
BISHOP'S Palace.

Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK and
SIR MICHAEL.

Arch. Hie, good Sir Michael; bear this sealed
brief
With winged haste to the lord marshal;
This to my cousin Scroop, and all the rest
To whom they are directed. If you knew
How much they do import, you would make
haste.
Sir M. My good lord,
I guess their tenour.
Arch. Like enough you do.
To-morrow, good Sir Michael, is a day
Wherein the fortune of ten thousand men
Must bide the touch; for, sir, at Shrewsbury,
As I am truly given to understand,
The king with mighty and quick-raised power
Meets with Lord Harry: and, I fear, Sir Michael,
What with the sickness of Northumberland,—
Whose power was in the first proportion,—
And what with Owen Glendower's absence
thence,
Who with them was a rated sinew too,
And comes not in, o'er-rul'd by prophecies,—
I fear the power of Percy is too weak
To wage an instant trial with the king.
Sir M. Why, my good lord, you need not fear:
There is the Douglas and Lord Mortimer.
Arch. No, Mortimer is not there.
Sir M. But there is Mordake, Vernon, Lord
Harry Percy,
And there's my Lord of Worcester, and a head
Of gallant warriors, noble gentlemen.
Arch. And so there is; but yet the king hath
drawn
The special head of all the land together:
The Prince of Wales, Lord John of Lancaster,
The noble Westmoreland, and war-like Blunt;
And many moe corrivals and dear men
Of estimation and command in arms.
Sir M. Doubt not, my lord, they shall be well
oppos'd.
Arch. I hope no less, yet needful 'tis to fear;
And, to prevent the worst, Sir Michael, speed:
For if Lord Percy thrive not, ere the king
Dismiss his power, he means to visit us,
For he hath heard of our confederacy,
And 'tis but wisdom to make strong against
him:
Therefore make haste. I must go write again
To other friends; and so farewell, Sir Michael
[Exeunt.
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