William Shakespeare's Henry IV Part I tells the story of Henry IV's young son, Prince Hal, who has abandoned his courtly duties in favor of time in taverns with drunks like his friend, Falstaff. When a group of rebels arise in an attempt to take the thrown from Henry IV, Hal must resume his place amount the nobles while not abandoning the charisma that made him such a loveable person to the casual folk in the taverns.
Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare. It is the second of Shakespeare's four-play series that deals with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV (2 plays) and Henry V. Henry IV, Part I was probably first performed early in 1597.
Which, fourteen hundred years ago, were nail’d
For our advantage, on the bitter cross.
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And, like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes,
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
He was perfumed like a milliner,
And’twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
He gave his nose, and took’t away again.
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
And that it was great pity, so it was,
This villanous saltpetre should be digg’d
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy’d
So cowardly; and but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier.
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;
So he, that doth redeem her thence, might wear
Without corrival, all her dignities:
But out upon this half-fac'd fellowship!
But will they come, when you do call for them?
And his comrades, that daff'd the world aside,
And bid it pass?
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.
Falstaff: 'Tis not due yet: I would be loth to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, 'tis no matter; Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if Honour prick me off when I come on? how then? Can Honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is Honour? a word. What is that word, Honour? Air. A trim reckoning!— Who hath it? He that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it sensible then? Yes, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it: therefore I'll none of it. Honour is a mere 'scutcheon, and so ends my catechism.