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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Henry IV, Part 1 - Act IV

Henry IV, Part 1
Act IV

All furnish’d, all in arms,
All plum’d like estridges that wing the wind,
Baited like eagles having lately bath’d,
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 cushes 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

Something happens! Or at least we’re given the impression that something is about to happen, in a play where not so much of consequence seems to have…happened up to this point. Much of the act is concerned with preparations and discussion of the impending battle and much of that is spent in the rebel camp, including a scene where the king sends an emissary to try to smooth things out.

The tone also seems to have changed, for the most part. Much of what has passed so far was rather colorful (to say the least), in terms of the language employed by the prince and Falstaff and the rest of the gang. Now things seem to have taken a decidedly more somber tone and old Will waxes quite poetic in some passages, including the one cited above.

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