At the palace at Westminster, King Henry IV gives a page some letters to deliver to the Earl of Warwick and the Earl of Surrey.
Then the king delivers a soliloquy (a speech that reveals what's on his mind). The entire kingdom is snoozing away peacefully but, alas, Henry cannot seem to fall asleep. It's not fair that the god of sleep should reward the commoners with rest when he, a king, is deprived of slumber. Even a sailor who's aboard a ship during a terrible storm gets to sleep so why is the king still awake on such a calm night? Henry concludes that kings don't get any sleep or rest because they're burdened with weighty matters.
Warwick and Surrey arrive and say they've read the king's letters.
Henry says the "body" of the "kingdom" is full of "disease" (rebellion). FYI: Get your highlighter out because that's important.
Warwick says yep, the kingdom's sick alright and needs a little "medicine," especially the rebel, Northumberland.
Henry is full of despair and launches into a lengthy speech that's full of doom and gloom about the future of the kingdom. He remembers the time when everybody was friends. That is, until Northumberland helped him, Henry, overthrow King Richard II. Now Richard's prophesy (about Northumberland and Henry having a falling out) has come true. Henry's worried that he and the kingdom are fated for destruction.
Nonsense, says Warwick. There's no such thing as prophetic power. King Richard only made a "perfect guess" that Northumberland would betray Henry and that's because Northumberland had already betrayed one king.
Henry says that he's heard the rebels (Northumberland and York) have any army that's 50,000 men strong. Warwick insists that's impossible – it's just a rumor. King Henry should go to bed and get some sleep.
Henry says fine, he'll go to bed, but he wishes this civil war were over. That way, he could go on a crusade to the Holy Land. (Ever since he became king, he's been hot to rumble with the "pagans" in the Holy Land.)