Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT I. - The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth
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ACT I. - William Shakespeare, The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
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Who keeps the gate here? ho!
[The Porter opens the gate.
Where is the earl?
What shall I say you are?
Tell thou the earl
That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.
His Lordship is walk’d forth into the orchard:
Please it your honour knock but at the gate,
And he himself will answer.
Here comes the earl.
What news, Lord Bardolph? every minute now
Should be the father of some stratagem.
The times are wild; contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose
And bears down all before him.
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
Good, an God will!
As good as heart can wish.
The king is almost wounded to the death;
And, in the fortune of my lord your son,
Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts
Kill’d by the hand of Douglas; young Prince John
And Westmoreland and Stafford fled the field.
And Harry Monmouth’s brawn, the hulk Sir John,
Is prisoner to your son: O! such a day,
So fought, so follow’d, and so fairly won,
Came not till now to dignify the times
Since Cæsar’s fortunes.
How is this deriv’d?
Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury?
I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence;
A gentleman well bred and of good name,
That freely render’d me these news for true.
Here comes my servant Travers, whom I sent
On Tuesday last to listen after news.
My lord, I over-rode him on the way;
And he is furnish’d with no certainties
More than he haply may retail from me.
Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you?
My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turn’d me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better hors’d,
Out-rode me. After him came spurring hard
A gentleman, almost forspent with speed,
That stopp’d by me to breathe his bloodied horse.
He ask’d the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand what news from Shrewsbury.
He told me that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy’s spur was cold.
With that he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward struck his armed heels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade
Up to the rowel-head, and, starting so,
He seem’d in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
Said he young Harry Percy’s spur was cold?
Of Hotspur, Coldspur? that rebellion
Had met ill luck?
My lord, I’ll tell you what:
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon mine honour, for a silken point
I’ll give my barony: never talk of it.
Why should the gentleman that rode by Travers
Give then such instances of loss?
He was some hilding fellow that had stolen
The horse he rode on, and, upon my life,
Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.
Yea, this man’s brow, like to a title-leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness’d usurpation.
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask
To fright our party.
How doth my son and brother?
Thou tremblest, and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam’s curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him half his Troy was burn’d;
But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy’s death ere thou report’st it.
This thou wouldst say, ‘Your son did thus and thus;
Your brother thus; so fought the noble Douglas;’
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds:
But in the end, to stop mine ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with ‘Brother, son, and all are dead.’
Douglas is living, and your brother, yet;
But, for my lord your son,—
Why, he is dead.—
See, what a ready tongue suspicion hath!
He that but fears the thing he would not know
Hath by instinct knowledge from others’ eyes
That what he fear’d is chanced. Yet speak, Morton:
Tell thou thy earl his divination lies,
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace
And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
You are too great to be by me gainsaid;
Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.
Yet, for all this, say not that Percy’s dead.
I see a strange confession in thine eye:
Thou shak’st thy head, and hold’st it fear or sin
To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so;
The tongue offends not that reports his death:
And he doth sin that doth belie the dead,
Not he which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office, and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,
Remember’d knolling a departing friend.
I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
I am sorry I should force you to believe
That which I would to God I had not seen;
But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,
Rendering faint quittance, wearied and outbreath’d,
To Harry Monmouth; whose swift wrath beat down
The never-daunted Percy to the earth,
From whence with life he never more sprung up.
In few, his death,—whose spirit lent a fire
Even to the dullest peasant in his camp,—
Being bruited once, took fire and heat away
From the best-temper’d courage in his troops;
For from his metal was his party steel’d;
Which once in him abated, all the rest
Turn’d on themselves, like dull and heavy lead:
And as the thing that’s heavy in itself,
Upon enforcement flies with greatest speed,
So did our men, heavy in Hotspur’s loss,
Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear
That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim
Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,
Fly from the field. Then was that noble Worcester
Too soon ta’en prisoner; and that furious Scot,
The bloody Douglas, whose well-labouring sword
Had three times slain the appearance of the king,
’Gan vail his stomach, and did grace the shame
Of those that turn’d their backs; and in his flight,
Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
Is, that the king hath won, and hath sent out
A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
Under the conduct of young Lancaster
And Westmoreland. This is the news at full.
For this I shall have time enough to mourn.
In poison there is physic; and these news,
Having been well, that would have made me sick,
Being sick, have in some measure made me well:
And as the wretch, whose fever-weaken’d joints,
Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,
Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper’s arms, even so my limbs,
Weaken’d with grief, being now enrag’d with grief,
Are thrice themselves. Hence, therefore, thou nice crutch!
A scaly gauntlet now, with joints of steel
Must glove this hand: and hence, thou sickly quoif!
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
Which princes, flesh’d with conquest, aim to hit.
Now bind my brows with iron; and approach
The ragged’st hour that time and spite dare bring
To frown upon the enrag’d Northumberland!
Let heaven kiss earth! now let not nature’s hand
Keep the wild flood confin’d! let order die!
And let this world no longer be a stage
To feed contention in a lingering act;
But let one spirit of the first-born Cain
Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set
On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
And darkness be the burier of the dead!
This strained passion doth you wrong, my lord.
Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honour.
The lives of all your loving complices
Lean on your health; the which, if you give o’er
To stormy passion must perforce decay.
You cast the event of war, my noble lord,
And summ’d the account of chance, before you said,
‘Let us make head.’ It was your presurmise
That in the dole of blows your son might drop:
You knew he walk’d o’er perils, on an edge,
More likely to fall in than to get o’er;
You were advis’d his flesh was capable
Of wounds and scars, and that his forward spirit
Would lift him where most trade of danger rang’d:
Yet did you say, ‘Go forth;’ and none of this,
Though strongly apprehended, could restrain
The stiff-borne action: what hath then befallen,
Or what hath this bold enterprise brought forth,
More than that being which was like to be?
We all that are engaged to this loss
Knew that we ventur’d on such dangerous seas
That if we wrought out life ’twas ten to one;
And yet we ventur’d, for the gain propos’d
Chok’d the respect of likely peril fear’d;
And since we are o’erset, venture again.
Come, we will all put forth, body and goods.
’Tis more than time: and, my most noble lord,
I hear for certain, and do speak the truth,
The gentle Archbishop of York is up,
With well-appointed powers: he is a man
Who with a double surety binds his followers.
My lord your son had only but the corpse’,
But shadows and the shows of men to fight;
For that same word, rebellion, did divide
The action of their bodies from their souls;
And they did fight with queasiness, constrain’d,
As men drink potions, that their weapons only
Seem’d on our side: but, for their spirits and souls,
This word, rebellion, it had froze them up,
As fish are in a pond. But now the bishop
Turns insurrection to religion:
Suppos’d sincere and holy in his thoughts,
He’s follow’d both with body and with mind,
And doth enlarge his rising with the blood
Of fair King Richard, scrap’d from Pomfret stones;
Derives from heaven his quarrel and his cause;
Tells them he doth bestride a bleeding land,
Gasping for life under great Bolingbroke;
And more and less do flock to follow him.
I knew of this before; but, to speak truth,
This present grief had wip’d it from my mind.
Go in with me; and counsel every man
The aptest way for safety and revenge:
Get posts and letters, and make friends with speed:
Never so few, and never yet more need.
London. A Street.
EnterSir John Falstaff,with his Page bearing his sword and buckler.
Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water?
He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy water; but, for the party that owed it, he might have more diseases than he knew for.
Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me: the brain of this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent anything that tends to laughter, more than I invent or is invented on me: I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men. I do here walk before thee like a sow that hath overwhelmed all her litter but one. If the prince put thee into my service for any other reason than to set me off, why then I have no judgment. Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to be worn in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never manned with an agate till now; but I will set you neither in gold nor silver, but in vile apparel, and send you back again to your master, for a jewel; the juvenal, the prince your master, whose chin is not yet fledged. I will sooner have a beard grow in the palm of my hand than he shall get one on his cheek; and yet he will not stick to say, his face is a face-royal: God may finish it when he will, it is not a hair amiss yet: he may keep it still as a face-royal, for a barber shall never earn sixpence out of it; and yet he will be crowing as if he had writ man ever since his father was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace, but he is almost out of mine, I can assure him. What said Master Dombledon about the satin for my short cloak and my slops?
He said, sir, you should procure him better assurance than Bardolph; he would not take his bond and yours: he liked not the security.
Let him be damned like the glutton! may his tongue be hotter! A whoreson Achitophel! a rascally yea-forsooth knave! to bear a gentleman in hand, and then stand upon security. The whoreson smooth-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes, and bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is thorough with them in honest taking up, then they must stand upon security. I had as lief they would put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to stop it with security. I looked a’ should have sent me two and twenty yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and he sends me security. Well, he may sleep in security; for he hath the horn of abundance, and the lightness of his wife shines through it: and yet cannot he see, though he have his own lanthorn to light him. Where’s Bardolph?
He’s gone into Smithfield to buy your worship a horse.
I bought him in Paul’s, and he’ll buy me a horse in Smithfield: an I could get me but a wife in the stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived.
Enter theLord Chief Justiceand Servant.
Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the prince for striking him about Bardolph.
Wait close; I will not see him.
What’s he that goes there?
Falstaff, an’t please your lordship.
He that was in question for the robbery?
He, my lord; but he hath since done good service at Shrewsbury, and, as I hear, is now going with some charge to the Lord John of Lancaster.
What, to York? Call him back again.
Sir John Falstaff!
Boy, tell him I am deaf.
You must speak louder, my master is deaf.
I am sure he is, to the hearing of anything good. Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him.
What! a young knave, and beg! Is there not wars? is there not employment? doth not the king lack subjects? do not the rebels want soldiers? Though it be a shame to be on any side but one, it is worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side, were it worse than the name of rebellion can tell how to make it.
You mistake me, sir.
Why, sir, did I say you were an honest man? setting my knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied in my throat if I had said so.
I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and your soldiership aside, and give me leave to tell you you lie in your throat if you say I am any other than an honest man.
I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that which grows to me! If thou gett’st any leave of me, hang me: if thou takest leave, thou wert better be hanged. You hunt-counter: hence! avaunt!
Sir, my lord would speak with you.
Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.
My good lord! God give your lordship good time of day. I am glad to see your lordship abroad; I heard say your lordship was sick: I hope your lordship goes abroad by advice. Your lordship, though not clean past your youth, hath yet some smack of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I most humbly beseech your lordship to have a reverend care of your health.
Sir John, I sent for you before your expedition to Shrewsbury.
An’t please your lordship, I hear his majesty is returned with some discomfort from Wales.
I talk not of his majesty. You would not come when I sent for you.
And I hear, moreover, his highness is fallen into this same whoreson apoplexy.
Well, heaven mend him! I pray you, let me speak with you.
This apoplexy is, as I take it, a kind of lethargy, an’t please your lordship; a kind of sleeping in the blood, a whoreson tingling.
What tell you me of it? be it as it is.
It hath its original from much grief, from study and perturbation of the brain. I have read the cause of his effects in Galen: it is a kind of deafness.
I think you are fallen into the disease, for you hear not what I say to you.
Very well, my lord, very well: rather, an’t please you, it is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal.
To punish you by the heels would amend the attention of your ears; and I care not if I do become your physician.
I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient: your lordship may minister the potion of imprisonment to me in respect of poverty; but how I should be your patient to follow your prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a scruple, or indeed a scruple itself.
I sent for you, when there were matters against you for your life, to come speak with me.
As I was then advised by my learned counsel in the laws of this land-service, I did not come.
Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in great infamy.
He that buckles him in my belt cannot live in less.
Your means are very slender, and your waste is great.
I would it were otherwise: I would my means were greater and my waist slenderer.
You have misled the youthful prince.
The young prince hath misled me: I am the fellow with the great belly, and he my dog.
Well, I am loath to gall a new-healed wound: your day’s service at Shrewsbury hath a little gilded over your night’s exploit on Gadshill: you may thank the unquiet time for your quiet o’er-posting that action.
But since all is well, keep it so: wake not a sleeping wolf.
To wake a wolf is as bad as to smell a fox.
What! you are as a candle, the better part burnt out.
A wassail candle, my lord; all tallow: if I did say of wax, my growth would approve the truth.
There is not a white hair on your face but should have his effect of gravity.
His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.
You follow the young prince up and down, like his ill angel.
Not so, my lord; your ill angel is light, but I hope he that looks upon me will take me without weighing: and yet, in some respects, I grant, I cannot go, I cannot tell. Virtue is of so little regard in these costermonger times that true valour is turned bear-herd: pregnancy is made a tapster, and hath his quick wit wasted in giving reckonings: all the other gifts appertinent to man, as the malice of this age shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry. You that are old consider not the capacities of us that are young; you measure the heat of our livers with the bitterness of your galls; and we that are in the vaward of our youth, I must confess, are wags too.
Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are written down old with all the characters of age? Have you not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard, a decreasing leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken, your wind short, your chin double, your wit single, and every part about you blasted with antiquity, and will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John!
My lord, I was born about three of the clock in the afternoon, with a white head, and something a round belly. For my voice, I have lost it with hollaing, and singing of anthems. To approve my youth further, I will not: the truth is, I am only old in judgment and understanding; and he that will caper with me for a thousand marks, let him lend me the money, and have at him! For the box o’ the ear that the prince gave you, he gave it like a rude prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have checked him for it, and the young lion repents; marry, not in ashes and sackcloth, but in new silk and old sack.
Well, God send the prince a better companion!
God send the companion a better prince! I cannot rid my hands of him.
Well, the king hath severed you and Prince Harry. I hear you are going with Lord John of Lancaster against the archbishop and the Earl of Northumberland.
Yea; I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look you pray, all you that kiss my lady Peace at home, that our armies join not in a hot day; for, by the Lord, I take but two shirts out with me, and I mean not to sweat extraordinarily: if it be a hot day, and I brandish anything but my bottle, I would I might never spit white again. There is not a dangerous action can peep out his head but I am thrust upon it. Well, I cannot last ever. But it was always yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing, to make it too common. If you will needs say I am an old man, you should give me rest. I would to God my name were not so terrible to the enemy as it is: I were better to be eaten to death with rust than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion.
Well, be honest, be honest; and God bless your expedition.
Will your lordship lend me a thousand pound to furnish me forth?
Not a penny; not a penny; you are too impatient to bear crosses. Fare you well: commend me to my cousin Westmoreland.
[ExeuntChief Justiceand Servant.
If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A man can no more separate age and covetousness than he can part young limbs and lechery; but the gout galls the one, and the pox pinches the other; and so both the degrees prevent my curses. Boy!
What money is in my purse?
Seven groats and twopence.
I can get no remedy against this consumption of the purse: borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the disease is incurable. Go bear this letter to my Lord of Lancaster; this to the prince; this to the Earl of Westmoreland; and this to old Mistress Ursula, whom I have weekly sworn to marry since I perceived the first white hair on my chin. About it: you know where to find me. [ExitPage.] A pox of this gout! or, a gout of this pox! for the one or the other plays the rogue with my great toe. ’Tis no matter if I do halt; I have the wars for my colour, and my pension shall seem the more reasonable. A good wit will make use of anything; I will turn diseases to commodity.
York. A Room in theArchbishop’sPalace.
Enter theArchbishop of York, Lord Hastings, Mowbray,andBardolph.
Thus have you heard our cause and known our means;
And, my most noble friends, I pray you all,
Speak plainly your opinions of our hopes:
And first, Lord Marshal, what say you to it?
I well allow the occasion of our arms;
But gladly would be better satisfied
How in our means we should advance ourselves
To look with forehead bold and big enough
Upon the power and puissance of the king.
Our present musters grow upon the file
To five-and-twenty thousand men of choice;
And our supplies live largely in the hope
Of great Northumberland, whose bosom burns
With an incensed fire of injuries.
The question, then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus:
Whether our present five-and-twenty thousand
May hold up head without Northumberland.
With him, we may.
Ay, marry, there’s the point:
But if without him we be thought too feeble,
My judgment is, we should not step too far
Till we had his assistance by the hand;
For in a theme so bloody-fao’d as this,
Conjecture, expectation, and surmise
Of aids incertain should not be admitted.
’Tis very true, Lord Bardolph; for, indeed
It was young Hotspur’s case at Shrewsbury.
It was, my lord; who lin’d himself with hope,
Eating the air on promise of supply,
Flattering himself with project of a power
Much smaller than the smallest of his thoughts;
And so, with great imagination
Proper to madmen, led his powers to death,
And winking leap’d into destruction.
But, by your leave, it never yet did hurt
To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope.
Yes, if this present quality of war,—
Indeed the instant action,—a cause on foot,
Lives so in hope, as in an early spring
We see the appearing buds; which, to prove fruit,
Hope gives not so much warrant as despair
That frosts will bite them. When we mean to build,
We first survey the plot, then draw the model;
And when we see the figure of the house,
Then must we rate the cost of the erection;
Which if we find outweighs ability,
What do we then but draw anew the model
In fewer offices, or at last desist
To build at all? Much more, in this great work,—
Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down
And set another up,—should we survey
The plot of situation and the model,
Consent upon a sure foundation,
Question surveyors, know our own estate,
How able such a work to undergo,
To weigh against his opposite; or else,
We fortify in paper, and in figures,
Using the names of men instead of men:
Like one that draws the model of a house
Beyond his power to build it; who, half through,
Gives o’er and leaves his part-created cost
A naked-subject to the weeping clouds,
And waste for churlish winter’s tyranny.
Grant that our hopes, yet likely of fair birth,
Should be still-born, and that we now possess’d
The utmost man of expectation;
I think we are a body strong enough,
Even as we are, to equal with the king.
What! is the king but five-and-twenty thousand?
To us no more; nay, not so much, Lord Bardolph.
For his divisions, as the times do brawl,
Are in three heads: one power against the French,
And one against Glendower; perforce, a third
Must take up us: so is the unfirm king
In three divided, and his coffers sound
With hollow poverty and emptiness.
That he should draw his several strengths together
And come against us in full puissance,
Need not be dreaded.
If he should do so,
He leaves his back unarm’d, the French and Welsh
Baying him at the heels: never fear that.
Who is it like should lead his forces hither?
The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland;
Against the Welsh, himself and Harry Monmouth:
But who is substituted ’gainst the French
I have no certain notice.
Let us on
And publish the occasion of our arms.
The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
Their over-greedy love hath surfeited.
A habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.
O thou fond many! with what loud applause
Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke
Before he was what thou wouldst have him be:
And being now trimm’d in thine own desires,
Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him
That thou provok’st thyself to cast him up.
So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge
Thy glutton bosom of the royal Richard,
And now thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up,
And howl’st to find it. What trust is in these times?
They that, when Richard liv’d, would have him die,
Are now become enamour’d on his grave:
Thou, that threw’st dust upon his goodly head,
When through proud London he came sighing on
After the admired heels of Bolingbroke,
Cry’st now, ‘O earth! yield us that king again,
And take thou this!’ O, thoughts of men accurst!
Past and to come seem best; things present worst.
Shall we go draw our numbers and set on?
We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.