1 Henry IV NavigatorScene Index Notes Previous Scene Next Scene

The First Part of Henry IV:
Act 3, Scene 2


           Enter the KING, PRINCE OF WALES, and others.

      KING HENRY IV
  1   Lords, give us leave; the Prince of Wales and I
  2   Must have some private conference; but be near at hand,
  3   For we shall presently have need of you.

           Exeunt Lords.

  4   I know not whether God will have it so,
  5   For some displeasing service I have done,
  6   That, in his secret doom, out of my blood
  7   He'll breed revengement and a scourge for me;
  8   But thou dost in thy passages of life
  9   Make me believe that thou art only mark'd
 10   For the hot vengeance and the rod of heaven
 11   To punish my mistreadings. Tell me else,
 12   Could such inordinate and low desires,
 13   Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts,
 14   Such barren pleasures, rude society,
 15   As thou art match'd withal and grafted to,
 16   Accompany the greatness of thy blood
 17   And hold their level with thy princely heart?

      PRINCE HENRY
 18   So please your majesty, I would I could
 19   Quit all offences with as clear excuse
 20   As well as I am doubtless I can purge
 21   Myself of many I am charged withal:
 22   Yet such extenuation let me beg,
 23   As, in reproof of many tales devised,
 24   which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear,
 25   By smiling pick-thanks and base newsmongers,
 26   I may, for some things true, wherein my youth
 27   Hath faulty wander'd and irregular,
 28   Find pardon on my true submission.

      KING HENRY IV
 29   God pardon thee! yet let me wonder, Harry,
 30   At thy affections, which do hold a wing
 31   Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors.
 32   Thy place in council thou hast rudely lost.
 33   Which by thy younger brother is supplied,
 34   And art almost an alien to the hearts
 35   Of all the court and princes of my blood:
 36   The hope and expectation of thy time
 37   Is ruin'd, and the soul of every man
 38   Prophetically doth forethink thy fall.
 39   Had I so lavish of my presence been,
 40   So common-hackney'd in the eyes of men,
 41   So stale and cheap to vulgar company,
 42   Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
 43   Had still kept loyal to possession
 44   And left me in reputeless banishment,
 45   A fellow of no mark nor likelihood.
 46   By being seldom seen, I could not stir
 47   But like a comet I was wonder'd at;
 48   That men would tell their children 'This is he;'
 49   Others would say 'Where, which is Bolingbroke?'
 50   And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
 51   And dress'd myself in such humility
 52   That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts,
 53   Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,
 54   Even in the presence of the crowned king.
 55   Thus did I keep my person fresh and new;
 56   My presence, like a robe pontifical,
 57   Ne'er seen but wonder'd at: and so my state,
 58   Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast
 59   And won by rareness such solemnity.
 60   The skipping king, he ambled up and down
 61   With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits,
 62   Soon kindled and soon burnt; carded his state,
 63   Mingled his royalty with capering fools,
 64   Had his great name profaned with their scorns
 65   And gave his countenance, against his name,
 66   To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push
 67   Of every beardless vain comparative,
 68   Grew a companion to the common streets,
 69   Enfeoff'd himself to popularity;
 70   That, being daily swallow'd by men's eyes,
 71   They surfeited with honey and began
 72   To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little
 73   More than a little is by much too much.
 74   So when he had occasion to be seen,
 75   He was but as the cuckoo is in June,
 76   Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such eyes
 77   As, sick and blunted with community,
 78   Afford no extraordinary gaze,
 79   Such as is bent on sun-like majesty
 80   When it shines seldom in admiring eyes;
 81   But rather drowzed and hung their eyelids down,
 82   Slept in his face and render'd such aspect
 83   As cloudy men use to their adversaries,
 84   Being with his presence glutted, gorged and full.
 85   And in that very line, Harry, standest thou;
 86   For thou has lost thy princely privilege
 87   With vile participation: not an eye
 88   But is a-weary of thy common sight,
 89   Save mine, which hath desired to see thee more;
 90   Which now doth that I would not have it do,
 91   Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.

      PRINCE HENRY
 92   I shall hereafter, my thrice gracious lord,
 93   Be more myself.

      KING HENRY IV
 93                           For all the world
 94   As thou art to this hour was Richard then
 95   When I from France set foot at Ravenspurgh,
 96   And even as I was then is Percy now.
 97   Now, by my sceptre and my soul to boot,
 98   He hath more worthy interest to the state
 99   Than thou the shadow of succession;
100   For of no right, nor color like to right,
101   He doth fill fields with harness in the realm,
102   Turns head against the lion's armed jaws,
103   And, being no more in debt to years than thou,
104   Leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on
105   To bloody battles and to bruising arms.
106   What never-dying honour hath he got
107   Against renowned Douglas! whose high deeds,
108   Whose hot incursions and great name in arms
109   Holds from all soldiers chief majority
110   And military title capital
111   Through all the kingdoms that acknowledge Christ:
112   Thrice hath this Hotspur, Mars in swathling clothes,
113   This infant warrior, in his enterprises
114   Discomfited great Douglas, ta'en him once,
115   Enlarged him and made a friend of him,
116   To fill the mouth of deep defiance up
117   And shake the peace and safety of our throne.
118   And what say you to this? Percy, Northumberland,
119   The Archbishop's grace of York, Douglas, Mortimer,
120   Capitulate against us and are up.
121   But wherefore do I tell these news to thee?
122   Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes,
123   Which art my near'st and dearest enemy?
124   Thou that art like enough, through vassal fear,
125   Base inclination and the start of spleen
126   To fight against me under Percy's pay,
127   To dog his heels and curtsy at his frowns,
128   To show how much thou art degenerate.

      PRINCE HENRY
129   Do not think so; you shall not find it so:
130   And God forgive them that so much have sway'd
131   Your majesty's good thoughts away from me!
132   I will redeem all this on Percy's head
133   And in the closing of some glorious day
134   Be bold to tell you that I am your son;
135   When I will wear a garment all of blood
136   And stain my favors in a bloody mask,
137   Which, wash'd away, shall scour my shame with it:
138   And that shall be the day, whene'er it lights,
139   That this same child of honour and renown,
140   This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight,
141   And your unthought-of Harry chance to meet.
142   For every honour sitting on his helm,
143   Would they were multitudes, and on my head
144   My shames redoubled! for the time will come,
145   That I shall make this northern youth exchange
146   His glorious deeds for my indignities.
147   Percy is but my factor, good my lord,
148   To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf;
149   And I will call him to so strict account,
150   That he shall render every glory up,
151   Yea, even the slightest worship of his time,
152   Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart.
153   This, in the name of God, I promise here:
154   The which if He be pleased I shall perform,
155   I do beseech your majesty may salve
156   The long-grown wounds of my intemperance:
157   If not, the end of life cancels all bands;
158   And I will die a hundred thousand deaths
159   Ere break the smallest parcel of this vow.

      KING HENRY IV
160   A hundred thousand rebels die in this:
161   Thou shalt have charge and sovereign trust herein.

           Enter BLUNT.

162   How now, good Blunt? thy looks are full of speed.

      SIR WALTER BLUNT
163   So hath the business that I come to speak of.
164   Lord Mortimer of Scotland hath sent word
165   That Douglas and the English rebels met
166   The eleventh of this month at Shrewsbury
167   A mighty and a fearful head they are,
168   If promises be kept on every hand,
169   As ever offer'd foul play in the state.

      KING HENRY IV
170   The Earl of Westmoreland set forth to-day;
171   With him my son, Lord John of Lancaster;
172   For this advertisement is five days old:
173   On Wednesday next, Harry, you shall set forward;
174   On Thursday we ourselves will march: our meeting
175   Is Bridgenorth: and, Harry, you shall march
176   Through Gloucestershire; by which account,
177   Our business valued, some twelve days hence
178   Our general forces at Bridgenorth shall meet.
179   Our hands are full of business: let's away;
180   Advantage feeds him fat, while men delay.

           Exeunt.

1 Henry IV NavigatorScene Index Notes Previous Scene Next Scene