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Henry the Fourth Part 1

by William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 2 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 



Henry the Fourth Part 1 Act 3 Scene 2



London. The palace

Enter KING, PRINCE HENRY of Wales, and others

Enter KING, PRINCE HENRY of Wales, and others

KING

Lords, give us leave; the Prince of Wales and I

Must have some private conference, but be near at hand,

For we shall presently have need of you.

 

KING

Lords, give us leave; the Prince of Wales and I

Must have some private conference, but be near at hand,

For we shall presently have need of you.

 

Exeunt lords

Exeunt lords

I know not whether God will have it so

For some displeasing service I have done,

That, in his secret doom, out of my blood

doom=judgment

He’ll breed revengement and a scourge for me.

But thou dost in thy passages of life

Make me believe that thou art only marked

For the hot vengeance and the rod of heaven

To punish my mistreadings. Tell me else,

Could such inordinate and low desires,

inordinate=excessive

Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts,

Such barren pleasures, rude society

As thou art matched withal and grafted to

Accompany the greatness of thy blood

And hold their level with thy princely heart?

 

I know not whether God will have it so

For some displeasing service I have done,

That, in his secret doom, out of my blood

He’ll breed revengement and a scourge for me.

But thou dost in thy passages of life

Make me believe that thou art only marked

For the hot vengeance and the rod of heaven

To punish my mistreadings. Tell me else,

Could such inordinate and low desires,

Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts,

Such barren pleasures, rude society

As thou art matched withal, and grafted to,

Accompany the greatness of thy blood,

And hold their level with thy princely heart?

 

PRINCE HENRY

So please your Majesty, I would I could

Quit ALL offenses with as clear excuse

As well as, I am doubtless, I can purge

I am doubtless=I don’t doubt

Myself of many I am charged withal.

many=many accusations

Yet such extenuation let me beg

As, in reproof of many tales devised,

Which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear,

which=which tales

ear of greatness=the King’s ear

By smiling pickthanks and base newsmongers,

by smiling . . .=devised by smiling . . .

pickthanks=flatterers

I may for some things true (wherein my youth

Hath faulty wandered and irregular)

(hath wandered faulty and irregular)

Find pardon on my true submission.

 

PRINCE HENRY

So please your Majesty, I would I could

Quit all offenses with as clear excuse

As well as I am doubtless I can purge

Myself of many I am charged withal.

Yet such extenuation let me beg

As, in reproof of many tales devised,

Which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear,

By smiling pickthanks and base newsmongers,

I may for some things true, wherein my youth

Hath faulty wandered and irregular,

Find pardon on my true submission.

 

KING

God pardon thee. Yet let me wonder, Harry,

At thy affections, which do hold a wing

Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors.

Thy place in council thou hast rudely lost,

Which by thy younger brother is supplied,

And art almost an alien to the hearts

Of all the court and princes of my blood.

The hope and expectation of thy time

Is ruined, and the soul of every man

Prophetically doth forethink thy fall.

Had I so lavish of my presence been,

lavish=wasteful

So common-hackneyed in the eyes of men,

common-hackneyed=publicly indiscriminate

So stale and cheap to vulgar company,

Opinion, that did help me to the crown,

Had still kept loyal to possession

possession=the King at that time (posSESsiON)

And left me in reputeless banishment,

A fellow of no mark nor likelihood.

By being seldom seen, I could not stir

But, like a comet, I was wondered at,

[so] That men would tell their children “This is he.”

Others would say “Where? Which is Bolingbroke?”

And then I stole all courtesy from heaven

And dressed myself in such humility

That I did pluck allegiance from men’s hearts,

[and] Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,

Even in the presence of the crownèd King.

Thus did I keep my person fresh and new,

My presence, like a robe pontifical,

Ne'er seen but wondered at, and so my state,

state=way of life

Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast

And won by rareness such solemnity.

The skipping King, he ambled up and down

With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits,

bavin=inflammable like firewood

Soon kindled and soon burnt; carded his state,

carded his state=adulterated his dignity

[and] Mingled his royalty with cap'ring fools,

cap’ring=capering

Had his great name profanèd with their scorns,

And gave his countenance, against his name,

To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push

to laugh at=to be laughed at by

gibing=jeering

push=blows

Of every beardless vain comparative;

comparative=humorist

Grew a companion to the common streets,

Enfeoffed himself to popularity,

enfeoffed himself=subordinated himself

That, being daily swallowed by men’s eyes,

They surfeited with honey and began

they=men’s eyes (the populace)

To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little

More than a little is by much too much.

So, when he had occasion to be seen,

He was but as the cuckoo is in June,

Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such eyes

As, sick and blunted with community,

community=mixing with people

Afford no extraordinary gaze

Such as is bent on sunlike majesty

When it shines seldom in admiring eyes,

But rather drowsed and hung their eyelids down,

Slept in his face, and rendered such aspect

As cloudy men use to their adversaries,

cloudy=sullen

Being with his presence glutted, gorged, and full.

And in that very line, Harry, standest thou,

For thou has lost thy princely privilege

With vile participation. [There is] Not an eye

But is aweary of thy common sight,

Save mine, which hath desired to see thee more,

Which now doth that I would not have it do,

Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.

make blind=blur vision (with tears)

 

KING

God pardon thee. Yet let me wonder, Harry,

At thy affections, which do hold a wing

Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors.

Thy place in council thou hast rudely lost,

Which by thy younger brother is supplied,

And art almost an alien to the hearts

Of all the court and princes of my blood.

The hope and expectation of thy time

Is ruined, and the soul of every man

Prophetically doth forethink thy fall.

Had I so lavish of my presence been,

So common-hackneyed in the eyes of men,

So stale and cheap to vulgar company,

Opinion, that did help me to the crown,

Had still kept loyal to possession

And left me in reputeless banishment,

A fellow of no mark nor likelihood.

By being seldom seen, I could not stir

But like a comet I was wondered at;

That men would tell their children “This is he.”

Others would say “Where? Which is Bolingbroke?”

And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,

And dressed myself in such humility

That I did pluck allegiance from men’s hearts,

Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,

Even in the presence of the crownèd King.

Thus did I keep my person fresh and new,

My presence, like a robe pontifical,

Ne'er seen but wondered at, and so my state,

Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast

And won by rareness such solemnity.

The skipping King, he ambled up and down

With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits,

Soon kindled and soon burnt; carded his state,

Mingled his royalty with cap'ring fools,

Had his great name profanèd with their scorns,

And gave his countenance, against his name,

To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push

Of every beardless vain comparative;

Grew a companion to the common streets,

Enfeoffed himself to popularity,

That, being daily swallowed by men’s eyes,

They surfeited with honey and began

To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little

More than a little is by much too much.

So, when he had occasion to be seen,

He was but as the cuckoo is in June,

Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such eyes

As, sick and blunted with community,

Afford no extraordinary gaze

Such as is bent on sunlike majesty

When it shines seldom in admiring eyes,

But rather drowsed and hung their eyelids down,

Slept in his face, and rendered such aspect

As cloudy men use to their adversaries,

Being with his presence glutted, gorged, and full.

And in that very line, Harry, standest thou,

For thou has lost thy princely privilege

With vile participation. Not an eye

But is aweary of thy common sight,

Save mine, which hath desired to see thee more,

Which now doth that I would not have it do,

Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.

 

 

PRINCE HENRY

I shall hereafter, my thrice gracious lord,

Be more myself.

 

PRINCE HENRY

I shall hereafter, my thrice gracious lord,

Be more myself.

 

KING

   For all the world

As thou art to [at] this hour was Richard then

When I from France set foot at Ravenspurgh,

And even as I was then is Percy now.

Now, by my scepter, and my soul to boot,

He hath more worthy interest to the state

interest=claim

Than thou, the shadow of succession.

shadow=mere copy

For of [by] no right, nor color like to right,

color like to right=pretense resembling right

He doth fill fields with harness in the realm,

harness=armament

realm=kingdom

Turns head against the lion’s armèd jaws,

(leads his army against the jaws of a lion)

And, being no more in debt to years than thou,

(no older than you)

Leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on

To bloody battles and to bruising arms (military conflict).

What never-dying honor hath he got

Against renownèd Douglas! Whose high deeds,

Whose hot incursions and great name in arms,

Hold from [among] all soldiers chief majority

chief majority=greatest superiority

And military title capital

capital=at the head

Through all the kingdoms that acknowledge Christ.

Thrice hath this Hotspur, Mars in swathling clothes,

swathling=swaddling

This infant warrior, in his enterprises

Discomfited great Douglas, ta'en him once,

discomfited=defeated

Enlargèd him, and made a friend of him,

enlarged=set him at large (set him free)

To fill the mouth of deep defiance up

(to make him an ally against the King)

And shake the peace and safety of our throne.

And what say you to this? Percy, Northumberland,

The Archbishop’s Grace of York, Douglas, Mortimer,

Capitulate against us and are up [in arms].

capitulate=have drawn up articles of agreement

But wherefore do I tell these news to thee?

Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes,

Which art my nearest and dearest enemy?

which art=you who are

Thou that art like (likely) enough, through vassal fear,

vassal=abject

Base inclination, and the start of spleen,

start of spleen=fit of anger

To fight against me under Percy’s pay,

To dog his heels, and curtsy at his frowns,

To show how much thou art degenerate.

 

KING

   For all the world

As thou art to this hour was Richard then

When I from France set foot at Ravenspurgh,

And even as I was then is Percy now.

Now, by my scepter, and my soul to boot,

He hath more worthy interest to the state

Than thou, the shadow of succession.

For of no right, nor color like to right,

He doth fill fields with harness in the realm,

Turns head against the lion’s armèd jaws,

And, being no more in debt to years than thou,

Leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on

To bloody battles and to bruising arms.

What never-dying honor hath he got

Against renownèd Douglas, whose high deeds,

Whose hot incursions and great name in arms,

Holds from all soldiers chief majority

And military title capital

Through all the kingdoms that acknowledge Christ.

Thrice hath this Hotspur, Mars in swathling clothes,

This infant warrior, in his enterprises

Discomfited great Douglas, ta'en him once,

Enlargèd him, and made a friend of him,

To fill the mouth of deep defiance up

And shake the peace and safety of our throne.

And what say you to this? Percy, Northumberland,

The Archbishop’s Grace of York, Douglas, Mortimer,

Capitulate against us and are up.

But wherefore do I tell these news to thee?

Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes,

Which art my nearest and dearest enemy?

Thou that art like enough, through vassal fear,

Base inclination, and the start of spleen,

To fight against me under Percy’s pay,

To dog his heels, and curtsy at his frowns,

To show how much thou art degenerate.

 

 

PRINCE HENRY

Do not think so. You shall not find it so.

And God forgive them that so much have swayed

Your Majesty’s good thoughts away from me.

I will redeem all this on Percy’s head

And, in the closing of some glorious day,

Be bold to tell you that I am your son,

When I will wear a garment all of blood

And stain my favors in a bloody mask,

favors=features

Which, washed away, shall scour my shame with it,

And that shall be the day, whene'er it lights,

That (when) this same child of honor and renown,

This gallant Hotspur, this all-praisèd knight,

And your unthought-of Harry chance to meet.

For every honor sitting on his helm,

honor sitting on his helm=medals attached to his helmet

Would they were multitudes (and on my head

My shames redoubled!) - for the time [indeed] will come

That (when) I [in battle] shall make this northern youth exchange

His glorious deeds for my indignities.

(Percy and Hal will make an exchange – Percy’s deeds for  Hal’s indignities and vice-versa)

Percy is but my factor, good my lord,

factor=agent

To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf.

(then, later, to be exchanged)

And I will call him to so strict account

That he shall render every glory up,

Yea, even the slightest worship of his time,

worship=honor

Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart [by killing him].

This in the name of God I promise here,

The which if He be pleased I shall perform,

I do beseech your Majesty may salve

The long-grown wounds of my intemperance.

wounds of my intemperance=wounds caused by my intemperance

If not, the end of life cancels all bands,

bands=bonds (agreements)

And I will die a hundred thousand deaths

Ere [I] break the smallest parcel of this vow.

 

PRINCE HENRY

Do not think so. You shall not find it so.

And God forgive them that so much have swayed

Your Majesty’s good thoughts away from me.

I will redeem all this on Percy’s head,

And, in the closing of some glorious day,

Be bold to tell you that I am your son,

When I will wear a garment all of blood

And stain my favors in a bloody mask,

Which, washed away, shall scour my shame with it.

And that shall be the day, whene'er it lights,

That this same child of honor and renown,

This gallant Hotspur, this all-praisèd knight,

And your unthought-of Harry chance to meet.

For every honor sitting on his helm,

Would they were multitudes, and on my head

My shames redoubled! For the time will come

That I shall make this northern youth exchange

His glorious deeds for my indignities.

Percy is but my factor, good my lord,

To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf.

And I will call him to so strict account

That he shall render every glory up,

Yea, even the slightest worship of his time,

Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart.

This in the name of God I promise here,

The which if He be pleased I shall perform,

I do beseech your Majesty may salve

The long-grown wounds of my intemperance.

If not, the end of life cancels all bands,

And I will die a hundred thousand deaths

Ere break the smallest parcel of this vow.

 

 

KING

A hundred thousand rebels die in this (because of this vow).

Thou shalt have charge (command) and [my] sovereign trust herein (in you).

 

KING

A hundred thousand rebels die in this.

Thou shalt have charge and sovereign trust herein.

 

Enter BLUNT

Enter BLUNT

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

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

BLUNT

So hath the business that I come to speak of.

Lord Mortimer of Scotland hath sent word

(Lord Mortimer – not the Mortimer of this play)

That Douglas and the English rebels met

The eleventh of this month at Shrewsbury.

A mighty and a fearful head they are

fearful head=fearsome army

(If promises be kept on every hand)

As ever offered foul play in the state.

 

BLUNT

So hath the business that I come to speak of.

Lord Mortimer of Scotland hath sent word

That Douglas and the English rebels met

The eleventh of this month at Shrewsbury.

A mighty and a fearful head they are,

If promises be kept on every hand,

As ever offered foul play in the state.

 

KING

The Earl of Westmoreland set forth today,

With him my son, Lord John of Lancaster,

For this advertisement is five days old.—

advertisement=notification

On Wednesday next, Harry, you shall set forward.

On Thursday we ourselves will march. Our meeting

meeting=meeting place

Is Bridgenorth. And, Harry, you shall march

Through Gloucestershire, by which account

(Our business valuèd) some twelve days hence

our business valued=the times for war preparations correctly figured out

Our general forces at Bridgenorth shall meet.

Our hands are full of business. Let’s away.

Advantage feeds him fat while men delay.

feeds him=feeds himself

 

KING

The Earl of Westmoreland set forth today,

With him my son, Lord John of Lancaster,

For this advertisement is five days old.—

On Wednesday next, Harry, you shall set forward.

On Thursday we ourselves will march. Our meeting

Is Bridgenorth. And, Harry, you shall march

Through Gloucestershire; by which account,

Our business valuèd, some twelve days hence

Our general forces at Bridgenorth shall meet.

Our hands are full of business. Let’s away.

Advantage feeds him fat while men delay.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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