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History of Henry IV, Part II

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Act I, Scene 3

York. The ARCHBISHOP’S palace



  • Archbishop Scroop. Thus have you heard our cause and known our means; 605
    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?
  • Lord Mowbray. I well allow the occasion of our amis;
    But gladly would be better satisfied 610
    How, in our means, we should advance ourselves
    To look with forehead bold and big enough
    Upon the power and puissance of the King.
  • Lord Hastings. Our present musters grow upon the file
    To five and twenty thousand men of choice; 615
    And our supplies live largely in the hope
    Of great Northumberland, whose bosom burns
    With an incensed fire of injuries.
  • Lord Bardolph. The question then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus:
    Whether our present five and twenty thousand 620
    May hold up head without Northumberland?
  • Lord Bardolph. Yea, marry, there's the point;
    But if without him we be thought too feeble,
    My judgment is we should not step too far 625
    Till we had his assistance by the hand;
    For, in a theme so bloody-fac'd as this,
    Conjecture, expectation, and surmise
    Of aids incertain, should not be admitted.
  • Archbishop Scroop. 'Tis very true, Lord Bardolph; for indeed 630
    It was young Hotspur's case at Shrewsbury.
  • Lord Bardolph. It was, my lord; who lin'd himself with hope,
    Eating the air and promise of supply,
    Flatt'ring himself in project of a power
    Much smaller than the smallest of his thoughts; 635
    And so, with great imagination
    Proper to madmen, led his powers to death,
    And, winking, leapt into destruction.
  • Lord Hastings. But, by your leave, it never yet did hurt
    To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope. 640
  • Lord Bardolph. 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 th' appearing buds; which to prove fruit
    Hope gives not so much warrant, as despair 645
    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 we must rate the cost of the erection;
    Which if we find outweighs ability, 650
    What do we then but draw anew the model
    In fewer offices, or at least 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 655
    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 660
    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 665
    A naked subject to the weeping clouds
    And waste for churlish winter's tyranny.
  • Lord Hastings. Grant that our hopes—yet likely of fair birth—
    Should be still-born, and that we now possess'd
    The utmost man of expectation, 670
    I think we are so a body strong enough,
    Even as we are, to equal with the King.
  • Lord Hastings. To us no more; nay, not so much, Lord Bardolph;
    For his divisions, as the times do brawl, 675
    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. 680
  • Archbishop Scroop. That he should draw his several strengths together
    And come against us in full puissance
    Need not be dreaded.
  • Lord Hastings. If he should do so,
    He leaves his back unarm'd, the French and Welsh 685
    Baying at his heels. Never fear that.
  • Lord Hastings. The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland;
    Against the Welsh, himself and Harry Monmouth;
    But who is substituted against the French 690
    I have no certain notice.
  • Archbishop Scroop. Let us on,
    And publish the occasion of our arms.
    The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
    Their over-greedy love hath surfeited. 695
    An 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! 700
    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; 705
    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, 710
    When through proud London he came sighing on
    After th' admired heels of Bolingbroke,
    Criest now 'O earth, yield us that king again,
    And take thou this!' O thoughts of men accurs'd!
    Past and to come seems best; things present, worst. 715