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History of Henry IV, Part II

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Act IV, Scene 4

Westminster. The Jerusalem Chamber



  • Henry IV. Now, lords, if God doth give successful end
    To this debate that bleedeth at our doors,
    We will our youth lead on to higher fields,
    And draw no swords but what are sanctified.
    Our navy is address'd, our power connected, 2750
    Our substitutes in absence well invested,
    And everything lies level to our wish.
    Only we want a little personal strength;
    And pause us till these rebels, now afoot,
    Come underneath the yoke of government. 2755
  • Earl of Warwick. Both which we doubt not but your Majesty
    Shall soon enjoy.
  • Henry IV. Humphrey, my son of Gloucester,
    Where is the Prince your brother?
  • Henry IV. Is not his brother, Thomas of Clarence, with him?
  • Henry IV. Nothing but well to thee, Thomas of Clarence.
    How chance thou art not with the Prince thy brother?
    He loves thee, and thou dost neglect him, Thomas.
    Thou hast a better place in his affection 2770
    Than all thy brothers; cherish it, my boy,
    And noble offices thou mayst effect
    Of mediation, after I am dead,
    Between his greatness and thy other brethren.
    Therefore omit him not; blunt not his love, 2775
    Nor lose the good advantage of his grace
    By seeming cold or careless of his will;
    For he is gracious if he be observ'd.
    He hath a tear for pity and a hand
    Open as day for melting charity; 2780
    Yet notwithstanding, being incens'd, he is flint;
    As humorous as winter, and as sudden
    As flaws congealed in the spring of day.
    His temper, therefore, must be well observ'd.
    Chide him for faults, and do it reverently, 2785
    When you perceive his blood inclin'd to mirth;
    But, being moody, give him line and scope
    Till that his passions, like a whale on ground,
    Confound themselves with working. Learn this, Thomas,
    And thou shalt prove a shelter to thy friends, 2790
    A hoop of gold to bind thy brothers in,
    That the united vessel of their blood,
    Mingled with venom of suggestion—
    As, force perforce, the age will pour it in—
    Shall never leak, though it do work as strong 2795
    As aconitum or rash gunpowder.
  • Henry IV. Why art thou not at Windsor with him, Thomas?
  • Henry IV. And how accompanied? Canst thou tell that? 2800
  • Henry IV. Most subject is the fattest soil to weeds;
    And he, the noble image of my youth,
    Is overspread with them; therefore my grief
    Stretches itself beyond the hour of death. 2805
    The blood weeps from my heart when I do shape,
    In forms imaginary, th'unguided days
    And rotten times that you shall look upon
    When I am sleeping with my ancestors.
    For when his headstrong riot hath no curb, 2810
    When rage and hot blood are his counsellors
    When means and lavish manners meet together,
    O, with what wings shall his affections fly
    Towards fronting peril and oppos'd decay!
  • Earl of Warwick. My gracious lord, you look beyond him quite. 2815
    The Prince but studies his companions
    Like a strange tongue, wherein, to gain the language,
    'Tis needful that the most immodest word
    Be look'd upon and learnt; which once attain'd,
    Your Highness knows, comes to no further use 2820
    But to be known and hated. So, like gross terms,
    The Prince will, in the perfectness of time,
    Cast off his followers; and their memory
    Shall as a pattern or a measure live
    By which his Grace must mete the lives of other, 2825
    Turning past evils to advantages.
  • Henry IV. 'Tis seldom when the bee doth leave her comb
    In the dead carrion.
    Who's here? Westmoreland? 2830
  • Earl of Westmoreland. Health to my sovereign, and new happiness
    Added to that that am to deliver!
    Prince John, your son, doth kiss your Grace's hand.
    Mowbray, the Bishop Scroop, Hastings, and all,
    Are brought to the correction of your law. 2835
    There is not now a rebel's sword unsheath'd,
    But Peace puts forth her olive everywhere.
    The manner how this action hath been borne
    Here at more leisure may your Highness read,
    With every course in his particular. 2840
  • Henry IV. O Westmoreland, thou art a summer bird,
    Which ever in the haunch of winter sings
    The lifting up of day.
    [Enter HARCOURT]
    Look here's more news. 2845
  • Harcourt. From enemies heaven keep your Majesty;
    And, when they stand against you, may they fall
    As those that I am come to tell you of!
    The Earl Northumberland and the Lord Bardolph,
    With a great power of English and of Scots, 2850
    Are by the shrieve of Yorkshire overthrown.
    The manner and true order of the fight
    This packet, please it you, contains at large.
  • Henry IV. And wherefore should these good news make me sick?
    Will Fortune never come with both hands full, 2855
    But write her fair words still in foulest letters?
    She either gives a stomach and no food-
    Such are the poor, in health—or else a feast,
    And takes away the stomach—such are the rich
    That have abundance and enjoy it not. 2860
    I should rejoice now at this happy news;
    And now my sight fails, and my brain is giddy.
    O me! come near me now I am much ill.
  • Earl of Warwick. Be patient, Princes; you do know these fits
    Are with his Highness very ordinary.
    Stand from him, give him air; he'll straight be well.
  • Prince Thomas. No, no; he cannot long hold out these pangs. 2870
    Th' incessant care and labour of his mind
    Hath wrought the mure that should confine it in
    So thin that life looks through, and will break out.
  • Prince Humphrey. The people fear me; for they do observe
    Unfather'd heirs and loathly births of nature. 2875
    The seasons change their manners, as the year
    Had found some months asleep, and leapt them over.
  • Prince Thomas. The river hath thrice flow'd, no ebb between;
    And the old folk, Time's doting chronicles,
    Say it did so a little time before 2880
    That our great grandsire, Edward, sick'd and died.
  • Henry IV. I pray you take me up, and bear me hence
    Into some other chamber. Softly, pray. Exeunt 2885