King Henry IV, Part 2 (c. 1598)

 


Illustration from Cassel's History of Englad, Century Edition, c. 1902" style="width: 185px; height: 180px; float: right;" class="PopBoxImageSmall" title="Click to magnify/shrink" onclick="Pop(this,50,'/');"/>ACT ONE

INDUCTION

Warkworth. Before the castle.

 

[Enter Rumour, painted full of tongues.]

 

RUMOUR.

Open your ears; for which of you will stop
The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks?
I, from the orient to the drooping west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
I speak of peace, while covert emnity
Under the smile of safety wounds the world:
And who but Rumour, who but only I,
Make fearful musters and prepared defence,
Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief,
Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
My well-known body to anatomize
Among my household? Why is Rumour here?
I run before King Harry's victory;
Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury
Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops,
Quenching the flame of bold rebellion
Even with the rebels' blood. But what mean I
To speak so true at first? my office is
To noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fell
Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword,
And that the king before the Douglas' rage
Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death.
This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns
Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,
Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
Lies crafty-sick: the posts come tiring on,
And not a man of them brings other news
Than they have learn'd of me: from Rumour's tongues
They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.

[Exit.]

 

ACT ONE

SCENE 1. The same.

[Enter Lord Bardolph.]

LORD BARDOLPH.

Who keeps the gate here, ho?

[The Porter opens the gate.]

Where is the earl?

PORTER.

What shall I say you are?

LORD BARDOLPH.

Tell thou the earl
That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.

PORTER.

His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard:
Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,
And he himself will answer.

[Enter Northumberland.]

LORD BARDOLPH.

Here comes the earl.

[Exit Porter.]

NORTHUMBERLAND.

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.

LORD BARDOLPH.

Noble earl,
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Good, an God will!

LORD BARDOLPH.

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 Caesar's fortunes!

NORTHUMBERLAND.

How is this derived?
Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury?

LORD BARDOLPH.

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.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Here comes my servant Travers, whom I sent
On Tuesday last to listen after news.

[Enter Travers.]

LORD BARDOLPH.

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.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Now, Travers, what good tidings comes with you?

TRAVERS.

My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better horsed,
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.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Ha! Again:
Said he young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur Coldspur? that rebellion
Had met ill luck?

LORD BARDOLPH.

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.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Why should that gentleman that rode by Travers
Give then such instances of loss?

LORD BARDOLPH.

Who, he?
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.

[Enter Morton.]

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strand whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
MORTON. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask
To fright our party.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

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 dread in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him half his Troy was burnt;
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 my ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with "Brother, son, and all are dead."

MORTON.

Douglas is living, and your brother, yet:
But, for my lord your son,—

NORTHUMBERLAND.

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 an earl his divination lies,
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace
And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.

MORTON.

You are too great to be by me gainsaid:
Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
I see a strange confession in thine eye;
Thou shakest 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 tolling a departing friend.

LORD BARDOLPH.

I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.

MORTON.

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 outbreathed,
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.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

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 enraged 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 enraged Northumberland!
Let heaven kiss earth! now let not Nature's hand
Keep the wild flood confined! 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!

TRAVERS.

This strained passion doth you wrong, my lord.

LORD BARDOLPH.

Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honour.

MORTON.

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 advised his flesh was capable
Of wounds and scars and that his forward spirit
Would lift him where most trade of danger ranged:
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?

LORD BARDOLPH.

We all that are engaged to this loss
Knew that we ventured on such dangerous seas
That if we wrought out life 'twas ten to one;
And yet we ventured, for the gain proposed
Choked the respect of likely peril fear'd;
And since we are o'erset, venture again.
Come, we will put forth, body and goods.

MORTON.

'Tis more than time: and, my most noble lord,
I hear for certain, and dare 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:
Supposed 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, scraped 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.

NORTHUMBERLAND.

I knew of this before; but, to speak truth,
This present grief had wiped 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.

[Exeunt.]

 

SCENE 2. London. A street.

[Enter Falstaff, with his Page bearing his sword and buckler.]

FALSTAFF.

Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water?

PAGE.

He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy water; but,
for the party that owed it, he might have moe diseases than he
knew for.

FALSTAFF.

Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me: the brain of
this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent any thing
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 judgement. 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 inset 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, 'tis not a hair amiss yet:
he may keep it still at a face-royal, for a barber shall never earn
sixpence out of it; and yet he'll be crowing as if he had writ man ever
since his father was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace, but he's
almost out of mine, I can assure him. What said Master Dombledon about
the satin for my short cloak and my slops?

PAGE.

He said, sir, you should procure him better assurance than Bardolph:
he would not take his band and yours; he liked not the security.

FALSTAFF.

Let him be damned, like the glutton! pray God 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 through 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?

PAGE.

He's gone into Smithfield to buy your worship a horse.

FALSTAFF.

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 the Lord Chief-Justice and Servant.]

PAGE. Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the Prince for

striking him about Bardolph.

FALSTAFF.

Wait close; I will not see him.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

What's he that goes there?

SERVANT.

Falstaff, an 't please your lordship.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

He that was in question for the robbery?

SERVANT.

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.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

What, to York? Call him back again.

SERVANT.

Sir John Falstaff!

FALSTAFF.

Boy, tell him I am deaf.

PAGE.

You must speak louder; my master is deaf.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

I am sure he is, to the hearing of anything good.
Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him.

SERVANT.

Sir John!

FALSTAFF.

What! a young knave, and begging! Is there not wars? is
there not employment? doth not the king lack subjects? do not the
rebels need 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.

SERVANT.

You mistake me, sir.

FALSTAFF.

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.

SERVANT.

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.

FALSTAFF.

I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that which grows to me!
If thou gettest any leave of me, hang me; if thou takest leave,
thou wert better be hanged. You hunt counter: hence! avaunt!

SERVANT.

Sir, my lord would speak with you.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.

FALSTAFF.

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.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

Sir John, I sent for you before your expedition to Shrewsbury.

FALSTAFF.

An 't please your lordship, I hear his majesty is returned
with some discomfort from Wales.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

I talk not of his majesty: you would not come when I
sent for you.

FALSTAFF.

And I hear, moreover, his highness is fall'n into this same
whoreson apoplexy.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

Well God mend him! I pray you, let me speak with you.

FALSTAFF.

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.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

What tell you me of it? be it as it is.

FALSTAFF.

It hath it 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.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

I think you are fallen into the disease, for you hear not
what I say to you.

FALSTAFF.

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.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

To punish you by the heels would amend the attention
of your ears; and I care not if I do become your physician.

FALSTAFF.

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.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

I sent for you, when there were matters against you
for your life, to come speak with me.

FALSTAFF.

As I was then advised by my learned counsel in the laws
of this land-service, I did not come.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

Well, the truth is, Sir John, you live in great infamy.

FALSTAFF.

He that buckles himself in my belt cannot live in less.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

Your means are very slender, and your waste is great.

FALSTAFF.

I would it were otherwise; I would my means were greater,
and my waist slenderer.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

You have misled the youthful prince.

FALSTAFF.

The young prince hath misled me: I am the fellow with the
great belly, and he my dog.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

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 Gad's-hill: you may thank the unquiet time for your quiet
o'er-posting that action.

FALSTAFF.

My lord?

CHIEF JUSTICE.

But since all is well, keep it so: wake not a sleeping wolf.

FALSTAFF.

To wake a wolf is as bad as smell a fox.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

What! you are as a candle, the better part burnt out.

FALSTAFF.

A wassail candle, my lord, all tallow: if I did say of wax, my
growth would approve the truth.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

There is not a white hair in your face but should have his
effect of gravity.

FALSTAFF.

His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

You follow the young prince up and down, like his ill angel.

FALSTAFF.

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 do 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.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

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!

FALSTAFF.

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 halloing and singing of anthems. To approve my
youth further, I will not: the truth is, I am only old in judgement
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 of 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.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

Well, God send the prince a better companion!

FALSTAFF.

God send the companion a better prince! I cannot rid my hands of him.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

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.

FALSTAFF.

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
any thing but a 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 alway yet the trick of
our English nation, if they have a good thing, to make it too common.
If ye 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 a rust than to be scoured to
nothing with perpetual motion.

CHIEF JUSTICE.

Well, be honest, be honest; and God bless your expedition!

FALSTAFF.

Will your lordship lend me a thousand pound to furnish me forth?

CHIEF JUSTICE.

Not a penny, not a penny; you are too impatient to bear crosses.
Fare you well: commend me to my cousin Westmoreland.

[Exeunt Chief-Justice and Servant.]

FALSTAFF.

If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A man can no more separate
age and covetousness than 'a 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!

PAGE.

Sir?

FALSTAFF.

What money is in my purse?

PAGE.

Seven groats and two pence.

FALSTAFF.

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 of my chin. About it: you know where to find me.

[Exit Page.]

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 any thing: I will turn
diseases to commodity.

[Exit.]

 

SCENE 3. York. The Archbishop's palace.

[Enter the Archbishop, the Lords Hastings, Mowbray, Bardolph.]

ARCHBISHOP.

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?

MOWBRAY.

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.

HASTINGS.

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.

LORD BARDOLPH.

The question then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus:
Whether our present five and twenty thousand
May hold up head without Northumberland?

HASTINGS.

With him, we may.

LORD BARDOLPH.

Yea, marry, there 's the point:
But if without him we be thought too feeble,
My judgement is, we should not step too far
Till we had his assistance by the hand;
For in a theme so bloody-faced as this
Conjecture, expectation, and surmise
Of aids incertain should not be admitted.

ARCHBISHOP.

'Tis very true, Lord Bardolph; for indeed
It was young Hotspur's case at Shrewsbury.

LORD BARDOLPH.

It was, my lord; who lined himself with hope,
Eating the air on promise of supply,
Flattering himself in 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.

HASTINGS.

But, by your leave, it never yet did hurt
To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope.

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 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 we must 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 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
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.

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,
I think we are a body strong enough,
Even as we are, to equal with the king.

LORD BARDOLPH.

What, is the king but five and twenty thousand?

HASTINGS.

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.

ARCHBISHOP.

That he should draw his several strengths together
And come against us in full puissance,
Need not be dreaded.

HASTINGS.

If he should do so,
He leaves his back unarm'd, the French and Welsh
Baying him at the heels: never fear that.

LORD BARDOLPH.

Who is it like should lead his forces hither?

HASTINGS.

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.

ARCHBISHOP.

Let us on,
And publish the occasion of our arms.
The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
Their over-greedy love hath surfeited:
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!
And being now trimm'd in thine own desires,
Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him,
That thou provokest 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 lived, 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,
Criest now "O earth, yield us that king again,
And take thou this!" O thoughts of men accursed!
Past and to come seems best; things present worst.

MOWBRAY.

Shall we go draw our numbers, and set on?

HASTINGS.

We are time's subjects, and time bids be gone.

[Exeunt.]

Act Two »

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