Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 2 (Modern).


[1.3]
Enter th'Archbishop, Thomas Mowbray (Earl Marshal), the Lord Hastings, and [Lord] 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?
505Mowbray 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.
510Hastings 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 incensèd fire of injuries.
515Lord 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.
520But 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
525Of aids incertain should not be admitted.
Archbishop 'Tis very true, Lord Bardolph, for indeed
It was young Hotspur's cause at Shrewsbury.
Lord Bardolph It was, my lord, who lined himself with hope,
Eating the air and promise of supply,
530Flatt'ring 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, leapt into destruction.
535Hastings 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
540We see th'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,
545Then must we rate the cost of the erection,
Which if we find out-weighs 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 --
550Which 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,
555How 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 an house
560Beyond 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,
565Should be stillborn, and that we now possessed
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?
570Hastings 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
575In 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 to be dreaded.
580Hastings
If he should do so,
He leaves his back unarmed, 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 Westmorland;
585Against the Welsh, himself and Harry Monmouth;
But who is substituted against the French
I have no certain notice.
Archbishop
Let us on,
And publish the occasion of our arms.
590The 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
595Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke,
Before he was what thou would'st have him be!
And being now trimmed in thine own desires,
Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him
That thou provok'st thyself to cast him up.
600So, so, thou common dog, did'st 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,
605Are now become enamoured on his grave.
Thou, that threw'st dust upon his goodly head
When through proud London he came sighing on
After th'admirèd heels of Bolingbroke,
Criest now: "O Earth, yield us that king again
610And 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.