Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 2 (Quarto 1, 1598).


Enter the King in his night-gowne
1421.1
alone.
King Go call the Earles of Surrey and of War.
But ere they come, bid them o're-reade these letters,
And well consider of them, make good speed.
1425How many thousand of my poorest subiects,
Are at this howre asleepe? ô sleepe! ô gentle sleep!
Natures soft nurse, how haue I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eye-liddes downe,
And steep my sences in forgetfulnesse,
1430Why rather sleepe liest thou in smoaky cribbes,
Vpon vneasie pallets stretching thee,
And husht with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Then in the perfumde chambers of the great,
Vnder the canopies of costly state,
1435And lulld with sound of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why li'ste thou with the vile
In lothsome beds, and leauest the kingly couch,
A watch-case, or a common larum bell?
Wilt thou vpon the high and giddy masse,
1440Seale vp the ship-boies eies, and rocke his braines,
In cradle of the rude imperious surge,
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian pillowes by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
1445VVith deaffing clamour in the slippery clouds,
That with the hurly death it selfe awakes?
Canst thou, ô partiall sleepe, giue them repose,
To the wet season in an howre so rude,
And in the calmest, and most stillest night,
1450VVith al appliances and meanes to boote,
Deny it to a King? then (happy) low lie downe,
Vneasie lies the head that weares a crowne.
Enter Warwike, Surry, and sir Iohn
1453.1
Blunt.
War. Many good morrowes to your maiestie.
1455King Is it good morrow lords?
War. Tis one a clocke, and past.
King VVhy then good morrow to you all my lords.
Haue you read ore the letter that I sent you?
War. VVe haue my liege.
1460King Then you perceiue the body of our kingdome,
How foule it is, what rancke diseases grow,
And with what danger neare the heart of it.
War. It is but as a body yet distempered,
VVhich to his former strength may be restored,
1465VVith good aduise and little medicine,
My Lord Northumberland wil soone be coold.
King O God that one might reade the booke of fate,
And see the reuolution of the times,
Make mountaines leuell, and the continent
1470Weary of solide firmenesse melt it selfe
Into the sea, and other times to see,
The beachie girdle of the ocean,
Too wide for Neptunes hips, how chances mockes,
And changes fill the cup of alteration,
1475With diuers liquors! O if this were seene,
1475.1The happiest youth viewing his progresse through,
What perills past, what crosses to ensue?
Would shut the booke and sit him downe and die:
Tis not ten yeeres gone,
Since Richard and Northumberland great friends,
Did feast togither, and in two yeare after,
Were they at warres: it is but eight yeares since,
This Percie was the man neerest my soule,
1480Who like a brother toyld in my affaires;
And laied his loue and life vnder my foote,
Yea for my sake, euen to the eyes of Richard,
Gaue him defyance: but which of you was by?
You cousen Neuel, (as I may remember)
1485When Richard with his eye-brimme full of teares,
Then checkt and rated by Northumberland,
Did speake these wordes now proou'd a prophecie:
Northumberland, thou ladder by the which
My cousen Bolingbrooke ascends my throne,
1490(Though then (God knowes) I had no such intent,
But that necessitie so bowed the state,
That I and greatnesse were compeld to kisse.)
The time shall come, thus did he follow it,
The time wil come, that foule sin gathering head,
1495Shall breake into corruption: so went on,
Fortelling this same times condition,
And the deuision of our amitie.
War. There is a historie in all mens liues,
Figuring the natures of the times deceast:
1500The which obseru'd, a man may prophecie,
With a neere ayme of the maine chance of things,
As yet not come to life, who in their seedes,
And weake beginning lie intreasured:
Such thinges become the hatch and broode of time,
1505And by the necessary forme of this,
King Richard might create a perfect guesse,
That great Northumberland then false to him,
Would of that seede growe to a greater falsenesse,
Which should not find a ground to roote vpon
1510Vnlesse on you.
King. Are these thinges then necessities,
Then let vs meet them like necessities,
And that same word euen now cries out on vs:
They say the Bishop and Northumberland,
1515Are fiftie thousand strong.
War. It cannot be my Lord,
Rumour doth double like the voice, and eccho
The numbers of the feared, please it your grace,
To go to bedde: vpon my soule, my Lord,
1520The Powers that you alreadie haue sent foorth,
Shall bring this prise in very easily:
To comfort you the more, I haue receiued,
A certain instance that Glendour is dead:
Your Maiestie hath beene this fortnight ill,
1525And these vnseasoned howers perforce must adde
Vnto your sicknesse.
King. I will take your counsaile,
And were these inward warres once out of hand,
We would (deare Lords) vnto the holy land.
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