Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 2 (Modern)

Enter the Lord Bardolph at one door [and the Porter at another].
Lord Bardolph
Who keeps the gate here, ho? Where is the earl?
What shall I say you are?
50Lord Bardolph
Tell thou the earl,
That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.
His lordship is walked forth into the orchard,
Please it your honor knock but at the gate
And he himself will answer.
Enter the Earl Northumberland.
Lord Bardolph
Here comes the earl.
[Exit Porter.]
What news Lord Bardolph? Every minute now
Should be the father of some stratagem.
The times are wild; contention like a horse,
60Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.
Lord Bardolph
Noble earl,
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
Good, an god will.
65Lord 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
Killed by the hand of Douglas. Young Prince John,
70And Westmorland 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 followed, and so fairly won,
Came not till now to dignify the times
75Since Caesar's fortunes.
How is this derived?
Saw you the field? Came you from Shrewsbury?
Lord Bardolph
I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence,
Enter Travers.
A gentleman well bred, and of good name,
80That freely rendered me these news for true.
Here comes my servant Travers who I sent
On Tuesday last to listen after news.
Lord Bardolph
My lord, I over-rode him on the way,
85And he is furnished with no certainties,
More than he haply may retail from me.
Now Travers, what good tidings comes with you?
My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turned me back
With joyful tidings, and, being better horsed,
90Out-rode me. After him came spurring hard
A gentleman, almost forespent with speed,
That stopped by me to breathe his bloodied horse.
He asked the way to Chester, and of him
I did demand what news from Shrewsbury.
95He 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 armèd heels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade
100Up to the rowel head, and starting so,
He seemed in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
Northumberland Ha? Again:
Said he young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
105Of 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 honor, for a silken point
110I'll give my barony, never talk of it.
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 stol'n
115The horse he rode on, and upon my life
Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.
Enter Morton.
Yea this man's brow, like to a title leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume,
120So looks the strand whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witnessed usurpation.
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord,
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask
125To fright our party.
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,
130So dull, so dead 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.
135This 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,
140Ending with "brother, son, and all are dead."
Douglas is living, and your brother yet,
But for my lord your son --
Why, he is dead.
See what a ready tongue suspicion hath!
145He that but fears the thing he would not know
Hath by instinct knowledge from others' eyes
That what he feared is chanced. Yet speak, Morton,
Tell thou an Earl his divination lies,
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace,
150And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
You are too great to be by me gainsaid,
Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.
Yet for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
I see a strange confession in thine eye:
155Thou shak'st thy head, and holdst it fear, or sin,
To speak a truth. If he be slain,
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.
160Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office, and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell
Remembered tolling a departing friend.
Lord Bardolph
I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
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 out-breathed,
To Harry Monmouth, whose swift wrath beat down
170The 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
175From the best-tempered courage in his troops.
For from his metal was his party steeled,
Which once in him abated, all the rest
Turned on themselves, like dull and heavy lead.
And as the thing that's heavy in itself
180Upon 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,
185Fly from the field. Then was that noble Worcester
So soon ta'en prisoner, and that furious Scot,
The bloody Douglas, whose well-laboring sword
Had three times slain th'appearance of the king,
Gan vail his stomach, and did grace the shame
190Of those that turned 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
195And Westmorland. This is the news at full.
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.
200And as the wretch whose fever-weakened 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,
Weakened with grief, being now enraged with grief,
205Are thrice themselves. Hence therefore thou nice crutch!
A scaly gauntlet now with joints of steel
Must glove this hand. And hence thou sickly coif!
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
Which princes fleshed with conquest aim to hit.
210Now bind my brows with iron, and approach
The ragged'st hour that time and spite dare bring
To frown upon th'enraged Northumberland!
Let heaven kiss earth, now let not nature's hand
Keep the wild flood confined. Let order die,
215And let this world no longer be a stage,
To feed contention in a ling'ring 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,
220And darkness be the burier of the dead.
This strainèd passion doth you wrong, my lord.
Lord Bardolph
Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honor.
The lives of all your loving complices
Lean on your health, the which, if you give o'er
To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
225You cast th'event of war, my noble lord,
And summed 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
230More 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,
235Though strongly apprehended, could restrain
The stiff-borne action. What hath then befall'n?
Or what hath this bold enterprise brought forth,
More than that being, which was like to be?
Lord Bardolph
We all that are engagèd to this loss
240Knew 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 feared,
And since we are o'erset, venture again.
245Come, we will all put forth, body and goods.
'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
250Who 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,
255And they did fight with queasiness, constrained,
As men drink potions, that their weapons only
Seemed 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
260Turns insurrection to religion.
Supposed sincere and holy in his thoughts,
He's followed both with body and with mind,
And doth enlarge his rising with the blood
Of fair King Richard scraped from Pomfret stones,
265Derives 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.
I knew of this before, but, to speak truth,
270This 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.