Henry IV, Part 2 - Act 1, scene 3
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Act 1, scene 3
At York, the Archbishop discusses with Mowbray, Hastings, and Lord Bardolph whether they can defeat the king’s forces if their ally Northumberland, whose forces are strongest, does not appear. After comforting themselves by observing that the king’s army is divided so as to fight on three fronts, they set out to win the common people to their cause.Enter th’ Archbishop ⌜of York,⌝ Thomas Mowbray (Earl
Marshal), the Lord Hastings, and ⟨Lord⟩ Bardolph.
0534 Thus have you heard our cause and known our
0536 And, my most noble friends, I pray you all
0537 Speak plainly your opinions of our hopes.
0538 5 And first, Lord Marshal, what say you to it?
0539 I well allow the occasion of our arms,
0540 But gladly would be better satisfied
0541 How in our means we should advance ourselves
0542 To look with forehead bold and big enough
0543 10 Upon the power and puissance of the King.
0544 Our present musters grow upon the file
0546 And our supplies live largely in the hope
0547 Of great Northumberland, whose bosom burns
0548 15 With an incensèd fire of injuries.
0549 The question, then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus:
0550 Whether our present five-and-twenty thousand
0551 May hold up head without Northumberland.
0552 With him we may.
LORD BARDOLPH 0553 20 Yea, marry, there’s the point.
0554 But if without him we be thought too feeble,
0555 My judgment is we should not step too far
0556 ⟨Till we had his assistance by the hand.
0557 For in a theme so bloody-faced as this,
0558 25 Conjecture, expectation, and surmise
0559 Of aids incertain should not be admitted.⟩
0560 ’Tis very true, Lord Bardolph, for indeed
0561 It was young Hotspur’s cause at Shrewsbury.
0562 It was, my lord; who lined himself with hope,
0563 30 Eating the air and promise of supply,
0564 Flatt’ring himself in project of a power
0565 Much smaller than the smallest of his thoughts,
0566 And so, with great imagination
0567 Proper to madmen, led his powers to death
0568 35 And, winking, leapt into destruction.
0569 But, by your leave, it never yet did hurt
0570 To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope.
0571 ⟨Yes, if this present quality of war —
0572 Indeed the instant action, a cause on foot—
0573 40 Lives so in hope, as in an early spring
0574 We see th’ appearing buds, which to prove fruit
0576 That frosts will bite them. When we mean to build,
0577 We first survey the plot, then draw the model,
0578 45 And when we see the figure of the house,
0579 Then must we rate the cost of the erection,
0580 Which if we find outweighs ability,
0581 What do we then but draw anew the model
0582 In fewer offices, or at least desist
0583 50 To build at all? Much more in this great work,
0584 Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down
0585 And set another up, should we survey
0586 The plot of situation and the model,
0587 Consent upon a sure foundation,
0588 55 Question surveyors, know our own estate,
0589 How able such a work to undergo,
0590 To weigh against his opposite. Or else⟩
0591 We fortify in paper and in figures,
0592 Using the names of men instead of men,
0593 60 Like one that draws the model of an house
0594 Beyond his power to build it, who, half through,
0595 Gives o’er and leaves his part-created cost
0596 A naked subject to the weeping clouds
0597 And waste for churlish winter’s tyranny.
0598 65 Grant that our hopes, yet likely of fair birth,
0599 Should be stillborn and that we now possessed
0600 The utmost man of expectation,
0601 I think we are ⟨a⟩ body strong enough,
0602 Even as we are, to equal with the King.
0603 70 What, is the King but five-and-twenty thousand?
0604 To us no more, nay, not so much, Lord Bardolph,
0605 For his divisions, as the times do brawl,
0606 ⟨Are⟩ in three heads: one power against the French,
0607 And one against Glendower; perforce a third
0609 In three divided, and his coffers sound
0610 With hollow poverty and emptiness.
0611 That he should draw his several strengths together
0612 And come against us in full puissance
0613 80 Need not to be dreaded.
HASTINGS 0614 If he should do so,
0615 ⟨He leaves his back unarmed, the French and Welsh⟩
0616 Baying him at the heels. Never fear that.
0617 Who is it like should lead his forces hither?
0618 85 The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland;
0619 Against the Welsh, himself and Harry Monmouth;
0620 But who is substituted against the French
0621 I have no certain notice.
⟨ARCHBISHOP 0622 Let us on,
0623 90 And publish the occasion of our arms.
0624 The commonwealth is sick of their own choice.
0625 Their over-greedy love hath surfeited.
0626 An habitation giddy and unsure
0627 Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.
0628 95 O thou fond many, with what loud applause
0629 Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke
0630 Before he was what thou wouldst have him be.
0631 And being now trimmed in thine own desires,
0632 Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him
0633 100 That thou provok’st thyself to cast him up.
0634 So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge
0635 Thy glutton bosom of the royal Richard,
0636 And now thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up
0637 And howl’st to find it. What trust is in these
0638 105 times?
0639 They that, when Richard lived, would have him die
0640 Are now become enamored on his grave.
0642 When through proud London he came sighing on
0643 110 After th’ admirèd heels of Bolingbroke,
0644 Criest now “O earth, yield us that king again,
0645 And take thou this!” O thoughts of men accursed!
0646 Past and to come seems best; things present,
0648 115 Shall we go draw our numbers and set on?
0649 We are time’s subjects, and time bids begone.