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Henry IV, Part 2 - Act 3, scene 1
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Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 3, scene 1
An ill and anxious King Henry IV consults with Warwick.Enter the King in his nightgown ⟨with a Page.⟩
1501 Go call the Earls of Surrey and of Warwick;
1502 But, ere they come, bid them o’erread these letters
1503 And well consider of them. Make good speed.
1504 How many thousand of my poorest subjects
1505 5 Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
1506 Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
1507 That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
1508 And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
1509 Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
1510 10 Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
1511 And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
1512 Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
1513 Under the canopies of costly state,
1514 And lulled with sound of sweetest melody?
1515 15 O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile
1516 In loathsome beds and leavest the kingly couch
1517 A watch-case or a common ’larum bell?
1518 Wilt thou upon the high and giddy ⟨mast⟩
1519 Seal up the shipboy’s eyes and rock his brains
1520 20 In cradle of the rude imperious surge
1521 And in the visitation of the winds,
p. 1111522 Who take the ruffian ⟨billows⟩ by the top,
1523 Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them
1524 With deafing clamor in the slippery clouds
1525 25 That with the hurly death itself awakes?
1526 Canst thou, O partial sleep, give ⟨thy⟩ repose
1527 To the wet ⟨sea-boy⟩ in an hour so rude,
1528 And, in the calmest and most stillest night,
1529 With all appliances and means to boot,
1530 30 Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down.
1531 Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
Enter Warwick, Surrey and Sir John Blunt.
1532 Many good morrows to your Majesty.
KING 1533 Is it good morrow, lords?
WARWICK 1534 ’Tis one o’clock, and past.
1535 35 Why then, good morrow to you all, my lords.
1536 Have you read o’er the letter that I sent you?
WARWICK 1537 We have, my liege.
1538 Then you perceive the body of our kingdom
1539 How foul it is, what rank diseases grow,
1540 40 And with what danger near the heart of it.
1541 It is but as a body yet distempered,
1542 Which to his former strength may be restored
1543 With good advice and little medicine.
1544 My Lord Northumberland will soon be cooled.
1545 45 O God, that one might read the book of fate
1546 And see the revolution of the times
1547 Make mountains level, and the continent,
1548 Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
1549 Into the sea, and other times to see
p. 1131550 50 The beachy girdle of the ocean
1551 Too wide for Neptune’s hips; how chance’s mocks
1552 And changes fill the cup of alteration
1553 With divers liquors! [O, if this were seen,
1554 The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,
1555 55 What perils past, what crosses to ensue,
1556 Would shut the book and sit him down and die.]
1557 ’Tis not ten years gone
1558 Since Richard and Northumberland, great friends,
1559 Did feast together, and in two ⟨years⟩ after
1560 60 Were they at wars. It is but eight years since
1561 This Percy was the man nearest my soul,
1562 Who like a brother toiled in my affairs
1563 And laid his love and life under my foot,
1564 Yea, for my sake, even to the eyes of Richard
1565 65 Gave him defiance. But which of you was by—
1566 ⌜To Warwick.⌝ You, cousin Nevil, as I may
1568 When Richard, with his eye brimful of tears,
1569 Then checked and rated by Northumberland,
1570 70 Did speak these words, now proved a prophecy?
1571 “Northumberland, thou ladder by the which
1572 My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my throne”—
1573 Though then, God knows, I had no such intent,
1574 But that necessity so bowed the state
1575 75 That I and greatness were compelled to kiss—
1576 “The time shall come,” thus did he follow it,
1577 “The time will come that foul sin, gathering head,
1578 Shall break into corruption”—so went on,
1579 Foretelling this same time’s condition
1580 80 And the division of our amity.
1581 There is a history in all men’s lives
1582 Figuring the natures of the times deceased,
1583 The which observed, a man may prophesy,
1584 With a near aim, of the main chance of things
p. 1151585 85 As yet not come to life, who in their seeds
1586 And weak beginning lie intreasurèd.
1587 Such things become the hatch and brood of time,
1588 And by the necessary form of this,
1589 King Richard might create a perfect guess
1590 90 That great Northumberland, then false to him,
1591 Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness,
1592 Which should not find a ground to root upon
1593 Unless on you.
KING 1594 Are these things then necessities?
1595 95 Then let us meet them like necessities.
1596 And that same word even now cries out on us.
1597 They say the Bishop and Northumberland
1598 Are fifty thousand strong.
WARWICK 1599 It cannot be, my lord.
1600 100 Rumor doth double, like the voice and echo,
1601 The numbers of the feared. Please it your Grace
1602 To go to bed. Upon my soul, my lord,
1603 The powers that you already have sent forth
1604 Shall bring this prize in very easily.
1605 105 To comfort you the more, I have received
1606 A certain instance that Glendower is dead.
1607 Your Majesty hath been this fortnight ill,
1608 And these unseasoned hours perforce must add
1609 Unto your sickness.
KING 1610 110 I will take your counsel.
1611 And were these inward wars once out of hand,
1612 We would, dear lords, unto the Holy Land.