Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > 2 King Henry IV.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth
Act IV. Scene IV.
Westminster.  The Jerusalem Chamber.
  K. Hen.  Now, lords, if God doth give successful end
To this debate that bleedeth at our doors,
We will our youth lead on to higher fields        5
And draw no swords but what are sanctified.
Our navy is address’d, our power collected,
Our substitutes in absence well invested,
And everything lies level to our wish:
Only, we want a little personal strength;        10
And pause us, till these rebels, now afoot,
Come underneath the yoke of government.
  War.  Both which we doubt not but your majesty
Shall soon enjoy.
  K. Hen.  Humphrey, my son of Gloucester,        15
Where is the prince your brother?
  Glo.  I think he’s gone to hunt, my lord, at Windsor.
  K. Hen.  And how accompanied?
  Glo.        I do not know, my lord.
  K. Hen.  Is not his brother Thomas of Clarence with him?        20
  Glo.  No, my good lord; he is in presence here.
  Cla.  What would my lord and father?
  K. Hen.  Nothing but well to thee, Thomas of Clarence.
How chance thou art not with the prince thy brother?
He loves thee, and thou dost neglect him, Thomas;        25
Thou hast a better place in his affection
Than all thy brothers: cherish it, my boy,
And noble offices thou mayst effect
Of mediation, after I am dead,
Between his greatness and thy other brethren:        30
Therefore omit him not; blunt not his love,
Nor lose the good advantage of his grace
By seeming cold or careless of his will;
For he is gracious, if he be observ’d:
He hath a tear for pity and a hand        35
Open as day for melting charity;
Yet, notwithstanding, being incens’d, he’s flint;
As humorous as winter, and as sudden
As flaws congealed in the spring of day.
His temper therefore must be well observ’d:        40
Chide him for faults, and do it reverently,
When you perceive his blood inclin’d to mirth;
But, being moody, give him line and scope,
Till that his passion like a whale on ground,
Confound themselves with working. Learn this, Thomas,        45
And thou shalt prove a shelter to thy friends,
A hoop of gold to bind thy brothers in,
That the united vessel of their blood,
Mingled with venom of suggestion—
As, force perforce, the age will pour it in—        50
Shall never leak, though it do work as strong
As aconitum or rash gunpowder.
  Cla.  I shall observe him with all care and love.
  K. Hen.  Why art thou not at Windsor with him, Thomas?
  Cla.  He is not there to-day; he dines in London.        55
  K. Hen.  And how accompanied? canst thou tell that?
  Cla.  With Poins and other his continual followers.
  K. Hen.  Most subject is the fattest soil to weeds;
And he, the noble image of my youth,
Is overspread with them: therefore my grief        60
Stretches itself beyond the hour of death:
The blood weeps from my heart when I do shape
In forms imaginary the unguided days
And rotten times that you shall look upon
When I am sleeping with my ancestors.        65
For when his headstrong riot hath no curb,
When rage and hot blood are his counsellors,
When means and lavish manners meet together,
O! with what wings shall his affections fly
Towards fronting peril and oppos’d decay.        70
  War.  My gracious lord, you look beyond him quite:
The prince but studies his companions
Like a strange tongue, wherein, to gain the language,
’Tis needful that the most immodest word
Be look’d upon, and learn’d; which once attain’d,        75
Your highness knows, comes to no further use
But to be known and hated. So, like gross terms,
The prince will in the perfectness of time
Cast off his followers; and their memory
Shall as a pattern or a measure live,        80
By which his Grace must mete the lives of others,
Turning past evils to advantages.
  K. Hen.  ’Tis seldom when the bee doth leave her comb
In the dead carrion.
        Who’s here? Westmoreland!
  West.  Health to my sovereign, and new happiness
Added to that that I am to deliver!
Prince John your son doth kiss your Grace’s hand:
Mowbray, the Bishop Scroop, Hastings and all        90
Are brought to the correction of your law.
There is not now a rebel’s sword unsheath’d,
But Peace puts forth her olive everywhere.
The manner how this action hath been borne
Here at more leisure may your highness read,        95
With every course in his particular.
  K. Hen.  O Westmoreland! thou art a summer bird,
Which ever in the haunch of winter sings
The lifting up of day.
        Look! here’s more news.
  Har.  From enemies heaven keep your majesty;
And, when they stand against you, may they fall
As those that I am come to tell you of!
The Earl Northumberland, and the Lord Bar dolph,        105
With a great power of English and of Scots,
Are by the sheriff of Yorkshire overthrown.
The manner and true order of the fight
This packet, please it you, contains at large.
  K. Hen.  And wherefore should these good news make me sick?        110
Will Fortune never come with both hands full
But write her fair words still in foulest letters?
She either gives a stomach and no food;
Such are the poor, in health; or else a feast
And takes away the stomach; such are the rich,        115
That have abundance and enjoy it not.
I should rejoice now at this happy news,
And now my sight fails, and my brain is giddy.
O me! come near me, now I am much ill.
  Glo.  Comfort, your majesty!        120
  Cla.        O my royal father!
  West.  My sovereign lord, cheer up yourself: look up!
  War.  Be patient, princes: you do know these fits
Are with his highness very ordinary:
Stand from him, give him air; he’ll straight be well.        125
  Cla.  No, no; he cannot long hold out these pangs:
The incessant care and labour of his mind
Hath wrought the mure that should confine it in
So thin, that life looks through and will break out.
  Glo.  The people fear me; for they do observe        130
Unfather’d heirs and loathly births of nature:
The seasons change their manners, as the year
Had found some months asleep and leap’d them over.
  Cla.  The river hath thrice flow’d, no ebb between;
And the old folk, time’s doting chronicles,        135
Say it did so a little time before
That our great-grandsire, Edward, sick’d and died.
  War.  Speak lower, princes, for the king recovers.
  Glo.  This apoplexy will certain be his end.
  K. Hen.  I pray you take me up, and bear me hence        140
Into some other chamber: softly, pray.

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