List iconHenry IV, Part 2List icon

Henry IV, Part 2
Act 1, scene 1

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Henry IV, Part 2, continues the story of Henry IV, Part I. Northumberland learns that his son Hotspur is dead, and…

Induction

Following the battle of Shrewsbury (where King Henry and Prince Hal were victorious and Hotspur killed), Rumor spreads the false…

Act 1, scene 1

Northumberland, who had pleaded illness as an excuse for not appearing at the battle of Shrewsbury, learns that his son,…

Act 1, scene 2

Sir John Falstaff is confronted by the Lord Chief Justice. Since Falstaff has come away from Shrewsbury with the reputation…

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…

Act 2, scene 1

Sir John is arrested for the debt he owes Mistress Quickly. He persuades her to drop the charges and to…

Act 2, scene 2

Learning that Falstaff will be dining that night in Eastcheap, Prince Hal and Poins decide to disguise themselves as waiters…

Act 2, scene 3

Northumberland is persuaded by his daughter-in-law, Hotspur’s widow, to abandon the other rebels.

Act 2, scene 4

At Mistress Quickly’s inn in Eastcheap, a fight erupts after Falstaff ’s ensign, Pistol, insults Doll Tearsheet. The disguised Prince Hal…

Act 3, scene 1

An ill and anxious King Henry IV consults with Warwick.

Act 3, scene 2

On his journey through Gloucestershire, Falstaff selects recruits for the army and decides that, on his return, he will fleece…

Act 4, scene 1

The leaders of the rebellion reach Gaultree Forest, where they present their grievances to Westmoreland. After Prince John promises redress…

Act 4, scene 2

Falstaff meets a rebel knight, who surrenders to him. When Prince John reproaches Falstaff for his late arrival, Falstaff turns…

Act 4, scene 3

Just after receiving the good news about the defeat of all the rebel forces, Henry IV falls into a swoon….

Act 5, scene 1

Falstaff observes Shallow and his servants in order to be ready to entertain Prince Hal with amusing stories.

Act 5, scene 2

Prince Hal reassures an anxious Lord Chief Justice.

Act 5, scene 3

On the news of Henry IV’s death, Falstaff and Shallow set off joyfully for London.

Act 5, scene 4

Doll Tearsheet is arrested.

Act 5, scene 5

The newly crowned King Henry V keeps his word to the Lord Chief Justice.

Epilogue

The speaker apologizes for the play and promises another play with Falstaff in it.

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Scene 1
Enter the Lord Bardolph at one door.

LORD BARDOLPH 
 Who keeps the gate here, ho?

Enter the Porter.

 Where is the Earl?
PORTER 
 What shall I say you are?
LORD BARDOLPH  Tell thou the Earl
5 That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.
PORTER 
 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, his head wrapped in a
kerchief and supporting himself with a crutch.


LORD BARDOLPH  Here comes the Earl.
Porter exits.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
10 What news, Lord Bardolph? Every minute now
 Should be the father of some stratagem.
 The times are wild. Contention, like a horse
11

13
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 1

 Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose
 And bears down all before him.
LORD BARDOLPH 15 Noble earl,
 I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
 Good, an God will!
LORD BARDOLPH  As good as heart can wish.
 The King is almost wounded to the death,
20 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
 And Westmoreland and Stafford fled the field;
 And Harry Monmouth’s brawn, the hulk Sir John,
25 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
 Since Caesar’s fortunes.
NORTHUMBERLAND  How is this derived?
30 Saw you the field? Came you from Shrewsbury?
LORD BARDOLPH 
 I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence,
 A gentleman well bred and of good name,
 That freely rendered me these news for true.

Enter Travers.

NORTHUMBERLAND 
 Here comes my servant Travers, who I sent
35 On Tuesday last to listen after news.
LORD BARDOLPH 
 My lord, I overrode him on the way,
 And he is furnished with no certainties
 More than he haply may retail from me.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
 Now, Travers, what good tidings comes with you?
TRAVERS 
40 My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turned me back

15
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 1

 With joyful tidings and, being better horsed,
 Outrode me. After him came spurring hard
 A gentleman, almost forspent with speed,
 That stopped by me to breathe his bloodied horse.
45 He asked the way to Chester, and of him
 I did demand what news from Shrewsbury.
 He 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
50 And, bending forward, struck his armèd heels
 Against the panting sides of his poor jade
 Up to the rowel-head, and starting so
 He seemed in running to devour the way,
 Staying no longer question.
NORTHUMBERLAND 55 Ha? Again:
 Said he young Harry Percy’s spur was cold?
 Of Hotspur, Coldspur? That rebellion
 Had met ill luck?
LORD BARDOLPH  My lord, I’ll tell you what:
60 If my young lord your son have not the day,
 Upon mine honor, for a silken point
 I’ll give my barony. Never talk of it.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
 Why should that gentleman that rode by Travers
 Give then such instances of loss?
LORD BARDOLPH 65 Who, he?
 He was some hilding fellow that had stol’n
 The horse he rode on and, upon my life,
 Spoke at a venture.

Enter Morton.

 Look, here comes more news.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
70 Yea, this man’s brow, like to a title leaf,
 Foretells the nature of a tragic volume.

17
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 1

 So looks the strand whereon the imperious flood
 Hath left a witnessed usurpation.—
 Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
MORTON 
75 I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord,
 Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask
 To fright our party.
NORTHUMBERLAND  How doth my son and brother?
 Thou tremblest, and the whiteness in thy cheek
80 Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
 Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
 So dull, so dead in look, so woebegone,
 Drew Priam’s curtain in the dead of night
 And would have told him half his Troy was burnt;
85 But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue,
 And I my Percy’s death ere thou report’st it.
 This 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.
90 But in the end, to stop my ear indeed,
 Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
 Ending with “Brother, son, and all are dead.”
MORTON 
 Douglas is living, and your brother yet,
 But for my lord your son—
NORTHUMBERLAND 95 Why, he is dead.
 See what a ready tongue suspicion hath!
 He that but fears the thing he would not know
 Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others’ eyes
 That what he feared is chancèd. Yet speak,
100 Morton.
 Tell thou an earl his divination lies,
 And I will take it as a sweet disgrace
 And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
MORTON 
 You are too great to be by me gainsaid,
105 Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.

19
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 1

NORTHUMBERLAND 
 Yet, for all this, say not that Percy’s dead.
 I see a strange confession in thine eye.
 Thou shak’st thy head and hold’st it fear or sin
 To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so.
110 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.
 Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
 Hath but a losing office, and his tongue
115 Sounds ever after as a sullen bell
 Remembered tolling a departing friend.
LORD BARDOLPH 
 I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
MORTON, to Northumberland 
 I am sorry I should force you to believe
 That which I would to God I had not seen,
120 But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,
 Rend’ring faint quittance, wearied and outbreathed,
 To Harry Monmouth, whose swift wrath beat down
 The never-daunted Percy to the earth,
 From whence with life he never more sprung up.
125 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
 From the best-tempered courage in his troops;
 For from his mettle was his party steeled,
130 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
 Upon enforcement flies with greatest speed,
 So did our men, heavy in Hotspur’s loss,
135 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,

21
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 1

 Fly from the field. Then was that noble Worcester
 So soon ta’en prisoner; and that furious Scot,
140 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
 Of those that turned their backs and in his flight,
 Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
145 Is that the King hath won and hath sent out
 A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
 Under the conduct of young Lancaster
 And Westmoreland. This is the news at full.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
 For this I shall have time enough to mourn.
150 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.
 And as the wretch whose fever-weakened joints,
 Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,
155 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,
 Are thrice themselves. Hence therefore, thou
160 nice crutch.He throws down his crutch.
 A scaly gauntlet now with joints of steel
 Must glove this hand. And hence, thou sickly
 coif.He removes his kerchief.
 Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
165 Which princes, fleshed with conquest, aim to hit.
 Now 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
170 Keep the wild flood confined. Let order die,
 And let this world no longer be a stage

23
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 1

 To feed contention in a lingering act;
 But let one spirit of the firstborn Cain
 Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set
175 On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
 And darkness be the burier of the dead.
LORD BARDOLPH 
 [This strainèd passion doth you wrong, my lord.]
MORTON 
 Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honor.
 The lives of all your loving complices
180 Lean on your health, the which, if you give o’er
 To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
 You cast th’ event of war, my noble lord,
 And summed the accompt of chance before you
 said
185 “Let us make head.” It was your presurmise
 That in the dole of blows your son might drop.
 You knew he walked o’er perils on an edge,
 More likely to fall in than to get o’er.
 You were advised his flesh was capable
190 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,
 Though strongly apprehended, could restrain
195 The stiff-borne action. What hath then befall’n,
 Or what did this bold enterprise bring forth,
 More than that being which was like to be?
LORD BARDOLPH 
 We all that are engagèd to this loss
 Knew that we ventured on such dangerous seas
200 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.
 Come, we will all put forth, body and goods.

25
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 1

MORTON 
205 ’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
 Who with a double surety binds his followers.
210 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,
 And they did fight with queasiness, constrained,
215 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
220 Turns 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
225 stones;
 Derives 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.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
230 I knew of this before, but, to speak truth,
 This 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.
235 Never so few, and never yet more need.
They exit.