List iconHenry IV, Part 2List icon

Henry IV, Part 2
Act 3, 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 King in his nightgown with a Page.

KING 
 Go call the Earls of Surrey and of Warwick;
 But, ere they come, bid them o’erread these letters
 And well consider of them. Make good speed.
Page exits.
 How many thousand of my poorest subjects
5 Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
 Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
 That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
 And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
 Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
10 Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
 And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
 Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
 Under the canopies of costly state,
 And lulled with sound of sweetest melody?
15 O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile
 In loathsome beds and leavest the kingly couch
 A watch-case or a common ’larum bell?
 Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
 Seal up the shipboy’s eyes and rock his brains
20 In cradle of the rude imperious surge
 And in the visitation of the winds,
109

111
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
 Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them
 With deafing clamor in the slippery clouds
25 That with the hurly death itself awakes?
 Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
 To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
 And, in the calmest and most stillest night,
 With all appliances and means to boot,
30 Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down.
 Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Enter Warwick, Surrey and Sir John Blunt.

WARWICK 
 Many good morrows to your Majesty.
KING Is it good morrow, lords?
WARWICK ’Tis one o’clock, and past.
KING 
35 Why then, good morrow to you all, my lords.
 Have you read o’er the letter that I sent you?
WARWICK We have, my liege.
KING 
 Then you perceive the body of our kingdom
 How foul it is, what rank diseases grow,
40 And with what danger near the heart of it.
WARWICK 
 It is but as a body yet distempered,
 Which to his former strength may be restored
 With good advice and little medicine.
 My Lord Northumberland will soon be cooled.
KING 
45 O God, that one might read the book of fate
 And see the revolution of the times
 Make mountains level, and the continent,
 Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
 Into the sea, and other times to see

113
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 1

50 The beachy girdle of the ocean
 Too wide for Neptune’s hips; how chance’s mocks
 And changes fill the cup of alteration
 With divers liquors! [O, if this were seen,
 The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,
55 What perils past, what crosses to ensue,
 Would shut the book and sit him down and die.]
 ’Tis not ten years gone
 Since Richard and Northumberland, great friends,
 Did feast together, and in two years after
60 Were they at wars. It is but eight years since
 This Percy was the man nearest my soul,
 Who like a brother toiled in my affairs
 And laid his love and life under my foot,
 Yea, for my sake, even to the eyes of Richard
65 Gave him defiance. But which of you was by—
 To Warwick. You, cousin Nevil, as I may
 remember—
 When Richard, with his eye brimful of tears,
 Then checked and rated by Northumberland,
70 Did speak these words, now proved a prophecy?
 “Northumberland, thou ladder by the which
 My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my throne”—
 Though then, God knows, I had no such intent,
 But that necessity so bowed the state
75 That I and greatness were compelled to kiss—
 “The time shall come,” thus did he follow it,
 “The time will come that foul sin, gathering head,
 Shall break into corruption”—so went on,
 Foretelling this same time’s condition
80 And the division of our amity.
WARWICK 
 There is a history in all men’s lives
 Figuring the natures of the times deceased,
 The which observed, a man may prophesy,
 With a near aim, of the main chance of things

115
Henry IV, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 1

85 As yet not come to life, who in their seeds
 And weak beginning lie intreasurèd.
 Such things become the hatch and brood of time,
 And by the necessary form of this,
 King Richard might create a perfect guess
90 That great Northumberland, then false to him,
 Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness,
 Which should not find a ground to root upon
 Unless on you.
KING  Are these things then necessities?
95 Then let us meet them like necessities.
 And that same word even now cries out on us.
 They say the Bishop and Northumberland
 Are fifty thousand strong.
WARWICK  It cannot be, my lord.
100 Rumor doth double, like the voice and echo,
 The numbers of the feared. Please it your Grace
 To go to bed. Upon my soul, my lord,
 The powers that you already have sent forth
 Shall bring this prize in very easily.
105 To comfort you the more, I have received
 A certain instance that Glendower is dead.
 Your Majesty hath been this fortnight ill,
 And these unseasoned hours perforce must add
 Unto your sickness.
KING 110 I will take your counsel.
 And were these inward wars once out of hand,
 We would, dear lords, unto the Holy Land.
They exit.