Henry IV Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter the ARCHBISHOP of York, Thomas MOWBRAY the Earl Marshal, Lord HASTINGS, and LORD BARDOLPH
The ARCHBISHOP of York, Thomas MOWBRAY the Earl Marshal, Lord HASTINGS and LORD BARDOLPH enter.
Thus have you heard our cause and known our means,
And, my most noble friends, I pray you all
Speak plainly your opinions of our hopes.
And first, Lord Marshal, what say you to it?
So that’s what we’re fighting for, and that’s the kind of support we have. Now please, my noble friends, tell me frankly if you think we have a chance. First you, Marshal Mowbray. What do you say?
5I well allow the occasion of our arms,
But gladly would be better satisfied
How in our means we should advance ourselves
To look with forehead bold and big enough
Upon the power and puissance of the King.
I absolutely agree with our reasons for fighting. But given our resources, I’d feel better if I knew how we’re going to grow bold and strong enough to defeat this mighty and powerful King.
10Our present musters grow upon the file
To five-and-twenty thousand men of choice,
And our supplies live largely in the hope
Of great Northumberland, whose bosom burns
With an incensèd fire of injuries.
Our army has grown to twenty-five thousand good men. Our reinforcements are coming with Northumberland, and his heart burns with anger over all he’s lost.
15The question then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus:
Whether our present five-and-twenty thousand
May hold up head without Northumberland.
Then, Lord Hastings, this is the question: can our twenty-five thousand get the job done without Northumberland?
With him we may.
With him, we can.
   Yea, marry, there’s the point.
But if without him we be thought too feeble,
20My judgment is we should not step too far
Till we had his assistance by the hand.
For in a theme so bloody-faced as this,
Conjecture, expectation, and surmise
Of aids incertain should not be admitted.
Yes, exactly, and that’s the point. If we’re too weak without him, then I don’t think we should advance until we know that his help is guaranteed. In a fight as bloody as this one, we need to be certain about the status of our supporters: we can’t rely on conjecture, hope, and guesswork when aid isn’t guaranteed.