Henry IV Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Before God, I am exceeding weary.
I swear to God, I’m exceedingly tired.
Is ’t come to that? I had thought weariness durst not have
attached one of so high blood.
Really? I would have thought that weariness wouldn’t dare afflict someone as highly born as you.
Faith, it does me; though it discolors the complexion of my
5greatness to acknowledge it. Doth it not show vilely in me
to desire small beer?
Well, it afflicts me, although saying so dims my nobility somewhat. Does it make me seem coarse and common to say that I’d love a

small beer

small beer = a kind of weak, thin beer

small beer
Why, a prince should not be so loosely studied as to
remember so weak a composition.
A prince shouldn’t be vulgarly inclined toward things like small beer.
Belike then my appetite was not princely got, for, by my
10troth, I do now remember the poor creature small beer. But
indeed these humble considerations make me out of love
with my greatness. What a disgrace is it to me to remember
thy name, or to know thy face tomorrow, or to take note how
many pair of silk stockings thou hast—with these, and those
15that were thy peach-colored ones—or to bear the inventory
of thy shirts, as, one for superfluity and another for use. But
that the tennis-court keeper knows better than I, for it is a
low ebb of linen with thee when thou keepest not racket
there, as thou hast not done a great while, because the rest of
20the low countries have made a shift to eat up thy holland; and
God knows whether those that bawl out the ruins of thy linen
shall inherit His kingdom; but the midwives say the children
are not in the fault, whereupon the world increases and
kindreds are mightily strengthened.
Then I suppose don’t have a prince’s appetite, because right now all I can think about is small beer. But it’s true: all these everyday considerations distance me from my own nobility. It’s disgraceful that I should be familiar with a man like you! To know your name, your face, and your wardrobe so intimately that I know that you have two pairs of stockings: the ones you’re wearing now, and those peach-colored ones. I even know how many shirts you have: one to wear, and one extra. But then, the keeper of the tennis courts knows your wardrobe better than I do, for when you’ve run out of clean shirts, you don’t show up to play. And you haven’t played in a while, because the whore houses have eaten all the rest of your money, which you’d otherwise use to buy more shirts. God only knows whether all the crying brats you’ve fathered will make it to heaven. But then, the midwives say that babies don’t bear the sins of the parents. That’s how the population increases, and families are strengthened.