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Henry IV, Part 1

William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 3

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Had his great name profanèd with their scorns,
65And gave his countenance, against his name,
To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push
Of every beardless vain comparative;
Grew a companion to the common streets,
Enfeoffed himself to popularity,
70That, being daily swallowed by men’s eyes,
They surfeited with honey and began
To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little
More than a little is by much too much.
So, when he had occasion to be seen,
75He was but as the cuckoo is in June,
Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such eyes
As, sick and blunted with community,
Afford no extraordinary gaze
Such as is bent on sunlike majesty
80When it shines seldom in admiring eyes,
But rather drowsed and hung their eyelids down,
Slept in his face, and rendered such aspect
As cloudy men use to their adversaries,
Being with his presence glutted, gorged, and full.
85And in that very line, Harry, standest thou,
For thou has lost thy princely privilege
With vile participation. Not an eye
But is aweary of thy common sight,
Save mine, which hath desired to see thee more,
90Which now doth that I would not have it do,
Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.
His reputation was ruined by their scornful attitudes. He lost face by laughing with those joking boys, and tolerating the rudeness of every smooth-faced, disdainful prankster. He spent his time in common, public places, surrendering himself to the pursuit of popularity. Soon, they saw him every day and it was like overdosing on honey; they began to hate the taste of that sweetness. A little too much is as bad as far too much. Seeing him became as common a sight as a cuckoo in June—heard but not paid attention to; seen, but by eyes so used to seeing that they took it for granted. They didn’t look with a special gaze, as they do at the sun when it shines only rarely. Instead, they grew bored, they looked away.
They slept in front of him and watched him dully, the way a sullen man looks at his enemy. They were stuffed, gorged, and full with his presence. And that is just where you stand, Harry. You have lost your princely status by associating with vile criminals: there’s not an eye in the kingdom that isn’t weary of looking at you. No eyes except mine, that is, which had wished to see more of you; and now they’re acting against me, blinding themselves with foolish tears.


I shall hereafter, my thrice gracious lord,
Be more myself.


From now on, my very gracious father, I will behave more like myself.


   For all the world
As thou art to this hour was Richard then
95When I from France set foot at Ravenspurgh,
And even as I was then is Percy now.


At this moment, you seem just like Richard did when I returned from France to lead the revolt. And just as I was then, Percy seems now.