Original Text

Modern Text

And the contrarious winds that held the King
So long in his unlucky Irish wars
That all in England did repute him dead—
55And from this swarm of fair advantages
You took occasion to be quickly wooed
To gripe the general sway into your hand,
Forget your oath to us at Doncaster;
And being fed by us, you used us so
60As that ungentle gull, the cuckoo’s bird,
Useth the sparrow—did oppress our nest,
Grew by our feeding to so great a bulk
That even our love durst not come near your sight
For fear of swallowing; but with nimble wing
65We were enforced for safety sake to fly
Out of sight and raise this present head,
Whereby we stand opposèd by such means
As you yourself have forged against yourself
By unkind usage, dangerous countenance,
70And violation of all faith and troth
Sworn to us in your younger enterprise.
Richard so long in those unlucky Irish wars, people thought he was dead. You seized the opportunity, and used the general feeling to your advantage. You forgot the oath you swore to us at Doncaster.
We nourished you, but you used us, like the cuckoo bird uses the sparrow: you settled in our nest, ate our food, and as you grew, you crowded us out. We loved you, but we couldn’t even come near you, for fear that you’d swallow us up. For our own safety, we were forced to run away and secretly raise this army. And now we stand with it, armed with powers that you yourself have caused to stand against you. You treated us poorly, you looked at us with anger, and you broke the faith and trust you swore to us when you were younger.

KING

These things indeed you have articulate,
Proclaimed at market crosses, read in churches,
To face the garment of rebellion
75With some fine color that may please the eye
Of fickle changelings and poor discontents,
Which gape and rub the elbow at the news
Of hurlyburly innovation.
And never yet did insurrection want
80Such water colors to impaint his cause,
Nor moody beggars starving for a time
Of pellmell havoc and confusion.

KING

You’ve said all this already. You’ve announced it in marketplaces, given sermons on it in churches. You’ve tried to make rebellion look pleasant in the eyes of all the fickle turncoats and poor malcontents, who laugh and clap eagerly at the news that a revolution is coming. But rebellion always trades in these kinds of thin excuses, and never lacks angry beggars, desperate for mayhem and chaos.

PRINCE HENRY

In both your armies there is many a soul
Shall pay full dearly for this encounter
85If once they join in trial. Tell your nephew,

PRINCE HENRY

Both our armies are full of men who will make the ultimate sacrifice in this battle, once it starts. Tell your nephew that the Prince of Wales joins the whole world