Henry IV Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 8

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And since we are o'erset, venture again.
Come, we will all put forth, body and goods.
We lost this time, but let’s try again. Come, we’ll all go for it, body and soul.

MORTON

'Tis more than time.—And, my most noble lord,
190I hear for certain, and do speak the truth:
The gentle Archbishop of York is up
With well-appointed powers. He is a man
Who with a double surety binds his followers.
My lord your son had only but the corpse,
195But shadows and the shows of men, to fight;
For that same word “rebellion” did divide
The action of their bodies from their souls,
And they did fight with queasiness, constrained,
As men drink potions, that their weapons only
200Seemed on our side. But, for their spirits and souls,
This word “rebellion,” it had froze them up
As fish are in a pond. But now the Bishop
Turns insurrection to religion.
Supposed sincere and holy in his thoughts,
205He’s followed both with body and with mind,
And doth enlarge his rising with the blood
Of fair King Richard, scraped from Pomfret stones;
Derives from heaven his quarrel and his cause;
Tells them he doth bestride a bleeding land,
210Gasping for life under great Bolingbroke;
And more and less do flock to follow him.

MORTON

It is the appropriate time. Good sir, I hear for certain, and I tell you truthfully, that the Archbishop of York has raised a powerful army. He motivates his men with both his earthly and his spiritual powers. My lord, your son commanded only his soldiers' bodies. The word “rebellion” frightened them, separating their bodies from their hearts. It caused them to fight timidly, hesitantly, as though they were taking medicine: their weapons seemed to be on our side, but their spirits and souls were frozen, like fish in an icy pond. But now, the Archbishop turns our rebellion into a religious cause. Everyone believes he’s a righteous and holy man, and they follow him not only in body but also in mind. He enhances his cause by preaching about the blood of good King Richard, which was spilled at Pomfret Castle. The Archbishop claims that he derives his authority from heaven; tells the men that the whole country is bleeding, gasping for life under the terrible leadership of Bolingbroke. And so men from every walk of life flock like sheep to follow him.

NORTHUMBERLAND

I knew of this before, but, to speak truth,
This present grief had wiped it from my mind.
Go in with me and counsel every man
215The aptest way for safety and revenge.
Get posts and letters, and make friends with speed.
Never so few, and never yet more need.

NORTHUMBERLAND

I knew all this, but to tell you the truth, this terrible grief had pushed it out of my thoughts. Come inside; I want to hear everyone’s ideas on the best way to defend ourselves and enact our revenge. Send out messengers and letters, and make new allies quickly. Our numbers have never been smaller, but there’s never been more need for what we have to do.
Exeunt
They exit.

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