Henry IV Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 3

page Act 1 Scene 3 Page 2

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ARCHBISHOP

25'Tis very true, Lord Bardolph; for indeed
It was young Hotspur’s cause at Shrewsbury.

ARCHBISHOP

That’s right, Lord Bardolph. That’s what happened to young Hotspur at Shrewsbury.

LORD BARDOLPH

It was, my lord; who lined himself with hope,
Eating the air on promise of supply,
Flatt'ring himself in project of a power
30Much smaller than the smallest of his thoughts,
And so, with great imagination
Proper to madmen, led his powers to death
And, winking, leapt into destruction.

LORD BARDOLPH

That’s true, my lord. Hotspur fortified himself with nothing but hope, and mistook empty words as a true promise of reinforcements. He imagined that a huge army was coming to his aid, but what actually arrived turned out to be even smaller than the smallest of his fantasies. And so, with daydreams that could only belong to a madman, he closed his eyes and leaped into destruction.

HASTINGS

But, by your leave, it never yet did hurt
35To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope.

HASTINGS

But, begging your pardon, there’s no harm in making guesses and hopeful strategies.

LORD BARDOLPH

Yes, if this present quality of war—
Indeed the instant action, a cause on foot—
Lives so in hope, as in an early spring
We see the appearing buds, which to prove fruit
40Hope gives not so much warrant as despair
That frosts will bite them. When we mean to build,
We first survey the plot, then draw the model,
And when we see the figure of the house,
Then must we rate the cost of the erection,
45Which if we find outweighs ability,
What do we then but draw anew the model
In fewer offices, or at last desist
To build at all? Much more in this great work,
Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down
50And set another up, should we survey
The plot of situation and the model,
Consent upon a sure foundation,
Question surveyors, know our own estate,
How able such a work to undergo,
55To weigh against his opposite. Or else

LORD BARDOLPH

Yes, there is. Presently, our armies are already in motion, but putting our hope in them is as ridiculous as expecting that early spring buds will produce fruit: at that time of year, buds are more likely to be killed by frost than to bloom. When we want to put up a building, first we survey the land, and then we draw up a set of plans. Then we calculate the cost, and if we can’t afford it, we revise the plans with fewer rooms, or we decide not to build at all. In the great task we’re attempting—the taking down of one kingdom, and the building of another—we have even more reason to evaluate the land and the plans. We must be certain that the foundation is sound, that the engineer is skilled. We must know precisely what we can afford, how ready and able we are, and we must consider the opposing arguments.

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