Henry IV Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 3

page Act 1 Scene 3 Page 4

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HASTINGS

The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland;
Against the Welsh, himself and Harry Monmouth;
But who is substituted against the French
85I have no certain notice.

HASTINGS

The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland. The King and Harry Monmouth will fight against the Welsh. I don’t know for sure who is in charge of the fight against the French.

ARCHBISHOP

   Let us on,
And publish the occasion of our arms.
The commonwealth is sick of their own choice.
Their over-greedy love hath surfeited.
An habitation giddy and unsure
90Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.
O thou fond many, with what loud applause
Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke
Before he was what thou wouldst have him be.
And being now trimmed in thine own desires,
95Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him
That thou provok’st thyself to cast him up.
So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge
Thy glutton bosom of the royal Richard,
And now thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up
100And howl’st to find it. What trust is in these times?
They that, when Richard lived, would have him die
Are now become enamored on his grave.
Thou, that threw’st dust upon his goodly head
When through proud London he came sighing on
105After th' admired heels of Bolingbroke,
Criest now “O earth, yield us that King again,
And take thou this!” O thoughts of men accursed!
Past and to come seems best; things present, worst.

ARCHBISHOP

Let’s continue. We’ll publicly proclaim the reasons we’re fighting. The people are sick of the leadership they themselves supported. They were greedy for it, but now they have overfed. When you build your foundation on the public’s love, you build on shaky and unsure ground. Oh, you foolish masses! You shouted your love for Bolingbroke to the skies, before you knew what he’d turn into. Now that you’re dressed in the things you desired, you monstrous devourer, you’re so full of Bolingbroke that you’re ready to vomit him up. This, you vulgar dog, is just how you emptied your gluttonous stomach of King Richard; and now you want to eat up your dead vomit, and you howl trying to find it. What can you count on in this world? The very people who wanted Richard dead when he was alive are now in love with his corpse. The very people who threw garbage on his noble head when he marched through London in shame behind the admired Bolingbroke are now saying, “Oh Earth, return that King, and take this one!” Curses on men’s thoughts! Only the past and the future appeal to them; whatever they have right now they despise.

MOWBRAY

Shall we go draw our numbers and set on?

MOWBRAY

Should we gather our troops and press forward?

HASTINGS

110We are time’s subjects, and time bids begone.

HASTINGS

Time is our commander, and time proposes we be on our way.
Exeunt
They exit.

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