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Henry IV Part 2

William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 4

Original Text

Modern Text

King Richard might create a perfect guess
That great Northumberland, then false to him,
90Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness,
Which should not find a ground to root upon
Unless on you.
King Richard could look at the pattern of what had gone before and predict perfectly that Northumberland’s betrayal—then still a seed—would someday grow larger, if it could find suitable soil to root in. And you’re the only soil it could have found.


Are these things then necessities?
Then let us meet them like necessities.
95And that same word even now cries out on us.
They say the Bishop and Northumberland
Are fifty thousand strong.


Were these things necessary, then? Then we’ll treat them like necessities, even though the very word “necessities” cries out against us. They say the Archbishop and Northumberland have fifty thousand men in their army.


It cannot be, my lord.
Rumor doth double, like the voice and echo,
100The numbers of the feared. Please it your Grace
To go to bed. Upon my soul, my lord,
The powers that you already have sent forth
Shall bring this prize in very easily.
To comfort you the more, I have received
105A certain instance that Glendower is dead.
Your Majesty hath been this fortnight ill,
And these unseasoned hours perforce must add
Unto your sickness.


That can’t be, my lord. Rumor, like an echo, doubles the size of our enemy’s army. Please, your highness, go to bed. I swear on my soul that the army you’ve already sent out can win this battle easily. And here’s more good news: I’ve heard for sure that Glendower is dead. You’ve been ill for two weeks now, your majesty. Keeping such irregular hours will surely make things worse.


   I will take your counsel.
And were these inward wars once out of hand,
110We would, dear lords, unto the Holy Land.


I’ll listen to your advice. And once we’ve got this civil war in hand, we will, my friends, march to the Holy Land.
They exit.

Henry IV Part 2: Popular pages