Henry IV Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 1

page Act 4 Scene 1 Page 6

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Were set on Hereford, whom they doted on
And blessed and graced, indeed more than the King.
140But this is mere digression from my purpose.
Here come I from our princely general
To know your griefs, to tell you from his Grace
That he will give you audience; and wherein
It shall appear that your demands are just,
145You shall enjoy them, everything set off
That might so much as think you enemies.
They blessed him and adored him even more than the King. But I digress. I was sent here by our general, the Prince, to hear your grievances, and to tell you that he’s prepared to listen to you. If it appears that your demands are legitimate, he’ll give you what you want—except for those things which might suggest that you’re his enemies.

MOWBRAY

But he hath forced us to compel this offer;
And it proceeds from policy, not love.

MOWBRAY

But he’s made us force him to listen to us. His offer isn’t motivated by love; it’s a political move.

WESTMORELAND

Mowbray, you overween to take it so.
150This offer comes from mercy, not from fear.
For, lo, within a ken our army lies,
Upon mine honor, all too confident
To give admittance to a thought of fear.
Our battle is more full of names than yours,
155Our men more perfect in the use of arms,
Our armor all as strong, our cause the best.
Then reason will our hearts should be as good.
Say you not then our offer is compelled.

WESTMORELAND

Mowbray, you’re out of line to think that. His offer is made out of mercy, not fear. Just look, you can see our army from here. I give you my word of honor: that army is so confident, it won’t even allow the thought of fear to enter. Our army has more important people than yours, and better soldiers; our armor is every bit as strong as yours, and our cause is better. It’s only logical that we should be as courageous as you are. So don’t say you’ve forced the Prince to do anything at all.

MOWBRAY

Well, by my will, we shall admit no parley.

MOWBRAY

Well, I say we won’t agree to any conference.

WESTMORELAND

160That argues but the shame of your offense.
A rotten case abides no handling.

WESTMORELAND

That just proves that what you’re doing here is shameful. A rotten container falls apart at the touch; likewise, a rotten cause cannot withstand scrutiny and argument.

HASTINGS

Hath the Prince John a full commission,
In very ample virtue of his father,
To hear and absolutely to determine
165Of what conditions we shall stand upon?

HASTINGS

Has the King given Prince John his full authorization to listen to our complaint, and address it in any way the Prince sees fit?

Henry IV Part 2: Popular pages