Henry IV Part 2

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 4 Scene 2
No Fear Act 4 Scene 2 Page 5

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Modern Text

A good sherris sack hath a two-fold operation in it. It
ascends me into the brain, dries me there all the foolish and
dull and crury vapors which environ it, makes it
80apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery, and
delectable shapes, which, delivered o'er to the voice, the
tongue, which is the birth, becomes excellent wit. The
second property of your excellent sherris is the warming of
the blood, which, before cold and settled, left the liver white
85and pale, which is the badge of pusillanimity and cowardice.
But the sherris warms it and makes it course from the
inwards to the parts' extremes. It illumineth the face, which
as a beacon gives warning to all the rest of this little
kingdom, man, to arm; and then the vital commoners and
90inland petty spirits muster me all to their captain, the heart,
who, great and puffed up with this retinue, doth any deed of
courage, and this valor comes of sherris. So that skill in the
weapon is nothing without sack, for that sets it a-work; and
learning a mere hoard of gold kept by a devil till sack
95commences it and sets it in act and use. Hereof comes it that
Prince Harry is valiant, for the cold blood he did naturally
inherit of his father he hath, like lean, sterile, and bare land,
manured, husbanded, and tilled with excellent endeavor of
drinking good and good store of fertile sherris, that he is
100become very hot and valiant. If I had a thousand sons, the
first human principle I would teach them should be to
forswear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack.
the same way, except that we’re always drunk. A good sherry wine operates in two ways. First, it rises into the brain and dries out all the foolish, dull, clogged-up fogs that have gathered there. It makes the brain sharp, quick, and inventive; full of nimble, fiery, and beautiful ideas. The voice and tongue give birth to those ideas which, when they grow up, become excellent wit. The second power of good wine is the warming of the blood. Before wine, the blood is cold and sluggish, and this makes the liver—the organ of passion—chilly and pale. A chilly, pale liver is the sign of cowardice and faint-heartedness. But wine warms the blood, making it course from the inner organs to all the extremities. The blood brightens the face, and the rest of the body—which is like a little kingdom in itself—takes that brightening as a signal. Then the spirits of the blood and all the internal organs gather together behind their captain: the heart. The heart draws strength from these followers and, enlarged by them, can accomplish any courageous deed. This is the bravery that comes from wine. Without wine, skill in weaponry doesn’t matter. Wine is what sets that skill in motion. Education is nothing more than idle gold in the devil’s hands, until wine rouses it and puts it to good use. That’s how Prince Harry became valiant. He’s taken the cold blood he inherited from his father and—like unproductive farmland—he fertilized it, planted it, and cared for it, through the hard work of drinking vast amounts of good and potent wine. And so now, he’s become hot and courageous. If I had a thousand sons, the first rule of behavior I would teach them would be to avoid weak drinks, and get themselves addicted to wine.
BARDOLPH enters.
How now, Bardolph?
What is it, Bardolph?

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