Henry IV Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 3

page Act 4 Scene 3 Page 11

Original Text

Modern Text

For now a time is come to mock at form.
Harry the Fifth is crowned. Up, vanity,
250Down, royal state, all you sage counsillors, hence,
And to the English court assemble now,
From every region, apes of idleness.
Now, neighbor confines, purge you of your scum.
Have you a ruffian that will swear, drink, dance,
255Revel the night, rob, murder, and commit
The oldest sins the newest kind of ways?
Be happy, he will trouble you no more.
England shall double gild his treble guilt.
England shall give him office, honor, might,
260For the fifth Harry from curbed license plucks
The muzzle of restraint, and the wild dog
Shall flesh his tooth on every innocent.
O my poor kingdom, sick with civil blows!
When that my care could not withhold thy riots,
265What wilt thou do when riot is thy care?
O, thou wilt be a wilderness again,
Peopled with wolves, thy old inhabitants.
Just mix me up with the forgotten dust, and give my body—which gave you life—to the worms. Fire my officers, undo my laws; for now the time has come to jeer at authority. Henry the Fifth is crowned: up with foolishness! Down with decorum! Be gone, all you wise advisers! Assemble lazy apes from every region, and make them the royal court of England! Now, you neighboring countries, get rid of your scum. Do you have a criminal who swears, drinks, dances, parties all night, robs, murders, and commits the oldest sins in the newest ways? Then be happy: that man won’t trouble you any longer. England will paint over his guilt with gold. England will give him a position, honor, power. Because Henry the Fifth has removed the barriers to anarchy: he’s taken the restraining muzzle off the dog of misbehavior, and that wild dog will sink his teeth into the flesh of every decent person. Oh my poor kingdom, sick from this civil war! When all my hard work couldn’t keep disorder at bay, what will you do when disorder becomes your caretaker? Oh, you’ll be a wilderness again, and all the wolves who lived here once will once again be your only citizens.

PRINCE HENRY

O pardon me, my liege! But for my tears,
The moist impediments unto my speech,
270I had forestalled this dear and deep rebuke
Ere you with grief had spoke and I had heard
The course of it so far. There is your crown,
And He that wears the crown immortally
Long guard it yours. If I affect it more
275Than as your honor and as your renown,
Let me no more from this obedience rise,
Which my most inward true and duteous spirit
Teacheth this prostrate and exterior bending.
God witness with me, when I here came in
280And found no course of breath within your Majesty,
How cold it struck my heart! If I do feign,
O, let me in my present wildness die

PRINCE HENRY

Oh forgive me, your highness. If it weren’t for these tears—which are impeding my speech—I would have stopped this harsh scolding before you, in your grief, had spoken and before I had listened so long. There’s your crown. May God, who wears the crown eternally, guard it as yours for a long time. If I care for the crown in any way other than as a symbol of your honor and reputation, let me never rise from this kneeling position. It is my deepest and most dutiful feelings which teach my body to bend and bow to you, causing my outer body to reflect my inner feelings. May God be my witness: when I came in here and saw that you weren’t breathing, my blood ran cold. If I’m lying,

Henry IV Part 2: Popular pages