100What I have done that misbecame my place,
My person, or my liege’s sovereignty.
what I have done that was so unseemly for my station, myself, or my king’s authority.
You are right, justice, and you weigh this well.
Therefore still bear the balance and the sword.
And I do wish your honors may increase
105Till you do live to see a son of mine
Offend you and obey you as I did.
So shall I live to speak my father’s words:
“Happy am I that have a man so bold
That dares do justice on my proper son;
110And not less happy, having such a son
That would deliver up his greatness so
Into the hands of justice.” You did commit me,
For which I do commit into your hand
Th' unstainèd sword that you have used to bear,
115With this remembrance: that you use the same
With the like bold, just, and impartial spirit
As you have done 'gainst me. There is my hand.
You shall be as a father to my youth,
My voice shall sound as you do prompt mine ear,
120And I will stoop and humble my intents
To your well-practiced wise directions.—
And, princes all, believe me, I beseech you:
My father is gone wild into his grave,
For in his tomb lie my affections,
125And with his spirit sadly I survive
To mock the expectation of the world,
To frustrate prophecies, and to raze out
Rotten opinion, who hath writ me down
After my seeming. The tide of blood in me
130Hath proudly flowed in vanity till now.
Now doth it turn and ebb back to the sea,
Where it shall mingle with the state of floods
And flow henceforth in formal majesty.
Now call we our high court of parliament,
You’re right, Chief Justice, and you have considered this well. Therefore, keep your position as judge and enforcer. I hope that your honors increase, and that you live to see a son of mine offend and then obey you, as I have. I will live to speak my father’s words: “I am a happy man, to have a man brave enough to punish my own son; and I’m no less happy to have a son that would surrender his greatness, and put himself in the hands of the law.”
You imprisoned me, and for that I charge you to continue in my service, with this reminder: you must always be as courageous, just, and impartial as you were with me. Shake my hand. You’ll be like a father to me, and I will say whatever it is you whisper in my ear. I will bow to you, and keep myself humble in the face of your wisdom and experience. And princes, believe me, please: my father lies wild in his grave, for he took my recklessness with him when he died. His sober spirit survives in me, and I will flout the world’s expectations. I will prove their prophecies false, and flush out the rotten opinions of those who judged me based on what I once seemed to be.
My behavior, the tide of my blood, used to flow proudly and vainly. But now, it ebbs and turns back toward the sea, where it will mingle with the ocean’s majesty and flow back through my body with formal dignity. Now I will assemble my parliament, and choose such noble officers and advisors that our great country will be able to march alongside the best governed nations. We’ll become acquainted and familiar