Original Text

Modern Text

FIRST CITIZEN

So stood the state when Henry the Sixth
Was crowned in Paris but at nine months old.

FIRST CITIZEN

That’s how it was with Henry the Sixth, who was crowned in Paris when he was only nine months old.

THIRD CITIZEN

20Stood the state so? No, no, good friends, God wot,
For then this land was famously enriched
With politic grave counsel; then the king
Had virtuous uncles to protect his Grace.

THIRD CITIZEN

Really? But at that point, the king had the benefit of excellent counselors. His uncles were good men and protected him.

FIRST CITIZEN

Why, so hath this, both by the father and mother.

FIRST CITIZEN

Well, this king has uncles too, on both his father and mother’s side.

THIRD CITIZEN

25Better it were they all came by his father,
Or by the father there were none at all,
For emulation who shall now be nearest
Will touch us all too near if God prevent not.
O, full of danger is the duke of Gloucester,
30And the queen’s sons and brothers haught and proud,
And were they to be ruled, and not to rule,
This sickly land might solace as before.

THIRD CITIZEN

It would be better if they were all on his father’s side, or that there were none at all on his father’s side. As it is, the rivalry between his father’s and mother’s relatives over who will be closest to the king is likely to endanger everyone, if we’re not lucky.As it stands, there’s a struggle between the two sides for the prince’s attention. Richard, the duke of Gloucester, is very dangerous, and the queen’s sons and brothers are haughty and proud—it would be better for this ailing country if they were subjects, not rulers.

FIRST CITIZEN

Come, come, we fear the worst. All will be well.

FIRST CITIZEN

Come, come, we’re worrying about the worst-case scenario. I’m sure everything will be fine.

THIRD CITIZEN

When clouds are seen, wise men put on their cloaks;
35When great leaves fall, then winter is at hand;
When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?
Untimely storms make men expect a dearth.
All may be well; but if God sort it so,
'Tis more than we deserve or I expect.

THIRD CITIZEN

When the day turns cloudy, wise men put on their coats. When leaves fall from the trees, it means winter has arrived. When the sun sets, who’s too stupid to recognize it’s night? When storms arrive early, you can expect the harvest will be damaged. So, if all turns out fine, as you say, it’s more than we deserve or I expect.

SECOND CITIZEN

40Truly, the hearts of men are full of fear.
Ye cannot reason almost with a man
That looks not heavily and full of dread.

SECOND CITIZEN

It’s true, people are really worried. It’s hard to find a person who isn’t.