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Henry IV, Part 2 Scenes

Scene 2

Yorkshire. Another part of the Forest of Gaultree.

(Prince John of Lancaster; Richard Scroop, Archbishop of York; Mowbray; Lord Hastings; Officer; Earl of Westmorland)

Lancaster rebukes the Archbishop for taking up arms against the King, God’s representative on earth, but the prelate protests that he is warring not against the King but against the injustices of the time. Prince John agrees to present their protests to the King, claiming that some of his laws have been misunderstood and misapplied, and suggests that both sides dismiss their armies. The rebel army disbands first, and scatters, while the royalist forces stay in rank. Once he is certain that the rebel forces pose no more danger, Lancaster arrests all the rebel leaders, pointing out that he never promised them their safety, only that their complaints would be heard. The royal army chases after the rebels. (129 lines)

Enter Prince John of Lancaster and his army.


You are well encount’red here, my cousin Mowbray,

Good day to you, gentle Lord Archbishop,

And so to you, Lord Hastings, and to all.

My Lord of York, it better show’d with you

When that your flock, assembled by the bell,

Encircled you to hear with reverence

Your exposition on the holy text

Than now to see you here an iron man, talking,

Cheering a rout of rebels with your drum,

Turning the word to sword and life to death.

That man that sits within a monarch’s heart

And ripens in the sunshine of his favor,

Would he abuse the countenance of the King,

Alack, what mischiefs might he set abroach

In shadow of such greatness? With you, Lord Bishop,

It is even so. Who hath not heard it spoken

How deep you were within the books of God?

To us the speaker in his parliament,

To us th’ imagin’d voice of God himself,

The very opener and intelligencer

Between the grace, the sanctities of heaven,

And our dull workings? O, who shall believe

But you misuse the reverence of your place,

Employ the countenance and grace of heav’n,

As a false favorite doth his prince’s name,

In deeds dishonorable? You have ta’en up,

Under the counterfeited zeal of God,

The subjects of his substitute, my father,

And both against the peace of heaven and him

Have here upswarm’d them.


Good my Lord of Lancaster,

I am not here against your father’s peace,

But as I told my Lord of Westmorland,

The time misord’red doth, in common sense,

Crowd us and crush us to this monstrous form

To hold our safety up. I sent your Grace

The parcels and particulars of our grief,

The which hath been with scorn shov’d from the court,

Whereon this Hydra son of war is born,

Whose dangerous eyes may well be charm’d asleep

With grant of our most just and right desires,

And true obedience, of this madness cured,

Stoop tamely to the foot of majesty.


If not, we ready are to try our fortunes

To the last man.


And though we here fall down,

We have supplies to second our attempt;

If they miscarry, theirs shall second them,

And so success of mischief shall be born,

And heir from heir shall hold his quarrel up

Whiles England shall have generation.


You are too shallow, Hastings, much too shallow,

To sound the bottom of the after-times.


Pleaseth your Grace to answer them directly

How far forth you do like their articles.


I like them all, and do allow them well,

And swear here, by the honor of my blood,

My father’s purposes have been mistook,

And some about him have too lavishly

Wrested his meaning and authority.

My lord, these griefs shall be with speed redress’d,

Upon my soul they shall. If this may please you,

Discharge your powers unto their several counties,

As we will ours, and here between the armies

Let’s drink together friendly and embrace,

That all their eyes may bear those tokens home

Of our restored love and amity.


I take your princely word for these redresses.


I give it you, and will maintain my word,

And thereupon I drink unto your Grace.


Go, captain, and deliver to the army

This news of peace. Let them have pay, and part.

I know it will well please them. Hie thee, captain.

Exit Officer.


To you, my noble Lord of Westmorland.


I pledge your Grace, and if you knew what pains

I have bestowed to breed this present peace,

You would drink freely. But my love to ye

Shall show itself more openly hereafter.


I do not doubt you.


I am glad of it.

Health to my lord, and gentle cousin, Mowbray.


You wish me health in very happy season,

For I am on the sudden something ill.


Against ill chances men are ever merry,

But heaviness foreruns the good event.


Therefore be merry, coz, since sudden sorrow

Serves to say thus, some good thing comes tomorrow.


Believe me, I am passing light in spirit.


So much the worse, if your own rule be true.

Shout within.


The word of peace is rend’red. Hark how they shout!


This had been cheerful after victory.


A peace is of the nature of a conquest,

For then both parties nobly are subdued,

And neither party loser.


Go, my lord,

And let our army be discharged too.

Exit Westmorland.

And, good my lord, so please you, let our trains

March by us, that we may peruse the men

We should have cop’d withal.


Go, good Lord Hastings,

And ere they be dismiss’d, let them march by.

Exit Hastings.

Enter Westmorland.


I trust, lords, we shall lie tonight together.

Now, cousin, wherefore stands our army still?


The leaders, having charge from you to stand,

Will not go off until they hear you speak.


They know their duties.

Enter Hastings.


My lord, our army is dispers’d already:

Like youthful steers unyok’d, they take their courses

East, west, north, south, or, like a school broke up,

Each hurries toward his home and sporting-place.


Good tidings, my Lord Hastings! For the which

I do arrest thee, traitor, of high treason,

And you, Lord Archbishop, and you, Lord Mowbray,

Of capital treason I attach you both.


Is this proceeding just and honorable?


Is your assembly so?


Will you thus break your faith?


I pawn’d thee none.

I promis’d you redress of these same grievances

Whereof you did complain, which, by mine honor,

I will perform with a most Christian care.

But for you rebels, look to taste the due

Meet for rebellion and such acts as yours.

Most shallowly did you these arms commence,

Fondly brought here and foolishly sent hence.

Strike up our drums, pursue the scatt’red stray;

God, and not we, hath safely fought today.

Some guard these traitors to the block of death,

Treason’s true bed and yielder-up of breath.



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