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Henry IV, Part 2 Scenes

Scene 2

Westminster. A palace room.

(Warwick; Lord Chief Justice; Prince John of Lancaster; Thomas Duke of Clarence; Humphrey of Gloucester; Earl of Westmorland; Prince Henry; Blunt)

The Lord Chief Justice hears of King Henry’s death and wishes he had died as well, as he has no hopes of being well-treated by Hal, whom he once had thrown into jail like a commoner for breaking the King’s peace. The Princes and the noblemen mourn the deceased King. Hal enters, still uncertain in his new role but promising to be a father to his brothers. He asks the Lord Chief Justice to justify having had him locked up; when the Chief Justice argues that he represented the King at that moment, and that even princes must bow to the King’s peace, Hal approves. He reassures everyone, promising that he will act with the dignity befitting his new position and will take the Chief Justice’s advice. (146 lines)

Enter Warwick, Lord Chief Justice, meeting.


How now, my Lord Chief Justice, whither away?


How doth the King?


Exceeding well, his cares are now all ended.


I hope, not dead.


He’s walk’d the way of nature,

And to our purposes he lives no more.


I would his Majesty had call’d me with him;

The service that I truly did his life

Hath left me open to all injuries.


Indeed I think the young King loves you not.


I know he doth not, and do arm myself

To welcome the condition of the time,

Which cannot look more hideously upon me

Than I have drawn it in my fantasy.

Enter Prince John of Lancaster, Thomas of Clarence, and Humphrey of Gloucester, Westmorland, and others.


Here come the heavy issue of dead Harry.

O that the living Harry had the temper

Of he, the worst of these three gentlemen!

How many nobles then should hold their places,

That must strike sail to spirits of vile sort!


O God, I fear all will be overturn’d!


Good morrow, cousin Warwick, good morrow.


Good morrow, cousin.


We meet like men that had forgot to speak.


We do remember, but our argument

Is all too heavy to admit much talk.


Well, peace be with him that hath made us heavy!


Peace be with us, lest we be heavier!


O, good my lord, you have lost a friend indeed,

And I dare swear you borrow not that face

Of seeming sorrow, it is sure your own.


Though no man be assur’d what grace to find,

You stand in coldest expectation.

I am the sorrier, would ’twere otherwise!


Well, you must now speak Sir John Falstaff fair,

Which swims against your stream of quality.


Sweet Princes, what I did, I did in honor,

Led by th’ impartial conduct of my soul;

And never shall you see that I will beg

A ragged and forestall’d remission.

If truth and upright innocency fail me,

I’ll to the King my master that is dead,

And tell him who hath sent me after him.


Here comes the Prince.

Enter the Prince (as King Henry) and Blunt.


Good morrow, and God save your Majesty!


This new and gorgeous garment, majesty,

Sits not so easy on me as you think.

Brothers, you mix your sadness with some fear:

This is the English, not the Turkish court,

Not Amurath an Amurath succeeds,

But Harry Harry. Yet be sad, good brothers,

For by my faith it very well becomes you.

Sorrow so royally in you appears

That I will deeply put the fashion on

And wear it in my heart. Why then be sad,

But entertain no more of it, good brothers,

Than a joint burden laid upon us all.

For me, by heaven (I bid you be assur’d),

I’ll be your father and your brother too.

Let me but bear your love, I’ll bear your cares.

Yet weep that Harry’s dead, and so will I,

But Harry lives, that shall convert those tears

By number into hours of happiness.


We hope no otherwise from your Majesty.


You all look strangely on me, and you most.

You are, I think, assur’d I love you not.


I am assur’d, if I be measur’d rightly,

Your Majesty hath no just cause to hate me.



How might a prince of my great hopes forget

So great indignities you laid upon me?

What, rate, rebuke, and roughly send to prison

Th’ immediate heir of England! Was this easy?

May this be wash’d in Lethe and forgotten?


I then did use the person of your father,

The image of his power lay then in me,

And in th’ administration of his law,

Whiles I was busy for the commonwealth,

Your Highness pleased to forget my place,

The majesty and power of law and justice,

The image of the King whom I presented,

And struck me in my very seat of judgment;

Whereon (as an offender to your father)

I gave bold way to my authority,

And did commit you. If the deed were ill,

Be you contented, wearing now the garland,

To have a son set your decrees at nought?

To pluck down justice from your awful bench?

To trip the course of law and blunt the sword

That guards the peace and safety of your person?

Nay more, to spurn at your most royal image,

And mock your workings in a second body?

Question your royal thoughts, make the case yours:

Be now the father and propose a son,

Hear your own dignity so much profan’d,

See your most dreadful laws so loosely slighted,

Behold yourself so by a son disdained;

And then imagine me taking your part,

And in your power soft silencing your son.

After this cold considerance, sentence me,

And as you are a king, speak in your state

What I have done that misbecame my place,

My person, or my liege’s sovereignty.


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,

Till 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;

And 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’ unstained sword that you have us’d to bear,

With 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,

And I will stoop and humble my intents

To your well-practic’d 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,

And with his spirits sadly I survive,

To mock the expectation of the world,

To frustrate prophecies, and to rase out

Rotten opinion, who hath writ me down

After my seeming. The tide of blood in me

Hath proudly flow’d 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,

And let us choose such limbs of noble counsel

That the great body of our state may go

In equal rank with the best govern’d nation,

That war, or peace, or both at once, may be

As things acquainted and familiar to us,

In which you, father, shall have foremost hand.

Our coronation done, we will accite

(As I before rememb’red) all our state,

And (God consigning to my good intents)

No prince nor peer shall have just cause to say,

God shorten Harry’s happy life one day!



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