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Henry IV, Part 2

Henry IV, Part 2 Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Enter LORD BARDOLPH

LORD BARDOLPH

Who keeps the gate here, ho?

LORD BARDOLPH

Excuse me, who is the porter around here?

Enter the PORTER

Where is the Earl?

[To the PORTER] Where is the Earl of Northumberland?

PORTER

What shall I say you are?

PORTER

Who shall I say that you are?

LORD BARDOLPH

Tell thou the EarlThat the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.

LORD BARDOLPH

Tell the Earl that Lord Bardolph is here to see him.

PORTER

His lordship is walked forth into the orchard.Please it your Honor knock but at the gateAnd he himself will answer.

PORTER

His Lordship is currently walking in the garden. If you want to, knock on the gate of the garden and he will greet you himself. 

NORTHUMBERLAND Enter

LORD BARDOLPH

Here comes the Earl.

LORD BARDOLPH

Here's the Earl now.

Exit PORTER

NORTHUMBERLAND

What news, Lord Bardolph? Every minute now Should be the father of some stratagem. The times are wild. Contention, like a horse Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose And bears down all before him.

NORTHUMBERLAND

What news do you have for me, Lord Bardolph? There seems to be a new military strategy every minute. These are violent times. This war is like a horse which has been overfed and then breaks out in rage and tramples on everything in its way.

LORD BARDOLPH

Noble Earl,I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.

LORD BARDOLPH

Noble Earl, I have news for you from Shrewsbury. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Good, an God will!

NORTHUMBERLAND

Good news, I hope. 

LORD BARDOLPH

As good as heart can wish. The King is almost wounded to the death, And, in the fortune of my lord your son, Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts Killed by the hand of Douglas; young Prince John And Westmoreland and Stafford fled the field; And Harry Monmouth’s brawn, the hulk Sir John, Is prisoner to your son. O, such a day, So fought, so followed, and so fairly won, Came not till now to dignify the times Since Caesar’s fortunes.

LORD BARDOLPH

It's the best that we could have hoped for. The King has been wounded and is at risk of dying. And because of your son's good fortunes, Prince Harry has been killed. Douglas has killed both of the Lords Blunt. And young Prince John, Westmoreland, and Stafford have fled the battle. Your son has even captured Harry's fat swine of a friend, that huge Sir John Falstaff. Oh, there hasn't been a battle fought or won quite as well as this since the triumphs of Julius Caesar! That is how honorable this moment is!

NORTHUMBERLAND

How is this derived?Saw you the field? Came you from Shrewsbury?

NORTHUMBERLAND

How do you know this? Did you see it happen? Have you just come from Shrewsbury?

LORD BARDOLPH

I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence,A gentleman well bred and of good name,That freely rendered me these news for true.

LORD BARDOLPH

I spoke with someone who came from the battle. He was a gentleman with a strong upbringing and a good reputation, and he told me all of these things truthfully. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Here comes my servant Travers, who I sentOn Tuesday last to listen after news.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Here comes my servant Travers. I sent him last Tuesday to find out the latest news. 

Enter TRAVERS

LORD BARDOLPH

My lord, I overrode him on the way; And he is furnished with no certainties More than he haply may retail from me.

LORD BARDOLPH

My lord, I rode past him on my way here. He doesn't know anything other than what I told him. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Now, Travers, what good tidings comes with you?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Now, Travers, what good news do you have for me?

TRAVERS

My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turned me back With joyful tidings and, being better horsed, Outrode me. After him came spurring hard A gentleman, almost forspent with speed, That stopp’d by me to breathe his bloodied horse. He asked the way to Chester, and of him I did demand what news from Shrewsbury. He told me that rebellion had bad luck And that young Harry Percy’s spur was cold. With that he gave his able horse the head And, bending forward, struck his armèd heels Against the panting sides of his poor jade Up to the rowel-head, and starting so He seemed in running to devour the way, Staying no longer question.

TRAVERS

Sir, Lord Bardolph sent me back here, having told me his happy news. As his horse is better than mine, he overtook me. After he had ridden off, another gentleman came along, riding very fast. He was going so quickly that he was exhausted and had to stop by me to give his bleeding horse a rest for a while. He asked me how to get to Chester and I forced him to tell me if there was any news from Shrewsbury. He told me that the rebellion had been defeated and the spur of young Harry Percy was now cold. Having said that, he got back on his horse, leaned forward, and dug his heels so hard into the sides of the poor old animal that he and the horse almost couldn't be seen anymore. He rode off as if he was trying to swallow the ground in front of him, and wasn't prepared to answer any more of my questions. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Ha? Again:Said he young Harry Percy’s spur was cold?Of Hotspur, Coldspur? That rebellionHad met ill luck?

NORTHUMBERLAND

What? Repeat that. Did he say that Harry Percy's spur was cold? That Hotspur is now Coldspur? That the rebellion had been defeated?

LORD BARDOLPH

My lord, I’ll tell you what:If my young lord your son have not the day,Upon mine honor, for a silken pointI’ll give my barony. Never talk of it.

LORD BARDOLPH

My lord, I'll tell you what: if your son hasn't been successful today, I swear that I will give up everything I have, in exchange for a piece of lace. Don't even think about such an outcome. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Why should that gentleman that rode by TraversGive then such instances of loss?

NORTHUMBERLAND

But why would this gentleman ride by Travers and make up such horrible things?

LORD BARDOLPH

Who, he?He was some hilding fellow that had stolenThe horse he rode on and, upon my life,Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.

LORD BARDOLPH

What, him? He was probably some worthless idiot that had stolen the horse he was riding. I bet that he made it all up. Look, here comes someone with more news. 

Enter MORTON

NORTHUMBERLAND

Yea, this man’s brow, like to a title leaf, Foretells the nature of a tragic volume. So looks the strond whereon the imperious flood Hath left a witness’d usurpation. Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Yes, this man's face is like the title page of a book, preparing to tell a tragic story. His face has been left marked with sadness, just like the shore after a terrible flood.

[To MORTON] Have you just come from Shrewsbury, Morton?

MORTON

I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord,Where hateful death put on his ugliest maskTo fright our party.

MORTON

I ran here from Shrewsbury, my noble lord. Death had arrived in its horrible mask and was frightening our men. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

How doth my son and brother? Thou tremblest, and the whiteness in thy cheek Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand. Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless, So dull, so dead in look, so woebegone, Drew Priam’s curtain in the dead of night, And would have told him half his Troy was burnt; But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue, And I my Percy’s death ere thou report’st it. This thou wouldst say, “Your son did thus and thus; Your brother thus; so fought the noble Douglas”— Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds. But in the end, to stop my ear indeed, Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise, Ending with “Brother, son, and all are dead.”

NORTHUMBERLAND

How are my son and my brother? You are trembling and your white face gives away your news—you don't even need to say a word. You remind me of the faint, passive, dull, dead-looking and sad man, who, after the Battle of Troy, went into King Priam's bedroom to tell him that half of his city had been burned down. But Priam found the fire before he was told about it, and I know about my Percy's death before you even report it. You will say something like, "Your son did this and this; your brother did this; the noble Douglas fought like this," and you'll fill up my greedy ears with stories about their brave actions. But in the end, the only way to fill up my ears completely, is to blow away all of this praise with a sigh and finally tell me, "Your brother, your son, everyone is dead."

MORTON

Douglas is living, and your brother yet,But for my lord your son—

MORTON

Douglas is still living and so is your brother for now. But, my lord, your son—

NORTHUMBERLAND

Why, he is dead. See what a ready tongue suspicion hath! He that but fears the thing he would not know Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others' eyes That what he feared is chancèd . Yet speak, Morton. Tell thou an earl his divination lies, And I will take it as a sweet disgrace And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Why, he is dead. My suspicions were so quick to say so! Even when a man fears something that he doesn't want to know, his instinct and the look in other people's eyes tell him that the thing has happened. But speak to me, Morton, and even though I'm an earl, don't be afraid to tell me that my predictions are wrong. I would take it as a welcome disgrace, and would give you riches for lying to me about it. 

MORTON

You are too great to be by me gainsaid,Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.

MORTON

You are far too great a man to be lied to; your intuition is correct; your fears are right.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Yet, for all this, say not that Percy’s dead. I see a strange confession in thine eye. Thou shak’st thy head and hold’st it fear or sin To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so. The tongue offends not that reports his death; And he doth sin that doth belie the dead, Not he which says the dead is not alive. Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news Hath but a losing office, and his tongue Sounds ever after as a sullen bell Remembered tolling a departing friend.

NORTHUMBERLAND

But in spite of all this, please don't say that Percy's dead. I can see some reluctant confession in your eyes. You shake your head and seem afraid to tell the truth in case it is sinful. If he is dead, just tell me. The man who must report a death can't offend anyone by doing his duty. It is the man who lies about death who sins, not the man who must say that a dead man is not alive. It is a losing battle, having to be the first person to announce terrible news. His words will always sound like a mourning bell, ringing out to remember a lost friend. 

LORD BARDOLPH

I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.

LORD BARDOLPH

I don't want to believe that your son is dead, my lord. 

MORTON

I am sorry I should force you to believe That which I would to God I had not seen, But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state, Rend'ring faint quittance, wearied and outbreathed, To Harry Monmouth; whose swift wrath beat down The never-daunted Percy to the earth, From whence with life he never more sprung up. In few, his death, whose spirit lent a fire Even to the dullest peasant in his camp, Being bruited once, took fire and heat away From the best tempered courage in his troops; For from his metal was his party steeled, Which, once in him abated, all the rest Turned on themselves, like dull and heavy lead. And as the thing that’s heavy in itself Upon enforcement flies with greatest speed, So did our men, heavy in Hotspur’s loss, Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety, Fly from the field. Then was the noble Worcester Too soon ta'en prisoner; and that furious Scot, The bloody Douglas, whose well-laboring sword Had three times slain th'appearance of the King, Gan vail his stomach and did grace the shame Of those that turned their backs and in his flight, Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all Is that the King hath won and hath sent out A speedy power to encounter you, my lord, Under the conduct of young Lancaster And Westmoreland. This is the news at full.

MORTON

I am sorry that I have to force you to believe this, when I would have prayed to God to have never seen it myself. But I saw his bloody body with my own eyes. He could only manage a weak exchange of blows, he was so tired and out of breath. Harry Monmouth struck down the unmovable Percy to the ground with his sudden fury, and Percy never got up again. To say this in just a few words: his courage had inspired us all, even the dullest peasant in the army. As soon as the news had been reported, it took the drive and the spirit out of even the bravest of our troops. For Percy's sword gave his army an edge, which, once blunted by his death, they became like a piece of dull and heavy lead, and couldn't fight anymore. And just as something heavy picks up speed when propelled forward, our men too—weighed down by their grief for Hotspur—started moving quickly. They went as quickly as arrows flying toward their target—but heading for safety, not for the battle. Your brother, the noble Worcester, was quickly taken captive. Then that angry Scotsman, the bloody Douglas, who had already killed three men dressed up to look like the King, lost his courage too. He joined the men who were running away. But, as he fled, he stumbled and was captured. The conclusion of all of that is that the King has won the battle. And, my lord, he has sent out a fast moving army to confront you, led by the young Lancaster and Westmoreland. That is everything that I have to tell you. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

For this I shall have time enough to mourn. In poison there is physic, and these news, Having been well, that would have made me sick, Being sick, have in some measure made me well. And as the wretch whose fever-weakened joints, Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life, Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire Out of his keeper’s arms, even so my limbs, Weakened with grief, being now enraged with grief, Are thrice themselves. Hence therefore, thou nice crutch. A scaly gauntlet now with joints of steel Must glove this hand. And hence, thou sickly coif. Thou art a guard too wanton for the head Which princes, fleshed with conquest, aim to hit. Now bind my brows with iron, and approach The ragged’st hour that time and spite dare bring To frown upon th'enraged Northumberland. Let heaven kiss earth! Now let not Nature’s hand Keep the wild flood confined. Let order die, And let this world no longer be a stage To feed contention in a lingering act; But let one spirit of the firstborn Cain Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set On bloody courses, the rude scene may end, And darkness be the burier of the dead.

NORTHUMBERLAND

There will be time to mourn for this. Sometimes you can find healing in poison. If I had  been well, this news would have made me sick. As I am sick, this news has in some way made me well. I am like a diseased man—whose joints are so weakened by fever that they are like useless hinges—that buckles under his own weight and then, in a fit of impatience, bursts like a flame out of his nurse's arms. That's what my limbs are like now. Once they were weakened with grief, but now they are enraged with it, and feel three times more powerful than they were before. Get away from me, you ridiculous crutch! Now armor will be the only thing to cover this hand. And get rid of this nightcap! It's far too feminine a hat for the head of someone who's about to be the target of princes, fresh from their victory. Cover my face in iron, and let the rough hour come when time and hatred will bring the worst things to attack me in my anger. Let the skies fall to the ground! Now let the oceans flood the shores. To hell with order! Let the world stop being a stage that lets this argument carry on and on. Let the spirit of Cain live inside all of us. If every heart is set on murder, then this terrible scene might finally end, and darkness will cover up the dead bodies left behind. 

LORD BARDOLPH

This strainèd passion doth you wrong, my lord.

LORD BARDOLPH

This intense passion isn't good for you, my lord, 

MORTON

Sweet Earl, divorce not wisdom from your honor. The lives of all your loving complices Lean on your health, the which, if you give o'er To stormy passion, must perforce decay. You cast th' event of war, my noble lord, And summed the account of chance before you said “Let us make head.” It was your presurmise That, in the dole of blows your son might drop. You knew he walked o'er perils on an edge, More likely to fall in than to get o'er. You were advised his flesh was capable Of wounds and scars, and that his forward spirit Would lift him where most trade of danger ranged. Yet did you say “Go forth,” and none of this, Though strongly apprehended, could restrain The stiff-borne action. What hath then befall'n, Or what did this bold enterprise brought forth, More than that being which was like to be?

MORTON

Kind Earl, don't let your wronged sense of honor make you forget your wisdom. The lives of all your young allies are depending on you and your health. Don't let yourself be taken in by these violent passions—it will only make your illness worse. You thought about the outcome of the war before you said, "Let's raise an army." You predicted that when the fighting started, your son might die. You knew that he was doing something dangerous, walking on the edge of a cliff, more likely to fall over it than make it through. You knew that he might be wounded and scarred, and that his fearless spirit would take him into the most dangerous situations. But you still said, "Go ahead." Even though you knew all of these things, none of them sufficed to stop the decided course of action. So everything that has happened, all the results of this brave mission—were they not just what we expected to happen anyway?  

LORD BARDOLPH

We all that are engagèd to this loss Knew that we ventured on such dangerous seas That if we wrought out life, ’twas ten to one; And yet we ventured, for the gain proposed Choked the respect of likely peril feared; And since we are o'erset, venture again. Come, we will all put forth, body and goods.

LORD BARDOLPH

Everyone who feels the pain of this loss knew that we were setting sail into dangerous waters. We knew that the odds were against us—it was ten to one that we would even survive. But we went ahead with the mission anyway, because the potential of winning meant more to us than the fear of losing. And even though we lost this time, we will try again. Come on, we will all do this, and we will put our bodies and everything we have on the line. 

MORTON

'Tis more than time.—And, my most noble lord, I hear for certain, and do speak the truth: The gentle Archbishop of York is up With well-appointed powers. He is a man Who with a double surety binds his followers. My lord your son had only but the corpse, But shadows and the shows of men, to fight; For that same word “rebellion” did divide The action of their bodies from their souls, And they did fight with queasiness, constrained, As men drink potions, that their weapons only Seemed on our side. But, for their spirits and souls, This word “rebellion,” it had froze them up As fish are in a pond. But now the Bishop Turns insurrection to religion. Supposed sincere and holy in his thoughts, He’s followed both with body and with mind, And doth enlarge his rising with the blood Of fair King Richard, scraped from Pomfret stones; Derives from heaven his quarrel and his cause; Tells them he doth bestride a bleeding land, Gasping for life under great Bolingbroke; And more and less do flock to follow him.

MORTON

It is the right time for that. Also, my noble lord, I have heard for certain—and this is the truth—that the Archbishop of York has raised a strong army. He keeps his followers by using both his earthly and his spiritual powers. My lord, your son was only able to have authority over their bodies—they were just like the shadows of men, forced to fight. It was because that word, "rebellion," separated their actions from their hearts. They fought like they were sick and weak, almost like they were ill enough to be taking medicine. It was only their weapons which made them seem like they were on our side. The word "rebellion" had frozen their spirits and their souls, like fish trapped in an icy pond. But now the Archbishop makes the rebellion about religion. Because everyone thinks he is a good and holy man, they follow him with both their bodies and their minds. He enhances his case by preaching about the blood of good King Richard, spilled on the stones of Pomfret Castle. He says that this argument and this rebellion comes from heaven; he tells them that they are in a bleeding region, one that is gasping for breath under the rule of the great Bolingbroke, and men from everywhere come to join him. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

I knew of this before, but, to speak truth, This present grief had wiped it from my mind. Go in with me and counsel every man The aptest way for safety and revenge. Get posts and letters, and make friends with speed. Never so few, and never yet more need.

NORTHUMBERLAND

I already knew this. But, if I'm being honest, right now my grief had made me forget about it. Come inside with me and we can discuss the best way to stay safe and get our revenge. Send out messengers with letters—we must make new allies quickly. Our numbers have never been this small, and yet, our need for men has never been greater. 

Exeunt

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Lani strange
About the Translator: Lani Strange

Lani is currently studying for an MA in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe. She has a BA in English and Latin Literature from the University of Warwick and worked as a Teacher of Drama for a year in between her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. She has a love for all things theatrical and spends all of her free time either watching theatre or taking part in it herself.