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Henry IV, Part 2

Henry IV, Part 2 Translation Act 1, Scene 3

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Enter the ARCHBISHOP of York, Thomas MOWBRAY the Earl Marshal, Lord HASTINGS, and LORD BARDOLPH

ARCHBISHOP

Thus have you heard our cause and known our means, And, my most noble friends, I pray you all Speak plainly your opinions of our hopes. And first, Lord Marshal, what say you to it?

ARCHBISHOP

So now you have heard why we're fighting and what kind of support we have, my noble friends. I want you to tell me truthfully if you think we have a chance. Firstly you, Marshal Mowbray: what do you think?

MOWBRAY

I well allow the occasion of our arms, But gladly would be better satisfied How in our means we should advance ourselves To look with forehead bold and big enough Upon the power and puissance of the King.

MOWBRAY

I agree with why we are fighting, but I would feel happier if I knew how we were going to be strong enough to fight with so few resources against the King's powerful forces.

HASTINGS

Our present musters grow upon the file To five-and-twenty thousand men of choice, And our supplies live largely in the hope Of great Northumberland, whose bosom burns With an incensèd fire of injuries.

HASTINGS

Our present army now stands at twenty-five thousand good men, and we are hoping for reinforcements from the great Northumberland, whose heart is burning with the grief of his loss. 

LORD BARDOLPH

The question then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus: Whether our present five-and-twenty thousand May hold up head without Northumberland.

LORD BARDOLPH

Then the question is, Lord Hastings, would we be able to win this fight solely with our own twenty-five thousand men, without Northumberland's help?

HASTINGS

With him we may.

HASTINGS

With his help, we could win.

LORD BARDOLPH

Yea, marry, there’s the point. But if without him we be thought too feeble, My judgment is we should not step too far Till we had his assistance by the hand. For in a theme so bloody-faced as this, Conjecture, expectation, and surmise Of aids incertain should not be admitted.

LORD BARDOLPH

That's precisely my point. If we think that we are too weak to fight without him, then I think that we should hold off on doing anything until we know that he is definitely coming. In a battle as bloody as this one will be, we cannot allow for uncertainty. There can't be any guessing, hoping, or speculating when it comes to our support—we need to know for certain.

ARCHBISHOP

'Tis very true, Lord Bardolph; for indeedIt was young Hotspur’s cause at Shrewsbury.

ARCHBISHOP

That's right, Lord Bardolph. That was young Hotspur's mistake at Shrewsbury.

LORD BARDOLPH

It was, my lord; who lined himself with hope, Eating the air on promise of supply, Flatt'ring himself in project of a power Much smaller than the smallest of his thoughts, And so, with great imagination Proper to madmen, led his powers to death And, winking, leapt into destruction.

LORD BARDOLPH

It certainly was, my lord. He went into that battle with just his hope, and believed the empty words of the men who promised to send reinforcements. He let himself get carried away—expecting a huge army to turn up to help—when in fact, the help that came proved to be smaller than even the smallest of his thoughts. It was with this vivid imagination—which only madmen should have—that he led his soldiers to their deaths, and shutting his eyes, leapt into his own destruction.

HASTINGS

But, by your leave, it never yet did hurtTo lay down likelihoods and forms of hope.

HASTINGS

But, forgive me, it's doesn't hurt to think about possible outcomes of the battle and hopeful strategies that we could use.

LORD BARDOLPH

Yes, if this present quality of war— Indeed the instant action, a cause on foot— Lives so in hope, as in an early spring We see the appearing buds, which to prove fruit Hope gives not so much warrant as despair That frosts will bite them. When we mean to build, We first survey the plot, then draw the model, And when we see the figure of the house, Then must we rate the cost of the erection, Which if we find outweighs ability, What do we then but draw anew the model In fewer offices, or at last desist To build at all? Much more in this great work, Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down And set another up, should we survey The plot of situation and the model, Consent upon a sure foundation, Question surveyors, know our own estate, How able such a work to undergo, To weigh against his opposite. Or else We fortify in paper and in figures, Using the names of men instead of men, Like one that draws the model of a house Beyond his power to build it , who, half through, Gives o'er and leaves his part-created cost A naked subject to the weeping clouds And waste for churlish winter’s tyranny.

LORD BARDOLPH

Yes it does. The current situation is that our troops are already on the move. But if we put all of our hopes in them, that is like seeing the first buds of spring and expecting that these will bear fruit—when in reality, they are more likely to be killed by frost. When we decide to build something, first we look at the land and then we draw up the plans. When we know what the house will look like, we work out how much it is going to cost. If we find that the cost is more than we can afford, we change the plans so that the house has fewer rooms, or we decide to cancel the building project completely. Since we are trying to take down a kingdom and start a whole new one, our mission is so great that we must really think about the land and the plans. We need to know that we have a strong foundation. We need to have the right men for the task. We need to know what we can afford, and how prepared we are to face the unfortunate events that might occur. Or else this just seems like a game, in which we list on paper the numbers and names of men, rather than recognize the actual living people behind those figures and names. It would be like someone who draws up the plans for a house that they know they will never be able to finish building; like someone who abandons the task halfway through, leaving this half-built house to be ruined by rain and the ravages of winter.

HASTINGS

Grant that our hopes, yet likely of fair birth, Should be stillborn and that we now possessed The utmost man of expectation, I think we are a body strong enough, Even as we are, to equal with the King.

HASTINGS

Even if everything that we're hoping for falls through and the men that we have now are all that we're going to have, I still think that our army is strong enough as we are to be a match for the King.

LORD BARDOLPH

What, is the King but five-and twenty-thousand?

LORD BARDOLPH

What? Does the King only have twenty-five thousand men as well?

HASTINGS

To us no more, nay, not so much, Lord Bardolph, For his divisions, as the times do brawl, Are in three heads: one power against the French, And one against Glendower; perforce a third Must take up us. So is the unfirm King In three divided, and his coffers sound With hollow poverty and emptiness.

HASTINGS

The King has assigned no more men to fight us than we currently have—and maybe even less, Lord Bardolph. These are violent times, and the King is currently fighting three battles. One army is fighting against the French, and one against Glendower. Therefore a third army must fight against us. The weak King is now split into three, and his bank account is drained to point of poverty.

ARCHBISHOP

That he should draw his several strengths togetherAnd come against us in full puissanceNeed not be dreaded.

ARCHBISHOP

We also don't need to be worried about him bringing all of his troops back together to fight against us with his full power.

HASTINGS

If he should do so,He leaves his back unarmed, the French and WelshBaying him at the heels. Never fear that.

HASTINGS

If he did that, he'd be vulnerable from all other sides, with the French and the Welsh hot on his heels. So don't worry about that happening.

LORD BARDOLPH

Who is it like should lead his forces hither?

LORD BARDOLPH

Who will be leading his troops to fight against us?

HASTINGS

The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland;Against the Welsh, himself and Harry Monmouth;But who is substituted against the FrenchI have no certain notice.

HASTINGS

The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland. He has gone to fight against the Welsh with his son, Prince Hal. And I'm not sure who is now leading the army against the French.

ARCHBISHOP

Let us on, And publish the occasion of our arms. The commonwealth is sick of their own choice. Their over-greedy love hath surfeited. An habitation giddy and unsure Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart. O thou fond many, with what loud applause Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke Before he was what thou wouldst have him be. And being now trimmed in thine own desires, Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him That thou provok’st thyself to cast him up. So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge Thy glutton bosom of the royal Richard, And now thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up And howl’st to find it. What trust is in these times? They that, when Richard lived, would have him die Are now become enamored on his grave. Thou, that threw’st dust upon his goodly head When through proud London he came sighing on After th' admired heels of Bolingbroke, Criest now “O earth, yield us that King again, And take thou this!” O thoughts of men accursed! Past and to come seems best; things present, worst.

ARCHBISHOP

Let's continue with our plan then. We will announce the reasons why we are fighting. People in this country are sick of the monarch that they themselves chose. They were eager in their love for him, but now they have had too much of it. He built his kingdom on the love of the people, and this made it wobbly and uncertain. Oh, you foolish people! Your applause for Bolingbroke shook the sky, before you even knew if he'd be the type of leader you hoped he would be. Now you are all decked out in what you wanted, you horrible gluttons—you've ingested so much of the King that you wish you could throw him up. You disgusting dogs, this was just how you gorged yourselves on the last king, Richard, and then got rid of him by puking him all up. And now you would howl for that vomit and eat it up out of nostalgia for those days. In these times who can be trusted? Nowadays, the people who wanted Richard dead in the first place, are now in love with his dead body. The people who threw dust and rubbish at his good head when he walked through London in disgrace—people who supported the beloved Bolingbroke—now cry, "Oh, earth, give us back King Richard again, and you can have King Henry back!" Oh, men's thoughts are damned! They only think good about things of the past and the future; anything that happens now is hated.

MOWBRAY

Shall we go draw our numbers and set on?

MOWBRAY

Shall we go to round up our troops and set off?

HASTINGS

We are time’s subjects, and time bids begone.

HASTINGS

Time is our leader, and Time tells us to get going.

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.