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Henry IV, Part 2

Henry IV, Part 2 Translation Act 2, Scene 3

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Enter NORTHUMBERLAND, LADY NORTHUMBERLAND, and LADY PERCY

NORTHUMBERLAND

I pray thee, loving wife and gentle daughter, Give even way unto my rough affairs. Put not you on the visage of the times And be, like them, to Percy troublesome.

NORTHUMBERLAND

I am asking you, my loving wife and my kind daughter-in-law, to make my difficult position as easy as you can. Don't let your faces show how horrible these times are—that will only make things more troubling for me. 

LADY NORTHUMBERLAND

I have given over. I will speak no more.Do what you will; your wisdom be your guide.

LADY NORTHUMBERLAND

I give up. I won't say another word. Do what you want; your wisdom can guide you now. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Alas, sweet wife, my honor is at pawn,And, but my going, nothing can redeem it.

NORTHUMBERLAND

For goodness' sake, my sweet wife: my honor is at risk here. The only way I can redeem myself is by going to fight. 

LADY PERCY

O yet, for God’s sake, go not to these wars. The time was, father, that you broke your word, When you were more endeared to it than now, When your own Percy, when my heart’s dear Harry, Threw many a northward look to see his father Bring up his powers; but he did long in vain. Who then persuaded you to stay at home? There were two honors lost, yours and your son’s. For yours, the God of heaven brighten it. For his, it stuck upon him as the sun In the gray vault of heaven , and by his light Did all the chivalry of England move To do brave acts. He was indeed the glass Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves. He had no legs that practiced not his gait; And speaking thick, which nature made his blemish, Became the accents of the valiant; For those that could speak low and tardily Would turn their own perfection to abuse To seem like him. So that in speech, in gait, In diet, in affections of delight, In military rules, humors of blood, He was the mark and glass, copy and book, That fashioned others. And him—O wondrous him! O miracle of men!—him did you leave, Second to none, unseconded by you, To look upon the hideous god of war In disadvantage, to abide a field Where nothing but the sound of Hotspur’s name Did seem defensible. So you left him . Never, O never, do his ghost the wrong To hold your honor more precise and nice With others than with him. Let them alone. The Marshal and the Archbishop are strong. Had my sweet Harry had but half their numbers, Today might I, hanging on Hotspur’s neck, Have talked of Monmouth’s grave.

LADY PERCY

Oh, but still, don't go to these wars, for God's sake. The last time you broke your word you were far more bound to the cause than you are now. Your own son Percy—my own love, Harry—kept looking north hoping to see his father and his army arriving. But his hopes were in vain. Who was it that persuaded you to stay at home then? Two senses of honor were lost in that battle—your honor, and your son's. As for yours, God might be able to make it shine again. As for your son's, it attached itself to him—like the sun in a blue sky—and its beams motivated every soldier in England to act bravely. He was like a mirror that noble, young men used to know how to dress themselves. Everyone with legs copied how he walked; all brave men even copied his quick and hurried speech—which was considered one of his only flaws. For the men who had always spoken softly and slowly manipulated their perfect speech to sound more like him. In terms of his speech, his walk, his diet; when it came to the things which gave him pleasure, his military actions, his changing moods, he was the signpost and the mirror, the guidebook by which everyone lived. And him—oh wonderful him! What a miracle among men! And you left him! Unsupported by you, the best man there was had to face the terrible god of war with this disadvantage. The only defense he had left to fight this battle with was the reputation of his own name, Hotspur. And that is how you left him. Don't you dare wrong his name by caring more about your honor with other men than you did with him. Leave them alone. Marshal Mowbray and the Archbishop of York are strong. If only my sweet Harry had had an army even half the size of theirs, today I could have been holding my Harry and talking about Hal's death instead.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Beshrew your heart, Fair daughter, you do draw my spirits from me With new lamenting ancient oversights. But I must go and meet with danger there, Or it will seek me in another place And find me worse provided.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Oh, curse your feelings, my beautiful daughter-in-law. You drag me out of myself again and make me look back at the mistakes that I made. But I have to go and face danger there, or danger will just find me somewhere else and I won't be ready for it. 

LADY NORTHUMBERLAND

Oh, fly to ScotlandTill that the nobles and the armèd commonsHave of their puissance made a little taste.

LADY NORTHUMBERLAND

Oh, go to Scotland then, until these noblemen and their armies have made some progress in their rebellion.

LADY PERCY

If they get ground and vantage of the King, Then join you with them like a rib of steel To make strength stronger; but, for all our loves, First let them try themselves. So did your son; He was so suffered. So came I a wid ow, And never shall have length of life enough To rain upon remembrance with mine eyes That it may grow and sprout as high as heaven For recordation to my noble husband.

LADY PERCY

If they manage to make any progress against the King, and gain any ground, then you can join them. And just like a steel pole, you will make their armies even stronger. But, if you love us, let them try on their own first. That's how your son fought in the battle. You allowed him to do so, and that's how I became a widow. My life will never be long enough to water the plant of memory with my tears. This plant will never grow tall enough to truly honor the memory of my noble husband. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Come, come, go in with me. 'Tis with my mind As with the tide swelled up unto his height, That makes a still-stand, running neither way. Fain would I go to meet the Archbishop, But many thousand reasons hold me back. I will resolve for Scotland. There am I Till time and vantage crave my company.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Come on now, go inside with me. My mind is currently filled with thoughts that are like a high tide at a standstill, not coming or going. I want to go and join the Archbishop—but there are thousands of reasons holding me back. I will go to Scotland. There, I can wait and see if there comes a point when my help is truly needed. 

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.