A line-by-line translation

Henry VI, Part 2

Henry VI, Part 2 Translation Act 4, Scene 1

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Alarum. Fight at sea. Ordnance goes off. Enter a Captain, a Master, a Master's-mate, WALTER WHITMORE, and others; with them SUFFOLK, and others, prisoners

CAPTAIN

The gaudy, blabbing and remorseful day Is crept into the bosom of the sea; And now loud-howling wolves arouse the jades That drag the tragic melancholy night; Who, with their drowsy, slow and flagging wings, Clip dead men's graves and from their misty jaws Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air. Therefore bring forth the soldiers of our prize; For, whilst our pinnace anchors in the Downs, Here shall they make their ransom on the sand, Or with their blood stain this discolour'd shore. Master, this prisoner freely give I thee; And thou that art his mate, make boot of this; The other, Walter Whitmore, is thy share.

CAPTAIN

The bright day has sunk into the depth of the sea, and now loud-howling wolves awaken the dragons that drag night's sad chariot. Their drowsy, slow and dropping wings hit dead men's graves, and they breathe horrible contagious darkness into the air from their misty jaws. So bring forward the soldiers from the ship we captured. While our boat stops in the Downs, they will either pay their ransom here on the sand, or we'll stain this gray shore with their blood. Master, I give you this prisoner freely. And since you are his companion, take advantage of this. Walt Whitmore, the other is yours. 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

What is my ransom, master? Let me know.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

What is the ransom, master? Tell me.

MASTER

A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.

MASTER

A thousand crowns, or else you'll lose your head.

MASTER'S-MATE

And so much shall you give, or off goes yours.

MASTER'S-MATE

And so much you will give us, or else we'll cut off your head.

CAPTAIN

What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns, And bear the name and port of gentlemen? Cut both the villains' throats; for die you shall: The lives of those which we have lost in fight Be counterpoised with such a petty sum!

CAPTAIN

Do you think it's too much to pay two thousand crowns, since you bear the name and wear the clothes of gentlemen? Cut both the villain's throats, because you shall die! Such a small amount isn't worth the lives of the men we lost in battle.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I'll give it, sir; and therefore spare my life.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I'll give it to you, sir; so spare my life!

SECOND GENTLEMAN

And so will I and write home for it straight.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

And so will I; I'll write home for the money straight away.

WHITMORE

[To SUFFOLK] I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,And therefore to revenge it, shalt thou die;And so should these, if I might have my will.

WHITMORE

[To SUFFOLK] I lost my eye in boarding the captured ship. So to take revenge, you will die and so would all of them, if I have a say in it. 

CAPTAIN

Be not so rash; take ransom, let him live.

CAPTAIN

Don't be so harsh. Take the money and let them live. 

SUFFOLK

Look on my George; I am a gentleman:Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.

SUFFOLK

Look on my badge of George. I am a gentleman. Whatever amount you think is worthy of me, it shall be paid.

WHITMORE

And so am I; my name is Walter Whitmore.How now! Why start'st thou? What, dothdeath affright?

WHITMORE

I will do just that. My name is Walter Whitmore! Oh? Why are you surprised? What? Does death frighten you?

SUFFOLK

Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death. A cunning man did calculate my birth And told me that by water I should die: Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded; Thy name is Gaultier, being rightly sounded.

SUFFOLK

Your name frightens me. It sounds like death in my ears. A man skilled in magic cast my horoscope and told me that I will die by water. But don't let this make you think about my death. Your name is Gaultier, if it is pronounced correctly.

WHITMORE

Gaultier or Walter, which it is, I care not: Never yet did base dishonour blur our name, But with our sword we wiped away the blot; Therefore, when merchant-like I sell revenge, Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defaced, And I proclaim'd a coward through the world!

WHITMORE

Gaultier or Walter, I don't care which it is. Lowly dishonor has never stained my name, because we wiped away that spot with our sword. Therefore, if I ransom prisoners like a merchant, my sword is broken, my coat of arms is torn and damaged, and I am called a coward throughout the world!

SUFFOLK

Stay, Whitmore; for thy prisoner is a prince,The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.

SUFFOLK

No more, Whitmore. Your prisoner is a nobleman—the Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.

WHITMORE

The Duke of Suffolk muffled up in rags!

WHITMORE

The Duke of Suffolk dressed in rags!

SUFFOLK

Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke:Jove sometimes went disguised, and why not I?

SUFFOLK

Yes, but these rags aren't a part of the duke. Jove sometimes disguised himself, so why shouldn't I?

CAPTAIN

But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.

CAPTAIN

But Jove was never killed and you will be.

SUFFOLK

Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry's blood, The honourable blood of Lancaster, Must not be shed by such a jaded groom. Hast thou not kiss'd thy hand and held my stirrup? Bare-headed plodded by my foot-cloth mule And thought thee happy when I shook my head? How often hast thou waited at my cup, Fed from my trencher, kneel'd down at the board, When I have feasted with Queen Margaret? Remember it and let it make thee crest-fall'n, Ay, and allay this thy abortive pride; How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood And duly waited for my coming forth? This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf, And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.

SUFFOLK

Insignificant and lowly peasant, King Henry's blood—the honorable blood of Lancaster—won't be spilled by such a contemptible servant. Have you not kissed your hand and held my stirrup? You walked bare-headed by my mule and considered yourself happy when I acknowledged you even slightly. How often have you served me drinks, acted as my taster, and bowed at my table when I was having dinner with Queen Margaret? Remember that and let it make you humble! And stop being so proud; it doesn't work for you. Remember how you used to stand in our lobby and obediently wait for my arrival? My hand has written on your behalf, so it has the right to silence your disrespectful words. 

WHITMORE

Speak, captain, shall I stab the forlorn swain?

WHITMORE

Speak, captain. Should I stab this wretched fellow?

CAPTAIN

First let my words stab him, as he hath me.

CAPTAIN

First, let my words stab him, as he has just done with his.

SUFFOLK

Base slave, thy words are blunt and so art thou.

SUFFOLK

Lowly slave, your words are as useless as you are. 

CAPTAIN

Convey him hence and on our longboat's sideStrike off his head.

CAPTAIN

Take him away and cut off his head on the side of our largest boat. 

SUFFOLK

Thou darest not, for thy own.

SUFFOLK

You wouldn't dare, for fear of losing your own head. 

CAPTAIN

Yes, Pole.

CAPTAIN

Yes I would, Pole.

SUFFOLK

Pole?

SUFFOLK

Pole?

CAPTAIN

Pool! Sir Pool! Lord! Ay, kennel, puddle, sink; whose filth and dirt Troubles the silver spring where England drinks. Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth For swallowing the treasure of the realm: Thy lips that kiss'd the queen shall sweep the ground; And thou that smiledst at good Duke Humphrey's death, Against the senseless winds shalt grin in vain, Who in contempt shall hiss at thee again: And wedded be thou to the hags of hell, For daring to affy a mighty lord Unto the daughter of a worthless king, Having neither subject, wealth, nor diadem. By devilish policy art thou grown great, And, like ambitious Sylla, overgorged With gobbets of thy mother's bleeding heart. By thee Anjou and Maine were sold to France, The false revolting Normans thorough thee Disdain to call us lord, and Picardy Hath slain their governors, surprised our forts, And sent the ragged soldiers wounded home. The princely Warwick, and the Nevils all, Whose dreadful swords were never drawn in vain, As hating thee, are rising up in arms: And now the house of York, thrust from the crown By shameful murder of a guiltless king And lofty proud encroaching tyranny, Burns with revenging fire ; whose hopeful colours Advance our half-faced sun, striving to shine, Under the which is writ 'Invitis nubibus.' The commons here in Kent are up in arms: And, to conclude, reproach and beggary Is crept into the palace of our king. And all by thee. Away! Convey him hence.

CAPTAIN

Pool! Sir Pool! Lord! Yes, gutter, puddle, sewer, whose filth and dirt muddies the silver spring where England drinks. Now I'll block up your gaping mouth for swallowing the treasure of the kingdom. Your lips, that once kissed the queen, will feel the ground now. And you that smiled when good Duke Humphrey died will grimace in vain against the merciless winds, which will hiss at you in contempt. And you will be married to the old women of hell, for daring to engage a mighty lord to the daughter of a worthless king who had neither followers, wealth, nor a crown. You have grown powerful by devilish tricks, and like ambitious Sylla, you are stuffed with chunks of raw flesh from your country's bleeding heart. Anjou and Maine were sold to France because of you, your false rebellious Normans refused to call us lords because of you, and Picardy has killed their lords, seized our fortresses, and sent the exhausted and wounded soldiers home. The noble Warwick and all the Nevils, whose dreadful swords were never drawn senselessly, are rising up because they hate you. And now the house of York, deprived of the crown by the shameful murder of a guiltless king and grasping ambition, is ready for revenge.  Their hopeful military banners show a half-faced sun, rising to shine, under which is written: "in spite of clouds." The commoners here in Kent are ready to fight. And to conclude, disgrace and beggary have spread into the palace of our king. And this is all because of you! Away! Take him from here.

SUFFOLK

O that I were a god, to shoot forth thunder Upon these paltry, servile, abject drudges! Small things make base men proud: this villain here,Being captain of a pinnace, threatens moreThan Bargulus the strong Illyrian pirate. Drones suck not eagles' blood but rob beehives: It is impossible that I should die By such a lowly vassal as thyself. Thy words move rage and not remorse in me: I go of message from the queen to France; I charge thee waft me safely cross the Channel.

SUFFOLK

Oh, if only I were a god and I could shoot thunder on these worthless, slavish, cowardly base peasants! Small things make small men proud. This villain here, being a captain of a boat, threatens me more than Bargulus, the strong Illyrian pirate. The non-working male bees don't suck eagles' blood but rob beehives. It is impossible that I'll die by the hand of such a lowly servant like you! Your words make me angry and not guilty. I'm going to carry a message from the queen to France. I demand that you carry me safely across the Channel. 

CAPTAIN

Walter,—

CAPTAIN

Walter—

WHITMORE

Come, Suffolk, I must waft thee to thy death.

WHITMORE

Come, Suffolk, I must carry you to your death.

SUFFOLK

Gelidus timor occupat artus it is thee I fear.

SUFFOLK

"Cold fear almost entirely seizes my limbs." It is you that I'm afraid of.

WHITMORE

Thou shalt have cause to fear before I leave thee.What, are ye daunted now? Now will ye stoop?

WHITMORE

You'll have a reason to be afraid before I'm done with you. Are you scared now? Will you bow now?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

My gracious lord, entreat him, speak him fair.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

[To SUFFOLK] My gracious lord, beg him. Speak courteously to him.

SUFFOLK

Suffolk's imperial tongue is stern and rough, Used to command, untaught to plead for favour. Far be it we should honour such as these With humble suit: no, rather let my head Stoop to the block than these knees bow to any Save to the God of heaven and to my king; And sooner dance upon a bloody pole Than stand uncover'd to the vulgar groom. True nobility is exempt from fear: More can I bear than you dare execute.

SUFFOLK

Suffolk's commanding tongue is strict and rough; it is used to giving commands and not used to asking for a favor. It is too much for us to honor someone like you with humble begging. No, I'd rather let my head bow to the cutting block than these knees bow to anyone, apart from the God of heaven and my king. I would sooner dance on a bloody spike than stand hat-less next to this vulgar servant. True nobility is not afraid. I can take more than you dare to throw at me.

CAPTAIN

Hale him away, and let him talk no more.

CAPTAIN

Drag him away and don't let him talk any more.

SUFFOLK

Come, soldiers, show what cruelty ye can, That this my death may never be forgot! Great men oft die by vile bezonians: A Roman sworder and banditto slave Murder'd sweet Tully; Brutus' bastard hand Stabb'd Julius Caesar; savage islanders Pompey the Great; and Suffolk dies by pirates.

SUFFOLK

Come, soldiers and show all the cruelty you can, so that my death may never be forgotten! Great men often die at the hands of lowly beggars. A Roman assassin and bandit slave murdered the sweet Tully; the bastard Brutus stabbed Julius Caeasar; savage islanders killed Pompey the Great. And Suffolk will be killed by pirates.

Exeunt Whitmore and others with Suffolk

CAPTAIN

And as for these whose ransom we have set,It is our pleasure one of them depart;Therefore come you with us and let him go.

CAPTAIN

And as for these whose ransom we have accepted, we'll let one of you go. So  you come with us, and let him go.

Exeunt all but the First Gentleman

Re-enter WHITMORE with SUFFOLK's body

WHITMORE

There let his head and lifeless body lie,Until the queen his mistress bury it.

WHITMORE

We'll let his head and lifeless body lie there, until his lover the queen can bury it.

Exit

FIRST GENTLEMAN

O barbarous and bloody spectacle! His body will I bear unto the king: If he revenge it not, yet will his friends; So will the queen, that living held him dear.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Oh, barbaric and bloody spectacle! I will take his body to the king. If he doesn't take revenge, his friends will and so will the queen that held him so dear when he was alive.

Exit with the body

Henry vi part 2
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Henry VI, Part 2 Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 815 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 19,172 quotes covering 815 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
Nina romancikova
About the Translator: Nina Romancikova

Nina Romancikova is from Slovakia but her love of literature and theater has brought her to the UK and she has been living and studying there for the past six years. She graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language at University of Glasgow in 2016. Nina is now finishing her Masters in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and is currently working as a Research Intern at Shakespeare's Globe.