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King Henry IV, Part II

ACT IV SCENE IYorkshire. Gaultree Forest.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKWhat is this forest call’d?
HASTINGS‘Tis Gaultree Forest, an’t shall please your grace.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKHere stand, my lords; and send discoverers forth
To know the numbers of our enemies. 5
HASTINGSWe have sent forth already.
My friends and brethren in these great affairs,
I must acquaint you that I have received
New-dated letters from Northumberland; 10
Their cold intent, tenor and substance, thus:
Here doth he wish his person, with such powers
As might hold sortance with his quality,
The which he could not levy; whereupon
He is retired, to ripe his growing fortunes, 15
To Scotland: and concludes in hearty prayers
That your attempts may overlive the hazard
And fearful melting of their opposite.
MOWBRAYThus do the hopes we have in him touch ground
And dash themselves to pieces. 20
Enter a Messenger
HASTINGSNow, what news?
MessengerWest of this forest, scarcely off a mile,
In goodly form comes on the enemy;
And, by the ground they hide, I judge their number
Upon or near the rate of thirty thousand. 25
MOWBRAYThe just proportion that we gave them out
Let us sway on and face them in the field.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKWhat well-appointed leader fronts us here?
MOWBRAYI think it is my Lord of Westmoreland.
WESTMORELANDHealth and fair greeting from our general, 30
The prince, Lord John and Duke of Lancaster.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKSay on, my Lord of Westmoreland, in peace:
What doth concern your coming?
WESTMORELANDThen, my lord,
Unto your grace do I in chief address 35
The substance of my speech. If that rebellion
Came like itself, in base and abject routs,
Led on by bloody youth, guarded with rags,
And countenanced by boys and beggary,
I say, if damn’d commotion so appear’d, 40
In his true, native and most proper shape,
You, reverend father, and these noble lords
Had not been here, to dress the ugly form
Of base and bloody insurrection
With your fair honours. You, lord archbishop, 45
Whose see is by a civil peace maintained,
Whose beard the silver hand of peace hath touch’d,
Whose learning and good letters peace hath tutor’d,
Whose white investments figure innocence,
The dove and very blessed spirit of peace, 50
Wherefore do you so ill translate ourself
Out of the speech of peace that bears such grace,
Into the harsh and boisterous tongue of war;
Turning your books to graves, your ink to blood,
Your pens to lances and your tongue divine 55
To a trumpet and a point of war?
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKWherefore do I this? so the question stands.
Briefly to this end: we are all diseased,
And with our surfeiting and wanton hours
Have brought ourselves into a burning fever, 60
And we must bleed for it; of which disease
Our late king, Richard, being infected, died.
But, my most noble Lord of Westmoreland,
I take not on me here as a physician,
Nor do I as an enemy to peace 65
Troop in the throngs of military men;
But rather show awhile like fearful war,
To diet rank minds sick of happiness
And purge the obstructions which begin to stop
Our very veins of life. Hear me more plainly. 70
I have in equal balance justly weigh’d
What wrongs our arms may do, what wrongs we suffer,
And find our griefs heavier than our offences.
We see which way the stream of time doth run,
And are enforced from our most quiet there 75
By the rough torrent of occasion;
And have the summary of all our griefs,
When time shall serve, to show in articles;
Which long ere this we offer’d to the king,
And might by no suit gain our audience: 80
When we are wrong’d and would unfold our griefs,
We are denied access unto his person
Even by those men that most have done us wrong.
The dangers of the days but newly gone,
Whose memory is written on the earth 85
With yet appearing blood, and the examples
Of every minute’s instance, present now,
Hath put us in these ill-beseeming arms,
Not to break peace or any branch of it,
But to establish here a peace indeed, 90
Concurring both in name and quality.
WESTMORELANDWhen ever yet was your appeal denied?
Wherein have you been galled by the king?
What peer hath been suborn’d to grate on you,
That you should seal this lawless bloody book 95
Of forged rebellion with a seal divine
And consecrate commotion’s bitter edge?
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKMy brother general, the commonwealth,
To brother born an household cruelty,
I make my quarrel in particular. 100
WESTMORELANDThere is no need of any such redress;
Or if there were, it not belongs to you.
MOWBRAYWhy not to him in part, and to us all
That feel the bruises of the days before,
And suffer the condition of these times 105
To lay a heavy and unequal hand
Upon our honours?
WESTMORELANDO, my good Lord Mowbray,
Construe the times to their necessities,
And you shall say indeed, it is the time, 110
And not the king, that doth you injuries.
Yet for your part, it not appears to me
Either from the king or in the present time
That you should have an inch of any ground
To build a grief on: were you not restored 115
To all the Duke of Norfolk’s signories,
Your noble and right well remember’d father’s?
MOWBRAYWhat thing, in honour, had my father lost,
That need to be revived and breathed in me?
The king that loved him, as the state stood then, 120
Was force perforce compell’d to banish him:
And then that Harry Bolingbroke and he,
Being mounted and both roused in their seats,
Their neighing coursers daring of the spur,
Their armed staves in charge, their beavers down, 125
Their eyes of fire sparking through sights of steel
And the loud trumpet blowing them together,
Then, then, when there was nothing could have stay’d
My father from the breast of Bolingbroke,
O when the king did throw his warder down, 130
His own life hung upon the staff he threw;
Then threw he down himself and all their lives
That by indictment and by dint of sword
Have since miscarried under Bolingbroke.
WESTMORELANDYou speak, Lord Mowbray, now you know not what. 135
The Earl of Hereford was reputed then
In England the most valiant gentlemen:
Who knows on whom fortune would then have smiled?
But if your father had been victor there,
He ne’er had borne it out of Coventry: 140
For all the country in a general voice
Cried hate upon him; and all their prayers and love
Were set on Hereford, whom they doted on
And bless’d and graced indeed, more than the king.
But this is mere digression from my purpose. 145
Here come I from our princely general
To know your griefs; to tell you from his grace
That he will give you audience; and wherein
It shall appear that your demands are just,
You shall enjoy them, every thing set off 150
That might so much as think you enemies.
MOWBRAYBut he hath forced us to compel this offer;
And it proceeds from policy, not love.
WESTMORELANDMowbray, you overween to take it so;
This offer comes from mercy, not from fear: 155
For, lo! within a ken our army lies,
Upon mine honour, all too confident
To give admittance to a thought of fear.
Our battle is more full of names than yours,
Our men more perfect in the use of arms, 160
Our armour all as strong, our cause the best;
Then reason will our heart should be as good
Say you not then our offer is compell’d.
MOWBRAYWell, by my will we shall admit no parley.
WESTMORELANDThat argues but the shame of your offence: 165
A rotten case abides no handling.
HASTINGSHath the Prince John a full commission,
In very ample virtue of his father,
To hear and absolutely to determine
Of what conditions we shall stand upon? 170
WESTMORELANDThat is intended in the general’s name:
I muse you make so slight a question.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKThen take, my Lord of Westmoreland, this schedule,
For this contains our general grievances:
Each several article herein redress’d, 175
All members of our cause, both here and hence,
That are insinew’d to this action,
Acquitted by a true substantial form
And present execution of our wills
To us and to our purposes confined, 180
We come within our awful banks again
And knit our powers to the arm of peace.
WESTMORELANDThis will I show the general. Please you, lords,
In sight of both our battles we may meet;
And either end in peace, which God so frame! 185
Or to the place of difference call the swords
Which must decide it.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKMy lord, we will do so.
MOWBRAYThere is a thing within my bosom tells me
That no conditions of our peace can stand. 190
HASTINGSFear you not that: if we can make our peace
Upon such large terms and so absolute
As our conditions shall consist upon,
Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky mountains.
MOWBRAYYea, but our valuation shall be such 195
That every slight and false-derived cause,
Yea, every idle, nice and wanton reason
Shall to the king taste of this action;
That, were our royal faiths martyrs in love,
We shall be winnow’d with so rough a wind 200
That even our corn shall seem as light as chaff
And good from bad find no partition.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKNo, no, my lord. Note this; the king is weary
Of dainty and such picking grievances:
For he hath found to end one doubt by death 205
Revives two greater in the heirs of life,
And therefore will he wipe his tables clean
And keep no tell-tale to his memory
That may repeat and history his loss
To new remembrance; for full well he knows 210
He cannot so precisely weed this land
As his misdoubts present occasion:
His foes are so enrooted with his friends
That, plucking to unfix an enemy,
He doth unfasten so and shake a friend: 215
So that this land, like an offensive wife
That hath enraged him on to offer strokes,
As he is striking, holds his infant up
And hangs resolved correction in the arm
That was uprear’d to execution. 220
HASTINGSBesides, the king hath wasted all his rods
On late offenders, that he now doth lack
The very instruments of chastisement:
So that his power, like to a fangless lion,
May offer, but not hold. 225
And therefore be assured, my good lord marshal,
If we do now make our atonement well,
Our peace will, like a broken limb united,
Grow stronger for the breaking. 230
MOWBRAYBe it so.
Here is return’d my Lord of Westmoreland.
WESTMORELANDThe prince is here at hand: pleaseth your lordship
To meet his grace just distance ‘tween our armies.
MOWBRAYYour grace of York, in God’s name then, set forward. 235
ARCHBISHOP OF YORKBefore, and greet his grace: my lord, we come.