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King Henry IV, Part II

Please see the bottom of the page for extensive explanatory notes and other helpful resources.

ACT II SCENE III Warkworth. Before the castle. 
[Enter NORTHUMBERLAND, LADY NORTHUMBERLAND, and LADY PERCY]
NORTHUMBERLANDI 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.
LADY NORTHUMBERLANDI have given over, I will speak no more:
Do what you will; your wisdom be your guide.
NORTHUMBERLANDAlas, sweet wife, my honour is at pawn;
And, but my going, nothing can redeem it.
LADY PERCYO yet, for God's sake, go not to these wars!
The time was, father, that you broke your word,10
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 honours 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 grey vault of heaven, and by his light
Did all the chivalry of England move20
To do brave acts: he was indeed the glass
Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves:
He had no legs that practised 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, humours of blood,30
He was the mark and glass, copy and book,
That fashion'd 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 honour more precise and nice40
With others than with him! let them alone:
The marshal and the archbishop are strong:
Had my sweet Harry had but half their numbers,
To-day might I, hanging on Hotspur's neck,
Have talk'd of Monmouth's grave.
NORTHUMBERLANDBeshrew 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.
LADY NORTHUMBERLANDO, fly to Scotland,50
Till that the nobles and the armed commons
Have of their puissance made a little taste.
LADY PERCYIf 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 suffer'd: so came I a widow;
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,60
For recordation to my noble husband.
NORTHUMBERLANDCome, come, go in with me. 'Tis with my mind
As with the tide swell'd 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.
[Exeunt]

Continue to 2 Henry IV, Act 2, Scene 4

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Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 3
From King Henry the Fourth, second part. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.


Stage Direction. Northumberland. The great house of Percy descended from one of the Norman captains who fought at Hastings, William de Percy. The Earl here was the son of the third Baron Percy of Alnwick, one of the heroes of Crecy, and brother of Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester: Lady Northumberland, the Earl's second wife, Maud Lucy, widow of the Earl of Angus: Lady Percy, Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.

2. Give even ... affairs, do not seek to hinder the stern course I am obliged to take; the figure probably is, as so often in Shakespeare, from a bowling-green.

3. Put not you ... times, do not look gloomily upon me as the time does, do not frown upon the undertaking on which I am resolved.

4. Percy, i.e. himself.

7. at pawn, at stake, pledged.

8. but, except.

11. more endear'd ... now, bound by more urgent reasons to make it good, maintain it.

13, 4. Threw ... powers, was constantly looking to the north in hopeful expectation of seeing your forces approach; for long Theobald proposed look.

15. Who then ... home? a question of appeal equivalent to the negative 'no one then,' etc.

17. For yours ... it! as for your honour, may God restore its tarnished lustre!

18. it stuck upon him, it stood out in conspicuous brightness; cp. Haml. V. 2. 268, "Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night Stick fiery off indeed"; A. G. v. 2. 79, "His face was as the heavens; and therein stuck A sun and moon, which kept their course and lighted The little O, the earth."

21, 2. he was indeed ... themselves. In Haml. iii. 1. 161, the Prince is spoken of as "The glass of fashion, and the mould of form. "

23. He had ... gait, all who could boast any legs at all made it their aim to imitate his manner of walking; gait, "a particular use of M. E. gate, a way ... Icel. gata, a way, path, road; ... It is clear that the word was thus used, because popularly connected with the verb to go; at the same time, the word is not really derived from that verb, but from the verb to get" (Skeat, Ety. Dict.).

24, 5. And speaking ... valiant, and that which in him was a natural defect, his habit of rapid utterance, was adopted by his brave companions as though it were something becoming; for speaking thick, cp. Cymb. iii. 2. 58, "say, and speak thick."

27. their own perfection, their naturally perfect manner of speech.

29. affections of delight, those things which they took delight in, eagerly affected.

30. humours of blood, caprices of temper, disposition.

31. mark, sc. at which they aimed.

32. That fashion'd others, that shaped others to perfection; cp. Cymb. i. 1. 49, "A sample to the youngest, to the more mature A glass that feated them," i.e. formed, fashioned, them.

34. Second, inferior: unseconded, unaided.

36. In disadvantage, at a disadvantage, with forces unequal to those of the enemy: to abide a field, to undergo a combat.

38. defensible, capable of offering a defence; for adjectives having both an active and a passive meaning, see Abb. 3, 445: left him, sc. without help, deserted him.

40, 1. To hold ... him! to consider yourself bound by more scrupulous considerations of honour to stand by others than by him.

45. Monmouth's grave, the Prince's death: Beshrew, a mild form of imprecation often used playfully, as in M. V. iii. 2. 14.

46. draw ... me, take away my courage and determination.

50. provided, armed, furnished with what is necessary for my needs.

51. Till that. For 'that,' as a conjunctional affix, see Abb. 287.

52. puissance, power; here as a dissyllable, but often as a trisyllable.

54. a rib of steel, cp. M. A. iv. 1. 153, "O, that is stronger made Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron."

55. for all our loves, we adjure you by all the love we both bear you.

56. So did your son, your son fought without any such assistance.

57. He was ... widow, he was allowed thus to try his strength, and thus it was he perished.

59. To rain upon remembrance, to bedew with tears my loving memory of him. Warburton points out the allusion to the plant rosemary used at funerals as an emblem of remembrance, and compares W. T. iv. 4. 74-6, "For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep Seeming and savour all the winter long: Grace and remembrance be to you both."

61. For recordation to. in memory of.

62-4. 'Tis with ... way, my mind is in the state of the tide, which when it has reached its height pauses, neither flowing nor ebbing, i.e. I am in a state of doubt, the influences that would draw me in either direction being equally powerful.

67, 8. I will ... company, I will make up my mind to go to Scotland, and there shall I be found till opportunity and advantage bid me take active measures.

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How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. King Henry IV, second part. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1911. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/2kh4_2_3.html >.
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