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   King Henry IV, Part II
ACT III SCENE I Westminster. The palace. 
 Enter KING HENRY IV in his nightgown, with a Page 
KING HENRY IV Go call the Earls of Surrey and of Warwick; 
 But, ere they come, bid them o'er-read these letters, 
 And well consider of them; make good speed. 
 Exit Page 
 How many thousand of my poorest subjects 5
 Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep, 
 Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, 
 That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down 
 And steep my senses in forgetfulness? 
 Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, 10
 Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee 
 And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber, 
 Than in the perfumed chambers of the great, 
 Under the canopies of costly state, 
 And lull'd with sound of sweetest melody? 15
 O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile 
 In loathsome beds, and leavest the kingly couch 
 A watch-case or a common 'larum-bell? 
 Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast 
 Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains 20
 In cradle of the rude imperious surge 
 And in the visitation of the winds, 
 Who take the ruffian billows by the top, 
 Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them 
 With deafening clamour in the slippery clouds, 25
 That, with the hurly, death itself awakes? 
 Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose 
 To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude, 
 And in the calmest and most stillest night, 
 With all appliances and means to boot, 30
 Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down! 
 Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. 
 Enter WARWICK and SURREY 
WARWICK Many good morrows to your majesty! 
KING HENRY IV Is it good morrow, lords? 
WARWICK 'Tis one o'clock, and past. 35
KING HENRY IV Why, then, good morrow to you all, my lords. 
 Have you read o'er the letters that I sent you? 
WARWICK We have, my liege. 
KING HENRY IV Then you perceive the body of our kingdom 
 How foul it is; what rank diseases grow 40
 And with what danger, near the heart of it. 
WARWICK It is but as a body yet distemper'd; 
 Which to his former strength may be restored 
 With good advice and little medicine: 
 My Lord Northumberland will soon be cool'd. 45
KING HENRY IV O God! that one might read the book of fate, 
 And see the revolution of the times 
 Make mountains level, and the continent, 
 Weary of solid firmness, melt itself 
 Into the sea! and, other times, to see 50
 The beachy girdle of the ocean 
 Too wide for Neptune's hips; how chances mock, 
 And changes fill the cup of alteration 
 With divers liquors! O, if this were seen, 
 The happiest youth, viewing his progress through, 55
 What perils past, what crosses to ensue, 
 Would shut the book, and sit him down and die. 
 'Tis not 'ten years gone 
 Since Richard and Northumberland, great friends, 
 Did feast together, and in two years after 60
 Were they at wars: it is but eight years since 
 This Percy was the man nearest my soul, 
 Who like a brother toil'd in my affairs 
 And laid his love and life under my foot, 
 Yea, for my sake, even to the eyes of Richard 65
 Gave him defiance. But which of you was by-- 
 You, cousin Nevil, as I may remember-- 
 To WARWICK 
 When Richard, with his eye brimful of tears, 
 Then cheque'd and rated by Northumberland, 
 Did speak these words, now proved a prophecy? 70
 'Northumberland, thou ladder by the which 
 My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my throne;' 
 Though then, God knows, I had no such intent, 
 But that necessity so bow'd the state 
 That I and greatness were compell'd to kiss: 75
 'The time shall come,' thus did he follow it, 
 'The time will come, that foul sin, gathering head, 
 Shall break into corruption:' so went on, 
 Foretelling this same time's condition 
 And the division of our amity. 80
WARWICK There is a history in all men's lives, 
 Figuring the nature of the times deceased; 
 The which observed, a man may prophesy, 
 With a near aim, of the main chance of things 
 As yet not come to life, which in their seeds 85
 And weak beginnings lie intreasured. 
 Such things become the hatch and brood of time; 
 And by the necessary form of this 
 King Richard might create a perfect guess 
 That great Northumberland, then false to him, 90
 Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness; 
 Which should not find a ground to root upon, 
 Unless on you. 
KING HENRY IV Are these things then necessities? 
 Then let us meet them like necessities: 95
 And that same word even now cries out on us: 
 They say the bishop and Northumberland 
 Are fifty thousand strong. 
WARWICK It cannot be, my lord; 
 Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo, 100
 The numbers of the fear'd. Please it your grace 
 To go to bed. Upon my soul, my lord, 
 The powers that you already have sent forth 
 Shall bring this prize in very easily. 
 To comfort you the more, I have received 105
 A certain instance that Glendower is dead. 
 Your majesty hath been this fortnight ill, 
 And these unseason'd hours perforce must add 
 Unto your sickness. 
KING HENRY IV I will take your counsel: 110
 And were these inward wars once out of hand, 
 We would, dear lords, unto the Holy Land. 
 Exeunt 


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