Search Menu

Original Text

Modern Text



320




325




330




335




340




345



Better opinion, better confirmation,
For all the soil of the achievement goes
With me into the earth. It seemed in me
But as an honor snatched with boist'rous hand,
And I had many living to upbraid
My gain of it by their assistances,
Which daily grew to quarrel and to bloodshed,
Wounding supposèd peace. All these bold fears
Thou see’st with peril I have answerèd,
For all my reign hath been but as a scene
Acting that argument. And now my death
Changes the mood, for what in me was purchased
Falls upon thee in a more fairer sort.
So thou the garland wear’st successively.
Yet though thou stand’st more sure than I could do,
Thou art not firm enough, since griefs are green,
And all my friends, which thou must make thy friends,
Have but their stings and teeth newly ta'en out,
By whose fell working I was first advanced
And by whose power I well might lodge a fear
To be again displaced; which to avoid,
I cut them off and had a purpose now
To lead out many to the Holy Land,
Lest rest and lying still might make them look
Too near unto my state. Therefore, my Harry,
Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
With foreign quarrels; that action, hence borne out,
May waste the memory of the former days.
More would I, but my lungs are wasted so
That strength of speech is utterly denied me.
How I came by the crown, O God forgive,
And grant it may with thee in true peace live.
better support and stronger approval. The stain of its obtainment dies now, with me. On me, the crown seemed like an honor grabbed with a violent hand, and many people lived to remind me that they had helped me take it. Eventually, those daily reminders grew into war and bloodshed, doing damage to the peace. You can see how much pain it’s caused me as I’ve fought my foes. My entire reign has been like a play, in which we rehash that disagreement.
Now my death changes the show. What I bought, you will inherit. You’ll wear the crown by right of succession. But even though you have a firmer claim to the crown than I had, it’s not firm enough. Anger is still fresh, and my former friends—whom you must make into your friends—have only recently been disarmed. It was their power that first got me the crown, and I feared that same power could take me down. To avoid that, I defeated their rebellion, and planned to lead an army to the Holy Land. I thought that, with nothing to occupy themselves, they’d start eyeing me and my crown.
Therefore, my Harry, make it your policy to focus the distracted minds of the people with foreign wars. Military actions abroad will make people forget about troubling matters in the past. I’d say more, but my lungs are so worn out that I don’t have the strength to speak. God forgive me for how I came by the crown, and may he grant that you enjoy it in peace.

350
PRINCE HENRY
My gracious liege,
You won it, wore it, kept it, gave it me.
PRINCE HENRY
My gracious lord, you won it, wore it, kept it, then gave it to me. My possession of it must therefore be honest

Buy on BN.com and save!

Henry IV Parts One and Two (No Fear Shakespeare)