Henry IV, Part 2 | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Henry IV, Part 2 | Quotes


Upon my tongues continual slanders ride, / The which in every language I pronounce, / Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.

Rumor, Induction

Rumor explains the harm he does by spreading false information. He is not limited by language or lands because rumor is everywhere, spreading lies and slander.


But let one spirit of the firstborn Cain / Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set / On bloody courses, the rude scene may end, / And darkness be the burier of the dead.

Northumberland, Act 1, Scene 1

Northumberland suffers furious grief when he finds out his son, Hotspur, died at the Battle of Shrewsbury. He vows revenge on those who killed him (King Henry IV and Prince Hal), invoking the biblical Cain who slew his brother.


I can get no remedy against this consumption / of the purse. Borrowing only lingers and lingers / it out, but the disease is incurable.

Falstaff, Act 1, Scene 2

Falstaff is a loveable rogue who constantly borrows and steals money from friends, lovers, and acquaintances. He likens his spending with the disease consumption, saying that no matter how much he borrows, his purse will never be filled because he spends it all.


And so, with great imagination / Proper to madmen, led his powers to death / And, winking, leapt into destruction.

Lord Bardolph, Act 1, Scene 3

Lord Bardolph is referring to Hotspur during his rebellion against the king. He was a passionate and fiery man who could rouse his men to war, but his fire burned too bright and eventually led to his defeat and death.


Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

King Henry IV, Act 3, Scene 1

The crown is a heavy responsibility and has not brought Henry IV any peace. Kingship is difficult and dangerous, and it has cost him his peace of mind. It also literally threatens his life—a king's head is never safe on his shoulders.


Hereof comes it that Prince Harry is / valiant, for the cold blood he did naturally inherit / of his father he hath, like lean, sterile, and bare / land, manured, husbanded, and tilled with excellent / endeavor of drinking good and good store / of fertile sherris, that he is become very hot and valiant.

Falstaff, Act 4, Scene 2

Falstaff believes that Henry IV's cold-bloodedness has been overcome in Prince Hal because the prince drinks. He has overcome the deficiencies of his lordly blood by engaging in the common practice, as he did with Falstaff, and that makes him a good man and leader.


Why doth the crown lie there upon his pillow, / Being so troublesome a bedfellow? / O polished perturbation, golden care, / That keep'st the ports of slumber open wide / To many a watchful night!

Prince Hal, Act 4, Scene 3

Prince Hal considers the crown that has caused his father so much trouble. It has cost Henry IV his health and peace of mind. He struggles to understand how such a small thing can cause so much grief, even though he knows the responsibility is great. He is coming to terms with becoming king, acknowledging the crown's importance and power.


Dost thou so hunger for mine empty chair / That thou wilt needs invest thee with my honors / Before thy hour be ripe? O foolish youth, / Thou seek'st the greatness that will overwhelm thee.

King Henry IV, Act 4, Scene 3

King Henry IV accuses Prince Hal of stealing his crown while he slept, thinking he was dead. Based on his misgivings about his son's character, he believes that Hal wishes him dead sooner, impatient to take his place. He upbraids Hal, telling him he is not ready for the challenges the crown brings.


God knows, my son, / By what bypaths and indirect crook'd ways / I met this crown, and I myself know well / How troublesome it sat upon my head. / To thee it shall descend with better quiet, / Better opinion, better confirmation.

King Henry IV, Act 4, Scene 3

Henry IV reflects upon his path to the crown. He overthrew Richard II by rebelling, but he has been beset by rebellions against him throughout his reign. He hopes that his son has an easier time since Prince Hal follows proper laws of succession.


You won it, wore it, kept it, gave it me. / Then plain and right must my possession be, / Which I with more than with a common pain / 'Gainst all the world will rightfully maintain.

Prince Hal, Act 4, Scene 3

Prince Hal accepts his duty and responsibility, acknowledging all that his father has offered him. He vows that he will be a good king, reconciling with his father and assuaging his fears.


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, / And we must bleed for it; of which disease / Our late King Richard, being infected, died.

Archbishop of York, Act 4, Scene 1

The archbishop speaks to Westmoreland of why he and the other lords rebel against the king. The state of the nation is a direct reflection of the state of the monarchy and vice versa. They are symbiotic. Richard was a weak king that made England weaker, but now they have a new infection in the form of a usurper to the throne.


Sweet princes, what I did I did in honor, / Led by th' impartial conduct of my soul; / ... / If truth and upright innocency fail me, / I'll to the king my master that is dead / And tell him who hath sent me after him.

Lord Chief Justice, Act 5, Scene 2

The Lord Chief Justice assures the other princes that he will not apologize to King Henry V for having upheld the law. He did the right thing based on what King Henry IV ordered him to do, and he stands by his actions, though he is afraid that Henry V wants revenge for the way the Lord Chief Justice treated him and his friends.


You shall be as a father to my youth, / My voice shall sound as you do prompt mine ear, / And I will stoop and humble my intents / To your well-practiced wise directions.

Prince Hal, Act 5, Scene 2

Prince Hal, now King Henry V, finds a new father figure in the Lord Chief Justice. He asks the man to stay on and be his adviser, like he was to the last king. He wants the Lord Chief Justice as his mentor, filling the place where Falstaff once stood.


Stand here by me, Master (Robert) Shallow. I / will make the King do you grace. I will leer upon / him as he comes by, and do but mark the countenance / that he will give me.

Falstaff, Act 5, Scene 5

Falstaff still labors under the belief that he will be advanced in position once Henry V is on the throne. He has made grandiose promises to all of his friends that they can ride his coattails to power. Here he plans to greet the king, expecting to be taken up during the coronation.


I know thee not, old man.

Prince Hal, Act 5, Scene 5

Prince Hal, now King Henry V, makes an official break with Falstaff that is particularly harsh. He denies their friendship and ever knowing him. The new king is acknowledging that he is past his callow youth and has taken up the mantle of a true monarch.

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