Henry IV Part 2 Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports. (Induction)
The play opens in a pretty striking way – Rumour enters the stage and announces that it's been busy spreading lies and false reports. This not only prepares the audience for the multiple and incompatible accounts given about the battle at Shrewsbury in the play's opening scene, but also reminds us that it's difficult to tell whose version of the truth we can believe in this play.
This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns
Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,
Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
Lies crafty-sick: (Induction)
After Rumour announces that it's been circulating around the world spreading lies, Rumour makes a pit-stop at Northumberland's pad, which is lovingly described as a "worm-eaten hold." This is where Northumberland has been pretending to be sick so he wouldn't have to fight at the battle at Shrewsbury. Compare this passage to 3.2.3 below.
O Lord, sir! I am a diseased man.
What disease hast thou?
A whoreson cold, sir, a cough, sir, which I caught
with ringing in the king's affairs upon his
coronation-day, sir. (3.2.2)
Gosh, everybody in this play has got the sniffles – even Bullcalf, who attempts to beg off when Falstaff tries to recruit him into the army. Like Northumberland, Bullcalf is likely lying to avoid fighting in the war. Though, it's interesting that he claims his loyalty to the king is what caused his ailment in the first place. Apparently, Bullcalf celebrated Henry IV's coronation so enthusiastically that he wound up with a "whoreson cold."