"Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears A Crown"

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Context: Despite King Henry's victory at Shrewsbury, at which battle Henry Percy (Hotspur) was slain, the rebellion continues. Henry IV's son, Prince Hal, and his sometime friends Falstaff and his partners in skullduggery, have been very much involved. In the chaotic times, King Henry finds that the affairs of the world have exiled sleep. His regrets over its loss sound not unlike those of Macbeth. Henry says: "O sleep, o gentle sleep. / Nature's soft nurse." Macbeth (Act II, sc. ii, l. 36) says: "Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care." Again, Henry says: ". . . How have I frighted thee, / That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down . . .?" And Macbeth (Act II, sc. ii, l. 35): "Macbeth does murder sleep." King Henry, brooding on the fact that all the world except himself lies asleep, can only conclude:


KING HENRY
. . .
Canst thou, o partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea's son in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down,
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

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