Imatges de pàgina

swear arms. The virtue of this jest will be, the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will tell us, when we meet at supper: how thirty, at least, he fought with; what wards, what blows, what extremities he endured; and, in the reproof of this, lies the jest.

P. Hen. Well, I'll go with thee; provide us all things necessary, and meet me in Eastcheap. Fare


Poins. Farewell, my lord.


[Exit. P. Hen. I know you all, and will awhile uphold The unyok'd humour of your idleness: Yet herein will I imitate the sun; Who doth permit the base contagious clouds To smother up his beauty from the world, That, when he please again to be himself, Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at, By breaking through the foul and ugly mists. Of vapours, that did seem to strangle him. So, when this loose behaviour I throw off, And pay the debt I never promised, By how much better than my word I am, By so much shall I falsify men's hopes; And, like bright metal on a sullen ground, My reformation, glittering o'er my fault, Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes, Than that which hath no foil to set it off.

I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;

Redeeming time, when men think least I will. [Exit.


The Council Chamber.

Flourish of Trumpets and Drums.


K. Hen. My blood hath been too cold and tempe


Unapt to stir at these indignities,

And you have found me; for, accordingly,
You tread upon my patience; but, be sure,
I will from henceforth rather be myself,
Mighty, and to be fear'd, than my condition;
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
And, therefore, lost that title of respect,

Which the proud soul ne'er pays, but to the proud.
Wor. Our house, my sovereign liege, little deserves

The scourge of greatness to be us❜d on it;

And that same greatness too, which our own hands Have holp to make so portly.

North. My lord,

K. Hen. Worcester, get thee gone; for I do see Danger and disobedience in thine eye:

O, sir,

Your presence is too bold and peremptory;
And majesty might never yet endure

The moody frontier of a servant brow.

You have good leave to leave us when we need


Your use and counsel, we shall send for you.

You were about to speak.

North. Yea, my good lord.

Those prisoners, in your highness' name demanded,
Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took,
Were, as he says, not with such strength deny'd,
As is deliver'd to your majesty.

Hot. My liege, I did deny no prisoners.
But, I remember, when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage, and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
Came there a certain lord, neat, trimly dress'd,
Fresh as a bridegroom: and his chin, new reap'd,
Show'd like a stubble land at harvest home:
He was perfumed like a milliner;

And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which, ever and anon,
He gave his nose, and took't away again;
And still he smil'd, and talk'd;

And, as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
He call'd them-untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly, unhandsome, corse,
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms,

He question'd me; among the rest demanded
My prisoners, in your majesty's behalf.

I then, all smarting, with my wounds being cold,
To be so pester'd with a popinjay,

Out of my grief and my impatience,

Answer'd, neglectingly, I know not what;

He should, or he should not; for he made me mad,
To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman,

Of guns, and drums, and wounds,-(Heaven save the mark!)

And telling me, the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was parmacity, for an inward bruise;

And that it was great pity, so it was,
That villanous saltpetre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd
So cowardly; and, but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald, unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answer'd indirectly, as I said;

And, I beseech you, let not his report
Come current for an accusation,

Betwixt my love and your high majesty.

Blunt. The circumstance consider'd, good my lord, Whatever Harry Percy then had said,

To such a person, and in such a place,
At such a time, with all the rest re-told,
May reasonably die, and never rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he unsay it now.

K. Hen. Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners;
But with proviso, and exception,-

That we, at our own charge, shall ransom straight
His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer;
Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray'd
The lives of those, that he did lead to fight
Against the great magician, damn'd Glendower;
Whose daughter, as we hear, the Earl of March
Hath lately marry'd. Shall our coffers then
Be empty'd, to redeem a traitor home?

Shall we buy treason? and indent with fears
When they have lost and forfeited themselves?
No, on the barren mountains let him starve;
For I shall never hold that man my friend,
Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost,
To ransom home revolted Mortimer.

Hot. Revolted Mortimer!

He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,

But by the chance of war:-To prove that true, Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds,

Those mouthed wounds, which, valiantly, he took,
When, on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank,

In single opposition, hand to hand,

He did confound the best part of an hour
In changing hardiment with great Glendower:
Three times they breath'd, and three times did they

Upon agreement, of swift Severn's flood;

Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks,
Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,
And hid her crisp head in the hollow bank
Blood-stained with these valiant combatants.
Never did base and rotten policy

Colour her working with such deadly wounds;
Nor never could the noble Mortimer

Receive so many, and all willingly:

Then let him not be slander'd with revolt. K.Hen. [Rises.] Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou dost belie him;

He never did encounter with Glendower;

I tell thee,

He durst as well have met the devil alone,
As Owen Glendower for an enemy.

Art not ashamed? But, sirrah, henceforth
Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer:
Send me your prisoners with the speediest means,
Or you
shall hear in such a kind from me
As will displease you.-My Lord Northumberland,
We license your departure with your son :-
Send us your prisoners, or you'll hear of it.

[Flourish of Trumpets and Drums.—Exeunt all

Hot. And if the devil come and roar for them,
I will not send them :-I will after straight,
And tell him so; for I will ease my heart,

Although I make a hazard of my head.

North. What, drunk with choler? stay, and pause awhile.

Here comes your uncle.

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