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THE EVENTS OF THE LATTER YEARS OF HENRY IV.; THE REFORMATION
OF THE PRINCE OF WALES, AND HIS ACCESSION TO THE THRONE;
On the defeat of their party in the north, the earl of Northumberland and Lord Bardolf fed into Scotland ; but, returning in 1407, they were attacked by Sir Thomas Bramham, the sheriff of Yorkshire, and both of them slain in the action. Not long after this, the insurrections in Wales subsided through the death of Glendower. A period of six years intervened, during which, notwithstanding the uniform success that had put down all his enemies, Henry was subject to much inquietude of mind; and for some months before his death, which happened in March, 1413, he suffered from frequent fits, which bereaved him, for the time, of his senses, He was no sooner dead than the young prince called together his former companions, acquainted them with his intended reformation, exhorted them to imitate his example, but strictly inhibited them, till they had given proofs of their sincerity in this particular, from appearing any more in his presence ; and he thus dismissed them with liberal presents.
Henry IV. had four sons : Henry, who succeeded him; Thomas, duke of Clarence; prince John of Lancaster, afterwards created duke of Bedford ; and prince Humphrey of Gloucester, afterwards created duke of Gloucester.
We are to imagine the presence chamber in the palace at Westminster : the king is surrounded by the persons of his court, among whom are two of his sons, Thomas, duke of Clarence, and prince Humphrey of Gloucester ; also the earl of Warwick, who is in the immediate audience of the king. The king is thus speaking : [K. Henry.] Now, lords, if heaven doth give successful end
To this debate that bleedeth at our doors,
[Warwick.] Both which, we doubt not, but your majesty
Shall soon enjoy. [K. Henry.] Humphrey, my son of Glo'ster,
Where is the prince your brother? [P. Hum.] I think he's gone to hunt, my lord, at Windsor. [K. Henry.] And how accompanied ? [P. Humphrey.] I do not know, my lord. [K. Hen.] Is not his brother, Thoma's of Clarence, with him? [P. Humphrey.] No, my good lord; he is in presence here. [P. Thomas.] What would my lord and father? [K. Henry.] Nothing but well to thee, Thomas of Clarence.
How chance thou art not with the prince thy brother?
By seeming cold and careless of his will. [P. Thomas.] I shall observe him with all care and love. [K. Hen.] Why art thou not at Windsor with him, Thomas ? [P. Thomas.] He is not there to-day ;-he dines in London. [K. Henry.] And how accompanied ? [P. Thomas.] With Poins, and other his continua'l followers. [K. Henry.] Most subject is the fattest soil to weeds;
And he, the noble image of my youth,
When I am sleeping with my ancestors.
[a pause.] [Westmorland.] Health to my sovereign, and new happiness
Added to that which I am to deliver !
Here, by these letters, shall your highness know.
Which, even in the haunch of winter, sings
What say those messengers ?
The earl Northumberland and lord Bardolf
[me sick? [K. Henry.) And wherefore should these good news make
Will fortune never come with both hands full ?
Oh me! come near me; now I am much ill. The king sinks down :—the princes assist him, and cxpress their grief : Warwick interposes: [Warwick.) Be patient, princes; you do know these fits
Are with his highness very ordinary.
Stand from him : give him air: softly! he recovers. [K. Henry.] I pray you bear me hence unto the couch:
Let there no noise be made, my gentle friends,
Unless some soft and favourable hand
Set me my crown upon my pillow here. The prince of Wales comes in at this moment and speaks : [P. Henry.] Who saw my brother Clarence ? [P. Thomas.) I am here, brother. [P. Henry.] How doth the king ? [P. Thomas.] Exceeding ill :
His eye is hollow, and he changes much. [P. Henry.] Heard he the good news ?-tell it him. [P. Thomas.] He alter'd much upon the hearing it. Warwick interposes:
[speak low: [Warwick.] Not so much noise, my lords :-sweet prince,
The king your father is dispos’d to sleep.
Will i't please your grace to go along with us? [P. Henry.] No; I will sit and watch here by the king.–
[All leave the chamber but the prince.]
Is tears; which nature, love, and filial tenderness
Will I to mine leave, as ’tis left to me. The prince takes the crown with him into another room : the king awakes and calls : on which the other princes and the earl of Warwick come from the ante-chamber : prince Thomas speaks :
[grace ? [P. Thomas.] What would your majesty ?-how fares your [K. Henry.] Why did you leave me here alone, my lords ? [P. Thomas.] We left the prince my brother here, my liege, Who undertook to sit and watch by you.
see him : [K. Henry.] The prince of Wales ?—where is he?—let me He is not here.
[stay’d. [P. Thomas.] He came not through the chamber where we [K. Hen.] Where is my crown? who took it from my pillow? [P. Thomas.] When we withdrew, my liege, we left it here. [K. Hen.] Then must the prince have ta’en it : seek him out.
Is he so hasty that he doth suppose
you are ?