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And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.
HOTSPUR'S IMPATIENCE FOR THE BATTLE.
They come like sacrifices in their trim,
And to the fire-ey'd maid of smoky war,
All hot, and bleeding, will we offer them:
The mailed Mars shall on his altar sit,
Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire,
To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh,
And yet not ours:-Come, let me take my horse,
Who is to bear me, like a thunderbolt,
Against the bosom of the prince of Wales:
Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse,
Meet, and ne'er part, till one drop down a corse.—
O, that Glendower were come!
PRINCE HENRY'S MODEST CHALLENGE.
TELL your nephew,
The prince of Wales doth join with all the world
In praise of Henry Percy: By my hopes,-
This present enterprise set off his head,—
I do not think a braver gentleman,
More active-valiant, or more valiant-young,
More daring, or more bold, is now alive,
To grace this latter age with noble deeds.
For my part I may speak it to my shame,
I have a truant been to chivalry;
And so, I hear, he doth account me too :
Yet this before my father's majesty,-
I am content that he shall take the odds
Of his great name and estimation;
And will, to save the blood on either side,
Try fortune with him in a single fight.
Well, 'tis no matter: Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour? A word. What is in that word? Honour. What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning!—Who hath it? He that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it:therefore I'll none of it: Honour is a mere escutcheon*, and so ends my catechism.
O, gentlemen, the time of life is short;
To spend that shortness basely were too long,
If life did ride upon a dial's point,
Still ending at the arrival of an hour.
PRINCE HENRY'S PATHETIC SPEECH ON THE DEATH OF
Brave Percy, fare thee well.
Ill-weav'd ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
When that this body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
But now, two paces of the vilest earth
Is room enough:-This earth, that bears thee dead,
Bears not alive so stout a gentleman.
If thou wert sensible of courtesy,
I should not make so dear a show of zeal:-
But let my favours+ hide thy mangled face;
And, even in thy behalf, I'll thank myself
For doing these fair rites of tenderness.
Adieu, and take thy praise with thee to heaven!
Thy ignominy sleep with thee in the grave,
But not remember'd in thy epitaph!
* Painted heraldry in funerals.
+ Scarf, with which he covers Percy's face.
Enter RUMOUR, painted full of Tongues.
FROM the orient to the drooping west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride;
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
I speak of peace, while covert enmity,
Under the smile of safety, wounds the world:
And who, but Rumour, who, but only I,
Make fearful musters, and prepar'd defence;
Whilst the big year, swoln with some other grief,
Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures;
And of so easy and so plain a stop,
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it.
CONTENTION, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.
After him, came, spurring hard,
A gentleman almost forspent with speed,
That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse :
He ask'd the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand, what news from Shrewsbury?
He told me, that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold:
With that, he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward, struck his armed heels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade
Up to the rowel-head; and, starting so,
He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
MESSENGER WITH ILL NEWS.
This man's brow, like to a title-leaf, Foretels the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation †.
Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd.—
I see a strange confession in thine eye:
Thou shak'st thy head, and hold'st it fear, or sin,
To speak a truth. If he be slain. say so:
The tongue offends not that reports his death:
And he doth sin that doth belie the dead;
+ Au attestation of its ravage.
Not he, which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office; and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,
Remember'd knolling a departing friend.
GREATER GRIEFS DESTROY THE LESS.
As the wretch, whose fever-weaken'd joints, Like strengthless hinges buckle under life, Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms; even so my limbs,
Weaken'd with grief, being now enrag'd with grief,
Are thrice themselves: hence, therefore, thou nice*
A scaly gauntlet now, with joints of steel, [crutch;
Must glove this hand: and hence, thou sickly quoift,
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head,
Which princes, flesh'd with conquest, aim to hit.
Now bind my brows with iron; and approach
The ragged'st hour that time and spite dare bring,
To frown upon the enrag'd Northumberland!
Let heaven kiss earth! Now let not nature's hand
Keep the wild flood confin'd! let order die!
And let this world no longer be a stage,
To feed contention in a lingering act;
But let one spirit of the first-born 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!
THE FICKLENESS OF THE VULGAR.
An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he, that buildeth on the vulgar heart.
O, thou fond many ‡! with what loud applause
Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke,
Before he was what thou would'st have him be?
And being now trimm'd § in thine own desires,
Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him,
That thou provok'st thyself to cast him up.
* Trifling. + Cap. + Multitude.