Imagens das páginas

K. Hen. Then you are a better than the king.

Pist. The king's a bawcock,' and a heart of gold,
A lad of life, an imp of fame;
Of parents good, of fist most valiant:
I kiss his dirty shoe, and from my heart-strings
I love the lovely bully. What's thy name?

K. Hen. Harry le Roy.
Pist. Le Roy! a Cornish name; art thou of Cornish crew ?
K. Hen. No, I am a Welshman.
Pist. Knowest thou Fluellen ?
K. Hen. Yes.
Pist. Tell him, I'll knock his leek about his pate,
Upon Saint Davy's day.

K. Hen. Do not you wear your dagger in your cap that day, lest he knock that about yours.

Pist. Art thou his friend?
K. Hen. And his kinsman too.
Pist. The figo for thee, then !
K. Hen. I thank you : God be with you!
Pist. My name is Pistol called.

[Exit. K. Hen. It sorts well with your fierceness.

Enter FLUELLEN and GOWER, severally.

Gow. Captain Fluellen!

Flu. So ! speak fewer. It is the greatest admiration in the universal 'orld, when the true and auncient prerogatifes and laws of the wars is not kept: if you would take the pains but to examine the wars of Pompey the great, you shall find, I warrant you, that there is no tiddle taddle, nor pibble pabble, in Pompey's camp; I warrant you, you shall find the ceremonies of the wars, and the cares of it, and the forms of it, and the sobriety of it, and the modesty of it, to be otherwise. Gow. Why, the enemy is loud; you hear him all night.

Flu. If the enemy is an ass, and a fool, and a prating coxcomb, is it meet, think you, that we should also, look you, be an ass, and a fool, and a prating coxcomb; in your own conscience, now?

Gow. I will speak lower.
Flu. I pray you, and beseech you, that you will.

[Exeunt GOWER and FLUELLEN. K. Hen. Though it appear a little out of fashion, There is much care and valour in this Welshman.

(1) A bawcock, i. e. a good fellow, a jolly cock.
(2) Speak fewer, i. e, speak lower.

Enter three soldiers, John BATES, ALEXANDER COURT, and

MICHAEL WILLIAMS. Court. Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which breaks yonder ?

Bates. I think it be: but we have no great cause to desire the approach of day.

Will. We see yonder the beginning of the day, but, I think, we shall never see the end of it.-Who goes there?

K. Hen. A friend.
Will. Under what captain serve you?
K. Hen. Under Sir Thomas Erpingham.

Will. A good old commander, and a most kind gentleman: I pray you, what thinks he of our estate?

K. Hen. Even as men wrecked upon a sand, that look to be washed off the next tide.

Bates. He bath not told his thought to the king ?

K. Hen. No; nor it is not meet he should. For, though I speak it to you, I think the king is but a man, as I am; the violet smells to him as it doth to me; the element shows to him as it doth to me; all his senses have but human conditions ; his ceremonies laid by, in bis nakedness he appears but a man; and though his affections are higher mounted than ours, yet, when they stoop, they stoop with the like wing; therefore, when he sees reason of fears, as we do, his fears, out of doubt, be of the same relish as ours are: Yet, in reason, no man should possess him with any appearance of fear, lest he, by showing it, should dishearten his army.

Bates. He may show what outward courage he will: but, I believe, as cold a night as 'tis, he could wish himself in 'Thames up to the neck; and so I would he were, and I by him, at all adventures, so we were quit here.

K. Hen. By my troth, I will speak my conscience of the king; I think he would not wish himself anywhere but where

Bates. Then I would he were here alone; so should he be sure to be ransomed, and a many poor men's lives saved.

K. Hen. I dare say you love him not so ill as to wish him here alone, howsoever you speak this to feel other men's minds : Methinks, I could not die anywhere so contented as in the king's company; his cause being just, and his quarrel honourable.

Will. That's more than we know.

Bates. Ay, or more than we should seek after; for we know enough if we know we are the king's subjects; if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king

wipes the crime of it out

he is.

of us.

Will. But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make; when all those legs, and arms, and heads, chopped off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day, and cry all-We died at such a place; some, swearing; some, crying for a surgeon; some, upon their wives left poor behind them; some, upon the debts they owe; some, upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle ; for how can they charitably dispose of anything when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection.

K. Hen. So, if a son, that is by his father sent about merchandize, do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the imputation of his wickedness, by your rule, should be imposed upon his father that sent him: or if a servant, under bis master's command, transporting a sum of money, be assailed by robbers, and die in many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the business of the master the author of the servant's damnation : —But this is not so: the king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of his servant; for they purpose not their death when they purpose their services. Besides, there is no king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to the arbitrement of swords, can try it out with all unspotted soldiers. Some, peradventure, have on them the guilt of premeditated and contrived murther; some, of beguiling virgins with the broken seals of perjury; some, making the wars their bulwark, that have before gored the gentle bosom of peace with pillage and robbery. Now, if these men have defeated the law, and outrun native punishment, though they can outstrip men they have no wings to fly from God: war is his beadle, war is his vengeance; so that here men are punished, for before-breach of the king's laws, in now the king's quarrel : where they feared the death they have borne life away; and where they would be safe they perish: Then if they die unprovided, no more is the king guilty of their damnation, than he was before guilty of those impieties for the which they are now visited. Every subject's duty is the king's, but every subject's soul is his own. Therefore should every soldier in the wars do as every sick man in his bed, wash every mote out of his conscience: and dying so, death is to him advantage; or not dying, the time was blessedly lost, wherein such preparation was gained : and in him that escapes it were


(1) Rawly left, i.e. hastily, suddenly left.

(2) Every subject's duty, &c. Dr. Johnson remarks that this is a very proper distinction, and that the whole argument is well followed and properly concluded.

not sin to think that making God so free an' offer; he let him outlive that day to see his greatness, and to teach others how they should prepare. Will. 'Tis certain, every man that dies ill the ill is upon

his own head, the king is not to answer for it.

Bates. I do not desire that he should answer for me; and yet I determine to fight lustily for him.

K. Hen. I myself heard the king say he would not be ransomed. 1 Will. Ay, he said so, to make us fight cheerfully; but, when our throats are cut, he may be ransomed, and we ne'er the


K. Hen. If I live to see it, I will never trust his word after.

Will. You pay him then! That's a perilous shot out of an elder gun, that a poor and a private displeasure can do against a monarch! you may as well go about to turn the sun to ice, with fanning in his face with a peacock's feather. You'll never trust his word after! comé, 'tis a foolish saying.

K. Hen. Your reproof is something too round; I should be angry with you, if the time were convenient. Will. Let it be a quarrel between us, if


live. K, Hen. I embrace it. Will. How shall I know thee again ?.

K. Hen, Give me any gage of thine, and I will wear it in my bonnet: then, if ever thou darest acknowledge it, I will make it my quarrel.

Will. Here's my glove; give me another of thine. K. Hen. There. *Will. This will I also wear in my cap; if ever thou come to

after to-morrow, " This is my glove,” by this hand, I will take thee a box on the ear.

K. Hen. If ever I live to see it I will challenge it.

Will. Thou darest as well be hanged. * K. Hen. Well, I will do it, though I take thee in the king's company.

Will. Keep thy word: fare thee well. Bates. Be friends, you English fools, be friends; we have French quarrels enow, if you could tell how to reckon.

K. Hen. Indeed, the French may lay twenty French crowns to one they will beat us; for they bear them on their shoulders : But it is no English treason to cut French crowns; and, to-morrow, the king himself will be a clipper.

[Exeunt Soldiers. Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls, Our debts, our careful wives, Our children, and our sins, lay on the king : We must bear all.

me and say,

[ocr errors]

O hard condition! twin-born with greatness,
Subject to the breath of every fool, whose sense
No more can feel but his own wringing!
What infinite heart's ease must kings neglect,
That private men enjoy ?
And what have kings that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony ?
And what art thou, thou idol ceremony?
What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more
Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers ?
What are thy rents? what are thy comings-in?
O ceremony, show me but thy worth !
What is thy soul of adoration ?
Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form,
Creating awe and fear in other men?
Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd
Than they in fearing.
What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poison'd flattery? o, be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy ceremony give thee cure !
Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation ?
Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,
Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
That play'st so subtly with a king's repose ;
I am a king that find thee; and I know,
'Tis not the balm, the sceptre, and the ball,
The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
The inter-tissued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced title running 'fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That beats upon the high shore of this world,
No, not all these, thrice.gorgeous ceremony,
Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave ;'
Who, with a body fill'd, and vacant mind,
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread :
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell;
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set,
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus, and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day, after dawn,
Doth rise, and help Hyperion to his horse;
And follows so the eve

ning year,

(1) Can sleep 80 soundly, &c. Dr. Johnson considers these latter lines of this soliloquy to be "exquisitely pleasing."

« AnteriorContinuar »