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And then it was, when the unhappy king
(Whose wrongs in us God pardon !) did set forth
Upon his Irish expedition ;
From whence he, intercepted, did return
To be depos'd, and shortly murthered.
Wor. And for whose death, we in the world's wide month Live scandaliz'd, and foully spoken of.
Hot. But, soft, I pray you ; Did king Richard then
Proclaim my brother Mortimer
Heir to the crown ?
He did ; myself did hear it.
Hot. Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king,
That wish'd him on the barren mountains starv'd.
But shall it be that you, that set the crown
Upon the head of this forgetful man,
And, for his sake, wear the detested blot
Of murtherous subornation, shall it be,
That you a world of curses undergo,
Being the agents, or base second means,
The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather ?
O, pardon, if that I descend so low,
To show the line and the predicament
Wherein you range under this subtle king.
Shall it, for shame, be spoken in these days,
Or fill up chronicles in time to come,
That men of your nobility and power
Did 'gage them both in an unjust behalf,-
As both of you, God pardon it! have done
To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose,
And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke ?
And shall it, in more shame, be further spoken,
That you are foolid, discarded, and shook off
By him for whom these shames ye underwent ?
No; yet time serves, wherein you may redeem
Your banish'd honours, and restore yourselves
Into the good thoughts of the world again :
Revenge the jeering and disdain’d contempt
of this proud king; who studies day and night,
To answer all the debt he owes unto you,
Even with the bloody payment of your deaths.
Therefore, I say,
Peace, cousin, say no more ;
And now I will unclasp a sccret book,
And to your quick-conceiving discontents
I'll read you matter deep and dangerous,
As full of peril, and adventurous spirit,
As to o'er-walk a current, roaring loud,
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.
Hot. If he fall in, good night ;-or sink or swim :-
Send danger from the east unto the west,
So honour cross it from the north to south,
And let them grapple ;—the blood more stirs
To rouse a lion than to start a hare.
North. Imagination of some great exploit
Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.
Hot. By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap
To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac'd moon ;
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks ;
So he, that doth redeem her thence, might wear,
Without corrival, all her dignities :
But out upon this half-fac'd fellowship !
Wor. He apprehends a world of figures here,
But not the form of what he should attend.
Good cousin, give me audience for a while,
And list to me.
Hot. I cry you mercy.
The same noble Scots,
That are your prisoners,
I'll keep them all :
By heaven, he shall not have a Scot of them ;
No, if a Scot would save his soul he shall not :
I'll keep them, by this hand.
You start away,
And lend po ear unto my purposes.-
Those prisoners you shall keep.
Nay, I will ; that's flat :-
He said he would not ransom Mortimer ;
Forbad my tongue to speak of Mortimer ;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla-Mortimer !
Nay, I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak
Nothing but Mortimer, and give it him
To keep his anger still in motion,
Wor. Hear you, cousin ; a word.
Hot. All studies here"I solemnly defy,
Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke :
And that same sword-and-buckler prince of Wales,
But that I think his father loves him not,
And would be glad he met with some mischance,
I'd have him poison'd with a pot of ale.
Wor. Farewell, kinsman ! I will talk to you,
When you are better temper'd to attend.
North. Why, what a wasp-tongued and impatient fool
Art thou, to break into this woman's mood;
Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own!
Hot. Why, look you, I am whipp'd and scourg'd with rods,
Nettled, and stung with pismires, when I hear
Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke.
In Richard's time,-What d’ye call the place k
A plague upon 't--it is in Gloucestershire ;-
'T was where the madcap duke his uncle kept ;
His uncle York ;-where I first bow'd my knee
Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke,
When you and he came back from Ravenspurg.
North. At Berkley castle.
Hot. You say true :-
Why, what a candy deal of courtesy
This fawning greyhound then did proffer me !
Look,—“when his infant fortune came to age,"
And,-“ gentle Harry Percy,”—and,“ kind cousin,"
— O, the devil take such cozeners - God forgive me ?Good uncle, tell your tale, for I have done.
Wor. Nay, if you have not, to 't again
We'll stay your leisure.
I have done, in sooth,
Wor. Then once more to your Scottish prisoners.
Deliver them up without their ransom straight,
And make the Douglas' son your only mean
For powers in Scotland ; which, for divers reasons,
Which I shall send you written, be assur’d,
Will easily be granted.--You, my lord,
Your son in Scotland being thus employ'd,
Shall secretly into the bosom creep
Of that same noble prelate, well belov’d,
Of York, is 't not ?
True ; who bears hard
His brother's death at Bristol, the lord Scroop.
I speak not this in estimation
As what I think might be, but what I know
Is ruminated, plotted, and set down ;
And only stays but to beirold the face
Of that occasion that shall bring it on.
Hot. I smell it.
Upon my life it will do wond'rous well.
North. Before the game's a-foot thou still lett’st slip.
Hot. Why, it cannot choose but be a noble plot :-
And then the power of Scotland and of York, —
To join with Mortimer, ha ?
And so they shall.
Hot. In faith, it is exceedingly well aim'd.
Wor. And 't is no little reason bids us speed,
To save our heads by raising of a head :
For, bear ourselves as even as we can,
The king will always think him in our debt;
And think we think ourselves unsatisfied,
Till he hath found a time to pay us home.
And see already, how he doth begin
To make us strangers to his looks of love.
Hot. He does, he does ; we'll be reveng'd on bir
Wor. Cousin, farewell ;-No further go in this, Than I by letters shall direct your course,
When time is ripe, which will be suddenly.
I'll steal to Glendower, and lord Mortimer ;
Where you and Douglas, and our powers at once,
(As I will fashion it,) shall happily meet,
To bear our fortunes in our own strong arms,
Which now we hold at much uncertainty.
North. Farewell, good brother; we shall thrive, I trust.
Hot. Uncle, adieu :-0, let the hours be short,
Till fields and blows and groans applaud our sport !
124.—THE BATTLE OF SHREWSBURY.
SHAKSPERE. [“ King Henry,” says Holinshed, “ advertised of the proceedings of the Percies, forthwith gathered about him such power as he might make, and passed forward with such speed that he was in sight of his enemies lying in camp near to Shrewsbury before they were in doubt of any such thing." The Percies, according to the Chronicler, sent to the king the celebrated manifesto which is contained in Hardyng's Chronicle. The interview of Worcester with the king, and its result, are thus described by Holinshed : “ It was reported for a truth that now when the king had condescended unto all that was reasonable at his hands to be required, and seemed to humble himself more than was meet for his estate, the Earl of Worcester, upon his return to his nephew, made reation clean contrary to that the king had said:"
“O, no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,
The liberal kind offer of the king." In the Chroniclers, Hotspur exhorts the troops ; Shakspere clothes the exhortation with his own poetical spirit.
“Now, Esperance !-Peroy!—and set on," is found in the Chroniclers :" The adversaries cried Esperance Percy." The danger of the king, and the circumstance of others being caparisoned like him, are also mentioned by Holinshed.
The prowess of Prince Henry in this his first great battle is thus described by Holinshed: “The Prince that day holp his father like a lusty young gentleman, for although he was hurt in the face with an arrow, so that divers noble men that were about him would have conveyed him forth of the field, yet he would in no wise suffer them so to do, lest his departure from his men might haply have stricken some fear into their hearts ; and so, without regard of his hurt, he continued with his men, and never ceased, either to fight where the battle was most hottest, or to encourage his men where it seemed most need."
The personal triumph of Henry over Hotspur is a dramatic creation, perfectly warranted by the obscurity in which the Chroniclers leave the matter.] SCENE.—King Henry, Prince Henry, Prince John of Lancaster, Sir Walter
Blunt, and Sir John Falstaf
K. Hen. How bloodily the sun begins to peer
Above yon busky hill! the day looks pale
At his distemperature.
The southern wind
Doth play the trumpet to his purposes ;
And, by his hollow whistling in the leaves,
Foretells a tempest and a blustering day.
K. Hen. Then with the losers let it sympathise;
For nothing can seem foul to those that win.
. Enter Worcester and Vernon, How now, my lord of Worcester ? 't is not well,
That you and I should meet upon such ternis
As now we meet: You have deceiv'd our trust;
And made us doff our easy robes of peace,
To crush our old limbs in ungentle steel :
This is not well, my lord, this is not well.
What say you to it? will you again unknit
This churlish knot of all-abhorrod war ?
And move in that obedient orb again,
Where you did give a fair and natural light;
And be no more an exhald meteor,
A prodigy of fear, and a portent
Of broached mischief to the unborn times ?
Wor. Hear me, my liege :
For mine own part I could be well content
To entertain the lag end of my life
With quiet hours; for, I do protest,
I have not sought the day of this dislike.
K. Hen. You have not sought it ! how comes it then ?
Fal. Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it.
P. Hen. Peace, chewet, peace.
Wor. It pleas'd your majesty to turn your looks
Of favour from myself, and all our house ;
And yet I must remember you, my lord,
We were the first and dearest of your friends.
For you, my staff of office did I break
In Richard's time; and posted day and night
To meet you on the way, and kiss your hand,
When yet you were in place and in account
Nothing so strong and fortunate as I.
It was myself, my brother, and his son,
That brought you home, and boldly did outdare
The danger of the time : You swore to us,
And you did swear that oath at Doncaster,-
That you did nothing purpose 'gainst the state ;
Nor claim no further than your new-fall’n right,
The seat of Gaunt, dukedom of Lancaster :
To this we sware our aid. But, in short space,
It rain'd down fortune showering on your head ;
And such a flood of greatness fell on you,-
What with our help ; what with the absent king ;
What with the injuries of a wanton time;
The seeming sufferances that you had borne ;
And the contrarious winds, that held the king
So long in his unlucky Irish wars,
That all in England did repute him dead, -
And, from this swarm of fair advantages,
You took occasion to be quickly woo'd
To gripe the general sway into your hand ;
Forgot your oath to us at Doncaster ;
And, being fed by us, you used us so
As that ungentle gull the cuckoo's bird
Useth the sparrow; did oppress our nest;