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Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields
To the possession of thy royal hand :
Ascend the throne, descending now from him,-
And long live Henry, of that name the fourth. Bolingbroke declares, in God's name, his intention to ascend the throne :—the bishop of Carlisle instantly rises and speaks : [Carlisle.] God forbid !
Worst in the royal presence may I speak,
Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.
Would heaven that any, in this noble presence,
Were enough noble to be upright judge
Of noble Richard : then, true nobleness would
Teach him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
What subject can give sentence on a king ?
And who sits here that is not Richard's subject ?
Thieves are not judg’d, but they are by to hear,
Although apparent guilt be seen in them.
And shall the figure of God's majesty,
His captain, steward, deputy elect,
Anointed, crown's, and planted many years,
Be judg'd by subject and inferior breath,
And he himself not present ? Oh forbid it, Heaven,
That, in a Christian climate, souls refin'd
Should act so black a deed !
I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,
Stirr'd up by heaven thus boldly for his king.
My lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,
Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford's king;
And if you crown him, let me prophesy,
The blood of English shall manure the ground,
And future ages groan for this foul act.
Oh, if you rear this house against this house,
It will the wofullest division prove
That ever fell upon this cursed earth :
Prevent, resist it, let it not be so,
Lest children's children cry against you—woe!
Northumberland advances. (Northum.] Well have you argued, sir; and for your pains,
Of capi’tal treason we arrest you
My lord Abbot of Westminster to you
The charge belongs, to keep him till his trial.
May't please you, lords, to grant the commons' suit ? This suit, which is for the deposition of Richard, is of course granted. Richard is sent to Pomfret Castle : and Bolingbroke summons the lords for an early day to his coronation. Some time must be supposed to pass, before we find Bolingbroke, now Henry the Fourth, surrounded by his courtiers at Windsor Castle, and speaking thus : [K. Henry.] Can no man tell of my unthrifty son ?
'Tis full three months since I did see him last :
If any plague hang over us 'tis he.
I would to Heaven, my lords, he might be found.
Inquire in London, 'mong the taverns there,
For there, they say, he daily doth frequent,
With unrestrained loose companions ;
Even such, they say, as beat our watch, and rob;
While he, a young and inconsiderate boy,
Makes it a point of honour, to support
So dissolute a crew.
The young Harry Percy speaks to the king. [Hotspur.] My lord, some two days since I saw the prince,
And told him of the triumphs held at Oxford.
[K. Henry.] And what said the gallánt ?
[Hotspur.] His answer was, he would into the streets,
Ånd from the common’st creature pluck a glove,
And wear it as a favour; and with that
He would unhorse the lustiest challenger. [K. Henry.] As dissolute as desperate : yet, through both,
I see some sparkles of a better hope,
Which elder days may happily bring forth.
But who comes hither ?
[a pause.] Welcome, my lord Northumberland : What news ?
[North.] First to thy sacred state, all happiness :
The next I have to say, is, that the lords
Have lost their heads that did oppose thy seat.
Further; the traitor abbot o'f Westminster,
With clog of conscience and sour melancholy,
Hath yielded up his body to the grave:
But Carlisle still is living, to abide
Thy kingly doom and sentence.
[K. Henry.] Let him choose out some secret place afar,
And in it live from strife, and die in peace :
For, though mine enemy he hath ever been,
High sparks of honour have appear’d in him.
At this moment we may imagine that the king's eye lights
upon two or three men, who, in the distant gloom of the
chamber, are waiting to address him; they bear among
them a burthen covered with a pall: the king makes a sign
to the one who appears their chief, and he approaches ; it
is Sir Pierce Exton, who, having gained the king's ear,
speaks in an under tone :
[Exton.] Great king, within that coffin I present
Thy buried fear: therein all breathless lies
The mightiest of thy greatest enemies,
Richard of Bourdeaux, brought from Pomfret hither. [K. Henry.] Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast done
A deed that must bring slander on my head,
And on the land. [Exton.) From words of your own speaking
Did I conceive and execute this deed.
[K. Henry.] They love not poison that do poison need:
Nor love I thee. Though I did wish him dead,
I hate the murderer, love him that's murder'd :
The guilt of conscience take thee! hence! away!
With Cain go wander through the shades of night.
Lords, I protest my soul is full of woe.
I'll put on sullen black incontinent,
And none than I shall more this act lament:
I'll make a voyage to the holy land,
To wash this blood from off my guilty hand :
Raise up that coffin ; grace my mournings here;
And weep with me on this untimely bier.
The BATTLE OF HOLMEDON (OR HOMELDON), THE DEFECTION OP
THE PERCIES, AND OTHER EVENTS IN THE PIRST THREE YEARS
OF THE REIGN OF HENRY IV., INDICATED BY SCENES SUPPOSED
TO TAKE PLACE IN THE PALACE AT LONDON.
HISTORICAL MEMORANDA. The battle of Homeldon in the north part of Northumberland, was fought in the autumn of 1402: Henry Bolingbroke became king in the latter part of 1399. During the intervening time, the conspiracy of the earls of Rutland, Kent, Huntingdon, and lord Spenser, who had been degraded from the respective titles of Albemarle, Surrey, Exeter, and Glocester, was discovered, and the several parties, except Rutland, who proved a traitor to the rest, were executed. Rutland soon after succeeded to the title of York by the death of the old duke, Edmund of Langley. The insurrection in Wales was another of the intervening events. In a battle fought against Glendower, the leader of the insurrection, Sir Edward Mortimer, uncle to Mortimer the young earl of Marche, had been taken prisoner. The youth was descended by a danghter from Lionel duke of Clarence, the second son of Edward III.: but Shakspeare, as in many other cases, has joined two persons in one character, the uncle of the youth and the youth himself: they both fell into the hands of the Welsh chieftain.
The speakers in the following scene are King Henry, and the earl of Westmorland : other noblemen are in attendance : the king first speaks : [K. Henry.] So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant.
No more our native soil
Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood :
But they who met in the intestine shock
And furious close of civil butchery,
Shall now in mutu'al, well-beseeming ranks
March all one way, and be no more oppos’d.
As far as to the sepulchre of Christ
Forthwith a power of English shall we lead.
But this our purpose now is twelve months old:
Therefore we meet not now.Then let me know
you, my gentle cousin Westmorland,
What yesternight our council did decree
In forwarding this expedition.
[Westm.] My liege this point was hot in question,
When all athwart there came a post from Wales,
With news that Mortimer,
Leading the men of Herefordshire, to fight
Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
Was by the rude hands of the Welshman taken.
[K. Henry.] It seems then that the tidings of this broil,
Broke off our busi’ness to the holy land. [Westm.] This match'd with other did, my gracious lord :
F more uneven and unwelcome news
Came from the north, by one who, in the heat
And pride of a contention, rode from Holmedon. [K. Henry.] Here is a friend, Sir Walter Blunt, who brings
From Holmedon hither, smooth and welcome news.
The earl of Douglas is discomfited:
Of priso'ners, Hotspur took
Mordake the earl of Fife, and eldest son
To beaten Douglas ; and the earls
Of Athol, Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
And is not this an honourable spoil,
A gallant prize, Westmorland, is it not ? [Westm.] It is a conquest for a prince to boast of. [K. Henry.) Yea, there thou mak’st me sad, and mak’st me
Should be the father of so bless'd a son,
A son who is the theme of honour's tongue,
While riot and dishonour stain the brow
Of my young Harry :-let him from my thoughts :-
But Westmorland, what think you
Of this young Percy's pride ? The prisoners
Which he in this adventure hath surpris’d,
To his own use he keeps; and sends me word
I shall have none but Mordake, earl of Fife.