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[Westm.] This is his uncle's teaching, this is Worcester. [K. Henry.) But I have sent for him to answer this;
And, for this cause a while we must neglect
Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.
Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we
Will hold at Windsor, so inform the lords. We must suppose an interval of time, in order that the Percies, who are sent for by the king, may arrive in London. The king is holding a council which is numerously attended. Those who take part in the dialogue are the king, the earl of Worcester, Northumberland, and Harry Percy, surnamed Hotspur: we imagine the king to be in the act of speaking when the scene is disclosed : [K. Henry.] My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
Unapt to stir at these indignities,
And you have found me; for, accordingly,
You tread upon my patience; but be sure
I will from henceforth rather be myself,
And fear'd,—than lose that title of respect
Which the proud soul ne'er pays but to the proud. Worcester speaks, and then Northumberland; but the latter is interrupted by the king ;-Worcester, frowning, says, [Worcester.] Our house, my sovereign liege, little deserves
The scourge of greatness to be us’d upon
And that same greatness, too, which our own hands
Have help'd to make so portly.
[Northumberland.] My lord, the priso'ners-
[K. Henry.] Worcester, get thee gone; for I do see
Danger and disobedience in thine
Your presence is too bold and peremptory.
You have good leave to leave us : when we need
Your use and counsel, we shall send for you. [a pause.]
Northumberland : you were about to speak.
[Northumberland.] Yea, my good lord :-
Those priso'ners in your highness' name demanded,
Which my son Harry Percy, here, did take
Were, as he says, not with such strength denied,
As is deliver'd to your majesty.
[Hotspur.] My liege, I did deny no prisoners.
But, I remember, when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
Came there a certain lord, neat, trimly dressid,
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin new reap'd
Show'd like a stubble land at harvest home.
He was perfumed like a milliner;
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb, he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
his nose. And still he smil'd and talk'd,
And, as the soldiers bare dead bodies by,
He call’d them-untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms
He question’d me; among the rest, demanded
My priso'ners in your majesty's behalf.
I then all smarting with my wounds' being cold,
Out of my grief and my impatience
To be so pester'd with a popinjay,
Answer’d, neglectingly, I know not what,
He should or should not: For he made me mad
To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting-gentlewoman [mark!
Of guns, and drums, and wounds,—heaven save the
And telling me,—the sovereign’st thing on earth
Was parmacity for an inward bruise,
And that it was great pity, so it was,
This villainous salt-petre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd
So cowardly; and, but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald, unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answer'd indirectly, as I said ;
And I beseech you, let not his report
Come current for an accusation
Betwixt my love, and your high majesty.
[North.] The circumstance consider'd, good my lord,
Whatever then my son, at such a time,
To such a person, and in such a place,
Did say, may reasonably die.
[K. Henry.] Why yet he doth deny his prisoners,
But with proviso and exception
That we, at our own charge, shall ransom straight
His brother-in-law the foolish Mortimer ;
Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray'd
The lives of those that he did lead to fight
Against the great magician, Owen Glendower,
(Whose daughter, as we hear, the earl of Marche
Hath lately married.) Shall our coffers then
Be emptied to redeem a traitor home?
Shall we buy treason ?
No; on the barren mountains let him starve;
For I shall never hold that man my friend,
Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost
To ransom home revolted Mortimer. (Hotspur.] Revolted Mor
He never did fall off,—but by the chance~
prove that true, needs no more than one tongue
For all the mouthed wounds he took,
When, on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank,
He did confound the best part of an hour,
In fight with Glendower.
Three times they breath’d, and three times did they
Upon agreement, of swift Severn’s flood;
Who, then, affrighted with their bloody looks,
Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,
And hid her crisp head in the hollow bank,
Blood-stained with these valiant combatants."
Never did base and rotten policy
Cover her working with such deadly wounds ;
And never could the noble Mortimer
Receive so many, and all willingly :
Then let him not be slander'd with revolt. [K. Henry.] Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou beliest him:
He never did encounter with the Welshman;
He durst as well have met the devil alone
As Owen Glendower for an enemy.
Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer :
Send me your priso'ners with the speeditst means,
Or you shall hear in such kind from me
As will displease you.—My lord Northumberland,
We license your departure with your son :
Send us your priso'ners, or you 'll hear of it. Northumberland and Hotspur remain : Hotspur, swelling with rage, is for a time unable to speak : at length he says : [Hotspur.] And if the devil come and roar for them
I will not send them :-I will after straight
And tell him so; for I will ease my heart,
Although it be with hazard of my head. [North.] What, drunk with choler? stay and pause awhile. [Hotspur.] Speak of Mortimer !
Yes, I will speak of him ; and let my soul
mercy, if I do not join with him:
Yea, on his part, I 'll empty all these veins,
And shed my dear blood drop by drop i 'the dust,
But I will lift the down-trod Mortimer
As high in the' air as this unthankful king,
As this ingrate and canker'd Bolingbroke,
(North.] See where your uncle Worcester comes again.
[a pause.] Brother, the king hath made your nephew mad.
Look where he walks and chafes. [Worcester.] Who struck this heat up after I was gone? [Hotspur.] He will forsooth have all my prisoners.
And when I urg'd the ransom once again
Of my wife's brother, then his cheek look'd pale,
And on my face he turn’d an eye of death,
Trembling even at the name of Mortimer. [Worcester.] I cannot blame him : was he not proclaim'd,
By Richard that dead is, the next of blood ?
[North.] He was, brother: I heard the proclamation:
And then it was when the unhappy king, –
Whose wrongs in us heaven pardon !-did set forth
Upan his Irish expedition. [Hotspur.] What! my wife's brother, Edmund Mortimer,
Did Richard, then, proclaim him heir ? [North.] He did. [Hotspur.] Nay, then-I cannot blame his cousin king
That wish'd him on the barren mountains starv'd.
But shall i't, 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, heaven pardon it! have done ;
And shall it, in more shame, be further spoken,
you are fool'd, and shaken off, by him
For whom these shames you underwent ? No, no !
The time yet serves wherein you may redeem
Your banish'd honour, 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 to you,
Even with the bloody payment of your deaths :
[Worcester.] Peace, cousin, say no more:
For now I will unclasp a secret book,
And read you matter deep and dangerous ;
As full of peril and adventu'rous spirit,
As to o'er-walk a current, roaring loud,
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.