« PreviousContinue »
Is, as a fiend, confin'd to tyrannize
On unreprievable condemned blood.
Faul. O, I am scalded with my violent motion,
And spleen of speed to see your majesty
K. John. O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye:
The tackle of my heart is.crack'd and burnd;
And all the shrouds, wherewith my life should sail,
Are turned to one thread, one little hair :
My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
Which holds but till thy news be utter'd;
And then all this thou seest is but a clod,
And module of confounded royalty.
Faul. The dauphin is preparing hitherward;
Where, heaven he knows, how we shall answer him:
For, in a night, the best part of my power,
As I upon advantage did remove,
Were in the washes, all unwarily
Devour'd by the unexpected flood.
(The KinG dich Sal. You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear. My liege! my lord !—But now a king,—now thus.
P. Hen. Even so must I run on, and even so stop.
What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
When this was now a king, and now is clay!
Faul. Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind,
To do the office for thee of revenge ;
And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,
As it on earth hath been thy servant still..
Now, now, you stars, that move in your right spheres,
Where be your powers ? Show now your mended faiths ;
And instantly return with me again,
To push destruction, and perpetual shame,
Out of the weak door of our fainting land :
Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought;
The dauphin rages at our very heels.
Sal. It seems, you know not then so much as we:
The cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,
Who half an hour since came from the dauphin ;
And brings from him such offers of our peace
As we with honor and respect may take,
With purpose presently to leave this war.
Faul. He will the rather do it, when he sees
Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.
Sal. Nay, it is in a manner done already;
For many carriages he hath despatch'd
To the seaside, and put his cause and quarrel
To the disposing of the cardinal.
With whom yourself, myself, and other lords,
If you think meet, this afternoon will post
To consummate this business happily.
Faul. Let it be so:- —And you, my noble prince,
With other princes that may best be spar'd,
Shall wait upon your father's funeral.
P. Hen. At Worcester must his body be interr'd;
For so he will'd it.
Thither shall it then.
And happily may your sweet self put on
The lineal state and glory of the land !
To whom, with all submission, on my knee,
I do bequeath my faithful services
And true subjection everlastingly.
Sal. And the like tender of our love we make,
To rest without a spot for evermore.
P. Hen. I have a kind soul, that would give you thanks,
And knows not how to do it, but with tears.
Faul. O, let us pay the time but needful woe,
Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.-
This England never did, (nor never shall,)
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
But when it first did help to wound itself.
Now these her princes are come home again,
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
And we shall shock them: Nought shall make us rue,
If England to itself do rest but true.
The chronicles of Hollingshed and Stowe, appear to have been the sources from which Shakspeare drew the materials for constructing his series of English Historical Plays, adding, however, characters and incidents from his own teeming imagination, and heightening the real personages he introduces, with all the vivid touches of his excelling skill.
In the first and second parts of Henry IV, appears that marvel of his creative genias, Falstaff,—who is aptly made the leader of the dissolute set of profligates which surrounded the young Prince, afterwards Henry V. An isolated extract could not do justice to this inimitable creation ; we have, therefore, preferred to confine our selections to the historical incidents of the Play. “The transactions contained in it are comprised within the period of about ten months. The action commences with the news brought of Hotspur having defeated the Scots under Archibald earl of Douglas, at Holmedon (or Halidown-hill), which battle was fought on Holyrood day (the 14th of September), 1402 ; and it closes with the defeat and death of Hotspur at Shrewsbury; which engagement happened on Batarday the 21st of July (the eve of Saint Mary Magdalen), in the year 1403."
KING HENRY THE FOURTH.
HENRY, Prince of Wales,
PRINCE John of Lancaster,
Lady PERCY, wife to Hotspur, and sister to Mortimer.
Lady MORTIMER, daughter to Glendower, and wife to Mortimer
Mrs. QUICKLY, hostess of a tavern in Eastcheap.
Lords, Officers, Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Drawers, Two Carriers,
Travellers, and Attendants.
King Henry sends for Hotspar, to give ac account of his conduct at the Battle of Holmedon.
SCENE.-London, a Room in the Palace.
Enter KING HENRY, NORTHUMBERLAND, WORCESTER, HOTSPUR, Sir
WALTER BLUNT, and others.
K. Hen. My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
Unapt to stir at these indigritics,
And you have found me; for, accordingly,
You tread upon my patience; but, be sure,
I will from henceforth rather be myself,
Mighty, and to be fear'd, than my condition ;
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
And therefore lost that title of respect,
Which the proud soul ne'er pays, but to the proud.
Wor. Our house, my sovereign liege, little deserves
The scourge of greatness to be used on it;
And that same greatness too which our own hands
Have holp to make so portly.
North. My lord,
K. Hen. Worcester, get thee gone, for I see danger
And disobedience in thine eye : O, sir,
Your presence is too bold and peremptory,
And majesty might never yet endure
The moody frontier of a servant brow.
You have good leave to leave us; when we need
Your use and counsel, we shall send for you.
[Exit WORCESTER You were about to speak.
[T. NORTE North.
Yea, my good lord.
Those prisoners in your highness' name demanded,
Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took,
Were, as he says, not with such strength denied,
As is deliver'd to your majesty :
Either envy, therefore, or misprision
Is guilty of this fault, and not my son.
Hot. 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 dress’d,
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin, new reapd,
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
He gave his nose, and took't away again ;-
Who, therewith angry, when it next came there,
Took it in snuff:-and still he smil'd and talk'd;
And, as the soldiers bore 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 prisoners, in your majesty's behalf.
I then, all smarting with my wounds being cold,
To be so pester'd with a popinjay,
Out of my grief and my impatience,
Answer'd neglectingly, I know not what;
He should, or he should not;—for he made me mad,
To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman,
Of guns, and drums, and wounds, (God save the mark !)
And telling me, the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was parmaceti, for an inward bruise ;
And that it was great pity, so it was,
That villanous saltpetre 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
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.
Blunt. The circumstance consider'd, good my lord,
Whatever Harry Percy then had said,
To such a person, and in such a place,
At such a time, with all the rest re-told,
May reasonably die, and never rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he unsay
it now. K. Hen. Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners ; But with proviso, and exception,