Page images
PDF
EPUB

SECOND PART OF

KING HENRY IV.

ACT I.

SCENE I.-The same.

The Porter before the Gate; Enter Lord BARDOLPH.

Bardolph.

WHO keeps the gate here, ho?— Where is the earl? Port. What shall I say you are?

Bard.

Tell thou the earl,

That the lord Bardolph doth attend him here.

Port. His Lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard;

Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,

And he himself will answer.

Bard.

Enter NORTHUMBERLAND.

Here comes the earl.

North. What news, lord Bardolph? every minute.

now

Should be the father of some stratagem:2

The times are wild; contention, like a horse

2 some stratagem:] Some stratagem means here some great, important, or dreadful event.

Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.

Bard.

Noble earl,

I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
North. Good, an heaven will!

Bard.

As good as heart can wish:

The king is almost wounded to the death;
And, in the fortune of my lord your son,
Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts
Kill'd by the hand of Douglas: young prince John,
And Westmoreland, and Stafford, fled the field;
And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk sir John,
Is prisoner to your son: O, such a day,
So fought, so follow'd, and so fairly won,
Came not, till now, to dignify the times,
Since Cæsar's fortunes!

North.

How is this deriv'd?

Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury? Bard. I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence;

A gentleman well bred, and of good name,

That freely render'd me these news for true.

North. Here comes my servant, Travers, whom I sent

On Tuesday last to listen after news.

Bard. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;

And he is furnish'd with no certainties,

More than he haply may retail from me.

Enter TRAVErs.

North. Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you?

Tra. My lord, sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back With joyful tidings; and, being better hors'd, Out-rode me. After him, came, spurring hard, A gentleman almost forspent with speed,

3

forspent-] To forspend is to waste, to exhaust.

That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse:
He ask'd the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand, what news from Shrewsbury.
He told me, that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold:
With that, he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward, struck his armed heels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade
Up to the rowel-head; and starting so,
He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.

North.

Ha!

Again.

Said he, young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur, coldspur? that rebellion

Had met ill-luck!

Bard.

My lord, I'll tell you what ;

If my young lord your son have not the day,

Upon mine honour, for a silken point+

I'll give my barony: never talk of it.

North. Why should the gentleman, that rode by

Travers,

Give then such instances of loss?

Who, he?

Bard.
He was some hilding fellow, that had stol'n
The horse he rode on; and, upon my life,

Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.

Enter MORTON.

North. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title leaf,6 Foretells the nature of a tragick volume:

So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood

5

6

silken point] A point is a string tagged, or lace.

some hilding fellow,] For hilderling, i.e. base, degenerate. like to a title leaf,] It may not be amiss to observe, that, in the time of our poet, the title-page to an elegy, as well as every intermediate leaf, was totally black. I have several in my possession, written by Chapman, the translator of Homer, and ornamented in this manner. STEEVENS.

Hath left a witness'd usurpation.

Say, Morton, did'st thou come from Shrewsbury?
Mor. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask,
To fright our party.

North.

How doth my son, and brother?

Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd:
But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'st it.

This thou would'st say,-Your son did thus, and thus:
Your brother thus: so fought the noble Douglas;
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds:
But in the end, to stop mine ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with-brother, son, and all are dead.
Mor. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet:
But, for my lord your son,—

North.

Why, he is dead. See, what a ready tongue suspicion hath!

He, that but fears the thing he would not know,

Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others' eyes,

That what he fear'd is chanced. Yet speak, Morton;

Tell thou thy earl, his divination lies;

And I will take it as a sweet disgrace,

And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.

Mor. You are too great to be by me gainsaid: Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain. North. Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead.

I see a strange confession in thine eye:

7 — a witness'd usurpation.] i.e. an attestation of its ravage. 8 Your spirit-] The impression upon your mind, by which you conceive the death of your son.

Thou shak'st thy head; and hold'st it fear, or sin,?
To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so;

The tongue offends not, that reports his death:
And he doth sin, that doth belie the dead;
Not he, which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office; and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,
Remember'd knolling a departing friend.

Bard. I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
Mor. I am sorry, I should force you to believe
That, which I would to heaven I had not seen:
But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,
Rend'ring faint quittance', wearied and out-breath'd,
To Harry Monmouth; whose swift wrath beat down
The never-daunted Percy to the earth,

From whence with life he never more sprung up.
In few, his death (whose spirit lent a fire
Even to the dullest peasant in his camp,)
Being bruited once, took fire and heat away
From the best temper'd courage in his troops:
For from his metal was his party steel'd;
Which once in him abated, all the rest
Turn'd on themselves, like dull and heavy lead.
And as the thing that's heavy in itself,
Upon enforcement, flies with greatest speed;
So did our men, heavy in Hotspur's loss,
Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear,
That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim,
Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,
Fly from the field: Then was that noble Worcester
Too soon ta'en prisoner: and that furious Scot,
The bloody Douglas, whose well-labouring sword
Had three times slain the appearance of the king,

9 -hold'st it fear, or sin,] Fear for danger.
1 -faint quittance.] Quittance is return.

« PreviousContinue »