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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.
A Messenger with Ill News.
This man's brow, like to a title leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strond,* whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.
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—
Thou shak'st thine 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.
Description of the Death of Hotspur and Defeat of bis Army.
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 outbreath'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,‡
'Gan vail his stomach, and did grace the shame
Of those that turn'd their backs; and, in his flight,
Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
Had slain three persons whom he mistook for the king.
Is, that the king hath won; and hath sent out
A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
Under the conduct of young Lancaster,
And Westmoreland; this is the news at full.
Greater Griefs destroy the less.
As the wretch, whose fever-weaken'd joints,
Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,
Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms; even so my limbs,
Weaken'd with grief, being now enrag'd with grief,
Are thrice themselves: hence therefore, thou nice*
Must glove this hand and hence thou sickly quoif,+
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head,
Which princes, flesh'd with conquest, aim to hit.
Now bind my brows with iron; and approach
The ragged'st hour that time and spite dare bring,
To frown upon the enrag'd Northumberland!
Let heaven kiss earth! Now let not nature's hand
Keep the wild flood confin'd! let order die!
And let this world no longer be a stage
To feed contention in a lingering act;
But let one spirit of the first-born Cain
Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set
On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
And darkness be the burier of the dead!
The Fickleness of the Mob.
An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.
A cap worn by an invalid.
O thou fond many!* with what loud applause
Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke,
Before he was what thou wouldst have him be!
And being now trimm'd in thine own desires,
Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him,
That thou provok'st thyself to cast him up.
King Henry's Soliloquy on Sleep.
How many thousand of my poorest subjects Are at this hour asleep?-Sleep, gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sounds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile,
In loathsome beds; and leav'st the kingly couch,
A watch-case, or a common 'larum bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafening clamours in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly,† death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose
† Noise, clamour.
To the wet sea-boy, in an hour so rude ;
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances, and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
The Character of King Henry V. by his Father. He is gracious if he be observed;
He hath a tear for pity, and a hand
Open as day for melting charity:
Yet, notwithstanding, being incens'd, he's flint;
As humorous as winter, and as sudden
As flaws congealed in the spring of day.
His temper, therefore, must be well observ'd:
Chide him for faults, and do it reverently.
When you perceive his blood inclin'd to mirth;
But, being moody, give him line and scope;
Till that his passions, like a whale on ground,
Confound themselves with working.
Will fortune never come with both hands full, But write her fair words still in foulest letters ? She either gives a stomach, and no food,— Such are the poor, in health; or else a feast, And takes away the stomach,—such are the rich, That have abundance, and enjoy it not.
Prince Henry's reflections on the Crown. Why doth the crown lie here upon his pillow, Being so troublesome a bedfellow?
*Happy low, means the humbler classes.