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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 delivered 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 dressed, Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin, new reaped, Showed 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 smiled, and talked ; And, as the soldiers bore dead bodies by, He called them—untaught knaves, unmannerly, To bring a slovenly, unhandsome corse Betwixt the wind and his nobility. With many holiday and lady terms He questioned me; among the rest demanded My prisoners, in your majesty's behalf. I then, all smarting, with my wounds being cold, To be so pestered with a popinjay, Out of my grief and my impatience, Answered 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,

1 The reader should bear in mind that the courtier's beard, according to the fashion in the Poet's time, would not be closely shaved, but shorn or trimmed.

2 Took it in snuff means no more than snuffed it up; but there is a quibble on the phrase, which was equivalent to taking huff at it ; in familiar, modern speech, to be angry, to take offence. “To take in snuffe, Pigliar ombra, Pigliar in mala parte.”Torriano.

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; 1
And that it was great pity, so it was,
That villanous salt petre should be digged
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good, tall fellow had destroyed
So cowardly; and, but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald, unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answered 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 considered, 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, -
That we, at our own charge, shall ransom straight
His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer;
Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betrayed
The lives of those that he did lead to fight
Against the great magician, damned Glendower;
Whose daughter, as we hear, the earl of March
Hath lately married. Shall our coffers then
Be emptied, to redeem a traitor home ?
Shall we buy treason, and indent” with fears,
When they have lost and forfeited themselves ?
No, on the barren mountains let him starve ;
For I shall never hold that man my friend,

1 So in sir T. Overburie's Characters, 1616. [An Ordinarie Fencer, « his wounds are seldom skin-deepe; for an inward-bruise lambstones and sweete breads are his only spermaceti."

2 To indent with fears is to enter into compact with cowards. “To make a covenant or to indent with one. Paciscor.”- Baret.

Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost
To ransom home revolted Mortimer.

Hot. Revolted Mortimer!
He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war.- To prove that true,
Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds,
Those mouthed wounds, which valiantly he took,
When, on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank,
In single opposition, hand to hand,
He did confound the best part of an hour
In changing hardiment with great Glendower:
Three times they breathed, and three times did they

drink,
Upon agreement, of swift Severn's flood;
Who, then affrighted with their bloody looks,
Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,
And hid his crisp? head in the hollow bank,
Blood-stained with these valiant combatants.
Never did bare 3 and rotten policy
Color her working with such deadly wounds;
Nor never could the noble Mortimer
Receive so many, and all willingly.
Then let him not be slandered with revolt.
K. Hen. Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou dost

belie him ;
He never did encounter with Glendower.
I tell thee,
He durst as well have met the devil alone,
As Owen Glendower for an enemy.
Art thou not ashamed? But, sirrah, henceforth
Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer.
Send me your prisoners with the speediest means,
Or you shall hear in such a kind from me
As will displease you.—My lord Northumberland,
We license your departure with your son.-
Send us your prisoners, or you'll hear of it.

[Exeunt King HENRY, Blunt, and Train. Hot. 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

1 Shakspeare uses confound for spending or losing time. Hardiment is an obsolete word, signifying hardiness, courage. 2 Crisp is curled.

3 Some of the quarto copies read base.

awhile; Here comes your uncle.

Re-enter WORCESTER. Hot.

Speak of Mortimer? 'Zounds, I will speak of him; and let my soul Want 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 i’ the air as this unthankful king, As this ingrate and cankered Bolingbroke. North. Brother, the king hath made your nephew mad.

[TO WORCESTER. Wor. Who struck this heat up, after I was gone?

Hot. He will, forsooth, have all my prisoners ;
And when I urged the ransom once again
Of

my wife's brother, then his cheek looked pale ; And on my face he turned an eye of death, Trembling even at the name of Mortimer.

Wor. I cannot blame him. Was he not proclaimed, By Richard that dead is, the next of blood ? 1

North. He was ; I heard the proclamation.

1 Roger Mortimer, earl of March, was declared heir apparent to the crown in 1385 ; but he was killed in Ireland in 1398. The person who was proclaimed heir apparent by Richard II. previous to his last voyage to Ireland, was Edmund Mortimer, son of Roger, who was then but seven years old: he was not lady Percy's brother, but her nephew. He was the undoubted heir to the crown after the death of Richard. Thomas Walsingham asserts that he married a daughter of Owen Glendower, and the subsequent historians copied him. Sandford says that he married Anne Stafford, daughter of Edmund earl of Stafford. Glendower's daughter was married to his antagonist lord Grey of Ruthven. Holinshed led Shakspeare into the error. This Edmund, who is the Mortimer of the present play, was born in 1392, and consequently, at the time when this play is supposed to commence, was little more than ten years old. The prince of Wales was not fifteen.

And then it was, when the unhappy king

Whose wrongs in us God pardon!) did set forth Upon his Irish expedition ; From whence he, intercepted, did return To be deposed, and shortly murdered. Wor. And for whose death we in the world's wide

mouth Live scandalized, and foully spoken of.

Hot. But, soft, I pray you; did king Richard then
Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer
Heir to the crown ?
North.

He did; myself did hear it.
Hot. Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king,
That wished him on the barren mountains starved.
But shall it be, that you,—that set the crown
Upon the head of this forgetful man,
And, for his sake, wear the detested blot
Of murderous subornation,-shall it be,
That you a world of curses undergo;
Being the agents, or base second means,
The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather?-
0, pardon me, that I descend so low,
To show the line, and the predicament,
Wherein you range under this subtle king.--
Shall it, 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, God pardon it! have done,-
To put down Richard, that sweet, lovely rose,
And plant this thorn, this canker,' Bolingbroke?
And shall it, in more shame, be further spoken,
That you are fooled, discarded, and shook off
By him, for whom these shames ye underwent ?
No; yet time serves, wherein you may redeem
Your banished honors, and restore yourselves
Into the good thoughts of the world again.
Revenge the jeering and disdained? contempt

1 The canker-rose is the dog-rose, the flower of the Cynosbaton. 2 i. e. disdainful.

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