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I'll read you matter deep and dangerous;
As full of peril, and advent'rous spirit,
As to o’erwalk a current, roaring loud,
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.
By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap, To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac'd moon Or dive into the bottom of the deep, Where fathom-line could never touch the ground And pluck up downward honour by the locks; So he, that doth redeem her thence, might wear, Without corrival," all her dignities: But out upon this half-fac'd fellowship!f
ACT II. LADY PERCY'S PATHETIC SPEECH TO HER HUSBAND
O my good lord, why are you thus alone? For what offence have I, this fortnight, been A banish'd woman from my Harry's bed? Tell sweet lord, what is't that takes from thee Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep? Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth: And start so often when thou sit'st alone? Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks And given my treasures, and my rights of thee, To thick-ey'd musing, and curs’d melancholy? In thy faint slumbers, I by thee have watchd, And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars: Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed; Cry, Courage!—to the field! And thou hast talk'] Of sallies, and retires; of trenches, tents, Of pallisadoes, frontiers, parapets; Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin; of prisoners raosom, and of soldiers slain, And all the 'currents of a heady fight. Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war, And thus hath so bestirr'd thee in thy sleep,
That beads* of sweat have stood upon thy brow,
Like bubbles in a late disturbed stream;
and in thy face strange motions have appear'd,
Such as we see when men restrain their breath
On some great sudden haste. O, what portents are
Some heavy business hath my lord in hand,
And I must know it, else he loves me not.
I cannot blame him: at my nativity,
The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,
Of burning cressets; and, at my birth,
The frame and huge foundation of the earth
Shak'd like a coward.
Why, so it would have done
At the same season, if your mother's cat had
But kitten'd, though yourself had ne'er been born.
Diseased nature oftentinies breaks forth
In strange eruptions; ost the teeming earth
Is with a kind of cholic pinch'd and vex'd
By the imprisoning of unruly wind
Within her womb, which, for enlargement striving,
Shakes the old beldame earth, and topplest down
Steeples and moss-grown towers.
Marry, and I am glad of it with all my heart.
I had rather be a kitten, and cry-mew,
Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers:
I had rather hear a brazen cansticks turn'd,
Or a dry wheel grate on an axletree;
And that would set my teeth nothing on edge,
† Lights set cross ways upon beacons, and also upon poles, which were used in processions, &c. #Tumbles.
Nothing so much as mincing poetry;
Tis like the forc'd gait of a shuffling nag.
PUNCTUALITY IN BARGAINS.
I'll give thrice so much land
To any well-deserving friend;
But, in the way of bargain, mark ye me,
I'll cavil on the ninth part of a hair.
A HUSBAND SUNG TO SLEEP BY HIS WIFE.
Upon the wanton rushes lay you down,
And rest your gentle head upon her lap,
And she will sing the song that pleaseth you,
And on your eyelids crown the god of sleep,
Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness:
Making such difference 'twixt wake and sleep,
As is the difference 'twixt day and night,
The hour before the heavenly-harness'd team
Begins his golden progress in the east.
KING HENRY'S PATHETIC ADDRESS TO HIS SON
Had I so lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackney'd in the eyes of men,
So stale and cheap to vulgar company:
Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
Had still kept loyal to possession;*
And left me in reputeless banishment,
A fellow of no mark, nor likelihood.
By being seldom seen, I could not stir,
But, like a comet, I was wonder'd at:
That men would tell their children, This is he;
Others would say,--Where?--which is Boling brokc?
And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
And dress'd myself in such humility,
That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts,
Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,
Even in the presence of the crowned king.
Thus did I keep my person fresh, and new;
My presence, like a robe pontifical,
* True to him that had then possession of the crown
Ne’er seen, but wonder'd at: and so my state,
Seldom, but sumptuous, showed like a feast;
And won, by rareness, such solemnity.
The skipping king, he ambled up and down
With shallow jesters, and rash bavin* wits,
Soon kindled, and soon burn'd: carded his state;
Mingled his royalty with capering fools;
Had his great name profaned with their scorns
And gave his countenance against his name,
To laugh at gibing boys, and stand the push
Of every beardless vain comparative:f
Grew a companion to the common streets,
Enseoff’df himself to popularity:
That being daily swallow'd by men's eyes,
They surfeited with honey; and began
To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little
More than a little is by much too much
So, when he had occasion to be seen,
He was but as the cuckoo is in June,
Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such cyes,
As, sick and blunted with community,
Afford no extraordinary gaze,
Such as is bent on sun-like majesty
When it shines seldom in admiring eyes:
But rather drowz’d, and hung their eyelids down,
Slept in his face, and render'd such aspect
As cloudy men use to their adversaries;
Being with his presence glutted, gorgʻd and full.
PRINCE HENRY'S MODEST DEFENCE OF HIMSELY
God forgive them, that have so much sway'd
Your majesty's good thoughts away from me!
I will redeem all this on Percy's head,
A.nd, in the closing of some glorivus day,
Be bold to tell you, that I am your son;
When I will wear a garment all of blood,
And stain my favours in a bloody mask,
Which, wash'd away, shall scour my shame with it.
And that shall be the day, whene'er it lights,
That this same child of honour and renown,
This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight,
Brushwood. + Rival. Possessing.
And your unthought-of Harry, chance to meet:
For every honour sitting on his helm,
Would they were multitudes; and on my head
My shames redoubled! for the time will come
That I shall make this northern youth exchange
His glorious deeds for my indignities.
Percy is but my factor, good my lord,
To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf;
And I will call him to so strict account,
That he shall render every glory up:
Yea, even the slightest worship of his time,
Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart.
This, in the name of God, I promise here:
The which, if he be pleas'd I shall perform,
I do beseech your majesty, may salve
The long-grown wounds of my intemperance
If not, the end of life cancels all bands;*
And I will die a hundred thousand deaths,
Ere break the smallest parcelt of this vow.
I saw young Harry,—with his beaver on, His cuissest on his thighs, gallantly arm’d, Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury, And vaulted with such ease into his seat, As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds, To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus, And witch the world with noble horsemanship.
HOTSPUR'S IMPATIENCE FOR THE BATTLE Let them come; They come like sacrifices in their trim, And to the fire-ey'd maid of smoky war, All hot, and bleeding, will we offer them The mailed Mars shall on his altar sit, Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire, To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh, And yet not ours:- Come, let me take my horse, * Bonds.
+ Part. * Armour & Bewitch, charm.