« PreviousContinue »
Who is to bear me, like a thunderbolt,
Against the bosom of the prince of Wales:.
Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse,
Meet, and ne'er part, till one drop down a corse,- ·
0, that Glendower were come!
PRINCE HENRY'S MODEST CHALLENGE.
The prince of Wales doth join with all the world
In praise of Henry Percy: By my hopes,-
This present enterprise set off his head,
I do not think a braver gentleman,
More active-valiant, or more valiant-young,
More daring, or more bold, is now alive,
To grace this latter age with noble deeds.
For my part I may speak it to my shame,
I have a truant been to chivalry.
And so, I hear, he doth account lue too:
Yet this before my father's majesty,–
I am content, that he shall take the odds
Of his great name and estimat10.1,
And will, to save the blood on either side,
Try fortune with him in a single fight.
FALSTAFF'S CATECHISM. Well, 'tis no matter: Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on how then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour: A word. What is in that word? Honour. What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o’Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it:therefore I'll none of it. Honour is a mere escuts cheon,* and so ends my catechism.
* Painted heraldry in funerals.
LIFE DEMANDS ACTION.
O gentlemen, the time of life is short;
To spend that shortness basely were too long.
If life did ride upon a dial's point,
Stilt ending at the arrival of an hour.
PRINCE HENRY'S PATHETIC SPEECH ON THB
DEATH OF HOTSPUR,
Brave Percy, fare thee well.
Ill weav'd ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
When that this body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
But now, two paces of the vilest earth
Is room enough:-This earth, that bears thee dead,
Bears not alive so stout a gentleman.
If thou wert sensible of courtesy,
I should not make so dear a show of zeal:
But let my favours* hide thy mangled face;
And even, in thy behalf, I'll thank myself
For doing thee these fair rites of tenderness.
Adieu, and take thy praise with thee to heaven!
Thy ignominy sleep with thee in the grave,
But not remember'd in thy epitaph!
I, FROM the orient to the drooping west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride;
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
I speak of peace, while covert enmity,
Under the smile of safety, wounds the world
* Scarf, with which he covers Percy's face.
And who but Rumour, who but only I,
Make fearful musters, and prepar'd defence;
Whilst the big year, swoln with some other gries,
Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures;
And of so easy and so plain a stop,
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude
Can play upon it.
Contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.
After him, came, spurring hard, A gentleman almost forespent with speed, 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 rowei-head; and, starting so. He seem'd in running to devour the way, Staying no longer question.
This man's brow, like to a title-leaf, Foretells the nature of a tragic volume: So looks the strand, whereon the imperious flood Hath left a witness'd usurpation.tThou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand. Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,