Page images

Against thy seat both young and old rebel,
And all goes worse than I have power to tell.

K. Rich. Too well, too well, thou tell'st a tale so ill.
Where is the earl of Wiltshire? where is Bagot?
What is become of Busby? where is Green?

-No matter where; of comfort no man speak,
Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs,
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth'
Let's choose executors, and talk of wills;
And yet not so-
for what can we bequeath,
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke's,
And nothing can we call our own but death;
And that small model of the barren earth,
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For Heav'n's sake, let us sit upon the ground,
And tell sad stories of the death of Kings;
How some have been depos'd; some slain in war;
Some haunted by the ghosts they dispossess'd;
Some poison'd by their wives; some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd.-For within the hollow crown,
That rounds the mortal temples of a King,
Keeps Death his court; and there the antie sits,
Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp;
Allowing him a breath, a little scene
To monarchize, be fear'd, and kill with looks;
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh, which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable: and, humour'd thus,
Comes at the last, and with a little pin

Bores through his castle walls, and farewell King!
Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
'With solemn rev'rence: throw away respect,
Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while.
I live on bread like you; feel want like you;
Taste grief, need friends, like you: subjected thus,
How can you say to me I am a King?




How many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O gentle Sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have 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 to a common larum-bell?
Wilt thou, upon the high and giddy mast,
Seal up the shipboy'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 deaf'ning clamours in the slipp'ry shrouds,
That with the hurly Death itself awakes:
Can'st thou, O partial Sleep! give thy repose
To the wet seaboy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and the stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy lowly clown;
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.




P. Henry. I NEVER thought to hear you speak again. K. Henry. Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought. I stay too long by thee, I weary thee. Dost thou so hunger for my empty chair, That thou wilt needs invest thee with my honours, Before thy hour be ripe! O foolish youth!

Thou seek'st the greatness, that will overwhelm thee.
Stay but a little; for my cloud of dignity
Is held from falling with so weak a wind,
That it will quickly drop; my day is dim.
Thou hast stol'n that, which after some few hours
Were thine without offence; and at my death
Thou hast seal'd up my expectation :
Thy life did manifest, thou lov'dst me not:
And thou wilt have me die assur'd of it.
Thou hid'st a thousand daggers in thy thoughts,
Which thou hast whetted on thy stony heart,
To stab at half an hour of my frail life.
What! canst thou not forbear me half an hour?
Then get thee gone, and dig my grave thyself,
And bid the merry bells ring to thine ear,
That thou art crowned, not that I am dead.
Let all the tears, that should bedew my hearse,
Be drops of balm to sanctify thy head;
Only compound me with forgotten dust,
Give that which gave thee tife unto the worms,
Pluck down my officers, break my decrees,
For now a time is come to mock at form;
Henry the Fifth is crown'd! up, Vanity!
Down, Royal state! All you sage couns'llors, hencè;
And to the English court assemble now,
From ev'ry region, apes of idleness:

Now neighbour-confines, purge you of your scum;
Have you a ruffian, that will swear, drink, dance,
Revel the night, rob, murder, and commit
The oldest sins the newest kind of ways?

Be happy, he will trouble you no more;
England shall give him office, honour, might;
For the Fifth Harry from curb'd license plucks
The muzzle of restraint! and the wild dog
Shall flesh his tooth on ev'ry innocent.
O my poor kingdom, sick with civil blows!
When that my care could not withhold thy riot,
What wilt thou do when riot is thy care?
Oh, thou wilt be a wilderness again,
Peopled with wolves, thy old inhabitants!

P. Henry. O pardon me, my Liege! but for my tears,
(The moist impediments unto my speech)
I had forestall'd this dear and deep rebuke,
Ere you with grief had spoke, and I had heard
The course of it so far. There is your crown;
And He that wears the crown immortally
Long guard it yours! If I affect it more,
Than as your honour, and as your renown,
Let me no more from this obedience rise,
Which my most true and inward duteous spirit
Teacheth this prostrate and exterior bending.
Heav'n witness with me, when I here came in,
And found no course of breath within your Majesty,
How cold it struck my heart! If I do feign,
O let me in my present wildness die,
And never live to show th' incred'lous world
The noble change that I have purposed!
Coming to look on you, thinking you dead,
(And dead almost, my Liege, to think you were,)
I spake unto the crown as having sense,

And thus upbraided it. The care on thee depending
Hath fed upon the body of my father,
Therefore thou best of gold art worst of gold;
Other, less fine in carat, is more precious,
Preserving life in med'cine potable;

But thou, most fine, most honour'd, most renown'd,
Hast eat thy bearer up. Thus, Royal Liege,
Accusing it, I put it on my head,

To try with it (as with an enemy,
That had before my face murder'd my father)
The quarrel of a true inheritor.

But if it did affect my blood with joy,

Or swell my thoughts to any strain of pride,
any rebel or vain spirit of mine
Did with the least affection of a welcome
Give entertainment to the might of it,
Let Heav'n for ever keep it from my head,
And make me as the poorest vassal is,
That doth with awe and terrour kneel to it!

K. Henry. O my son!

Heav'n put it in thy mind to take it hence,
That thou might'st win the more thy father's love,
Pleading so wisely in excuse of it.
Come hither, Harry, sit thou by my bed;
And hear, I think, the very latest counsel
That ever I shall breathe. Heav'n knows, my son,
By what by-paths and indirect crooked
I met this crown; and I myself know well
How troublesome it sat upon my head.
To thee it shall descend with better quiet,
Better opinion, better confirmation;
For all the soil of the achievement goes
With me into the earth. It seem'd in me
But as an honour snatch'd with boist’rous hand,
And I had many living to upbraid
My gain of it by their assistances;
Which daily grew to quarrel and to bloodshed,
Wounding supposed peace. All their bold feats,
Thou seest, with peril I have answered.
For all my reigu hath been but as a scene
Acting that argument: and now my death
Changes the mode; for what in me was purchas'd,
Falls upon thee in a much fairer sort:
For thou the garland wear'st successively.

Yet though thou stand'st more sure than I could do,
Thou art not firm enough, since griefs are green;
And all my friends, which thou must make thy friends,
Have but their stings and teeth newly ta'en out,
By whose fell working I was first advanc'd,
And by whose pow'r I well might lodge a fear,
To be again displac'd: which to avoid,
I cut them off, and had a purpose now

« PreviousContinue »