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Tell thou thy earl his divination lies,
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace,
And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
Thou shak’st thy head, and hold’st it sin or fear
To speak a truth :-if he is slain, say so;
The tongue offends not that reports his death.
[Morton.] Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office; and his tongue
Sounds ever after like a sullen bell,
Remember'd tolling a departed friend. Lord Bardolf interrupts the speaker by asserting that he cannot believe young Percy is dead : Morton continues :
I a'm sorry I must force you to believe
That which I would to heaven I had not seen.
But these mine eyes witness’d, in bloody state,
The never-daunted Percy on the earth,
From whence, with life, he never more sprung up.
His death once known, took courage from his troops.
Douglas is living, and, I trust your brother,
But the .... sum of all, my lord, is this,–
The king hath won, and hath sent out a power,
Under the conduct of young Lancaster,
And Westmorland, to meet you: this is all.
[North.] In poison there is physic; and these news,
That would have made me sick had I been well,
Have in some measure made me well, being sick
Hence, therefore, with this crutch!
A scaly gauntlet now with ribs of steel
Must glove this hand : and hence, thou sickly quoif!
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
That princes, flesh'd with conquest, aim to hit.
Now bind my brows with iron; and approach
The rugged’st hour that time and spite dare bring!
Let heaven kiss earth; and 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 other two persons endeavour to calm and soothe the earl: Lord Bardolf first speaks : [L. Bar.] Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honour;
We all, that are engaged to this loss,
Knew that we ventur'd on such dangerous seas,
That if we wrought out life, 'twas ten to one:
And yet we ventur’d :—for the gain propos’d
Chok'd the respect of likely peril fear'd:
And since we are o'erset, venture again.
Come, we will all put forth, body and goods. [Morton.] 'Tis more than time; and, my most noble lord,
I hear for certain, and do speak the truth,
The archbishop of York is up
With well-appointed powers: he is a man
That with a double surety binds his followers.
My lord, your son had nothing but the bodies,
The shadows, and the shows of men, to fight :
For that same word rebellion did divide
from them; but now the bishop
Turns insurrection to religion :
Suppos’d sincere and holy in his thoughts,
He's follow'd both with body and with soul :
He sanctifies rebellion with the blood
Of fair king Richard scoop'd from Pomfret stones ;
Derives from heaven his quarrel and his cause;
And more and less do flock to follow him, [Northumb.] I knew of this before; but, to speak truth,
The present grief had wip'd it from my mind.
Go in with me, and counsel every one
The aptest way for safety and revenge.
Get posts and letters, and make friends with speed :
Never so few, and never yet more need. From Warkworth, it will not be difficult, notwithstanding the distance, to transport ourselves in imagination to
the palace in London. The scenes must not be supposed
quite contemporaneous, but distant also by a little interval
of time. King Henry, in his night-gown, is speaking to
a page :
[K. Henry.] Go, call the earls of Surry and of Warwick;
But ere they come, bid them o'er-read these letters,
And well consider of them : make good speed.-
thousands 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 mine 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 at 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,
That take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous beads, 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
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude-
And in the calmest and the stillest night,
With all appliances and means to bout,
Deny it to a king ? Then, happy lowly clown!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Here the two earls, sent for by the king, enter : Warwick is the one who speaks. [Warwick.] Many good morrows to your majesty!
[K. Henry.] Is it good morrow, lords ? [Warwick.] 'Tis one o'clock, and past. [K. Henry.] Why, then, good morrow to you all, my lords !
Have you o'er-read the letters that I sent you ? [Warwick.) We have, my liege. [K. Henry.] Then you perceive the body of our kingdom
How foul it is; what rank diseases grow,
And with what danger, near the heart of it. [Warwick.] It is but as a body new-distemper'd,
Which to its former health may be restor’d
With good advice and little medicine:
My lord Northumberland will soon be cool'd. [K. Henry.] Oh heaven! if one might read the book of fate,
And see how chances mock, and changes fill
The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,
His perils past, his crosses yet to come,
Would shut the book, and sit him down, and die.
It is not ten years gone,
Since Richard and Northumberland were friends;
Did feast together; and, in two years after,
Were they at wars. It is not six years since,
This Percy was the man nearest my soul,
Who, like a brother, toil'd in my affairs ;
Yea, and for my sake, e'en to the eyes of Richard,
Gave bim defiance. Which of you was by,
When Richard, with his eyes brimful of tears,
Did speak these words, now prov'd a prophecy?-
“Northumberland, thou ladder by the which
'My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my throne"-
(Though then, heaven knows, I had no such intent)-
“The time shall come,”—(thus did he follow it)
“The time will come that foul sin, gathering head,
“Shall break into corruption; so went on
Foretelling our condition at this time,
And the division of our amity.
[Warwick.] A man may prophesy, my gracious liege,
With a near aim of the main chance of things
From seeds and weak beginnings: and king Richard
Might guess Northumberland, then false to him,
Would, of that seed, grow to a greater falseness,
That should not find a ground to root upon,
Except on you.
[K.Henry.] Are these things then necessities?
Then let us meet them like necessities.
They say the bishop and Northumberland
Are fifty thousand strong.
[Warwick.] It cannot be, my lord.
Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo,
The numbers of the fear'd. Please it your grace
To go to bed ;-Upon my life, my lord,
Your power shall bring this prize in easily :
Your majesty hath been this fortnight ill,
And these unseason’d hours perforce must add
[K. Henry.] I will take your counsel :
And, were these inward wars once out of hand,
We would, dear lords, unto the holy land.
THE LEVYING OF SOLDIERS FOR OPPOSING THE INSURRECTIONS IN THE
North ; THE CHARACTER OF CHIEF JUSTICE GASCOIGNE; AND
THE STRATAGEM BY WHICH THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK AND HIS
IMMEDIATE ASSOCIATES WERE ENTRAPPED ; INDICATED BY IMA-
GINARY SCENES IN THE STREETS OF LONDON ; AT THE HOUSE OF
JUSTICE SHALLOW, IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE ; AND AT GAULTREE
FOREST, IN YORKSHIRE,
HISTORICAL MEMORANDA. Falstaff, though a fiction of the poet, may be esteemed the historical representative of a class of men that lived in and beyond the times now before us; men who were gentlemen in rank, and soldiers by profession, but without any revenue in times of peace, and therefore dependent on unsettled times for such gain as they could make. This did not consist only in the booty they took, but in the manner