« PreviousContinue »
From seventeen years till now, almost fourscore,
Here lived I, but now live here no more.
At seventeen years many their fortunes seek,
But at fourscore it is too late a week ;
Yet fortune cannot recompense me better
Than to die well, and not iny master's debtor.
Scroop. More bealth and happiness betide my Liege, Than can my care-tun'd tongue deliver him!
K. Rich. Mine ear is open, and my heart prepar'd: The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold; Say, is my kingdom lost? Why, 'twas my care ; And what loss is it, to be rid of care? Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we ! Greater he shall not be; if be serve God, We'll serve him too, and be his fellow so. Revolt our subjects ? That we cannot mend; They break their faith to God, as well as us, Cry wo, destruction, ruin, loss, decay; The worst is death, and death will have his day.
Scroop: Glad am I, that your Highness is so arm'd To bear the tidings of calamity. Like an unseasonable stormy day, Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores, As if the world were all dissolv'd to tears ; So high above his limits swells the rage Of Bolingbroke, cov'ring your fearful land With hard, bright steel, and hearts more bard than steel. White beards have arm'd their thin and hairless scalps Against thy Majesty; boys, with women's voices, Strive to speak big, and clasp their female joints In stiff unwieldy arms, against thy crown ; Thy very beadsmey learn to bend their bows Of double-fatal yew against thy state; Yea, distaff women manage rusty bills.
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 antic 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,
Conies 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,
you have but iistook 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?
HENRY IV'S SOLILOQUY ON SLEEP.
How many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O gentle Sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I 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 lullid 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,
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 deafʼning 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.
HENRY IV AND PRINCE HENRY.
P. Henry. I NEVER thought to hear you speak agair.
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 stoln that, which after some few hours Were thine without offence; and at my death Thou hast seald 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 goue, 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 life 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, hence ; And to the English court assemble now, From ev'ry region, apes of idleness :: Now neiglibour-confines, purge you of your scuin; 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)
Ì 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, iny 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 murderd my father)
The quarrel of a true inheritor.