Page images
PDF
EPUB

may not

Duch.

What should you fear? 'Tis nothing but some bond that he is entered into For gay apparel, 'gainst the triumph day.

York. Bound to himself? what doth he with a bond That he is bound to? Wife, thou art a fool.Boy, let me see the writing. Aum. I do beseech you, pardon me;

1 show it. York. I will be satisfied ; let me see it, I say.

[Snatches it and reads. Treason! foul treason !-villain! traitor! slave! Duch. What is the matter, my

lord ? York. Ho! who is within there? [Enter a Servant.)

Saddle my horse.
God for his mercy! what treachery is here !

Duch. Why, what is it, my lord ?
York. Give me my boots, I say;

saddle

my

horse. Now, by mine honor, by my life, my troth, I will appeach the villain.

[Exit Servant. Duch.

What's the matter?
York. Peace, foolish woman.
Duch. I will not peace. What is the matter, son?

Aum. Good mother, be content; it is no more
Than my poor life must answer.
Duch.

Thy life answer?
Re-enter Servant, with boots.
York. Bring me my boots ; I will unto the king.
Duch. Strike him, Aumerle.-Poor boy, thou art

amazed. Hence, villain ; never more come in my sight.

[To the Servant. York. Give me my boots, I say, Duch. Why, York, what wilt thou do? Wilt thou not hide the trespass of thine own? Have we more sons, or are we like to have ? Is not my teeming date drunk up with time? And wilt thou pluck my fair son from mine age, , And rob me of a happy mother's name? Is he not like thee? is he not thine own?

York. Thou fond, mad woman,
Wilt thou conceal this dark conspiracy?
A dozen of them here have ta'en the sacrament,
And interchangeably set down their hands,
To kill the king at Oxford.
Duch.

He shall be none;
We'll keep him here. Then what is that to him ?

York. Away,
Fond woman! were he twenty times my son, ,
I would appeach him.
Duch.

Hadst thou groaned for him,
As I have done, thou’dst be more pitiful.
But now I know thy mind; thou dost suspect,
That I have been disloyal to thy bed,
And that he is a bastard, not thy son.
Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind;
He is as like thee as a man may be,
Not like to me, or any of my kin,
And yet I love him.
York.
Make way, unruly woman.

[Exit.
Duch. After, Aumerle; mount thee upon his horse;
Spur, post ; and get before him to the king, ,
And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee.
I'll not be long behind ; though I be old,
I doubt not but to ride as fast as York;
And never will I rise up from the ground,
Till Bolingbroke have pardoned thee. Away;
Begone.

[Exeunt.

a

SCENE III. Windsor. A Room in the Castle.

Enter BOLINGBROKE as king ; PERCY, and other Lords.

Boling. Can no man tell of my unthrifty son ?
'Tis full three months since I did see him last.
If any plague hang over us, 'tis he.
I would to God, my lords, he might be found.
Inquire at London, 'mongst the taverns there,

For there, they say, he daily doth frequent,
With unrestrained, loose companions ;
Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes,
And beat our watch, and rob our passengers ;
While he, young, wanton, and effeminate boy,
Takes on the point of honor, to support
So dissolute a crew.1
Percy. My lord, some two days since I saw the

prince,
And told him of these triumphs held at Oxford,

Boling. And what said the gallant?

Percy. His answer was,-he would unto the stews,
And from the commonest creature pluck a glove,
And wear it as a favor ; and with that
He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.
Boling. As dissolute as desperate; yet, through

both
I see some sparkles of a better hope,
Which elder days may happily bring forth.
But who comes here?

Enter AUMERLE, hastily.
Aum.

Where is the king ? Boling. What means Our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly? Aum. God save your grace. I do beseech your

majesty, To have some conference with your grace alone. Boling. Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.

[Exeunt Percy and Lords. What is the matter with our cousin now? Aum. Forever may my knees grow to the earth,

[Kneels. My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth, Unless a pardon, ere I rise, or speak.

1 This is a very proper introduction to the future character of king Henry V., to his debaucheries in his youth, and his greatness in his manhood, as the Poet has described them. But it has been ably contended by Mr. Luders that the whole story of his dissipation was a fiction. At this period (i. e. 1400) he was but twelve years old, being born in 1388. 2 The folio reads sparks.

a

Boling. Intended, or committed, was this fault? If but the first, how heinous e'er it be, To win thy after-love, I pardon thee.

Aum. Then give me leave that I may turn the key, That no man enter till

my

tale be done. Boling. Have thy desire. [Aum. locks the door.

York. [Within.] My liege, beware ; look to thyself; Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.

Boling. Villain, I'll make thee safe. [Drawing.

Aum. Stay thy revengeful hand; Thou hast no cause to fear. York. [Within.] Open the door, secure, fool-hardy

.

king. Shall I, for love, speak treason to thy face? Open the door, or I will break it open.

[BOLINGBROKE opens the door.

[ocr errors]

Enter YORK.
Boling. What is the matter, uncle ? speak;
Recover breath; tell us how near is danger,
That we may arm us to encounter it.

York. Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know The treason that my haste forbids me show.

Aum. Remember, as thou read'st, thy promise past. I do repent me; read not my name there ; My heart is not confederate with my hand.

York. 'Twas, villain, ere thy hand did set it down. I tore it from the traitor's bosom, king. Fear, and not love, begets his penitence; Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.

Boling: O, heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy ! 0, loyal father of a treacherous son! Thou sheer, immaculate, and silver fountain, From whence this stream through muddy passages, Hath held his current, and defiled himself

i The old copies read “ If on, &c. Pope made the alteration
2 Sheer is pellucid, transparent.
VOL. III.

56

Thy overflow of good converts to bad;
And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
This deadly blot in thy digressing son.

York. So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd;
And he shall spend mine honor with his shame,
As thriftless sons their scraping fathers' gold.
Mine honor lives when his dishonor dies,
Or my shamed life in his dishonor lies.
Thou kill'st me in his life ; giving him breath,
The traitor lives, the true man's put to death.
Duch. [Within.] What, ho, my liege! for God's

sake, let me in. Boling. What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this

eager cry?

Duch. A woman, and thine aunt, great king; ’tis I. Speak with me, pity me, open the door ; A beggar begs, that never begged before.

Boling. Our scene is altered, from a serious thing, And now changed to The Beggar and the King. My dangerous cousin, let your mother in; I know she's come to pray for your foul sin.

York. If thou do pardon, whosoever pray, More sins, for his forgiveness, prosper may. This festered joint cut off, the rest rests sound; This let alone, will all the rest confound.

Enter Duchess.

[ocr errors]

Duch. O king, believe not this hard-hearted man; Love, loving not itself, none other can. York. Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make

here? Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear? Duch. Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege.

[Kneels

.

1 It is probable that the old ballad of “King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid” is here alluded to. The reader will find it in the first volume of Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry. There may have been a popular interlude on the subject.

2 i. e. “ what dost thou do here?"

« PreviousContinue »