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SCENE III.-The same. Another Room in the Palace. Enter KING HENRY, NORTHUMBERLAND, WORCESTER, HOT
SPUR, SIR WALTER BLUNT, and others.
K. Hen. My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
Unapt to stir at these indignities,
And you have found me; for accordingly,
You tread upon my patience: but, be sure,
I will from henceforth rather be myself,
Mighty, and to be fear'd, than my condition ;*
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
And therefore lost that title of respect,
Which the proud soul ne'er pays, but to the proud.
Wor. Our house, my sovereign liege, little deserves
The scourge of greatness to be used on it;
And that same greatness too which our own hands
Have holp to make so portly.
North. My lord,
K. Hen. Worcester, get thee gone, for I see danger And disobedience in thine eye: 0, Sir, Your presence is too bold and peremptory, And majesty might never yet endure The moody frontiert of a servant brow. You have good leaves to leave us; when we need Your use and counsel, we shall send for you.— [Exit WORCESTER. You were about to speak.
North. Yea, my good lord.
Those prisoners in your highness' name demanded,
Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took,.
Were, as he says, not with such strength denied
As is deliver'd to your majesty :
Either envy, therefore, or misprision,
Is guilty of this fault, and not my son.
Bot. My liege, I did deny no prisoners.
But, I remember, when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage, and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
Came there a certain lord, neat, trimly dress'd,
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin new reap'd,
Show'd like a stubble-land at harvest-home;
He was perfumed like a milliner;
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
He gave his nose, and took't away again ;-)
Who, therewith angry, when it next came there,
Took'it in snuff://--and still he smiled, and talk’d;
And, as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
He calld them-untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms
He question’d me; among the rest demanded
My prisoners, in your majesty's behalf.
I then, all smarting, with my wounds being cold,
To be so pester'd with a popinjay,
Out of my grief* and my impatience,
Answer'd neglectingly, I know not what;
He should, or he should not ;-for he made me mad,
To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting-gentlewoman,
Of guns, and drums, and wounds (God save the mark !)
And telling me the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was parmaceti, for an inward bruise;
And that it was great pity, so it was,
That villanous saltpetre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tallt fellow had destroy'd
So cowardly; and, but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answer'd indirectly, as I said;
And, I beseech you, let not this report
Come current for an accusation,
Betwixt my love and your high majesty.
Blunt. The circumstance considerd, good, my lord,
Whatever Harry Percy then hath said,
To such a person, and in such a place,
At such a time, with all the rest re-told,
May reasonably die, and never rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he unsay it now.
K. Hen. Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners;
But with proviso, and exception-
That we, at our own charge, shall ransom straight
His brother-in law, the foolish Mortimer;
Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray'd
The lives of those that he did lead to fight
Against the great magician, damn'd Glendower;
Whose daughter, as we hear, the earl of March
Hot. Revolted Mortimer!
He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war ;--To prove that true,
Needs no more, but one tongue for all those wounds,
Those mouthed wounds, which valiantly he took,
When on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank,
In single opposition, hand to hand,
He did confound* the best part of an hour
In changing hardimentt with great Glendower:
Three times they breathed, and three times did they drink,
Upon agreement, of swift Severn's flood;
Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks,
Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,
And hid his crisp I head in the hollow bank,
Blood-stained with these valiant combatants.
Never did bare and rotten policy
Colour her working with such deadly wounds;
Nor never could the noble Mortimer
Receive so many, and all willingly:
Then let him not be slander'd with revolt.
K. Hen. Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou dost belie him,
He never did encounter with Glendower;
I tell thee,
He durst as well have met the devil alone,
As Owen Glendower for an enemy.
Art not ashamed ? But, sirrah, henceforth
Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer :
Send me your prisoners with the speediest means,
Or you shall hear in such a kind from me
As will displease you.—My lord Northumberland,
We license your departure with your son:
Send us your prisoners, or you'll hear of it.
[Exeunt KING HENRY, BLUNT, and Train.
Hot. And if the devil come and roar for them,
I will not send them :-I will after straight,
And tell him so; for I will ease my heart,
Although it be with hazard of my head.
North. What, drunk with choler ? stay, and pause awhile; Here comes your uncle.
Hot. Speak of Mortimer !
Zounds, I will speak of him; and let my soul
Want mercy, if I do not join with him:
Yea, on his part, I'll empty all these veins,
And shed my dear blood drop by drop i' the dust,
But I will lift the down-trod Mortimer
As high i’ the air as this unthankful king,
As this ingrate and canker'd Bolingbroke.
North. Brother, the king hath made your nephew mad.
Wor. Who struck this heat up after I was gone ?
Hot. He will, forsooth, have all my prisoners;
And when I urged the ransom once again
Of my wife's brother, then his cheek look'd pale •
And on my face he turn’d an eye of death,
Trembling even at the name of Mortimer.
Wor. I cannot blame him: Was he not proclaim'd,
By Richard that dead is, the next of blood ?
North. He was; I heard the proclamation: And then it was, when
the unhappy king (Whose wrongs in us God pardon !) did set forth Upon his Irish expedition; From whence he, intercepted, did return To be deposed, and shortly, murdered.
Wor. And for whose death, we in the world's wide mouth Live scandalized, and foully spoken of.
Hot. But soft, I pray you; Did king Richard then
Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer
Heir to the crown?
North. He did; myself did hear it.
Hot. Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king,
That wish'd'him on the barren mountains starved.
But shall it be, that you,-that set the crown
Upon the head of this forgetful man;
And, for his sake, wear the detested blot
Of murd'rous subordination,--shall it be,
That you a world of curses undergo;
Being the agents, or base second means,
The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather ?-
O, pardon me, that I descend so low,
To show the line, and the predicament,
Wherein you range under this subtle king.-
Shall it, for shame, be spoken in these days,
Or fill up chronicles in time to come,
That men of your nobility and power,
Did gage them both in an unjust behalf,—
As both of you, God pardon it! have done,-
To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose,
And plant this thorn, this canker,* Bolingbroke?
And shall it, in more shame, be further spoken,
That you are foolid, discarded, and shook off
By him, for whom these shames ye underwent ?
No; yet time serves, wherein you may redeem
Your banish'd honours, and restore yourselves
Into the good thoughts of the world again:
Revenge the jeering, and disdain'dt contempt,
Of this proud king; who studies, day and night,
To answer all the debt he owes to you,
Even with the bloody payment of your deaths.
Therefore, I say,
Wor. Peace, cousin, say no more:
And now I will unclasp a secret book,
And to your quick-conceiving discontents
I'll read you matter deep and dangerous;
As full of peril, and advent'rous spirit,
As to o'er-walk a current, roaring loud,
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.
Hot. If he fall in, good night :-or sink or swim
Send danger from the east unto the west,
So honour cross it from the north to south,
And let them grapple;-0! the blood moré stirs,
To rouse a lion, than to start a hare.
North. Imagination of some great exploit
Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.
Hot. By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon;
Or dive unto the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;
So he, that doth redeem her thence, might wear,
Without corrival, * all her dignities:
But out upon this half-faced fellowship !.
Wor. He apprehends a world of figurest here,
But not the form of what he should attend
Good cousin, give me audience for a while.
Hot. I cry you mercy.
Wor. Those same noble Scots,
That are your prisoners,
Hot. I'll keep them all;
By heaven he shall not have a Scot of them:
No, if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not •
I'll keep them, by this hand.
Wor. You start away,
And lend no ear unto my purposes.-
Those prisoners you shall keep.
Hot. Nay, I will : that's flat:-
He said, he would not ransom Mortimer;
Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla-Mortimer!
I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak
Nothing but Mortimer, and give it him,
To keep his anger still in motion.
Wor. Hear you,
Cousin ; a word.
Hot. All studies here I solemnly defy, $
Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke:
And that same sword-and-buckler il prince of Wales.