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North. Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you?
Tra. My lord, sir John Umfrevile turned me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better horsed,
Outrode me. After him, came, spurring hard,
A gentleman almost forspent with speed,
That stopped by me to breathe his bloodied horse.
He asked the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand, what news from Shrewsbury.
He told me, that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold.
With that he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward, struck his armed heels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade
Up to the rowel-head; and, starting so,
He seemed in running to devour the way,
Staving no longer question.
Said he, young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur, coldspur? that rebellion
My lord, I'll tell you what;
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon mine honor, for a silken point:
I'll give my barony; never talk of it.
North. Why should the gentleman, that rode by Travers,
Give then such instances of loss?
He was some hilding fellow, that had stolen
The horse he rode où; and, upon my life,
Look, here comes more news.
North. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf, Foretells the nature of a tragic volume ;
2 A silken point is a tagged lace.
3 i. e. Hillerling, base, low fellow.
So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witnessed usurpation.'
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
Mor. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask,
To fright our party.
How doth my son, and brother? Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand. Even such a min, so fint, so spiritless, Sɔ dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone, Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night, And would have told him, half his Troy was burned; Bit Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue, And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'st it. This thou wouldst say,-Your son did thus, and thus, Your brother, thus; so fought the noble Douglas ; Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds: But in the end, to stop mine ear indeed, Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise, En ling with-brother, son, and all are dead. Mor. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet; But, for my lord your son,--
Why, he is dead. See, whit a ready tongue suspicion hath !
that but fears the thing he would not know,
Hith, by instinet, knowledge from others' eyes,
Tat what he feared is chanced. Yet speak, Morton;
Tell thou thy carl, his divination lies;
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace,
And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
Mor. You are too great to be by me gunsaid;
Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.
North. Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
I see a stringe confession in thine eye;
Taon shak'st thy head, and hold'st it fear or sin,
To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so.
The tongue offends not, that reports his death;
And he doth sin, that doth belie the dead;
Not he, which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office; and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,
Remembered knolling a departing friend.'
Bard. I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
Mor. I am sorry, I should force you to believe
That, which I would to Heaven I had not seen;
But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,
Rendering faint quittance, wearied and out-breathed,
To Harry Monmouth; whose swift wrath beat down
The never-daunted Percy to the earth,
From whence with life he never more sprung up.
In few, his death, (whose spirit lent a fire
Even to the dullest peasant in his camp,)
Being bruited once, took fire and heat away
From the best-tempered courage in his troops;
For from his metal was his party steeled;
Which once in him abated, all the rest
Turned on themselves, like dull and heavy lead.
And as the thing that's heavy in itself,
Upon enforcement, flies with greatest speed,
So did our men, heavy in Hotspur's loss,
Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear,
That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim,
Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,
Fly from the field. Then was that noble Worcester
Too soon ta'en prisoner; and that furious Scot,
The bloody Douglas, whose well-laboring sword
Had three times slain the appearance of the king,
'Gan vail his stomach, and did grace the shame
Of those that turned their backs; and, in his flight,
Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
Is, that the king hath won; and hath sent out
A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
1 The bell anciently was rung before the dying person had expired, and
thence was called the passing bell.
2 To vail is to lower, to cast down.
Under the conduct of young Lancaster,
And Westmoreland: this is the news at full.
North. For this I shall have time enough to mourn. In poison there is physic; and these news, Having been well, that would have made me sick, Being sick, have in some measure made me well; And as the wretch, whose fever-weakened joints, Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life, Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms; even so my limbs,
Weakened with grief, being now enraged with grief,'
Are thrice themselves: hence, therefore, thou nice
A scaly gauntlet now, with joints of steel,
Must glove this hand: and hence, thou sickly quoif;
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head,
Which princes, fleshed with conquest, aim to hit.
Now bind my brows with iron; and approach
The ragged'st hour that time and spite dare bring,
To frown upon the enraged Northumberland!
Let heaven kiss earth! Now let not nature's hand
Keep the wild flood confined! 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!
Tra. This strained passion doth you wrong, my lord.3
Bard. Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honor.
Mor. The lives of all your loving complices Lean on your health; the which, if you give o'er
1 Grief, in the latter part of this line, is used, in its present sense, for sorrow; in the former part for bodily pain.
2 Shakspeare, like his contemporaries, uses nice in the sense of effeminate, delicate, tender.
3 This line in the quarto, is, by mistake, given to Umfreville, who is spoken of in this very scene as absent. It is given to Travers at Steevens's suggestion.
To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
You cast the event of war, my noble lord,'
And summed the account of chance, before you said,—
Let us make head. It was your presurmise,
That in the dole of blows your son might drop.
You knew, he walked o'er perils, on an edge,
More likely to fall in, than to get o'er;
You were advised, his flesh was capable
Of wounds, and scars; and that his forward spirit
Would lift him where most trade of danger ranged;
Yet did you say,-Go forth; and none of this,
Though strongly apprehended, could restrain
The stiff-borne action. What hath then befallen,
Or what hath this bold enterprise brought forth,
More than that being which was like to be?
Bard. We all, that are engaged to this loss,
Knew that we ventured on such dangerous seas,
That, if we wrought out life, 'twas ten to one;
And yet we ventured, for the gain proposed
Choked the respect of likely peril feared;
And, since we are o'erset, venture again.
Come, we will all put forth; body, and goods.
Mor. 'Tis more than time; and, my most noble lord,
I hear for certain, and do speak the truth,-
The gentle archbishop of York is up,2
With well-appointed powers; he is a man,
Who with a double surety binds his followers.
My lord, your son had only but the corps,
But shadows, and the shows of men, to fight:
For that same word, rebellion, did divide
The action of their bodies from their souls;
And they did fight with queasiness, constrained,
As men drink potions; that their weapons only
Seemed on our side, but, for their spirits and souls,
This word, rebellion, it had froze them up,
As fish are in a pond. But now the bishop
Turns insurrection to religion;
1 The fourteen following lines, and a number of others in this play were not in the quarto edition.
2 This and the following twenty lines are not found in the quarto.