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Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
I speak of peace, while covert enmity
Under the smile of safety wounds ihe world:

10
And who but Rumour, who but only I,
Make fearful musters and prepared defence,
Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief,
Is thought with child by the stern Tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted leads,
The stiil-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus

20 My well-known body to anatomize Among my household? Why is Rumour here? I run before King Harry's victory; Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops, Quenching the tlame of bold rebellion Even with the rebel's blood. But what mean I To speak so true at first? my office is To noise abroad that Ilarry Monmouth fell Under the wrath of noble IIotspur's sword,

30 And that the king before the Douglas' rage Stoop'il his anointed head as low as death. This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns Between that royal field of Shrewsbury And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone, Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland, Lies crafty-sick: the posts come tiring on, And not a man of them brings other news Than they have learn’d of me: from Rumour's tongues They bring smooth comforts false, worse than truo wrongs.

[Erit. 40

ACT I.

SCENE I. The same.

Enter LORD BARDOLPH. L. Bard. Who keeps the gate here, ho? The Porter opens the gate.

Where is the earl? Port. What shall I say you are? L. Bard.

Tell thou the carl That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.

Port. His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard:
Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,
And he himself will answer.

Enter NORTHUMBERLAND.
L. Bard.

Here comes the car).

[Exit Porter, North. What news, Lord Bardolph? every minute now Should be the father of some stratagem: The times are wild; contention, like a horse Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose

10 And bears down all before him. L. Bard.

Noble earl,
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.

North. Good, an God will!
L. Bard.

As good as heart can wish:
The king is almost wounded to the death;
And, in the fortune of my lord your son,
Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts
Kill'd by the hand of Douglas; young Prince John
And Westmoreland and Stafford fled the field;
And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk Sir John,
Is prisoner to your son: O, such a day,

20 So fought, so follow'd and so fairly won, Came not till now to dignify the times, Since Cæsar's fortunes! North.

How is this derived ? Saw you the field ? came you from Shrewsbury? L. Bard. I spake with one, my lord, that came from

thence, A gentleman well bred and of good name, That freely render'd me these news for true.

North. Here comes my servant Travers, whom I sent On Tuesday last to listen after news.

Enter TRAVERS. L. Bard. My lord, I over-rode bim on the way; 30 And he is furnish'd with no certainties More than he haply may retail from me.

North. Now, Travers, what good tidings comes with you?

Tra. My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better horsed,
Out-rode me. After him came spurring hard
A gentleman, almost forespent with speed,
That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse.
He ask'd the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand what news from Shrewsbury:

40 208

KING HENRY IV.

[ACT 1.

50

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He told me that rebellion had bad luck
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold.
With that, he gave bis able horse the bead,
And bending forward struck his armed licels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade.
Up to the rowel-bead, and starting so
He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
Forth.

Ha! Again:
Said he young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur Coldspur? that rebellion
Had met ill-luck?

L. Bard. My lord, I'll tell you what;
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon inine honour, for a silken point
I'll give my barony: never talk of it.

North. Why should that gentleman that rode by Travers
Give then such instances of loss?
L. Bard.

Who, he?
He was some hilding fellow that bad stolen
The horse he rode on, and, upon my life,
Spoke at a venture. Lock, bere comes more news.

Enter MORTON.
North. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strand whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Slirewsbury?

Mor. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
Where hateful death put on liis ugliest mask
To fright our party.
North.

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 man, so faint, so spiritless,
So 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 burnt;
But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy's death cre 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 car with their bold deeds:
But in the end, to stop my car indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with Brother, son, and all are dead.”

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CO

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Mor. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet;
But, for my lord your son,-
North.

Why, he is dead.
See what a ready tongue suspiciou hath!
He that but fears the thing he would not know
Hath by instinet knowledge from others' eyes
That what he fear'd is chanc'd. Yet speak, Morton;
Tell thou an carl his divination lies,
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace
And make thce rich for doing me such wrong.

Mor. You are too great to be by me gainsaid:
Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.

North. Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
I sce a strange confession in ihine eye:
Thou shakest thy head and hold'st it fear or sin
To speak a trutli. 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,
Remember'd tolling a departing friend.

L. Bard. I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.

Mor. I am sorry I should fire you to believe
That which I would to God 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-temper'd courage in his troops;
For from his metal was his party steel'd;
Which once in him abated, all the rest
Turn'd on themselves, like dull and lieavy lead:
And as the thing that's heavy in itselt,
L'pon enforcement flies with greatest speed,
So did our men, beavy 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-labouring sword

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Had three times slain the appearance of the king,
'Gan vail his stomach and did grace the shame
Of those that turn'd their backs, and in his flight, 130
Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
Is that the king bath won, and hath sent out
A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
Under the conduct of young Lancaster
And Westmoreland. This is the news at ful.

North. For this I shall bave 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-weaken'd joints, 140
Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,
Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms, even so my limbs,
Weaken'd with grief, being now enraged with grief,
Are thrice themselves. Hence, therefore, thou nice crutch!
A scaly gauntlet now with joints of steel
Must glove this hand: and lience, thou sickly quoif!
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
Which princes, fleshi'd with conquest, aim to hit.
Now bind my brows with iron; and approach

150 The ragged’st hour that time and spite dare bring To frown upon the enraged Northurnberland! Let hieaven kiss earth! now let not Nature's hand Keep the wild flood contined! 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!

160 Tra. This strained passion doth you wrong, my lord. L. Bard. Sweet carl, divorce not wisdom from your

honour.
Mor. The lives of all your loving complices
Lean on your health; the which, if you give o'er
To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
You cast the event of war, my noble lord,
And summ'd 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 walk'd o'er perils, on an edge,

170 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

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