« ForrigeFortsett »
Rain blows upon me, drag me to and fro
On the base earth, like carrion. – Desperation,
In every fiber of my frame, cried Vengeance !
I left the room which he had quitted. Chance
(Curse on the chance !), while boiling with my wrongs,
Thrust me against him, darkling, in the street.
I stabbed him to the heart; and my oppressor
Rolled lifeless at my foot! (Crosses to R.)
Wil. (L.) O, mercy on me!
How could this deed be covered?
Sir E. Would you think it? E'en at the moment when I
Butchered a fellow-creature in the dark,
I had all good men's love. – But my disgrace,
And my opponent's death thus linked with it,
Demanded notice of the magistracy.
They summoned me, as friend would summon friend,
To acts of import and communication.
We met; and 'twas resolved, to stifle rumor,
To put me on my trial. No accuser,
No evidence appeared, to urge it on;
'Twas meant to clear my fame. How clear it, then ?
How cover it? you say. — Why, by a lie,
Guilt's offspring and its guard! I taught this breast,
Which truth once made her throne, to forge a lie,
This tongue to utter it; rounded a tale,
Smooth as a seraph's song from Satan's mouth;
So well compacted, that the o'er-thronged court
Disturbed cool justice in her judgment-seat,
By shouting “ Innocence !” ere I had finished.
The court enlarged me; and the giddy rabble
Bore me in triumph home. — Ay, look upon me!
I know thy sight aches at me.
Wil. Heaven forgive you!
It may be wrong: indeed, I pity you.
Sir E. I disdain all pity.
I ask no consolation! Idle boy!
Thinkst thou that this compulsive confidence
Was given to move thy pity? Love of fame
(For still I cling to it) has urged me thus
To quash the curious mischief in its birth ;
Hurt honor, in an eyil, cursëd hour,
Drove me to murder, — lying ; — 't would again!
My honesty — sweet peace of mind — all, ali
SIR EDWARD MORTIMER AND WILFORD.
Are bartered for a name. – I will maintain it !
Should slander whisper o'er my sepulcher,
And my soul's agency survive in death,
I could embody it with heaven's lightning,
And the hot shaft of my insulted spirit
Should strike the blaster of my memory
Dead in the church-yard! Boy, I would not kill thee :
Thy rashness and discernment threatened danger;
To check them, there was no way left but this,
Save one — your death. You shall not be my victim.
Wil. My death! — What! take
life - my life, to prop This empty honor !
Sir E. Empty!- Groveling fool! (Crosses to L.)
Wil. (R.) I am your servant, sir, child of your bounty,
And know my obligation. - I have been
Too curious haply. — 'Tis the fault of youth ;
I ne'er meant injury. - If it would serve you,
I would lay down my life — I'd give it freely.
Could you, then, have the heart to rob me of it?
You could not should not.
Sir E. How!
Wil. You dare not.
Sir E. Dare not!
Wil. Some hours ago you durst not. Passion moved you;
Reflection interposed, and held your arm.
But, should reflection prompt you to attempt it,
My innocence would give me strength to struggle,
And wrest the murderous weapon from your hand.
How would you look to find a peasant boy
Return the knife you leveled at his heart,
And ask you which in heaven would show the best,
A rich man's honor, or a poor man's honesty ?
Sir E. 'T is plain I dare not take your
life. To spare it, I have endangered mine.
But dread my power :
You know not its extent. Be warned in time;
Trifle not with my feelings. — Listen, sir :
Myriads of engines, which my secret working
Can rouse to action, now encircle you.
Your ruin hangs upon a thread; provoke me,
And it shall fall upon you. Dare to make
The slightest movement to awake my fears,
And the gaunt criminal, naked and stake-tied,
Left on the heath to blister in the sun,
Till lingering death shall end his agony,
Compared to thee, shall seem more enviable
Than cherubs to the cursed!
Wul. O, misery!
Discard me, sir; I must be hateful to you.
Banish me hence: I will be mute as death;
But let me quit your service.
Sir E. Never! Fool!
To buy this secret, you have sold yourself,
Your movements, eyes, and most of all your breath,
From this time forth, are fettered to my will.
VIII. - HOTSPUR.
Enter KING HENRY, L., followed by HOTSPUR,
K. Henry. Why, yet you do deny your prisoners,
Unless at our own charge we ransom straight
Your brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer!
No; on the barren mountains let him starve !
For I shall never hold that man my friend,
Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost
To ransom home revolted Mortimer.
Hotspur. Revolted Mortimer!
He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war.
Then let him not be slandered with revolt.
K. Hen. Thou dost belie him, Percy, thou dost belie him.
Art thou not ashamed? But, sirrah, henceforth
Let me not hear you speak of Mortimer.
Send me your prisoners with the speediest means,
shall hear in such a kind from me As will displease you.
(Exit KING HENRY, R.) Hot. (R.) 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.
Enter WORCESTER, L.
Worcester. What! drunk with choler ?
Hot. Speak of Mortimer?
Zounds, I will speak of him; and let my soul
Want mercy, if I do not join with him!
In his behalf, I'll empty all these veins,
And shed my dear blood drop by drop in the dust,
But I will lift the down-trod Mortimer
As high in the air as this unthankful king -
As this ingrate and cankered Bolingbroke! (Crosses L.)
Wor. (R.) Who struck this heat up?
Hot. He will, forsooth, have all my prisoners;
And when I urged the ransom once again
Of my wife's brother, then his cheek looked pale ;
And on my face he turned an cye of death,
Trembling even at the name of Mortimer. (Crosses R.)
Therefore, I say
Wor. (L.) 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 adventurous 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 Honor cross it from the north to south,
And let them grapple:-0! the blood more stirs
To rouse a lion, than to start a hare.
Wor. (Aside.) Imagination of some great ex-ploit
Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.
Hot. Good heaven! methinks it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright Honor from the pale-faced moon;
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned Honor 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. (Aside.) He apprehends a world of figures here,
But not the form of what he should attend.
(Aloud.) 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; (Crosses and recrosses.)
He shall not have a Scot of them - not one :
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 iat:
He said he would not ransom Mortimer ;
Forbăde my tongue to speak of Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla — Mortimer! (Crosses and recrosses.)
Nay, 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 Prince of Wales, —
But that I think his father loves him not,
And would be glad he met with some mischance,
I'd have him poisoned with a pot of ale.
Wor. Farewell, kinsman! I will talk to you,
When you are better tempered to attend.
Why, what a wasp-tongued and impatient fool
Art thou, to break into this woman's mood,
Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own!
Hot. Why, look you, I am whipped and scourged with rods,
Nettled, and stung with pismires, when I hear
Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke!
In Richard's time — What do you call the place ? -
A plague upon 't! it is in Gloucestershire;-
'T was where the madcap duke his uncle kept –
His uncle York; — where I first bowed my knee
Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke,
'Sblood! when you and he came back from Ravenspurg.
Wor. At Berkley Castle.
Hot. You say true.
Why, what a candy deal of courtesy
This fawning greyhound then did proffer me!
Look, — " when his infant fortune came to age,”
And, -" gentle Harry Percy,"— and," kind cousin ! ”
0, out upon such cozeners ! — Heaven forgive me!
Good uncle, tell your tale, for I have done.
Wor. Nay, if you have not, to 't again;
I'll stay your leisure.
Hot. I have done, in sooth.
Wor. Then once more to your Scottish prisoners.
When time is ripe, which will be suddenly,
I'll steal to Glendower and Lord Mortimer,