Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Grew by our feeding to so great a bulk,
That even our love durst not come near your sight,
For fear of swallowing; but with nimble wing
We were enforc'd, for safety sake, to fly
Out of your sight, and raise this present head
Whereby we stand opposed by such means
As you yourself have forg'd against yourself;
By unkind usage, dangerous countenance,
And violation of all faith and troth
Sworn to us in your younger enterprise.
K. Hen. These things, indeed, you have articulated,
Proclaim'd at market-crosses, read in churches,
To face the garment of rebellion
With some fine colour, that may please the eye
Offickle changelings and poor discontents,
Which gape, and rub the elbow, at the news
Of hurlyburly innovation:
And never yet did insurrection want
Such water-colours to impaint his cause ;
Nor moody beggars, starving for a time
Of pellmell havoc and confusion.
P. Hen. In both our armies there is many a soul
Shall pay full dearly for this encounter,
If once they join in trial. Tell your nephew,
The prince of Wales doth join with all the world
In praise of Henry Percy: By my hopes,
This present enterprise set off his head,
I do not think a braver gentleman,
More active-valiant, or more valiant-young,
More daring, or more bold, is now alive,
To grace this latter age with noble deeds.
For my part, I may speak it to my shame,
I have a truant been to chivalry;
And so, I hear, he doth account me too:
Yet this before my father's majesty,+
I am content that he shall take the odds
Of his great name and estimation ;
And will, to save the blood on either side,
Try fortune with him in a single fight.
K. Hen. And, prince of Wales, so dare we venture thee,
Albeit considerations infinite
Do make against it:—No, good Worcester, no,
We love our people well; even those we love
That are misled upon your cousin's part :
And, will they take the offer of our grace,
Both he, and they, and you, yea, every man,
Shall be my friend again, and I'll be his :
So tell your cousin, and bring me word
What he will do:-Bnt if he will not yield,
Rebuke and dread correction wait on us,
And they shall do their office. So, be gone;
We will not now be troubled with reply:
We offer fair, take it advisedly. [Eveunt Worcester and Vernon.
P. Hen. It will not be accepted, on my life:
The Douglas and the Hotspur both together
Are confident against the world in arms.

K. Hen. Hence, therefore, every leader to his charge;
For on their answer will we set on them :
And God befriend us, as our cause is just

125.--THE DEATH OF HENRY IV. SHAksPERE.

[The circumstances which preceded the death of Henry IV., including the story of the prince removing the crown, are thus detailed by Holinshed:—

“In this fourteenth and last year of King Henry's reign, a council was holden in the White Friars in London, at the which, among other things, order was taken for ships and galleys to be builded and made ready, and all other things necessary to be provided, for a voyage which he meant to make into the Holy Land, there to recover the city of Jerusalem from the infidels. The morrow after Candlemas-day, began a Parliament which he had called at London; but he departed this life before the same Parliament was ended: for now that his provisions were ready, and that he was furnished with all things necessary for such a royal journey as he pretended to take into the Holy Land, he was estsoones taken with a sore sickness, which was not a leprosy (saith Master Hall), as foolish friars imagined, but a very apoplexy. During this, his last sickness, he caused his crown (as some write) to be set on a pillow at his bed's-head, and suddenly his pangs so sore troubled him, that he lay as though all his vital spirits had been from him departed. Such as were about him, thinking verily that he had been departed, covered his face with a linen cloth. The prince his son being hereof advertised, entered into the chamber, took away the crown, and departed. The father being suddenly revived out of that trance, quickly perceived the lack of his crown, and having knowledge that the prince his son had taken it away, caused him to come before his presence, requiring of him what he meant so to misuse himself: the prince with a good audacity answered, Sir, to mine, and all men's judgments, you seemed dead in this world; wherefore I, as your next heir apparent, took that as mine own, and not as yours. Well fair son, said the king (with a great sigh), what right I had to it, God knoweth. Well, quoth the prince, if you die king, I will have the garland, and trust to keep it with the sword against all mine enemies, as you have done. Then, said the king, I commit all to God, and remember you to do well; and with that turned himself in his bed, and shortly after departed to God, in a chamber of the Abbots of Westminster called Jerusalem. We find, that he was taken with his last sickness, while he was making his prayers at Saint Edward's shrine, there as it were to take his leave, and so to proceed forth on his journey: he was so suddenly and grievously taken, that such as were about him feared lest he would have died presently; wherefore, to relieve him, if it were possible, they bare him into a chamber that was next at hand belonging to the Abbot of Westminster, where they laid him on a pallet before the fire, and used all remedies to revive him : at length he recovered his speech and understanding, and perceiving himself in a strange place which he knew not, he willed to know if the cham. ber had any particular name, whereunto answer was made, that it was called Jerusalem. Then said the king, laudes be given to the Father of Heaven, for now I know that I shall die here in this chamber, according to the prophesy of me declared, that I should depart this

life in Jerusalem."]

Scene—Westminster—King Henry, Clarence, Prince Humphrey, Warwick, and others.

K. Hen. Now, lords, if Heaven doth give successful end
To this debate that bleedeth at our doors,
We will our youth lead on to higher fields,
And draw no swords but what are sanctified.
Our navy is address'd, our power collected,
Our substitutes in absence well invested,

And everything lies level to our wish : Only we want a little personal strength; And pause us, till these rebels, now afoot, Come underneath the yoke of government. War. Both which we doubt not but your majesty Shall soon enjoy. K. Hen. Humphrey, my son of Gloster, where is the prince your brother? P. Humph. I think he's gone to hunt, my lord, at Windsor. K. Hen. And how accompanied ? P. Hump. I do not know, my lord. A. Hen. Is not his brother, Thomas of Clarence, with him P. Humph. No, my good lord; he is in presence here. Cla. What would my lord and father ? A. Hen. Nothing but well to thee, Thomas of Clarence. How chance thou art not with the prince thy brother ? . He loves thee, and thou dost neglect him, Thomas; Thou hast a better place in his affection Than all thy brothers: cherish it, my boy; And noble offices thou mayst effect Of mediation, after I am dead, Between his greatness and thy other brethren : Therefore omit him not ; blunt not his love Nor loose the good advantage of his grace, By seeming cold, or careless of his will. For he is gracious, if he be observ'd ; He hath a tear for pity, and a hand Open as day for melting charity: Yet notwithstanding, being incens'd, he 's flint; As humorous as winter, and as sudden As flaws congealed in the spring of day. His temper, therefore, must be well observ'd: Chide him for his faults, and do it reverently, When you perceive his blood inclin'd to mirth: But, being moody, give him line and scope; Till that his passions, like a whale on ground, Confound themselves with working. Learn this, Thomas, And thou shalt prove a shelter to thy friends; A hoop of gold, so bind thy brothers in ; That the united vessel of their blood, Mingled with venom of suggestion, (As, force perforce, the age will pour it in.) Shall never leak, though it do work as strong As aconitum, or rash gunpowder. Cla. I shall observe him with all care and love. K. Hen. Why art thou not at Windsor with him, Thomas? Cla. He is not there to-day; he dines in London. K. Hen. And how accompanied ? canst thou tell that ? Cla. With Poins, and other his continual followers. K. Hen. Most subject is the fattest soil to weeds; And he the noble image of my youth, Is overspread with them : therefore my grief

Stretches itself beyond the hour of death;
The blood weeps from my heart, when I do shape,
In forms imaginary, the unguided days,
And rotten times, that you shall look upon
When I am sleeping with my ancestors.
For when his headstrong riot hath no curb,
When rage and hot blood are his counsellors,
When means and lavish manners meet together,
O, with what wings shall his affections fly
Towards fronting peril and oppos'd decay !
War. My gracious lord, you look beyond nim quite;
The prince but studies his companions,
Like a strange tongue: wherein, to gain the language,
"T is needful that the most immodest word
Be look'd upon and learn'd; which once attain'd,
Your highness knows comes to no further use,
But to be known and hated. So, like gross terms,
The prince will, in the perfectness of time,
Cast off his followers: and their memory
Shall as a pattern or a measure live,
By which his grace must mete the lives of others;
Turning past evils to advantages.
R. Hen. 'Tis seldom when the bee doth leave her comb
In the dead carrion.—Who's here? Westmoreland 7

Enter Westmoreland.

West. Health to my sovereign and new happiness
Aided to that that I am to deliver !
Prince John, your son, doth kiss your grace's hand:
Mowbray, the bishop Scroop, Hastings, and all,
Are brought to the correction of your law;
There is not now a rebel's sword unsheath'd,
But peace puts forth her olive everywhere.
The manner how this action hath been borne
Here at more leisure may your highness read;
With every course, in his particular.

K. Hen. O Westmoreland, thou art a summer bird,
Which ever in the haunch of winter sings
The lifting up of day. Look 1 here's more news.

Enter Harcourt.

Har. From enemies Heaven keep your majesty;
And, when they stand against you, may they fall
As those that I am come to tell you of .
The earl Northumberland, and the lord Bardolph,
With a great power of English and of Scots,
Are by the sheriff of Yorkshire overthrown:
The manner and true order of the fight,
This packet, please it you, contains at large.

K. Hen. And wherefore should these good news make me sick 1
Will Fortune never come with both hands full,
But write her fair words still in foulest letters ?

She either gives a stomach, and no food,
Such are the poor, in health ; or else a feast,
And takes away the stomach, –such are the rich,
That have abundance, and enjoy it not.
I should rejoice now at this happy news;
And now my sight fails, and my brain is giddy:-
O me ! come near me, now I am much ill. [Swoons.
P. Hum. Comfort, your majesty .
Cla. O my royal father
West. My sovereign lord, cheer up yourself, look up !
War. Be patient, princes: you do know, these fits
Are with his highness very ordinary.
Stand from him, give him air; he’ll straight be well.
Cla. No, no ; he cannot long hold out these pangs;
The incessant care and labour of his mind
Hath wrought the mure, that should confine it in,
So thin, that life looks through, and will break out.
P. Humph. The people fear me; for they do observe
Unfather'd heirs, and loathly births of nature:
The seasons change their manners, as the year
Had found some months asleep, and leap'd them over.
Cla. The river hath thrice flow'd, no ebb between :
And the old folk, time's doting chronicles,
Say it did so, a little time before
That our great-grandsire, Edward, sick'd and died.
War. Speak lower, princes, for the king recovers.
P. Humph. This apoplexy will, certain, be his end.
K. Hen. I pray you, take me up, and bear me hence
Into some other chamber: softly, pray.
[They convey the King into an inner part of the
room, and place him on a bed.

Let there be no noise made, my gentle friends;

Unless some dull and favourable hand

Will whisper music to my weary spirit.
War. Call for the music in the other room.
K. Hen. Set me the crown upon my pillow here.
Cla. His eye is hollow, and he changes much.
War. Less noise, less noise.

Enter Prince Henry.

P. Hen. Who saw the duke of Clarence

Cla. I am here, brother, full of heaviness.

P. Hen. How now ! rain within doors, and none abroad: How doth the king

P. Humph. Exceeding ill.

P. Hen. Heard he the good news yet? Tell it him.

P. Humph. He alter'd much upon the hearing it.

P. Hen. If he be sick with joy, he will recover without physic.

War. Not so much noise, my lords;–sweet prince, speak low; The king your father is dispos'd to sleep.

« ForrigeFortsett »