Imatges de pÓgina

how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument ? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it: whom to disobey, were against all proportion of subjection.

K. Hen. So, if a son, that is by his father sent about merchandise, do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the imputation of his wickedness, by your rule, should be imposed upon his father that sent him: or if a servant, under his master's command, transporting a sum of money, be assailed by robbers, and die in many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the business of the master the author of the servant's damnation :—But this is not so: the king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of his servant; for they purpose not their death, when they purpose their services. Besides, there is no king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to the arbitrement of swords, can try it out with all unspotted soldiers. Some, peradventure, have on them the guilt of premeditated and contrived murder; some, of beguiling virgins with the broken seals of perjury; some, making the wars their bulwark, that have before ka gored the gentle bosom of peace with pillage and robbery. Now, if these men have defeated the law, and outrun native punishment*, though they can outstrip men, they have no wings to fly from God: war is his beadle, war is his vengeance; so that here men are punished, for before-breach of the king's laws, in now the king's quarrel: where they feared the death, they have borne life away; and where they would be safe, they perish: Then if they die unprovided, no more is the king guilty of their

*i. e. Punishment in their native country.

damnation, than he was before guilty of those impieties for the which they are now visited. Every subject's duty is the king's; but every subject's soul is his own. Therefore should every soldier in the wars do as every sick man in his bed, wash every mote out of his conscience: and, dying so, death is to him advantage; or, not dying, the time was blessedly lost, wherein such preparation was gained: and in him that escapes, it were not sin to think, that making God so free an offer, he let him outlive that day to see his greatness, and to teach others how they should prepare.

Will. 'Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill is

upon his own head, the king is not to answer

for it.


O hard condition! twin-born with greatness, Subjected to the breath of every fool, [ing! Whose sense no more can feel but his own wringWhat infinite heart's ease must kings neglect, That private men enjoy? And what have kings, that privates have not too, Save ceremony, save general ceremony? And what art thou, thou idol ceremony? What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more Of mortal griefs, than do thy worshippers ? What are thy rents? what are thy comings-in? 0

ceremony, show me but thy worth! What is the soul of adoration* ? Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form, Creating awe and fear in other men? Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd,

* What is the real worth and intrinsic value of adoration ?”

Than they in fearing.
What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!
Think'st thou, the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation?
Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
Canst thou,when thou command'st the beggar's knee,
Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;
I am a king, that find thee; and I know,
'Tis not the balm, the sceptre, and the ball

The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
The enter-tissued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced* title running 'fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp,
That beats upon the high shore of this world,
No, not all these, thrice gorgeous ceremony,
Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave;
Who, with a body fill'd, and vacant mind,
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread;
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell;
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set,
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus, and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day, after dawn,
Doth rise, and help Hyperiont to his horse; .
And follows so the ever-running year
With profitable labour, to his grave:
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil, and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand and 'vantage of a king.

* Farced is stuffed. The tumid puffy titles with which a king's name is introduced.

+ The sun.

[ocr errors]



Yon island carrions, desperate of their bones, Ill-favour'dly become the morning field: Their ragged curtains* poorly are let loose, And our air shakes them passing scornfully. Big Mars seems bankrupt in their beggar'd host, And faintly through a rusty beaver peeps. Their horsemen sit like fixed candlesticks, With torch-staves in their hand : and their poor jades Lob down their heads, dropping the hides and hips; The gum down-roping from their pale-dead eyes; And in their pale dull mouths the grimmalt bit Lies foul with chew'd grass, still and motionless ; And their executors, the knavish crows, Fly o'er them all, impatient for their hour. KING HENRY'S SPEECH BEFORE THE BATTLE OF

AGINCOURT. He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He, that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his friends, And say-to-morrow is Saint Crispian: Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say, these wounds I had on Crispian’s day. Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day: Then shall our names, Familiar in their mouths as household words, Harry the king, Bedford, and Exeter, * Colours.

+ Ring


Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloster,Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.


He smild me in the face, raught* me his hand, And, with a feeble gripe, says,—Dear my lord, Commend


service to my sovereign. So did he turn, and over Suffolk's neck He threw his wounded arm, and kiss'd his lips; And so, espous'd to death, with blood he seal'd A testament of noble-ending love. The pretty and sweet manner of it forc'd Those waters from me, which I would have stopp'd; But I had not so much of man in me, But all my mother came into mine eyes, And gave me up to tears.



Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart, Unpruned dies: her hedges even-pleach’d,— Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair, Put forth disorder'd twigs: her fallow leas The darnel, hemlock, and rank fumitory, Doth root upon; while that the coultert rusts, That should deracinate such savagery: The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth The freckled cowslip, burnet, and green clover, Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank, Conceives by idleness; and nothing teems, But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs, Losing both beauty and utility. * Reached.

+ Ploughshare. # To deracinate, is to force up the roots.

« AnteriorContinua »