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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
Of fickle 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: but if he will not yield,
Rebuke and dread correction wait on us,
Ånd they shall do their office. So, be gone;
We will not now be troubled with reply:
We offer fair; take it advisedly. [Exeunt WoR. and VER.
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 !
[Exeunt KING, BLUNT, and P. JOHN. Fal. Hal, if thou see me down in the battle, and bestride me, so; 'tis a point of friendship.
P. Hen. Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship. Say thy prayers, and farewell.
Hal. I would it were bed-time, Hal, and all well.
P. Hen. Why, thou owest God a death.
[Exit. Fal. 'Tis not due yet; I would be loth to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, 'tis no matter; honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? how then? Can honour set-to a leg? no: or an arm? no: or take
away the grief of a wound? no. ' Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? no. What is honoúr? a word. What is in that word, honour? What is that honour? air. A trim reckoning !-Who hath it? he that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? no. Doth he hear it? no. Is it insensible, then? yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? no. Why? detraction will not suffer it:—therefore I'll none of it: honour is a mere scutcheon : and so ends my catechism.
SCENE II.—The Rebel Camp.
Enter WORCESTER and VERNON.
Wor. 0, no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,
The liberal kind offer of the king.
Ver. Twere best he did.
Then are we all undone.
It is not possible, it cannot be,
The king should keep his word in loving us;
He will suspect us still, and find a time
To punish this offence in other faults:
Suspicion shall be all stuck full of eyes:
For treason is but trusted like the fox,
Who, ne'er so tame, so cherish’d, and lock'd up,
Will have a wild trick of his ancestors.
Look how we can, or sad or merrily,
Interpretation will misquote our looks;
And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,
The better cherish'd still the nearer death.
My nephew's trespass may be well forgot,
It hath the excuse of youth and heat of blood,
And an adopted name of privilege, -
A hare-brain'd Hotspur, govern'd by a spleen:
All his offences live upon my head
And on his father's: we did train him on;
And, his corruption being ta’en from us,
We, as the spring of all, shall pay for all.
Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know,
In any case the offer of the king.
Ver. Deliver what you will, I'll say 'tis so.
Here comes your cousin.
Enter HOTSPUR and DOUGLAS; Officers and Soldiers
Hot. My uncle is return'd:-deliver up
My Lord of Westmoreland.—Uncle, what news?
Wor. The king will bid you battle presently.
Doug. Defy him by the Lord of Westmoreland.
Hot. Lord Douglas, go you and tell him so.
Doug. Marry, and shall, and very willingly. [Exit.
Wor. There is no seeming mercy in the king.
Hot. Did you beg any? God forbid !
Wor. I told him gently of our grievances,
Of his oath-breaking; which he mended thus,-
By now forswearing that he is forsworn :
He calls us rebels, traitors; and will scourge
With haughty arms this hateful name in us.
Doug. Arm, gentlemen; to arms! for I have thrown
A brave defiance in King Henry's teeth,
And Westmoreland, that was engag'd, did bear it;
Wor. The Prince of Wales stepp'd forth before the
king, Which cannot choose but bring him quickly on. And, nephew, challeng'd you to single fight.
Hot. (), would the quarrel lay upon our heads;
And that no man might draw short breath to-day
But I and Harry Monmouth! Tell me, tell me,
How show'd his tasking? seem'd it in contempt?
Ver. No, by my soul: I never in my life
Did hear a challenge urg'd more modestly,
Unless a brother should a brother dare
To gentle exercise and proof of arms.
He gave you all the duties of a man;
Trimm'd up your praises with a princely tongue;
Spoke your deservings like a chronicle;
Making you ever better than his praise,
By still dispraising praise valu'd with you:
And, which became him like a prince indeed,
He made a blushing cital of himself;
And chid his truant youth with such a grace,
As if he master'd there a double spirit,
Of teaching and of learning instantly.
There did he pause: but let me tell the world, -
If he outlive the envy of this day,
England did never owe so sweet a hope,
So much misconstru'd in his wantonness.
Hot. Cousin, I think thou art enamoured
Upon his follies : never did I hear
any prince so wild o' liberty.
But be he as he will, yet once ere night
I will embrace him with a soldier's arm,
That he shall shrink under my courtesy:-
Arm, arm with speed :-and, fellows, soldiers, friends,
Better consider what you have to do
Than I, that have not well the gift of tongue,
Can lift your blood up with persuasion.
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My lord, here are letters for you.
Hot. I cannot read them now.-
O gentlemen, the time of life is very short !
To spend that shortness basely were too long,
If life did ride upon a dial's point,
Still ending at the arrival of an hour.
An if we live, we live to tread on kings;
If die, brave death, when princes die with us!
Now, for our consciences,—the arms are fair,
When the intent of bearing them is just.
Enter another Messenger.
Mess. My lord, prepare; the king comes on apace.
Hot. I thank him that he cuts me from my tale,
For I profess not talking; only this, -
Let each man do his best: and here draw I
A sword, whose temper I intend to stain
With the best blood that I can meet withal
In the adventure of this perilous day.
Now,-Esperance !—Percy!--and set on. --
Sound all the lofty instruments of war,
And by that music let us all embrace:
For, heaven to earth, some of us never shall
A second time do such a courtesy.
[The trumpets sound. They embrace, and exeunt.
SCENE III.-Plain near Shrewsbury. Excursions, and parties fighting. Alarum to the battle.
Then enter DOUGLAS and BLUNT, meeting.
Blunt. What is thy name, nat the battle thus
Thou crossest me? What honour dost thou seek
Upon my head?
Doug. Know, then, my name is Douglas ;
And I do haunt thee in the battle thus
Because some tell me that thou art a king.
Blunt. They tell thee true.
Doug. The Lord of Stafford dear to-day hath bought
Thy likeness; for, instead of thee, King Harry,
The sword hath ended him: so shall it thee,
Unless thou yield thee as my prisoner.
Blunt. I was not born a yielder, thou proud Scot;
And thou shalt find a king that will revenge
Lord Stafford's death. [They fight, and BLUNT is slain.
Enter HOTSPUR. Hot. O Douglas, hadst thou fought at Holmedon thus, I never had triumph'd upon a Scot.
Doug. All's done, all's won; here breathless lies the Hot. Where?
[king. Doug. Here.
Hot. This, Douglas? no; I know this face full well: A gallant knight he was, his name was Blunt; Semblably furnish'd like the king himself.
Doug. A fool go with thy soul, whither it goes !