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Misuse the tenor of thy kinsman's trust? Three knights upon our party slain to day, A noble earl, and many a creature else, Had been alive this hour,
If, like a Christian, thou hadst truly borne Betwixt our armies true intelligence.
P. Hen. Then, brother John of Lancaster, to
This honourable bounty shall belong:
Go to the Douglas, and deliver him
Up to his pleasure, ransomless, and free:
His valour shown upon our crests to-day,
Wor. What I have done, my safety urg'd me to; Hath taught us how to cherish such high deeds,
And I embrace this fortune patiently,
Since not to be avoided it falls on me.
K. Hen. Bear Worcester to the death, and Vernon too:
Other offenders we will pause upon.
[Exeunt Worcester and Vernon, guarded. How goes the field?
P. Hen. The noble Scot, lord Douglas, when
Even in the bosom of our adversaries.
K. Hen. Then this remains,-that we divide our power.
You, son John, and my cousin Westmoreland, Towards York shall bend you, with your dearest speed,
To meet Northumberland, and the prelate Scroop,
Who, as we hear, are busily in arms:
Myself,-and you, son Harry,-will towards Wales,
To fight with Glendower, and the earl of March.
Rebellion in this land shall lose his sway,
Meeting the check of such another day:
And since this business so fair is done,
Let us not leave till all our own be won.
Warkworth. Before Northumberland's castle. Enter Rumour, painted full of tongues.
Rum. Open your ears; For which of you will stop
The vent of hearing, when loud Rumour speaks?
I, from the orient to the drooping west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride;
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
I speak of peace, while covert enmity,
Under the smile of safety, wounds the world:
And who but Rumour, who but only I,
Make fearful musters, and prepar'd defence;
Whilst the big year, swoll'n 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 heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
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 flame 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 Harry Monmouth fell
Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword;
And that the king before the Douglas' rage
Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death.
(1) Northumberland's castle.
Mouldy, Shadow, Wart, Feeble, and Bullcalf, re
Fang and Snare, sheriff's officers.
Rumour. A Porter.
A Dancer, speaker of the Epilogue.
Lady Northumberland. Lady Percy.
Hostess Quickly. Doll Tear-sheet.
Lords and other attendants; officers, soldiers, mes-
senger, drawers, beadles, grooms, &c.
This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns
Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,1
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
They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true [Exit.
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,
So fought, so follow'd, and so fairly won,
Came not, till now, to dignify the times,
Since Cæsar's fortunes!
How is this deriv'd?
Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury?
Bard. I spake with one, my lord, that came from
A gentleman well bred, and of good name,
That freely render'd me these news for true.
North. Here comes my servant, Travers, whom
On Tuesday last to listen after news.
Bard. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;
And he is furnish'd with no certainties,
More than he haply may retain from me.
North. Now, Travers, what good tidings come
Tra. My lord, sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better hors'd,
Out-rode me. After him, came, spurring hard,
A gentleman almost forspent 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.
He told me, that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold:
With that, he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward, struck his armed heels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade
Up to the rowel-head; and, starting so,
He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
Said he, young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur, coldspur? that rebellion
My lord, I'll tell you what
Upon mine honour, for a silken point2
If my young lord your son has not the day,
I'll give my barony: never talk of it.
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd:
But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'st it.
This thou wouldst say,-Your son did thus, and
Your brother, thus; so fought the noble Douglas;
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds;
But in the end, to stop mine ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with-brother, son, and all, are dead.
Mor. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet:
But, for my lord your son,--
Why, he is dead.
See, what a ready tongue suspicion hath!
He, that but fears the thing he would not know,
Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others' eyes,
That what he fear'd is chanced. Yet speak, Morton;
Tell thou thy earl, his divination lies;
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace,
And make thee 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.
see a strange confession in thine eye:
Thou shak'st thy head, and hold'st it fear, or sin,
To speak a truth. 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 knolling a departed friend.
Bard. I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
Mor. I am sorry, I should force you to believe
That, which I would to heaven I had not seen:
But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,
Rend'ring faint quittance, wearied and outbreath'd,
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
North. Why should the gentleman, that rode by Turn'd on themselves, like dull and heavy lead.
Give then such instances of loss?
He was some hilding' fellow, that had stol'n
The horse he rode on; and, upon my life,
Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.
North. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.4-
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
Mor. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
Where hateful death put on his 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 wo-begone,
(1) Exhausted. (2) Lace tagged.
(3) Hilderling, base, cowardly.
(4) An attestation of its ravage.
And as the thing that's heavy in itself,
Upon enforcement, flies with greatest speed;
So did our men, heavy in Hotspur's loss,
Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear,
That arrows filed 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
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,
Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
Is,-that the king hath 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 in full.
North. For this I shall have 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,