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And who but Rumour, who but only I,
Make fearful musters, and prepar'd defence;
Whilst the big year, swoln 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.
Contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.
After him, came, spurring hard,
A gentleman almost forespent 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.
MESSENGER WITH ILL NEWS.
This man's brow, like to a title-leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strand, whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.t-
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,
An attestation of its ravage.
So dull, so dead in look, so wo-begone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd.
I 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 does 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 departing friend.
GREATER GRIEFS DESTROY THE LESS.
As the wretch, whose fever-weaken'd joints, Like strengthless hinges buckle under life, Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms; even so my limbs, Weaken'd with grief, being now enrag'd with grief, Are thrice themselves: hence therefore, thou nice* crutch;
A scaly gauntlet now, with joints of steel,
Must glove this hand: and hence, thou sickly quoif,f
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head,
Which princes, flesh'd with conquest, aim to hit
Now bind my brows with iron; and approach
The ragged'st hour that time and spite dare bring,
To frown upon the enrag'd Northumberland!
Let heaven kiss earth! Now let not nature's hand
Keep the wild flood confin'd! let order die!
And let this world no longer be a stage,
To feed contention in a lingering act;
But let one spirit of the first-born Cain
Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set
On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
And darkness be the burier of the dead.
THE FICKLENESS OF THE VULGAR.
An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he, that buildeth on the vulgar heart. + Car.
O thou fond many!* with what loud applause
Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke,
Before he was what thou would'st have him be?
And being now trimm'd† in thine own desires,
Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him,
That thou provok'st thyself to cast him up.
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber.
Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sounds of sweetest melody.
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile,
In loathsome beds; and leav'st the kingly couch,
A watch-case, or a common 'laurum bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deaf'ning clamours in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy, in an hour so rude;
And, in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances, and means to boot,
Deny it to a king?
THE CHARACTER OF KING HENRY V. BY HIS FATHER.
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 faults, and do it reverently,
When you perceive his blood inclined to mirth:
But, being moody, give him line and scope;
Till that his passions, like a whale on ground,
Confound themselves with working.
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 richy That have abundance, and enjoy it not.
REFLECTIONS ON A CROWN.
O polish'd perturbation! golden care! That keep'st the ports† of slumber open wide To many a watchful night!-sleep with it now! Yet not so sound, and half so deeply sweet, As he, whose brow, with homely biggin bound, Snores out the watch of night. O majesty! When thou dost pinch thy bearer, thou dost sit Like a rich armour worn in heat of day, That scalds with safety.
REFLECTIONS ON GOLD.
How quickly nature falls into revolt,
When gold becomes her object!
For this the foolish over-careful fathers
*Has an attention shown him.
Have broke their sleep with thoughts, their brains
Their bones with industry;
For this they have engrossed and piled up
The canker'd heaps of strange-achieved gold;
For this they have been thoughtful to invest
Their sons with arts, and martial exercises:
When, like the bee, tolling* from every flower
The virtuous sweets;
Our thighs pack'd with wax, our mouths with honey,
We bring it to the hive; and, like the bees,
Are murder'd for our pains.
SCENE BETWEEN PRINCE HENRY AND HIS FATHER.
Come hither to me, Harry:
Depart the chamber, leave us here alone.
P. Hen. I never thought to hear you speak again. K. Hen. Thy wish was farther, Harry, to that thought:
I stay too long by thee, I weary thee.
Dost thou so hunger for my empty chair,
That thou wilt needs invest thee with mine honours
Before thy hour be ripe? O foolish youth!
Thou seek'st the greatness that will overwhelm thee.
Stay but a little; for my cloud of dignity
Is held from falling with so weak a wind,
That it will quickly drop: my day is dim.
Thou hast stol'n that, which, after some few hours,
Were thine without offence; and, at my death,
Thou hast seal'd up my expectation:†
Thy life did manifest, thou lov'dst me not,
And thou wilt have me die assured of it.
Thou hid'st a thousand daggers in'thy thoughts:
Which thou hast whetted on thy stony heart,
To stab at half an hour of my life.
What! canst thou not forbear me half an hour?
thee gone; and dig my grave thyself;
And bid the merry beils ring to thine ear,
That thou art crowned, not that I am dead.
Let all the tears that should bedew my hearse,