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STUDIES have, of this nature, been of late,
So out of fashion, so unfollowed, that
It is become more justice, to revive
The antic follies of the times, than strive
To countenance wise industry: no want
Of art doth render wit, or lame, or scant,
Or slothful, in the purchase of fresh bays;
But want of truth in them, who give the praise
To their self-love, presuming to out-do
The writer, or (for need) the actors too.
But such the author's silence best befits,
Who bids them be in love with their own wits.
From him, to clearer judgments, we can say
He shows a History, couch'd in a play:
A history of noble mention, known,
Famous, and true; most noble, 'cause our own:
Not forged from Italy, from France, from Spain,
But chronicled at home; as rich in strain
Of brave attempts, as ever fertile rage,
In action, could beget to grace the stage.
We cannot limit scenes, for the whole land
Itself appear'd too narrow to withstand
Competitors for kingdoms : nor is here
Unnecessary mirth forced, to endear
A multitude: on these two rests the fate
Of worthy expectation, Truth and State.
Sir WILLIAM STANLEY, Lord Chamberlain.
Earl of Oxford.
Earl of SURREY.
Fox, Bishop of Durham.
URSWICK, Chaplain to the King.
Sir ROBERT CLIFFORD.
Hialas, a Spanish Agent.
James IV. King of Scotland.
Earl of HuntLEY.
Earl of CRAWFORD.
MARCH MONT, a Herald.
Stephen Frion, his Secretary.
John A-WATER, Mayor of Cork.
HERON, a Mercer.
SKETON, a Tailor.
Astley, a Scrivener.
Lady KATHERINE Gordon.
Countess of CRAWFORD.
Jane Douglas, Lady KATHERINE's Attendant.
Sheriff, Constables, Officers, Guards, Serving-men,
Masquers, and Soldiers.
Scene,--Partly in England, partly in Scotland.
Westminster. The Royal Presence-Chamber. Enter King Henry, supported to the Throne by the
Bishop of DURHAM and Sir William STANLEY. Earl of OXFORD, Earl of SURREY, and Lord DAWBENEY.- A Guard.
K. Hen. Still to be haunted, still to be pursued,
Still to be frighted with false apparitions
Of pageant majesty, and new-coin'd greatness,
As if we were a mockery king in state,
Only ordain’d to lavish sweat and blood,
In scorn and laughter, to the ghosts of York,
Is all below our merits;' yet, my lords,
My friends and counsellors, yet we sit fast
In our own royal birth-right: the rent face
And bleeding wounds of England's slaughter'd
Have been by us, as by the best physician,