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Nothing so much as mincing poetry;
'Tis like the forc'd gait of a shuffling nag.
PUNCTUALITY IN BARGAINS.
I'll give thrice so much land
To any well-deserving friend;
But, in the way of bargain, mark ye me,
I'll cavil on the ninth part of a hair.
A HUSBAND SUNG TO SLEEP BY HIS WIFE.
Upon the wanton rushes lay you down,
And rest your gentle head upon her lap,
And she will sing the song that pleaseth you,
And on your eyelids crown the god of sleep,
Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness:
Making such difference 'twixt wake and sleep,
As is the difference 'twixt day and night,
The hour before the heavenly-harness'd team
Begins his golden progress in the east.
KING HENRY'S PATHETIC ADDRESS TO HIS SON.
Had I so lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackney'd in the eyes of men,
So stale and cheap to vulgar company:
Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
Had still kept loyal to possession;*
And left me in reputeless banishment,
A fellow of no mark, nor likelihood.
By being seldom seen, I could not stir,
But, like a comet, I was wonder'd at:
That men would tell their children, This is he;
Others would say,—Where?—which is Bolingbroke?
And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
And dress'd myself in such humility,
That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts,
Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,
Even in the presence of the crowned king.
Thus did I keep my person fresh, and new;
My presence, like a robe pontifical,
*True to him that had then possession of the crown
Ne'er seen, but wonder'd at: and so my state,
Seldom, but sumptuous, showed like a feast;
And won, by rareness, such solemnity.
The skipping king, he ambled up and down
With shallow jesters, and rash bavin* wits,
Soon kindled, and soon burn'd: carded his state;
Mingled his royalty with capering fools;
Had his great name profaned with their scorns
And gave his countenance against his name,
To laugh at gibing boys, and stand the push
Of every beardless vain comparative:†
Grew a companion to the common streets,
Enfeoff'd himself to popularity:
That being daily swallow'd by men's eyes,
They surfeited with honey; and began
To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little
More than a little is by much too much.
So, when he had occasion to be seen,
He was but as the cuckoo is in June,
Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such cyes,
As, sick and blunted with community,
Afford no extraordinary gaze,
Such as is bent on sun-like majesty
When it shines seldom in admiring eyes:
But rather drowz'd, and hung their eyelids down,
Slept in his face, and render'd such aspect
As cloudy men use to their adversaries;
Being with his presence glutted, gorg'd and full.
PRINCE HENRY'S MODEST DEFENCE OF HIMSELF.
God forgive them, that have so much sway'd
Your majesty's good thoughts away from me!
I will redeem all this on Percy's head,
And, in the closing of some glorious day,
Be bold to tell you, that I am your son;
When I will wear a garment all of blood,
And stain my favours in a bloody mask,
Which, wash'd away, shall scour my shame with it.
And that shall be the day, whene'er it lights,
That this same child of honour and renown,
This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight,
*Brushwood. † Rival. + Possessing.
And your unthought-of Harry, chance to meet:
For every honour sitting on his helm,
"Would they were multitudes; and on my head
My shames redoubled! for the time will come
That I shall make this northern youth exchange
His glorious deeds for my indignities.
Percy is but my factor, good my lord,
To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf;
And I will call him to so strict account,
That he shall render every glory up.
Yea, even the slightest worship of his time,
Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart.
This, in the name of God, I promise here:
The which, if he be pleas'd I shall perform,
I do beseech your majesty, may salve
The long-grown wounds of my intemperance:
If not, the end of life cancels all bands;*
And I will die a hundred thousand deaths,
Ere break the smallest parcelt of this vow.
I saw young Harry, with his beaver on, His cuissest on his thighs, gallantly arm'd,Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury, And vaulted with such ease into his seat, As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds, To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch§ the world with noble horsemanship.
HOTSPUR'S IMPATIENCE FOR THE BATTLE.
Let them come;
They come like sacrifices in their trim,
And to the fire-ey'd maid of smoky war,
All hot, and bleeding, will we offer them
The mailed Mars shall on his altar sit,
Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire,
To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh,
And yet not ours:-Come, let me take my horse, + Armour.
§ Bewitch, charm.
Who is to bear me, like a thunderbolt,
Against the bosom of the prince of Wales:
Harry to Harry shall, bot horse to horse,
Meet, and ne'er part, till one drop down a corse,~ O, that Glendower were come!
PRINCE HENRY'S MODEST CHALLENGE.
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,
Το 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.
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 honour? 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 escutcheon,* and so ends my catechism.
*Painted heraldry in funerals.
LIFE DEMANDS ACTION.
O gentlemen, the time of life is 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.
PRINCE HENRY'S PATHETIC SPEECH ON THE
DEATH OF HOTSPur.
Brave Percy, fare thee well.
Ill wear'd ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
When that this body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
But now, two paces of the vilest earth
Is room enough:-This earth, that bears thee dead,
Bears not alive so stout a gentleman.
If thou wert sensible of courtesy,
I should not make so dear a show of zeal:
But let my favours* hide thy mangled face;
And even, in thy behalf, I'll thank myself
For doing thee these fair rites of tenderness.
Adieu, and take thy praise with thee to heaven!
Thy ignominy sleep with thee in the grave,
But not remember'd in thy epitaph!
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
* Scarf, with which he covers Percy's face.