« PreviousContinue »
P. Hen. So please your majesty, I would, I could
Quit all offences with as clear excuse,
As well as, I am doubtless, I can purge
Myself of many I am charg'd withal :
Yet such extenuation let me beg,
As, in reproof of many tales devis’d,—
Which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear -
By smiling pick-thanks and base newsmongers,
I inay, for some things true, wherein my youth
Hath faulty wander'd and irregular,
Find pardon on my true submission.
K. Hen. God pardon thee !--yet let me wonder,
At thy affections, which do hold a wing
Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors.
Thy place in council thou hast rudely lost,
Which by thy younger brother is supplied ;
And art almost an alien to the hearts
Of all the court and princes of my blood :
The hope and expectation of thy time
Is ruin'd ; and the soul of every man
Prophetically does forethink thy fall.
Had I so lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackney'd in the eyes
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,
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 :
gave his countenance against his name, To laugh at gibing boys, and stand the push Of every beardless vain comparative : 8
loyal to possession ;] True to him that had then possession of the crown. JOHNSON.
Srash bavin wits,] Rash, is heady, thoughtless: bavin is brushwood, which, fired, burns fiercely, but is soon out.
carded his state ;] The metaphor seoms to be taken from mingling coarse wool with fine, and carding them together, whereby the value of the latter is diminished. The King means, that Richard mingled and carded together his royal state with capering fools, &c.
7 And gave his countenance, against his name,] i. e. favoured and encouraged things that were contrary to his dignity and reputation.
$ Of every beardless vain comparative :) Comparative means
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 eyes,
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 eye-lids 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.
And in that very line, Harry, stand'st thou :
For thou hast lost thy princely privilege,
With vile participation; not an eye
But is a-weary of thy common sight.
Save mine, which hath desir'd to see thee more;
Which now doth that I would not have it do,
Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.
P. Hen. I shall hereafter, my thrice-gracious
Be more myself.
K. Hen. For all the world, As thou art to this hour, was Richard then When I from France set foot at Ravenspurg ; And even as I was then, is Percy now. Now by my scepter, and my soul to boot, He hath more worthy interest to the state, here, one who affects wit, a dealer in comparisons : what Shak. speare calls, somewhere else, a similie-monger.
Than thou, the shadow of succession :
For, of no right, nor colour like to right,
He doth fill fields with harness in the realm:
Turns head against the lion's armed jaws;
And, being no more in debt to years than thou,
Leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on,
To bloody battles, and to bruising arms.
What never-dying honour hath he got
Against renowned Douglas; whose high deeds,
Whose hot incursions, and great name in arms,
Holds from all soldiers chief majority,
And military title capital,
Through all the kingdoms that acknowledge Christ?
Thrice hath this Hotspur Mars in swathing clothes,
This infant warrior in his enterprizes
Discomfited great Douglas : ta'en him once,
Enlarged him, and made a friend of him,
To fill the mouth of deep defiance up,
And shake the peace and safety of our throne.
And what say you to this? Percy, Northumberland,
The archbishop's grace of York, Douglas, Morti-
Capitulate' against us, and are up.
But wherefore do I tell these news to thee?
Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes,
Which art my near'st and dearest? enemy?
Thou that art like enough,-through vassal fear,
Base inclination, and the start of spleen,
To fight against me under Percy's pay,
To dog his heels, and court'sy at his frowns,
To show how much degenerate thou art.
P. Hen. Do not think so, you shall not find it so; And God forgive them, that have so much sway'd Your majesty's good thoughts away from me!
Capitulate - ] i. e. make head. So, to articulate, in a subsequent scene, is to form articles.
dearest - 1 Dearest is most fatal, most mischievous.
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
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,
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 parcel of this vow.
K. Hen. A hundred thousand rebels die in this :Thou shalt have charge, and sovereign trust, herein.
How now, good Blunt? thy looks are full of speed, Blunt. So hath the business that I come to speak