« PreviousContinue »
THE SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY IV.
An Open Place, before Nor'THUMBERLAND'S
Enter NorthUMBERLAND, meeting MOWBRAY..
Northumberland. ! W HAT news, Lord Mowbray? Every minute
Should be the father of fome stratagem.
The times are wild: Contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly has þroke loose,
And bears down all before him.,
Mow. Noble Earl,
I fear bad news ; for ev'n now, spurring hard,
A Messenger, almost forspent with speed,
Who stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse,
Inform’d me that Rebellion was undone
In a decisive fight at Shrewsbury.
Adding--which Heav'n avert!--that Harry Percy,
Your valiant son, was falln!-this said, he gave -
His panting horse the head, and starting from me,
He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
North. My brave Percy !
Said he that Harry Percy was no more?
Then I am wretched, and my country's fall’n !
Mow. Yet hope, my Lord, for better tidings! see, Furnish'd with certainties, here Morton comes !
Enter MORTON. North. Ah! this man's brow,ev'n like a title-page, Foretells the nature of a tragic volume. Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
Mort. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble Lord, Where hateful death put on his ugliest malk, To fright our party. .
North. How's my son,-my brother? Thou tremblest, and the whiteness of thy cheek Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand. Ev'n such a man, fo faint, so spiritless, So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone, Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night, And would have told him half his Troy was burnt; But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue ; And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'st it. This wouldft thou say: Your fon did thus, and thus ;
Your brother thus ; fo fought the noble Douglas ;
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds:
But in the end, to stop my ear indeed,
Thou hast a figh, to blow away this praise,
Ending with-brother, son, and all are dead.
Mort. Douglas is living, and your brother yet : But, for my Lord, your son
North. Why, he is dead! See, what a ready tongue suspicion has! . He, that but fears the thing he would not know, Has knowledge, by instine, from others' eyes, That what he fear'd is chanc'd. Yet, Morton, speak. Mort. Your spirit is too true: your fears too
certain. Mow. Yet, for all this, fay not that Percy's dead.
North. I see a strange confession in thy eye; Thou shak'st thy head, and holdst it fear or fin To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so! The tongue offends not, that reports his death.
Mort. Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news Has but a hateful office; and his tongue Sounds ever after as a sullen bell, Remember'd knolling a departing friend. -Ah, would to Heav'n I had not seen the day! I saw the firy wrath of Harry Monmouth Beat the undaunted Percy to the earth, . B a
From whence with life he never more sprung up.
Your valiant son,--whose spirit lent a fire
Ev'n to the dullest peasant in his camp,
Once laid in death, the edge of war was blunted
In the best temper'd courage of his troops.
Not swifter flies the arrow to its aim,
Than did our soldiers, to secure their safety,
Fly from the field. 'Twas then that noble Worcester
Was made a pris’ner, and that furious Scot,
The bloody Douglas, 'gan to grace the shame
Of fugitives, and in his flight was taken.
Following his victory, the King has sent
A speedy pow'r, t'encounter you, my Lord,
Under the conduct of young Lancaster,
And Westmoreland. Such is the fatal tale !
• North. For this I shall have time enough to mourn.
In poison there is physic; and these news,
Have rous'd my drooping soul to desp’rate deeds.
And as the wretch, whose fever-weaken'd joints,
Like Atrengthless hinges, buckle under life,
Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms; ev'n so my limbs,
Weaken’d with grief, but now enrag'd with grief,
Feel a new fury, and are thrice themselves !
Now come the fiercest hour that fate dares bring,
To frown on the enrag'd Northumberland!
Let heav'n kifs 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 fied contention in a ling’ring act;
But let one spirit of the first-born Cain !
Reign in all bofoms, that, each heart being set
On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
And darkness be the burier of the dead !
Mow. This o'erstrain’d paffion does you wrong,
Sweet Earl, divorce not wisdom from your honor !
Mort. The lives of all your loving complices
Depend upon your health ; which, if you give
To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
You cast th' events of doubtful war, and summ'd
Th’account of chance, before you took up arms.
You knew, amidst the blows, your son might fall.
You knew he walk'd o'er perils, on an edge
More likely to fall in, thạn to pass safely.
You knew his forward spirit would engage him
Where danger threaten'd in its fiercest form.----
The death of Percy makes his cause more dear.
Mow. The Archbishop of York, the noble Scroop,
Supports our cause with well-appointed pow'rs.
Suppos’d sincere and holy in his thoughts,
He's follow'd both with body and with mind.
He feeds the insurre&tion with the blood
Of fair King Richard, scrap'd from Pomfret stones;
Derives frorn heav'n his quarrel and his cause;