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Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,
And foul imaginary eyes of blood
Presented thee more hideous than thou art.
Oh, answer not; but to my closet bring
The angry lords, with all expedient haste :
I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.
THE FALLEN KING RICHARD.
Duke and Duchess of York.
Duch. My lord, you told me you would tell the rest, When weeping made you break the story off Of our two cousins coming into London. York. Where did I leave?
Duch. At that sad stop, my lord,
Where rude misgovern'd hands, from window-tops,
Threw dust and rubbish on king Richard's head.
York. Then, as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke! Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,
Which his aspiring rider seem'd to know-
With slow, but stately pace, kept on his course,
While all tongues cry'd—God save thee, Bolingbroke!
You would have thought, the very windows spake,
So many greedy looks of young and old
Through casements darted their desiring eye
Upon his visage; and that all the walls,
With painted imagery,* had said at once-
Jesu preserve thee! welcome, Bolingbroke!
Whilst he, from one side to the other turning,
Bare-headed, lower than his proud steed's neck,
Bespoke them thus-I thank you, countrymen :
And thus still doing, thus he past along.
Duch. Alas, poor Richard! where rides he the while? York. As, in a theatre, the eyes of men, After a well-grac'd actor leaves the stage, Are idly bent on him that enters next, Thinking his prattle to be tedious:
Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes
Did scowl on Richard; no man cry'd, God save him!
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home:
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head;
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off-
His face still combating with tears and smiles,
The badges of his grief and patience-
That had not God, for some strong purpose steel'd
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,
And barbarism itself have pitied him.
*Tapestry hung from the windows.
NIGHT BEFORE THE BATTLE OF AGINCOURT.
FROM camp to camp, through the foul womb of night,
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fix'd sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch.
Fire answers fire; and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other's umber'd face:
Stee reatens steed, in high and boastful neighs,
Piercing the night's dull ear; and from the tents,
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation.
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll;
And the third hour of drowsy morning nam'd.
Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
The confident and over-lusty French
Do the low-rated English play at dice;
And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night,
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
So tediously away. The poor condemned English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently, and inly ruminate
The morning's danger; and their gesture sad,
Investing lank-lean cheeks, and war-worn coats,
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts. O, now, who will behold
The royal captain of this ruin'd band,
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
Let him cry, Praise and glory on his head!
For forth he goes, and visits all his host;
Bids them good-morrow, with a modest smile;
And calls them, brothers, friends, and countrymen,
Upon his royal face there is no note
How dread an army hath enrounded him ;
Nor doth he dedicate one jot of color
Unto the weary and all-watched night;
But freshly looks, and overbears attaint,
With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty ;
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks.
A largess universal, like the sun,
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear.
SOLILOQUY OF KING HENRY VI. ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE.
THIS battle fares like to the morning's war,
When dying clouds contend with growing light:
What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,
Can neither call it perfect day, nor night.
Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea,
Forc'd by the tide to combat with the wind;
Now sways it that way, like the self-same sea,
Forc'd to retire, by fury of the wind:
Sometime, the flood prevails; and then, the wind;
Now, one the better; then, another best;
Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,
Yet neither conqueror, nor conquered.
So is the equal poise of the fell war.
Here on this mole-hill, will I sit me down.
To whom God will, there be the victory!
For Margaret, my queen, and Clifford too,
Have chid me from the battle; swearing both,
They prosper best of all when I am thence.
'Would I were dead! if God's good will were so:
For what is in this world, but grief and woe?
O God! methinks, it were a happy life,
To be no better than a homely swain;
sit upon a hill, as
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run:
How many make the hour full complete,
How many hours bring about the day,
How many days will finish up the year,
How many years a mortal man may live.
When this is known, then to divide the times:
So many hours must I tend my flock;
So many hours must I take my rest;
So many hours must 1 contemplate;
So many hours must I sport myself;
So many days my ewes have been with young;
So many weeks ere the poor fools will yean;
So many years ere I shall sheer the fleece:
So minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years,
Past over to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Ah, what a life were this! how sweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings, that fear their subjects treachery?
O, yes, it doth; a thousand fold it doth.
And to conclude, the shepherds homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle,
His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,
All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
Is far beyond a prince's delicates,
His viands sparkling in a golden cup,
His body couched in a curious bed,
When care, mistrust, and treason wait on him.
THE DREAM OF CLARENCE.
A room in the Tower. Enter CLARENCE and BRAKENBURY.
Brak. Why looks your grace so heavily to day?
Clar. O, I have past a miserable night,
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
That as I am a christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night,
Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days;
So full of dismal terror was the time.
Brak. What was your dream, my lord? I pray you tell me.
Clar. Methought, that I had broken from the Tower,
And was embark'd to cross to Burgundy;
And, in my company, my brother Glos'ter:
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches; thence we look'd toward England,
And cited up a thousand heavy times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster
That had befall'n us. As we pac'd along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
Methought, that Glos'ter stumbled; and, in falling,
Struck me, that thought to stay him, over-board
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
O Lord! methought, what pain it was to drown!
What dreadful noise of water in mine ears!
What sights of ugly death, within mine eyes!
Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;
A thousand men, that fishes gnaw'd upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea.
Some lay in dead men's sculls; and, in those holes,
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept
(As 'twere in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems,
That woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mock'd the dead bones that lay scattered by.
Brak. Had you such leisure in the time of death,
Το gaze upon these secrets of the deep?
Clar. Methought, I had; and often did I strive
To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood
Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth
To seek the empty vast, and wand'ring air ;
But smother'd it within my panting bulk,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.
Brak. Awak'd you not with this sore agony?
Clar. O, no, my dream was lengthened after life;
O, then began the tempest to my soul!
1 pass'd, methought, the melancholy flood,
With that grim ferryman which poets write of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
The first that there did greet my stranger soul,
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick;
Who cry'd aloud, What scourge for perjury
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?
And so he vanish'd: Then came wand'ring by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood; and he shriek'd out aloud,
Clarence is come-false, fleeting, perjured Clarence-
That stabb'd me in the field by Tewksbury:
Seize on him, furies, take him to your torments !
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends
Environ'd me, and howled in mine ears
Such hideous cries, that, with the
I trembling wak'd, and, for a season after,
Could not believe but that I was in hell:
Such terrible impression made my dream.
Brak. No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you;
I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.
Clar. O, Brakenbury, I have done these things,—
That now give evidence against my soul,
For Edward's sake, and, see, how he requites me!
O, God! if my deep prayers cannot appease thee,
But thou wilt be aveng'd on my misdeeds,
Yet execute thy wrath on me alone :
O, spare my guiltless wife, and my poor
-I pray thee, gentle keeper, stay by me;
My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.
Brak. I will, my lord; God give your grace good rest!
[CLARENCE reposes himself on a chair.
Sorrow breaks seasons, and reposing hours,
Makes the night morning, and the noon-tide night.
WOLSEY AFTER HIS FALL
FROM THE FAVOUR OF HENRY VIII.
Wol. Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man; to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honors thick upon him :
The third day, comes a frost, a killing frost;
And,-when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening,-nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur'd,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory;
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me.