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York. Thou fond, mad woman,
He shall be none;
Hadst thou groaned for him,
[Exit. Duch. After, Aumerle; mount thee upon his horse; Spur, post; and get before him to the king, And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee. I'll not be long behind; though I be old, I doubt not but to ride as fast as York ; And never will I rise up from the ground, Till Bolingbroke have pardoned thee. Away; Begone.
SCENE III. Windsor. A Room in the Castle.
Enter BOLINGBROKE as king ; Percy, and other Lords.
Boling. Can no man tell of my unthrifty son ?
For there, they say, he daily doth frequent,
Boling. And what said the gallant ?
Percy. His answer was,--he would unto the stews,
Enter AUMERLE, hastily. Aum.
Where is the king ? Boling. What means Our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly? Aum. God save your grace. I do beseech your
majesty, To have some conference with your grace alone. Boling. Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.
[Exeunt Percy and Lords. What is the matter with our cousin now? Aum. Forever may my knees grow to the earth,
[Kneels. My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth, Unless a pardon, ere I rise, or speak.
1 This is a very proper introduction to the future character of king Henry V., to his debaucheries in his youth, and his greatness in his manhood, as the Poet has described them. But it has been ably contended by Mr. Luders that the whole story of his dissipation was a fiction. At this period (i. e. 1400) he was but twelve years old, being born in 1388.
2 The folio reads sparks.
Boling. Intended, or committed, was this fault?
Aum. Then give me leave that I may turn the key, That no man enter till my tale be done.
Boling. Have thy desire. [Aum. locks the door.
York. [Within.] My liege, beware ; look to thyself; Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.
Boling. Villain, I'll make thee safe. [Drawing
Aum. Stay thy revengeful hand; Thou hast no cause to fear. York. [Within.] Open the door, secure, fool-hardy
king Shall I, for love, speak treason to thy face? Open the door, or I will break it open.
[BOLINGBROKE opens the door.
Boling. What is the matter, uncle ? speak; Recover breath ; tell us how near is danger, That we may arm us to encounter it.
York. Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know The treason that my haste forbids me show.
Aum. Remember, as thou read'st, thy promise past. I do repent me; read not my name there; My heart is not confederate with my hand.
York. 'Twas, villain, ere thy hand did set it down. I tore it from the traitor's bosom, king. Fear, and not love, begets his penitence; Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.
Boling. O, heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy! 0, loyal father of a treacherous son! Thou sheer,2 immaculate, and silver fountain, From whence this stream through muddy passages, Hath held his current, and defiled himself!
1 The old copies read “If on," &c. Pope made the alteration.
Thy overflow of good converts to bad;
York. So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd ;
sake, let me in. Boling. What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this
eager cry? Duch. A woman, and thine aunt, great king; 'tis I. Speak with me, pity me, open the door; A beggar begs, that never begged before.
Boling. Our scene is altered from a serious thing, And now changed to The Beggar and the King.My dangerous cousin, let your mother in; I know she's come to pray for your foul sin.
York. If thou do pardon, whosoever pray, More sins, for his forgiveness, prosper may. This festered joint cut off, the rest rests sound; This let alone, will all the rest confound.
Duch. O king, believe not this hard-hearted man; Love, loving not itself, none other can. York. Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make ?
here? Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear ? Duch. Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege.
1 It is probable that the old ballad of “King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid” is here alluded to. The reader will find it in the first volume of Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry. There may have been a popular interlude on the subject.
2 i. e. “ what dost thou do here?”
Boling. Rise up, good aunt.
Not yet, I thee beseech
[Kneels. York. Against them both, my true joints bended be
[Kneels. Ill mayst thou thrive, if thou grant any grace!
Duch. Pleads he in earnest ? look upon his face
Boling. Good aunt, stand up.
Nay, do not say-stand up;
moy. Duch. Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy ? Ay, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord, That sett’st the word itself against the word !
1 Thus the folio. The quarto copies read walk. 2 This line is not in the folio. 3 i. e. excuse me—a phrase used when any thing is civilly declined.