Page images


Sung by a fair queen in a summer's bower,
With ravishing division, to her lute.
Glend. Nay, if you melt, then will she run mad.

[LADY M. speaks again. Mort. O, I am ignorance itself in this. Glend. She bids you on the wanton rushes lay you

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 betwixt day and night,
The hour before the heavenly-harnessed team
Begins his golden progress in the east.

Mort. With all my heart I'll sit and hear her sing ; By that time will our book," I think, be drawn.

Glend. Do so;
And those musicians that shall play to you,
Hang in the air a thousand leagues from hence;
And straight they shall be here. Sit, and attend. .

Hot. Come, Kate, thou art perfect in lying down. Come, quick, quick; that I may lay my head in thy lap. Lady P. Go, ye giddy goose. [GLENDOWER speaks some Welsh words, and

then the music plays. Hot. Now I perceive the devil understands Welsh; And 'tis no marvel, he's so humorous. By’r lady, he's a good musician.

Lady P. Then should you be nothing but musical ; for you are altogether governed by humors. Lie still

, ye thief, and hear the lady sing in Welsh.


1 Divisions, which were then uncommon in vocal music, are variations of melody upon some given fundamental harmony.

2 It has been already remarked, that it was long the custom in this country to strew the floors with rushes, as we now cover them with carpets.

3 It was usual to call any manuscript of bulk a book in ancient times. such as patents, grants, articles, covenants.

Hot. I had rather hear Lady, my brach, howl in Irish.

Lady P. Wouldst thou have thy head broken?
Hot. No.
Lady P. Then be still.
Hot. Neither ; 'tis a woman's fault.”
Lady P. Now God help thee!
Hot. To the Welsh lady's bed.
Lady P. What's that?
Hot. Peace! she sings.

(Å Welsh song sung by Lady M. Hot. Come, Kate, I'll have your song too. Lady P. Not mine, in good sooth.

Hot. Not yours, in good sooth! 'Heart, you swear like a comfit-maker's wife! Not you, in good sooth ; and, As true as I live; and, As God shall mend me; and, As sure as day: And giv'st such sarcenet surety for thy oaths, As if thou never walk’st farther than Finsbury.3 Swear me, Kate, like a lady, as thou art, A good mouth-filling oath ; and leave in sooth, And such protest of pepper-gingerbread, To velvet guards, and Sunday-citizens. Come, sing.

Lady P. I will not sing.

Hot. 'Tis the next way to turn tailor, or be redbreast teacher. An the indentures be drawn, I'll away within these two hours ; and so come in when

[Exit. Glend. Come, come, lord Mortimer; you are as

slow, As hot lord Percy is on fire to go.

ye will.

1 Hound.
2 That this is spoken ironically is obvious.

3 Finsbury, being then open walks and fields, was the common resort of the citizens.

4. Velvet guards or trimmings of velvet, being the city fashion, the term was used metaphorically.

5 The meaning is, “ to sing is to put yourself upon a level with tailors and teachers of birds."



By this our book's drawn; we'll but seal, and then
To horse immediately.

With all my heart. [Exeunt.

SCENE II. London. A Room in the Palace.

Enter KING HENRY, Prince of Wales, and Lords.
K. Hen. Lords, give us leave; the prince of Wales

and I Must have some private conference. But be near at

hand, For we shall presently have need of you.

[Exeunt Lords. I know not whether God will have it so, For some displeasing service? I have done, That in his secret doom, out of my blood He'll breed revengement and a scourge for me ; But thou dost, in thy passages of life, Make me believe, that thou art only marked For the hot vengeance and the rod of Heaven, To punish my mistreadings. Tell me else, Could such inordinate and low desires, Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such mean attempts, Such þarren pleasures, rude society, As thou art matched withal, and grafted to, Accompany the greatness of thy blood, And hold their level with thy princely heart ?

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 charged withal. Yet such extenuation let me beg,


1 Service, for action.
2 Unworthy undertakings.

3 The construction of this passage is somewhat obscure. Johnson thus explains it:>“ Let me beg so much extenuation, that upon confutation of many false charges, I may be pardoned some which are true.Reproof means disproof.

As, in reproof of many tales devised --
Which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear,—
By smiling pickthanks and base newsmongers,
I may, for some things true, wherein my youth
Hath faulty wandered 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 ruined ; and the soul of every man
Prophetically does forethink thy fall.
Had I so lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackneyed 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 wondered at;
That men would tell their children,-This is he;
Others would say,-Where? which is Boling broke?
And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
And dressed 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.


1 This appears to be an anachronism. The prince's removal from council, in consequence of his striking the lord chief justice Gascoigne, was some years after the battle of Shrewsbury (1403). His brother the duke of Clarence was appointed president in his room, and he was not created a duke till 1411.

2 True to him that had then possession of the crown.

3 i. e. “I exhibited an affability rarely found, among men,” won, as it were, from heaven.

Thus did I keep my person fresh, and new;
My presence, like a robe pontifical,
Ne'er seen, but wondered 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 burned ; carded his state;
Mingled his royalty with carping 3 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 ; 4
Grew a companion to the common streets,
Enfeoffed himself to popularity ;
That being daily swallowed 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 sunlike majesty,
When it shines seldom in admiring eyes;
But rather drowsed, and hung their eyelids down,
Slept in his face, and rendered such aspect
As cloudy men use to their adversaries;
Being with his presence glutted, gorged, and full.
And in that very line, Harry, standest thou;
For thou hast lost thy princely privilege,
With vile participation; not an eye
But is a-weary of thy common sight,

1 Bavins are brushwood, or small fagots used for lighting fires. 2 To card is to mix, or debase by mixing.

3 The quarto, 1598, reads capring. The quarto, 1599, and subsequent old copies, read carping. “A carping momus,” and “ a carping fool,” were very common expressions in that age. 4 i. e. every beardless, vain young

fellow who affected wit, or was a dealer in comparisons.

« PreviousContinue »