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SCENE I. The same. The Porter before the gate; Enter
Bardolph. WHO keeps the gate here, ho ?-Where is the earl ?
Port. What shall I say you are ?
Bard. Tell thou the earl,
That the lord Bardolph doth attend him here.
Port. His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard ;
Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,
And he himself will answer.
Bard. Here comes the earl.
North. What news, lord Bardolph ? every minute now
Should be the father of some stratagem :'
The times are wild ; contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, midly bath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.
Bard. Noble earl,
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury,
North. Good, an heaven will !
Bard. As good as heart can wish :-
The king is almost wounded to the death ;
And, in the fortune of my lord your son,
Prince Harry slain outright ; and both the Blunts
Killd by the hand of Douglas : young prince John,
And Westmoreland, and Stafford, fled the field;
And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk sir John,
Is prisoner to your son : 0, such a day,
So fought, so follow'd, and so fairly won,
Came not, till now, to dignify the times,
Since Cæsar's fortunes !
(1) Stratagem means here some important or dreadful event. MASON,
North. How is this deriv'd ?
Saw you the field ? came you from Shrewsbury?
Bar. I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence ;
A gentleman well bred, and of good name,
That freely render'd me these news for true.
North. Here comes my ser
Travers, whom I seat On Tuesday last to listen after news.
Bard. My lord, I over-rode him on the way ;
And he is furnish'd with no certainties,
More than he haply may retail from me.
North. Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you ?
Tra. My lord, sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better hors'd,
Outrode me. After him, came, spurring hard,
A gentleman almost forspent with speed,
That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse :
He ask'd the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand, what news from Shrewsbury.
He told me, that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold :
With that, he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward, struck his armed heels
Against the panting sides of bis poor jade
Up to the rowel-head ; and, starting so,
He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
North. Ha ! -Again.
Said he, young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur, coldspur ? that rebellion
Had met ill luck!
Bard. My lord, I'll tell you what ;-
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon mine honour, for a silken point
I'll give my barony: never talk of it.
North. Why should the gentleman, that rode by Travers, Give then such instances of loss?
Bard. Who, he ?
He was some hilding fellow, that had stol'n
The horse he rode on : and, upon my life,
(2) I think that I have observed in old prints the rowel of those times to have been
3) So in Job, xxxix. " He swalloweth Ibe ground in fierceness and rage."
4 A point is a string tagged, or lace. JOHNSON
Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.
North. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume ::
So looks the strond, whereon th' imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.-
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
Mort. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord ;
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask,
To fright our party.
North. How doth my son, and brother ?
Thou tremblest ; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so 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 burn'd:
But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'st it.
This thou wouldst say,-Your son did thus, and thus ;
Your brother, thus ; so fought the noble Douglas ;
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds :
But in the end, to stop mine ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh 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 hath!
He, that but fears the thing he would not know,
Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others' eyes,
That what he feared is chanced. Yet speak, Morton ;
Tell thou thy earl, his divination lies ;
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace,
And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
Mort. You are too great to be by me gainsaid :
Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.
North. Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
I see a strange confession in thine eye :
Thou shak'st thy head; and hold'st it fear, or sin,
To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so :
The tongue offends not, that reports his death :
(5) It may not be amiss to observe, that, in the time of our poet, the title-page to
un elegy, as well as every intermediate leaf, was totally black.
(6) Fear for danger.