« VorigeDoorgaan »
MOWB. Thus do the hopes we have in him touch ground, And dash themselves to pieces.
Enter a Messenger.
Now, what news?
MESS. West of this forest, scarcely off a mile,
In goodly form comes on the enemy:
And, by the ground they hide, I judge their number
Upon, or near, the rate of thirty thousand.
MOWB. The just proportion that we gave them out.
Let us sway on, and face them in the field.
ARCH. What well-appointed leader fronts us here?
MOWB. I think, it is my lord of Westmoreland.
WEST. Health and fair greeting from our general,
The prince, lord John and duke of Lancaster.
ARCH. Say on, my lord of Westmoreland, in peace;
What doth concern your coming ?
Then, my lord,
Unto your grace do I in chief address
The substance of my speech. If that rebellion
Came like itself, in base and abject routs,
Led on by bloody youth, guarded with rags, a
And countenanc'd by boys, and beggary;
I say, if damn'd commotion so appear'd, *
In his true, native, and most proper shape,
You, reverend father, and these noble lords,
Had not been here, to dress the ugly form
Of base and bloody insurrection
With your fair honours. You, lord archbishop,
Whose see is by a civil peace maintain'd;
Whose beard the silver hand of peace hath touch'd ;
Whose learning and good letters peace hath tutord;
Whose white investments figure innocence,
The dove and very blessed spirit of peace,
Wherefore do you so ill translate yourself,
Out of the speech of peace, that bears such grace,
Into the harsh and boist'rous tongue of war?
Turning your books to greaves,b your ink to blood,
Your pens to lances; and your tongue divine
To a loud trumpet, and a point of war ?c
(*) old text, appear. a Guarded with ragg,–] The old text has “guarded with rage;" the emendation is due to Mr. Collier's MS. annotator.
b Turning your books to greaves,–] Greaves are leather, or other armour for the legs. The old copies have graves, which was only a more ancient mode of spelling the word.
c A point of war?] Mr. Collier's annotator, in strange ignorance of a most familiar expression, reads:
“A loud trumpet and report of war;"'
ARCH. Wherefore do I this?—so the question stands.
Briefly, to this end :- We are all diseas'd; a
And, with our surfeiting, and wanton hours,
Have brought ourselves into a burning fever,
And we must bleed for it: of which disease
Our late king, Richard, being infected, died.
But, my most noble lord of Westmoreland,
I take not on me here as a physician;
Nor do I, as an enemy to peace,
Troop in the throngs of military men :
But, rather, show awhile like fearful war,
To diet rank minds, sick of happiness;
And purge the obstructions, which begin to stop
Our very veins of life. Hear me more plainly;
I have in equal balance justly weigh'd
What wrongs our arms may do, what wrongs we suffer,
And find our griefs heavier than our offences.
We see which way the stream of time doth run,
And are enforc'd from our most quiet thereb
By the rough torrent of occasion :
And have the summary of all our griefs,
When time shall serve, to show in articles;
Which, long ere this, we offer'd to the king,
And might by no suit gain our audience:
When we are wrong'd, and would unfold our griefs,
We are denied access unto his person,
Even by those men that most have done us wrong.
The dangers of the days but newly gone,
(Whose memory is written on the earth
With yet-appearing blood,) and the examples
Of every minute's instance, (present now,)
Hath put us in these ill-beseeming arms:
Not to break peace, or any branch of it,
But to establish here a peace, indeed,
Concurring both in name and quality.
WEST. When ever yet was your appeal denied ?
Wherein have you been galled by the king ?
What peer hath been suborn'd to grate on you ?
That you should seal this lawless bloody book
with what necessity and propriety may be judged from the following, out of a hundred instances which might be adduced, of the use of the phrase in our old writers :“To play him hunt's up, with a point of war.”—
GREENE's Orlando Furioso, Dyce's Ed. p. 19. “Sound proudly here a perfect point of war.”
PEELE's Edward 1st, 1593, Act I. Sc. 1. “Sa, sa, sa ! Now sound a point of war.”_
The Duke's Mistress, by Shirley, Act IV. Sc. 1. We are all diseas'd ;] The remainder of this speech, excepting the last eight lines, is omitted in the quarto.
o Quiet there—) The old text. Warburton suggested we should read, sphere.
Of forg'd rebellion with a seal divine,
And consecrate commotion's bitter edge ? a
ARCH. My brother general, the commonwealth,
To brother born an household cruelty,
I make my quarrel in particular.
West. There is no need of any such redress;
Or, if there were, it not belongs to you.
MOWB. Why not to him, in part, and to us all,
That feel the bruises of the days before,
And suffer the condition of these times
To lay a heavy and unequal hand
Upon our honours ?
O my good lord Mowbray,
Construe the times to their necessities,
And you shall say indeed, -it is the time,
And not the king, that doth you injuries.
Yet, for your part, it not appears to me,
Either from the king, or in the present time,
That you should have an inch of any ground
To build a grief on. Were you not restor'd
To all the duke of Norfolk's seigniories,
Your noble and right-well-remember'd father's ?
Mows. What thing, in honour, had my father lost,
That need to be reviv'd, and breath'd in me?
The king, that lov'd him, as the state stood then,
Was, force* perforce, compell’d to banish him :
And then, that Harry Bolingbroke, and he,-
Being mounted, and both roused in their seats,
Their neighing coursers daring of the spur,
Their armed staves in charge, their beavers down,
Their eyes of fire sparkling through sightsd of steel,
And the loud trumpet blowing them together,
Then, then—when there was nothing could have stay'd
My father from the breast of Bolingbroken-
0, whene the king did throw his warder down,
(His own life hung upon the staff he threw)
Then threw he down himself, and all their lives,
That, by indictment, and by dint of sword,
Have since miscarried under Bolingbroke.
WEST. You speak, lord Mowbray, now, you know not what:
The earl of Hereford was reputed then
In England the most valiant gentleman ;
(*) 01d text, fored. * And consecrate commotion's bitter edge ?] This line is omitted in the folio.
To brother born an household cruelty,-) Another line, omitted in the folio. c Upon our honours ?] The next two speeches, and the first ten lines of the third speech, are omitted in the quarto.
& Sights of steel,-] The apertures for seeing through in a helmet.
• When- ] By reading here, “O then the king,” &c.—and a few lines above" And when, that Harry Bolingbroke," &c., the whole speech is so infinitely improved, that it is difficult to believe the words when and then were not mistakenly transposed by the compositor.
Who knows, on whom fortune would then have smild ?
But, if your father had been victor there,
He ne'er had borne it out of Coventry:
For all the country, in a general voice,
Cried hate upon him ; and all their prayers, and love,
Were set on Hereford, whom they doted on,
And bless'd, and grac'd indeed,a more than the king.
But this is mere digression from my purpose. -
Here come I from our princely general,
To know your griefs; to tell you from his grace,
That he will give you audience: and wherein
It shall appear that your demands are just,
You shall enjoy them ; every thing set off,
That might so much as think you enemies.
Mows. But he hath forc'd us to compel this offer;
And it proceeds from policy, not love.
WEST, Mowbray, you overween, to take it so;
This offer comes from mercy, not from fear:
For, lo! within a ken, our army lies;
Upon mine honour, all too confident
To give admittance to a thought of fear.
Our battle is more full of names than yours,
Our men more perfect in the use of arms,
Our armour all as strong, our cause the best;
Then reason wills,* our hearts should be as good :
Say you not then our offer is compellid.
MOWB. Well, by my will, we shall admit no parley.
WEST. That argues but the shame of your offence :
A rotten case abides no handling.
Hast. Hath the prince John a full commission,
In very ample virtue of his father,
To hear, and absolutely to determine
Of what conditions we shall stand upon ?
WEST. That is intended b in the general's name:
I muse you make so slight a question.
ARCH. Then take, my lord of Westmoreland, this schedule,
For this contains our general grievances :-
Each several article herein redress'd;
All members of our cause, both here and hence,
That are insinew'd to this action,
Acquitted by a true substantial form ;
And present execution of our wills
To us, and to our purposes, confirm'd ; t-
We come within our awful banks again,
And knit our powers to the arm of peace.
WEST. This will I show the general. Please you, lords,
(*) Old text, will.
(1) Old text, confin'd. • Indeed, -] In the old text “and did.” The emendation, which is easy and probablc, was suggested by Thirlby.
Intended-1 That is, implicd, or understood.
In sight of both our battles we may meet :
And* either end in peace, which Godt so frame!
Or to the place of difference call the swords
Which must decide it.
My lord, we will do so. [Exit WEST.
MOWB. There is a thing within my bosom tells me,
That no conditions of our peace can stand.
Hast. Fear you not that: if we can make our peace
Upon such large terms, and so absolute,
As our conditions shall consist upon,
Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky mountains.
MOWB, Ay, but our valuation shall be such,
That every slight and false-derived cause,
Yea, every idle, nice, and wanton reason,
Shall, to the king, taste of this action:
That, were our royal faiths martyrs in love,
We shall be winnow'd with so rough a wind,
That even our corn shall seem as light as chaff,
And good from bad find no partition.
ARCH. No, no, my lord; note this,—the king is weary
Of dainty and such picking grievances :
For he hath found, -to end one doubt by death,
Revives two greater in the heirs of life.
And therefore will he wipe his tables clean,
And keep no tell-tale to his memory,
That may repeat and history his loss
To new remembrance : for full well he knows,
He cannot so precisely weed this land,
As his misdoubts present occasion :
His foes are so enrooted with his friends,
That, plucking to unfix an enemy,
He doth unfasten so, and shake a friend.
So that this land, like an offensive wife,
That hath enrag'd him on to offer strokes,
As he is striking, holds his infant up,
And hangs resolv'd correction in the arm
That was upreard to execution.
Hast. Besides, the king hath wasted all his rods
On late offenders, that he now doth lack
The very instruments of chastisement:
So that his power, like to a fangless lion,
May offer, but not hold.
Tis very true ;-
And therefore be assur'd, my good lord marshal,
If we do now make our atonement well,
Our peace will, like a broken limb united,
Grow stronger for the breaking.
Be it so.
Here is return'd my lord of Westmoreland.