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Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time, when men think least I will.
HOTSPUR'S DESCRIPTION OF A FINICAL COURTIER.
But I remember, when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
Came there a certain lord, neat, trimly dress'd,
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin new reap'd,
Show'd like a stubble land at harvest home;
He was perfumed like a milliner;
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet box*, which ever and anon
He gave his nose and took't away again;
Who, therewith angry, when it next came there,
Took it in snuff:-and still he smil'd, and talk'd;
And, as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
He call'd them-untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms
He question'd me; among the rest demanded
My prisoners, in your majesty's behalf.
I then, all smarting, with my wounds being cold,
To be so pester'd with a popinjay†,
Out of my grief and my impatience,
Answer'd neglectingly, I know not what;
He should, or he should not; for he made me mad,
To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman, [mark!)
and drums, and wounds, (God save the
And telling me, the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was parmaceti, for an inward bruise;
* A small box for musk or other perfumes. + Parrot. Pain.
And that it was great pity, so it was,
That villanous salt-petre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall* fellow had destroy'd
So cowardly and, but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier.
I'll read you matter deep and dangerous;
As full of peril, and advent'rous spirit,
As to o'erwalk a current, roaring loud,
On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.
By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac'd moon;
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;
So he, that doth redeem her thence, might wear,
Without corrival, all her dignities:
But out upon this half-fac'd fellowship‡!
LADY PERCY'S PATHETIC SPEECH TO HER HUSBAND.
O my good lord, why are you thus alone? For what offence have I, this fortnight, been A banish'd woman from my Harry's bed? Tell me, sweet lord, what is't that takes from thee Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep? Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth; And start so often when thou sit'st alone? Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks; † A rival. + Friendship.
And given my treasures, and my rights of thee,
To thick-ey'd musing, and curs'd melancholy?
In thy faint slumbers, I by thee have watch'd,
And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars:
Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed;
Cry, Courage!-to the field! And thou hast talk'd
Of sallies, and retires; of trenches, tents,
Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets;
Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin;
Of prisoners' ransom, and of soldiers slain,
And all the 'currents* of a heady fight.
Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war,
And thus hath so bestirr'd thee in thy sleep,
That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow,
Like bubbles in a late disturbed stream;
And in thy face strange motions have appear'd,
Such as we see when men restrain their breath
On some great sudden haste. O, what portents
Some heavy business hath my lord in hand,
And I must know it, else he loves me not.
I cannot blame him: at my nativity
The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,
Of burning cressets: and, at my birth,
The frame and huge foundation of the earth
Shak'd like a coward.
Why, so it would have done At the same season, if your mother's cat had
Lights set crossways upon beacons, and also upon poles,
which were used in processions, &c.
But kitten'd, though yourself had ne'er been born.
Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth
In strange eruptions: oft the teeming earth
Is with a kind of colic pinch'd and vex'd
By the imprisoning of unruly wind
Within her womb; which, for enlargement striving,
Shakes the old beldame earth, and topples down
Steeples and moss-grown towers.
ON MISERABLE RHYMERS.
Marry, and I am glad of it with all my heart; I had rather be a kitten, and cry—mew, Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers: I had rather hear a brazen canstick+ turn'd, Or a dry wheel grate on an axle-tree; And that would set my teeth nothing on edge, Nothing so much as mincing poetry; 'Tis like the forc'd gait of a shuffling nag.
PUNCTUALITY IN BARGAINS.
I'll give thrice so much land
To any well-deserving friend;
But, in the way of bargain, mark ye me,
I'll cavil on the ninth part of a hair.
A HUSBAND SUNG TO SLEEP BY HIS WIFE.
Upon the wanton rushes lay you down,
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 'twixt day and night,
The hour before the heavenly harness'd team
Begins his golden progress in the east.
KING HENRY'S PATHETIC ADDRESS TO HIS SON.
Had I so lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackney'd 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 wonder'd at:
That men would tell their children, This is he;
Others would say,-Where?-which is Boling-
And then I stole all courtesy from heaven, [broke?
And dress'd 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.
Thus did I keep my person fresh, and new;
My presence, like a robe pontifical,
Ne'er seen, but wonder'd 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 burn'd: carded his state;
Mingled his royalty with capering 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
*True to him that had then possession of the crown.