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SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY THE FOURTH.
Warkworth. Before Northumberland's Castle.
Enter RUMOR, painted full of tongues.'
Rumor. OPEN your ears; for which of you will stop The vent of hearing, when loud Rumor speaks? I, from the orient to the drooping west, Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold The acts commenced on this ball of earth. Upon my tongues continual slanders ride; The which in every language I pronounce, Stuffing the ears of men with false reports. I speak of peace, while covert enmity, Under the smile of safety, wounds the world; And who but Rumor, who but only I, Make fearful musters, and prepared defence; Whilst the big ear, swollen with some other grief, Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war, And no such matter? Rumor is a pipe Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures; And of so easy and so plain a stop,2
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
1 In a mask on St. Stephen's Night, 1614, by Thomas Campion, Rumor comes on in a skin coat full of winged tongues.
2 The stops are the holes in a flute or pipe.
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
SCENE I. The same. The Porter before the Gate.
Enter LORD BARDOLPH.
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 walked forth into the orchard.
1 Northumberland's castle.
Please it your honor, knock but at the gate,
Here comes the earl. North. What news, lord Bardolph? Every minute
Should be the father of some stratagem;
As good as heart can wish.—
How is this derived? Saw you the field? Came you from Shrewsbury? Bard. I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence;
A gentleman well-bred, and of good name,
North. Here comes my servant, Travers, whom I
On Tuesday last to listen after news.
Bard. My lord, I overrode him on the way;
North. Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you?
Tra. My lord, sir John Umfrevile turned me back With joyful tidings; and, being better horsed, Outrode me. After him, came, spurring hard, A gentleman almost forspent with speed, That stopped by me to breathe his bloodied horse. He asked 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 his poor jade Up to the rowel-head; and, starting so, He seemed in running to devour the way, Staying no longer question.
My lord, I'll tell you what; If my young lord your son have not the day, Upon mine honor, for a silken point 2
I'll give my barony; never talk of it.
North. Why should the gentleman, that rode by
Give then such instances of loss?
He was some hilding
Who, he? fellow, that had stolen and, upon my life,
Look, here comes more news.
North. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf, Foretells the nature of a tragic volume;
2 A silken point is a tagged lace. 3 i. e. Hilderling, base, low fellow.
So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
Mor. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet;
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.
Mor. 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. offends not, that reports his death;