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when they have the booty, if you and I do not rob them, cut this head from
shoulders. P. Hen. But how shall we part with them in setting forth?
Poins. Why, we will set forth before or after them, and appoint them a place of meeting, wherein it is at our pleasure to fail; and then will they adventure upon the exploit themselves; which they shall have no sooner achieved, but we'll set upon them.
P. Hen. Ay, but, 'tis like, that they will know us, by our horses, by our habits, and by every other appointment, to be ourselves.
Poins. Tut! our horses they shall not see, I'll tie them in the wood ; our visors we will change, after we leave them; and, sirrah, I have cases of buckram for the nonce', to immask our noted outward garments.
P. Hen. But, I doubt, they will be too hard for
Poins. Well, for two of them, I know them to be as true-bred cowards as ever turned back; and for the third, if he fight longer than he sees reason, I'll forswear arms. The virtue of this jest will be, the incomprehensible lies that this same fat rogue will tell us, when we meet at supper: how thirty, at least, he fought with ; what wards, what blows, what extremities he endured; and, in the reproof of this, lies the jest.
P. Hen. Well, I'll go with thee; provide us all things necessary, and meet me to-morrow night in Eastcheap, there I'll sup. Farewell.
Poins. Farewell, my lord. [Exit Poins. P. Hen. I know you all, and will a while uphold The unyok'd humour of your idleness : Yet herein will I imitate the sun; Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours, that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work ;
But, when they seldom come, they wish’d-for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off,
the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes ;
And, like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes,
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.
Another Room in the Palace.
Enter King Henry, NORTHUMBERLAND, WOR
CESTER, HOTSPUR, Sir WALTER Blunt, and
K. Hen. My blood hath been too cold and tem-
Unapt to stir at these indignities,
And you have found me ; for, accordingly,
You tread upon my patience : but, be sure,
I will from henceforth rather be myself,
Mighty, and to be fear'd, than my condition®;
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
And therefore lost that title of respect,
Which the proud soul ne'er pays, but to the proud.
Wor. Our house, my sovereign liege, little de-
scourge of greatness to be used on it; And that same greatness too which our own hands Have holp to make so portly.
North. My lord,
K. Hen. Worcester, get thee gone, for I see
And disobedience in thine eye: 0, sir,
Your presence is too bold and peremptory,
And majesty might never yet endure
The moody frontier of a servant brow,
You have good leave to leave us; when we need
Your use and coun
unsel, we shall send for you.
[Exit WORCESTER. You, were about to speak.
[To North. North.
Yea, my good lord. Those prisoners in your highness' name demanded, Which Harry Percy here at Holmedon took, Were, as he says, not with such strength denied As is deliver'd to your majesty:: Either envy, therefore, or misprision Is guilty of this fault, and not my son.
Hot. My liege, I did deny no prisoners.
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 dressid,
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
and took’t away again ; Who, therewith angry, when it next came there, :
9 A small box for musk or other perfumes.
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,
Of guns, and drums, and wounds, (God save the
And telling me, the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was parmaceti, for an inward bruise ;
And that it was great pity, so it was,
That villainous 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.
This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answer'd indirectly, as I said;
And, I beseech you, let not his report
Come current for an accusation,
Betwixt my love and your high majesty.
Blunt. The circumstance consider’d, good my lord,
Whatever Harry Percy then had said,
To such a person, and in such a place,
At such a time, with all the rest re-told,
May reasonably die, and never rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he unsay it now.
K. Hen. Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners ;
But with proviso, and exception, -
That we, at our own charge, shall ransome straight
His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer;
Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray'd
The lives of those that he did lead to fight
Against the great magician, vile Glendower ;
Whose daughter, as we hear, the earl of March
Hath lately married. Shall our coffers then
Be emptied, to redeem a traitor home?
Shall we buy treason ? and indent with fears,
When they have lost and forfeited themselves ?
No, on the barren mountains let him starve;
For I shall never hold that man my friend,
Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost
To ransome home revolted Mortimer,
Hot. Revolted Mortimer !
He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war; -
Needs no more but one tongue for all those wounds,
Those mouthed wounds, which valiantly he took,
When on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank,
In single opposition, hand to hand,
He did confound the best part of an hour
In changing hardiment with great Glendower :
Three times they breath’d, and three times did they