The Life and Death ofKing Richard II
Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot.
My life thou shalt comand, but not my shame:
The one my duty owes; but my fair name,
Despite of death that lives upon my grave,
To dark dishonours use thou shalt not have.
Duchess of Gloucester:
That which in mean men we entitle patience,
Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts.
This royal throne of kings, this scepterd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise;
This fortress, built by nature for herself,
Against infection, and the hand of war;
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Feard by their breed, and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry
Of the worlds ransom, blessed Marys Son:
This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leasd out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement, or pelting farm.
England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah! would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death.
Despair not, madam.
Who shall hinder me?
I will despair, and be at enmity
With cozening hope: he is a flatterer,
A parasite, a keeper-back of death,
Who gently would dissolve the bands of life,
Which false hope lingers in extremity.
|Act III||Scene II
For Gods sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
How some have been deposd, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposd,
Some poisond by their wives, some sleeping killd,
All murderd;for within the hollow crown,
That rounds the mortal temples of a king,
Keeps death his court, and there the antick sits,
Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp;
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be feard, and kill with looks;
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh, which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable; and, humourd thus,
Comes at the last, and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, andfarewell king!
Thou hast said enough.
Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth
Of that sweet way I was in to despair!
What say you now? What comfort have we now?
By heaven, Ill hate him everlastingly,
That bids me be of comfort any more.
[...] O, would the deed were good!
For now the devil, that told me I did well,
Says that this deed in chronicled in hell.
From your own mouth, my lord, did I this deed.
They love not poison that do poison need,
Nor do I thee: though I did wish him dead,
I hate the murderer, love him murdered.
The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour,
But neither my good word, nor princely favour:
With Cain go wander through the shade of night,
And never show thy head by day nor light.
Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe,
That blood should sprinkle me to make me grow:
Come, mourn with me for that I do lament,
And put on sullen black.
text checked (see note) Feb 2005
The First Part ofKing Henry IV
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
[...] I was as virtuously given as a gentleman need to be; virtuous enough; swore little; diced not above seven times a week; went to a bawdy-house not above once in a quarterof an hour; paid money that I borrowedthree or four times: lived well, and in good compass: and now I live out of all order, out of all compass.
Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you must needs be out of all compass,out of all reasonable compass, Sir John.
Suspicion shall be all stuck full of eyes:
For treason is but trusted like the fox,
Who, neer so tame, so cherishd, and lockd up,
Will have a wild trick of his ancestors.
Look how we can, or sad or merrily,
Interpretation will misquote our looks;
And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,
The better cherishd still the nearer death.
Ill-weavd ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
When that this body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound;
But now two paces of the vilest earth
Is room enough:this earth that bears thee dead
Bears not alive so stout a gentleman.
[...] Sblood, twas time to counterfeit, or that hot termagant Scot had paid me scot and lot too. Counterfeit? I lie, I am no counterfeit; to die is to be a counterfeit; for he is but the counterfeit of a man who hath not the life of a man; but to counterfeit dying, when a man thereby liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life indeed. The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life.
text checked (see note) Feb 2005
The Second Part ofKing Henry IV
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 feard is chanced.
I can get no remedy against this consumption of the purse: borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the disease is incurable.
[...] O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Natures soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boys eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge,
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafening clamour in the slippery shrouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude;
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
text checked (see note) Feb 2005
King Henry V
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace theres nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favord rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow oerwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
Oerhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swilld with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide;
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height!
[...] he hath heard that men of few words are the best men; and therefore he scorns to say his prayers lest a should be thought a coward: but his few bad words are matched with as few good deeds; for a never broke any mans head but his own, and that was against a post when he was drunk.
[...] when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom the gentler gamester is the soonest winner.
Go, bid thy master well advise himself:
If we may pass, we will; if we be hinderd,
We shall your tawny ground with your red blood
Discolour: and so, Montjoy, fare you well.
The sum of all our answer is but this:
We would not seek a battle as we are;
Nor as we are, we say, we will not shun it:
So tell your master.
The Dauphin longs for morning.
He longs to eat the English.
I think he will eat all he kills.
He never did harm that I heard of.
Nor will do none to-morrow: he will keep that good name still.
I know him to be valiant.
I was told that by one that knows him better than you.
Marry, he told me so himself; and he said he cared not who knew it.
There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
Would men observingly distil it out;
For our bad neighbour makes early stirrers,
Which is both healthful and good husbandry:
Besides, they are our outward consciences
And preachers to us all: admonishing
That we should dress us fairly for our end.
Thus may we gather honey from the weed,
And make a moral of the devil himself.
If the enemy is an ass, and a fool, and a prating coxcomb, is it meet, think you, that we should also, look you, be an ass, and a fool, and a prating coxcomb,in your own conscience, now?
[...] the king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of his servant; for they purpose not their death when they purpose their services. [...] Every subjects duty is the kings; but every subjects soul is his own.
What infinite hearts-ease must kings neglect
That private men enjoy!
And what have kings that privates have not too,
Save ceremony,save general ceremony?
And what art thou, thou idol ceremony?
What kind of god art thou, that sufferst more
Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
What drinkst thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poisond flattery?
[...] No, my fair cousin:
If we are markd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men the greater share of honour.
Gods will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
We would not die in that mans company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is calld the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is namd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say, To-morrow is Saint Crispian:
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, These wounds I had on Crispins day.
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But hell remember with advantages
What feats he did that day
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall neer go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he neer so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shll think themselves accursd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispins day.
Let me speak proudly:tell the constable
We are but warriors for the working-day;
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirchd
With rainy marching in the painful field;
Theres not a piece of feather in our host,
Good argument, I hope, we will not fly,
And time hath worn us into slovenry:
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim [...]
Come, go we in procession to the village:
And be it death proclaimed through our host
To boast of this, or take that praise from God
Which is his only.
Is it not lawful, an please your majesty, to tell how many is killed?
Yes, captain; but with this acknowledgment,
That God fought for us.
Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursud the story;
In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but, in that small, most greatly livd
This star of England: Fortune made his sword;
By which the worlds best garden he achievd,
And of it left his son imperial lord.
Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crownd king
Of France and England, did this king succeed;
Whose state so many had the managing
That they lost France and made his England bleed:
Which oft our stage hath shown; and for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.
text checked (see note) Feb 2005