Page images

In modest merriment, but smiling earnest,
How that our master Henry was much abler
To bear the detriments, than he


them. K. Hen. The young man, I believe, spake honest

truth; He studies to be wise betimes. Has, Urswick, Sir Rice ap Thomas, and lord Brook, our steward, Return'd the Western gentlemen full thanks, From us, for their tried loyalties?

Urs. They have; Which, as if life and health had reign'd amongst

them, With open hearts they joyfully received. K. Hen. Young Buckingham is a fair-natured

prince, Lovely in hopes, and worthy of his father; Attended by an hundred knights and squires Of special name, he tender'd humble service, Which we must ne'er forget; and Devonshire's

wounds, Though slight, shall find sound cure in our respect.

Enter DAWBENEY, with a Guard, leading in WAR

BECK, HERON, JOHN A-WATER, Astley, and SKETON, chained.

Daw. Life to the king, and safety fix his throne! I here present you, royal sir, a shadow Of majesty, but, in effect, a substance Of pity, a young man, in nothing grown To ripeness, but the ambition of your mercy: Perkin, the Christian world's strange wonder.

K. Hen. Dawbeney, We observe no wonder; I behold, 'tis true, An ornament of nature, fine and polish'd, A handsome youth indeed, but not admire him. How came he to thy hands?

Daw. From sanctuary At Bewley, near Southampton; register'd With these few followers, for persons privileged. K. Hen. I must not thank you, sir! you were

to blame
To infringe the liberty of houses sacred:
Dare we be irreligious ?

Daw. Gracious lord,
They voluntarily resign'd themselves,
Without compulsion.

K. Hen. So? 'twas very well;
'Twas very, very well !--turn now thine eyes,
Young man, upon thyself, and thy past actions.
What revels in combustion through our kingdom,
A frenzy of aspiring youth hath danced,
Till, wanting breath, thy feet of pride have slipt
To break thy neck!

War. But not my heart; my heart Will mount, till every drop of blood be frozen By death's perpetual winter: if the sun Of majesty be darken'd, let the sun Of life be hid from me, in an eclipse Lasting and universal! Sir, remember There was a shooting in of light, when Richmond, Not aiming at a crown, retired, and gladly, For comfort to the duke of Bretaine's court.

Richard, who sway'd the sceptre, was reputed
A tyrant then; yet then, a dawning glimmer'd
To some few wand'ring remnants, promising day
When first they ventur'd on a frightful shore,
At Milford Haven-

Daw. Whither speeds his boldness?
Check bis rude tongue, great sir.

K. Hen. 0, let him range:
The player's on the stage still, 'tis his part;
He does but act. What follow'd ?

War. Bosworth Field ;
Where, at an instant, to the world's amazement,
A morn to Richmond, and a night to Richard,
Appear'd at once: the tale is soon applied ;
Fate which crown’d these attempts when least

assured, Might have befriended others, like resolv'd. K. Hen. A pretty gallant! thus, your aunt of

Burgundy, Your dutchess aunt inform'd her nephew; so The lesson prompted, and well conn'd, was moulded Into familiar dialogue, oft rehearsed, Till, learnt by heart, 'tis now received for truth.

War. Truth, in her pure simplicity, wants art To put a feigned blush on : scorn wears only Such fashion as commends to gazers' eyes Sad ulcerated novelty, far beneath The sphere of majesty: in such a court Wisdom and gravity are proper robes, By which the sovereign is best distinguish'd From zanies to his greatness.

K. Hen. Sirrah, shift
Your antick pageantry, and now appear

your own nature, or you'll taste the danger Of fooling out of season.

War. I expect
No less, than what severity calls justice,
And politicians safety; let such beg
As feed on alms: but, if there can be mercy
In a protested enemy, then may it
Descend to these poor creatures, whose engage-

To th' bettering of their fortunes, have incurr’d
A loss of all; to them, if any charity
Flow from some noble orator, in death,
I owe the fee of thankfulness.

K. Hen. So brave!
What a bold knave is this! Which of these rebels
Has been the mayor of Cork?

Daw. This wise formality: Kneel to the king, ye rascals!

[They kneel. K. Hen. Canst thou hope A pardon, where thy guilt is so apparent ?

J. a- Wat. Under your good favours, as men are men, they may err; for I confess, respectively, in taking great parts, the one side prevailing, the other side must go down: herein the point is clear, if the proverb hold, that hanging goes by destiny, that it is to little purpose to say, this thing, or that, shall be thus, or thus; for, as the fates will have it, so it must be; and who can help it?

Daw. O blockhead! thou a privy-counsellor ?

[blocks in formation]

Beg life, and cry aloud,

“ Heaven save king Henry!" J. a-Wat. Every man knows what is best, as it happens; for my own part, I believe it is true, if I be not deceived, that kings must be kings, and subjects subjects: but which is which, you shall pardon me for that;—whether we speak or hold our peace, all are mortal, no man knows his end.

K. Hen. We trifle time with follies.
All. Mercy, mercy!
K. Hen. Urswick, command the dukeling and
these fellows

[They rise.
To Digby, the lieutenant of the Tower:
With safety let them be convey'd to London.
It is our pleasure no uncivil outrage,
Taunts, or abuse be suffer'd to their

persons; They shall meet fairer law than they deserve. Time may restore their wits, whom vain ambition Hath many years distracted.

War. Noble thoughts
Meet freedom in captivity: the Tower?
Our childhood's dreadful nursery.

K. Hen. No more!
Urs. Come, come, you shall have leisure to be-

think you.

[Exit Urs. with PERKIN and his followers,

guardel. K. Hen. Was ever so much impudence in for


The custom sure of being stiled a king,
Hath fasten'd in his thought that he is such;

« PreviousContinue »