RUMOUR, the Presenter
KING HENRY THE FOURTH
HENRY, PRINCE OF WALES, afterwards HENRY
PRINCE JOHN OF LANCASTER
PRINCE HUMPHREY OF GLOUCESTER
THOMAS, DUKE OF CLARENCE
Sons of Henry IV
EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND
SCROOP, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
SIR JOHN COLVILLE
TRAVERS and MORTON, retainers of Northumberland
Opposites against King Henry IV
EARL OF WARWICK
EARL OF WESTMORELAND
EARL OF SURREY
EARL OF KENT
Of the King's party
LORD CHIEF JUSTICE
SERVANT, to Lord Chief Justice
SIR JOHN FALSTAFF
PAGE, to Falstaff
ROBERT SHALLOW and SILENCE, country Justices
DAVY, servant to Shallow
FANG and SNARE, Sheriff's officers
FRANCIS, a drawer
LADY PERCY, Percy's widow
HOSTESS QUICKLY, of the Boar's Head, Eastcheap
LORDS, Attendants, Porter, Drawers, Beadles, Grooms, Servants,
Speaker of the Epilogue
Warkworth. Before NORTHUMBERLAND'S Castle
Enter RUMOUR, painted full of tongues
RUMOUR. Open your ears; for which of you will stop
The vent of hearing when loud Rumour 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 emnity,
Under the smile of safety, wounds the world;
And who but Rumour, who but only I,
Make fearful musters and prepar'd defence,
Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief,
Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wav'ring multitude,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
My well-known body to anatomize
Among my household? Why is Rumour here?
I run before King Harry's victory,
Who, in a bloody field by Shrewsbury,
Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops,
Quenching the flame of bold rebellion
Even with the rebels' blood. But what mean I
To speak so true at first? My office is
To noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fell
Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword,
And that the King before the Douglas' rage
Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death.
This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns
Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,
Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
Lies crafty-sick. The posts come tiring on,
And not a man of them brings other news
Than they have learnt of me. From Rumour's tongues
They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Warkworth. Before NORTHUMBERLAND'S Castle
Enter LORD BARDOLPH
LORD BARDOLPH. Who keeps the gate here, ho?
The PORTER opens the gate
Where is the Earl?
PORTER. What shall I say you are?
LORD BARDOLPH. Tell thou the Earl
That the Lord Bardolph doth attend him here.
PORTER. His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard.
Please it your honour knock but at the gate,
And he himself will answer.
LORD BARDOLPH. Here comes the Earl. Exit PORTER
NORTHUMBERLAND. What news, Lord Bardolph? Every minute now
Should be the father of some stratagem.
The times are wild; contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose
And bears down all before him.
LORD BARDOLPH. Noble Earl,
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
NORTHUMBERLAND. Good, an God will!
LORD BARDOLPH. As good as heart can wish.
The King is almost wounded to the death;
And, in the fortune of my lord your son,
Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts
Kill'd by the hand of Douglas; young Prince John,
And Westmoreland, and Stafford, fled the field;
And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk Sir John,
Is prisoner to your son. O, such a day,
So fought, so followed, and so fairly won,
Came not till now to dignify the times,
Since Cxsar's fortunes!
NORTHUMBERLAND. How is this deriv'd?
Saw you the field? Came you from Shrewsbury?
LORD BARDOLPH. I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence;
A gentleman well bred and of good name,
That freely rend'red me these news for true.
NORTHUMBERLAND. Here comes my servant Travers, whom I sent
On Tuesday last to listen after news.
LORD BARDOLPH. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;
And he is furnish'd with no certainties
More than he haply may retail from me.
NORTHUMBERLAND. Now, Travers, what good tidings comes with you?
TRAVERS. My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better hors'd,
Out-rode me. After him came spurring hard
A gentleman, almost forspent with speed,
That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse.
He ask'd 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 seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
NORTHUMBERLAND. Ha! Again:
Said he young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur, Coldspur? that rebellion
Had met ill luck?
LORD BARDOLPH. My lord, I'll tell you what:
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon mine honour, for a silken point
I'll give my barony. Never talk of it.
NORTHUMBERLAND. Why should that gentleman that rode by Travers
Give then such instances of loss?
LORD BARDOLPH. Who- he?
He was some hilding fellow that had stol'n
The horse he rode on and, upon my life,
Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.