Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 2 (Folio 1 1623)


INDVCTION.
Enter Rumour.
OPen your Eares: For which of you will stop
5The vent of Hearing, when loud Rumor speakes?
I, from the Orient, to the drooping West
(Making the winde my Post-horse) still vnfold
The Acts commenced on this Ball of Earth.
Vpon my Tongue, continuall Slanders ride,
10The which, in euery Language, I pronounce,
Stuffing the Eares of them with false Reports:
I speake of Peace, while couert Enmitie
(Vnder the smile of Safety) wounds the World:
And who but Rumour, who but onely I
15Make fearfull Musters, and prepar'd Defence,
Whil'st the bigge yeare, swolne with some other griefes,
Is thought with childe, by the sterne Tyrant, Warre,
And no such matter? Rumour, is a Pipe
Blowne by Surmises, Ielousies, Coniectures;
20And of so easie, and so plaine a stop,
That the blunt Monster, with vncounted heads,
The still discordant, wauering Multitude,
Can play vpon it. But what neede I thus
My well-knowne Body to Anathomize
25Among my houshold? Why is Rumour heere?
I run before King Harries victory,
Who in a bloodie field by Shrewsburie
Hath beaten downe yong Hotspurre, and his Troopes,
Quenching the flame of bold Rebellion,
30Euen with the Rebels blood. But what meane I
To speake so true at first? My Office is
To noyse abroad, that Harry Monmouth fell
Vnder the Wrath of Noble Hotspurres Sword:
And that the King, before the Dowglas Rage
35Stoop'd his Annointed head, as low as death.
This haue I rumour'd through the peasant-Townes,
Betweene the Royall Field of Shrewsburie,
And this Worme-eaten-Hole of ragged Stone,
Where Hotspurres Father, old Northumberland,
40Lyes crafty sicke. The Postes come tyring on,
And not a man of them brings other newes
Then they haue learn'd of Me. From Rumours Tongues,
They bring smooth-Comforts-false, worse then True-
wrongs.
Exit.