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About this text

  • Title: Henry IV, Part 2 (Folio 1 1623)
  • Editor: Rosemary Gaby

  • Copyright Rosemary Gaby. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Rosemary Gaby
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Henry IV, Part 2 (Folio 1 1623)

    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-