Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Rosemary Gaby
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry IV, Part 2 (Quarto 1, 1600)

The second part of Henry the fourth,
continuing to his death, and coro-
nation of Henry the
Enter Rumour painted full of Tongues.
OPen your eares; for which of you will stop
5The vent of hearing, when lowd Rumor speaks?
I from the Orient to the drooping West,
(Making the wind my poste-horse) still vnfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth,
Vpon my tongues continuall slanders ride,
10The which in euery language I pronounce,
Stuffing the eares of men with false reports,
I speake of peace while couert enmity,
Vnder the smile of safety, woundes the world:
And who but Rumor, who but onely I,
15Make fearefull musters, and prepar'd defence,
Whiles the bigge yeare, swolne with some other griefe,
Is thought with child by the sterne tyrant Warre?
And no such matter. Rumour is a pipe,
Blowne by surmizes, Iealousies coniectures,
20And of so easie, and so plaine a stop,
That the blunt monster, with vncounted heads,
The still discordant wau'ring multitude,
Can play vpon it. But what need I thus
(My wel knowne body) to anothomize
25Among my houshold? why is Rumor here?
I runne before King Harries victorie,
Who in a bloudy field by Shrewsbury,
Hath beaten downe yong Hot-spurre and his troopes,
Quenching the flame of bold rebellion,
30Euen with the rebels bloud. 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 Hot-spurs sword,
And that the King before the Douglas rage,
35Stoopt his annointed head as low as death.
This haue I rumour'd through the peasant townes,
Betweene that royall field of Shrewsbury,
And this worme-eaten hole of ragged stone,
When Hot-spurs father old Northumberland
40Lies crafty sicke, the postes come tyring on,
And not a man of them brings other newes,
Than they haue learnt of me, from Rumors tongues,
They bring smooth comforts false, worse then true wrongs.
exit Rumours.