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Their armed staves in charge, their beavers down,
Their eyes of fire sparkling through sights of steel,
And the loud trumpet blowing them together;
Then, then, when there was nothing could have staid
My father from the breast of Bolingbroke,
0, when the king did throw his warder down,
His own life hung upon the staff he threw :
Then threw he down himself ; and all their lives,
That, by indictment, and by dint of sword,
Have since miscarried under Bolingbroke,
West. You speak, lord Mowbray, now you know
The earl of Hereford' was reputed then
In England the most valiant gentleman;
Who knows, on whom fortune would then have
But, if your father had been victor there,
He ne'er had borne it out of Coventry :
For all the country, in a general voice,
Cried hate upon him; and all their prayers,
Were set on Hereford, whom they doted on,
And bless'd, and grac'd indeed, more than the king.
But this is mere digression from my purpose.-
Here come I from our princely general,
To know your griefs; to tell you from his grace,
That he will give you audience: and wherein
It shall appear
demands are just, You shall enjoy them ; every thing set off,
• Their armed staves in charge, &c.] An armed staff is a lance: To be in charge, is to be tixed in the rest for the encounter.
their beavers down,] Beaver meant properly that part of the helmet which let down, to enable the wearer to drink ; but is confounded both here and in Hamlet with visiere, or used for helmet in general.
That might so much as think
enemies. Mowb. But he hath forc'd us to compel this offer; And it proceeds from policy, not love.
West. Mowbray, you overween, to take it so; This offer comes from mercy, not from fear: For, lo! within a ken, our army lies: Upon mine honour, all too confident To give admittance to a thought of fear. Our battle is more full of names than yours, Our men more perfect in the use of arms, Our armour all as strong, our cause the best ; Then reason wills, our hearts should be as good :Say you not then, our offer is compell’d.
Mowb. Well, by my will, we shall admit no parley. West. That argues but the shame of your of
fence : A rotten case abides no handling.
Hast. Hath the prince John a full commission, In very ample virtue of his father, To hear, and absolutely to determine Of what conditions we shall stand
? West. That is intended in the general's name: I muse, you make so slight
make so slight a question.
Arch. Then take, my lord of Westmoreland,
this schedule ;
For this contains our general grievances :-
Each several article herein redress'd;
All members of our cause, both here and hence,
That are insinew'd to this action,
Acquitted by a true substantial form ;
And present execution of our Wills
To us, and to our purposes, consign'd :
We come within our awful banks again,
And knit our powers to the arm of peace.
substantial form;] That is, by a pardon of due form and legal validity.
awful banks again,] i. e. the proper limits of reverence.
West. This will I show the general. Please you,
In sight of both our battles we may meet:
And either end in peace, which heaven so frame!
Or to the place of difference call the swords
Which must decide it.
My lord, we will do so.
[Exit West. Mowb. There is a thing within my bosom, tells
me, That no conditions of our peace can stand. Hast. Fear you not that: if we can make our
peace Upon such large terms, and so absolute, As our conditions shall consist upon, Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky moun
Mowb. Ay, but our valuation shall be such,
That every slight and false-derived cause,
Yea, every idle, nice, and wanton reason,
Shall, to the king, taste of this action :
That, were our royal faiths martyrs in love,
We shall be winnow'd with so rough a wind,
That even our corn shall seem as light as chaff,
And good from bad find no partition.
Arch. No, no, my lord; Note this, the king is
Of dainty and such picking grievances :
For he hath found to end one doubt by death,
Revives two greater in the heirs of life.
consist upon,] Perhaps the meaning is, as our conditions shall stand upon, shall make the foundation of the treaty. A Latin sense.
nice,] i. e. trivial. * That, were our royal faiths martyrs in love,] Royal faith means, the faith due to a king.
picking grievances :] Picking means piddling, insignificant.
And therefore will he wipe his tables clean ;)
And keep no tell-tale to his memory,
may repeat and history his loss
To new remembrance : For full well he knows,
He cannot so precisely weed this land,
As his misdoubts present occasion :
His foes are so enrooted with his friends,
That, plucking to unfix an enemy,
He doth unfasten so, and shake a friend.
So that this land, like an offensive wife,
That hath enrag'd him on to offer strokes ;
As he is striking, holds his infant up,
And hangs resolv'd correction in the arm
That was uprear'd to execution.
Hast. Besides, the king hath wasted all his rods
On late offenders, that he now doth lack
The very instruments of chastisement:
So that his power, like to a fangless lion,
May offer, but not hold.
And therefore be assur’d, my good lord marshal,
If we do now make our atonement well,
Our peace will, like a broken limb united,
Grow stronger for the breaking.
Be it so.
Here is return'd
lord of Westmoreland.
Arch. Before, and greet his grace :--my lord, we
Another Part of the Forest.
Enter, from one side, Mowbray, the Archbishop,
HASTINGS, and Others: from the other side,
Prince John of LANCASTER, WESTMORELAND,
Officers, and Attendants.
P. John. You are well encounter'd here, my
cousin Mowbray :
Good day to you, gentle lord archbishop:
And so to you, lord Hastings,—and to all.-
My lord of York, it better show'd with you,
When that your flock, assembled by the bell,
Encircled you, to hear with reverence
Your exposition on the holy text;
Than now to see you here an iron man,
Cheering a rout of rebels with your drum,
Turning the word to sword, and life to death.
That man, that sits within a monarch's heart,
And ripens in the sunshine of his favour,
Would he abuse the countenance of the king,
Alack, what mischiefs might he set abroach,
In shadow of such greatness! With you, lord bishop,
It is even so:—Who hath not heard it spoken,
How deep you were within the books of God
To us, the speaker in his parliament;
To us, the imagin’d voice of God himself;
The very opener, and intelligencer,
Between the grace, the sanctities of heaven,
an iron man,] i. e. clad in armour,