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Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour? No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.

      — Much Ado about Nothing, Act II Scene 3


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History of Henry IV, Part II

Act I

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Scene 1. Warkworth. Before NORTHUMBERLAND’S Castle

Scene 2. London. A street

Scene 3. York. The ARCHBISHOP’S palace


Act I, Scene 1

Warkworth. Before NORTHUMBERLAND’S Castle

      next scene .


  • Lord Bardolph. Who keeps the gate here, ho? [The PORTER opens the gate]
    Where is the Earl? 45
  • 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, 50
    And he himself will answer.


  • Earl of Northumberland. What news, Lord Bardolph? Every minute now
    Should be the father of some stratagem. 55
    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. 60
  • 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 65
    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, 70
    Came not till now to dignify the times,
    Since Cxsar's fortunes!
  • Lord Bardolph. I spake with one, my lord, that came from 75
    A gentleman well bred and of good name,
    That freely rend'red me these news for true.


  • 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.
  • 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. 90
    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 95
    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. 100
  • Earl of 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: 105
    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.
  • 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.

Enter Morton

  • Earl of Northumberland. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf,
    Foretells the nature of a tragic volume.
    So looks the strand whereon the imperious flood
    Hath left a witness'd usurpation.
    Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury? 120
  • Morton. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
    Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask
    To fright our party.
  • Earl of Northumberland. How doth my son and brother?
    Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek 125
    Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
    Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
    So dull, so dread in look, so woe-begone,
    Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night
    And would have told him half his Troy was burnt; 130
    But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue,
    And I my Percy's death ere thou report'st it.
    This thou wouldst say: 'Your son did thus and thus;
    Your brother thus; so fought the noble Douglas'—
    Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds; 135
    But in the end, to stop my ear indeed,
    Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
    Ending with 'Brother, son, and all, are dead.'
  • Morton. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet;
    But for my lord your son— 140
  • Earl of Northumberland. Why, he is dead.
    See what a ready tongue suspicion hath!
    He that but fears the thing he would not know
    Hath by instinct knowledge from others' eyes
    That what he fear'd is chanced. Yet speak, Morton; 145
    Tell thou an earl his divination lies,
    And I will take it as a sweet disgrace
    And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
  • Morton. You are too great to be by me gainsaid;
    Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain. 150
  • Earl of Northumberland. Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
    I see a strange confession in thine eye;
    Thou shak'st thy head, and hold'st it fear or sin
    To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so:
    The tongue offends not that reports his death; 155
    And he doth sin that doth belie the dead,
    Not he which says the dead is not alive.
    Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
    Hath but a losing office, and his tongue
    Sounds ever after as a sullen bell, 160
    Rememb'red tolling a departing friend.
  • Morton. I am sorry I should force you to believe
    That which I would to God I had not seen;
    But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state, 165
    Rend'ring faint quittance, wearied and out-breath'd,
    To Harry Monmouth, whose swift wrath beat down
    The never-daunted Percy to the earth,
    From whence with life he never more sprung up.
    In few, his death—whose spirit lent a fire 170
    Even to the dullest peasant in his camp—
    Being bruited once, took fire and heat away
    From the best-temper'd courage in his troops;
    For from his metal was his party steeled;
    Which once in him abated, all the rest 175
    Turn'd on themselves, like dull and heavy lead.
    And as the thing that's heavy in itself
    Upon enforcement flies with greatest speed,
    So did our men, heavy in Hotspur's loss,
    Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear 180
    That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim
    Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,
    Fly from the field. Then was that noble Worcester
    Too soon ta'en prisoner; and that furious Scot,
    The bloody Douglas, whose well-labouring sword 185
    Had three times slain th' appearance of the King,
    Gan vail his stomach and did grace the shame
    Of those that turn'd their backs, and in his flight,
    Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
    Is that the King hath won, and hath sent out 190
    A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
    Under the conduct of young Lancaster
    And Westmoreland. This is the news at full.
  • Earl of Northumberland. For this I shall have time enough to mourn.
    In poison there is physic; and these news, 195
    Having been well, that would have made me sick,
    Being sick, have in some measure made me well;
    And as the wretch whose fever-weak'ned joints,
    Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,
    Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire 200
    Out of his keeper's arms, even so my limbs,
    Weak'ned with grief, being now enrag'd with grief,
    Are thrice themselves. Hence, therefore, thou nice crutch!
    A scaly gauntlet now with joints of steel
    Must glove this hand; and hence, thou sickly coif! 205
    Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
    Which princes, flesh'd with conquest, aim to hit.
    Now bind my brows with iron; and approach
    The ragged'st hour that time and spite dare bring
    To frown upon th' enrag'd Northumberland! 210
    Let heaven kiss earth! Now let not Nature's hand
    Keep the wild flood confin'd! Let order die!
    And let this world no longer be a stage
    To feed contention in a ling'ring act;
    But let one spirit of the first-born Cain 215
    Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set
    On bloody courses, the rude scene may end
    And darkness be the burier of the dead!
  • Morton. Sweet Earl, divorce not wisdom from your honour. 220
    The lives of all your loving complices
    Lean on your health; the which, if you give o'er
    To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
    You cast th' event of war, my noble lord,
    And summ'd the account of chance before you said 225
    'Let us make head.' It was your pre-surmise
    That in the dole of blows your son might drop.
    You knew he walk'd o'er perils on an edge,
    More likely to fall in than to get o'er;
    You were advis'd his flesh was capable 230
    Of wounds and scars, and that his forward spirit
    Would lift him where most trade of danger rang'd;
    Yet did you say 'Go forth'; and none of this,
    Though strongly apprehended, could restrain
    The stiff-borne action. What hath then befall'n, 235
    Or what hath this bold enterprise brought forth
    More than that being which was like to be?
  • Lord Bardolph. We all that are engaged to this loss
    Knew that we ventured on such dangerous seas
    That if we wrought out life 'twas ten to one; 240
    And yet we ventur'd, for the gain propos'd
    Chok'd the respect of likely peril fear'd;
    And since we are o'erset, venture again.
    Come, we will put forth, body and goods.
  • Morton. 'Tis more than time. And, my most noble lord, 245
    I hear for certain, and dare speak the truth:
    The gentle Archbishop of York is up
    With well-appointed pow'rs. He is a man
    Who with a double surety binds his followers.
    My lord your son had only but the corpse, 250
    But shadows and the shows of men, to fight;
    For that same word 'rebellion' did divide
    The action of their bodies from their souls;
    And they did fight with queasiness, constrain'd,
    As men drink potions; that their weapons only 255
    Seem'd on our side, but for their spirits and souls
    This word 'rebellion'—it had froze them up,
    As fish are in a pond. But now the Bishop
    Turns insurrection to religion.
    Suppos'd sincere and holy in his thoughts, 260
    He's follow'd both with body and with mind;
    And doth enlarge his rising with the blood
    Of fair King Richard, scrap'd from Pomfret stones;
    Derives from heaven his quarrel and his cause;
    Tells them he doth bestride a bleeding land, 265
    Gasping for life under great Bolingbroke;
    And more and less do flock to follow him.
  • Earl of Northumberland. I knew of this before; but, to speak truth,
    This present grief had wip'd it from my mind.
    Go in with me; and counsel every man 270
    The aptest way for safety and revenge.
    Get posts and letters, and make friends with speed—
    Never so few, and never yet more need. Exeunt
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 2

London. A street

      next scene .

Enter SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, with his PAGE bearing his sword and buckler

  • Falstaff. Sirrah, you giant, what says the doctor to my water? 275
  • Page. He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy water;
    for the party that owed it, he might have moe diseases than
    knew for.
  • Falstaff. Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me. The
    this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent
    that intends to laughter, more than I invent or is invented
    me. I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is
    other men. I do here walk before thee like a sow that hath 285
    overwhelm'd all her litter but one. If the Prince put thee
    my service for any other reason than to set me off, why then
    have no judgment. Thou whoreson mandrake, thou art fitter to
    worn in my cap than to wait at my heels. I was never mann'd
    an agate till now; but I will inset you neither in gold nor 290
    silver, but in vile apparel, and send you back again to your
    master, for a jewel—the juvenal, the Prince your master,
    chin is not yet fledge. I will sooner have a beard grow in
    palm of my hand than he shall get one off his cheek; and yet
    will not stick to say his face is a face-royal. God may 295
    when he will, 'tis not a hair amiss yet. He may keep it still
    a face-royal, for a barber shall never earn sixpence out of
    and yet he'll be crowing as if he had writ man ever since his
    father was a bachelor. He may keep his own grace, but he's
    out of mine, I can assure him. What said Master Dommelton 300
    the satin for my short cloak and my slops?
  • Page. He said, sir, you should procure him better assurance
    Bardolph. He would not take his band and yours; he liked not
    security. 320
  • Falstaff. Let him be damn'd, like the Glutton; pray God his
    be hotter! A whoreson Achitophel! A rascal-yea-forsooth
    bear a gentleman in hand, and then stand upon security! The 325
    whoreson smooth-pates do now wear nothing but high shoes, and
    bunches of keys at their girdles; and if a man is through
    them in honest taking-up, then they must stand upon security.
    had as lief they would put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to
    it with security. I look'd 'a should have sent me two and 330
    yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and he sends me
    Well, he may sleep in security; for he hath the horn of
    abundance, and the lightness of his wife shines through it;
    yet cannot he see, though he have his own lanthorn to light
    Where's Bardolph? 335
  • Page. He's gone into Smithfield to buy your worship horse. 345
  • Falstaff. I bought him in Paul's, and he'll buy me a horse in
    Smithfield. An I could get me but a wife in the stews, I were
    mann'd, hors'd, and wiv'd.


  • Page. Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the 350
    Prince for striking him about Bardolph.
  • Falstaff. Wait close; I will not see him.
  • Servant. Falstaff, an't please your lordship.
  • Servant. He, my lord; but he hath since done good service at
    Shrewsbury, and, as I hear, is now going with some charge to
    Lord John of Lancaster.
  • Page. You must speak louder; my master is deaf.
  • Lord Chief Justice. I am sure he is, to the hearing of anything
    Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him. 365
  • Falstaff. What! a young knave, and begging! Is there not wars?
    there not employment? Doth not the King lack subjects? Do not
    rebels need soldiers? Though it be a shame to be on any side 370
    one, it is worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side,
    it worse than the name of rebellion can tell how to make it.
  • Falstaff. Why, sir, did I say you were an honest man? Setting
    knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied in my throat
    had said so. 380
  • Servant. I pray you, sir, then set your knighthood and your
    soldiership aside; and give me leave to tell you you in your
    throat, if you say I am any other than an honest man. 385
  • Falstaff. I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that
    grows to me! If thou get'st any leave of me, hang me; if thou
    tak'st leave, thou wert better be hang'd. You hunt counter.
    Hence! Avaunt!
  • Servant. Sir, my lord would speak with you.
  • Falstaff. My good lord! God give your lordship good time of
    am glad to see your lordship abroad. I heard say your
    was sick; I hope your lordship goes abroad by advice. Your 395
    lordship, though not clean past your youth, hath yet some
    of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I
    humbly beseech your lordship to have a reverend care of your
  • Falstaff. An't please your lordship, I hear his Majesty is
    with some discomfort from Wales.
  • Falstaff. And I hear, moreover, his Highness is fall'n into
    same whoreson apoplexy.
  • Falstaff. This apoplexy, as I take it, is a kind of lethargy,
    please your lordship, a kind of sleeping in the blood, a
    tingling. 420
  • Falstaff. It hath it original from much grief, from study, and
    perturbation of the brain. I have read the cause of his 425
    in Galen; it is a kind of deafness.
  • Lord Chief Justice. I think you are fall'n into the disease, for you
    hear not what I say to you.
  • Falstaff. Very well, my lord, very well. Rather an't please 430
    is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking,
    I am troubled withal.
  • Lord Chief Justice. To punish you by the heels would amend the 435
    of your ears; and I care not if I do become your physician.
  • Falstaff. I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient.
    lordship may minister the potion of imprisonment to me in
    of poverty; but how I should be your patient to follow your 440
    prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a scruple, or
    indeed a scruple itself.
  • Lord Chief Justice. I sent for you, when there were matters against 445
    for your life, to come speak with me.
  • Falstaff. As I was then advis'd by my learned counsel in the
    of this land-service, I did not come.
  • Falstaff. He that buckles himself in my belt cannot live in
  • Falstaff. I would it were otherwise; I would my means were
    and my waist slenderer.
  • Falstaff. The young Prince hath misled me. I am the fellow with
    great belly, and he my dog.
  • Lord Chief Justice. Well, I am loath to gall a new-heal'd wound.
    day's service at Shrewsbury hath a little gilded over your 465
    night's exploit on Gadshill. You may thank th' unquiet time
    your quiet o'erposting that action.
  • Falstaff. To wake a wolf is as bad as smell a fox.
  • Falstaff. A wassail candle, my lord—all tallow; if I did say
    wax, my growth would approve the truth.
  • Lord Chief Justice. There is not a white hair in your face but
    have his effect of gravity. 480
  • Falstaff. Not so, my lord. Your ill angel is light; but hope
    that looks upon me will take me without weighing. And yet in
    respects, I grant, I cannot go—I cannot tell. Virtue is of
    little regard in these costermongers' times that true valour
    turn'd berod; pregnancy is made a tapster, and his quick wit 490
    wasted in giving reckonings; all the other gifts appertinent
    man, as the malice of this age shapes them, are not worth a
    gooseberry. You that are old consider not the capacities of
    that are young; you do measure the heat of our livers with
    bitterness of your galls; and we that are in the vaward of 495
    youth, must confess, are wags too.
  • Lord Chief Justice. Do you set down your name in the scroll of 505
    that are written down old with all the characters of age?
    you not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white
    decreasing leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice
    your wind short, your chin double, your wit single, and every
    part about you blasted with antiquity? And will you yet call 510
    yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John!
  • Falstaff. My lord, I was born about three of the clock in the
    afternoon, with a white head and something a round belly. For
    voice—I have lost it with hallooing and singing of anthems.
    approve my youth further, I will not. The truth is, I am only
    in judgment and understanding; and he that will caper with me 520
    a thousand marks, let him lend me the money, and have at him.
    the box of the ear that the Prince gave you—he gave it like
    rude prince, and you took it like a sensible lord. I have
    him for it; and the young lion repents—marry, not in ashes
    sackcloth, but in new silk and old sack. 525
  • Falstaff. God send the companion a better prince! I cannot rid 535
    hands of him.
  • Lord Chief Justice. Well, the King hath sever'd you. I hear you are
    going with Lord John of Lancaster against the Archbishop and
    Earl of Northumberland. 540
  • Falstaff. Yea; I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look
    pray, all you that kiss my Lady Peace at home, that our
    join not in a hot day; for, by the Lord, I take but two
    out with me, and I mean not to sweat extraordinarily. If it 545
    hot day, and I brandish anything but a bottle, I would I
    never spit white again. There is not a dangerous action can
    out his head but I am thrust upon it. Well, I cannot last
    but it was alway yet the trick of our English nation, if they
    have a good thing, to make it too common. If ye will needs 550
    am an old man, you should give me rest. I would to God my
    were not so terrible to the enemy as it is. I were better to
    eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with
    perpetual motion.
  • Falstaff. Will your lordship lend me a thousand pound to
  • Lord Chief Justice. Not a penny, not a penny; you are too impatient 570
    bear crosses. Fare you well. Commend me to my cousin


  • Falstaff. If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle. A man can 575
    more separate age and covetousness than 'a can part young
    and lechery; but the gout galls the one, and the pox pinches
    other; and so both the degrees prevent my curses. Boy!
  • Page. Seven groats and two pence.
  • Falstaff. I can get no remedy against this consumption of the 585
    purse; borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the
    is incurable. Go bear this letter to my Lord of Lancaster;
    to the Prince; this to the Earl of Westmoreland; and this to
    Mistress Ursula, whom I have weekly sworn to marry since I
    perceiv'd the first white hair of my chin. About it; you know 590
    where to find me. [Exit PAGE] A pox of this gout! or, a
    this pox! for the one or the other plays the rogue with my
    toe. 'Tis no matter if I do halt; I have the wars for my
    and my pension shall seem the more reasonable. A good wit
    make use of anything. I will turn diseases to commodity. 595
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 3

York. The ARCHBISHOP’S palace



  • Archbishop Scroop. Thus have you heard our cause and known our means; 605
    And, my most noble friends, I pray you all
    Speak plainly your opinions of our hopes-
    And first, Lord Marshal, what say you to it?
  • Lord Mowbray. I well allow the occasion of our amis;
    But gladly would be better satisfied 610
    How, in our means, we should advance ourselves
    To look with forehead bold and big enough
    Upon the power and puissance of the King.
  • Lord Hastings. Our present musters grow upon the file
    To five and twenty thousand men of choice; 615
    And our supplies live largely in the hope
    Of great Northumberland, whose bosom burns
    With an incensed fire of injuries.
  • Lord Bardolph. The question then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus:
    Whether our present five and twenty thousand 620
    May hold up head without Northumberland?
  • Lord Bardolph. Yea, marry, there's the point;
    But if without him we be thought too feeble,
    My judgment is we should not step too far 625
    Till we had his assistance by the hand;
    For, in a theme so bloody-fac'd as this,
    Conjecture, expectation, and surmise
    Of aids incertain, should not be admitted.
  • Archbishop Scroop. 'Tis very true, Lord Bardolph; for indeed 630
    It was young Hotspur's case at Shrewsbury.
  • Lord Bardolph. It was, my lord; who lin'd himself with hope,
    Eating the air and promise of supply,
    Flatt'ring himself in project of a power
    Much smaller than the smallest of his thoughts; 635
    And so, with great imagination
    Proper to madmen, led his powers to death,
    And, winking, leapt into destruction.
  • Lord Hastings. But, by your leave, it never yet did hurt
    To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope. 640
  • Lord Bardolph. Yes, if this present quality of war-
    Indeed the instant action, a cause on foot-
    Lives so in hope, as in an early spring
    We see th' appearing buds; which to prove fruit
    Hope gives not so much warrant, as despair 645
    That frosts will bite them. When we mean to build,
    We first survey the plot, then draw the model;
    And when we see the figure of the house,
    Then we must rate the cost of the erection;
    Which if we find outweighs ability, 650
    What do we then but draw anew the model
    In fewer offices, or at least desist
    To build at all? Much more, in this great work—
    Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down
    And set another up—should we survey 655
    The plot of situation and the model,
    Consent upon a sure foundation,
    Question surveyors, know our own estate
    How able such a work to undergo-
    To weigh against his opposite; or else 660
    We fortify in paper and in figures,
    Using the names of men instead of men;
    Like one that draws the model of a house
    Beyond his power to build it; who, half through,
    Gives o'er and leaves his part-created cost 665
    A naked subject to the weeping clouds
    And waste for churlish winter's tyranny.
  • Lord Hastings. Grant that our hopes—yet likely of fair birth—
    Should be still-born, and that we now possess'd
    The utmost man of expectation, 670
    I think we are so a body strong enough,
    Even as we are, to equal with the King.
  • Lord Hastings. To us no more; nay, not so much, Lord Bardolph;
    For his divisions, as the times do brawl, 675
    Are in three heads: one power against the French,
    And one against Glendower; perforce a third
    Must take up us. So is the unfirm King
    In three divided; and his coffers sound
    With hollow poverty and emptiness. 680
  • Archbishop Scroop. That he should draw his several strengths together
    And come against us in full puissance
    Need not be dreaded.
  • Lord Hastings. If he should do so,
    He leaves his back unarm'd, the French and Welsh 685
    Baying at his heels. Never fear that.
  • Lord Hastings. The Duke of Lancaster and Westmoreland;
    Against the Welsh, himself and Harry Monmouth;
    But who is substituted against the French 690
    I have no certain notice.
  • Archbishop Scroop. Let us on,
    And publish the occasion of our arms.
    The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
    Their over-greedy love hath surfeited. 695
    An habitation giddy and unsure
    Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.
    O thou fond many, with what loud applause
    Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke
    Before he was what thou wouldst have him be! 700
    And being now trimm'd in thine own desires,
    Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him
    That thou provok'st thyself to cast him up.
    So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge
    Thy glutton bosom of the royal Richard; 705
    And now thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up,
    And howl'st to find it. What trust is in these times?
    They that, when Richard liv'd, would have him die
    Are now become enamour'd on his grave.
    Thou that threw'st dust upon his goodly head, 710
    When through proud London he came sighing on
    After th' admired heels of Bolingbroke,
    Criest now 'O earth, yield us that king again,
    And take thou this!' O thoughts of men accurs'd!
    Past and to come seems best; things present, worst. 715