Actus Quartus. Scoena Prima.

Enter Harrie Hotspurre, Worcester, and Dowglas.

Hot. Well said, my Noble Scot, if speaking truth In this fine Age, were not thought flatterie, Such attribution should the Dowglas haue, As not a Souldiour of this seasons stampe, Should go so generall currant through the world. By heauen I cannot flatter: I defie The Tongues of Soothers. But a Brauer place In my hearts loue, hath no man then your Selfe. Nay, taske me to my word: approue me Lord

Dow. Thou art the King of Honor: No man so potent breathes vpon the ground, But I will Beard him. Enter a Messenger.

Hot. Do so, and 'tis well. What letters hast there? I can but thanke you

Mess. These Letters come from your Father

Hot. Letters from him? Why comes he not himselfe? Mes. He cannot come, my Lord, He is greeuous sicke

Hot. How? haz he the leysure to be sicke now, In such a iustling time? Who leades his power? Vnder whose Gouernment come they along? Mess. His Letters beares his minde, not I his minde

Wor. I prethee tell me, doth he keepe his Bed? Mess. He did, my Lord, foure dayes ere I set forth: And at the time of my departure thence, He was much fear'd by his Physician

Wor. I would the state of time had first beene whole, Ere he by sicknesse had beene visited: His health was neuer better worth then now

Hotsp. Sicke now? droope now? this sicknes doth infect The very Life-blood of our Enterprise, 'Tis catching hither, euen to our Campe. He writes me here, that inward sicknesse, And that his friends by deputation Could not so soone be drawne: nor did he thinke it meet, To lay so dangerous and deare a trust On any Soule remou'd, but on his owne. Yet doth he giue vs bold aduertisement, That with our small coniunction we should on, To see how Fortune is dispos'd to vs: For, as he writes, there is no quailing now, Because the King is certainely possest Of all our purposes. What say you to it? Wor. Your Fathers sicknesse is a mayme to vs

Hotsp. A perillous Gash, a very Limme lopt off: And yet, in faith, it is not his present want Seemes more then we shall finde it. Were it good, to set the exact wealth of all our states All at one Cast? To set so rich a mayne On the nice hazard of one doubtfull houre, It were not good: for therein should we reade The very Bottome, and the Soule of Hope, The very List, the very vtmost Bound Of all our fortunes

Dowg. Faith, and so wee should, Where now remaines a sweet reuersion. We may boldly spend, vpon the hope Of what is to come in: A comfort of retyrement liues in this

Hotsp. A Randeuous, a Home to flye vnto, If that the Deuill and Mischance looke bigge Vpon the Maydenhead of our Affaires

Wor. But yet I would your Father had beene here: The qualitie and Heire of our Attempt Brookes no diuision: It will be thought By some, that know not why he is away, That wisedome, loyaltie, and meere dislike Of our proceedings, kept the Earle from hence. And thinke, how such an apprehension May turne the tyde of fearefull Faction, And breede a kinde of question in our cause: For well you know, wee of the offring side, Must keepe aloofe from strict arbitrement, And stop all sight-holes, euery loope, from whence The eye of reason may prie in vpon vs: This absence of your Father drawes a Curtaine, That shewes the ignorant a kinde of feare, Before not dreamt of

Hotsp. You strayne too farre. I rather of his absence make this vse: It lends a Lustre, and more great Opinion, A larger Dare to your great Enterprize, Then if the Earle were here: for men must thinke, If we without his helpe, can make a Head To push against the Kingdome; with his helpe, We shall o're-turne it topsie-turuy downe: Yet all goes well, yet all our ioynts are whole

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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