Actus Secundus. Scena Prima.

Enter Gaunt, sicke with Yorke.

Gau. Will the King come, that I may breath my last In wholsome counsell to his vnstaid youth? Yor. Vex not your selfe, nor striue not with your breth, For all in vaine comes counsell to his eare

Gau. Oh but (they say) the tongues of dying men Inforce attention like deepe harmony; Where words are scarse, they are seldome spent in vaine, For they breath truth, that breath their words in paine. He that no more must say, is listen'd more, Then they whom youth and ease haue taught to glose, More are mens ends markt, then their liues before, The setting Sun, and Musicke in the close As the last taste of sweetes, is sweetest last, Writ in remembrance, more then things long past; Though Richard my liues counsell would not heare, My deaths sad tale, may yet vndeafe his eare

Yor. No, it is stopt with other flatt'ring sounds As praises of his state: then there are found Lasciuious Meeters, to whose venom sound The open eare of youth doth alwayes listen. Report of fashions in proud Italy, Whose manners still our tardie apish Nation Limpes after in base imitation. Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity, So it be new, there's no respect how vile, That is not quickly buz'd into his eares? That all too late comes counsell to be heard, Where will doth mutiny with wits regard: Direct not him, whose way himselfe will choose, Tis breath thou lackst, and that breath wilt thou loose

Gaunt. Me thinkes I am a Prophet new inspir'd, And thus expiring, do foretell of him, His rash fierce blaze of Ryot cannot last, For violent fires soone burne out themselues, Small showres last long, but sodaine stormes are short, He tyres betimes, that spurs too fast betimes; With eager feeding, food doth choake the feeder: Light vanity, insatiate cormorant, Consuming meanes soone preyes vpon it selfe. This royall Throne of Kings, this sceptred Isle, This earth of Maiesty, this seate of Mars, This other Eden, demy paradise, This Fortresse built by Nature for her selfe, Against infection, and the hand of warre: This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone, set in the siluer sea, Which serues it in the office of a wall, Or as a Moate defensiue to a house, Against the enuy of lesse happier Lands, This blessed plot, this earth, this Realme, this England, This Nurse, this teeming wombe of Royall Kings, Fear'd by their breed, and famous for their birth, Renowned for their deeds, as farre from home, For Christian seruice, and true Chiualrie, As is the sepulcher in stubborne Iury Of the Worlds ransome, blessed Maries Sonne. This Land of such deere soules, this deere-deere Land, Deere for her reputation through the world, Is now Leas'd out (I dye pronouncing it) Like to a Tenement or pelting Farme. England bound in with the triumphant sea, Whose rocky shore beates backe the enuious siedge Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame, With Inky blottes, and rotten Parchment bonds. That England, that was wont to conquer others, Hath made a shamefull conquest of it selfe. Ah! would the scandall vanish with my life, How happy then were my ensuing death? Enter King, Queene, Aumerle, Bushy, Greene, Bagot, Ros, and Willoughby.

Yor. The King is come, deale mildly with his youth, For young hot Colts, being rag'd, do rage the more

Qu. How fares our noble Vncle Lancaster? Ri. What comfort man? How ist with aged Gaunt? Ga. Oh how that name befits my composition: Old Gaunt indeed, and gaunt in being old: Within me greefe hath kept a tedious fast, And who abstaynes from meate, that is not gaunt? For sleeping England long time haue I watcht, Watching breeds leannesse, leannesse is all gaunt. The pleasure that some Fathers feede vpon, Is my strict fast, I meane my Childrens lookes, And therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt: Gaunt am I for the graue, gaunt as a graue, Whose hollow wombe inherits naught but bones

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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