Will. 'Tis certaine, euery man that dyes ill, the ill vpon his owne head, the King is not to answer it

Bates. I doe not desire hee should answer for me, and yet I determine to fight lustily for him

King. I my selfe heard the King say he would not be ransom'd

Will. I, hee said so, to make vs fight chearefully: but when our throats are cut, hee may be ransom'd, and wee ne're the wiser

King. If I liue to see it, I will neuer trust his word after

Will. You pay him then: that's a perillous shot out of an Elder Gunne, that a poore and a priuate displeasure can doe against a Monarch: you may as well goe about to turne the Sunne to yce, with fanning in his face with a Peacocks feather: You'le neuer trust his word after; come, 'tis a foolish saying

King. Your reproofe is something too round, I should be angry with you, if the time were conuenient

Will. Let it bee a Quarrell betweene vs, if you liue

King. I embrace it

Will. How shall I know thee againe? King. Giue me any Gage of thine, and I will weare it in my Bonnet: Then if euer thou dar'st acknowledge it, I will make it my Quarrell

Will. Heere's my Gloue: Giue mee another of thine

King. There

Will. This will I also weare in my Cap: if euer thou come to me, and say, after to morrow, This is my Gloue, by this Hand I will take thee a box on the eare

King. If euer I liue to see it, I will challenge it

Will. Thou dar'st as well be hang'd

King. Well, I will doe it, though I take thee in the Kings companie

Will. Keepe thy word: fare thee well

Bates. Be friends you English fooles, be friends, wee haue French Quarrels enow, if you could tell how to reckon.

Exit Souldiers.

King. Indeede the French may lay twentie French Crownes to one, they will beat vs, for they beare them on their shoulders: but it is no English Treason to cut French Crownes, and to morrow the King himselfe will be a Clipper. Vpon the King, let vs our Liues, our Soules, Our Debts, our carefull Wiues, Our Children, and our Sinnes, lay on the King: We must beare all. O hard Condition, Twin-borne with Greatnesse, Subiect to the breath of euery foole, whose sence No more can feele, but his owne wringing. What infinite hearts-ease must Kings neglect, That priuate men enioy? And what haue Kings, that Priuates haue not too, Saue Ceremonie, saue generall Ceremonie? And what art thou, thou Idoll Ceremonie? What kind of God art thou? that suffer'st more Of mortall griefes, then doe thy worshippers. What are thy Rents? what are thy Commings in? O Ceremonie, shew me but thy worth. What? is thy Soule of Odoration? Art thou ought else but Place, Degree, and Forme, Creating awe and feare in other men? Wherein thou art lesse happy, being fear'd, Then they in fearing. What drink'st thou oft, in stead of Homage sweet, But poyson'd flatterie? O, be sick, great Greatnesse, And bid thy Ceremonie giue thee cure. Thinks thou the fierie Feuer will goe out With Titles blowne from Adulation? Will it giue place to flexure and low bending? Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggers knee, Command the health of it? No, thou prowd Dreame, That play'st so subtilly with a Kings Repose. I am a King that find thee: and I know, 'Tis not the Balme, the Scepter, and the Ball, The Sword, the Mase, the Crowne Imperiall, The enter-tissued Robe of Gold and Pearle, The farsed Title running 'fore the King, The Throne he sits on: nor the Tyde of Pompe, That beates vpon the high shore of this World: No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous Ceremonie; Not all these, lay'd in Bed Maiesticall, Can sleepe so soundly, as the wretched Slaue: Who with a body fill'd, and vacant mind, Gets him to rest, cram'd with distressefull bread, Neuer sees horride Night, the Child of Hell: But like a Lacquey, from the Rise to Set, Sweates in the eye of Phebus; and all Night Sleepes in Elizium: next day after dawne, Doth rise and helpe Hiperio[n] to his Horse, And followes so the euer-running yeere With profitable labour to his Graue: And but for Ceremonie, such a Wretch, Winding vp Dayes with toyle, and Nights with sleepe, Had the fore-hand and vantage of a King. The Slaue, a Member of the Countreyes peace, Enioyes it; but in grosse braine little wots, What watch the King keepes, to maintaine the peace; Whose howres, the Pesant best aduantages. Enter Erpingham.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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