Henry IV, Part 2 (Paperback)
Open your ears; for which of you will stop The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks? I, from the orient to the drooping west, Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold The acts commenced on this ball of earth: Upon my tongues continual slanders ride, The which in every language I pronounce, Stuffing the ears of men with false reports. I speak of peace, while covert enmity Under the smile of safety wounds the world: And who but Rumour, who but only I, Make fearful musters and prepared defence, Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief, Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war, And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures And of so easy and so plain a stop That the blunt monster with uncounted heads, The still-discordant wavering multitude, Can play upon it. But what need I thus My well-known body to anatomize Among my household? Why is Rumour here? I run before King Harry's victory; Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops, Quenching the flame of bold rebellion Even with the rebel's blood. But what mean I To speak so true at first? my office is To noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fell Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword, And that the king before the Douglas' rage Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death. This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns Between that royal field of Shrewsbury And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone, Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland, Lies crafty-sick: the posts come tiring on, And not a man of them brings other news Than they have learn'd of me: from Rumour's tongues They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.Exit.