Henry IV Part 2

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Original text
Enter Rumour.
Open your Eares: For which of you will stop
The vent of Hearing, when loud Rumor speakes?
I, from the Orient, to the drooping West
(Making the winde my Post-horse) still vnfold
The Acts commenced on this Ball of Earth.
Vpon my Tongue, continuall Slanders ride,
The which, in euery Language, I pronounce,
Stuffing the Eares of them with false Reports:
I speake of Peace, while couert Enmitie
(Vnder the smile of Safety) wounds the World:
And who but Rumour, who but onely I
Make fearfull Musters, and prepar'd Defence,
Whil'st the bigge yeare, swolne with some other griefes,
Is thought with childe, by the sterne Tyrant, Warre,
And no such matter? Rumour, is a Pipe
Blowne by Surmises, Ielousies, Coniectures;
And of so easie, and so plaine a stop,
That the blunt Monster, with vncounted heads,
The still discordant, wauering Multitude,
Can play vpon it. But what neede I thus
My well-knowne Body to Anathomize
Among my houshold? Why is Rumour heere?
I run before King Harries victory,
Who in a bloodie field by Shrewsburie
Hath beaten downe yong Hotspurre, and his Troopes,
Quenching the flame of bold Rebellion,
Euen with the Rebels blood. But what meane I
To speake so true at first? My Office is
To noyse abroad, that Harry Monmouth fell
Vnder the Wrath of Noble Hotspurres Sword:
And that the King, before the Dowglas Rage
Stoop'd his Annointed head, as low as death.
This haue I rumour'd through the peasant-Townes,
Betweene the Royall Field of Shrewsburie,
And this Worme-eaten-Hole of ragged Stone,
Where Hotspurres Father, old Northumberland,
Lyes crafty sicke. The Postes come tyring on,
And not a man of them brings other newes
Then they haue learn'd of Me. From Rumours Tongues,
They bring smooth-Comforts-false, worse then True-wrongs.
Exit.
Modern text
Enter Rumour, painted full of tongues

RUMOUR
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, swollen 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 rebels' 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
Stooped his anointed head as low as death.
This have I rumoured 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 learnt of me. From Rumour's tongues
They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.
Exit
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