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Henry IV, Pt. 2 :: Scenes :: Henry IV, Part 2: Prologue
PrologueRumorRumor, painted full of tongues, says she has spread news of King’s defeat.InductionEnter Rumor, painted full of tongues.RUM.RUM.Open your ears; for which of you will stopThe vent of hearing when loud Rumor speaks?I, from the orient to the drooping west(Making the wind my post-horse), still unfoldThe 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 enmityUnder the smile of safety wounds the world;And who but Rumor, who but only I,Make fearful musters and prepar’d defense,Whiles the big year, swoll’n with some other grief,Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,And no such matter? Rumor is a pipeBlown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,And of so easy and so plain a stopThat the blunt monster with uncounted heads,The still-discordant wav’ring multitude,Can play upon it. But what need I thusMy well-known body to anatomizeAmong my household? Why is Rumor here?I run before King Harry’s victory,Who in a bloody field by ShrewsburyHath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops,Quenching the flame of bold rebellionEven with the rebels’ blood. But what mean ITo speak so true at first? My office isTo noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fellUnder the wrath of noble Hotspur’s sword,And that the King before the Douglas’ rageStoop’d his anointed head as low as death.This have I rumor’d through the peasant townsBetween that royal field of ShrewsburyAnd 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 newsThan they have learnt of me. From Rumor’s tonguesThey bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.Exit Rumor.RUM.
 
 
 
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