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Henry IV, Part 2 Scenes



Rumor, painted full of tongues, says she has spread news of King’s defeat. (40 lines)


Enter Rumor, painted full of tongues. RUM.


Open your ears; for which of you will stop

The vent of hearing when loud Rumor 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 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 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 wav’ring multitude,

Can play upon it. But what need I thus

My well-known body to anatomize

Among my household? Why is Rumor 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

Stoop’d his anointed head as low as death.

This have I rumor’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 learnt of me. From Rumor’s tongues

They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.

Exit Rumor. RUM.


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