My liege, I did deny no prisoners,
But I remember, when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
Came there a certain lord, neat, and trimly dress’d,
Fresh as a bridegroom, and his chin new reap’d
Show’d like a stubble-land at harvest-home.
He was perfumed like a milliner,
And ’twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
He gave his nose and took’t away again,
Who therewith angry, when it next came there,
Took it in snuff—and still he smil’d and talk’d:
And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
He call’d them untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms
He questioned me, amongst the rest demanded
My prisoners in your Majesty’s behalf.
I then, all smarting with my wounds being cold,
To be so pest’red with a popingay,
Out of my grief and my impatience
Answer’d neglectingly, I know not what—
He should, or he should not—for he made me mad
To see him shine so brisk and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting-gentlewoman
Of guns, and drums, and wounds, God save the mark!
And telling me the sovereignest thing on earth
Was parmaciti for an inward bruise,
And that it was great pity, so it was,
This villainous saltpetre should be digg’d
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed
So cowardly, and but for these vile guns
He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answered indirectly, as I said,
And I beseech you, let not his report
Come current for an accusation
Betwixt my love and your high Majesty.