The Civil Wars between the Two Houses of Lancaster and York

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The swift approach and unexpected speedThe king had made upon this new-rais'd force,In the unconfirmed troops, much fear did breed,Untimely hind'ring their intended course.The joining with the Welsh they had decreedWas hereby dash'd; which made their cause the worse.Northumberland, with forces from the north,Expected to be there, was not set forth.

XXXVIISo near arriv'd, leaving the work in hand,With forward speed his forces marshalling,Sets forth his farther coming to withstand.And with a cheerful voice encouragingHis well experienc'd and adventurous band,Brings on his army, eager unto fight;And plac'd the same before the king in sight.

XXXVIIIWhatever it doth give, shall glory give;This day, with honour, frees our state, or endsOur misery with fame, that still shall live.And do but think, how well the same he spends,Who spends his blood, his country to relieve.What? have we hands, and shall we servile be?Why were swords made, but to preserve men free.

XXXIXWhich we may even promise on our side,Against this weak constrained company,Whom force and fear, not will and love doth guide,Against a prince, whose foul impietyThe heavens do hate, the earth cannot abide:Our number being no less, our courage more,No doubt we have it, if we work therefore."

XLUpon the king; who well their order view'd,And wary noted all the course at largeOf their proceeding, and their multitude,And deeming better, if he could dischargeThe day with safety, and some peace conclude,Great proffers sends of pardon and of graceIf they would yield, and quietness embrace.

XLITo time his business, for some other end;Yet, sure, he could not mean t' have peace with thoseWho did in that supreme degree offend.Nor were they such, as would be won with shows;Or breath of oaths, or vows could apprehend:So that in honour the offers he doth make,Were not for him to give nor them to take.

XLIIHe was not bloody in his natural;And yield he did to more then might behoveHis dignity to have dispens'd withal:And, unto Worcester, he himself did moveA reconcilement to be made of all:But Worcester, knowing it could not be secur'd,His nephews onset, yet for all, procur'd.

XLIIIRage, against fury, doth with speed prepare."And though," said he, "I could have well dispens'dWith this day's blood, which I have sought to spare;That greater glory might have recompens'dThe forward worth of these, that so much dare;That we might good have had by th' overthrown,And the wounds we make might not have been our own:

XLIVCalls on the sword of wrath, against my will;And that themselves exact this cruelty,And I constrained am this blood to spill;Then on, brave followers, on courageously,True-hearted subjects, against traitors ill;And spare not them, who seek to spoil us allWhose foul confused end, soon see you shall."

XLVThe notes of wrath, the music brought from Hell,The rattling drums, which trumpets voice confoundsThe cries, the encouragements, the shouting shrill;That, all about, the beaten air reboundsConfused thundering-murmurs horrible;To rob all sense, except the sense to fight.Well hands may work; the mind hath lost his sight.

XLVIThe child of malice, and revengeful hate;Thou impious good, and good impiety,That art the foul refiner of a state;Unjust-just scourge of men's iniquity,Sharp-easer of corruptions desperate;Is there no means but that a sin-sick landMust be let blood with such a boisterous hand?

XLVIIHad not wrong-counsell'd Percy been perverse?Whose forward hand, inur'd to wounds, makes wayUpon the sharpest fronts of the most fierce:Where now an equal fury thrusts to stayAnd back-repel that force, and his disperse:Then these assail, then those re-chase again,Till stay'd with new-made hills of bodies slain.

XLVIIIWonder of arms, the terror of the field,Young Henry, labouring where the stoutest are,And even the stoutest forced back to yield;There is that hand bolden'd to blood and war,That must the sword, in wondrous actions, wield:Though better he had learn'd with others' blood;A less expense to us, to him more good.

XLIXTo his endanger'd father, near oppress'd,That day had seen the full accomplishmentOf all his travails, and his final rest.For, Mars-like Douglas all his forces bentTo encounter and to grapple with the best;As if disdaining any other thingTo do, that day, but to subdue a king.

LThree, all as kings adorn'd in royal wise:And each successive after other quails;Still wond'ring whence so many kings should rise.And, doubting lest his hand or eyesight fails,In these confounded, on a fourth he flies,And him unhorses too: whom had he sped,He then all kings, in him, had vanquished.

LIThe person of himself into four parts;To be less known, and yet known everywhere,The more to animate his people's hearts;Who, cheered by his presence, would not spareTo execute their best and worthiest parts.By which, two special things effected are:His safety, and his subjects' better care.

LIIWith greater hazard, and with more renownThan thou didst, mighty Henry, in this fight;Which only made thee owner of thine own:Thou never prov'dst the tenure of thy right(How thou didst hold thy easy-gotten crown)Till now; and, now, thou shew'st thyself chief lord,By that especial right of kings: the sword.

LIIITo purchase thee a saving victory:Great Stafford thy high constable lies dead,With Shorly, Clifton, Gawsell, Calverly,And many more; whose brave deaths witnessedTheir noble valour and fidelity:And many more had left their dearest bloodBehind, that day, had Hotspur longer stood.

LIVRushing into the thickest woods of spears,And brakes of swords, still laying at the head(The life of th' army) whiles he nothing fearsOr spares his own, comes all invironedWith multitude of power, that over-bearsHis manly worth; who yields not, in his fall;But fighting dies, and dying kills withal.

LVOf glory, Hotspur, had'st thou purchas'd here;Could but thy cause as fair as thy pretenceBe made unto thy country to appear!Had it been her protection and defence(Not thy ambition) made thee sell so dearThyself this day, she must have here made goodAn everlasting statue for thy blood.

LVI(As if they could not stand, when thou wert down)Dispers'd in rout, betook them all to fly:And Douglas, faint with wounds, and overthrown,Was taken; who yet won the enemyWhich took him (by his noble valour shown,In that day's mighty work) and was preserv'dWith all the grace, and honour he deserv'd.

© Samuel Daniel