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Henry IV Part 2

No Fear Act 1 Scene 1
No Fear Act 1 Scene 1 Page 4

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NORTHUMBERLAND

Yea, this man’s brow, like to a title leaf,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume.
So looks the strand whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness’d usurpation.—
65Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Yes. And the look on his face is like the title page of a book: it hints at the tragic story within. His brow is lined with furrows, like a beach after a wild flood. Morton, did you come from Shrewsbury?

MORTON

I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord,
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask
To fright our party.

MORTON

I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord. Death was there, frightening our side with his ugliest mask.

NORTHUMBERLAND

How doth my son and brother?
70Thou tremblest, and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woebegone,
Drew Priam’s curtain in the dead of night,
75And would have told him half his Troy was burnt;
But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy’s death ere thou report’st it.
This thou wouldst say, “Your son did thus and thus;
Your brother thus; so fought the noble Douglas”—
80Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds.
But in the end, to stop my ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with “Brother, son, and all are dead.”

NORTHUMBERLAND

How are my son and my brother? You’re trembling, and the paleness of your face is more likely to convey your news than your tongue. This is like that old story about the burning of Troy. A man like you—faint, lifeless, dull, deadly-looking, sad—woke King Priam in the dead of night to tell him that half the city of Troy had been burned down. But Priam saw the fire before this man could speak, and I can see my Percy’s death before you report it. You’re going to tell me, “Your son did such-and-such; your brother did this; the noble Douglas fought like so.” You’ll stuff my greedy ears with stories of their bold deeds. But in the end, you’ll stop my ears forever with a sigh that blows away all your words of praise. You will end your story by saying, “Your brother, your son, everyone-dead.”

MORTON

Douglas is living, and your brother yet,
85But for my lord your son—

MORTON

Douglas is alive, and so is your brother, for now. But as for your son, my lord—

NORTHUMBERLAND

   Why, he is dead.
See what a ready tongue suspicion hath!
He that but fears the thing he would not know
Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others' eyes
That what he feared is chancèd. Yet speak, Morton.
90Tell thou an earl his divination lies,

NORTHUMBERLAND

Why, he is dead. My suspicion is so quick to speak! When a man fears something, and doesn’t want to know the truth, he can still tell when that thing has happened; by instinct, he can read it in another man’s eyes. But speak, Morton. Tell me, who am an earl, that I have

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