With divers liquors! O, if this were seen,
The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,
55What perils past, what crosses to ensue,
Would shut the book, and sit him down and die.
'Tis not ten years gone
Since Richard and Northumberland, great friends,
Did feast together, and in two years after
60Were they at wars. It is but eight years since
This Percy was the man nearest my soul,
Who like a brother toiled in my affairs
And laid his love and life under my foot,
Yea, for my sake, even to the eyes of Richard
65Gave him defiance. But which of you was by—
(to WARWICK) You, cousin Nevil, as I may remember—
When Richard, with his eye brimful of tears,
Then checked and rated by Northumberland,
Did speak these words, now proved a prophecy?
70“Northumberland, thou ladder by the which
My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my throne”—
Though then, God knows, I had no such intent,
But that necessity so bowed the state
That I and greatness were compelled to kiss—
75“The time shall come,” thus did he follow it,
“The time will come that foul sin, gathering head,
Shall break into corruption”—so went on,
Foretelling this same time’s condition
And the division of our amity.
If even the happiest youth could read this book, he’d look at the course of his life—the dangers he’s endured, the challenges that still lie ahead—and he’d shut that book, sit down and die. It was less than ten years ago that Richard and Northumberland loved each other. Then two years later, they were at war. Just eight years ago, Northumberland was the man closest to my heart. Like a brother, he devoted himself to me, dedicating both life and limb to my cause. He even challenged Richard on my behalf. But which of you was there—
I think it was you, Warwick—when Richard, his eyes brimming with tears because of Northumberland’s rebellion, spoke these words that now seem prophetic: “Northumberland, you are the ladder that Bolingbroke has climbed to get to the throne.” Although, God knows, it wasn’t my intention then to become king. But the country needed it so badly, I was forced to rise up and become great. “The time will come,” Richard continued, “when this terrible sin, growing in size, will break out into corruption.” That’s how he went on. He predicted our current condition, and the collapse of our alliances.
80There is a history in all men’s lives
Figuring the nature of the times deceased,
The which observed, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
85And weak beginnings lie intreasurèd.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time,
And by the necessary form of this,
There is a chronicle for every man’s life, which shows what happened to him in times now past. If you study that chronicle, you can prophecy what lies ahead with some accuracy. The seeds of things to come are buried in the things that have already happened. These seeds grow, and become the children of time.