Sir, I do know you,
And dare upon the warrant of my note
Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,
20Although as yet the face of it be covered
With mutual cunning, ’twixt Albany and Cornwall,
Who have—as who have not that their great stars
Throned and set high?—servants, who seem no less,
Which are to France the spies and speculations
25Intelligent of our state. What hath been seen,
Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes,
Or the hard rein which both of them hath borne
Against the old kind king, or something deeper,
Whereof perchance these are but furnishings—
30But true it is. From France there comes a power
Into this scattered kingdom, who already,
Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
In some of our best ports and are at point
To show their open banner. Now to you.
35If on my credit you dare build so far
To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
Some that will thank you, making just report
Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
The king hath cause to plain.
40I am a gentleman of blood and breeding,
And from some knowledge and assurance offer
This office to you.
Sir, I know you, and I trust you enough to share something very important with you. There’s a feud between Albany and Cornwall, although they’ve been clever enough to hide it thus far. Like other powerful rulers, they have servants who are actually French spies in disguise. These spies have noticed something, perhaps in the squabbles between Albany and Cornwall, or in the tough line both of them have taken against the good old king, or perhaps in some deeper matter at the root of both of these problems—The point is that the King of France has sent troops into our divided kingdom. Some French agents are already at work in our main ports and are on the verge of declaring open war. Now this is where you come in. If you trust me enough to hurry to Dover, you’ll earn the gratitude of many people when you fairly report the monstrous and maddening extent of the king’s suffering. I’m a nobleman, and I know what I’m doing in assigning this job to you.
I will talk further with you.
Let’s discuss it some more.