Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
The Life of

K. Hen. Indeed, the French may lay twenty
French crowns to one, they will beat us; for
they bear them on their shoulders: but it is no
English treason to cut French crowns, and to-
morrow the king himself will be a clipper. 249

[Exeunt Soldiers.]

Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,
Our debts, our careful wives,
Our children, and our sins lay on the king! 252
We must bear all. O hard condition!
Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath
Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel
But his own wringing. What infinite heart's ease
Must kings neglect that private men enjoy! 257
And what have kings that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
And what art thou, thou idol ceremony? 260
What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more
Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
What are thy rents? what are thy comings-in?
O ceremony! show me but thy worth: 264
What is thy soul of adoration?
Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form,
Creating awe and fear in other men?
Wherein thou art less happy, being fear'd, 268
Than they in fearing.
What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poison'd flattery? O! be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy ceremony give thee cure. 272
Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation?
Will it give place to flexure and low-bending?

246 French crowns; cf. n.
251 careful: full of care
256 wringing: suffering
265 What is the essential reason men adore thee?