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    Chapter 1

    Warkworth. Before the castle

    Enter RUMOUR, painted full of tongues
    Open your ears; for which of you will stop
    The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks?
    I, from the orient to the drooping west,
    Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
    The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
    Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,
    The which in every language I pronounce,
    Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
    I speak of peace, while covert enmity
    Under the smile of safety wounds the world:
    And who but Rumour, who but only I,
    Make fearful musters and prepared defence,
    Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief,
    Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
    And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe
    Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
    And of so easy and so plain a stop
    That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
    The still-discordant wavering multitude,
    Can play upon it. But what need I thus
    My well-known body to anatomize
    Among my household? Why is Rumour here?
    I run before King Harry's victory;
    Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury
    Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops,
    Quenching the flame of bold rebellion
    Even with the rebel's blood. But what mean I
    To speak so true at first? my office is
    To noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fell
    Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword,
    And that the king before the Douglas' rage
    Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death.
    This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns
    Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
    And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,
    Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
    Lies crafty-sick: the posts come tiring on,
    And not a man of them brings other news
    Than they have learn'd of me: from Rumour's tongues
    They bring smooth comforts false, worse than
    true wrongs.

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