ACT III
Scene 2.
 

Before LORD HASTING'S house

Enter a MESSENGER to the door of HASTINGS

MESSENGER
My lord, my lord! [Knocking]

HASTINGS
[Within] Who knocks?

MESSENGER
One from the Lord Stanley.

HASTINGS
[Within] What is't o'clock?

MESSENGER
Upon the stroke of four.

Enter LORD HASTINGS

HASTINGS
Cannot my Lord Stanley sleep these tedious
nights?

MESSENGER
So it appears by that I have to say.
First, he commends him to your noble self.

HASTINGS
What then?

MESSENGER
Then certifies your lordship that this night
He dreamt the boar had razed off his helm.
Besides, he says there are two councils kept,
And that may be determin'd at the one
Which may make you and him to rue at th' other.
Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure-
If you will presently take horse with him
And with all speed post with him toward the north
To shun the danger that his soul divines.

HASTINGS
Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
Bid him not fear the separated council:
His honour and myself are at the one,
And at the other is my good friend Catesby;
Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
Tell him his fears are shallow, without instance;
And for his dreams, I wonder he's so simple
To trust the mock'ry of unquiet slumbers.
To fly the boar before the boar pursues
Were to incense the boar to follow us
And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
Go, bid thy master rise and come to me;
And we will both together to the Tower,
Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.

MESSENGER
I'll go, my lord, and tell him what you say.

Exit

Enter CATESBY

CATESBY
Many good morrows to my noble lord!

HASTINGS
Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring.
What news, what news, in this our tott'ring state?

CATESBY
It is a reeling world indeed, my lord;
And I believe will never stand upright
Till Richard wear the garland of the realm.

HASTINGS
How, wear the garland! Dost thou mean the
crown?

CATESBY
Ay, my good lord.

HASTINGS
I'll have this crown of mine cut from my
shoulders
Before I'll see the crown so foul misplac'd.
But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?

CATESBY
Ay, on my life; and hopes to find you forward
Upon his party for the gain thereof;
And thereupon he sends you this good news,
That this same very day your enemies,
The kindred of the Queen, must die at Pomfret.

HASTINGS
Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
Because they have been still my adversaries;
But that I'll give my voice on Richard's side
To bar my master's heirs in true descent,
God knows I will not do it to the death.

CATESBY
God keep your lordship in that gracious mind!

HASTINGS
But I shall laugh at this a twelve month hence,
That they which brought me in my master's hate,
I live to look upon their tragedy.
Well, Catesby, ere a fortnight make me older,
I'll send some packing that yet think not on't.

CATESBY
'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
When men are unprepar'd and look not for it.

HASTINGS
O monstrous, monstrous! And so falls it out
With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey; and so 'twill do
With some men else that think themselves as safe
As thou and I, who, as thou knowest, are dear
To princely Richard and to Buckingham.

CATESBY
The Princes both make high account of you-
[Aside] For they account his head upon the bridge.

HASTINGS
I know they do, and I have well deserv'd it.

Enter LORD STANLEY

Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?

STANLEY
My lord, good morrow; good morrow, Catesby.
You may jest on, but, by the holy rood,
I do not like these several councils, I.

HASTINGS
My lord, I hold my life as dear as yours,
And never in my days, I do protest,
Was it so precious to me as 'tis now.
Think you, but that I know our state secure,
I would be so triumphant as I am?

STANLEY
The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from
London,
Were jocund and suppos'd their states were sure,
And they indeed had no cause to mistrust;
But yet you see how soon the day o'ercast.
This sudden stab of rancour I misdoubt;
Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward.
What, shall we toward the Tower? The day is spent.

HASTINGS
Come, come, have with you. Wot you what, my
Lord?
To-day the lords you talk'd of are beheaded.

STANLEY
They, for their truth, might better wear their
heads
Than some that have accus'd them wear their hats.
But come, my lord, let's away.

Enter HASTINGS, a pursuivant

HASTINGS
Go on before; I'll talk with this good fellow.

Exeunt STANLEY and CATESBY

How now, Hastings! How goes the world with thee?

PURSUIVANT
The better that your lordship please to ask.

HASTINGS
I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now
Than when thou met'st me last where now we meet:
Then was I going prisoner to the Tower
By the suggestion of the Queen's allies;
But now, I tell thee-keep it to thyself-
This day those enernies are put to death,
And I in better state than e'er I was.

PURSUIVANT
God hold it, to your honour's good content!

HASTINGS
Gramercy, Hastings; there, drink that for me.

[Throws him his purse]

PURSUIVANT
I thank your honour.

Exit

Enter a PRIEST

PRIEST
Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.

HASTINGS
I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
I am in your debt for your last exercise;
Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.

[He whispers in his ear]

PRIEST
I'll wait upon your lordship.

Enter BUCKINGHAM

BUCKINGHAM
What, talking with a priest, Lord
Chamberlain!
Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest:
Your honour hath no shriving work in hand.

HASTINGS
Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
The men you talk of came into my mind.
What, go you toward the Tower?

BUCKINGHAM
I do, my lord, but long I cannot stay there;
I shall return before your lordship thence.

HASTINGS
Nay, like enough, for I stay dinner there.

BUCKINGHAM
[Aside] And supper too, although thou
knowest it not.-
Come, will you go?

HASTINGS
I'll wait upon your lordship.

Exeunt