King Henry IX - The War of the Noses





O for an ooze of mire, that would ascend
From the dankest hell of foul invention,
A cesspool for a stage, dunces to act,
And lords to behold the o'er swelling swamp!
Then should the childlike tyrant, like himself
Assume the pout of orange; from his hair
Unleash'd fell crown, should hatred, greed and ire
Sport for enjoyment. But pardon us, the
More fools to ply such piteous humor
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
'Gainst so gross an object: can this stage hold
The vasty halls of power? may we cram
Within this cozy box the bold demons
Who do affright the very air we breathe?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Claim his poor purse worth so many millions;
Then let us, players of his great contempt,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Is now confine'd one potty monarchy,
Whose chaotic and all-contending fronts
The per'lous harrow'd time parts asunder:
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;
Into a thousand parts divide one line,
And make rich imagination flower;
Think when cry'd Havoc! that you do feel it
As if your own too sweet time was so fraught;
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our clowns,
Carry them there and here; jumping o'er times,
Turning the abasements of many months
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this malady;
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.


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