1. SCENE I. London. An Apartment in Ely House.
[GAUNT on a couch; the DUKE OF YORK and Others standing by him.]
Will the King come, that I may breathe my last
In wholesome counsel to his unstaid youth?
Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath;
For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.
O! but they say the tongues of dying men
Enforce attention like deep harmony:
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain,
For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.
He that no more must say is listen'd more
Than they whom youth and ease have taught to glose;
More are men's ends mark'd than their lives before:
The setting sun, and music at the close,
As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,
Writ in remembrance more than things long past:
Though Richard my life's counsel would not hear,
My death's sad tale may yet undeaf his ear.
No; it is stopp'd with other flattering sounds,
As praises of his state: then there are fond,
Lascivious metres, to whose venom sound
The open ear of youth doth always listen:
Report of fashions in proud Italy,
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation
Limps after in base imitation.
Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity,--
So it be new there's no respect how vile,--
That is not quickly buzz'd into his ears?
Then all too late comes counsel to be heard,
Where will doth mutiny with wit's regard.
Direct not him whose way himself will choose:
'Tis breath thou lack'st, and that breath wilt thou lose.