Harold: A Drama

Act IV

Scene II

Alfred Tennyson

A Plain. Before the Battle of Stamford-Bridge.


Who is it comes this way? Tostig?
(Enter TOSTIG with a small force.)        O brother,
What art thou doing here?

                        I am foraging
For Norway’s army.

                I could take and slay thee.
Thou art in arms against us.

                        Take and slay me,
For Edward loved me.

                Edward bad me spare thee.

I hate King Edward, for he join’d with thee
To drive me outlaw’d. Take and slay me, I say,
Or I shall count thee fool.

                        Take thee, or free thee,
Free thee or slay thee, Norway will have war;
No man would strike with Tostig, save for Norway.
Thou art nothing in thine England, save for Norway,
Who loves not thee but war. What dost thou here,
Trampling thy mother’s bosom into blood?

She hath wean’d me from it with such bitterness.
I come for mine own Earldom, my Northumbria;
Thou hast given it to the enemy of our house.

Northumbria threw thee off, she will not have thee,
Thou hast misused her: and, O crowning crime!
Hast murder’d thine own guest, the son of Orm,
Gamel, at thine own hearth.

                        The slow, fat fool!
He drawl’d and prated so, I smote him suddenly,
I knew not what I did. He held with Morcar.—
I hate myself for all things that I do.

And Morcar holds with us. Come back with him.
Know what thou dost; and we may find for thee,
So thou be chasten’d by thy banishment,
Some easier earldom.

                What for Norway then?
He looks for land among us, he and his.

Seven feet of English land, or something more,
Seeing he is a giant.

                That is noble!
That sounds of Godwin.

                Come thou back, and be
Once more a son of Godwin.

    TOSTIG (turns away).
        O brother, brother,
O Harold—

    HAROLD (laying his hand on TOSTIG’S shoulder).
                Nay then, come thou back to us!

    TOSTIG (after a pause turning to him).
Never shall any man say that I, that Tostig
Conjured the mightier Harold from his North
To do the battle for me here in England,
Then left him for the meaner! thee!—
Thou hast no passion for the House of Godwin—
Thou hast but cared to make thyself a king—
Thou hast sold me for a cry.—
Thou gavest thy voice against me in the Council—
I hate thee, and despise thee, and defy thee.
Farewell for ever!


On to Stamford-bridge!

Harold: A Drama - Contents     |     Act IV - Scene III

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