1 Open your ears; for which of you will stop 2 The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks? 3 I, from the orient to the drooping west, 4 Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold 5 The acts commenced on this ball of earth: 6 Upon my tongues continual slanders ride, 7 The which in every language I pronounce, 8 Stuffing the ears of men with false reports. 9 I speak of peace, while covert enmity 10 Under the smile of safety wounds the world: 11 And who but Rumour, who but only I, 12 Make fearful musters and prepared defence, 13 Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief, 14 Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war, 15 And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe 16 Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures 17 And of so easy and so plain a stop 18 That the blunt monster with uncounted heads, 19 The still-discordant wavering multitude, 20 Can play upon it. But what need I thus 21 My well-known body to anatomize 22 Among my household? Why is Rumour here? 23 I run before King Harry's victory; 24 Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury 25 Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops, 26 Quenching the flame of bold rebellion 27 Even with the rebel's blood. But what mean I 28 To speak so true at first? my office is 29 To noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fell 30 Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword, 31 And that the king before the Douglas' rage 32 Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death. 33 This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns 34 Between that royal field of Shrewsbury 35 And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone, 36 Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland, 37 Lies crafty-sick: the posts come tiring on, 38 And not a man of them brings other news 39 Than they have learn'd of me: from Rumour's tongues 40 They bring smooth comforts false, worse than 41 true wrongs.