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THE transactions comprized in this history take up about nine years. The action commences with the account of Hotspur's being defeated and killed ; and closes with the death of King Henry IV. and the coronation of King Henry V. [1412-13.] THEOBALD.
This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, August 23, 1600.
STEEVENS. The Second Part of King Henry IV. I suppose to have been written in 1598. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, vol. ii. MALONE.
Mr Upton thinks these two plays improperly called The First and Second Parts of Henry the Fourth. The first play ends, he says, with the peaceful settlement of Henry in the kingdom by the defeat of the rebels. This is hardly true; for the rebels are not yet finally suppressed. The second, he tells us, shows Henry the Fifth in the various lights of a good-natured rake, till, on his father's death, he assumes a more manly character. This is true; but this representation gives us no idea of a dramatick action. These two plays will appear to every reader, who shall peruse them without ambition of critical discoveries, to be so connected, that the second is merely a sequel to the first; to be two only because they are too long to be one. JOHNSON.
Of this play there are two quartos, in Mr. Malone's Collection, both printed in the same year, 1600; but it is doubtful whether they are different editions, or only the one a corrected impression of the other, from some omissions having passed in the first. See them more particularly described in the list of quartos, vol. ïï. Mr. Steevens in a subsequent note, speaks of a third, but I have never seen it. I have referred to that which Mr. Malone supposed to be the first by the letter A. to the other, by letter B. BOSWELL.
KING HENRY the Fourth:
HENRY, Prince of Wales, afterwards
THOMAS, Duke of Clarence;
PRINCE JOHN OF LANCASTER', after
wards (2 Henry V.) Duke of his Sons. Bedford;
PRINCE HUMPHREY OF GLOSTER, afterwards (2 Henry V.) Duke of
Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench.
A Gentleman attending on the Chief Justice.
EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND;
SCROOP; Archbishop of York;
LORD MOWBRAY; LORD HASTINGS;
TRAVERS and MORTON, Domesticks of Northum
FALSTAFF, BARADLPH, PISTOL, and PAGE.
POINS and PETO, Attendants on Prince Henry.
MOULDY, SHALLOW, WART, FEEBLE, and BULL-
FANG and SNARE, Sheriff's Officers.
Rumour. A Porter.
A Dancer, Speaker of the Epilogue.
LADY NORTHUMBERLAND. LADY PERCY.
Lords and other Attendants; Officers, Soldiers,
* See note under the Personæ Dramatis of the First Part of this play. STEEVENS.
Warkworth. Before Northumberland's Castle.
Enter RUMOUR, painted full of Tongues". RUM. Open your ears; For which of you will stop
The vent of hearing, when loud Rumour speaks?
2 Enter RUMOUR,] This speech of Rumour is not inelegant or unpoetical, but it is wholly useless, since we are told nothing which the first scene does not clearly and naturally discover. The only end of such prologues is to inform the audience of some facts previous to the action, of which they can have no knowledge from the persons of the drama. JOHNSON.
3 RUMOUR, painted full of TONGUES.] This the author probable drew from Holinshed's Description of a Pageant, exhibited in the court of Henry VIII. with uncommon cost and magnificence: "Then entered a person called Report, apparelled in crimson sattin, full of toongs, or chronicles." Vol. iii. p. 805. This however might be the common way of representing this personage in masques, which were frequent in his own times. T. WARTON. Stephen Hawes, in his Pastime of Pleasure, had long ago exhibited her (Rumour) in the same manner:
"A goodly lady, envyroned about
And so had Sir Thomas More, in one of his Pageants :
Thoughe with tonges I am compassed all rounde." Not to mention her elaborate portrait by Chaucer, in The Booke of Fame; and by John Higgins, one of the assistants in The Mirror for Magistrates, in his Legend of King Albanacte.
In a masque presented on St. Stephen's night, 1614, by Thomas Campion, Rumour comes on in a skin-coat full of winged togues.
I from the orient to the drooping west
Rumour is likewise a character in Sir Clyomon, Knight of the wise 9 ch Golden Shield, &c..
So also, in The whole magnificent Entertainment given to King James, and the Queen his Wife, &c. &c. 15th March, 1603, by Thomas Decker, 4to. 1604: "Directly under her in a cart by upright: a woman in a
thickly set with open eyes and tongues, a payre of large golden winges at her backe, a trumpet in her hand, a mantle of sundry cullours traversing her body: all these ensignes displaying but the propertie of her swiftnesse and aptnesse to disperse Rumoure." STEEVENS.
painted full of tongues." This direction, which is only to be found in the first edition in quarto of 1600, explains a passage in what follows, otherwise obscure. POPE.
the DROOPING West,] A passage in Macbeth will best explain the force of this epithet:ut her by fistogodnoЛ sdgios Good things of day begin to droop and drowse, or s soq And night's black agents to their preys do rouse."m MALONE.
RUMOURS is a pipe-] Here the poet imagines himself describing Rumour, and forgets that Rumour is the speaker. JOHNSON
Surely this is a mistake. Rumour is giving her own description, but says of herself verer
what need I thus. avu Lutora y¶ My well known body to anatomize guid ni Anong my household ?d biod at 9d2
And then proceeds to tell why she was come. BosWELL,
And of so easy and so plain a stop,
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
Among my household? Why is Rumour here?
Who, in a bloody field by Shrewsbury,
Hath beaten down young Hotspur, and his troops,
Even with the rebels' blood. But what mean I
To noise abroad,—that Harry Monmouth fell
.6 so easy and so plain a STOP,] The stops are the holes in a flute or pipe. So, in Hamlet: Govern these ventages with your finger and thumb:-Look you, these are the stops." Again: "You would seem to know my stops." STEEVENS.
7 And this worm-eaten HOLD of ragged stone,] The old copies read-worm-eaten hole." MALONE.
Northumberland had retired and fortified himself in his castle, a place of strength in those times, though the building might be impaired by its antiquity; and, therefore, I believe our poet
"And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone." THEOBALD. Theobald is certainly right. So, in The Wars of Cyrus, &c.
Besieg'd his fortress with his men at arms, "Where only I and that Libanio stay'd
By whom I live. For when the hold was lost," &c.
Again, in King Henry VI. Part III. :.
"She is hard by with twenty thousand men,
"And therefore fortify your hold, my lord." STEEVENS.A