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King Henry the Fourth:

Henry, prince of Wales, afterwards king
Henry V;

Thomas, duke of Clarence;

Prince John of Lancaster,* afterwards (2 Hen- his sons. ry V) duke of Bedford;

Prince Humphrey of Gloster, afterwards (2:

Henry V) duke of Gloster;

Earl of Warwick;

Earl of Westmoreland; of the king's party.

Gower; Harcourt;


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;

Lord Bardolph; sir John Colevile;

enemies to the king.

Travers and Morton, domesticks of Northumberland.

Falstaff, Bardolph, Pistol, and Page.

Poins and Peto, attendants on prince Henry.

Shallow and Silence, country justices.

Davy, servant to Shallow.

Mouldy, Shadow, Wart, Feeble, and Bullcalf, recruits.

Fang and Snare, sheriff's officers.

Rumour. A Porter.

A Dancer, speaker of the epilogue.

Lady Northumberland.

Lady Percy.

Hostess Quickly. Doll Tear-sheet.

Lords and other attendants; officers, soldiers, messenger, drawers, beadles, grooms, &c.

SCENE, England.

* See note under the Personæ Dramatis of the First Part of

this play. Steevens.




Warkworth. Before Northumberland's Castle.
Enter Rumour,1 painted full of Tongues.2

Rum. Open your ears; For which of you will stop
The vent of hearing, when loud Rumour speaks?
I, from the orient to the drooping west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride;
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
I speak of peace, while covert enmity,
Under the smile of safety, wounds the world:
And who but Rumour, who but only I,'
Make fearful musters, and prepar'd defence;
Whilst the big year, swol❜n with some other grief,
Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe3
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures;

1 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.

2 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.

3 Rumour is a pipe-] Here the poet imagines himself describing Rumour, and forgets that Rumour is the speaker.


And of so easy and so plain a stop,*

That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
My well-known body to anatomize

Among my houshold? Why is Rumour here?
I run before king Harry's victory;
Who, in a bloody field by Shrewsbury,

Hath beaten down young Hotspur, and his troops,
Quenching the flame of bold rebellion

Even with the rebels' blood. But what mean I
To speak so true at first? my office is

To noise abroad,—that Harry Monmouth fell
Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword;
And that the king before the Douglas' rage
Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death.

sie ms.

This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns pleasant
Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,5
Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
Lies crafty-sick: the posts come tiring on,
And not a man of them brings other news
Than they have learn'd of me; From Rumour's tongues
They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true

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.

5 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 wrote: And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone. Theobald.

Theobald is certainly right. So, in The Wars of Cyrus, &c. 1594:
Besieg'd his fortress with his men at arms,

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"Where only I and that Libanio stay'd

"By whom I live. For when the hold was lost," &c.

Again, in King Henry VI, P. III:

"She is hard by with twenty thousand men,

"And therefore fortify your hold, my lord." Steevens.




The same.

The Porter before the Gate; Enter Lord BARDOLPH.

Bard. Who keeps the gate here, ho?-Where is the


Port. What shall I say you are?

Tell thou the earl,

That the lord Bardolph doth attend him here.

Port. His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard; Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,

And he himself will answer.



Here comes the earl.

North. What news, lord Bardolph? every minute now Should be the father of some stratagem:1

The times are wild; contention, like a horse

Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,

And bears down all before him.

Bard. Noble earl, I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury. North. Good, an heaven will!


As good as heart can wish:

The king is almost wounded to the death;
And, in the fortune of my lord your son,

Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts
Kill'd by the hand of Douglas: young prince John,

1 some stratagem:] Some stratagem means here some great, important, or dreadfui event. So, in The Third Part of King Henry VI, the father who had killed his son says:

"O pity, God! this miserable age!

"What stratagems, how fell, how butcherly!

"This mortal quarrel daily doth beget!" M. Mason.

And Westmoreland, and Stafford, fled the field;
And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk sir John,
Is prisoner to your son: O, such a day,
So fought, so follow'd, and so fairly won,
Came not, till now, to dignify the times,
Since Cæsar's fortunes!


How is this deriv'd?

Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury?

Bard. I spake with one, my lord, that came from thence;

A gentleman well bred, and of good name,
That freely render'd me these news for true.

North. Here comes my servant, Travers, whom I sent On Tuesday last to listen after news.

Bard. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;

And he is furnish'd with no certainties,

More than he haply may retail from me.


North. Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you?

Tra. My lord, sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better hors'd,
Out-rode me. After him, came, spurring hard,
A gentleman almost forspent with speed,2
That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse:
He ask'd the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand, what news from Shrewsbury.
He told me that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold:
With that, he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward, struck his armed heels3
Against the panting sides of his poor jade

2 forspent with speed,] To forspend is to waste, to exhaust. So, in Sir A. Gorges' translation of Lucan, B. VII:

66 crabbed sires forspent with age." Steevens.

3 armed heels-] Thus the quarto, 1600. The folio, 1623, reads-able heels; the modern editors, without authority-agile heels. Steevens.

-poor jade-] Poor jade is used, not in contempt, but in compassion. Poor jade means the horse wearied with his journey. Fade, however, seems anciently to have signified what we now call a hackney; a beast employed in drudgery, opposed to a horse

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