Imagens das páginas

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, swoln with some other grief,
Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe 5
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures;

Rumour is likewise a character in Sir Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, &c. 1599.

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 herselfe, Fame stood upright: a woman in a watchet roabe, 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:

"Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
"And night's black agents to their do rouse."


MALONE. 5 RUMOUR 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:


what need I thus



My well known body to anatomize
Among my household?
And then proceeds to tell why she was come.


And of so easy and so plain a stop o,

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 household? 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.
This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns
Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone',
Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
Lies crafty-sick: the posts come tiring on,


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. 1594:

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.

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Again, in King Henry VI. Part III. :

"She is hard by with twenty thousand men,

“And therefore fortify your hold, my lord." STEEVENS.

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 wrongs.





The Same.

The Porter before the Gate; Enter Lord Bar


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

PORT. What shall I say you are?

BARD. 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 mi

nute now Should be the father of some stratagem* : The times are wild; contention, like a horse

8 — some STRATAGEM :] Some stratagem means here some great, important, or dreadful 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,

Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.

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,
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,

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