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SECOND PART OF
King Henry the fourth.
HE transactions comprised in this play 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].
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 defeats 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 dramatic 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 to be one.'--JOHNSON.
This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, August 23, 1600. There are two copies, in quarto, printed in that year; but it is doubtful whether they are different editions, or the one only a corrected impression of the other.
Malone supposes it to have been composed in 1598.
KING HENRY THE FOURTH :
ry V.) Duke of Bedford ;
(2 Henry V.) Duke of Gloster;
Enemies to the
Lords and other Attendants; Officers, Soldiers, Messenger,
Drawers, Beadles, Grooms, &c.
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? 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 ear, swol'n with some other grief, Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war, And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures ; And of so easy and so plain a stops,
1 This was the common way of representing this personage, no unfrequent character in the masques of the poet's time. In a masque on St. Stephen's Night, 1614, by Thomas Campion, Rumour comes on in a skin coat full of winged tongues. Several other instances are cited in the Variorum Shakspeare.
2 The force of this epithet will be best explained by the following passage in Macbeth :
* Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
And night's black agents to their preys do rouse. 3 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.'