Imatges de pÓgina
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FIRST PART OF

KING HENRY IV.

ACT I.

SCENE I. London. A Room in the Palace.

Enter King Henry, WESTMORELAND, Sir WALTER

BLUNT, and Others.
K. Hen. So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils?
To be commenc'd in stronds afar remote.
No more the thirsty Erinnys of this soil
Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise our flowrets

with the armed hoofs
Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,
Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
Did lately meet in the intestine shock
And furious close of civil butchery,
Shall now, in mutual, well-beseeming ranks,

" Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,

And breathe short-winded accents of new broils-) That is, let us soften peace to rest awhile without disturbance, that she may recover breath to propose new wars. Johnson.

* No more the thirsty Erinnys – ] The fury of discord.

March all one way; and be no more oppos'd
Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies:
The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife,
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
As far as to the sepulcher of Christ,
(Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
We are impressed and engag'd to fight,)
Forthwith a power

power of English shall we levy;
Whose arms were moulded in their mothers' womb
To chase these pagans, in those holy fields,
Over whose acres walk'd those blessed feet,
Which, fourteen hundred years ago, were nail'd
For our advantage, on the bitter cross.
But this our purpose is a twelvemonth old,
And bootless 'tis to tell you-we will go;
Therefore we meet not now: _Then let me hear
Of

you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland, What yesternight our council did decree, In forwarding this dear expedience.*

West. My liege, this haste was hot in question, And many

limits of the charge set down But yesternight: when, all athwart, there came A post from Wales loaden with heavy news; Whose worst was,—that the noble Mortimer, Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight Against the irregular and wild Glendower, Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken, And a thousand of his people butchered: Upon whose dead corps there was such misuse, Such beastly, shameless transformation, By those Welshwomen done, as may not be, Without much shame, re-told or spoken of.

$ Therefore we meet not now:] i. e. not on that account do we now meet;—we are not now assembled, to acquaint you with our intended expedition. *— this dear expedience.) For expedition.

And many limits -] Limits for estimates; or perhaps, outlines, rough sketches, or calculations.

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K. Hen. It seems then, that the tidings of this

broil Brake off our business for the Holy land. West. This, match'd with other, did, my gracious

lord;
For more uneven and unwelcome news
Came from the north, and thus it did import.
On Holy-rood day, the gallant Hotspur there,
Young Harry Percy, and brave Archibald,
That ever-valiant and approved Scot,
At Holmedon met,
Where they did spend a sad and bloody hour;
As by discharge of their artillery,
And shape of likelihood, the news was told;
For he that brought them, in the very heat
And pride of their contention did take horse,
Uncertain of the issue any way.

K. Hen. Here is a dear and true-industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
Stain'd with the variation of each soil?
Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours;
And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
The earl of Douglas is discomfited;
Ten thousand bold Scots, two-and-twenty knights,
Balk'd in their own blood, did sir Walter see
On Holmedon's plains: Of prisoners, Hotspur took
Mordake the earl of Fife, and eldest son
To beaten Douglas; and the earls of Athol,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith.
And is not this an honourable spoil?

6 - Archibald,) Archibald Douglas, earl Douglas.

? Stain'd with the variation of each soil -] No circumstance could have been better chosen to mark the expedition of Sir Walter. It is used by Falstaff in a similar manner: “As it were to ride day and night, and not to deliberate, not to remember, not to have patience to shift me, but to stand stained with travel."

$ Balk'd in their own blood,] Either bath'd, or piled together in a heap.

A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?

West. In faith, It is a conquest for a prince to boast of. K. Hen. Yea, there thou mak'st me sad, and

mak'st me sin In envy that my

lord Northumberland Should be the father of so blest a son: A son, who is the theme of honour's tongue; Amongst a grove, the very straightest plant; Who is sweet fortune's minion, and her pride: Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him, See riot and dishonour stain the brow Of my young Harry. O, that it could be provide That some night-tripping fairy had exchang’d In cradle-clothes our children where they lay, And call'd mine-Percy, his—Plantagenet! Then would I have his Harry, and he mine. But let him from my thoughts:—What think you,

coz', Of this young Percy's pride? the prisoners, Which he in this adventure hath surpriz’d, To his own use he keeps; and sends me word, I shall have none but Mordake earl of Fife. West. This is his uncle's teaching, this is Wor

cester, Malevolent to you in all aspécts;' Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up

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the prisoners,] Percy had an exclusive right to these prisoners, except the Earl of Fife. By the law of arms, every man who had taken any captive, whose redemption did not exceed ten thousand crowns, had him clearly for himself, either to acquit or ransom, at his pleasure.

Malevolent to you in all aspects;] An astrological allusion. Worcester is represented as a malignant star that influenced the conduct of Hotspur.

* Which makes him prune himself,] The metaphor is taken from a cock, who in his pride prunes himself; that is, picks off the loose feathers to smooth the rest. To prune and to plume, spoken of a bird, is the same.

The crest of youth against your dignity.

K. Hen. But I have sent for him to answer this; And, for this cause, awhile we must neglect Our holy purpose to Jerusalem. Cousin, on Wednesday next our council we Will hold at Windsor, so inform the lords: But come yourself with speed to us again; For more is to be said, and to be done, Than out of anger can be uttered.” West. I will, my liege.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.

The same.

Another Room in the Palace.

Enter Henry Prince of Wales, and FALSTAFF. Fal. Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?

P. Hen. Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou would'st truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flamecolour'd taffata; I see no reason, why thou should'st be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.

Fal. Indeed, you come near me, now, Hal: for we, that take purses, go by the moon and seven stars; and not by Phæbus,-he, that wandering knight so fair. And, I pray thee, sweet wag, when thou art

3 Than out of anger can be uttered.] That is, “ More is to be said than anger will suffer me to say : more than can issue from a mind disturbed like mine."

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