Imatges de pÓgina
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THOMAS PERCY, Earl of Worcester.

HENRY PERCY, Earl of Northumberland.

HENRY PERCY, surnamed Hotspur, his Son.


SCROOP, Archbishop of York.

ARCHIBALD, Earl of Douglas.





LADY PERCY, Wife to Hotspur, and Sister to Mortimer. LADY MORTIMER, Daughter to Glendower, and Wife to Mortimer.

MRS. QUICKLY, Hostess of a Tavern in Eastcheap.

Lords, Officers, Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Drawers, two Carriers, Travellers, and. Attendants. SCENE, England.





SCENE I. London. A Room in the Palace.


King Henry.

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 stronds1 afar remote.
No more the thirsty entrance of this soil2
Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flowrets with the armed hoofs
Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,

1 Strands, banks of the sea.

2 Upon this passage the reader is favoured with three pages of notes in the Variorum Shakspeare. Steevens adopted Monk Mason's bold conjectural emendation, and reads

I am

'No more the thirsty Erinnys of this soil.' Which, in my opinion, does not make the passage clearer, to say nothing of the improbability of such a corruption as entrance for Erinnys. Mr. Douce proposed to read entrails instead of entrance; and Steevens once thought that we should read entrants. satisfied with the following explanation of the text, modified from that of Malone:-No more shall this soil have the lips of her thirsty entrance (i. e. surface) daubed with the blood of her own children. The soil is personified, and called the mother of those

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,
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 sepulchre of Christ

Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
We are impressed and engag'd to fight),
Forthwith a power of English shall we levy3,
Whose arms were moulded in their mother's 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 twelve-month old,
And bootless 'tis to tell you-we will go;
Therefore we meet not now:
Then let me


Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,

who live upon her surface; as in the following passage of King Richard II. :—

sweet soil, adieu,

My mother and my nurse, that bears me yet.'

The thirsty earth was a common epithet in the poet's age. Thus, in his own King Henry VI. Part II. :

"Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk.'

And in the old play of King John:

'Is all the blood y-spilt on either part,
Closing the crannies of the thirsty earth,

Grown to a love-game, and a bridal feast?"

It is true, as Malone remarks, that Shakspeare seldom attends to the integrity of his metaphors; and why therefore should we suspect this passage to be corrupt, because it offers a trifling difficulty of that kind?

To levy a power to a place has been shown by Mr. Gifford to be neither unexampled nor corrupt; but good authorized English. 'Scipio, before he levied his force to the walls of Carthage, gave his soldiers the print of the city on a cake to be devoured.-Gosson's School of Abuse, 1587, E. 4.

What yesternight our council did decree,
In forwarding this dear expedience 4.

West. My liege, this haste was hot in question,
And many limits 5 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 corpse there was such misuse,
Such beastly, shameless transformation,

By those Welshwomen 6 done, as may not be,
Without much shame, re-told or spoken of.

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


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 8, and brave Archibald 9,
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,

• Expedition.

5 Limits here seem to mean appointments or determinations. 6 See Thomas of Walsingham, p. 557, or Holinshed, p. 528. 1 i. e. September 14th.

8 This Harry Percy was surnamed, for his often pricking, Henry Hotspur, as one that seldom times rested, if there were anie service to be done abroad. Holinshed's Hist. of Scotland, p. 240.

9 Archibald Douglas, Earl Douglas.

Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
Stain'd 10 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 11 in their own blood, did Sir Walter see
On Holmedon's plains: Of prisoners, Hotspur took
Mordake earl of Fife, and eldest son

To beaten Douglas 12, and the earls of Athol,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith 13.
And is not this an honourable spoil?
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 prov'd,

10 No circumstance could have been better chosen to mark the expedition of Sir Walter. It is used by Falstaff in a similar manner, 'to stand stained with travel,' &c.

11 Balk'd in their own blood is heaped, or laid on heaps, in their own blood. A balk was a ridge or bank of earth standing up between two furrows; and to balk was to throw up the earth so as to form those heaps or banks. It was sometimes used in the sense of monceau, Fr. for a heap or hili. Pope has a similar thought in the Iliad

"On heaps the Greeks, on heaps the Trojans bled,

And thickening round them rise the hills of dead.'

12 Mordake earl of Fife, who was son to the duke of Albany, regent of Scotland, is here called the son of Earl Douglas, through a mistake, into which the poet was led by the omission of a comma in the passage of Holinshed from whence he took this account of the Scottish prisoners.

13 This is a mistake of Holinshed in his English History, for in that of Scotland, pp 259. 262. 419, he speaks of the earl of Fife and Menteith as one and the same person. 6

Vol. V.

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