Imatges de pÓgina

[Hotspur.] If he fall in, good night;-or sink or swim!

Send danger from the east unto the west,
So honour cross it from the north to south,
And let them grapple:-Oh! the blood more stirs

To rouse a lion than to start a hare. Worcester, thus interrupted by his nephew, draws near to, and addresses his brother : [Worcester.] Imagination of some great exploit

Drives him from patience : mark his transport now. [Hotspur.] By beaven, methinks it were an easy leap

To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac'd moon;
Or dive, and snatch her upward from the deep,
Where never fathom line could touch the ground,
So he that should redeem her thence, might wear,
Without corrival, all her dignities :

But out upon this half-fac’d fellowship!
[Worcester.] He apprehends a world of figures here,

But not the form of what he should attend.

-Good cousin, give me audience for a while. [Hotspur.] I cry you mercy. [Worcester.] Those same noble Scots

That are your priso'ners,
[Hotspur.] I'll keep them all ;

By heaven he shall not have a Scot of them ;
No, if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not;

I'll keep them, by this hand. [Worcester.] You start away,

And lend no ear unto my purposes ;

Those priso'ners you shall keep
[Hotspur.] Nay, I will; that 's flat:-

He said, he would not ransom Mortimer ;
Forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla—Mortimer! Nay,
I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak


Nothing but Mortimer, and give it him,

To keep his anger still in motion. [Worcester.] Farewell, kinsman! I will talk to you,

When you are better temper'd to attend. [North.] Why, what, my son? what a wasp-stung fool

Art thou, to break into a woman's mood,

Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own! [Hotspur.] Why look you, I am whipp'd and scourg'd with

Nettled and stung with pismires, when I hear (rods,
Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke.-
In Richard's time,—what do you call the place ?-
A plague upon it !—'t is in Glo'cestershire ;
'Twas where the mad-cap duke his uncle kept,
His uncle York; -where I first bow'd my

Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke;-


and he came back from Ravenspurg -
[North.) Berkeley castle ?
[Hotspur.] Berkeley castle ;-Berkeley castle :

Why what a candy deal of courtesy
This fawning greyhound then did proffer me !
Look ;-" when his infant fortune came to age,”
And, “gentle Harry Percy,”—and,“ kind cousin,”
Oh, the devi'l take such cozeners, heaven forgive me !
And—nay, uncle, I have done-your pardon, pray.

Good uncle, tell your tale.
[Worcester.] Nay, if you have not, to i't again,

We'll stay your leisure. (Hotspur.] I've done, i' faith. [Worcester.] Then once more to your Scottish prisoners :

Deliver them up without their ransom straight,
And make the Douglas' son your only mean
For powers in Scotland : you, my lord Northumberland,
Your son in Scotland being thus employ’d,
Shall secretly into the bosom creep
Of that same noble prelate, well belov’d,
The archbishop

[Hotspur.] Of York, is i't not ?
[Worcester.] True; who bears hard

His brother's death at Bristol, the Lord Scroop.
I speak not this in estimation
Of what I think may be, but what I know

Is ruminated, plotted, and set down. [Hotspur.] What! and the power of Scotland and of York

To join with Mortimer? [Worcester.] And so they shall. [Hotspur.] In faith it is exceedingly well aim'd;

It cannot choose but be a noble plot.
[Worcester.] And 'tis no little reason bids us speed:

For, bear ourselves as even as we can,
The king will always think him in our debt,
And think we think ourselves unsatisfied :
And see, already, how he doth begin

To make us strangers to his looks of love. [Hotspur.] He doth, he doth: we'll be reveng'd on him. [Worcester.] Cousin, farewell! no further go in this,

Than I, by letters, shall direct your course. [Hotspur.] Uncle, adieu ! Oh, let the hours be short,

Till fields, and blows, and groans, applaud our sport!



HISTORICAL MEMORANDA. The active spirit of young Henry, restrained by the jealousy of his father, who excluded him from public business, and even from the command of his armies, broke out into extravagances of every kind; and the riot of pleasure, the frolic of debauchery, the outrage of wine, filled the vacancies of a mind, better adapted to the pursuits of ambition, and the cares of government. This course of life threw him among companions, whose disorders, if accompanied with wit and humour, he indulged and seconded; and he was detected in many sallies which, to severer eyes, appeared totally unworthy of his rank and station.” In this manner speaks Hume, History, while she records thus much of the youthful Henry, would have forgotten her dignity had she made further mention of the companions of the prince ; and she has therefore suffered their names and ignoble exploits to pass into the gulf which receives all that is mean, and trite, and undistinguished, of every passing generation. But Poetry, whose business with the past is to revive the scene as it existed, or as it might have existed, can no more dispense with the auxiliaries than with the principals in the scene; and to represent vividly the youthful days of Prince Henry, it became necessary to revive his companions, or to create them anew. Out of this necessity has arisen, from the plastic pen of Shakspeare, a comic character of unequalled originality and natural truth. On the stage, we see Falstaff only as a buffoon ; but a writer,* who has made

this character the subject of an admirable Essay, justly points out that there is a real consequence about Falstaff, which is frequently intimated, but is not brought forward. Sir John Falstaff has, in fact, a character in the world for “many warlike, courtlike, and learned preparations :" nor, at a time when soldier and robber were almost convertible terms, does he much suffer in reputation by the suspicion that he gets his supplies of money by lawless means. "Looking at him from within, we find him however, as the Essayist observes, “ an unprincipled and debauched old fellow, possessed indeed of the readiest natural abilities, but staining them by innumerable vices; reduced by these vices to a state of dependence, yet resolutely bent to indulge them at any price.” This, be it observed, is not irreconcilable with the outward qualities which give him reputation in the world; but we are puzzled in conceiving how, from a man answering this description, a picture can be formed such as delights us in Falstaff. “It is,” says the Essayist, " by being no longer a single individual character, but grouped as we find him with others, that he becomes plump Jack, the spirit of pleasantry, and the soul of mirth. For what is it we are made to see? Not his vices, but his incongruities. We view his ability only as it is let down into wilful buffoonery; we see his courage only under circumstances of doubt and imputation ; his vices appear in such a shape as removes from them the odium of vicious design and of evil effect, and therefore they take the name of humour only; and as to his dependent condition, why it seems to fall in precisely with the indulgence of his humours; for he appears to thrive best and flatter most by being extravagantly incongruous.” But if Falstaff, in spite of the vices with which the man is stained, is, through these causes, delightful as a dramatic representation, he will, through the same causes, be an acceptable companion to a young man, such as history represents Prince Henry to have been-a young man of such a disposition as his, and placed under such circumstances : and in the fascination which he exerts over ourselves, we find an excuse for the indiscretion of the prince, in making him his companion.

* Maurice Morgan, Esq., formerly Under Secretary of State.



Falstaff and Prince Henry, at the prince's abode in London, are discovered in conversation : [Falstaff:] Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad ? [P. Henry.] 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 wouldst truly know. Why, what the plague hast thou to do with the time of day? Unless hours were cups of sack and minutes capons, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so super

fluous as to demand the time of day. [Falstaff.] Indeed, you come near me there, Hal; for we

that take purses go by the moon and seven stars, and not by Phoebus, he that wandering knight so fair.” And I pr’y thee, sweet wag, when thou art king, -as, heaven save thy grace,-(majesty, I should say; for

grace thou wilt have none)— [P. Henry.] What! none ? [Falstaff] No, by my troth; not so much as will serve to

be prologue to an egg and butter. [P. Henry.] Well, how then? Come, roundly, roundly. [Falstaff.] Marry! then, sweet wag, when thou art king,

shall there be a gallows standing in England ? and resolution thus fobbed as it is by the rusty curb of oldfather antic, the law ? Do not thou, when thou art

king, hang a thief. [P. Henry.] No; thou shalt. [Falstaff:] Shall I? Oh rare! I shall be a brave judge. [P. Henry.] Thou judgest falsely already. I mean thou

shalt have the hanging of the thieves, and so become

a rare hangman. [Falstaff.] Well, Hal, well; in some sort it jumps with

'Sblood, I am as melancholy as a gibcat or a lugged bear.

my humour.

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