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SCENE IV. King Henry the 4th to his Son.
Had I fo lavish of my presence been, So common hackney'd in the eyes of men, So ftale and cheap to vulgar company; Opinion, that did help me to the crown, Had ftill kept loyal to poffeffion; And left me in reputelefs banishment, A fellow of no mark, nor likelihood. But being feldom feen, I could not stir But, like a comet, I was wonder'd at ! (10) That men would tell their children, “This is he."
Others would fay, "Where? which is Bolinbroke ?" And then I ftole all courtesy from heav'n,
And dreft myself in much humility,
That I did pluck allegiance from mens hearts,
Ne'er feen, but wonder'd at: and fo my state,
(10) That he, &c.] At pulchrum eft digito monftrarier, & dicier bic eft. Perfius.
Oh it is brave to be admired, to fee
The crowd with pointing fingers cry, "That's he."
(11) 'Scarded, &c. i. e. difcarded, threw off. This reading is Mr. Warburton's: the old one is, carded: this elifion is not unusual with the poets; frequently amongst the older ones fdeign for difdain, c.
Mingled his royalty with carping fools;
That being daily fwallow'd by mens eyes,
To loath the taste of sweetness; whereof a little
Afford no extraordinary gaze;
But rather drowz'd, and hung their eye-lids down,
A CT IV. SCENE II.
I faw young Harry, with his beaver on,*
*On] Others read up; and there seems great probability in it,
(12) Well, 'tis no matter, honour pricks me on. But how, if honour prick me off, when I come on? How then? Can honour fet to a leg? No; or an arm? no: or take away the grief of a wound? No: Honour hath no skill in furgery then? No; what is honour? a word. What is the word honour air: a trim reckoning. Who hath it? he that dy'd a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No: doth he hear it? No? is it infenfible then? yea, to the dead but will it not live with the living? No: why? detraction will not fuffer it. Therefore, I'll none of it; honour is a meer fcutcheon; and fo ends my catechifm.
(12) Well, &c.] In the king and no king of Beaumont and Fletcher, we have a character, plainly drawn from Shakespear's Falstaff; how fhort it is, and muft neceffarily be of the original, I need not obferve. 66 I think, fays Mr. Theobald, in his first note on that play, the character of Beffus must be allowed in general a fine copy from Shakespear's inimitable Falstaff. He is a coward, yet wou'd fain fet up for a hero: oftentatious without any grain of merit to fupport his vain-glory: a lyar throughout, to exalt his affumed qualifications; and lewd, without any countenance from the ladies to give him an umbrage for it. As to his wit and humour, the precedence muft certainly be adjudg'd to Falstaff, the great original." The authors, in the third act, have introduced him talking on the fame fubject with Falstaff here though not in the fame excellent manner, (an account of which fee in Mr. Upton's obfervations on Shakespear, p. 113.) Beffus. They talk of fame, I have gotten it in the wars, and will afford any man a reasonable penny-worth; fome will fay, they could be content to have it, but that it is to be atchiev d with danger; but my opinion is otherwife for if I might stand ftill in cannon-proof, and have fame fal upon me, I would refufe it; my reputation came principally by thinking to run away, which no body knows but Mardonius, and, I think, he conceals it to anger me, &c." The falfe and foolish notions of fame and honour are no where, that I know of, fo well and juftly eenfüred, as in Mr. Wollaton's religion of Nature delineated, fect 5. p. 116. printed in 1726.
SCEHE V. Life demands Action.
(13) O gentlemen, the time of life is fhort:
(13) O gentlemen, &c.] See All's well that ends well. A&t 5. Scene 4, and the note. Virgil beautifully obferves Stat fua cuique dies, breve & irreparabile tempus Omnibus eft vita; fed famam extendere factis Hoc virtutis opus.
To all that breathe is fixt th' appointed date,
The Second Part of HENRY IV.
Prologue to the Second Part of Henry IV.
From the orient to the drooping west,
(1) Upon my, &c.] In the ftage-direction, rumour is faid to enter painted full of tongues. Shakespear, in his defcription of rumour, had doubtlefs a view either to Virgil's celebrated defcription of fame, or Ovid's description of her cave in the 12th book of his metamorphofes : I fhall give the reader part of both and in as close a tranflation as poffible, that he may judge the better.
Monftrum, borrendum, &c.
A monfter, hideous, vaft; as many plumes
There grew beneath; as many babbling tongues,
Atria turba tenent, &c.
*Hither in crowds the vulgar come and go;
(To the cave of fame)