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After the foregoing quotation, my readers will not be surprised, if the name of the last mentioned person is not to be found in the following plays. I hope that all obscenity is equally banished from them. I wish it were in my power in like manner to exclude every expression which approaches to vulgarity or indelicacy; but this, I fear, cannot be done, unless the whole of those scenes are omitted, in which any of the comic characters appear. The present publication may possibly be censured by two classes of readers, of very different sentiments. Those persons who are unwilling to be deprived of any part of the wit of Falstaff (whatever may be the expense of retaining it) will perhaps be displeased at the omission of the evening scene between him and Doll Tearsheet, and their followers. To them I reply, that consistently with the design of the present edition of Shakspeare, the omission was unavoidable; but I regret it the less, because, as was suggested in my preface, those readers can gratify their taste by having recourse to former editions of the Second Part of Henry the IVth.
Other persons may possibly complain that there still remain in this work, some expressions which are not consistent with that perfect delicacy of sentiment, with which it were desirable that every publication should be conducted. To this objection I fear that I can give no answer that will be quite satisfactory. I can only say, that I have endeavoured to render the speeches of Falstaff and his companions as correct as they could be rendered, without losing sight of their characters and dispositions. Those persons who still object to their language, cannot I believe do better, than confine their reading to the serious parts of the three following plays, which possess such merit, as can hardly be equalled in any other dramatic poet, and is seldom exceeded by our own immortal bard.
KING HENRY THE FOURTH.
of ,} sons to the King.
LADY Percy, wife to Hotspur, and sister to Mur
timer. 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.
KING HENRY IV.
ACT THE FIRST.
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 her 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, March all one way; and be no more oppos'd Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies : The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife,
i Strands, banks of the sea.
2 The fury of discord.
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
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: 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
5 September 14.
As by discharge of their artillery,
West. 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, 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,
6 Piled up in a heap.