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SECOND PART OF
King Henry the Fourth.
The transactions comprised in this play take up about nine years. The action commences with the account of Hotspur's being defeated and killed ; and closes with the death of King Henry IV. and the coronation of King Henry V. [1412-13]. Upton thinks these two plays improperly called The First and Second Parts of Henry the Fourth. “ The first play ends (he says) with the peaceful settlement of Henry in the kingdom by the defeats of the rebels.” This is hardly true; for the rebels are not yet finally suppressed. The second, he tells us, shows Henry the Fifth in the various lights of a good-natured rake, till, on his father's death, he assumes a more manly character, This is true; but this representation gives us no idea of a dramatic action. These two plays will appear to every reader, who shall peruse them without ambition of critical discoveries, to be so connected, that the second is merely a sequel to the first; to be two only to be one.'—JOHNSON.
This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, August 23, 1600. There are two copies, in quarto, printed in that year; but it is doubtful whether they are different editions, or the one only a corrected impression of the other.
Malone supposes it to have been composed in 1598.
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
There Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
tongues They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.
4 Northumberland's castle.
SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY IV.
SCENE I. The same. The Porter before the Gate.
Enter LORD BARDOLPH.
Port. What shall I say you are?
Tell thou the earl,
chard; Please it your honour, knock but at the gate, And he himself will answer.
Enter NORTHUMBERLAND. Bard.
Here comes the earl. North. What news, Lord Bardolph? every mi
North. Good, an heaven will ! VOL. V.
As good as heart can wish :-
How is this deriv'd! Saw you the field ? came you from Shrewsbury? Bard. I spake with one, my lord, that came from
Bard. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;
with you? Tra. My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turn’d me back With joyful tidings; and, being better hors’d, Outrode me. After him, came, spurring hard, A gentleman almost forspent with speed, That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse: He ask'd the way to Chester; and of him I did demand, what news from Shrewsbury. He told me, that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold:
My lord, I'll tell
Jade is not used by Sbakspeare as a term of contempt; for King Richard II. gives this appellation to his favourite horse Roan Barbary, which Henry IV. rode at his coronation :
• That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand.' The commentators suppose that a jade meant a horse kept for drudgery, a hackney; but this is not the fact. It was only another name for a horse, as nag since. Thus we have
• Hollow pampered jades of Asia.' And Ford, in his Lover's Melancholy, Act ii. Sc. 2:
* Like high fed jades upon a tilting day.' 3 So in the book of Job, ch. xxxix :--He swalloweth the ground in fierceness and rage. The same expression occurs in Ben Jonson's Sejanus :
• But with that speed and heat of appetite
To some great sports.' In the Tempest, Ariel, to describe his alacrity in obeying Prospero's commands, says, “I drink the air before me.” Nemesian has the same thought:
latumque fuga consumere campum.' 4 Hotspur seems to have been a very common term for a man of vehemence and precipitation. Stanyhurst renders the following line of Virgil:
• Nec victoris heri tetigit captiva cubile.' * To couch not mounting of mayster vanquisher hoatspur.' 5 A silken point is a tagged lace.