« VorigeDoorgaan »
THE SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY THE FOURTH.
PRELIMINARY NOTICE. THE Registers of the Stationers' Company contain the following memorandum relative to this drama:
“ 23rd August, 1600. And. Wise Wm. Apsley.]—Two books the one called Much Adoe about Nothinge, and the other The Seconde Parte of the History of King Henry the üü, with the Humors of Sir John Fallstaff: wrytten by Mr. Shakespeare.” In the same year Wise and Apsley published the only quarto edition of it known, under the title of “The Second Part of Henrie the fourth, continuing to his death and coronation of Henrie the Fift. With the humours of Sir Iohn Falstaffe, and swaggering Pistoll. As it hath been sundrie times publikely acted by the right honourable, the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Written by William Shakespeare.”
This edition appears to have been printed without proper supervision, for, independently of minor omissions, at the beginning of Act III. a whole scene was left out. Nor does the mistake seem to have been discovered until the greater part of the impression had been worked off: sheet E was then reprinted and the missing scene incorporated. The folio text of the play was printed from an independent and more complete copy than that of the quarto, depraved, however, as usual by playhouse alterations and the negligence of successive transcribers.
Malone assigns the composition of the Second Part of King Henry IV. to 1598; but from the circumstance of one speech of Falstaff's in Act I. Sc. 2, bearing the prefix of Old, i.e. Oldcastle, it is evident that the great humourist retained the name of Oldcastle when this play was written, and as it is known that the name was changed anterior to the entry of Part I. in the Stationers' books, on the 25th of February, 1597-8, we
are warranted in assuming that the Second Part was produced before that date.
The historical transactions comprehended in this piece, extend over a period of about nine years; beginning with the account of Hotspur's defeat and death in 1403, and terminating with the decease of Henry IV. and the accession and coronation of Henry V. in 1412-13.
King HENRY THE FOURTH.
afterwards KING HENRY V.,
party. A gentleman attending on the
to the Lord BARDOLPH,
Warkworth. Before Northumberland's Castle.
Enter Rumour, painted full of Tongues.a Rum. Open your ears; for which of you will stop The vent of hearing, when loud Rumour speaks? I, from the orient to the drooping west, Making the wind my posthorse, still unfold The acts commenced on this ball of earth: Upon my tongues * continual slanders ride, The which in every language I pronounce, Stuffing the ears of men † with false reports. I speak of peace, while covert enmity, Under the smile of safety, wounds the world : And who but Rumour, who but only I, Make fearful musters, and prepar'd defence; Whilst the big year, swol'n with some other grief, 1 Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war? And no such matter. Rumour is a pipe Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures; And of so easy and so plain a stop, That the blunt monster with uncounted heads, The still discordant wavering multitude, Can play upon it. But what need I thus My well-known body to anatomize Among my household? Why is Rumour here? I run before king Harry's victory; Who, in a bloody field by Shrewsbury, Hath beaten down young Hotspur, and his troops, Quenching the flame of bold rebellion Even with the rebels' blood. But what mean I To speak so true at first? my office is To noise abroad,—that Harry Monmouth fell Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword; And that the king before the Douglas' rage Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death. This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns Between that ş royal field of Shrewsbury And this worm-eaten hole of ragged stone, Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland, Lies crafty-sick: the posts come tiring on, And not a man of them brings other news Than they have learn'd of me. From Rumour's tongues They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs. [Exit.
(*) First folio, tongue.
(+) First folio, them. (1) First folio, griefs.
) First folio, the. * Painted full of Tongues.] This description is omitted in the folio. b Through the peasant towns-] Mr. Collier's MS. annotator reads pleasant towns.
Enter LORD BARDOLPH.
Tell thou the earl,
Port. His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard ;
Here comes the earl.
NORTH. Good, an God * will !
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 thence ; A gentleman well bred, and of good name, That freely renderd me these news for true.
NORTH. Here comes my servant Travers, whom I sent
BARD. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;
(*) First folio, heaven,