« VorigeDoorgaan »
Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,
And he himself will answer.
Here comes the earl.
NORTH. Wbat news, lord Bardolph? every minute now
Should be the fatber of some stratagema :
The times are wild; contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
NORTH. Good, an heaven will!
As good as heart can wish :
The king is almost wounded to the death;
And, in the fortune of my lord your son,
Prince Harry slain outright; and both the Blunts
Kill'd by the hand of Douglas : young prince Jolin,
And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk Sir Jobn,
Is prisoner to your son : 0, such a day,
So fought, so follow'd, and so fairly won,
Came not, till now, to digoify the times,
Since Cæsar's fortunes !
How is this deriv'd ?
Saw you the field ? came you from Shrewsbury?
L. BARD. I spake with one, my lord, that came from the ce;
A gentleman well bred, and of good name,
That freely render'd me these news for true.
NORTH. Here comes my servant, Travers, whom I sent
On Tuesday last to listen after news.
L. BARD. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;
And he is furnish'd with no certainties,
More than he haply may retail from me.
NORTH. Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you ?
Trav. My lord, sir John Umfrevile turn'd me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better hors'd,
Out-rode me. After him came, spurring hard,
• Stratagem--some military movement, according to the Greek derivation of the word;-some enterprise ;-some decisive act on one part or the other, resulting from the wild times of contention.
A gentleman almost forspenta 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 ill luck,
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold :
With that, he gave his able horse the head,
· And, bending forward, struck bis armed heels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade
Up to the rowel-head ®; and starting so,
He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
Ha!- Again. Said he, young Harry Percy's spur was cold? Of Hotspur, coldspur? that rebellion
Had met ill luck ? L. BARD.
My lord, I 'll tell you what;-
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon mine honour, for a silken point
I 'll give my barony: never talk of it.
NORTH. Why should the gentleman that rode by Travers
Give then such instances of loss?
He was some bilding fellow, that had stolen
The horse he rode on; and, upon my life,
Spake at adventured. Look, here comes more news.
NORTH. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leafe,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:
So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.
Say, Morton, didst thou come from Shrewsbury?
MOR. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
· Forspent. For, as a prefix to a verb, is used to give it intensity. Forwearied, in ‘King John,' and forspent, here, mean wearied out, outspent. The prefix, according to Tooke, is identical with forth.
Ill. So the folio; the quarto, bad. • Hilding—an expression of contempt for a cowardly spiritless person. Some derive it from the Anglo-Saxon hyldan, to bend ;-from which hilding, hireling. We find it several times in Shakspere. Capulet calls Juliet a hilding. In · Henry V.' we have“ a hilding foe."
& Adventure. So the folio. The common reading is, at a venture.
• Title-leaf. Poems of lament-elegies, in the restricted sense of the word-were distinguished by a black title-page.
! Whereon, in the quarto; the folio, when.
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask,
To fright our party.
How doth my son, and brother?
Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone“,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd:
But Priam found the fire, ere he bis tongue,
And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'st it.
This thou wouldst say,-Your son did thus, and thus :
Your brother thus : so fought the noble Douglas :
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds :
But in the end, to stop mine ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with—brother, son, and all are dead.
MOR. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet:
But, for my lord your son,
Why, he is dead.
See what a ready tongue suspicion hath!
He that but fears the thing he would not know,
Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others' eyes,
That what he fear'd is chanced. Yet speak, Morton; .
Tell thou thy earl his divination lies;
And I will take it as a sweet disgrace,
And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.
MOR. You are too great to be by me gainsaid :
Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.
NORTH. Yet, for all this, say not tbat Percy's dead.
I see a strange confession in thine eye :
Thou shak'st thy head; and hold'st it fearb, or sin,
To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so:
The tongue offends not that reports his death :
And be doth sin that doth belie the dead;
Not he, which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office; and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,
• Woe-begone. Dr. Bentley, whose commentary on Milton is more laughter-provoking than most jest-books, thought this passage corrupt, and proposed to read,
“ So dull, so dead in look, Ucalegon
Drew Priam's curtain," &c.
Fear-danger; matter or occasion of fear.
Remember'd knolling a departing friend a.
L. BARD. I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
MOR. I am sorry I should force you to believe
That which I would to heaven I had not seen:
But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,
Rendering faint quittance, wearied and out-breath'd,
To Henry Monmouth; whose swift wrath beat down
The never-daunted Percy to the earth,
From whence with life he never more sprung up.
In few, his death (whose spirit lent a fire
Even to the dullest peasant in his camp)
Being bruited once, took fire and heat away
From the best-temper'd courage in his troops :
For from his metal was his party steel'd;
Which once in him abated, all the rest
Turn'd on themselves, like dull and heavy lead.
And as the thing that's heavy in itself,
Upon enforcement, flies with greatest speed ;
So did our men, heavy in Hotspur's loss,
Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear,
That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim,
Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,
Fly from the field: Then was that noble Worcester
Too soon ta'en prisoner: and that furious Scot,
The bloody Douglas, whose well-labouring sword
Had three times slain the appearance of the king,
'Gan vail his stomach, and did grace the shame
Of those that turn'd their backs; and, in his flight,
Stumbling in fear, was took. The sum of all
Is, that the king hath won; and hath sent out
A speedy power to encounter you, my lord,
Under the conduct of young Lancaster,
And Westmoreland : this is the news at full.
NORTH. For this I shall have time enough to mourn
In poison there is physic; and these news,
Having been well that would have made me sick,
Being sick, have in some measure made me well :
And as the wretch, whose fever-weaken'd joints,
• Departing friend. Malone thought that departing was here used for departed. In Shakspere's 71st Sonnet we have,
“No longer mourn for me when I am dead,
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am ied. But the ancient custom was for the bell to ring for the departing soul- not for the soul that had fled. Hence it was called the passing bell.
Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life,
Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms; even so my limbs,
Weaken'd with grief, being now enrag'd with grief b,
Are thrice themselves : hence, therefore, thou nicec crutch;
A scaly gauntlets now, with joints of steel,
Must glove this band : and hence, thou sickly quoif;
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head
Which princes, flesh'd with conquest, aim to hit.
Now bind my brows with iron : And approach
The ragged'st a hour that time and spite dare bring,
To frown upon the enrag'd Northumberland!
Let heaven kiss earth! Now let not Nature's hand
Keep the wild flood confin'd! let order die !
And let the world no longer be a stage
To feed contention in a lingering act;
But let one spirit of the first-born Cain
Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set
On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
And darkness be the burier of the dead !
[TRA. This strained passion doth you wrong, my lord.]
L. BARD. Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your honour.
MOR. The lives of all your loving complices
Lean on your health; the which, if you give o'er
To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
You cast the event of war, my noble lord,
And summ'd the account of chance, before you said,
Let us make head. It was your presurmise,
That in the dole of blows your son might drop:
You knew he walk'd o'er perils, on an edge,
More likely to fall in than to get o'er :
You were advis'd his flesh was capable
Of wounds, and scars; and that his forward spirit
Would lift him where most trade of danger rang'd :
• Buckle. This word, which here means to bend, is used precisely in the same signification in the present day, when applied to a horse, whose "weaken'd joints, like strengthless hinges," are said to buckle.
Grief. In this line the first " grief” is put for bodily pain; the second for mental sorrow. • Nice-weak.
• Ragged'st. Theobald, and other editors, changed this to rugged'st. We find the epithet several times in Shakspere. In this play we have,
"A ragged and forestall'd remission." In the 6th Sonnet
" Then let not winter's ragged band deface
In thee thy summer."
It means something broken, torn, wanting consistency and coherence.
• This line is not in the folio. It is found in the quarto.