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ACT V. SCENE II.
Line 157. Suspicion shall be all stuck full of eyes:] The same image of suspicion is exhibited in a Latin tragedy, called Roxana, written about the same time by Dr. William Alabaster. JOHNS. Line 177. Deliver up
My lord of Westmoreland.] He was "impawned as a surety for the safe return" of Worcester. See Act IV. sc. iii. MALONE.
Line 193. And Westmoreland, that was engag'd,] Engag'd is delivered as an hostage. A few lines before, upon the return of Worcester, he orders Westmoreland to be dismissed. JOHNSON.
Line 210. By still dispraising praise, valued with you:] This foolish line is indeed in the folio of 1623, but it is evidently the player's nonsense. WARBURTON.
This line is not only in the first folio, but in all the editions before it, that I have seen. Why it should be censured as nonsense I know not. To vilify praise, compared or valued with merit superior to praise, is no harsh expression. There is another objection to be made. Prince Henry, in his challenge of Percy, had indeed commended him, but with no such hyperboles as might represent him above praise; and there seems to be no reason why Vernon should magnify the Prince's candour beyond the truth. Did then Shakspeare forget the foregoing scene? or are some lines lost from the Prince's speech? JOHNSON.
Line 212. He made a blushing cital of himself:] Cital, i. e. reproof, or impeachment.
Line 248. Now,-Esperance !] This was the word of battle on Percy's side. See Hall's Chronicle, folio 22.
ACT V. SCENE III.
-shot-free at London,] A play upon shot, as it
means the part of a reckoning, and a missive weapon discharged from artillery. Line 292. Here's no vanity !] In our author's time the negative in common speech was used to design, ironically, the excess of a thing. WARBURTON.
-Turk Gregory never did such deeds in arms,]
Meaning Gregory the Seventh, called Hildebrand. This furious friar surmounted almost invincible obstacles to deprive the emperor of his right of investiture of bishops, which his predecessors had long attempted in vain. Fox, in his History, hath made Gregory so odious, that I don't doubt but the good Protestants of that time were well pleased to hear him thus characterized, as uniting the attributes of their two great enemies, the Turk and Pope, in one. WARBURTON.
Line 317. sack a city.] A quibble on the word sack. JOHNS. 320. If Percy be alive, I'll pierce him.] I rather take the conceit to be this: To pierce a vessel is to tap it. Falstaff takes up his bottle, which the Prince had tossed at his head, and being about to animate himself with a draught, cries: If Percy be alive, I'll pierce him, and so draws the cork. I do not propose this with much confidence. JOHNSON. Line 322. —a carbonado of me.] A carbonado is a piece of meat cut cross-wise for the gridiron. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE IV.
Line 415. 0, Harry, thou hast robb'd me of my youth:] Shakspeare has chosen to make Hotspur fall by the hand of the Prince of Wales; but there is, I believe, no authority for the fact. Holinshed says, "The king slew that day with his own hand six and thirty persons of his enemies. The other [i. e. troops] of his party, encouraged by his doings, fought valiantly, and slew the Lord Percy, called Henry Hotspur." Speed says Percy was killed by an unknown hand. MALONE.
those proud titles thou hast won of me ;
But thought's the slave of life, and life time's fool;
Must have a stop.] Hotspur in his last moments endeavours to console himself. The glory of the Prince wounds his thoughts; but thought, being dependent on life, must cease with it, and will soon be at an end. Life, on which thought depends, is itself of no great value, being the fool and sport of time; of time, which, with all its dominion over sublunary things, must itself at last be stopped. JOHNSON.
Line 429. Ill-weav'd ambition, &c.] A metaphor taken from cloth, which shrinks when it is ill-weaved, when its texture is loose.
Line 437. But let my favours hide thy should read-favour, face, or countenance. here to kiss Hotspur.
mangled face ;] We
He is stooping down
. He rather covers his face with a scarf, to hide the ghastliness of
Line 448. -so fat a deer—] There is in these lines a very natural mixture of the serious and ludicrous, produced by the view of Percy and Falstaff. I wish all play on words had been forborn. JOHNSON.
Line 453. -to powder me,] To powder is to salt. JOHNS. -a double man :] That is, I am not Falstaff and Percy together, though, having Percy on my back, I seem double.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON THE FIRST PART OF
KING HENRY THE FOURTH.
THE SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY IV.
ENTER Rumour,] This speech of Rumour is not inelegant or unpoetical, but it is wholly useless, since we are told nothing which the first scene does not clearly and naturally discover. The only end of such prologues is to inform the audience of some facts previous to the action, of which they can have no knowledge from the persons of the drama. JOHNSON.
-Rumour, painted full of tongues.] This the author probably drew from Holinshed's Description of a Pageant, exhibited in the court of Henry VIII. with uncommon cost and magnificence: "Then entered a person called Report, apparelled in crimson sattin, full of toongs, or chronicles." Vol. III. p. 805. This however might be the common way of representing this personage in masques, which were frequent in his own times. T. WARTON. Line 15. Rumour is a pipe-] Here the poet imagines himself describing Rumour, and forgets that Rumour is the speaker.
ACT I. SCENE I.
—rowel-head ;] I think that I have observed in
old prints the rowel of those times to have been only a single spike. JOHNSON. Line 67. silken point-] A point is a string tagged, or JOHNSON.
Line 73. some hilding fellow,] For hilderling, i. e. base, degenerate.
Line 76. -like to a title-leaf,] It may not be amiss to observe, that, in the time of our poet, the title-page to an elegy, as well as every intermediate leaf, was totally black. I have several in my possession, written by Chapman, the translator of Homer, and ornamented in this manner. STEEVENS.
Line 111. Your spirit-] The impression upon your mind, by which you conceive the death of your son. JOHNSON.
Line 112. Yet, for all this, say not &c.] The contradiction, in the first part of this speech, might be imputed to the dictraction of Northumberland's mind; but the calmness of the reflection, contained in the last lines, seems not much to countenance such a supposition. I will venture to distribute this passage in a manner which will, I hope, seem more commodious; but do not wish the reader to forget, that the most commodious is not always the true reading:
Bard. Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
Not he, which says the dead is not alive.
Mor. Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,
Remember'd knolling a departing friend.
Here is a natural interposition of Bardolph at the beginning, who is not pleased to hear his news confuted, and a proper preparation of Morton for the tale which he is unwilling to tell.