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SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY IV.
SCENE I. The same.
The Porter before the Gate; Enter Lord BARDOLPH.
WHO keeps the gate here, ho? - Where is the earl?
Here comes the earl.
North. What news, lord Bardolph? every minute
Should be the father of some stratagem2:
The times are wild; contention, like a horse
some stratagem:] Some stratagem means here some great, important, or dreadful event.
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
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 John, And Westmoreland, and Stafford, fled the field; And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk sir John, Is prisoner to your son: O, such a day, So fought, so follow'd, and so fairly won, Came not, till now, to dignify the times, Since Cæsar's fortunes!
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,
North. Here comes my servant, Travers, whom
On Tuesday last to listen after news.
Bard. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;
North. Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you?
Tra. 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, A gentleman almost forspent 3 with speed,
forspent-] To forspend is to waste, to exhaust.
That stopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horse:
My lord, I'll tell you what; —
I'll give my barony: never talk of it.
North. Why should the gentleman, that rode by
Give then such instances of loss?
was some hilding fellow 5, that had stol'n The horse he rode on; and, upon my life,
Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.
North. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf," Foretells the nature of a tragick volume:
So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood
· silken point] A point is a string tagged, or lace.
some hilding fellow,] For hilderling, i. e. base, degenerate. 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.
Hath left a witness'd usurpation 7, ----
Say, Morton, did'st thou come from Shrewsbury?
half his Troy was burn'd: ere he his tongue, ere thou report'st it.
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 that Percy's dead. I see a strange confession in thine eye:
a witness'd usurpation.] i. e. an attestation of its ravage. 8 Your spirit-] The impression upon your mind, by which you conceive the death of your son.
Thou shak'st thy head; and hold'st it fear, or sin 9,
Bard. I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.
From whence with life he never more sprung up.