Puslapio vaizdai

SCENE IV. King Henry the 4th to his Son.

Had I fo lavish of my prefence been,
So common hackney'd in the eyes of men,
So ftale and cheap to vulgar company;
Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
Had ftill kept loyal to poffeffion;
And left me in reputelefs banishment,
A fellow of no mark, nor likelihood.
But being feldom feen, I could not stir
But, like a comet, I was wonder'd at!

(10) That men would tell their children, "This is he."

Others would fay, "Where? which is Bolinbroke ?"
And then I ftole all courtesy from heav'n,
And drest myself in much humility,

That I did pluck allegiance from mens hearts,
Loud fhouts and falutations from their mouths,
Even in the prefence of the crowned king.
Thus did I keep my person fresh and new,
My prefence like a robe pontifical,

Ne'er feen, but wonder'd at: and fo my state,
Seldom, but fumptuous, fhewed like a feast,
And won, by rarene's, fuch folemnity.
'The skipping king, he ambled up and down
With fhallow jefters, and rafh bavin wits,

Soon kindled, and foon burnt: (11) 'fcarded his state:

(10) That he, &c.] At pulchrum eft digito monftrarier, & dicier bic eft. Perfius.

Oh it is brave to be admired, to fee

The crowd with pointing fingers cry, "That's he."


(11) 'Scarded, &c. i. e. difcarded, threw off. This reading is Mr. Warburton's: the old one is, carded: this elifion is not unusual with the poets; frequently amongst the older ones fdeign for difdain, &c.

we have

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Mingled his royalty with carping fools;
Had his great name profaned with their fcorns;
And gave his countenance, against his name,
To laugh with gybing boys, and ftand the push
Of every beardlefs, vain comparative :
Grew a companion to the common streets,
Enfeoff'd himfelf to popularity:

That being daily fwallow'd by mens eyes,
They furfeited with honey, and began

To loath the taste of sweetness; whereof a little
More than a little is by much too much.
So when he had occafion to be seen,.
He was but, as the cuckow is in June,
Heard, not regarded: feen, but with fuch eyes,
As, fick and blunted with community,

Afford no extraordinary gaze;

Such as is bent on fun-like majefty,

When it fhines feldom in admiring eyes :

But rather drowz'd, and hung their eye-lids down,
Slept in his face, and rendred fuch aspect

As cloudy men ufe to their adversaries,
Being with his prefence glutted, gorg'd, and full.


A gallant Warrior.

I faw young Harry, with his beaver on,*
His cuiffes on his thighs, gallantly arm'd,
Rife from the ground like feather'd Mercury;
And vaulted with fuch eafe into his feat,
As if an angel dropt down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery pegaflus,

And witch the world with noble horfemanfhip.

*On] Others read up; and there feems great probability in it,


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(12) Well, 'tis no matter, honour pricks me on. But how, if honour prick me off, when I come on? How then? Can honour fet to a leg? No; or an arm? no: or take away the grief of a wound? No: Honour hath no skill in furgery then? No; what is honour? a word. What is the word honour air: a trim reckoning. Who hath it? he that dy'd a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No: doth he hear it? No? is it infenfible then? yea, to the dead: but will it not live with the living? No: why? detraction will not fuffer it. Therefore, I'll none of it; honour is a meer fcutcheon; and fo ends my catechism.

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(12) Well, &c.] In the king and no king of Beaumont and Fletcher, we have a character, plainly drawn from Shakespear's Falstaff; how short it is, and muft neceffarily be of the original, I need not obferve. I think, fays Mr. Theobald, in his firft note on that play, the character of Beffus must be allowed in general a fine copy from Shakespear's inimitable Falstaff. He is a coward, yet wou'd fain fet up for a hero: oftentatious without any grain of merit to fupport his vain-glory: a lyar throughout, to exalt his affumed qualifications; and lewd, without any countenance from the ladies to give him an umbrage for it. As to his wit and humour, the precedence muft certainly be adjudg'd to Falstaff, the great original." The authors, in the third act, have introduced him talking on the fame fubject with Falstaff here though not in the fame excellent manner, (an account of which fee in Mr. Upton's obfervations on Shakespear, p. 113.) Beffus. They talk of fame, I have gotten it in the wars, and will afford any man a reasonable penny-worth; fome will fay, they could be content to have it, but that it is to be atchiev d with danger; but my opinion is otherwife for if I might stand ftill in cannon-proof, and have fame fal upon me, I would refufe it; my reputation came principally by thinking to run away, which no body knows but Mardonius, and, I think, he conceals it to anger me, &c." The falfe and foolish notions of fame and honour are no where, that I know of, fo well and jufily cenfüred, as in Mr. Wollaston's religion of Nature delineated, fect 5. p. 116. printed in 1726.

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SCEHE V. Life demands Action.

(13) O gentlemen, the time of life is fhort:
To spend that shortness bafely were too long,
Tho' life did ride upon a dial's point,
Still ending at th' arrival of an hour.

(13) O gentlemen, &c.] See All's well that ends well. A&t 5. Scene 4, and the note. Virgil beautifully obferves

Stat fua cuique dies, breve & irreparabile tempus
Omnibus eft vita; fed famam extendere factis
Hoc virtutis opus.

Æn. 10.

To all that breathe is fixt th' appointed date,
Life is but fhort, and circumfcrib'd by fate:
'Tis virtue's work by fame to ftretch the fpan,
Whofe fcanty limit bounds the days of man.



The Second Part of HENRY IV.


Prologue to the fecond Part of Henry IV.

From the orient to the drooping weft,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
(1) Upon my tongues continual flanders ride,


(1) Upon my, &c.] In the ftage-direction, rumour is said to enter painted full of tongues. Shakespear, in his defcription of rumour, had doubtless a view either to Virgil's celebrated description of fame, or Ovid's defcription of her cave in the 12th book of his metamorphofes : I fhall give the reader part of both and in as close a tranflation as poffible, that he may judge the better.

Monftrum, borrendum, &c.

A monster, hideous, vaft; as many plumes
As in her body ftick, fo many eyes
Towards waking (wondrous to relate)

There grew beneath; as many babbling tongues,
And lift'ning ears as many: By night the flies
Noify thro' fhades obfcure, 'twixt earth and heav'
Nor are her eyes by pleafing number clos'd;
Watchful and prying round, by day, the fits
On fome high palace top, or lofty tow'r,
And mighty towns alarms: nor lefs intent
On fpreading falfhood, than reporting truth. &c.

Atria turba tenent, &c.


See Trap. Virg. Æn. 4

*Hither in crowds the vulgar come and go;
Millions of rumours here fly to and fro:
Lies mixt with truth, reports that vary ftill,
The itching ears of folks unguarded fill:
They tell the tale; the tale in telling grows,
And each relater adds to what he knows ;
Rash error, light credulity are here,

And caufelefs transport and ill-grounded fear;

(To the cave of fame)


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