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THE HOUSE IN WHICH SHAKSPEARE WAS BORN. A VIGNETTE ON THE TITLE PAGE.

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HISTORICAL NOTES..

EXPLANATORY NOTES.

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ILOSOPLAVLE

Wistorical Notes,

The transactions contained in this historical he resumes in the first speech of this play. The drama are comprised within the period of about complaint made by King Henry in the last Act ten months; for the action commences with the of Richard the Second, of the wildness of his 'news brought of Hotspur having defeated the son, prepares the reader for the frolics which Scots ander Archibald earl of Douglas at Hol- are there to be recounted, and the characters medon, (or Halidown-hill,) which battle was which are now to be exhibited. Johnson. fought on Holy-rood day, (the 14th of Septem- The persons of the drama were originally colber,) 1402; and it closes with the defeat and lected by Mr. Rowe, who has given the title of death of Hotspur at Shrewsbury ; which en- Duke of Lancaster to Prince John, a mistake gagement happened on Saturday the 21st of July, which Shakspeare has been no where guilty of (ihe eve of Saint Mary Magdalen,) in the year in the first part of this play, though in the se1403. THEOBALD.

cond he has fallen into the same error. King This play was first entered at Stationers' | Henry IV. was himself the last person that ever Hall, Feh. 25, 1597, by Andrew Wise. Again, bore the title of Duke of Lancaster. But all by M. Woolff, Jan. 9. 1598. For the piece his sons, (till they had peerages, as Clarence, supposed to have been its original, see Six old Bedford, Gloucester) were distinguished by the Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c. pub- name of the royal house, as John of Lancaster, lished for S. Leacrost, Charing-Cross.

Humphrey of Lancaster, &c. and in that proper

STEEVENS. style, the present John (who became afterwards Shakspeare has apparently designed a regu- so illustrious by the title of Duke of Bedford) lar connection of these dramatic histories from is always mentioned in the play before us. Richard the Second to Henry the Fifth. King

STEEVENS. Henry, at the end of Richard the Second, de- This comedy was written, I believe, in the clares his purpose to visit the Holy Land, which year 1597. Malone.

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KING HENRY IV.

*

PART I.

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I fancy every reader, when he ends this play, cries out with Desdemona, « » most lame and impotent.com.p3

As this play was not, to our knowledge, divided into acts by the author, I could be content to conclude it with the death of Henry the fourth :

* In that Jerusalem shall Harry die. These scenes, which now inake the fifth act of Henry the Fourth, might then be the first of Henry the Fifth : but the truth is, they do not unite very commodiously to either play. When these plays were represented, I believe they ended as they are now ended in the books; but Shakspeare seems to have designed that the whole series of action, from the beginning of Richard the Second, to the end of Henry the Fifth, should be considered by the reader as one work, upon one plan, only broken into parts by the necessity of exhibition.

None of Shakspeare's plays are more read than the First and Second Parts of Henry the Fourth. Perhaps no anthor has ever, in two plays, afforded so inuch delight. The great events are interesting, for the fate of kingdoms depend upon them; tbe stighter occurrences

are diverting, and, except one or two, sufficiently probable; the incidents are multiplied with wonderful fertility of invention; and the characters diversified with the utmost nicety

of discernment, and the profoundest skill in the nature of man.

The prince, who is the hero both of the comic and tragic part, is a young man of great abilities, and violent
passions, whose sentiments are right, though his actions are wrong; whose virtues are obscured by negligence,
and whose understanding is dissipated by levity. In his idle hours he is rather loose than wicked; and when the
ccasion forces out his latent qualities, he is great without effort, and brave without tumult. The trifler is roused
into a bero, and the hero again reposes in the trifer. The character is great, original, and just.
Percy is a rugged soldier, choleric and quarrelsome, and has only the soldier's virtues, generosity and courage.

Bat Falstaff! unimitated, uaimitable Falstaff! how shall I describe thee? thou compound of sense and vice ; of
setise which may be admired, but not esteemed; of vice whi may be despised, but hardly detested. Falstaff is a
character loaded with faults, and with those faults which naturally produce contempt. He is a thief and a glutton,
a coward and a boaster; always ready to cheat the weak, and prey, upon the poor: to terrify the timorous, and
iasalt the defenceless. At once obsequious and malignant, be satírizes in their absence those whom he lives by
Battering. He is familiar with the prince only as an agent of vice; but of this familiarity he is so proud, as not
only to be supercilious and haughty with common men, but to think his interest of importance to the duke of
Lancaster. Yet the man thus corrupt, thus despicable, makes himself necessary to the prince that despises bim,
by the most pleasing of all qualities,
perpetual gaiety: by an unfailing power of exciting

laughter, which is the more (reel indulged, as his wit is not of the splendid or ambitious kind, but consists in easy scapes and sallies of levity, which make sport, but raise no envy. It must be observed, that he is stained with no enormous or sanguinary crimes, so that his licentiousness is not so offensive but thaf it may be borne for his mirth.

The moral to be drawn from this representation is, that no man is more dangerous than he that, with a will to corrupt, hath the power to please ; and that neither wit nor honesty ougbt to think themselves safe with such a companion, when they see Henry seduced by Falstati.

Johnson.

PERSONS REPRESENTED. KING HENRY THE FOURTH.

SIR JOHN FALSTAFF. HENRY, Prince of Wales,

POINS.

Sons to the King. PRINCE JOHN Lancaster,

GADSHILL, EARL OF WESTMORELAND,

PETO,

} Friends to the King. SIR WALTER BLUNT,

BARDOLPH.
THOMAS PERCY, Earl of Worcester.
HENRY PERCY, Earl of Northumberland.

LADY PERCY, Wife to Holspur, and Sister to Mor

timer HENRY PERCY, surnamed HOTSPOR, his Son. EDMUND MORTIMER, Earl of March.

LADY MORTIMER, Daughter to Giendower, and Wife

to Mortimer. SCROOP. Archbishop of York. ARCHIBALD, Earl of Douglas.

MRS. QU'ICKLY, Hostess of a Tavern in Eastcheap. OWEN GLENDOWER.

Lords, Officers, SheriffVintner, Chamberlain, Drawers,
SIR RICHARD VERNON.

Two Carriers, Travellers, and Attendants.
SCENE,—England.

ACT I.
SCENE I.- London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter King HENRY, WESTMORELAND, Sir WALTER

BLUNT, and others.
K. Hen. So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
Apd breathe short. winded accents of new broils
To be cominenc'd in stronds afar remote.
No more the thirsty Erinnys of this soil
Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
No more sball trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flowrets with the armed hoofs
Of bostile paces: those opposed eyes,
Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
Did lately meet in the intestine shock
Apd farious close of civil butchery,
Shall now, in mutual, well-beseeming ranks,
March all one way; and be no more oppos’d
Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies :
The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife,
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
As far as to the sepulchre of Christ,
(Whose soldier now, ander whose blessed cross
We are impressed and engaged to fight,)
Porthwith a power of English shall we levy;
Whose arms were moulded in their mothers' womb,

To chase these pagans, in those holy fields,
Over whose acres walk'd those blessed feet,
Which, fourteen hundred years ago, were nail'd
For our advantage on the bitter cross.
But this our purpose is a twelve-month old,
And bootless 'tis to tell you-we will go;
Therefore we meet not now :Then let me hear
Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,
What yesternight our council did decree,
In forwarding this dear expedience.

West. My liege, this haste was hot in question,
And many limits of the charge set down
But yesternight : when, all athwart, there came
A

post from Wales, loaden with heavy news,
Whose worst was,—that the noble Mortimer,
Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
And a thousand of his people butchered:
Upon whose dead corpse there was snch misuse,
Such beastly, shameless transformation,
By those Welshwomen done, as may nor pe,
Without much shame, re-told or spoken of.
K. Hen. It seems, then, that the tidings of this

broil
Brake off our business for the Holy Land.

West. This, match'd with other, did, my gracions

lored;

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