« EdellinenJatka »
King Henry the Fourth.
Sons to the king
Earl of Weltmoreland, } Friends to the king.
Sir Walter Blunt.
Lords, Officers, Sheriff, vintner, chamberlain, drawers, two carriers, travellers, and attendants, &c.
A CT I. SCENE I.
London. A Room in the Palace.
BLUNT, and Others.
in the year 1403.
The transa&tions contained in this historical drama are comprised within the period of about ten months; for the action commences with the news brought of Hotspur having defeated the Scots under Archibald earl Douglas at Holmedon, (or Halidown hill,) which battle was fought on Holyrood-day (the 14th of September) 1402; and it closes with the defeat and death of Hotspur at Shrewibury; which engagement hapo pened on Saturday the 21st of July, (the eve of Saint Mary Magdalen)
THEOBALD. This play was first entered at Stationers' Hall, Feb. 25, 1597, by Andrew Wile. Again by M. Woo!AF, Jan. 9, 1598. For the piece lupposed to have been its original, see Six old plays on which Sbakfftare founded &c. published for S. Leacroft, Charing Cross. STEEV.
This comedy was written, I believe, in the year 1597. See An Ale tempt to ascertain the order of Sbakspeare's plays, Vol. 1. MALONE.
Shakspeare has apparently designed a regular connection of these dramatick bistories from Richárd the Second to Henry the Fifth. King Henry, at the end of Richard the Second, declares his purpose to visit the Holy land, which he resumes in this speech. The complaint made by king Henry in the last act of Richard the Second, of the wildness of his son, prepares the reader for the frolicks which are here to be recounted, and the characters which are now to be exhibited. JOHNSON. ? Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breat be sorr-winded accents of new broils] That is, let us foften peace to rest awhile without disturbance, that she may recover breath to propose new wars. JOHNSON.
No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
No 3 No more tbe thirsty entrance of this foil
Sball daub ber lips with ber own children's blood; ] I would read the thirsty entrants of this soil ; i. e. those who set foot on this kingdom through the thirst of power or conquest.
Whoever is accustomed to the old copies of this author, will generally find the words consequents, occurrents, ingredients, spelt consequence, occurrence, ingredience ; and thus, perhaps, the French word entrants, anglicized by Shakspeare, might have been corrupted into entrance, which affords no very apparent meaning. STEEVENS.
This is an extremely difficult passage. An anonymous writer seems to think all difficulty to be done away, by understanding “ the thirsty entrance of this soil” in the sense of is the face of the earth parch'd and crack'd, as it is always in a dry summer.” If we take the words in their natural order, the meaning then will beg-No more shall the thirsty crack'd face of this foil daub ber lips &c. This surely is a strange kind of phraseology.
If there be no corruption in the text, I believe Shakspeare meant, however licentiously, to say, No more shall this foil have ibe lips of ber ibirsty entrance, or mouth, daubed with the blood of ber own cbildren.
Mr. Steevens's conjecture formerly appeared to me to likely to be true, that I had no doubt about the propriety of admitting it into the text.
It should be observed, that, supposing these copies to have been made out by the ear, (which there is great reason to believe was the case,) the transcriber might easily have been deceived; for entrance and entrants have nearly the same round, and he would naturally write a familiar instead of an unusual word.
A similar mistake has happened in the first scene of King Henry V. where we have (in the first folio)
“ With such a heady currance scowring faults-" instead of " With such a heady current &c." Again, in Macberb, p. 135, edit. 1623 :
“ Commends the ingredience of our poison'd chalice
66 To our own lips." Again, in The Winter's Tale, p. 290, edit. 1623:-" three pound of sugar, five pound of currence," &c.
I do not know that the word entrant is found elsewhere; but Shakl. peare has many of a similar formation. So, in K. Henry VI. P. I:
“ Here enter'd Pucelle, and her praktifants." Again, ibid :
But when my angry guardart stood alonem," Again, in K. Lear :
“ Than twenty filly ducking óbfervants," Again, in All's Wellibai ends Well :
“ The braveit queftans fhrinks."
No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Whose Sir Philip Sidney, in his Defence of Poesie, uses comedient for a writer of freedies, See also Shelton's translation of Don Quixote, Vol. I. p. 296, edit. 1612: “ The audients of her sad storie felt, &c."
Mi, Mason's objection however to this reading has, I confefs, fomeWhat diminished my confidence in it: “ It cannot, (he observes) be right, because the king does not allude to ravages committed by any foreign invaders, but to the blood thed by the English themselves.”-ic is, however, possible, that in enumerating the blessings of peace, he might mention a cessation of foreign hoftility as well as of domestick broils, though the latter was the primary objed of confideration.
Her hips, in my apprehenfion, refers to soil in the preceding line, and not to peace, as has been suggested. Shakspeare feldom attends to the integrity of his metaphors. In the second of these lines he confiders the soil or earth of England as a person ; (So in K. Richard II.
Tells them, he does bestride a bleeding land,
Gasping for life under great Boling broke.) and yet in the first line the foil must be understood in its ordinary material sense, as also in a subsequent line in which its fields are said to be channeled with war. Of this kind of incongruity our author's plays fornish innumerable instances.
Daub, the reading of the earliest copy, is confirmed by a pafiage in K. Ricbard 11. where we again meet with the image presented here :
« For that our kingdom's earth shall not be suild
« With that dear blood which it hath foftered.” The same kind of imagery is found in K. Henry VI. P. III:
“ Thy brother's blood the thirsty earıb hath drunk.” MALONE. 4 As far as to tbe sepulcber &c. The lawfulness and justice of the holy wars have been much disputed; but perhaps there is a principle on which the question may be easily determined.. If it be part of the religion of the Mahometans to extirpate by the sword all other religions, it is, by the laws of self-defence, lawful for men of every other religion,