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SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY IV.
The first edition of this play was the quarto of 1600, in which year it was twice reprinted in the same form. As it is mentioned in Nares' Wits' Treasury, 1598, and contains an allusion to the murder of the sons of Amurath the Third by their brother Mahomet, which took place Feb. 1596 ; the tragedy must have been written in the intervening period. It was entered at Stationers' Hall, August 23, 1600.
The transactions comprised in the history take up almost nine years. The action commences with the account of Hotspur’s being defeated and killed, 1403; and closes with the death of Henry the Fourth, and the coronation of Henry the Fifth, 1412–13.
King HENRY the Fourth.
(2 Henry V.) duke of Bedford; Prince HUMPHREY of Gloster, afterwards
(2 Henry V.) duke of Gloster;
Lady NORTHUMBERLAND. Lady Percy.
Lords and other attendants; Officers, Soldiers, Messenger,
Drawers, Beadles, Grooms, &c.
See note under the Persona Dramutis of the First Part of this Play.-STEEVENS.
Warkworth. Before Northumberland's Castle.
Enter RUMOUR, painted full of tongues. Rum. Open your ears; For which of you will stop The vent of hearing, when loud Rumour speaks? I, from the orient to the drooping west, Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold The acts commenced on this ball of earth : Upon my tongues continual slanders ride; The which in every language I pronounce, Stuffing the ears of men with false reports. I speak of peace, while covert enmity, Under the smile of safety, wounds the world : And who but Rumour, who but only 1, Make fearful musters, and prepar'd defence; Whilst the big year, swol'n with some other grief, Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war, And no such matter! Rumour is a pipe Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures; And of so easy and so plain a stop, That the blunt monster with uncounted heads, The still-discordant wavering multitude, Can play upon it. But what need I thus My well-known body to anatomize Among my household ? Why is Rumour here? I run before king Harry's victory ; Who, in a bloody field by Shrewsbury, Hath beaten down young Hotspur, and his troops,
a 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 wbich they can have no knowledge from the persons of the drama.-Johnson. b— stop,] The stops are the holes of the flute or pipe.-STEEVENS.