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* King Henry IV. Part I.] The transactions 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 of Douglas at Holmedon, (or Halidown-hill,) which battle was fought on Holy-rood day, (the 14th of September,) 1402; and it closes with the defeat and death of Hotspur at Shrewsbury; which engagement happened on Saturday the 21st of July, (the eve of Saint Mary Magdalen,) in the year 1403. THEOBALD.
This play was first entered at Stationers' Hall, Feb. 25, 1597, by Andrew Wise. Again, by M. Woolff, Jan. 9, 1598. For the piece supposed to have been its original, see Six old Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c. published for S. Leacroft, CharingCross. STEEVENS.
Shakspeare has apparently designed a regular connection of these dramatick histories from Richard 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 the first speech of this play. The complaint made by King Henry in the ļast 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. This comedy was written, I believe, in the year 1597.
King Henry the Fourth.
Friends to the King.
timer, Lady Mortimer, Daughter to Glendower, and Wife
to Mortimer. Mrs. Quickly, Hostess of a Tavern in Eastcheap. Lords, Officers, Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Drawers, Two Carriers, Travellers, and Attendants.
i Prince John of Lancaster.] The persons of the drama were -originally collected by Mr. Rowe, who has given the title of Duke of Lancaster to Prince John, a mistake which Shakspeare has been no where guilty of in the first part of this play, though in the second he has fallen into the same error. King Henry IV. was himself the last person that ever bore the title of Duke of Lancaster. But all his sons (till they had peerages, as Clarence, Bedford, Gloucester,) were distinguished by the name of the royal house, as John of Lancaster, Tlumphrey of Lancaster, &c. and in that proper style, the present John (who became afterwards so illustrious by the title of Duke of Bedford,) is always mentioned in the play before 11s. STEEVENS.
FIRST PART OF
KING HENRY IV.
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, And breathe short-winded accents of new broils! To be commenc'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 shall trenching war channel her fields, Nor bruise our flowrets with the armed hoofs Of hostile 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 And furious close of civil butchery, Shall now, in mutual, well-beseeming ranks,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils—] That is, let us soften peace to rest awhile without disturbance, that she may recover breath to propose new wars.
JOHNSON 2 No more the thirsty Erinnys-] The fury of discord.
March all one way; and be no more oppos'd
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 Mo timer, Leading the men of Herefordshire to figat 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 corps there was such misuse, Such beastly, shameless transformation, By those Welshwomen done, as may not be, Without much shame, re-told or spoken of,
6 Therefore we meet not now:] i. e, not on that account do we now meet;
;-we are not now assembled, to acquaint you with our intended expedition.
this dear expedience.] For expedition. • And many limits -] Limits for estimates; or perhaps, outlines, rough sketches, or calculations.