Abbildungen der Seite

Should be the father of fome ftratagem:8
The times are wild; contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.


Noble earl,

I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
NORTH. Good, an heaven will!


As good as heart can wish :-
The king is almost wounded to the death;
And, in the fortune of my lord your fon,
Prince Harry flain outright; and both the Blunts
Kill'd by the hand of Douglas: young prince John,
And Weftmoreland, and Stafford, fled the field;
And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk fir John,
Is prifoner to your fon: O, fuch a day,

So fought, fo follow'd, and fo fairly won,
Came not, till now, to dignify the times,
Since Cæfar's fortunes!


How is this deriv'd?

Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury?

BARD. I fpake with one, my lord, that came from thence;

A gentleman well bred, and of good name,
That freely render'd me these news for true.

NORTH. Here comes my fervant, Travers, whom
I fent

On Tuesday last to liften after news.

BARD. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;

sfome ftratagem:] Some Stratagem means here fome great, important, or dreadful event. So, in The Third Part of King Henry VI. the father who had killed his fon fays: "O pity, God! this miferable age!

"What Stratagems, how fell, how butcherly!
"This mortal quarrel daily doth beget !" M. MASON.

And he is furnish'd with no certainties,
More than he haply may retail from me.


NORTH. Now, Travers, what good tidings come with you?

TRA. My lord, fir John Umfrevile turn'd me. back

With joyful tidings; and, being better hors'd,
Out-rode me. After him, came, fpurring hard,
A gentleman almoft forspent with speed,'
That flopp'd by me to breathe his bloodied horfe:
He afk'd the way to Chefter; and of him
I did demand, what news from Shrewsbury.
He told me, that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy's fpur was cold:
With that, he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward, ftruck his armed heels'
Against the panting fides of his poor jade2


-forfpent with speed,] To forfpend is to wafte, to exhauft. So, in Sir A. Gorges' tranflation of Lucan, B. VII: crabbed fires forfpent with age." STEEVENS.



armed heels-] Thus the quarto, 1600. The folio, 1623, reads-able heels; the modern editors, without authority-agile heels. STEEVENS.


poor jade] Poor jade is ufed, not in contempt, but in compaffion. Poor jade means the horse wearied with his journey.

Jade, however, feems anciently to have fignified what we now call a hackney; a beast employed in drudgery, opposed to a horfe kept for fhow, or to be rid by its mafter. So, in a comedy called: A Knack to know a Knave, 1594:

"Befides, I'll give you the keeping of a dozen jades,· "And now and then meat for you and your horfe."

This is faid by a farmer to a courtier. STEEVENS.

Shakspeare, however, (as Mr. Steevens has obferved,) cer

Up to the rowel-head; 3 and, ftarting fo,
He feem'd in running to devour the way,4
Staying no longer question.



Said he, young Harry Percy's fpur was cold?
Of Hotspur, coldfpur?5 that rebellion

Had met ill luck!

If my young



My lord, I'll tell you what ;fon have not the day,

tainly does not use the word as a term of contempt; for King Richard the Second gives this appellation to his favourite horse Roan Barbary, on which Henry the Fourth rode at his coronation :


"That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand."


-rowel-head;] I think that I have observed in old prints the rowel of those times to have been only a single spike. JOHNSON.

4 He feem'd in running to devour the way,] So, in the Book of Job, chap. xxxix: "He swalloweth the ground in fierceness and rage."

The fame expreffion occurs in Ben Jonson's Sejanus :
"But with that speed and heat of appetite,
"With which they greedily devour the

"To fome great sports." STEEVENS.


So Ariel, to describe his alacrity in obeying Profpero's commands:

"I drink the air before me." M. MASON.

So, in one of the Roman poets (I forget which): curfu confumere campum. BLACKSTONE.

The line quoted by Sir William Blackstone is in NEMESIAN: ·latumque fuga confumere campum. MALONE.

s Of Hotspur, coldfpur ?] Hotspur feems to have been a very common term for a man of vehemence and precipitation. Stanyhurft, who tranflated four books of Virgil, in 1584, renders the following line :

Nec victoris heri tetigit captiva cubile.

"To couch not mounting of mayfter vanquisher hoatSpur." STEEVENS,


Upon mine honour, for a filken point
I'll give my barony: never talk of it.

NORTH. Why fhould the gentleman, that rode by

Give then fuch inftances of lofs?

Who, he?
He was fome hilding fellow," that had stol'n
The horse he rode on; and, upon my life,

Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.


NORTH. Yea, this man's brow, like to a title leaf,8

Foretells the nature of a tragick volume:

So looks the ftrond, whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witnefs'd ufurpation.9

Say, Morton, didft thou come from Shrewsbury?
MOR. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord;
Where hateful death put on his ugliest mask,
To fright our party.


How doth my fon, and brother?

-filken point-] A point is a ftring tagged, or lace. JOHNSON.

"-fome hilding fellow,] For hilderling, i. e. base, degenerate. POPE.

Hilderling, Degener; vox adhuc argo Devon. familiaris. Spelman. REED.

8 like to a title-leaf,] It may not be amifs to obferve, that, in the time of our poet, the title-page to an elegy, as well as every intermediate leaf, was totally black. I have feveral in my poffeffion, written by Chapman, the tranflator of Homer, and ornamented in this manner. STEEVENS.


a witness'd ufurpation.] i. e. an attestation of its ravage. STEEVENS.

Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even fuch a man, fo faint, fo fpiritless,
So dull, fo dead in look, fo woe-begone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him, half his Troy was

But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'st it.
This thou would'ft fay,-Your fon did thus, and
thus ;

Your brother, thus; fo fought the noble Douglas;
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds:
But in the end, to stop mine ear indeed,
Thou haft a figh to blow away this praise,
Ending with-brother, fon, and all are dead.
MOR. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet:
my lord your fon,-

But, for


Why, he is dead. See, what a ready tongue fufpicion hath! He, that but fears the thing he would not know,

1-fo -fo woe-begone,] This word was common enough amongst the old Scottish and English poets, as G. Douglas, Chaucer, Lord Buckhurst, Fairfax; and fignifies, far gone in woe. WARBURTON.

So, in The Spanish Tragedy:

[ocr errors]

Awake, revenge, or we are wo-begone !”

Again, in Arden of Feverfham, 1592:

"So woe-begone, fo inly charg'd with woe."

Again, in A Looking Glafs for London and England, 1598: "Fair Alvida, look not fo woe-begone,"

Dr. Bentley is faid to have thought this paffage corrupt, and therefore (with a greater degree of gravity than my readers will probably exprefs) propofed the following emendation :

So dead fo dull in look, Ucalegou,

Drew Priam's curtain &c.

The name of Ucalegon is found in the third Book of the Iliad, and the fecond of the Eneid. STEEVENS.

« ZurückWeiter »