Page images

Port. His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard: Pleale it your honour, knock but at the gate, And he himself will answer.

Enter Northumberland. Bard. Here comes the earl. North. What news, lord Bardolph ? every minute


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

Bard. Noble earl,
I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.

Nortb. Good, if heaven will!

Bard. As good as heart can wish :The king is almost wounded to the death; And, in the fortune of my lord your son, Prince Harry Nain outright; and both the Blunts Kill?d by the hand of Douglas : young prince John, And Westmorland, and Stafford, Aed the field; And Harry Monmouth's brawn, the hulk Sir John, Is prisoner to your son. O, such a day, So fought, fo follow'd, and so fairly won, Came not till now, to dignify the times, Since Cæsar's fortunes !

North. How is this deriv'd ? Saw you the field ? came you from Shrewsbury? Bard. I spoke 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 servant Travers, whom I

On Tuesday last to listen after news.

Bard. My lord, I over-rode him on the way,
And he is furnish'd with no certainties,
More than he, haply, may retail from me.


Enter Travers. North. Now, Travers, what good tidings come

with you?
Tra. My lord, Sir John Umfrevile turn’d me back
With joyful tidings; and, being better hors’d,
Out-rode me. After him came, spurring hard,
A gentleman, almost fore-spent with speed,
That stopp'd by me, to breathe his bloodied horse:
He ask'd the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand what news from Shrewsbury.
He told me, that rebellion had bad luck,
And that young Harry Percy's spur was cold:
With that he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward, struck his * armed heels
Against the panting sides of his 6 poor jade
Up to the 7 rowel-head; and, starting 1o,
8 He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
North. Ha!

Said he, young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur, Coldspur?-that rebellion
Had met ill luck ?

Bard. My lord, I'll tell you what-
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon mine honour, for a 9 filken point
I'll give my barony. Never talk of it.

armed heels) Thus the quarto 1600. The folia 1623, reads able beels; the modern editors, without authority, agile heels. STEVENS.

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

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

8 He seem'd in running to devour the way,] So in The Book of yob, chap. xxxix. “He swalloweth the ground in fierceness

filken point] A point is a string tagged, or lace.

Aa 2




át and rage.


North. Why should the gentleman, that rode by

Give then such instances of loss?

Bard. Who he?
He was 'some hilding fellow, that had ftolin
The horse he rode on; and, upon my life,
Spoke at adventure. Look, here comes more news.

[ocr errors]

Enter Morton.

North. Yea, this man's brow, ? like to a title-leaf,
Foretels the nature of a tragic volume.
So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.-
Say, Morton, did'st thou come from Shrewsbury?

Mort. I ran from Shrewsbury, my noble lord ;
Where hateful death put on his ugliest malk
To fright our party.

Norib. How doth my son, and brother?
Thou trembleft; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so fpiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, 3 so woe-be-gone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,
And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'di
But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'it it.
This would'It thou say-Your son did thus, and thus ;

fome hilding fellow,-) For bilderling, i. e. base, degenerate. Pope.

-like to a title-leaf, -] It may not be amiss to observe, that in the time of our poet, the title-page to an elegy, as well as every intermediate leaf, was totally black. I have several in my posseslion, written by Chapman, the tranllator of Homer, and ornamented in this manner. STEVENS.

3 -fo woe-be-gone,] The word was common enough amongit the old Scotish and English poets, as G. Douglas, Chaucer, lord Buckhurst, Fairfax; and fignifies, far gone in wo. WARBURTON,


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 hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with brother, son, and all are dead!

Mort. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet : But for my lord your son

North. Why, he is dead. See what a ready tongue suspicion hath! He that but fears the thing he would not know, Hath, by instinct, knowledge from other's eyes, That what he fear’d is chanc'd. Yet speak, Morton, Tell thou thy earl his divination lies; And I will take it as a sweet disgrace, And make thee rich for doing me fuch wrong:

Mort. You are too great to be by me gainsaid: 4 Your fpirit is too true, your fears too certain.

North. 5 Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead. I see a strange confession in thine eye:


+ Your spirit->) The impression upon your mind, by which you conceive the death of your son. JOHNSON.

s Yet, for all this, say not, &c.] The contradiction in the first part of this speech might be imputed to the distraction of Northumberland's mind; but the calmness of the reflection, contained in the last lines, seems not much to countenance such a fuppofition. I will venture to diftribute this passage in a manner which will, I hope, seem more commodious; but do not wish the reader to forget, that the most commodious is not always the true reading.

Bard. Yet for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
North. I see a strange confession in thine eye ;
Thou shak'st thy head, and hold'A it fear, or fin,
To speak a truth. If he be flain, say so.
The tongue offends not, that reports his death;
And he doth fin, that doth belie the dead,
Not he that saith the deud is not alive.

Morton. Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office, and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a fullen bell,
Remember'd, tolling a departing friend.


Аа 3

Thou shak'st thy head; and 6 hold'st it fear, or sin,
To speak a truth. 7 If he be slain, say fo.
The tongue offends not that reports his death;
And he doth sin thar doth belie the dead,
Not he which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office; and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a fullen bell,
Remember'd knolling a departing friend.

Bard. I cannot think, my lord, your son is dead.

Mort. I am sorry I should force you to believe That which I would to heaven I had not seen: But thele mine eyes saw him in bloody ftate, Rend’ring faint quittance, wearied and out-breath’d, To Henry Monmouth; whose swift wrath beat down The never-daunted Percy to the earth, From whence, with life, he never more sprung up, In few ; his death, whose spirit lent a fire Even to the dullelt peasant in his camp, Being bruited once, took fire and heat away From the best-temper'd courage in his troops ; 8 For from his metal was his party steel'd; Which once in him abated, all the rest Turn’d on themselves, like dull and heavy lead.



Here is a natural interposition of Bardolph at the beginning, who is not pleased to hear his news confuted, and a proper preparation f Morton for the tale which he is unwilling to tell.

Johnsos. - holds it in fear, or fin,] Fear for danger.

WARBURTON. ? If he be slain, say so.] The words say so are in the firt folio, bat not in the quarto : they are necessary to the verle, but the senfe proceeds as well without them. Johnson. 3 Frro from kis metal was his party freeld;

li tech once in him abated, -] The word metal is one of th Backnied metaphorical terms, which resumes so much of a losralienfe as not to need the idea (from whence the figure is taken to be kept up. So that it may with elegance enough be said, bis metal was abated, as well as his courage was abcted.


« PreviousContinue »