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THE SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY THE FOURTH.
THE Registers of the Stationers' Company contain the following memorandum relative to this drama :
"23rd August, 1600.
And. Wise Wm. Apsley.]-Two books the one called Much Adoe about Nothinge, and the other The Seconde Parte of the History of King Henry the iiii, with the Humors of Sir John Fallstaff: wrytten by Mr. Shakespeare." In the same year Wise and Apsley published the only quarto edition of it known, under the title of "The Second Part of Henrie the fourth, continuing to his death and coronation of Henrie the Fift. With the humours of Sir Iohn Falstaffe, and swaggering Pistoll. As it hath been sundrie times publikely acted by the right honourable, the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Written by William Shakespeare."
This edition appears to have been printed without proper supervision, for, independently of minor omissions, at the beginning of Act III. a whole scene was left out. Nor does the mistake seem to have been discovered until the greater part of the impression had been worked off: sheet E was then reprinted and the missing scene incorporated. The folio text of the play was printed from an independent and more complete copy than that of the quarto, depraved, however, as usual by playhouse alterations and the negligence of successive transcribers.
Malone assigns the composition of the Second Part of King Henry IV. to 1598; but from the circumstance of one speech of Falstaff's in Act I. Sc. 2, bearing the prefix of Old, i.e. Oldcastle, it is evident that the great humourist retained the name of Oldcastle when this play was written, and as it is known that the name was changed anterior to the entry of Part I. in the Stationers' books, on the 25th of February, 1597-8, we
are warranted in assuming that the Second Part was produced before that date.
The historical transactions comprehended in this piece, extend over a period of about nine years; beginning with the account of Hotspur's defeat and death in 1403, and terminating with the decease of Henry IV. and the accession and coronation of Henry V. in 1412-13.
Warkworth. Before Northumberland's Castle.
RUM. Open your ears; for which of you will stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
Among my household? Why is Rumour here?
Hath beaten down young Hotspur, and his troops,
Even with the rebels' blood. But what mean I
To noise abroad,-that Harry Monmouth fell
And not a man of them brings other news
Than they have learn'd of me. From Rumour's tongues
First folio, tongue.
First folio, them. (5) First folio, the.
Painted full of Tongues.] This description is omitted in the folio.
b Through the peasant towns-] Mr. Collier's MS. annotator reads pleasant towns.
SCENE I.-The same. The Porter before the Gate.
Enter LORD BARDOLPH.
BARD. Who keeps the gate here, ho?-Where is the earl? PORT. What shall I say you are?
Tell thou the earl,
That the lord Bardolph doth attend him here.
PORT. His lordship is walk'd forth into the orchard; Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,
And he himself will answer.
Here comes the earl.
NORTH. What news, lord Bardolph? every minute now
The times are wild; contention, like a horse
As good as heart can wish :-
Saw you the field? came you from Shrewsbury?
BARD. I spake 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 sent
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.
(*) First folio, heaven.