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by Owen Glendower, and by disturbances in the northern parts of his kingdom, where Hotspur, son of the Earl of Northumberland, has defeated Archibald, Earl of Douglas, and taken certain prisoners, whom he refuses to deliver up to the king. This incenses the king against Hotspur, the more so as the latter has pleaded strongly for the ransom of Mortimer, whom the king declines to redeem. Hotspur thus rendered indignant, joins with the Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Worcester, and others, to dethrone the king. The rebel forces advance to Shrewsbury, where a great battle is fought, in which the king obtains a signal victory. Hotspur is slain by Henry, Prince of Wales (afterwards Henry the Fifth), who throughout the battle has greatly distinguished himself. The serious parts of the play are relieved by the eccentricities of the Prince of Wales and his boon companions, Sir John Falstaff, Poins, and Bardolph. Speaking of the first and second parts of Henry the Fourth, Dr. Johnson says "No two plays are more read than these; and perhaps no author ever produced two which afforded so much delight. The great events are interesting, for the fate of kingdoms depends on them; the light occurrences are diverting; the incidents are multiplied with a wonderful felicity of invention, and the characters diversified with the utmost nicety of discernment, and the profoundest skill in the nature of man."
Peace after Civil War.
So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,
like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
King Henry's Character of Percy, and of his Son
Yea, there thou mak'st me sad, and makʼst me sin,
Should be the father of so bless'd a son;
A son who is the theme of honour's tongue;
Of my young Harry.
Prince Henry's Soliloquy.
I know you all, and will awhile uphold
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
But when they seldom come, they wish'd-for come,
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off,
Hotspur's Description of a Fop.
But, I remember, when the fight was done,
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
I then, all smarting with my wounds, being cold,
Out of my grief and my impatience,
Answer'd, neglectingly, I know not what;
He should, or he should not; for he made me mad To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman,
Of guns, and drums, and wounds (God save the mark), And telling me the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was parmaceti for an inward bruise
And that it was great pity, so it was,
I'll read you matter deep and dangerous;
By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
But out upon this half-faced fellowship. †
* A rival.
Lady Percy's Speech to her Husband.
O, my good lord, why are you thus alone? For what offence have I, this fortnight, been A banish'd woman from my Harry's bed? Tell me, sweet lord, what is't that takes from thee Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep? Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth; And start so often when thou sitt'st alone? Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks; And given my treasures, and my rights of thee, To thick-ey'd musing, and curs'd melancholy? In thy faint slumbers, I by thee have watch'd, And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars: Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed; Cry, "Courage-to the field!" And thou hast talk'd Of sallies and retires; of trenches, tents,
Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets;
Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin ;
O what portents are
Some heavy business hath my lord in hand,