K. HEN. What title haft thou, traitor, to the crown?

Thy father was, as thou art, duke of York;2
Thy grandfather, Roger Mortimer, earl of March:
I am the son of Henry the fifth,3

Who made the Dauphin and the French to ftoop,
And feiz'd upon their towns and provinces.

WAR. Talk not of France, fith 4 thou haft loft it all.


K. HEN. The lord protector loft it, and not I; When I was crown'd, I was but nine months old. RICH. You are old enough now, and yet, methinks you lofe :Father tear the crown from the ufurper's head. EDW. Sweet father, do fo; fet it on your head. MONT. Good brother, [To YORK.] as thou lov❜st and honour'ft arms,

Let's fight it out, and not stand cavilling thus.

RICH. Sound drums and trumpets, and the king will fly.

YORK. Sons, peace!


Thy father was, as thou art, duke of York ;] This is a miftake, into which Shakspeare was led by the author of the old play. The father of Richard Duke of York was Earl of Cambridge, and was never Duke of York, being beheaded in the life-time of his elder brother Edward Duke of York, who fell in the battle of Agincourt. The folio, by an evident error of the press, reads -My father. The true reading was furnished by the old play. MALONE.

3 I am the fon of Henry the fifth,] The military reputation of Henry the Fifth is the fole fupport of his fon. The name of Henry the Fifth dispersed the followers of Cade. JOHNSON. -fith—] i. e. fince. So, in Measure for Measure: Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope."


K. HEN. Peace thou! and give king Henry leave to speak.

WAR. Plantagenet fhall speak first :-hear him, lords;

And be you filent and attentive too,
For he, that interrupts him, fhall not live.

'K. HEN. Think'ft thou, that I will leave my kingly throne,5

Wherein my grandfire, and my father, fat?
No: firft fhall war unpeople this my realm;

Ay, and their colours-often borne in France; And now in England, to our heart's great forrow,Shall be my winding theet."-Why faint you, lords? 'My title's good, and better far than his.


WAR. But prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.7

5 Think'ft thou, &c.] The old play here exhibits four lines that are not in the folio. They could not have proceeded from the imagination of the transcriber, and therefore they must be added to the many other circumftances that have been already urged, to show that these plays were not originally the production of Shakspeare:

"Ah Plantagenet, why seek'ft thou to depose me?
"Are we not both Plantagenets by birth,
"And from two brothers lineally difcent?
"Suppose by right and equity thou be king,
"Think'ft thou," &c. MALONE.

6 Shall be my winding-fheet.] Perhaps Mr. Gray had this paffage in his mind, when he wrote:

"Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
"The winding-fheet of Edward's race-."


7 But prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.] Thus the fecond folio. The firft omits the necessary word-But.


Henry is frequently used by Shakspeare and his contemporaries as a word of three fyllables. MALONE.

But not as in the present instance, where such a trisyllable must prove offenfive to the ear. STEEVENS.

K. HEN. Henry the fourth by conqueft got the


YORK. "Twas by rebellion against his king.

K. HEN. I know not what to fay; my title's weak.

Tell me, may not a king adopt an heir?

YORK. What then?

"K. HEN. An if he may, then am I lawful king: For Richard, in the view of many lords, Refign'd the crown to Henry the fourth; Whofe heir my father was, and I am his.

YORK. He rofe against him, being his fovereign, And made him to refign his crown perforce.

WAR. Suppofe, my lords, he did it unconstrain'd, Think you, 'twere prejudicial to his crown ?

EXE. No; for he could not fo refign his crown, But that the next heir should fucceed and reign.

K. HEN. Art thou against us, duke of Exeter? EXE. His is the right, and therefore pardon me. * YORK. Why whisper you, my lords, and answer not?

EXE. My confcience tells me he is lawful king.

8 Think you, 'twere prejudicial to his crown?] The phrafe prejudicial to his crown, if it be right, muft mean, detrimental to the general rights of hereditary royalty; but I rather think that the transcriber's eye caught crown from the line below, and that we should read prejudicial to his fon, to his next heir.



Dr. Percy obferves on Dr. Johnson's note, that son could not have been the right word, as Richard the Second had no iffue and our author would hardly have used it fimply for heir general. Prejudicial to the crown, is right, i. e. to the prerogative of the crown. STEEVENS.

K. HEN. All will revolt from me, and turn to him.

NORTH. Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay'ft, Think not, that Henry shall be so depos'd. 'WAR. Depos'd he fhall be, in despite of all. NORTH. Thou art deceiv'd: 'tis not thy fouthern power,

• Of Effex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent,Which makes thee thus prefumptuous and proud,Can fet the duke up, in despite of me.

[ocr errors]

CLIF. King Henry, be thy title right or wrong, Lord Clifford vows to fight in thy defence: May that ground gape, and fwallow me alive,' "Where I fhall kneel to him that flew my father!

'K. HEN. O Clifford, how thy words revive my heart!

YORK. Henry of Lancafter, refign thy crown:What mutter you, or what confpire you, lords?

WAR. Do right unto this princely duke of York; Or I will fill the house with armed men, And, o'er the chair of state, where now he fits, Write up his title with ufurping blood.

[He ftamps, and the Soldiers fhow themselves.


K. HEN. My lord of Warwick, hear me but one word;'

9 May that ground gape, and fwallow me alive,] So, in Phaer's

tranflation of the fourth Eneid:

"But rather would I with the ground to gape for me below." STEEVENS.

hear but one word;] Hear is in this line, as in fome other places used as a diffyllable. See Vol. XI. p. 411, n. 4. The editor of the third folio, and all the subsequent editors, read -hear me but one word. MALONE.

The word-hear, in this place, may certainly pafs as a dif

'Let me, for this my life-time, reign as king. YORK. Confirm the crown to me, and to mine heirs,

And thou fhalt reign in quiet while thou liv❜st.

K. HEN. I am content: Richard Plantagenet, Enjoy the kingdom after my decease.2

CLIF. What wrong is this unto the prince your fon?

WAR. What good is this to England, and himfelf?

WEST. Bafe, fearful, and defpairing Henry! "CLIF. How haft thou injur'd both thyself and us ?

WEST. I cannot stay to hear these articles.

CLIF. Come, coufin, let us tell the queen



* WEST. Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king,

* In whofe cold blood no spark of honour bides.

NORTH. Be thou a prey unto the house of York, 'And die in bands for this unmanly deed!

CLIF. In dreadful war may'ft thou be overcome!

fyllable. Refpecting that referred to by Mr. Malone, I am of a contrary opinion. STEEVENS.

Since the third folio reads-hear me but one word, which improves both the language and the metre, why should it not be followed? M. MASON.

21 am content: &c.] Inftead of this speech the old play has the following lines :


King. Convey the foldiers hence, and then I will. "War. Captaine, conduct them into Tuthilfields." See Vol. XIII. p. 210, n. 9; p. 220, n. 6; p. 234, n. 1; p. 317, n. 3; p. 322, n. 3. MALONE.

« VorigeDoorgaan »