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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 poor jade
Up to the rowel-head, and starting so
He seem'd in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.


Ha! Again:

Said he young Harry Percy's spur was cold?
Of Hotspur Coldspur? that rebellion

Had met ill luck?

L. Bard.

My lord, I'll tell you what;
If my young lord your son have not the day,
Upon mine honour, for a silken point
I'll give my barony: never talk of it.

North. Why should that gentleman that rode by Travers
Give them such instances of loss?

L. Bard.

Who, he?

He was some hilding fellow that had stolen

41. bad] ill Ff. 49. he... cold?] he, spurre, Cold-spurre, Q; Cold-Spurre) Ff 2-4. hielding Ff.

44. forward] forwards Ff 1, 2.




44. armed] able Ff. cold, Q. 50. Of Hotspur Coldspur ?] Of Hot(Of Hot-Spurre, Cold-Spurre?) F 1; (Õƒ Hot-Spurre, 55. that gentleman] the gentleman Ff. 57. hilding]

43. able] strong, vigorous. So in Edward the Third, III. iii; "able handes"; and Webster, Appius and Virginia, I. iv: "able arms.' Gould conjectured feeble.

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44. armed] spurred, as in Henry V. IV. vii. 84. Ff read able-caught, no doubt, from the preceding line for which Pope substituted agile.

45. jade] Used here, as in 1 Henry IV. 11. i. 6, as a term of commiseration for a galled or tired horse.

47. running] riding rapidly, as in 1 Henry IV. II. iv. 343. For "devour the way," Steevens quotes," they greedily devour the way," in Jonson, Sejanus, v. x. The image is, no doubt, borrowed from Catullus, xxxv. "viam_vorabit." Cf. Job, xxxxix. 24: "He [the war-horse] swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage."

48. question] conversation, as Merchant of Venice, IV. i. 347.

51. I'll... what] I'll tell




something (cf. Much Ado, v. iv. 101); used idiomatically in the sense "Let me tell you," as in Wily Beguiled (Haz. Dods., ix. 293): "he's a. man of his hands too, for, I'll tell you whattie him to the bull-ring, and," etc.

53. silken point] a tagged lace of silk for fastening parts of the dress. P. Stubbes (Anatomie of Abuses) says that the Venetian hosen "are tied " beneath the knee " finely with silke pointes."

56. instances] examples. Onions remarks that the sense of "illustrative example" passes almost into “sample, specimen here and in Hamlet, IV. v. 161.

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57. hilding] worthless; used tributively of a horse, a hound, or a human being. Spenser, Faerie Queene, VI. v. 25: "that hylding hound," and Henry V. IV. ii. 29: "a hilding foe." Hilding, a wretch, "prob. from M.E. helden, to incline, bend down"

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,
Foretells the nature of a tragic volume:

So looks the strond whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witness'd usurpation.


Say, Morton, didst 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 son and brother?
Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek
Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,
Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,

59. Spoke] Speake F 1; Spake Ff 2-4. ture Ff. 62. whereon] when Ff.

(Skeat). Fletcher, Two Noble Kinsmen, III. v: "that scornfull peece, that scurvy hilding," and N. Breton, Fantastickes: "a lazy hylding."

59. at a venture] at random. Hakluyt, The English Voyages, i. 616 (1598-1600): "I... put them down at a venture."

60, 61. this... volume] An allusion to the descriptive titles of tragedies and elegies, and not, I think, as Steevens asserts, to the practice of "ornamenting" elegies with "totally black" titlepages. Steevens adds: "I have several in my possession, written by Chapman, ornamented in this manner. The "practice" cannot have been general. An imitation of the simile occurs in Middleton and Dekker, The Roaring Girl, I. i.:

"As many faces there, fill'd with blithe looks,

Shew like the promising titles of new books

Writ merrily."

62. strond] strand, as in 1 Henry IV. I. i. 4, and in Cæsar's Revenge, v. v: "the Stigian Strond." Dering MS.

reads Maine.

62. imperious] Cf. "imperious surge"


59. a venture] a venter Q; aduen


in III. i. 20 post. "Imperious " may, however, here imperial; cf. Troilus and Cressida, IV. v. 171, and v. ii. 132, 133 post. Flood, the ocean (cf. Merchant of Venice, Iv. i. 72: "the main flood").


63. a witness'd usurpation] attestation of its ravage" (Steevens), evidences or traces of its encroachment. 66. hateful] malignant.


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71. dead] deadly pale. See line 68 ante, and cf. Othello, II. iii. 179: "6 Iago, that look'st dead with grieving." For 'woe-begone," Bentley, to whom the word was evidently unfamiliar, proposed to read Ucalegon (see Virgil, Eneid, ii. 312). Woe-begone" is common enough in sixteenth century literature; it does not occur again in the accepted text of Shakespeare, but it is found in The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, viii. 55: woe begone as thee," where 3 Henry VI. II. v. 124 has: "more woeful than you are."

66 as

72. Drew] Drew aside, as in 1 Henry IV. IV. i. 73.

72. dead of night] dead period of the night, time of intensest darkness; cf. 2 Henry VI. 1. iv. 19, 20:

And would have told him half his Troy was burnt;
But Priam found the fire ere he his tongue,
And I my Percy's death ere thou report'st it.
This thou wouldst say, "Your son did thus and thus;
Your brother thus: so fought the noble Douglas: "
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds:
But in the end, to stop my ear indeed,
Thou hast a sigh to blow away this praise,
Ending with "Brother, son, and all are dead."
Mor. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet;
But, for my lord your son,-




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 others' eyes

That what he fear'd is chanced. Yet speak, Morton;
Tell thou an earl his divination lies,

And I will take it as a sweet disgrace,

And make thee rich for doing me such wrong.


Mor. You are too great to be by me gainsaid:

Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain. North. Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead. I see a strange confession in thine eye :

73. burnt] burn'd Ff. 82. brother,] brother Q. Ff. 83. dead.] dead? Q. "Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night,

74. Priam] Priams F 2. 79. my] mine Ff 1, 2. 83. son,-] son- Rowe (ed. 2); sonne: Q; Sonne. 87. chanced] chanc'd Ff. 88. an] thy Ff. Massinger, The Roman Actor, 1. iv: "You are too great to be gainsaid.' 92. spirit] sc. of divination.

The time of night when Troy was set on fire,"

and Richard II. IV. i. 10: "that dead time."


74. But Priam .] This allusion may have been suggested by Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, III. xii. A (1602): "like old Priam of Troy, crying: the house is a fire, the house is a fire'."

74. found] felt. Cf. Measure for Measure, III. i. 78: "the poor beetle ... finds a pang as great As when a giant dies." So Icel. finna or finna til, to feel: "Langt frá finnr hann þef af bardaganum" (Job, xxxix. 28).

86. others'] Rowe (ed. 2) read other. 87. speak, Morton] Pope reads Morton, speak, and S. Walker conjectured speak, speak. 91. You

gainsaid] Echoed in

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93-103. North. Yet, . . . friend.] Johnson proposed to give the first line of this speech to Bardolph, and the last four lines to Morton as "a proper preparation for the tale that he is unwilling to tell." The inconsistency that Johnson found between the first line of the speech and what follows disappears, if we assume a pause at the end of the first line. "Northumberland," says Rolfe, "is not willing to accept the intimation in the preceding speech. 'And yet,' he says, do not tell me that he is dead.' But his appealing words and look meet with no encouraging response in Morton's face, and he goes on, 'I see a strange confession,'" etc.

94. strange] shy, eluding question-a sense near to "reserved" (as in Twelfth Night, v. i. 222).

Thou shakest thy head, and hold'st it fear or sin
To speak a truth. If he be slain, say so;
The tongue offends not that reports his death:
And he doth sin that 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 sullen bell,
Remember'd tolling a departing friend.



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

Mor. I am sorry I should force you to believe


That which I would to God I had not seen;

But these mine eyes saw him in bloody state,
Rendering faint quittance, wearied and outbreathed,
To Harry 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 dullest peasant in his camp,
Being bruited once, took fire and heat away
From the best-temper'd courage in his troops;

96. say so] om. Q. tolling] knolling Ff. Henry Ff 2-4.

103. Remember'd] Pope; Remembred Q, Ff.
106. God] heauen Ff.

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98. doth sin. dead] Proverbial. See T. Heywood, The Fair Maid of the West, Part I. (Pearson, ii. 303): "You lye. 'Tis more than sinne thus to bely the dead," and Middleton, Michaelmas Term, IV. iv: "'tis the scurviest thing to belie the dead so."

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100, 101. the first . office] Cf. Middleton, More Dissemblers Besides Women, v. ii. Losing, resulting in loss, as in Merchant of Venice, IV. i. 62.

102. sullen] mournful. So in Sonnets, lxxi. 2: "the surly sullen bell," and Milton, Il Penseroso, 76.

102, 103. bell . . . friend] An allusion to the "passing-bell," which solicited prayers for the soul passing into another world. "It calls us,"


103. 109. Harry] Henrie F 1;


wrote Bishop Hall in 1633, “
our prayers, for the departing soul"
(Meditations and Vows, Passing-bell).

103. tolling] See Wilkins, Miseries of Enforced Marriage (Haz. Dods., iv. 540): "like tolls, That summon living tears for the dead souls," and Sir T. Browne, Religio Medici: "the toll of a passing-bell." For knolling (Ff)," cf. Macbeth, v. vii. 79.

108. quittance] requital, return of blows. Outbreathed, out of breath.

112. In few] in (a) few words, in short. Beaumont and Fletcher, A King and No King, IV. iii: "the cause which, in few, is my honour." Spirit, ardour.


115. best-temper'd] of the finest metal. A metaphor from the process by which steel is tempered, that is, brought to the proper hardness and elasticity. Metal (mettal Q) and mettle (Ff) are variant spellings of the same word, and both are used indifferently in the senses "metal," and "mettle," ardour, courage.

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:
And as the thing that's heavy in itself,
Upon enforcement flies with greatest speed,
So did our men, heavy in Hotspur's loss,

Lend to this weight such lightness with their fear
That arrows fled not swifter toward their aim
Than did our soldiers, aiming at their safety,


Fly from the field. Then was that noble Worcester 125
Too soon ta'en prisoner; and that furious Scot,
The bloody Douglas, whose well-labouring sword
Had three times slain the appearance of the king,
'Gan vail his stomach and did grace the shame
Of those that turn'd their backs, and in his flight,

116. metal] Mettle Ff 1-3. hyphen Ff.


126. Too] So Q. 127. well-labouring]

130. backs] back Ff 3, 4.

116. steel'd] made hard, resolute. Beaumont and Fletcher, The Maid's Tragedy, I. ii: "my honesty Shall steel my sword," and Fletcher, Valentinian, v. i: "Thou hast steel'd me." The metaphor is perhaps from the practice of adding a cutting edge of steel to a blade of inferior metal; cf. Titus Andronicus, Iv. iii. 47: "metal .. steel to the very back," i.e. of steel from edge to back, and not merely edged with steel.

117, 118. Which once lead] Hotspur's mettle had given an edge [as of steel] to the spirit of the troops; once this edge had been lost ["reduced to lower temper," "let down," Johnson] through Hotspur's death, their spirit [like a blade of soft metal] failed ["turned on" itself or bent] and could offer no resistance to the enemy. "Turn'd on themselves" has perhaps a secondary sense "turned backward," "turned to flight." For "abated" Warburton read rebated. Dull, blunt. "Heavy," in line 118, is a general epithet used to introduce a fresh train of imagery in the lines that follow.


121. heavy] A quibble on the senses "weighty" and "sorrowful.” 122. Lend... fear] See 1 Henry IV. v. v. 20, and note there.

123. fled] S. Walker conjectured and Dyce (ed. 2) read fly; Vaughan proposed flew. For that noble, in line 125, Hanmer read the noble.

126. Too soon ta'en] Ff Too is, perhaps, merely an emendation of a misprint in Q, So; the dramatist perhaps wrote Soon taken.

127. bloody] bleeding (cf. line 107 ante); or "slaughtering" (cf. Troilus and Cressida, v. vii. 4)._Daniel (Civil Wars, iv. 56) writes, "Douglas, faint with wounds... Was taken" (ed. 1609).

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128. three. king] See 1 Henry IV. v. iii. and iv., and notes to v. iii. 21 and v. iv. 25.

129. 'Gan] began. "Gin" is an aphetic form of begin or O.E. ongan; it is generally used as a mere auxiliary (= modern "did"); cf. Love's Labour's Lost, IV. iii. 106.

129. vail his stomach] abate his courage. Taming of the Shrew, v. ii. 171: "Then vail your stomachs." Vail (aphetic form of "avale"; Fr. avaler), to let down, lower. Greene, "George a Greene, 1. i: "Vayle their plumes," and Middleton, Blurt, Master Constable, II. i. Stomach, courage, as in Dekker and Webster, Sir Thomas

119, 120. the thing... speed] A similar notion is perhaps implied in, 'your smallest arrows fly farthest,' in Dekker and Webster, Northward Hoe, 11. i. Enforcement, application of force, as in Richard III. II. vii. 231.

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