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truth of description is sacrificed to brilliant impossibilities.
The reader, who is too refined to laugh at the wit of Sir John, must yet enjoy Hotspur's picture of a coxcomb; and receive high delight from those sentences of self-reproach, and purpose of amendment, which occasionally drop from the lips of the youthful and royal profligate.
If the licentious faults of old fashioned dialogue should here too frequently offend the strictly nice, they must, at least, confer the tribute of their praises upon every soliloquy. It is impossible for puritanism not to be merry, when Falstaff is ever found talking to himself; or holding discourse over the honoured dead. It is nearly as im possible for stupidity to be insensible of the merit of those sentiments, delivered by the prince, over the same extended corse; or, to be unmoved by various other beauties, with which this work abounds.
In order to form a proper judgment of the manners and conversations of the characters in this play, and, to partake of their genuine spirit, the reader must keep in mind that the era, in which all those remarkable personages lived, thought, spoke, and acted, has now been passed more than four hundred years.-The play begins with the news of Hotspur having defeated the Scots, under the Earl of Douglas, which battle was fought on the fourteenth of September, 1402; and it closes with the defeat and death of Hotspur, which happened on the twenty-first of July, 1403-thus com, prising every event here introduced, within the time of ten months.
It will be vain to endeavour to prevent many tender-hearted readers, who sigh over the horrors of a battle, from wishing, that the prince's challenge to Hotspur had produced the single combat he desired; and that the victory of the day had been so decided.
Such tender and compassionate persons should not suffer their estimation of honour thus to sink into an equality with the cowardly Falstaff's; but they should call to mind-that, though it was, in ancient times, considered as a token of valour, for a prince at the head of an army, to challenge to single contest the chief warrior on the opposite side; yet, in modern days, when a powerful monarch threw his gauntlet down, to save the effusion of blood, this act of self-sacrifice was considered as a token of mere mad
HENRY IV. KING OF ENGLAND
EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND
SIR WALTER BLUNT
KING HENRY IV.
THE FIRST PART.
ACT THE FIRST.
The Palace in London.
Flourish of Trumpets and Drums.
KING HENRY, PRINCE JOHN OF LANCASTER, EARL OF WESTMORELAND, SIR RICHARD VERNON, SIR WALTER BLUNT, and other GENTLEMEN discovered.
K. Hen. So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
As far as to the sepulchre of Christ
Forthwith a power of English shall we levy,
Therefore we meet not now. Then let me hear
West. My liege, this haste was hot in question,
K. Hen. It seems, then, that the tidings of this broil
Brake off our business for the Holy Land.
West. This, match'd with other, did, my gracious lord;
For more uneven, and unwelcome news,
Came from the north, and thus it did import.
At Holmedon met,
Where they did spend a sad and bloody hour;
And shape of likelihood, the news was told;
K. Hen. Here is a dear, a true-industrious friend,