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K. HEN. What title hast thou, traitor, to the
Thy father was, as thou art, duke of York;
Who made the Dauphin and the French to stoop,
WAR. Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost it
K. HEN. The lord protector lost 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 lose :
Father, tear the crown from the usurper's head.
EDW. Sweet father, do so; set it on your head.
MONT. Good brother, [To YORK.] as thou lov'st and honour'st 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 mistake, 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.
I am the son of Henry the fifth,] The military Henry the Fifth is the sole support of his son. Henry the Fifth dispersed the followers of Cade.
reputation of The name of JOHNSON.
sith-] i. e. since. 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 shall speak first-hear him, lords;
And be you silent and attentive too,
· K. HEN. Think'st thou, that I will leave my kingly throne,5
Wherein my grandsire, and my father, sat?
Ay, and their colours-often borne in France; And now in England, to our heart's great sorrow,— Shall be my winding-sheet."-Why faint you, lords? My title's good, and better far than his.
WAR. But prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king."
Think'st 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 circumstances that have been already urged, to show that these plays were not originally the production of Shakspeare:
"Ah Plantagenet, why seek'st thou to depose me?
"And from two brothers lineally discent?
Suppose by right and equity thou be king, "Think'st thou," &c. MALONE.
• Shall be my winding-sheet.] Perhaps Mr. Gray had this passage in his mind, when he wrote:
"Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
7 But prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.] Thus the second folio. The first omits the necessary word-But.
Henry is frequently used by Shakspeare and his contemporaries as a word of three syllables. MALONE.
But not as in the present instance, where such a trisyllable must prove offensive to the ear. STEEVENS.
K. HEN. Henry the fourth by conquest got the
YORK. 'Twas by rebellion against his king.
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,
Resign'd the crown to Henry the fourth;
YORK. He rose against him, being his sovereign, And made him to resign his crown perforce.
WAR. Suppose, my lords, he did it unconstrain'd, Think you, 'twere prejudicial to his crown ?8
EXE. No; for he could not so resign his crown, But that the next heir should succeed 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 conscience tells me he is lawful king.
• Think you, 'twere prejudicial to his crown?] The phrase prejudicial to his crown, if it be right, must 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 son, to his next heir.
Dr. Percy observes on Dr. Johnson's note, that son could not have been the right word, as Richard the Second had no issue; and our author would hardly have used it simply 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
NORTH. Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay❜st, Think not, that Henry shall be so depos'd.
'WAR. Depos'd he shall be, in despite of all.
NORTH. Thou art deceiv'd: 'tis not thy southern power,
· Of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent,Which makes thee thus presumptuous and proud,Can set the duke up, in despite of me.
CLIF. King Henry, be thy title right or wrong, Lord Clifford vows to fight in thy defence: May that ground gape, and swallow me alive,' "Where I shall kneel to him that slew my father! 'K. HEN. O Clifford, how thy words revive my
YORK. Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown :What mutter you, or what conspire 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 sits, Write up his title with usurping blood.
[He stamps, and the Soldiers show themselves. K. HEN. My lord of Warwick, hear me but one word; '
9 May that ground gape, and swallow me alive,] So, in Phaer's translation of the fourth Eneid:
"But rather would I wish the ground to gape for me
hear but one word ;] Hear is in this line, as in some other places, used as a dissyllable. 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 pass as a dis
'Let me, for this my life-time, reign as king.
YORK. Confirm the crown to me, and to mine
And thou shalt 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 son?
WAR. What good is this to England, and himself?
WEST. Base, fearful, and despairing Henry! CLIF. How hast thou injur'd both thyself and us?
WEST. I cannot stay to hear these articles.
CLIF. Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these
* WEST. Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate
* In whose 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'st thou be overcome!
syllable. Respecting 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.] Instead of this speech the old play has the following lines:
"King. Convey the soldiers 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.