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KING HENRY IV. PART I.] The transactions contained in this historical drama are comprised within the period. of about ten months; for the action commences with the news brought of Hotspur having defeated the Scots under Archibald earl of Douglas at Holmedon, (or Halidown-hill,) which battle was fought on Holy-rood day, (the 14th of September,) 1402; and it closes with the defeat and death of Hotspur at Shrewsbury; which engagement happened on Saturday the 21st of July, (the eve of Saint Mary Magdalen,) in the year 1403. THEOBALD.
This play was first entered at Stationers' Hall, Feb. 25, 1597, by Andrew Wise. Again, by M. Woolff, Jan. 9, 1598. For the piece supposed to have been its original, see Six old Plays on which Shakespeare founded, &c. published by S. Leacroft, Charing-Cross. STEEVENS.
Shakespeare has apparently designed a regular connection of these dramatick histories from Richard the Second to Henry the Fifth. King Henry, at the end of Richard the Second, declares his purpose to visit the Holy Land, which he resumes in the first speech of this play. The complaint made' by King Henry in the last Act of Richard the Second, of the wildness of his son, prepares the reader for the frolicks which are here to be recounted, and the characters which are now to be exhibited. JOHNSON.
This comedy was written, I believe, in the year 1597. See An Attempt to uscertain the Order of Shakespeare's Plays, Vol. II.
Earl of WESTMORELAND, friends to the king.
Sir WALTER BLUNT,
THOMAS PERCY, earl of Worcester.
HENRY PERCY, earl of Northumberland:
HENRY PERCY, surnamed Hotspur, his son.
EDMUND MORTIMER, earl of March.
SCROOP, archbishop of York.
ARCHIBALD, earl of Douglas.
Sir RICHARD Vernon.
Sir JOHN FAlstaff.
Lady PERCY, wife to Hotspur, and sister to Mortimer.
Lords, Officers, Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Drawers, two Carriers, Travellers, and Attendants.
FIRST PART OF
KING HENRY IV.
SCENE I.-London. A room in the palace.
Enter King HENRY, WESTMORELAND, Sir WALTER
K. Hen. So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Shall daub her lips with her own children s blood;
Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
Shall now, in mutual, well-beseeming ranks,
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
(Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
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
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 and true-industrious friend, Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse, Stain'd with the variation of each soil
Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours;
And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
Ten thousand bold Scots, two-and-twenty knights,
To beaten Douglas; and the earls of Athol,
And is not this an honourable spoil?
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?
West. In faith,
It is a conquest for a prince to boast of.
K. Hen. Yea, there thou mak'st me sad, and mak'st me sin
In envy that my lord Northumberland
Should be the father of so blest a son:
A son, who is the theme of honour's tongue;