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And not a man of them brings other news
tongues They bring smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.
SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY IV.
ACT I. SCENE I.
The Porter before the Gate; Enter Lord Bar
Bard. Who keeps the gate here, ho ?-Where is
the earl ? Port. What shall I say you are ? BARD.
Tell thou the earl, That the lord Bardolph doth attend him here. Port. His lordship is walk'd forth into the or
chard ; Please it your honour, knock but at the gate, And he himself will answer.
Enter NORTHUMBERLAND. BARD.
Here comes the earl. North. What news, lord Bardolph ? every mi
nute now Should be the father of some stratagem® : The times are wild; contention, like a horse
some STRATAGEM :] Some stratagem means here some great, important, or dreadful event. So, in The Third Part of King Henry VI, the father who had killed his son says:
“ O pity, God! this miserable age !
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
Noble earl, I bring you certain news from Shrewsbury.
North. Good, an heaven will !
As good as heart can wish:-
How is this deriv'd ? Saw you the field ? came you from Shrewsbury ? BARD. I spake with one, my lord, that came from
BARD. My lord, I over-rode him on the way;
Enter TRAVERS. North. Now, Travers, what good tidings come
with you? Tra. My lord, sir John Umfrevile turn'd me
back With joyful tidings; and, being better hors'd, Out-rode me. After him, came spurring hard,
A gentleman almost forspent with speed',
FORSPENT with speed,] To forspend is to waste, to exhaust. So, in Sir A. Gorges' translation of Lucan, b. vii. :
crabbed sires forspent with age.” Steevens. - ARMED heels -] Thus the quarto 1600. The folio, 1623, reads—"able heels ; " the modern editors, without authority—"agile heels." STEEVENS.
- poor jade-] Poor jade is used, not in contempt, but in compassion. Poor jade means the horse wearied with his journey.
Jade, however, seems anciently to have signified what we now call a hackney; a beast employed in drudgery, opposed to a horse kept for show, or to be rid by its master. So, in a comedy called A Knack to know a Knave, 1594 :
Besides, I'll give you the keeping of a dozen jades, “ And now and then meat for you
horse." This is said by a farmer to a courtier. Steevens.
Shakspeare, however, as Mr. Steevens has observed;) cer: tainly does not use the word as a term of contempt; for King
Richard the Second gives this appellation to his favourite horse Roan Barbary, on which Henry the Fourth rode at his corona
“ That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand.”
MALONE. rowel-head ;) I think that I have observed in old prints the rowel of those times to have been only a single spike.
Johnson. Dr. Johnson had either forgotten the precise meaning of the word rowel, or has made choice of inaccurate language in applying it to the single spiked spur, which he had seen in old prints. The former signifies the moveable spiked wheel at the end of a spur, such as was actually used in the time of Henry the Fourth, and long before the other was laid aside. Shakspeare certainly meant the spur of his own time. Douce.
My lord, I'll tell you what
by Travers, Give then such instances of loss? BARD.
Who, he ? He was some hilding fellow”, that had stol'n The horse he rode on; and, upon my life, Spoke at a venture. Look, here comes more news.
• He seem'd in running to devour the way,] So, in the book of Job, chap. xxxix : “ He swalloweth the ground in fierceness and rage." The same expression occurs in Ben Jonson's Sejanus :
“But with that speed and heat of appetite,
“ To some great sports.” STEEVENS. So Ariel, to describe his alacrity in obeying Prospero's commands :
“ I drink the air before me." M. Mason. So, in one of the Roman poets (I forget which):
cursu consumere campum. BLACKSTONE. The line quoted by Sir William Blackstone is in Nemesian :
latumque fuga consumere campum. Malone. s Of HOTSPUR, coldspur?] Hotspur seems to have been a very common term for a man of vehemence and precipitation. Stanyhurst, who translated four books of Virgil, in 1584, renders the following line :
Nec victoris heri tetigit captiva cubile. “ To couch not mounting of mayster vanquisher hoatspur."
STEEVENS. silken POINT - ) A point is a string tagged, or lace.
Johnson. 7 - some hilding fellow,] For hilderling, i. e. base, degenerate.
POPE. Hilderling, Degener ; vox adhuc agro Devon, familiaris. Spel