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He feem'd in running to devour the way,"
Staying no longer queftion.


Ha! Again.

Said he, young Harry Percy's fpur was cold?
Of Hotfpur, coldfpur? that rebellion

Had met ill luck?



My lord, I'll tell you what If my young lord your fon have not the day, Upon mine honour, for a filken point 9

Til give my barony: never talk of it.

NORTH. Whyfhould the gentleman, that rode by


Give then fuch inflances of lofs?


Who, he?

He feem'd in running to devour the way,] So, in the book of Job, chap. xxxix: He Swalloweth the ground in fierceness and 'rage."

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The fame expreffion occurs in Ben Jonson's Sejanus : "But with that fpeed, and heat of appetite,

With which they greedily devour the way

"To fome great fports." STEEVENS.

So Ariel, to describe his alacrity in obeying Profpero's commands:

"I drink the air before me." M. MASON.

So, in one of the Roman poets (I forget which):
curfu confumere campum. BLACKSTONE.

The line quoted by Sir William Blackftone is in NEMESIAN.
latumque fuga confumere campum. MALONE.

8 Of Hotfpur, coldfpur?] Hotspur feems to have been a very common term for a man of vehemence and precipitation. Stanyhurft, who tranflated four books of Virgil, in 1584, renders the following line :

Nec victoris heri tetigit captiva cubile.

"To couch not mounting of mayfter vanquisher hoatspur."

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9 filken point] A point is a string tagged, or lace.

He was fome hilding fellow," that had ftol'n
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


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Foretells the nature of a tragick volume:

So looks the ftrond, whereon the imperious flood
Hath left a witnefs'd ufurpation.

Say, Morton, did'ft 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 fon, and brother? Thou trembleft; and the whitenefs in thy cheek Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand. Even fuch a man, fo faint, fo fpiritlefs,

So dull, fo dead in look, fo woe-begone,



-fome bilding fellow,] For hilderling, i. e. base, degenerate. POPE. Hilderling, Degener; vox adhuc agro Devon. familiaris. Spelman.


3 like to a title-leaf,] It may not be amifs to observe, that in the time of our poet, the title-page to an elegy, as well as every intermediate leaf, was totally black. I have feveral in my poffeffion, written by Chapman, the tranflator of Homer, and or namented in this manner. STEEVENS.

4 a witness'd ufurpation. ] i. e. an atteflation of its ravage.


5 -fo woe-begone, ] This word was common enough amongst the old Scottish and English poets, as G. Douglas, Chaucer, Lord Buckhurst, Fairfax; and fignifies, far gone in woe.

So, in The Spanish Tragedy:

"Awake, revenge, or we are wo-begone!"

Again, in Arden of Feverjham, 1592:

"So woe-begone, fo inly charg'd with woe."


Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night,

And would have told him, half his Troy was burn'd:
But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue,

And I my Percy's death, ere thou report'st it.
This thou would'ft fay, Your fon did thus, and

thus ;

Your brother, thus; fo fought the noble Douglas';
Stopping my greedy car with their bold deeds:
But in the end, to ftop mine ear indeed,
Thou haft a figh to blow away this praise,
Ending with-brother, fon, and all are dead.
MOR. Douglas is living, and your brother, yet:
But, for my lord your fon,


Why, he is dead. See, what a ready tongue fufpicion hath!

He, that but fears the thing he would not know, Hath, by inftinct, knowledge from others' eyes, That what he fear'd is chanced. Yet fpeak, Morton; Tell thou thy earl, his divination lies;"

And I will take it as a fweet difgrace,

And make thee rich for doing me fuch wrong.
MOR. You are too great to be by me gainsaid:
Your fpirit is too true, your fears too certain.
NORTH. Yet, for all this, fay not that Percy's
dead. 6

Again, in a Looking Glafs for London and England, 1598: "Fair Alvida, look not fo woe begone."

Dr. Bentley is faid to have thought this passage corrupt, and therefore (with a greater degree of gravity than my readers will probably exprefs) propofed the following emendation:

So dead fo dull in look, Ucalegon,

Drew Priam's curtain &c.

The name of Ucalegon is found in the third book of the Iliad, and the second of the Eneid. STEEVENS.

5 Your Spirit-] The impreffion upon your mind, by which you conceive the death of your fon.

Yet, for all this, fay not &c.]


The contradiction in the firft


I fee a ftrange confeffion in thine eye:
Thou fhak'ft thy head; and hold'ft it fear, or fin,'
To fpeak a truth. If he be flain, say so;
The tongue offends not, that reports his death:
And he doth fin, that doth belie the dead
Not he, which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a lofing office; and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a fullen bell,

Remember'd knolling a departing friend."

part of this fpeech might be imputed to the diftra&tion of North-
umberland's mind; but the calmness of the reflection, contained
in the laft lines, feems not much to countenance fuch a fuppofi-
tion. I will venture to diftribute this paffage in a manner which
will, I hope, feem more commodious; but do not wifh the
reader to forget, that the moft commodious is not always the true

Bard. Yet, for all this, fay not that Percy's dead.
North. I fee a strange confeffion in thine eye,
Thou shak' ft thy head, and hold'ft it fear, or, fin,
To speak a truth. If he be fain, say so:
The tongue offends not, that reports his death;
And he doth fin, that doth belie the dead;

Not he, which fays the dead is not alive.

Mor. Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a lofing office; and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a fullen bell,

Remember'd knolling a departing friend.

Here is a natural interpofition of Bardolph at the beginning, who is not pleased to hear his news confuted, and a proper preparation of Morton for the tale which he is unwilling to tell.

7 -hold't it fear, or fin, ] Fear for danger.


If he be fain, fay fo; ] The words fay fo are in the firft folio, but not in the quarto: they are neceffary to the verse, but the fenfe proceeds as well without them. JOHNSON.

9 Sounds ever after as a fullen bell,

Remember'd knolling a departing friend. ] So, in our author's 71ft Sonnet :

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BARD. I cannot think, my lord, your fon is dead. MOR. I am forry, I fhould force you to believė That, which I would to heaven I had not feen : But these mine eyes faw him in bloody ftate, Rend'ring faint quittance, wearied and outbreath'd,


To Harry Monmouth; whofe fwift wrath beat


The never-daunted Percy to the earth,
From whence with life he never more fprung up.
In few, his death (whofe fpirit lent a fire
Even to the dulleft peasant in his camp.)
Being bruited once, took fire and heat away
From the best temper'd courage in his troops :
For from his metal was his party feel'd;
Which once in him abated,3 all the reft

This fignificant epithet has been adopted by Milton: "I hear the far-off curfew found,

"Over fome wide water'd shore

Swinging flow with fullen roar."

Departing, I believe, is here ufed for departed. MALONE.


I cannot concur in this fuppofition. The bell, anciently, rung before expiration, and thence was called the paffing bell, i. e. the bell that folicited prayers for the foul paffing into another world. STEEVENS.

I am inclined to think that this bell might have been originally ufed to drive away demons who where watching to take poffeffion In the cuts to fome of the old of the foul of the deceased. fervice books which contain the Vigilia mortuorum, feveral devils are waiting for this purpose in the chamber of the dying man, to whom the priest is administering extreme undion.


By faint quittance

- faint quittance, ] Quittance is return. is meant a faint return of blows. So, in King Henry V: "We fhall forget the office of our hand,

"Sooner than quittance of defert and merit."

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For from his metal was his party steel'd;


Which once in him abated, Abated, is not here put for the general idea of diminished, not for the notion of blunted, as applied

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