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|About the Series|
|About This Volume|
|List of Illustrations|
|Pt. 1||William Shakespeare, The First Part of King Henry the Fourth||17|
|Pt. 2||Early Modern Documents and Controversies||119|
|1||Historiography and the Uses of History||121|
|2||Civil Order and Rebellion||169|
|Mapping the Land and Its People||196|
|Theatre in London: Sites and Controversies||208|
|Alehouse and Tavern||211|
|Women in Henry IV, Part I: Wives, Rebels, and Others||216|
|4||The "Education" of a Prince||275|
|5||Honor and Arms: Elizabethan Neochivalric Culture and the Military Trades||318|
|The Chivalric Heritage||319|
|Elizabethan Rites and Chivalric Rights||321|
|Manuals of Honor: The Ideal and the Practice||334|
|6||The Oldcastle Controversy: "What's in a Name?"||349|
Open your ears, for which of you will stop
The vent of hearing when loud Rumor speaks?
I, from the orient to the drooping west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth.
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
I speak of peace while covert enmity Under the smile of safety wounds the world.
And who but Rumor, who but only I,
Make fearful musters and prepared defense
Whiles the big year, swoll'n with some other grief,
Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumor is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wav'ring multitude,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
My well-known body to anatomize
Among my household? Why is Rumor here?
I run before King Harry's victory,
Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury
Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops,
Quenching the flame of bold rebellion
Even with the rebels' blood. But what mean I
To speak so true at first? My office is
To noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fell
Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's sword,
And that the King before the Douglas' rage
Stooped his anointed head as low as death.
This have I rumored through the peasant towns
Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
And this worm-eaten [hold] of ragged stone,
(Where) Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
lies crafty-sick. The posts come tiring on,
And not a man of them brings other news
Than they have learnt of me. From Rumor's tongues
They bring smooth comforts false, worse than
Copyright © 1999 by The Folger Shakespeare Library
Posted April 22, 2015
I love this play, and this edition. It's really a captivating and insightful play, which I'm reading right after finishing "The Plantagenets," which I also recommend, and which teed it up nicely. (That book ends with Henry IV deposing Richard II, leading directly to the situation this play depicts.)
One problem with reading the history of the English kings is their stories tend to blur together after while. I've always been able to keep Henry II straight, because I watched "The Lion in Winter" 20 years ago, and still picture Peter O'Toole as Henry, Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine, etc. I think I have this set of Henry's etched in my brain for another 20, too.
I tried two other editions of Henry IV, before settling on this one (Arden):
- The Applause edition: I loved the thorough explanations and insights into how actors have played scenes over time FOR OTHER PLAYS (several of the well-known tragedies), so I was expecting the same. Nope. Nothing but lots of footnotes indicating technical decisions on which folio/quarto was used on a particular line.
- Oxford School Series. The explanatory notes were very helpful, and I would have been very happy with this edition. But I compared this with Arden (reviewed here) line by and Arden had far more historical information and insightful notes on the wordplay (eg, biblical sources he was playing off). Also, the Oxford actually overdid it explaining some phrases I found obvious.
I went to B&N and worked through more than a dozen versions of this play, and found this most superior, by far. (Also, get historical info on all the major characters.) This appears to be the best out there. It costs a bit more: about $8 more than the others, but I'll be spending 40-60 hours with it, so that's less than 20 cents per hour of my time for something much more effective. A bargain.
(If money is really tight, I highly recommend the "Oxford School Series," (and note that's different than just "Oxford," which is also out there.
Posted December 30, 2003
This play is one of Shakespeare's Histories, but don't let that frighten you! It is full of humor, love, and betrayal. I was assigned to read it for a class and if I hadn't been I probably would have been too intimadated to read it. Don't judge the play by it's title!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 27, 2008
No text was provided for this review.