Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 3
From King Henry the Fourth, second part. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.
Stage Direction. Northumberland. The great house of Percy descended from one of the Norman captains who fought at
Hastings, William de Percy. The Earl here was the son of the third Baron Percy of Alnwick, one of the heroes of Crecy, and
brother of Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester: Lady Northumberland, the Earl's second wife, Maud Lucy, widow of the Earl of
Angus: Lady Percy, Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund Mortimer,
Earl of March.
2. Give even ... affairs, do not seek to hinder the stern course I
am obliged to take; the figure probably is, as so often in Shakespeare, from a bowling-green.
3. Put not you ... times, do not look gloomily upon me as the
time does, do not frown upon the undertaking on which I am
4. Percy, i.e. himself.
7. at pawn, at stake, pledged.
8. but, except.
11. more endear'd ... now, bound by more urgent reasons to
make it good, maintain it.
13, 4. Threw ... powers, was constantly looking to the north in
hopeful expectation of seeing your forces approach; for long
Theobald proposed look.
15. Who then ... home? a question of appeal equivalent to the
negative 'no one then,' etc.
17. For yours ... it! as for your honour, may God restore its
18. it stuck upon him, it stood out in conspicuous brightness;
cp. Haml. V. 2. 268, "Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest
night Stick fiery off indeed"; A. G. v. 2. 79, "His face was as
the heavens; and therein stuck A sun and moon, which kept their
course and lighted The little O, the earth."
21, 2. he was indeed ... themselves. In Haml. iii. 1. 161, the
Prince is spoken of as "The glass of fashion, and the mould of
23. He had ... gait, all who could boast any legs at all made it
their aim to imitate his manner of walking; gait, "a particular
use of M. E. gate, a way ... — Icel.gata, a way, path, road; ... It
is clear that the word was thus used, because popularly connected with the verb to go; at the same time, the word is not
really derived from that verb, but from the verb to get" (Skeat,
24, 5. And speaking ... valiant, and that which in him was a natural defect, his habit of rapid utterance, was adopted by his
brave companions as though it were something becoming; for
speaking thick, cp. Cymb. iii. 2. 58, "say, and speak thick."
27. their own perfection, their naturally perfect manner of
29. affections of delight, those things which they took delight
in, eagerly affected.
30. humours of blood, caprices of temper, disposition.
31. mark, sc. at which they aimed.
32. That fashion'd others, that shaped others to perfection;
cp. Cymb. i. 1. 49, "A sample to the youngest, to the more
mature A glass that feated them," i.e. formed, fashioned, them.
34. Second, inferior: unseconded, unaided.
36. In disadvantage, at a disadvantage, with forces unequal to
those of the enemy: to abide a field, to undergo a combat.
38. defensible, capable of offering a defence; for adjectives
having both an active and a passive meaning, see Abb. §§ 3, 445:
left him, sc. without help, deserted him.
40, 1. To hold ... him! to consider yourself bound by more
scrupulous considerations of honour to stand by others than by
45. Monmouth's grave, the Prince's death: Beshrew, a mild
form of imprecation often used playfully, as in M. V. iii. 2. 14.
46. draw ... me, take away my courage and determination.
50. provided, armed, furnished with what is necessary for
51. Till that. For 'that,' as a conjunctional affix, see Abb.
52. puissance, power; here as a dissyllable, but often as a
54. a rib of steel, cp. M. A. iv. 1. 153, "O, that is stronger
made Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron."
55. for all our loves, we adjure you by all the love we both
56. So did your son, your son fought without any such assistance.
57. He was ... widow, he was allowed thus to try his strength,
and thus it was he perished.
59. To rain upon remembrance, to bedew with tears my loving
memory of him. Warburton points out the allusion to the plant rosemary used at funerals as an emblem of remembrance, and
compares W. T. iv. 4. 74-6, "For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep Seeming and savour all the winter long: Grace and
remembrance be to you both."
61. For recordation to. in memory of.
62-4. 'Tis with ... way, my mind is in the state of the tide,
which when it has reached its height pauses, neither flowing nor
ebbing, i.e. I am in a state of doubt, the influences that would
draw me in either direction being equally powerful.
67, 8. I will ... company, I will make up my mind to go to
Scotland, and there shall I be found till opportunity and advantage bid me take active measures.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. King Henry IV, second part. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1911. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/2kh4_2_3.html >.