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Warkworth. Before Northumberland's Cafile.


Enter Rumour, painted full of Tongues.3

RUM. Open your ears; For which of you will ftop

The vent of hearing, when loud Rumour speaks?

2 Enter Rumour,] This fpeech of Rumour is not inelegant or unpoetical, but it is wholly useless, fince we are told nothing which the firft fcene does not clearly and naturally discover. The only end of fuch prologues is to inform the audience of fome facts previous to the action, of which they can have no knowledge from the perfons of the drama. JOHNSON.

3 Rumour, painted full of tongues.] This the author probably drew from Holinfhed's Defcription of a Pageant, exhibited in the court of Henry VIII. with uncommon coft and magnificence: "Then entered a perfon called Report, apparelled in crimson fattin, full of toongs, or chronicles." Vol. III. p. 805. This however might be the common way of representing this perfonage in masques, which were frequent in his own times. T. WARTON, Stephen Hawes, in his Paftime of Pleasure, had long ago exhibited her (Rumour) in the fame manner :

"A goodly lady, envyroned about

"With tongues of fire.—'

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And fo had Sir Thomas More, in one of his Pageants⚫

"Fame I am called, mervayle you nothing

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Thoughe with tonges I am compaffed all rounde." Not to mention her elaborate portrait by Chaucer, in The Booke of Fame; and by John Higgins, one of the affiftants in The Mirror for Magiftrates, in his Legend of King Albanacte.


I, from the orient to the drooping weft,4
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
Upon my tongues continual flanders ride;
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
I fpeak of peace, while covert enmity,
Under the smile of fafety, wounds the world:
And who but Rumour, who but only I,

Make fearful mufters, and prepar'd defence;
Whilft the big year, fwol'n with fome other grief,
Is thought with child by the ftern tyrant war,
And no fuch matter? Rumour is a pipe 5
Blown by furmifes, jealoufies, conjectures;

In a mafque prefented on St. Stephen's night, 1614, by Thomas Campion, Rumour comes on in a skin-coat full of winged tongues. Rumour is likewife a character in Sir Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, &c. 1599.,

So alfo, in The whole magnificent Entertainment given to King James, and the Queen his Wife, &c. &c. 15th March, 1603, by Thomas Decker, 4to. 1604: "Directly under her in a cart by herfelfe, Fame ftood upright: a woman in a-watchet roabe, thickly fet with open eyes and tongues, a payre of large golden winges at her backe, a trumpet in her hand, a mantle of fundry cullours traverfing her body: all these enfignes displaying but the propertie of her fwiftneffe and aptneffe to difperfe Rumoure." STEEVENS

-painted full of tongues.] This direction, which is only to be found in the firft edition in quarto of 1600, explains a paffage in what follows, otherwife obfcure. POPE.

the drooping weft,] A paffage in Macbeth will beft explain the force of this epithet:

"Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
"And night's black agents to their preys do roufe."


5 Rumour is a pipe-] Here the poet imagines himself defcribing Rumour, and forgets that Rumour is the speaker.


And of fo eafy and fo plain a stop,"
That the blunt monfter with uncounted heads,
The still-difcordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
My well-known body to anatomize

Among my hotfhold? Why is Rumour here?
I run before king Harry's victory;
Who, in a bloody field by Shrewsbury,

Hath beaten down young Hotfpur, and his troops,
Quenching the flame of bold rebellion

Even with the rebels' blood. But what mean I
To speak fo true at firft? my office is

To noife abroad, that Harry Monmouth fell
Under the wrath of noble Hotspur's fword;
And that the king before the Douglas' rage
Stoop'd his anointed head as low as death.
This have I rumour'd through the peasant towns
Between that royal field of Shrewsbury
And this worm-eaten hold of ragged ftone,"

6fo eafy and fo plain a ftop,] The Stops are the holes in a flute or pipe. So, in Hamlet: "Govern thefe ventages with your finger and thumb:-Look you, these are the stops." Again : "You would feem to know my stops." STEEVENS.

↑ And this worm-eaten hold of ragged ftone,] The old copies read-worm-eaten hole. MALONE.

Northumberland had retired and fortified himself in his castle, a place of ftrength in those times, though the building might be impaired by its antiquity; and, therefore, I believe our poet


And this worm-eaten hold of ragged Stone. THEObald. Theobald is certainly right. So, in The Wars of Cyrus, &c. 1594:


Befieg'd his fortrefs with his men at arms,

"Where only I and that Libanio stay'd


By whom I live. For when the hold was loft," &c.

Again, in King Henry VI. P. III :

"She is hard by with twenty thousand men,

"And therefore fortify your hold, my lord." STEEVENS.

Where Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
Lies crafty-fick: the pofts come tiring on,
And not a man of them brings other news
Than they have learn'd of me; From Rumour's


They bring smooth comforts falfe, worse than true






The fame.

The Porter before the Gate; Enter Lord BARDOLPH.

BARD. Who keeps the gate here, ho?-Where is the earl?

PORT. What fhall I fay you are?


Tell thou the earl,

That the lord Bardolph doth attend him here.

PORT. His lordship is walk'd forth into the or


Please it your honour, knock but at the gate,

And he himself will answer.



Here comes the earl.

NORTH. What news, lord Bardolph ? every mi

nute now

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