« PreviousContinue »
Line 170. My parks, &c.]
Cedes coemptis saltibus, et domo,
Villâque. Hor. This mention of his parks and manors diminishes the pathetick effect of the foregoing lines.
JOHNSON. -and, of all my lands, Is nothing left me, but my body's length)
Mors sola fatetur
“ Quantula sint hominum corpuscula.” Jud. Camden mentions in his Remains, that Constantine, in order to dissuade a person from covetousness, drew out with his lance the length and breadth of a man's grave, adding, “ this is all thou shalt have when thou art dead, if thou canst happily get so much.”
ACT V. SCENE IV. Line 308. K. Edw. Brave followers, &c.] This scene is illcontrived, in which the king and queen appear at once on the stage at the head of opposite armies. It had been easy to make one retire before the other entered,
ACT V. SCENE V.
Line 330. -to Hammes' castle] A castle in Picardy, where Oxford was confined for many years.
MALONE. Line 362. Let Æsop &c.] The prince calls Richard, for his crookedness, Æsop; and the poet, following nature, makes Richard highly incensed at the reproach.
JOHNSON. Line 380. -the likeness of this railer here. &c.] That thou resemblest thy railing mother.
JOHNSON. Line 417. -you have rid this sweet young prince.) The condition of this warlike queen would move compassion, could it be forgotten that she gave York, to wipe his eyes in his captivity, a handkerchief stained with his young child's blood. JOHNSON.
Line 431. 'Twas sin before,] She alludes to the desertion of Clarence.
JOHNSON. Line 432. Where is that devil's butcher,
Hard-favour'd Richard ?] Devil's butcher, is a butcher set on by the devil.
ACT V. SCENE VI. Line 464. What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?] Roscius was certainly put for Richard by some simple conceited player who had heard of Roscius and of Rome; but did not know that he was an actor in comedy, not in tragedy. WARBURTON.
Shakspeare had occasion to compare Richard to some player about to represent a scene of murder, and took the first or only name of antiquity that occurred to him, without being very scrupulous about its propriety.
STEEVENS. Line 474. - peevish fool—] As peevishness is the quality of children, peevish seems to signify childish, and by consequence silly. Peevish is explained by childish, in a former note of Dr. Warburton.
JOHNSON. Line 496. Which now mistrust no parcel of my fear;] Who suspect no part of what my fears presage.
Johnson. Line 507. The raven rook'd her-] To rook means to sguat down.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON THE THIRD PART OF
KING HENRY VI.
Line 2. this sun of York;] Alluding to the cognizance of Edward IV. which was a sun, in memory of the three suns which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross. Steevens. Line 7. Our stern alarums chang'd to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
And now,-instead of mounting barbed steeds, &c.] It is not improbable that Shakspeare was indebted on this occasion to the following lines in the tragical Life and Death of King Richard the Third, which is one of the metrical monologues in a collection entitled, The Mirrour of Magistrates, the preface to which is dated 1586.
the battles fought in fields before
“ The war-god's thundring cannons dreadful rore,
“God Mars laid by his launce, and tooke his lute,
“ Instead of crimson fields, war's fatal fruit,
“ And set his thoughts upon her wantop lookes." STEEV, Line 10. -barbed steeds] Are steeds adorned with military trappings. I. Haywarde, in his Life and Raigne of Henry IV. 1599, says,—“The duke of Hereford came to the barriers, “ mounted upon a white courser, barbed with blue and green “ velvet," &c.
STEEVENS. Line 12. He capers-) War capers. This is poetical, though a little harsh; if it be York that capers, the antecedent is at such a distance, that it is almost forgotten.
JOHNSON. Line 19. Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,] By dissembling is not meant hypocritical nature, that pretends one thing and does another; but nature that puts together things of a dissimilar kind, as a brave soul and a deformed body. WARB. Dissembling is here put very licentiously for fraudful, deceitful.
JOHNSON Feature is used here, as in other pieces of the same age, for beauty in general.
MALONE. Line 28. And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,] Shakspeare very diligently inculcates, that the wickedness of Richard proceeded from his deformity, from the envy that rose at the comparison of his own person with others, and which incited him to disturb the pleasures that he could not partake. Johnson.
Line 31. And bate the idle pleasures-] Perhaps we might read, And bate the idle pleasures
JOHNSON. Line 32. inductions dangerous,] Preparations for mischief. The induction is preparatory to the action of the play.
JOHNSON. Line 36. -Edward be as true and just,] The meaning is, if Edward keeps his word.
Johnson. Line 64. -toys-] Fancies, freaks of imagination, Johns,
-81. Humbly complaining, &c.] I think these two lines might be better given to Clarence.
Line 86. The jealous o'erworn widow, and herself,] That is, the queen and Shore.
JOHNSON Line 118. -the queen's abjects - ] That is, not the queen's subjects, whom she might protect, but her abjects, whom she drives away.
JOHNSON. Line 121. Were it to call king Edward's widow-sister,] This is a very covert and subtle manner of insinuating treason. The natural expression would have been, were it to call king Edward's wife, sister. I will solicit for you, though it should be at the expence of so much degradation and constraint, as to own the lowborn wife of king Edward for a sister. But by slipping, as it were casually, widow into the place of wife, he tempts Clarence with an oblique proposal to kill the king.
JOHNSON. King Edward's widow is, I believe, only an expression of contempt, meaning the widow Gray, whom Edward had thought proper to make his queen. He has just before called her, the jealous o'erworn widow.
Steevens. Line 148. -should be mew'd,] A mew is a place where any thing is confined.
ACT I. SCENE II. Line 184. -obsequiously lament-] Obsequious, in this instance, means funereal. So in Hamlet, act i. sc. ii. To do obsequious sorrow.
Steevens. Line 222. I'll make a corse of him that disobeys.] So' in Hamlet,
I'll make a ghost of him that lets me. JOHNSON. Line 242. -pattern of thy butcheries :) Pattern is instance, or erample,
JOHNSON. Line 243. -see! dead Henry's wounds
Open their congeald mouths, and bleed afresh.] It is a tradition very generally received, that the murdered body bleeds on the touch of the murderer. This was so much believed by sir Kenelm Digby, that he has endeavoured to explain the reason.
JOHNSON. Line 272. Vouchsufe, diffusd infection of a man,] I believe, diffus'd in this place signifies irregular, uncouth; such is its meaning in other passages of Shakspeare.