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For strokes receiv'd, and many blows repaid, Have robb’d my strong-knit sinews of their strength, * And, spite of spite, needs must I rest awhile.
Enter EDWARD, running. Edw. Smile, gentle heaven!2 or strike, ungentle
death! "For this world frowns, and Edward's sun is clouded. Mar. How now, my lord? what hap? what hope of good?
Enter GEORGE. * Geo. Our hap is loss, our hope but sad despair ;3 Our ranks are broke, and ruin follows us: • What counsel give you? whither shall we fly?
• Edw. Bootless is flight, they follow us with wings; • And weak we are, and cannot shun pursuit.
Enter RICHARD. • Rich. Ah, Warwick, why hast thou withdrawn thy
self? • Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk,*
An authentic copy of King Edward's account of this battle, together with a list of the noblemen and knights who were slain in it, may be seen in Sir John Fenn's Collection of the Paston Letters, Vol. I, p. 216, &c. Henley.
9 Forspent with toil,] Thus the folio. The quartos read “Sore spent,” Tc. Steevens. 1 And spite of spite,] So, in King John:
“ And, spite of spite, alone holds up the day.” Steevens. 2 Smile, gentle heaven!] Thus the folio. Instead of these lines, the quartos give the following:
“Smile, gentle heavens, or strike, ungentle death,
"Upon the harmless line of York's true house!” Steevens, 3 Our hap is loss, &c.] Thus the folio. The quartos thus :
“Come, brother, come, let's to the field again,
good ?" Steevens. Our hap is loss, our hope but sad despair ;] Milton seems to have copied this line:
Thus repuls'd, our final hope " Is flat despair.” Malone.
• Broach'd with the steely point of Clifford's lance: • And, in the very pangs of death, he cry'd,
4 Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk,] This passage, from the variation of the copies, gave me no little perplexity. The old quarto applies this description to the death of Salisbury, Warwick's father. But this was a notorious deviation from the truth of history. For the Earl of Salisbury, in the battle at Wakefield, wherein Richard Duke of York lost his life, was taken prisoner, beheaded at Pomfret, and his head, together with the Duke of York's, fixed over York gates. Then the only brother of Warwick, introduced in this play, is the Marquess of Montacute (or Montague, as he is called by our author): but he does not die till ten years after, in the battle at Barnet; where Warwick likewise was killed. The truth is, the brother here mentioned is no person in the drama, and his death is only an ac. cidental piece of history. Consulting the Chronicles, upon this action at Ferrybridge, I find him to have been a natural son of Salisbury, (in that respect a brother to Warwick) and esteemed a valiant young gentleman. Theobald.
Thy brother's blood &c.] Instead of this speech, which is printed, like almost all the rest of the play, from the folio, the quar. tos give the following:
“ Thy noble father in the thickest throngs
And, as he tottering sat upon his steed,
“ And so the noble Salisbury gave up the ghost.” Steevens. It is here only necessary to refer to former notes on similar variations; See p. 292, n. 8; and the notes there referred to.
Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk,] In this line of which there is no trace in the original play, Shakspeare had probably the sacred writings in his thoughts: “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood.” Genesis, iv, 11.
The old play (as Theobald has observed) applies this descrip. tion to the death of Salisbury, contrary to the truth of history, for that nobleman was taken prisoner at the battle of Wake. feld, and afterwards beheaded at Pomfret. But both Hall and. Holinshed, in nearly the same words, relate the circumstance on which this speech, as exhibited in the folio, is founded; and from the latter our author undoubtedly took it. "The Lord Fitzwalter (who had been stationed to keep the pass of Ferrybridge] hearing the noise, [macle by Lord Clifford and a body of light. horsemen, who attacked by surprize the party stationed at the bridge,] sodainly rose out of his bedde, and unarmed, with the
• Like to a dismal clangor heard from far,
War. Then let the earth be drunken with our blood: I'll kill my horse, because I will not fly.5 * Why stand we like soft-hearted women here, * Wailing our losses, whiles the foe doth rage; * And look upon,6 as if the tragedy * Were play'd in jest by counterfeiting actors? • Here on my knee I vow to God above, "I'll never pause again, never stand still, « Till either death hath clos’d these eyes of mine, • Or fortune given me measure of revenge.
Edw. O Warwick, I do bend my knee with thine ; And, in this vow, do chain my soul to thine.?
And, ere my knee rise from the earth's cold face, * I throw my hands, mine eyes, my heart to thee, Thou setter up and plucker down of kings ! • Beseeching thee, : --if with thy will it stands, pollax in his hande, thinking that it had bin a frayé amongst his men, came down to appease the same, but ere he knew what the matter ment, he was slaine, and with him the bastard of Salisbury, brother to the erle of Warwick, a valiant young gentleman, and of great audacitie.” Holinshed, p. 664. In this action at Ferrybridge, which happened on the 28th of March, 1461, the day before the great battle of Towton, Lord Clifford was killed. The author of this play has blended the two actions together.
Malone. 5 I'll kill my horse, &c.] So, in The Miseries of Queen Margaret, by Drayton :
“ Resolv'd to win, or bid the world adieu :
“ Which spoke, the earl his sprightly courser slew.” Again, in Daniel's Civil Wars, B. VIII, st. xiii. From Hall, Henry VI, p. 102. See p. 331, n. 8. Steevens.
6 And look upon,] And are mere spectators. So, in The Win. ter's Tale, where I idly suspected some corruption in the text:
“ And look on alike." Malone. 7 And, in this vow, do chain my soul to thine.-) Thus the folio. The quarto as follows:
“ And in that vow now join my soul to thee.” Steevens. 8 Beseeching thee,] That is, beseeching the divine power. Shakspeare in new forming this speech may seem, at the first view of it, to have made it obscure, by placing this line immediately af. ter-" Thou setter up,” &c.
That to my foes this body must be prey, ( Yet that thy brazen gates of heaven may ope, And give sweet passage to my sinful soul! Now, lords, take leave until we meet again, Where-e'er it be, in heaven, or on earth. • Rich. Brother, give me thy hand;-and, gentle War
War. Away, away! Once more, sweet lords, farewel. • Geo. Yet let us all together to our troops, « And give them leave to fly that will not stay ; And call them pillars, that will stand to us; • And, if we thrive, promise them such rewards
As victors wear at the Olympian games: * This may plant courage in their quailing breasts; * For yet is hope of life, and victory * Fore-slow no longer,? make we hence amain.2
What I have now observed is founded on a supposition that the words “ Thou setter up,” &c. are applied to Warwick, as they appear to be in the old play. However, our author certainly intend. ed to deviate from it, and apply this description to the Deity; and this is another strong confirmation of the observation already made relative to the variations between these pieces and the el. der dramas on which they were formed. In the old play the speech runs thus:
“ Lord Warwick, I do bend my knees with thine,
" Or let us die before we lose the day!". The last two lines are certainly here addressed to the Deity; but the preceding line, notwithstanding the anachronism, seems to be addressed to Warwick. Malone.
quailing -] i. e. sinking into dejection. So, in Cymbeline:
- my false spirits Quail to remember: -" Steevens. i Fore-slow no longer,] To fore-slow is to be dilatory, to loiter.
Steevens. - make we hence amain.) Instead of this and the two preceding speeches, we have in the old play the following:
« Geo. Then let us haste to cheare the souldiers' hearts, " And call them pillers that will stand to us,
Another Part of the Field. Excursions. Enter RICHARD and CLIFFORD. • Rich. Now, Clifford, I have singled thee alone :3 • Suppose, this arm is for the duke of York, 6 And this for Rutland; both bound to revenge, « Wert thou environ’d with a brazen wall.4
Clif. Now, Richard, I am with thee here alone : This is the hand, that stabb’d thy father York; And this the hand that slew thy brother Rutland; And here's the heart, that triumphs in their death, And cheers these hands, that slew thy sire and brother, To execute the like upon thyself; And so, have at thee.
[They fight. WARWICK enters ; CLIFFORD flies. • Rich. Nay, Warwick,5 single out some other chase; • For I myself will hunt this wolf to death. [Exeunt.
“ And highly promise to remunerate
“ Rich. Come, come away, and stand not to debate,
Malone. 3 Now, Clifford, I have singled thee alone : &c.] Thus the folio. The quartos thus:
“Now, Clifford, for York and young Rutland's death,
“For to revenge the murders thou hast made.” Steevens. 4 Wert thou environd with a brazen wall.] So, in the second Thebaid of Statius, v. 453:
non si te ferreus agger “ Ambiat, --." Steevens. 5 Nay, Warwick, &c.] We have had two very similar lines in the preceding play, p. 270:
“ Hold, Warwick, seek thee out some other chase;