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Another Part of the Field,
Alarum. Enter King HENRY. * K. Hen. This battle fares like to the morning's war,6 * When dying clouds contend with growing light; * What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,7 * Can neither call it perfect day, nor night. Now sways it this
way, like a mighty sea, « Forc'd by the tide to combat with the wind; • Now sways it that way, like the self-same sea · Forc'd to retire by fury of the wind :
6 This battle fares like to the morning's war, &c.] Instead of this interesting speech, the quartos exhibit only the following:
“O gracious God of heaven, look down on us,
“ To yield it them, and live a private life !" The leading thought in both these soliloquies is borrowed from Holinshed, p. 665:-" This deadly conflict continued ten hours in doubtful state of victorie, uncertainlie heaving and setting on both sides,” &c. Virgil, however, Æn. Lib. X, v. 354, has a similar compari.
“ Anceps pugna diu ; stant obnixi omnia contra," &c. This simile, however, originates with Homer; Iliad, XIV.
Steevens. the shepherd, blowing of his nails,] So, in Love's Labour's Lost :
“When icicles hang by the wall,
* The quarto, 1600, printed by W.W. reads--cruel jarsi
• Sometime, the flood prevails; and then, the wind ;
Yet neither conqueror, nor conquered:
Thereby to see the minutes how they run: * How many make the hour full complete, How
many hours bring about the day, * How many days will finish up the year, * How many years a mortal man may live. * When this is known, then to divide the times: * So many hours must I tend my flock; * So many hours must I take my rest; * So many hours must I contemplate; * So many hours must I sport myself; * So many days my ewes have been with young; * So many weeks ere the poor fools will yean;2
8 Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,] Hence, perhaps, the vulgarism that gives such acknowledged force to the following line in Lee's Rival Queens: When Greeks join'd Greeks, then was the tug of war.”
Steevens. -methinks it were a happy life,] This speech is mournful and soft, exquisitely suited io the character of the King, and makes a pleasing interchange, by affording, amidst the tumult and horror of the battle, an unexpected glimpse of rural innocence and pastoral tranquillity. Johnson.
This speech strongly confirms the remark made by Sir Joshua Reynolds on a passage in Macbeth, Vol. VII, p. 60, n. 7. Malone. i Thereby to see the minutes how they run:
How many make the hour full complete,] So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece:
“ Stuff up his lust, as minutes fill up hours." Malone. ere the poor fools will yean;] Poor fool, it has already
* So many years 3 ere I shall sheer the fleece: * So minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years, * Pass'd over to the end they were created, * Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave. * Ah, what a life were this! how sweet how lovely! * Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade * To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep, * Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy * To kings, that fear their subjects' treachery?
it doth; a thousand fold it doth. * And to conclude,--the shepherds homely curds, * His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle, * His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade, * All which secure and sweetly he enjoys, * Is far beyond a prince's delicates, * His viands sparkling in a golden cup, * His body couched in a curious bed, * When care, mistrust, and treason wait on him. Alarum. Enter a Son that has killed his Father,"
dragging in the dead Body. Son. Ill blows the wind, that profits no-body.-• This man, whom hand to hand I slew in fight, · May be possessed with some store of crowns :
been observed, is an expression of tenderness, often used by our author. Malone. So, in King Lear, scene the last :
“ And my poor fool is hang’l.” See notes on this passage, Vol. XIV, Steevens.
3 So many years ere I shall sheer the fleece:) i.e. the years which must elapse between the time of the yeaning of the ewes, and the lambs arriving to such a state as to admit of being shorn. Mr. Rowe changed years to months; which was followed by the subsequent editors; and in the next line inserted the word weeks; not observing that hours is used there, and throughout this speech, as a dissyllable. Years is in that line likewise used as a word of two syllables. Malone.
This dissyllabical pronunciation will by no means suit the conclusion of a verse, however it may be admitted in other parts of it. I have retained Mr. Rowe's very necessary insertion.
Steevens. 4 Enter a Son &c.] These two horrible incidents are selected to show the innumerable calamities of civil war. Johnson.
In the battle of Constantine and Maxentius, by Raphael, the second of these incidents is introduced on a similar occasion.
* And I, that haply take them from him now,
Who's this? --O God! it is my father's face,
And I, who at his hands receiv'd my life, • Have by my hands of life bereaved him.• Pardon me, God, I knew not what I did! And pardon, father, for I knew not thee! * My tears shall wipe away these bloody marks; * And no more words, till they have flow'd their fill.
(K. Hen. O piteous spectacle ! O bloody times! Whilst lions war, and battle for their dens, • Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity, * Weep, wretched man, I'll aid thee tear for tear; * And let our hearts, and eyes, like civil war, * Be blind with tears, and break o'ercharg'd with grief.o Enter a Father who has killed his Son, with the
Body in his Arms. Fath. Thou that so stoutly hast resisted me, «Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold; • For I have bought it with an hundred blows.
so piteous spectacle! &c.] In the old play the king does not speak, till both the Son and the Father have appeared, and spoken, and then the following words are attributed to him, out of which Shakspeare has formed two distinct speeches:
“Woe above woe! grief more than common grief!
Malone. 6 And let our hearts, and eyes, like civil war,
Be blind with tears, and break o'ercharg'd with grief.] The meaning is here inaccurately expressed. The king intends to say that the state of their hearts and eyes shall be like that of the kingdom in a civil war, all shall be destroyed by power formed within themselves. Johnson.
< But let me see:- is this our foeman's face?
life be left in thee, Throw up
eye; see, see, what showers arise, * Blown with the windy tempest of my heart,? * Upon thy wounds, that kill mine eye and heart
0, pity, God, this miserable age ! - What stratagems, 8 how fell, how butcherly,
what showers arise, Blown with the windy tempest of my heart,] This image had occurred in the preceding Act:
For raging wind blows up incessant showers. Steevens. 8 What stratagems,] Stratagem seems to stand here only for an event of war, or may intend snares and surprizes. Johnson.
Stratagem is used by Shakspeare not merely to express the events and surprizes of war.-The word means in this place some dreadful event, as it does also in The Second Part of King Henry IV, where Northumberland says:
Every minute now • Should be the father of some stratagem.” Stratagemma, in Italian, bears the same acceptation which Shakspeare gives to the English word Stratagem, in these two passages, Bernini in his History of Heresies, says: “Ma Dio puni la Francia, et la Spagna, co'l flagello dei Vandali, per l'Eresia abbracciata, et piu gravamente puni Roma, prevaricata di nuovo, al culto de gl' idoli, con il sacco che gli diedero. Orosio, che descrisse quelle stratagemme, paragoni Roma a Sodoma, chiamando i Romani peccatori.”
It is evident, that in this passage stratagemme means disastrous events, as stratagem does in this place. M. Mason.
Stratageme. A policie or subtle device in warre, whereby the enemie is often vanquished.” Bullokar's English Expositor, octavo, 1616. Florio, in his Italian Dict. 1598, defines Stratagema, a policie, a wile, or wittie shift in warre.” This was undoubtedly its ordinary sense in our author's time, though then and afterwards it was occasionally used for any subtle device or policy. Here it has unquestionably its ordinary signification. Malone.
Mr. Malone asserts that stratagem in this place means a subtle device in war; but I still adhere to my former opinion, that it means a disastrous event, or an atrocious action. Can we suppose that a father in the paroxysm of despair, on finding that he had killed with his own hand, his only son, should call that horrid deed a subtle device in war? When Lorenzo says, in The Merchant of Venice, that
“ The man who hath no musick in himself &c.
“ Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils," Could he mean to rank the subtle devices of war in the same class with the worst of crimes ?