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He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute3.


But I,-that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty,
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature",
Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made
And that so lamely and unfashionable,
That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them;-
Why I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time;
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
And descant on mine own deformity;
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well spoken days,-
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence, and the king,
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And, if King Edward be as true and just,

5 Is the warlike sound of drum and trump turned to the soft noise of lyre and lute? The neighing of barbed steeds, whose loudness filled the air with terror, and whose breaths dimmed the sun with smoke, converted to delicate tunes and amorous glances.'-Lyly's Alexander and Campaspe, 1584. There is a passage in the Legend of the Death of King Richard III. in the Mirror for Magistrates evidently imitated from Shakspeare.

6 Feature is proportion, or beauty, in general. Vide Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act ii. Sc. 4, p. 127. 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.

7 Preparations for mischief.

As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,

This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up;
About a prophecy, which says-that G

Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be8.

Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! here Clarence


Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY.
Brother, good day: What means this armed guard,
That waits upon your grace?

His majesty,
Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
Glo. Upon what cause?

Because my name is—George.
Glo. Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers :-
O, belike, his majesty hath some intent,
That you shall be new christen'd in the Tower.
But what's the matter, Clarence? may I know?
Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know; for, I protest,
As yet I do not: But, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies, and dreams;
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
And says-a wizard told him, that by G
His issue disinherited should be;

And, for my name of George begins with G,
It follows in his thought, that I am he:

These, as I learn, and such like toys as these,
Have mov'd his highness to commit me now.

8 This is from Holinshed. Philip de Comines says that the English at that time were never unfurnished with some prophecy or other, by which they accounted for every event.

9 i. e. fancies, freaks of imagination. Thus in Hamlet, Act i. Sc. 4:

'The very place put toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain.'

Glo. Why, this it is, when men are rul'd by wo


'Tis not the king, that sends you to the Tower;
My Lady Grey, his wife, Clarence, 'tis she,
That tempers 10 him to this extremity.

Was it not she, and that good man of worship,
Antony Woodeville, her brother there,

That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower;
From whence this present day he is deliver❜d?
We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe.

Clar. By heaven, I think, there is no man secure,
But the queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the king and Mistress Shore.
Heard you not, what an humble suppliant
Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
Glo. Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
I'll tell you what,-I think, it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the king,
To be her men, and wear her livery:
The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself 11,
Since that our brother dubb'd them gentlewomen,
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.

Brak. I beseech your graces both to pardon me; His majesty hath straitly given in charge, That no man shall have private conference, Of what degree soever, with his brother.

Glo. Even so? an please your worship, Brakenbury,

10 i.e. frames his temper, moulds it to this extremity. This word is often used in the same figurative sense by Spenser and other cotemporaries of Shakspeare.

'Now will I to that old Andronicus;

And temper him with all the art I have,
To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths.'

Titus Andronicus.

11 The Queen and Shore.

You may partake of any thing we say:
We speak no treason, man;-We say, the king
Is wise and virtuous; and his noble queen
Well struck in years 12; fair, and not jealous:
We say, that Shore's wife hath a pretty foot,
A cherry lip,

A bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;

And that the queen's kindred are made gentlefolks : How say you, sir? can you deny all this?

Brak. With this, my lord, myself have naught to do.

Glo. Naught to do with mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,

He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best to do it secretly, alone.
Brak. What one, my lord?

Glo. Her husband, knave:-Would'st thou betray me?

Brak. I beseech your grace to pardon me; and, withal,

Forbear your

conference with the noble duke. Clar. We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey 13.

Glo. We are the queen's abjects 14, and must obey.

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12 This odd expression was preceded by others equally singular, expressing what we now call an advanced age." Thus in Arthur Hall's translation of the first book of Homer's Iliad, 1581:

'In Grea's forme, the good handmaid, nowe wel ystept
in yeares.'

And in Spenser's Faerie Queene, book v. can. 6:—

'Well shot in years he seem'd.'

Warton has justly observed that, by an imperceptible progression from one kindred sense to another, words at length obtain a meaning entirely foreign to their etymology?'

13 This and the three preceding speeches were probably all designed for prose. It is at any rate impossible that this line could have been intended for metre.

14 i.e. the lowest of her subjects. This substantive is found in Psalm xxxv. 15:- Yea the very abjects came together against

Brother, farewell: I will unto the king;

And whatsoever you will employ me in,-
Were it, to call King Edward's widow-sister,-
I will perform it to enfranchise you.

Mean time, this deep disgrace in brotherhood,
Touches me deeper than you can imagine.

Clar. I know it pleaseth neither of us well.
Glo. Well, your imprisonment shall not be long;
I will deliver you, or else lie for you 15:

Mean time, have patience.


I must perforce; farewell. [Exeunt CLARENCE, BRAKENBURY, and Guard.

Glo. Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne'er re


Simple, plain Clarence!—I do love thee so,
That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
If heaven will take the present at our hands.
But who comes here? the new-deliver'd Hastings?

Hast. Good time of day unto my gracious lord!
Glo. As much unto my good lord chamberlain !
Well are you welcome to this open air.
How hath your lordship brook'd imprisonment?
Hast. With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must:
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks,
That were the cause of my imprisonment.

me unawares, making mouths at me, and ceased not.' Again, in Chapman's translation of Homer's Odyssey, 21st book:'Whither? rogue! abject! wilt thou bear from us That bow propos'd?'

Again in the same author's version of Homer's Hymn to Venus :— 'That thou wilt never let me live to be

An abject, after so divine degree

Taken in fortune.'

15 He means, or else be imprisoned in your stead.' To lie signified anciently to reside, or remain in a place, as appears by many instances in these volumes.

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