Page images

With all the rest of that consorted crew,

Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels 15.—
Good uncle, help to order several powers
To Oxford, or where'er these traitors are:
They shall not live within this world, I swear,
But I will have them, if I once know where.
Uncle, farewell,-and cousin too16, adieu :

Your mother well hath pray'd, and prove you true.
Duch. Come, my old son ;-I pray God make thee



SCENE IV. Enter EXTON, and a Servant.

Exton. Didst thou not mark the king, what words he spake?

Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?
Was it not so?


Those were his very words.

Exton. Have I no friend? quoth he; he spake it


And urg'd it twice together; did he not?

Serv. He did.

Exton. And, speaking it, he wistly1 look'd on me; As who should say,-I would, thou wert the man That would divorce this terror from my heart; Meaning, the king at Pomfret. Come, let's go; I am the king's friend, and will rid2 his foe.

[Exeunt. 15"Death and destruction dog thee at the heels." King Richard III.

16 Too, which is not in the old copies, was added by Theobald for the sake of the metre.

1 The quartos of 1597 and 1598 have wishtly, a non-existent word. The other old copies have wistly, a word of frequent occurrence for wistfully, i. e. with earnest and eager attention. Shakespeare has it again in Venus and Adonis :

"O! what a sight it was wistly to view, &c."

2 To rid and to despatch were formerly synonymous, as may be seen in the old Dictionaries, "To ridde or dispatche himself of any

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

That they are not the first of fortune's slaves,
Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars,
Who, sitting in the stocks, refuge their shame
That many have, and others must sit there:
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortune on the back
Of such as have before endur'd the like.
Thus play I, in one person, many people*,
And none contented: sometimes am I king:
Then treason makes me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am: Then crushing penury
Persuades me, I was better when a king;
Then am I king'd again: and, by-and-by,
Think that I am unking'd by Bolingbroke,
And straight am nothing.-But, whate'er I am,
Nor I, nor any man, that but man is,

With nothing shall be pleas'd, till he be eas'd
With being nothing.—Musick do I hear? [Musick.
Ha, ha! keep time:-How sour sweet musick is,
When time is broke, and no proportion kept!
So is it in the musick of men's lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
To check5 time broke in a disorder'd string;
But for the concord of my state and time,
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke :
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
For now hath time made me his numb'ring clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and, with sighs, they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,

This is the reading of the quarto, 1597; alluding, perhaps, to the custom of our early theatres. The title pages of some of our Moralities show that three or four characters were frequently represented by one person. The folio, and other copies, read "in one prison."

5 Thus the quartos. The folio reads "to hear."

6 It should be recollected that there are three ways in which a clock notices the progress of time, viz. by the libration of the pendulum, the index on the dial, and the striking of the hour.

Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,

Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
Now, sir, the sounds that tell what hour it is,
Are clamorous groans, that strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so sighs, and tears, and groans,
Show minutes, times, and hours :—
:-but my time
Runs posting on in Bolingbroke's proud joy,
While I stand fooling here, his Jack o' the clock3.
This musick mads me, let it sound no more;
For, though it have holpe madmen to their wits9,
In me, it seems, it will make wise men mad.
Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!
For 'tis a sign of love; and love to Richard
Is a strange brooch1o in this all-hating world.

To these the king, in his comparison, severally alludes; his sighs corresponding to the jarring or ticking of the pendulum, which at the same time that it watches or numbers the seconds, marks also their progress in minutes on the dial-plate, or outward watch, to which the king compares his eyes; and their want of figures is supplied by a succession of tears (or minute drops, to use an expression of Milton), his finger, by as regularly wiping these away, performs the office of the dial's point: his clamorous groans are the sounds that tell the hour. In King Henry IV. Part 11. tears are used in a similar manner :

"But Harry lives that shall convert those tears
By number into hours of happiness."

7 The old copy has "sound that tells," but the context shows that sounds ought to be in the plural.

8 His Jack o' the clock, that is, I strike for him. One of these automatons is alluded to in King Richard III. Act iv. Sc. 3:"Because that, like a Jack, thou keep'st the stroke Between thy begging and my meditation."

Again, in an old comedy, entitled, If this be not a good Play the Devil is in it, 1612:

"So would I,

And we their Jacks o' the clockhouse."

? See Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, part ii. sect. 2. 10 Brooch is here figuratively used for ornament. It is frequently mentioned as an ornament worn in the hat. Thus in the Poetaster:

"Honour's a good brooch to wear in a man's hat at all times." Love to Richard would be a strange ornament to display in such an adverse world.

Enter Groom.

Groom. Hail, royal prince!


Thanks, noble peer 11;

K. Rich.
The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.
What art thou? and how comest thou hither,
Where no man never comes, but that sad dog
That brings me food, to make misfortune live?

Groom. I was a poor groom of thy stable, king,
When thou wert king; who, travelling towards York,
With much ado, at length have gotten leave
To look upon my sometimes12 royal master's face.
O, how it yern'd my heart, when I beheld,
In London streets, that coronation day,
When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary!
That horse, that thou so often hast bestrid;
That horse, that I so carefully have dress'd!

K. Rich. Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend,

How went he under him?

Groom. So proudly, as if he disdain'd the ground 13. K. Rich. So proud that Bolingbroke was on his back! That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand; This hand hath made him proud with clapping him Would he not stumble? Would he not fall down (Since pride must have a fall), and break the neck Of that proud man that did usurp his back? Forgiveness, horse! why do I rail on thee, Since thou, created to be aw'd by man,

There is a play upon the words royal and noble as coins differing in value; the noble was probably worth ten groats. 12 Sometimes was used for former, as well as sometime. quando.


13 Froissart relates a tale of a favourite greyhound of King Richard's, "who was wont to leape upon the king, but left the king and came to the erle of Derby, duke of Lancastre, and made to him the same frendly countenance and chere as he was wont to do to the king."-Froissart, by Berners, v. 11. fo. cccxxx.

« PreviousContinue »