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have eat no meat these five days; yet, come thou and thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead as a door-nail, 3 I pray God, I may never eat grass more. • Iden. Nay, it shall ne'er be said, while England
stands, That Alexander Iden, an esquire of Kent, Took odds to combat a poor famish'd man.
Oppose thy stedfast-gazing eyes to mine, * «See if thou canst outface me with thy looks. Set limb to limb, and thou art far the lesser; « Thy hand is but a finger to my fist; * Thy leg a stick, compared with this truncheon ;
My foot shall fight with all the strength thou hast; And if mine arm be heaved in the air, “Thy grave is digg'd already in the earth. • As for more words, whose greatness answers words, • Let this my sword report what speech forbears.5
as dead as a door-nail,] See King Henry IV, P. II, Act V, sc. ii, Vol. IX Steevens.
4. Oppose thy stedfast-gazing eyes to mine, &c.] This and the following nine lines are an amplification by Shakspeare on these three of the old play:
“Look on me, my limbs are equal unto thine,
“ And stand you all aside.” Malone.
Let this my sword report what speech forbears.] Sir Thomas Hanmer, and, after bim, Dr Warburton, read:
As for more words, let this my sword report
(Whose greatness answers words) what speech forbears. It seems to be a poor praise of a sword, that its greatness answers words, whatever be the meaning of the expression. The old reading, though somewhat obscure, seems to me more capable of explanation. For more words, whose pomp and tumour may answer words, and only words, I shall forbear them, and refer the rest to my sword. Johnson. So, in The Third Part of King Henry VI:
" I will not bandy with thee, word for word,
“ But buckle with thee blows, twice two for one." More (As for more words) was an arbitrary and unnecessary addition made by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
How an unnecessary addition? The measure is incomplete with out it. Steevens.
The introduction of the monosyllable more, in my opinion, injures the sense though it improves the metre. Were I to in VOL. X.
* Cade. By my valour, the most complete champion * that ever I heard.-Steel, if thou turn the edge, or ·cut not out the burly-boned clown in chines of beef
ere thou sleep in thy sheath, I beseech Godó on my • knees, thou may'st be turn’d to hobnails. [They fight.
Cade falls.] O, I am slain! famine, and no other, hath slain me: let ten thousand devils come against me, and give me but the ten meals I have lost and I'd
defy them all. Wither, garden; and be henceforth a • burying-place to all that do dwell in this house, because the unconquer'd soul of Cade is fled. • Iden. Is 't Cade that I have slain, that monstrous
traitor? • Sword, I will hallow thee for this thy deed, And hang thee o'er my tomb, when I am dead::
duce any word for that purpose, I should choose to read-As for mere words, instead of more words M. Mason.
I beseech God-] The folio reads--I beseech Fove. This heathen deity, with whom Cade was not likely to be much acquainted, was undoubtedly introduced by the editor of the folio to avoid the penalty of the statute, 3 Jac. I, ch 21. In the old play, 1600, he says, “ I beseech God thou might'st fall into some smith's hand, and be turned to hobnails.” This the editor of the second edition of the quarto play, no date, but printed in 1619, changed (from the same apprehension to“ I would thou might'st fall,” &c. These alterations fully confirm my note on King Henry V, Act IV, sc. iii, [where the King swears" by Jove."] -Contrary to the general rule which I have observed in printing this play, i have not adhered in the present instance to the read. ing of the folio; because I am confident that it proceeded not from Shakspeare, but his editor, who, for the reason already given, makes Falstaff say to Prince Henry"I knew ye as well as he that made ye,” instead of " By the Lord, I knew ve,” &c.
Malone. - when I am dead: &c.] How Iden was to hang a sword, over his own tomb, after he was dead, it is not easy to explain. The sentiment is more correctly expressed in the quarto:
“Oh, sword, I 'll honour thee for this, and in my chamber “Shalt thou hang, as a monument to after age,
“For this great service thou hast done to me. Steevens. Here again we have a single thought considerably amplified. Shakspeare in new moulding this speech, has used the same mode of expression that he has employed in The Winter's Tale: “If thou 'lt see a thing to talk on, when thou art dead and rotten, come bither." i. e. for people to talk of. So again, in a subsequent scene of the play before us:
“ And dead men's cries do fill the empty air."
* Ne'er shall this blood be wiped from thy point;
Cade. Iden, farewel; and be proud of thy victory: • Tell Kent from me, she hath lost her best man, and ( exhort all the world to be cowards; for I, th • fear’d any, am vanquish'd by famine, not by valour.
[Dies. * Iden. How much thou wrong'st me, heaven be my
judge. * Die, damned wretch, the curse of her that bare thee! * And as I thrust thy body in with my sword, * So wish I, I might thrust thy soul to hell.
Which of our author's plays does not exhibit expressions equally bold as “ I will hang thee,” to express “ I will have thee hung ?"
I must just observe, that most of our author's additions are strongly characteristick of his manner. The making Iden's sword wear the stains of Cade's blood on its point, and comparing those stains to a herald's coat, declare at once the pen of Shakspeare.
Malone. So, in the mock play perform'd in Hamlet :
smear'd “ With heraldry more dismal .” Steevens. 8 How much thou wrong'st me,] That is, in supposing that I am proud of my victory: Johnson.
An anonymous writer (Mr. Ritson) suggests that the meaning may be, that Cade wrongs Iden by undervaluing his prowess, and declaring that he was subdued by famine, not by the valour of his adversary.-I think Dr. Johnson's is the true interpretation.
Malone. 9 So wish I, I might thrust thy soul to hell. &c.] Not to dwell upon the wickedness of this horrid wish, with which Iden debases his character, the whole speech is wild and confused. To draw a man by the heels, headlong, is somewhat difficult; nor can I discover how the dunghill would be his grave, if his trunk were left to be fed upon by crows. These I conceive not to be the faults of corruption but negligence, and therefore do not attempt correction. Johnson.
The quarto is more favourable both to Iden's morality and language. It omits this savage wish, and makes him only add after the lines I have just quoted:
“I'll drag him hence, and with my sword
“ Cut off his head, and bear it to the king.” The player editors seem to have preferred want of humanity and common sense, to fewness of lines, and defect of versification.
Steevens. By headlong the poet undoubtedly meant, with his head trailed along the ground. By saying, “the dunghill shall be thy grave,"
. Hence will I drag thee headlong by the heels
[Exit, dragging out the body.
ACT V..... SCENE I.
Fields between Dartford and Blackheath.
The King's Camp on one side. On the other, enter YORK
attended, with Drum and Colours: his Forces at some distance, • York. From Ireland thus comes York, to claim his
right, • And pluck the crown from feeble Henry's head:
King, bells, aloud; burn, bonfires, clear and bright, • To entertain great England's lawful king. Ah, sancta majestas!) who would not buy thee dear? • Let them obey, that know not how to rule ; • This hand was made to handle nought but gold: • I cannot give due action to my words, • Except a sword, or sceptre, balance it.2 .A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul ;3
Iden means, the dunghill shall be the place where thy dead body shall be laid: the dunghill shall be the only grave which thou shalt haye. Surely in poetry this is allowable. So, in Macbeth:
our monuments “ Shall be the maws of kites." After what has been already stated, I fear it must be acknowledged, that this faulty amplification was owing rather to our author's desire to expand a scanty thought of a preceding writer, than to any want of judgment in the player editors. Malone.
1 Ah, sancta majestas!) Thus the old copy; instead of which the modern editors read, Ah, majesty! Steevens.
balance it.] That is, Balance my hand. Johnson. 3 A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul;] I read:
A sceptre shall it have, have I a sword. York observes that his hand must be employed with a sword or sceptre; he then naturally observes, that he has a sword, and resolves that, if he has a sword, he will have a sceptre. Johnson:
« On which I'll toss the flower-de-luce of France.
Enter BUCKINGHAM. ( Whom have we here? Buckingham, to disturb me? « The king hath sent him, sure: I must dissemble. • Buck. York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well. York. Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greet
ing « Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?
< Buck. A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
To know the reason of these arms in peace; • Or why, thou-being a subject as I am, • Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn, • Should’st raise so great a power without his leave, • Or dare to bring thy force so near the court. York. Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great.
I rather think York means to say-If I have a soul, my hand shall not be without a sceptre. Steevens.
This certainly is a very natural interpretation of these words, and being no friend to alteration merely for the sake of improvement, we ought, I think, to acquiesce in it. But some difficulty will still remain; for if we read, with the old copy, soul, York threatens to "toss the flower-de-luce of France on his sceptre,” which sounds but oddly. To toss it on his sword, was a threat very natural for a man who had already triumphed over the French. So, in King Henry VI, P. III:
“ The soldiers should have toss'd me on their pikes.” However, in the licentious phraseology of our author, York may mean, that he will wield his sceptre, (that is, exercise his royal power,) when he obtains it, so as to abase and destroy the French.—The following line also in King Henry VIII, adds support to the old copy:
“Sir, as I have a soul, she is an angel." Malone.
- being a subject as I am,) Here again in the old play we have the style and versification of our author's immediate prede.
« Or that thou, being a subject as I am,
“Whereas the person of the king doth keepe.” Malone. 5 Scarce can I speak, &c.] The first nine lines of this speech are founded on the following in the old play:
“ A subject as he is!