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Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence ?
Brak. No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you;
Clar. O, Brakenbury, I have done these things That now give evidence against my soul,For Edward's sake; and, see, how he requites me! O God! if my deep prayers cannot appease thee, 2
with bright hair Dabbled in blood;] Lee has transplanted this image into his Mithridates, Act IV, sc. i:
“ I slept; but oh, a dream so full of terror,
fleeting, perjur’d Clarence,] Fleeting is the same as changing sides. Johnson So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
now the fleeting moon "No planet is of mine.” Clarence broke his oath with the Earl of Warwick, and joined the army of his brother King Edward IV. See Vol. X, p. 406.
Sieevens. a legion of foul fiends Environ’d me, &c.] Milton seems to have thought on this passage where he is describing the midnight sufferings of Our Saviour, in the 4th Book of Paradise Regaind:
nor yet stay'd the terror there, “ Infernal ghosts, and hellish furies, round “Environ'd thee, some howl'd, some yell’d, some
shriek'd Steevens. 20 God! if my deep prayers &c.] The four following lines have been added since the first edition. Pope. They are found in the folio, but not in the quarto. Malone. VOL. XI.
But thou wilt be aveng'd on my misdeeds,
rest! [CLAR. reposes himself on a Chair.
Enter the Two Murderers I Murd. Ho! who's here? Brak. What would'st thou, fellow ? and how cam'mt
3 my guiltless wife,] The wife of Clarence died before he was apprehended and confined in the Tower. See p. 47, n. 8.
Malone. 4 I pray thee, gentle keeper, &c.] So the quarto, 1998. The folio reads:
“Keeper, I priythee, sit by me a while." Malone. 6 Sorrow breaks seasons, &c.] In the common editions, the Reeper is made to hold the dialogue with Clarence till this line. And here Brakenbury enters, pronouncing these words; which seem to me a reflection naturally resulting from the foregoing conversation, and therefore continued to be spoken by the same person, as it is accordingly in the first edition. Pope.
The keeper, introduced in the quarto, 1598, was, in fact, Bra. kenbury, who was Lieutenant of the Tower. There can be RO doubt therefore that the text, which is regulated according to the quarto, is right. Malone. 6 Princes have but their titles for their glorics,
An outward honour for an inward toil;] The first line may be understood in this sense, The glories of princes are nothing more than empty titles: but it would more impress the purpose of the speaker, and correspond better with the following lines, if it were read:
Princes have but their titles for their troubles. Fohnson.
--for unfelt imaginations,
They often feel a world of restless cares : ] They often suffer real miseries for imaginary and unreal gratifications. Johnson.
1 Murd. I would speak with Clarence, and I came hither on my legs.
Brak. What, so brief?
2 Murd. O, sir, 'tis better to be brief, than tedious:Let him see our commission; talk no more.8
[A Paper is delivered to BRAK. who reads it. Brak. I am, in this, commanded to deliver The noble duke of Clarence to your hands:I will not reason what is meant hereby, Because I will be guiltless of the meaning. Here are the keys;'—there sits the duke asleep: I'll to the king; and signify to him, That thus I have resigned to you my charge.
1 Murd. You may, sir; 'tis a point of wisdom: Fare you well.
[Exit BRAK 2 Murd. What, shall we stab him as he sleeps?
| Murd. No; he 'll say, 'twas done cowardly, when he wakes.
2 Murd. When he wakes! why, fool, he shall never wake until the great judgment day.
1 Murd. Why, then he'll say, we stabb'd him sleeping.
2 Murd. The urging of that word, judgment, hath bred a kind of remorse in me.
1 Murd. What? art thou afraid?
2 Murd. Not to kill him, having a warrant for it; but to be damn'd for killing him, from the which no warrant can defend me.
1 Murd. I thought, thou hadst been resolute. 2 Murd. So I am, to let him live. 1 Murd. I'll back to the duke of Gloster, and tell
2 Murd. Nay, I pr’ythee, stay a little: I hope, this holy humour of minel will change; it was wont to hold me but while one would tell twenty.
8 Let him see our commission; &c.] Thus the second folio. Other copies, with measure evidently defective
“Show him our commission, talk no more.” Steevens. 9 Here are the keys ; &c.] So the quarto, 1598. The folio reads:
“ There lies the duke asleep, and there the keys." Malone.
- this holy humour of mine - ] Thus the early quarto. The folio bas--this pussionate humour of mine, for which the modern editors have substituted compassionate, unnecessarily. Passionate,
1 Murd. How dost thou feel thyself now?
2 Murd. 'Faith, some certain dregs of conscience aire yet within me.
1 Murd. Remember our reward, when the deed's done. 2 Murd. Come, he dies; I had forgot the reward. I Murd. Where 's thy conscience now? 2 Murd. In the duke of Gloster's purse.
1 Murd. So, when he opens his purse to give us our reward, thy conscience flies out.
2 Murd. 'Tis no matter; let it go; there's few, or none, will entertain it.
1 Murd. What, if it come to thee again?
2 Murd. I 'll not meddle with it, it is a dangerous thing, it makes a man a coward; a man cannot steal, but it accuseth him : a man cannot swear, but it checks him ; a man cannot lie with his neighbour's wife, but it detects hin: 'Tis a blushing shame-faced spirit, that mutinies in a man's bosom ; it fiils one full of obstacles : it made me once restore a purse of gold, that by chance I found; it beggars any man that keeps it: it is turned out of all towns and cities for a dangerous thing; and every man, that means to live well, endeavours to trust to himself, and live without it.
1 Murd. 'Zounds, it is even now at my elbow, persuading me not to kill the duke.
2 Murd. Take the devil in thy mind, and believe him not: he would insinuate with thee, but to make thee sigh.?
though not so good an epithet as that which is furnished by the quarto, is sufficiently intelligible. See Vol. VII, p. 330, n. 3.
The second murderer's next speech proves that holy was the author's word. The player editors probably changed it, as they did many others, on account of the Statute, 3 Jac. I, c. 21. A little lower, they, from the same apprehension, omitted the word, faith. Malone.
2 Take the devil in thy mind, and believe him not: he would insituate with thee, &c.] One villain says, Conscience is at his elbows, persuading him not to kill the duke. The other says, take the devil into thy nearer acquaintance, into thy mind, who will be a inatch for thy conscience, and believe it not, &c. It is plain then, that him in both places in the text should be it, namely, conscience.
Warburton. Shakspeare so frequently uses both these pronouns indiscrimi. nately, that no correction is necessary. Steevens.
In The Merchant of Venice we have a long dialogue between Launcelot, his Conscience, and the Devil. But though conscience
1 Murd. I am strong-fram’d, 3 he cannot prevail with
2. Murd. Spoke like a tall fellow, 4 that respects his reputation. Come, shall we fall to work?
1 Murd. Take him over the costards with the hilts of thy sword, and then throw him into the malmsey-butt, in the next room.
2 Murd. O excellent device! and make a sop of him. 1 Murd. Soft! he wakes. 2 Murd. Strike. 1 Murd. No, we 'll reason with him. Clar. Where art thou, keeper? give me a cup of wine. 1 Murd. You shall have wine enough, my lord, anon, Clar. In God's name, what art thou ? I Murd. A man, as you are, Clar. But not, as I am, royal. 1 Murd. Nor you, as we are, loyal. Clar. Thy voice is thunder, but thy looks are humble. 1 Murd. My voice is now the king's, my looks minte
Clar. How darkly, and how deadly dost thou speak!
Both Murd. To, to, to,
were not here personified, Shakspeare would have used him in. stead of it. He does so in almost every page of these plays.
Malone, 3 I am strong-fram’d, ] Thus the folio. The quarto reads--I am strong in fraud. Malone.
* Spoke like a tall fellow,] The meaning of tall, in old English, is stout, daring, fearless, and strong. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor:
good soldiers, and tall fellows." Steevens.
- the costard -] i. e. the head; a name adopted from an apple shaped like a man's head. So, in Arden of letersham, 1592:
“ One and two rounds at his costard.” Hence like vise the term-costar-monger. See Vol. IV, p. 44, n. 3, and p. 47, 11. 8. Steevens.
we'll reason — ] We'll talk. Johnson. So, in The Merchant of Venice : “I reasoud with a Frenchman yesterday.” Streben