Imatges de pÓgina

Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.
I do not know that Englishman alive,
With whom my soul is any jot at odds,
More than the infant that is born to-night;
I thank my God for my humility.

Q. ELIZ. A holy-day shall this be kept hereafter:

I would to God, all strifes were well compounded.—
My sovereign lord, I do beseech your highness
To take our brother Clarence to your grace.

GLO. Why, madam, have I offer'd love for this,
To be so flouted in this royal presence?
Who knows not, that the gentle duke is dead?
[They all start.
You do him injury, to scorn his corse.
K. EDW. Who knows not, he is dead! who knows

he is ?

Q. ELIZ. All-seeing heaven, what a world is this! BUCK. Look I so pale, lord Dorset, as the rest?

The eldest son of Earl Rivers was Lord Scales; but there was no such person as Lord Woodville. MALONE.

9 I do not know, &c.] Milton in his EIKONOKAAZTEZ, has this observation: "The poets, and some English, have been in this point so mindful of decorum, as to put never more pious words in the mouth of any person, than of a tyrant. I shall not instance an abstruse author, wherein the king might be less conversant, but one whom we well know was the closet companion of these his solitudes, William Shakspeare; who introduced the person of Richard the Third, speaking in as high a strain of piety and mortification as is uttered in any passage in this book, and sometimes to the same sense and purpose with some words in this place I intended, (saith he), not only to oblige my friends, but my enemies.' The like saith Richard, Act II. Sc. I.: "I do not know that Englishman alive,


"With whom my soul is any jot at odds,

"More than the infant that is born to-night;
"I thank my God for my humility.'

"Other stuff of this sort may be read throughout the tragedy, wherein the poet used not much licence in departing from the truth of history, which delivers him a deep dissembler, not of his affections only, but of religion." STEEVENS.

DOR. Ay, my good lord; and no man in the pre


But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks.

K. EDW. Is Clarence dead? the order was revers'd.

GLO. But he, poor man, by your first order died, And that a winged Mercury did bear;

Some tardy cripple bore the countermand',
That came too lag to see him buried:

God grant, that some, less noble, and * less loyal,
Nearer in bloody thoughts, but * not in blood 2,
Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
And yet go current from suspicion!


STAN. A boon, my sovereign, for my service done! K. Edw. I pr'ythee, peace; my soul is full of


STAN. I will not rise, unless your highness hear


K. EDW. Then say at once, what is it thou request'st.

STAN. The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant's life;

* So quarto 1597; first folio, and.

† So folio; quarto 1597, demand'st.

Some tardy cripple, &c.] This is an allusion to a proverbial expression which Drayton has versified in the second canto of The Barons' Wars:

"Ill news hath wings, and with the wind doth go;

"Comfort's a cripple, and comes ever slow." STEEvens. These lines are quoted from the edition in 1619. If the reader should look for them in any preceding edition, he will be disappointed. Drayton's poems vary very considerably as they first and subsequently appeared. MALONE.

2 Nearer in bloody thoughts, and not in blood,] In Macbeth we have the same play on words :

[blocks in formation]

3 The forfeit,] He means the remission of the forfeit.


Who slew to-day a riotous gentleman,

Lately attendant on the duke of Norfolk.

K. EDW. Have I a tongue to doom my brother's death *,

And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave?
My brother kill'd no man, his fault was thought,
And yet his punishment was bitter death.

Who sued to me for him? who, in my wrath,
Kneel'd at my feet, and bade me be advis'd?
Who spoke of brotherhood? who spoke of love?
Who told me, how the poor soul did forsake
The mighty Warwick, and did fight for me?
Who told me, in the field at Tewksbury,
When Oxford had me down, he rescu'd me,
And said, Dear brother, live, and be a king?
Who told me, when we both lay in the field,
Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
Even in his garments; and did give himself,
All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night?
All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
Sinfully pluck'd, and not a man of you

4 Have I a tongue to doom my brother's death,] This lamentation is very tender and pathetick. The recollection of the good qualities of the dead is very natural, and no less naturally does the King endeavour to communicate the crime to others.



s Who sued to me for him? &c.] This pathetick speech is founded on this slight hint in Sir Thomas More's History of Edward V. inserted by Holinshed in his Chronicle : Sure it is, that although king Edward were consenting to his death, yet he much did both lament his infortunate chance, and repent his sudden execution. Insomuch that when any person sued to him for the pardon of malefactors condemned to death, he would accustomablie say, and openlie speake, O infortunate brother, for whose life not one would make suite! openly and apparently meaning by suche words that by the means of some of the nobilitie he was deceived, and brought to his confusion." MALONE.

6 be ADVIS'D?] i. e. deliberate; consider what I was about to do. So, in The Paston Letters, vol. ii. p. 279: "Written in haste with short advisement," &c. See also, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, vol. iv. p. 56, n. 7. MALONE.

Had so much grace to put it in my


But, when your carters, or your waiting-vassals,
Have done a drunken slaughter, and defac'd
The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon;
And I, unjustly too, must grant it you :-
But for my brother, not a man would speak,-
Nor I (ungracious) speak unto myself
For him, poor soul.-The proudest of you all
Have been beholden to him in his life ;

Yet none of you would once plead for his life.-
O God! I fear, thy justice will take hold

On me, and you, and mine, and yours, for this.-
Come, Hastings, help me to my closet'. O, poor

[Exeunt King, Queen, HASTINGS, RIVERS, DORSET, and GREY.

GLO. This is the fruit of rashness!-Mark'd you not, How that the guilty kindred of the queen

Look'd pale, when they did hear of Clarence' death?
O! they did urge it still unto the king:

God will revenge it. Come, lords; will you go,
To comfort Edward with our company?

BUCK. We wait upon your grace.




Enter the Duchess of YORK, with a Son and Daughter of CLARENCE.

SON. Good grandam, tell us, is our father dead? DUCH. No, boy.

7 Come, HASTINGS, help me to my closet.] Hastings was Lord Chamberlain to King Edward IV. MALONE.

8 Enter the Duchess of York,] Cecily, daughter of Ralph

DAUGH. Why do you weep so oft? and beat your breast;

And cry-O Clarence, my unhappy son!

SON. Why do you look on us, and shake your head,

And call us-orphans, wretches, cast-aways,
If that our noble father be alive?

DUCH. My pretty cousins, you mistake me both; I do lament the sickness of the king,

As loath to lose him, not your father's death;
It were lost sorrow, to wail one that's lost.

SON. Then, grandam, you conclude that he is dead.

The king my uncle is to blame for this:
God will revenge it; whom I will impórtune
With earnest prayers all to that effect.

DAUGH. And so will I.

DUCH. Peace, children, peace! the king doth love you well:

Incapable and shallow innocents',

You cannot guess who caus'd your father's death. SON. Grandam, we can: for my good uncle Gloster

* Quarto 1597, lost labour to weep for one.

Neville first Earl of Westmoreland, and widow of Richard Duke of York, who was killed at the battle of Wakefield in 1460. She survived her husband thirty-five years, living till the year 1495. MALONE.

9 My pretty cousins,] The Duchess is here addressing her grand-children, but cousin was the term used in Shakspeare's time, by uncles to nephews and nieces, grandfathers to grandchildren, &c. It seems to have been used instead of our kinsman and kinswoman, and to have supplied the place of both.

MALONE. INCAPABLE and shallow innocents,] Incapable, is unintelli

So, in Hamlet:

"His form and cause combined preaching to stones
"Would make them capable." MALONE.

So, in Hamlet:

"As one incapable of her own distress." STEEVENS.

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