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Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
In the deep bosom of the ocean bury'd.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
1 this sun of York;] Alluding to the cognizance of Edward IV. which was a sun, in memory of the three suns, which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross.
2 delightful measures.] A measure was, strictly speaking, a court dance of a stately turn, though the word is sometimes employed to express dances in general.
instead of mounting barbed steeds,
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
barbed steeds,] i. e. steeds caparisoned in a warlike manner. Barbed, however, may be no more than a corruption of barded. Equus bardatus, in the Latin of the middle ages, was a horse adorned with military trappings.
4 He capers-] War capers. This is poetical, though a little harsh; if it be York that capers, the antecedent is at such a distance, that it is almost forgotten.
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,] 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. Feature is used here, as in other pieces of the same age, for beauty in general.
6 And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,] Shakspeare very diligently inculcates, that the wickedness of Richard proceeded from his deformity, from the envy that rose at the comparison of his own person with others, and which incited him to disturb the pleasures that he could not partake. JOHNSON.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,"
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! here Clarence comes.
Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY. Brother, good day: What means this armed guard That waits upon your grace?
Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
Because my name is
Glo. Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
He hearkens after prophecies, and dreams;
These, as I learn, and such like toys as these,
7 inductions dangerous,] Preparations for mischief. The induction is preparatory to the action of the play.
8 toys-] Fancies, freaks of imagination.
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,
Was it not she, and that good man of worship,
That made him send lord Hastings to the Tower;
Clar. By heaven, I think, there is no man secure,
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.
Brak. I beseech your graces both to pardon me;
Glo. Even so? an please your worship, Brakenbury, You may partake of any thing we say : We speak no treason, man; We the king say, Is wise, and virtuous; and his noble queen Well struck in years; fair, and not jealous: We say, that Shore's wife hath a pretty foot, A cherry lip,
A bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
9 The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself,] That is the queen and Shore.
+And 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,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
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.
Glo. We are the queen's abjects', and must obey.
Clar. I know, it pleaseth neither of us well.
Mean time, have patience.
I must perforce; farewell.
[Exeunt CLARENCE, BRAKENBURY, and Guard.
Glo. Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return, 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?
+"And that the queen's," &c.— MALONE.
1 the queen's abjects,] The most servile of her subjects, who must of course obey all her commands.
lie for you:] i. e. be imprisoned in your stead. To lie was anciently to reside, as appears by many instances in these volumes.