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SCENE I.-London. A Street.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York';
And all the clouds, that lowr'd upon our house,
In the deep bosom of the ocean bury’d.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums chang'd to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures ?.
Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now,-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,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty,
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph ;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature",
Deform’d, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable,
That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them;
Why I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time;
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
And descant on mine own deformity;
And therefore,—since I cannot prove a lover",
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
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 lle 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.
5 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',
By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence, and the king,
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And, if king Edward be as true and just,
As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up;
About a prophecy, which says—that G
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
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
Glo. Upon what cause ?
Because my name is-Gcorge.
Glo. Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers :
O, belike, his majesty hath some intent,
That you shall be new-christen’d in the Tower.
But what's the matter, Clarence? may I know?
Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know; for, I protest,
As yet I do not: But, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies, and dreams;
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
And says—a wizard told him, that by G
His issue disinherited should be ;
And, for my name of George begins with G,
It follows in his thought, that I am he:
These, as I learn, and such like toys & as these,
Have mov'd his highness to commit me now.
inductions dangerous,] Preparations for mischief. The induction is preparatory to the action of the play.
toys -] Fancies, freaks of imagination.
Glo. Why, this it: is, when men are ruld by wo
'Tis not the king, that sends you to the Tower;
My lady Grey, his wife, Clarence, 'tis she,
That tempers him to this extremity.
Was it not she, and that good man of worship,
Antony Woodeville, her brother there,
That made him send lord Hastings to the Tower ;
From whence this present day he is deliver'd ?
We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe.
Clar. By heaven, I think, there is no man secure,
But the queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the king and mistress Shore.
Heard you not, what an humble suppliant
Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
Glo. Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
I'll tell you what, I think, it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the king,
To be her men, and wear her livery:
The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself',
Since that our brother dubb'd them gentlewomen,
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.
Brak. I beseech your graces both to pardon me;
His majesty hath straitly given in charge,
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever, with his brother.
Glo. Even so ? an please your worship, Brakenbury,
You may partake of any thing we say:
We speak no treason, man ;-We say, the king
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;
• The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself;] 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 nought to do. Glo. Naught to do with mistress Shore? I tell thee,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best to do it secretly, alone.
Brak. What one, my lord ?
Glo. Her husband, knave :- Would'st thou betray
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
Glo. We are the queen’s abjects', and must obey.
Brother, farewell : I will unto the king;
And whatsoe'er you will employ me in,-
Were it, to call king Edward's widow-sister, -
I will perform it, to enfranchise you.
Mean time, this deep disgrace in brotherhood,
Touches me deeper than you can imagine.
Clar. I know, it pleaseth neither of us well.
Glo. Well, your imprisonment shall not be long;
I will deliver you, or else lie for you':
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.
the queen's abjects,] The most servile of her subjects, who must of course obey all her commands.