Imatges de pÓgina

Told me, the king, provok'd to't by the queen,
Devis'd impeachments to imprison him :
And when my uncle told me so, he wept,
And pitied me*, and kindly kiss'd my cheek;
Bade me rely on him, as on my father,

And he would love me dearly as his child.

DUCH. Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shapes,

And with a virtuous visor hide deep vice!
He is my son, ay, and therein my shame,
Yet from my dugs' he drew not this deceit.
SON. Think you, my uncle did dissemble 2, gran-

DUCH. Ay, boy.

SON. I cannot think it. Hark! what noise is

this ?

Enter Queen ELIZABETH, distractedly; RIVERS and DORSET, following her.

Q. ELIZ. Oh! who shall hinder me to wail and weep?

To chide my fortune, and torment myself?
I'll join with black despair against my soul,
And to myself become an enemy.

DUCH. What means this scene of rude impatience ?

Q. ELIZ. To make an act of tragick violence:

* Quarto 1597, And hug'd me in his arms.

Yet from my DUGS] cestors; one instance will the most refined poetry. Sixth Decade, Son. 4:


This word gave no offence to our ansuffice to show that it was used even in In Constable's Sonnets, 16mo. 1594,

"And on thy dugs the queene of love doth tell,
"Her godheads power in scrowles of my desire."



uncle did DISSEMBLE,] Shakspeare uses dissemble in the sense of acting fraudulently, feigning what we do not feel or think; though strictly it means to conceal our real thoughts or affections. So also Milton in the passage quoted in p. 73, n. 9.


Edward, my lord, thy son, our king, is dead.-
Why grow the branches, when the root is gone*?
Why wither not the leaves, that want their sap?—
If you will live, lament; if die, be brief;

That our swift-winged souls may catch the king's ;
Or, like obedient subjects, follow him

To his new kingdom of perpetual rest 3.

DUCH. Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow, As I had title in thy noble husband!


I have bewept a worthy husband's death,
And liv'd by looking on his images *:
But now, two mirrors of his princely semblance
Are crack'd in pieces by malignant death ;
And I for comfort have but one false glass,
That grieves me when I see my shame in him.
Thou art a widow; yet thou art a mother,
And hast the comfort of thy children left thee:
But death hath snatch'd my husband from my arms,
And pluck'd two crutches from my feeble hands,
Clarence, and Edward. O, what cause have I,
(Thine being but a moiety of my grief,)

To over-go thy plaints, and drown thy cries?
SON. Ah, aunt! you wept not for our father's death;
* Quarto 1597, now the roote is wither'd.

† Quarto 1597, children.

3 — of PERPETUAL rest.] So the quarto. The folio reads― of ne'er changing night. MALONE.

4- his images :] The children by whom he was represented.


So, in The Rape of Lucrece, Lucretius says to his daughter: "O, from thy cheeks my image thou hast torn."


5 But now, two MIRRORS of his princely semblance Are CRACK'D in pieces by malignant DEATH ;] So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece :

"Poor broken glass, I often did behold

"In thy sweet semblance my old age new born ; "But now, that fair fresh mirror, dim and old, "Shows me a bare-bon'd death by time out-worn." Again, in his 3d Sonnet:

"Thou art thy mother's glass," &c. MALONE.

How can we aid you with our kindred tears? DAUGH. Our fatherless distress was left unmoan'd, Your widow-dolour likewise be unwept !

Q. ELIZ. Give me no help in lamentation, I am not barren to bring forth laments: All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes, That I, being govern'd by the watry moon o, May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world! Ah, for my husband, for my dear lord Edward!

CHIL. Ah, for our father, for our dear lord Cla-

DUCH. Alas, for both, both mine, Edward and

Q. ELIZ. What stay had I, but Edward? and he's


CHIL. What stay had we, but Clarence? and he's


DUCH. What stays had I, but they? and they are


Q. ELIZ. Was never widow, had so dear a loss. CHIL. Were never orphans, had so dear a loss. DUCH. Was never mother had so dear a loss. Alas! I am the mother of these griefs; Their woes are parcell'd, mine are general. She for an Edward weeps, and so do I; I for a Clarence weep, so doth not she: These babes for Clarence weep, and so do I7: I for an Edward weep, so do not they 3 :



being govern'd by the watry moon,] That I may live hereafter under the influence of the moon, which governs the tides, and by the help of that influence drown the world. The introduction of the moon is not very natural. JOHNSON.

The same thought has already occurred in King Henry IV. Part I.: "being governed, as the sea is, by the moon."


7- and so do I:] So the quarto. The variation of the folio is remarkable. It reads-so do not they. MALONE.

8 I for an Edward weep, so do not they :] When I formerly

Alas! you three, on me, threefold distress'd,
Pour all your tears, I am your sorrow's nurse,
And I will pamper it with lamentations.

DOR. Comfort, dear mother; God is much displeas'd',

That you take with unthankfulness his doing;
In common worldly things, 'tis call'd-ungrateful,

revised this play I had seen no earlier copy than the second quarto, 1598, which read:

"These babes for Clarence wept, and so do I:

"I for an Edward weep; and so do they."

I had no doubt that the second line was corrupt, and that the true reading was that now in the text

"These babes for Clarence weep, and so do I;

"I for an Edward weep, so do not they."

and the original quarto of 1597 confirms my conjecture, for such is the reading of that copy.

In the MS. from which the folio was printed, or in a corrected quarto copy, the two lines undoubtedly were right:

"These babes for Clarence weep, [and so do I;


I for an Edward weep,] so do not they."

But the compositor's eye passing over two half lines, the sage was printed thus in the folio, in one line:

"These babes for Clarence weep, so do not they."


I have stated this matter thus particularly, because it confirms an observation that I have more than once had occasion to make in revising these plays; that there is reason to suspect that many of the difficulties in our author's works have arisen from the omission of either single words, single lines, or the latter half of one line with the half of the next; a solution which readers are very slow to admit, and generally consider as chimerical. One week's acquaintance with the business of the press (without those proofs which a collation of the quartos with each other and with the first folio affords,) would soon convince them that my supposition is not a mere offspring of imagination. In the plays of which there is no authentick copy but the first folio, there is no means of proving such omissions to have happened; but the present and other proofs of their having actually happened in the other plays, lay surely a reasonable ground for conjecturing that similar errors have happened in those pieces of which there is only a single ancient copy extant, and entitle such conjectures to indulgence. See my note, vol. ix. p. 7. MALONE. 9 Comfort, dear mother, &c.] This line and the following eleven lines are found only in the folio. MALONE.

[blocks in formation]

With dull unwillingness to repay a debt,

Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent;
Much more to be thus opposite with heaven 1,


For it requires the royal debt it lent you.

RIV. Madam, bethink you, like a careful mother, Of the young prince your son: send straight for him,

Let him be crown'd; in him your comfort lives: Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward's grave, And plant your joys in living Edward's throne.

Enter GLOSTER, Buckingham, Stanley, Hastings, RATCLIFF, and Others.

GLO. Sister, have comfort: all of us have cause To wail the dimming of our shining star;

But none can cure their harms by wailing them.Madam, my mother, I do cry you mercy,

I did not see your grace :-Humbly on my knee I crave your blessing.

DUCH. God bless thee; and put meekness in thy breast,

Love, charity, obedience, and true duty!

GLO. Amen; and make me die a good old man!— That is the butt-end of a mother's blessing;

I marvel, that her grace did leave it out.


BUCK. You cloudy princes, and heart sorrowing


That bear this mutual heavy load of moan,
Now cheer each other in each other's love:

Though we have spent our harvest of this king,
We are to reap the harvest of his son.

The broken rancour of your high-swoln hearts,

I to be thus OPPOSITE WITH heaven,] This was the phraseology of the time. See vol. xi. p. 425, n. 8. MALONE.

FOR it requires-] i. e. because. So, in Othello:
"Haply, for I am black-." STEEVENS.

« AnteriorContinua »