Imatges de pÓgina

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,

"We'll measure them a measure, and be gone."

See vol. iv. p. 414, n. 3. MALone.


-barbed steeds,' i. e. steeds caparisoned in a warlike manner. I. Haywarde, in his Life and Raigne of King Henry IV. 1599, says,"The duke of Hereford, came to the barriers, mounted upon a white courser, barbed with blew and green velvet," &c.

Again, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607: "-armed in a black armour, curiously damask'd with interwinding wreaths of cypress and ewe, his barbe upon his horse, all of black abrosetta, cut in broken hoopes upon curled cypress."

Again, in The Second Part of King Edward IV. by Heywood, 1626:

"With barbed horse, and valiant armed foot."

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. I have met with the word barded many times in our ancient chronicles and romances. instance or two may suffice. "They mounted him surely upon a good and mighty courser, well barded," &c.


Hist. of Helyas Knight of the Swanne, bl. 1. no date. Again, in Barrett's Alrearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580: "Bardes or trappers of horses." Phalera, Lat.

Again, Holinshed speaking of the preparations for the battle of Agincourt: "-to the intent that if the barded horses ran fiercely upon them," &c. Again, from p. 802, we learn, that bards and trappers had the same meaning. STEEVENS.

See "A Barbed horse," and " Bardes," in Minsheu's Dict. 1617, the latter of which he defines "horse-trappings."


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. JOHNSON.

6 Cheated of feature by DISSEMBLING nature,] By dissembling is not meant hypocritical nature, that pretends one thing and does

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 7;
And therefore,

since I cannot prove a lover,

another but nature that puts together things of a dissimilar kind, as a brave soul and a deformed body. WARBURTON.

Dissembling is here put very licentiously for fraudful, deceitful. JOHNSON.

Dr. Johnson hath certainly mistaken, and Dr. Warburton rightly explained the word dissembling; as is evident from the following extract: "Whyle thinges stoode in this case, and that the manner of addyng was sometime too short and sometime too long, els dissembled and let slip together." Arthur Golding's translation of Julius Solinus, 1587. HENLEY.

I once thought that Dr. Johnson's interpretation was the true one. Dissimulation necessarily includes fraud, and this might have been sufficient to induce Shakspeare to use the two words as synonymous, though fraud certainly may exist without dissimulation. But the following lines in the old King John, 1591, which our author must have carefully read, were perhaps in his thoughts, and seem rather in favour of Dr. Warburton's interpretation :

"Can nature so dissemble in her frame,
"To make the one so like as like may be,
"And in the other print no character

[ocr errors]

"To challenge any mark of true descent? Feature is used here, as in other pieces of the same age, for beauty in general. See note on Antony and Cleopatra, vol. xii. p. 253, n. 9. MALONE.

7 And DESCANT on mine own deformity;] Descant is a term in musick, signifying in general that kind of harmony wherein one part is broken and formed into a kind of paraphrase on the other. The propriety and elegance of the above figure, without such an idea of the nature of descant, could not be discerned. SIR J. HAWKINS.

That this is the original meaning of the term, is certain. But I believe the word is here used in its secondary and colloquial sense, without any reference to musick. MALONE.

8 And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,] Shakspeare very diligently inculcates, that the wickedness of Richard pro

[ocr errors]

To entertain these fair well-spoken days,-
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures1 of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous 2,
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.

ceeded 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.

9 To entertain these fair well-spoken DAYS,] I am strongly inclined to think that the poet wrote-" these fair well-spoken dames," and that the word days was caught by the compositor's eye glancing on a subsequent line. So, in the quarto copy of this play, printed in 1612, signat. I.:


I, my lord, but I had rather kill two deep enemies.


King. Why, there thou hast it; two deep enemies." In the original copy, printed in 1597, the first line is right : kill two enemies." MALOne.


Mr. Malone's objection to the old reading was principally upon a notion that the epithets fair and well-spoken could not, with propriety, be applied to days. But surely there is nothing very uncommon in such phraseology. In Twelfth-Night we havebrisk and giddy-paced times. In Timon of Athens the poet speaks of "strange times, that weep with laughing, not with weeping; and in Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour we have the very phrase in the text, "ignorant well-spoken days." BOSWELL. I And HATE the idle pleasures-] Perhaps we might read : "And bate the idle pleasures-." JOHNSON.



INDUCTIONS dangerous,] Preparations for mischief. The induction is preparatory to the action of the play. JOHNSON. Marston has put this line, with little variation, into the mouth of Fame:


"Plots ha' you laid? inductions dangerous?" STEEVENS. Edward be as TRUE AND JUST,] The meaning is, if Edward keeps his word. JOHNSON.

May not this mean-If Edward hold his natural disposition and be true to that? M. MASON.

Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! here Clarence


Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and Brakenbury.

Brother, good day: What means this armed guard,
That waits upon your grace?


His majesty,

Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
GLO. Upon what cause?


Because my name is-George.
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 pro-

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 G3,
It follows in his thought, that I am he.

4 He hearkens after prophecies, and dreams;] From Holinshed: "Some have reported that the cause of this nobleman's death rose of a foolish prophecie, which was, that after king Edward should raign one whose first letter of his name should be a G; wherewith the king and the queene were sore troubled, and began to conceive a grievous grudge against this duke, and could not be in quiet till they had brought him to his end." Philip de Comines, a contemporary historian, says that the English at that time were never unfurnished with some prophecy or other, by which they accounted for every event. MALONE.


5 And, for my name of George begins with G, &c.] So, in Niccols's Tragical Life and Death of Richard III. :


By that blind riddle of the letter G,


George lost his life; it took effect in me."



These, as I learn, and such like toys 6 as these,
Have mov'd his highness to commit me now.

GLO. Why, this it is, when men are rul'd by


'Tis not the king, that sends you to the Tower;
My lady Grey, his wife, Clarence, 'tis she,
That tempers him to this extremity 7.

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


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,

6-toys-] Fancies, freaks of imagination. JOHNSON.
So, in Hamlet, Act I. Sc. IV. :

"The very place puts toys of desperation,
"Without more motive, into every brain."


7 That TEMPERS him to this extremity.] I have collated the original quarto published in 1597, verbatim, with that of 1598. In the first copy this line stands thus:

"That tempers him to this extremity."

and so undoubtedly we should read. To temper is to mould, to fashion. So, in Titus Andronicus:

"Now will I to that old Andronicus ;

"And temper him, with all the art I have,

"To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths."

In the quarto 1598, tempts was corruptly printed instead of tempers. The metre being then defective, the editor of the folio supplied the defect by reading

"That tempts him to this harsh extremity." MALone.

8 Humbly complaining, &c.] I think these two lines might be better given to Clarence. JOHNSON.

« AnteriorContinua »