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out by any accident, it was usual to supply as many as were deficient. This operation was called, to imp a hawk.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 372. Like perspectives, which, rightly gaz'd upon,
Distinguish form:- This is a fine similitude,
and the thing meant is this; amongst mathematical recreations, there is one in optics, in which a figure is drawn, wherein all the rules of perspective are inverted: so that, if held in the same position with those pictures which are drawn according to the rules of perspective, it can present nothing but confusion: and to be seen in form, and under a regular appearance, it must be looked upon from a contrary station; or, as Shakspeare says, ey'd awry. WARB.
Line 386. As though, in thinking, on no thought I think,] That is, though musing I have no distinct idea of calamity. The involuntary and unaccountable depression of the mind, which every one has sometime felt, is here very forcibly described. JOHNSON. Line 388. 'Tis nothing but conceit,] i. e. fanciful conception. MALONE.
might have retir'd his power,] Might have
-404. drawn it back. A French sense. JOHNSON. Line 428. -my sorrow's dismal heir:] The author seems to have used heir in an improper sense; an heir being one that inherits by succession, is here put for one that succeeds, though he succeeds but in order of time, not in order of descent. JOHNSON.
Line 460. Get thee to Plashy,] The lordship of Plashy was a town of the duchess of Gloster's in Essex. See Hall's Chronicle, P. 13. THEOBALD. Line 472. untruth-] That is, disloyalty, treachery.
-476. Come, sister,—cousin, I would say:] This is one of Shakspeare's touches of nature. York is talking to the queen his cousin, but the recent death of his sister is uppermost in his mind. STEEVENS.
Line 625. absence.
ACT II. SCENE III.
the absent time,] i. e. the time of the king's JOHNSON.
Line 644. And ostentation of despised arms?] Perhaps the old duke means to treat him with contempt as well as with severity, and to insinuate that he despises his power, as being able to master it. JOHNSON.
Line 657. On what condition-] It should be, in what condition, i. e. in what degree of guilt. The particles in the old editions are of little credit. JOHNSON.
Line 667. Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye :] i. e. with an impartial eye. MALONE.
wherefore was I born?] To what purpose serves birth and lineal succession? I am duke of Lancaster by the same right of birth as the king is king of England.
ACT II. SCENE IV.
Here is a scene so unartfully and irregularly thrust into an improper place, that I cannot but suspect it accidentally transposed; which, when the scenes were written on single pages, might easily happen in the wildness of Shakspeare's drama. This dialogue was, in the author's draught, probably the second scene in the ensuing act, and there I would advise the reader to insert it, though I have not ventured on so bold a change. My conjecture is not so presumptuous as may be thought. The play was not, in Shakspeare's time, broken into acts; the two editions published before his death exhibit only a sequence of scenes from the beginning to the end, without any hint of a pause of action. In a drama so desultory and erratic, left in such a state, transpositions might easily be made. JOHNSON.
Line 740. The bay-trees, &c.] This enumeration of prodigies is in the highest degree poetical and striking. JOHNSON.
Some of these prodigies are found in T. Haywarde's Life and Raigne of Henry IV. 1599, "This yeare the laurel trees withered "almost throughout the realm," &c. STEEVENS.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 25. From my own windows torn my household coat,] It, was the practice, when coloured glass was in use, of which there are still some remains in old seats and churches, to anneal the arms of the family in the windows of the house. JOHNSON.
Line 26. Raz'd out my impress, &c.] The impress was a device or motto. Ferne, in his Blazon of Gentry, 1585, observes, "that "the arms, &c. of traitors and rebels may be defaced and removed, "wheresoever they are fixed, or set." STEEVENS.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Here may properly be inserted the last scene of the second act. JOHNSON.
Line 73. Guard it, I pray thee,] Guard it, signifies here, as in many other places, border it. Line 80. Fear not, my lord, &c.] Of this speech the four last lines were restored from the first edition by Mr. Pope. They were, I suppose, omitted by the players only to shorten the scenes, they are worthy of the author and suitable to the
Line 92. —and lights the lower world,] By the lower world we must understand, a world lower than this of ours; I suppose our antipodes. MALONE. Line 96. He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines,] This is an image exquisitely beautiful.
Line 110. The breath of worldly men, &c.] Here is the doctrine of indefeasible right expressed in the strongest terms; but our poet did not learn it in the reign of K. James, to which it is now the practice of all writers, whose opinions are regulated by fashion or interest, to impute the original of every tenet which they have been taught to think false or foolish. JOHNSON.
Line 153. Mine ear is open, &c.] It seems to be the design of the poet to raise Richard to esteem in his fall, and consequently to interest the reader in his favour. He gives him only passive fortitude, the virtue of a confessor rather than of a king. In his prosperity we saw him imperious and oppressive; but in his distress he is wise, patient, and pious. JOHNSON.
Line 179. Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows-] “ As "boys strive to speak big, and clasp their effeminate joints in stiff unwieldy arms," &c. "so his very beadsmen learn to bend their "bows against him." Their does not absolutely denote that the bow was their usual or proper weapon; but only taken up and appropriated by them on this occasion. PERCY.
Line 180. Of double-fatal yew-] Called so, because the leaves of the yew are poison, and the wood is employed for instruments of death; therefore double fatal should be with an hyphen. WARB. Line 224. And that small model of the barren earth,] He uses model for mould. That earth, which, closing upon the body, takes its form. This interpretation the next line seems to authorize.
Line 225. Which serves as paste, &c.] A metaphor, not of the most sublime kind, taken from a pie.
Line 233. There the antick sits,] Here is an allusion to the antick or fool of old farces, whose chief part is to deride and disturb the graver and more splendid personages. JOHNSON.
Line 244. Tradition,] This word seems here used for traditional practices: that is, established or customary homage. JOHNSON. Line 256. death destroying death;] That is, to die fighting, is to return the evil that we suffer, to destroy the destroyers.
-I'll hate him everlastingly,
That bids me be of comfort-] This sentiment is drawn from nature. Nothing is more offensive to a mind convinced that his distress is without a remedy, and preparing to submit quietly to irresistible calamity, than these petty and conjectured comforts which unskilful officiousness thinks it virtue to administer. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE III.
Line 308. For taking so the head,] To take the head is, to act without restraint; to take undue liberties. We now say, we give the horse his head, when we relax the reins.
Line 360. See! see! king Richard doth himself appear,] The following six lines are absurdly given to Bolingbroke, who is made to condemn his own conduct and disculp the king's. It is plain these six and the four following all belong to York.
Line 395. But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons
Shall ill become the flower of England's face;] Dr. Warburton has inserted light in peace in the text of his own edition, but live in peace is more suitable to Richard's intention,
which is to tell him, that though he should get the crown, by rebellion, it will be long before it will live in peace, be so settled as to be firm. The flower of England's face is very happily explained, and any alteration is therefore needless.
-commend -] i. e. commit.
-441. With words of sooth!] Sooth is sweet as well as true. In this place sooth means sweetness or softness, a signification yet retained in the verb to sooth. JOHNSON.
Line 465. on their sovereign's head:] Shakspeare is very apt to deviate from the pathetic to the ridiculous. Had the speech of Richard ended at this line it had exhibited the natural language of submissive misery, conforming its intention to the present fortune, and calmly ending its purposes in death. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE IV.
Line 564. Against a change: woe is forerun with woe.] The poet, according to the common doctrine of prognostication, supposes dejection to forerun calamity, and a kingdom to be filled with rumours of sorrow when any great disaster is impending. The sense is, that public evils are always presignified by public pensiveness, and plaintive conversation. JOHNSON.
Line 579. -Our firm estate?] Why (says he) should we be careful to preserve order in the narrow cincture of this our state, when the great state of the kingdom is in disorder? STEEVENS.
Line 646. I would, the plants, &c.] This execration of the queen is somewhat ludicrous, and unsuitable to her condition; the gardener's reflection is better adapted to the state both of his mind and his fortune. Mr. Pope, who has been throughout this play very diligent to reject what he did not like, has yet, I know not why, spared the last lines of this act. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Westminster Hall.] The rebuilding of Westminster Hall, which Richard had begun in 1397, being finished in 1399, the first meeting of parliament in the new edifice was for the purpose of deposing him. MALONE.
Line 4. his timeless end.] Timeless for untimely. WARB.
-35. If that thy valour stand on sympathies,] Aumerle has