« AnteriorContinuar »
We never valu'd this poor seat of England';
7 - this poor SEAT of England ;] By the seat of England, the King, I believe, means the throne. So, Othello boasts that he is descended "from men of royal siege." Henry afterwards says, he will rouse him in his throne of France. The words below, "I will keep my state," likewise confirm this interpretation. For this meaning of the word state, see vol. xi. p. 164, n. 5. So, in King Richard II. :
Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills 'Against thy seat.”
Again, in King Richard III.:
"The supreme seat, the throne majestical-." Again, in King Henry VI. Part II. :
"The rightful heir to England's royal seat." MALONE. 8 And therefore, living HENCE,] This expression has strength and energy: he never valued England, and therefore lived hence, i. e. as if absent from it. But the Oxford editor alters hence to
Living hence means, I believe, withdrawing from the court, the place in which he is now speaking.
Perhaps Prospero, in The Tempest, has more clearly expressed the same idea, when he says:
"The government I cast upon my brother,
"And to my state grew stranger.' STEEVENS.
In King Richard II. Act V. Sc. II. King Henry IV. complains that he had not seen his son for three months, and desires that he may be enquired for among the taverns, where he daily frequents,
"With unrestrain'd and loose companions."
See also King Henry IV. Part II. Act III. Sc. II. : Thy place in council thou hast rudely lost, "Which by thy younger brother is supplied; "And art almost an alien to the hearts
"Of all the court and princes of my blood."
There can therefore be no doubt that Mr. Steevens's explanation is just. Hence refers to the seat or throne of England mentioned in the preceding line, on which Henry is now sitting. An anonymous Remarker says, "It is evident that the word hence implies here." If hence means here, any one word, as Dr. Johnson has somewhere observed, may stand for another. doubtedly does not signify here in the present passage; and if it did, would render what follows nonsense.
The more I consider this passage, and the remarks of its various commentators, the more convinced I am that the present M. MASON. reading cannot be reconciled to sense.
To barbarous license; As 'tis ever common,
Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands;
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;
To whom I do appeal; And in whose name,
9 For THAT I have laid by-] To qualify myself for this undertaking, I have descended from my station, and studied the arts of life in a lower character. JOHNSON.
The quartos 1600 and 1608 read-"For this." STEEVENS.
- his balls to GUN-STONES ;] When ordnance was first used, they discharged balls, not of iron, but of stone. JOHNSON. So, Holinshed, p. 947: About seaven of the clocke marched forward the light pieces of ordinance, with stone and powder."
In the Brut of England it is said, that when Henry the Fifth before Hare-flete received a taunting message from the Dauphine of France, and a ton of tennis-balls by way of contempt," he anone lette make tenes balles for the Dolfin (Henry's ship) in all the haste that they myght, and they were great gonnestones for the Dolfin to playe with alle. But this game at tennis was too rough for the besieged, when Henry playede at the tenes with his hard gonnestones," &c. STEEVens.
My rightful hand in a well-hallow'd cause.
When thousands weep, more than did laugh at it.— Convey them with safe conduct.-Fare you well. [Exeunt Ambassadors.
EXE. This was a merry message.
K. HEN. We hope to make the sender blush at it. [Descends from his Throne. Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour, That may give furtherance to our expedition: For we have now no thought in us but France; Save those to God, that run before our business. Therefore, let our proportions for these wars Be soon collected; and all things thought upon, That may, with reasonable swiftness, add More feathers to our wings; for, God before, We'll chide this Dauphin at his father's door. Therefore, let every man now task his thought3, That this fair action may on foot be brought.
CHOR. Now all the youth of England are on fire, And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies;
with REASONABLE swiftness, add
More feathers to our WINGS ;] So, in Troilus and Cressida :
"The very wings of reason to his heels." STEEVENS. 3-task his thought,] The same phrase has already occurred at the beginning of the present scene:
"That task our thoughts, concerning us and France." See p. 265, n. 1. STEEVENS.
4 Now all the youth of England -] I think Mr. Pope misVOL. XVII.
Now thrive the armourers, and honour's thought
O England!—model to thy inward greatness,
taken in transposing this Chorus, [to the end of the first scene of the second Act,] and Mr. Theobald in concluding the [first] Act with it. The Chorus evidently introduces that which follows, not comments on that which precedes, and therefore rather begins than ends the Act; and so I have printed it. JOHNSON.
5 For now sits Expectation in the air;
And hides a sword, from hilts unto the point,
With crowns imperial, &c.] The imagery is wonderfully fine, and the thought exquisite. Expectation sitting in the air designs the height of their ambition; and the sword hid from the hilt to the point with crowns and coronets, that all sentiments of danger were lost in the thoughts of glory. WARBurton.
The idea is taken from the ancient representation of trophies in tapestry or painting. Among these it is very common to see swords encircled with naval or mural crowns. Expectation is likewise personified by Milton, Paradise Lost, book vi. :
while Expectation stood
"In horror-." STEEVENS.
In the Horse Armoury in the Tower of London, Edward III. is represented with two crowns on his sword, alluding to the two kingdoms, France and England, of both of which he was crowned heir. Perhaps the poet took the thought from a similar representation. TOLLET.
This image, it has been observed by Mr. Henley, is borrowed from a wooden cut in the first edition of Holinshed's Chronicle.
Were all thy children kind and natural!
But see thy fault! France hath in thee found out A nest of hollow bosoms, which he fills
With treacherous crowns: and three corrupted
One, Richard earl of Cambridge'; and the second,
6 - which HE-] i. e. the king of France. So, in King
"England, impatient of your just demands,
Hanmer and some other editors unnecessarily
Richard earl of Cambridge ;] Was Richard de Coninsbury, younger son of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York. He was father of Richard Duke of York, father of Edward the Fourth. WALPOLE.
8 Henry lord Scroop-] Was a third husband of Joan Duchess of York, (she had four,) mother-in-law of Richard Earl of Cambridge. MALone.
9 the GILT of France,] Gilt, which, in our author, generally signifies a display of gold, (as in this play,
"Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd.") in the present instance means golden money. for London, 1602:
"To spend the victuals of our citizens,
So, in An Alarum
I this of kings- i. e. he who does the greatest honour to the title. By the same kind of phraseology the usurper in Hamlet is called the Vice of kings, i. e. the opprobrium of them. WARBURTON.
with her the grace of kings, "Wise Ithacus ascended-."
Shakspeare might have found this phrase in Chapman's translation of the first book of Homer, 1598: