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But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,
[Exeunt Queen and Ladies. GARD. Poor queen! so that thy state might be
[Exeunt. 4 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.
“I would, the plants thou graft'st, may never grow.” So, in The Rape of Lucrece : - This bastard graft shall never come to growth."
MALONE. fall a tear,-) Thus the quarto, 1597. So, in Othello:
“ Each tear she falls would prove a crocodile.". The folio, following the quarto 1608, reads:
Here did she drop a tear.” MALONE. The quarto 1598 also reads drop. Boswell.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
London. Westminster Hall 6.
The Lords spiritual on the right side of the Throne;
the Lords temporal on the left; the Commons below. Enter BOLINGBROKE, AUMERLE, SURREY?, NORTHUMBERLAND, Percy, Fitzwater", another Lord, Bishop of Carlisle, Abbot of Westminster, and Attendants. Officers behind, with Bagot.
Boling. Call forth Bagot Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind; What thou dost know of noble Gloster's death; Who wrought it with the king, and who perform'd The bloody office of his timeless endo. Bagot. Then set before my face the lord Au
merle. Boling. Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that
Bagot. My lord Aumerle, I know your daring
tongue Scorns to unsay what once it hath deliver’d. In that dead time when Gloster's death was plotted, I heard you say,—Is not my arm of length,
Westminster Hall.] The rebuilding of Westminster Hall, which Richard had begun in 1397, being finished in 1999, the first meeting of parliament in the new edifice was for the purpose of deposing him. MALONE. 7
Surrey,] Thomas Holland earl of Kent. He was brother to John Holland duke of Exeter, and was created duke of Surrey in the 21st year of King Richard the Second, 1397. The dukes of Surrey and Exeter were half brothers to the King, being sons of his mother Joan, (daughter of Edmond, earle of Kent,) who after the death of her second husband, Lord Thomas Holland, married Edward the Black Prince. MALONE.
- Fitzw The christian name of this nobleman was Walter. WALPOLE.
१. his TIMELESS end.] T'imeless, for untimely. WARBURTON.
That reacheth from the restful English court
Princes, and noble lords,
Firz. If that thy valour stand on sympathies',
fair STARS,] I rather think it should be stem, being of the royal blood. WARBURTON.
I think the present reading unexceptionable. The birth is supposed to be influenced by the stars ; therefore, our author, with his usual licence, takes stars for birth. Johnson.
We learn from Pliny's Natural History, that the vulgar error assigned the bright and fair stars to the rich and great :
“ Sidera singulis attributa nobis, et clara divitibus, minora pauperibus," &c. lib. i. cap. viii. ANONYMOUS.
1 If that thy valour stand on sympathies,] Here is a translated sense much harsher than that of stars explained in the foregoing note. Aumerle has challenged Bagot with some hesitation, as not being his equal, and therefore one whom, according to the rules of chivalry, he was not obliged to fight, as a nobler life was not to be staked in a duel against a baser. Fitzwater then throws down his gage, a pledge of battle; and tells him that if he
There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine:
stands upon sympathies, that is, upon equality of blood, the combat is now offered him by a man of rank not inferior to his
Sympathy is an affection incident at once to two subjects. This community of affection implies a likeness or equality of nature, and thence our poet transferred the term to equality of blood. Johnson.
2 If thou deny'st it twenty times, thou liest.] This is the punctuation of the quarto. The folio, followed by Mr. Steevens, points the passage thus :
“ If thou deny'st it, twenty times thou liest.” MALONE.
my RAPIER'S POINT.] Shakspeare deserts the manners of the age in which this drama was placed, very often without necessity or advantage. The edge of a sword had served his purpose as well as the point of a rapier, and he had then escaped the impropriety of giving the English nobles a weapon which was not seen in England till two centuries afterwards. Johnson.
Mr. Ritson censures this note in the following terms : “ It would be well, however, though not quite so easy, for some learned critick to bring some proof in support of this and such like assertions. Without which the authority of Shakspeare is at least equal to that of Dr. Johnson.” It is probable that Dr. Johnson did not see the necessity of citing any authority for a fact so well known, or suspect that any person would demand one. If an authority, however, only is wanted, perhaps the following may be deemed sufficient to justify the Doctor's observation : at that time two other Englishmen, Sir W. Stanley, and Rowland Yorke, got an ignominious name of traytors. This Yorke, borne in London, was a man most negligent and lazy, but desperately hardy; he was in his time most famous among those who respected fencing, having been the first that brought into England that wicked and pernicious fashion to fight in the fields in duels with a rapier called a tucke, onely for the thrust : the English having till that very time used to fight with backe swords, slashing and cutting one the other, armed with targets or bucklers, with very broad weapons, accounting it not to be a manly action to fight by thrusting and stabbing, and chiefly under the waste."
AUM. Thou dar'st not, coward, live to see that
day. Firz. Now, by my soul, I would it were this
hour. Aum. Fitzwater, thou art damn'd to hell for this. PERCY. Aumerle, thou liest ; his honour is as
true, In this appeal, as thou art all unjust : And, that thou art so, there I throw my gage,
it on thee to the extremest point Of mortal breathing; seize it if thou dar’st.
Aum. And if I do not, may my hands rot off, And never brandish more revengeful steel Over the glittering helmet of my foe! LORD. I task the earth to the like, forsworn
Darcie's Annals of Queen Elizabeth, 4to. 1623, p. 223, sub anno, 1587.
Again, in Bulleine's Dialogue between Soarnesse and Chirurgi, fol. 1579, p. 20 : “ There is a new kynd of instruments to let bloud withall, whych brynge the bloud-letter sometyme to the gallowes, because hee stryketh to deepe. These instruments are called the ruffins tucke, and long foining rapier : weapons more malicious than manly,” Reed.
See vol. viii. p. 70, n. 3. MALONE.
3 I take the EARTH to the like, &c.] This speech I have restored from the first edition in humble imitation of former editors, though, I believe, against the mind of the author. For the earth I suppose we should read, thy oath. Johnson.
To “ take the earth” is, at present, a fox-hunter's phrase. So, in The Blind Beggar of Alexandria, 1598 :
“ I'll follow him until he take the earth." But I know not how it can be applied here. It should seem, however, from the following passage in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, b. iii, c. xvi. that the expression is yet capable of another meaning : “ Lo here my gage (he terr'd his glove) thou know'st the
victor's meed.” To terre the glove was, I suppose, to dash it on the earth. We still say to ground a musquet, and to ground a bowl.
Let me add, however, in support of Dr. Johnson's conjecture,