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Glo. Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York?;
· Life and Death of King Richard 111.] This tragedy, though it is called the Life and Death of this prince, comprizes, at most, but the last eight years of his time; for it opens with George duke of Clarence being clapped up in the Tower, which happened in the beginning of the year 1477; and closes with the death of Richard at Bosworthfield, which battle was fought on the 22d of August, in the year 1485. THEOBALD.
It appears that several dramas on the present subject had been written before Shakespeare attempted it. See the notes at the conclusion of this
play, which was first enter'd at Stationers' Hall by Andrew Wife, Oct. 20, 1597, under the title of The Tragedie of King Richard the Third, with the Death of the Duke of Clarence. Before this, viz. Aug. 15th, 1586, was entered, A Tragical report of King Richard the Third, a Ballad. It may be necessary to remark that the words, song, ballad, book, enterlude and play, were often synonymously used. STEEVENS.
this fun of York ;] Alluding to the cognizance of Edward IV. which was a fun, in memory of the three suns, which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross.
And all the clouds, that lowr'd upon our house,
So, in Drayton's Miseries of Queen Margaret:
66 Three suns were seen that instant to appear,
66 Which this brave duke took to himself alone &c."
6. That day was seene veramente
merry meetings,] So, in The tragical Life and Death of King Richard the Third, which is one of the metrical monologues in a collection entitled, The Mirrour of Magistrates. The first edition of it appeared in 1987, but the lines quoted on the pre
sent as well as future occasions throughout this play, are not found : in any copy before that of 1610, so that the author was more probably indebted to Shakespeare than Shakespeare to him :
the battles fought in fields before
The war-god's thundring cannons dreadful rore,
God Mars laid by his launce, and tooke bis lute,
frownies to smiling lookes ;
-barbed feeds, j 1. Haywarde, in his Life and Raigne of Henry IV. 1999, says, --The duke of Hereford came to the barriers, mounted upon a white courfer, barbed with blew and green velvet, &c.
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
So, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607 :
armed in a black armour, curiously damask'd with intervinding wreaths of cypress and ewe, his barbe upon his horse, all of black abrosetta, cut in broken hoopes upon curled cypress.” Again, in the ad Part of K. Edivard 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
times in our ancient chronicles and romances. An instance or two may suffice. They mounted him surely upon a good and inighty courser, well barded, &c."
Hift. of Helyas Knight of the Swanne, bl. 1. no date. Again, in Hall's Chronicle, King Henry VIII. p. 45: “ —appereilled in ryche armure, on
barded courser &c." Again, in the Miracles of Mofes, by Drayton :
66 There floats the bard iteed with his rider drown’d,
66 Whofe foot in his caparison is cait.” Again, in Warner's Albiaz's England, B. VIII. chap: 38: 6. For whether that he trots, or turns, or bounds his
barded steed." Again, in Barrett's Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580:
Bardes or trappers of horses. Phalere, Lat." Again, Hoiin shed speaking of the preparations for the battle of Agincourt:
to the intent that if the borded horses ran fiercely upon them, &c” Again, p. 802, he lays, that bards and trappers had the fame meaning.
It is observed in the Turkish Spy, that the German cuiratliers, though armed and barbed, man ard horse, were not able to stand against the French cavalry. STLEVENS.
ş 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 almoft forgotten. JOHNSON.
6 Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
• Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,] By dissembling is not meant hypocritical nature, that pretends one thing and does an. other : but nature that puts together things of a diffimilar kind, as a brave foul and a deformed body: WARBURTON. Disembling is here put very licentiously for fraudful, deceitful.
JOHNSON, 7 And defcant on mine own deformity:] Defiant is a terın in music, fignifying 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 defcant, could not be discerned..
Sir J. HAWKINS. 8 And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,] Shakespeare very diligently inculcates, that the wickedness of Richard proceeded 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 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.
Mariton has put this line, with little variation, into the mouth of Fame : 9. Plots ha' you laid ? inductions dangerous ?”
And, if king ? Edward be as true and just,
Enter Clarence guarded, and Brakenbury. Brother, good day : What means this armed guard, That waits upon your grace ?
Clar. His majesty,
Glo. Upon what cause?
Gl. Atack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know; for, I protest, As yet I do not : But, as I can learn, He hearkens after prophesies, and dreams; And from the cross-row plucks the letter G, And says--a wizard told him, that by G His iffue disinherited should be ; And, for my name of George begins with G', It follows in his thought, that I am he:
Edward be as true and just,] i. e, as open-hearted and free from deceit. WARBURTON. The meaning is only this; if Edward keeps his word.
JOHNSON. 3. And, for my name of George begins with G, &c.] So, in Nicols's Tragical Life and Death of Richard III:
" By that blind riddle of the letter G,