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By the rough torrent of occasion :
West. When ever yet was your appeal denied ?
* We are denied access -] The Archbishop fays, in Holinshed : “ Where he and his companie were in armes, it was for feare of the king, to whom he could have no free acceffe, by reason of such a multitude of flatterers, as were about him.”
STEEVENS. 3 Of every minute's instance,] The examples of an instance does not convey, to me at least, a very clear idea. The frequent corruptions that occur in the old copies in words of this kind, make me suspect that our author wrote:
Of every minute's instants, i. e. the examples furnished not only every minute, but during the most minute division of a minute.- Instance, however, is elsewhere used by Shakspeare for example; and he has similar pleonasms in other places. Malone.
Examples of every minute's instance are, I believe, examples which every minute supplies, which every minute presses on our notice. STEEVENS.
4 Not to break peace,] “ He took nothing in hand against the king's peace, but that whatsoever he did, tended rather to advance the peace and quiet of the commonwealth.” Archbishop's speech in Holinthed. Steevens,
Wherein have you been galled by the king?
Arch. My brother general, the commonwealthy
5 And confecrate commotion's bitter edge?] It was an old custom, continued from the time of the first croisades, for the Pope to consecrate the general's sword, which was employed in the service of the church. To this custom the line in question alludes. WARBURTON.
commotion's bitter edge?) i. e. the edge of bitter strife and commotion ; the sword of rebellion. So, in a subsequent scenes
“ That the united veffel of their blood,” instead of "the vessel of their united blood.” MALONE. • My brother general, &c.
I make my quarrel in particular.] The sense is this “ My brother general, the commonwealth, which ought to diftribute its benefits equally, is become an enemy to those of his own house, to brothers born, by giving some to all, and others none; and this (says he) I make my quarrel or grievance that honours are unequally distributed;" the constant birth of malecontents, and the source of civil commotions. WARBURTON.
In the first folio the second line is omitted, yet that reading, unintelligible as it is, has been followed by Sir T. Hanmer. How difficultly sense can be drawn from the best reading, the explication of Dr. Warburton may show. I believe there is an error in the first line, which, perhaps, may be rectified thus :
My quarrel general, the commonwealth,
I make my quarrel in particular. That is, my general cause of discontent is public mismanage ment; my particular cause, a domestick injury done to my natural brother, who had been beheaded by the king's order.
JOHNSON. This circumstance is mentioned in the First Part of the play :
“ The archbishop who bears hard
West. There is no need of any such redress; ; Or, if there were, it not belongs to you.
Mows. Why not to him, in part; and to us all, That feel the bruises of the days before; And suffer the condition of these times
The meaning of the passage appears to me to be this." My brother-general (meaning Mowbray, the Lord Marischal) makes the misconduct of publick affairs, and the welfare of the community, his cause of quarrel ; but my particular cause of quarrel, is a family injury, the cruelty with which my real brother has been treated ; " meaning Lord Scroop. M. Mason.
Perhaps the meaning ism"My brother general, who is joineo. here with me in command, makes the commonwealth his quarrel, i.e. has taken up arms on account of publick grievances; a particular injury done to my own brother, is my ground of quarrel.” I have, however, very little confidence in this interpretation. I have supposed the word general a substantive; but probably it is used as an adjective, and the meaning may be, I consider the wrongs done to the commonwealth, the common brother of us all, and the particular and domestick cruelty exercised against my natural brother, as a sufficient ground for taking up arms. If the former be the true interpretation, perhaps a semicolon should be placed after commonwealth. The word born in the subsequent line (To brother lorn] seems ftrongly to countenance the supposition that general in the present line is an epithet applied to brother, and not a substantive.
In that which is apparently the first of the two quartos, the second line is found; but is omitted in the other, and the folio, I suspect that a line has been lost following the word commonwealth; the sense of which wasm" is the general ground of our taking up arms.”
This supposition renders the whole paffage so clear, that I am now decidedly of opinion that a line has been loft. “My general brother, the commonwealth, is the general ground of our taking up arms; a wrong of a domestick nature, namely the cruelty Shewn to my natural brother, is my particular ground for engaging in this war." Malone.
It is now become certain that there are three varieties of the quarto editions, 1600, of this play. They are all before me, and in two of them (only one of which contains the additional scene at the beginning of the third Act) the second line, pointed out by Mr. Malone, is wanting. Steevens.
To lay a heavy and unequal hand
O my good lord Mowbray,"
? O my good lord Mowbray, &c.] The thirty-seven lines following are not in the quarto. Malone.
8 Conftrue the times to their neceffities,] That is,Judge of what is done in these times according to the exigencies that over-rule us. JOHNSON.
9 Either from the king, &c.] Whether the faults of government be imputed to the time or the king, it appears not that you have, for your part, been injured either by the king or the time.
JOHNSON. * To build a grief on:) i. e. a grievanec. MALONE.
? Was, force perforce,] Old copy-Was forc'd. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. In a subsequent scene we have the same words :
“As, force perforce, the age will put it in." Malone. 3 And then, when-] The old copies read-And then, that Corrected by Mr. Pope. Mr. Rowe reads-And when that“,
Their armed staves in charge,4 their beavers down,5
smil'd?. But, if your father had been victor there, He ne'er had borne it out of Coventry : For all the country, in a general voice, Cried hate upon him; and all their prayers, and love, Were set on Hereford, whom they doted on,
* Their armed staves in charge, &c.] An armed staff is a lance. To be in charge, is to be fixed in the rest for the encounter. JOHNSON.
5- their beavers down,] Beaver, it has been already observed in a former note, (see Vol. XI. p. 380, n. 5,) meant properly that part of the helmet which let down, to enable the wearer to drink; but is confounded both here and in Hamlet with visere, or used for helmet in general. Shakspeare, however, is not answerable for
confusion on this subject. He used the word beaver in the same sense in which it was used by all his contemporaries. Malone.
---fights of steel,] i. e. the perforated part of their helmets, through which they could see to direct their aim. Vihere, Fr. STEEVENS.
7 The earl of Hereford-] This is a mistake of our author's. He was Duke of Hereford. See King Richard II. Malone.