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Untimely smother'd in their dusky graves.
Adulterate is right. We say metals are adulterate; and adulterate sometimes means the same as adulterer. In either sense, on this occasion, the epithet will suit. Hastings was adulterate, as Margaret has tried his friendship and found it faithless; he was an adulterer, as he cohabited with Jane Shore during the life of her husband. So, the Ghost in Hamlet, . of the King, says: “—that incestuous, that adulterate beast.” Steevens.
* Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray,) This imperfect line is not injudiciously completed by some former editor: Parth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar for him; saints pray, To have &c. Steevens.
4 The flattering index of a direful pageant, 1 Pageants are dumb shows, and the poet meant to allude to one of these, the index of which promised a happier conclusion. The pageants then displayed on publick occasions were generally preceded by a brief account of the order in which the characters were to walk. These indexes were distributed among the spectators, that they might understand the meaning of such allegorical stuff as was usually exhibited. The index of every book was anciently placed before the beginning of it. Steevens. 5 a garish flag, To be the aim of every dangerous shot;] Alluding to the dangerous situation of those persons to whose care the standards of armies were entrusted. Steevens. t
A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
6 Where be the bending peers that flatter'd thee?] Mr. Rowe has transferred this question to Alicia in jane Shore : -4 where is the king — “And all the smiling cringing train of courtiers, “That bent the knee before thee!” Steevens. 7 Decline all this, i.e. run through all this from first to last. So, in Troilus and Čressida: “I’ll decline the whole question.” This phrase the poet borrowed from his grammar. Malone. * — wheel'd about] Thus the quartos. The folio—whirl’d about. Steevens.
9 Forbear to sleep – and fast —l Fast has no connection with the preceding word forbear, the meaning being-Sleep not at night, and fast during the day. The quarto reads—to sleep the nights, and fast the days. Malone.
Think that thy babes were fairer" than they were,
thine ! Q. Mar. Thy woes will make them sharp, and Pierce like mine. [Exit Q. MAR.
Duch. Why should calamity be full of words?
Q. Eliz. Windy attorneys to their client woes,”
1 — were fairer –) So, the quarto. The folio reads—sweeter. Malone. * Bettering thy loss makes the bad-causer worse;] We must either read this line thus:– Bettering thy loss, make the bad-causer worse, which I believe to be the true reading, or include it in a parenthesis. M. Mason. . * Duch. Why should calamity be full of words? Q. Eliz. Windy attorneys to their client woes,) So, in our author’s Venus and Adonis: “So of concealed sorrow may be said: “Free vent of words love's fire doth assuage; “But when the heart’s attorney once is mute, “The client breaks as desperate of his suit.” The quarto reads—your client woes. The folio—their clients woes. Malone
* Airy succeeders of intestate joys, As I cannot understand the reading of the folio–intestine, I have adopted another from the quarto in 1597:
Airy succeeders of intestate joys: i. e. words, tun'd to complaints, succeed joys that are dead; and unbequeathed to them, to whom they should properly descend. Theoball.
The metaphor is extremely harsh. The joys already possessed being all consumed and passed away, are supposed to have died intestate, that is, to have made no will, having nothing to bequeath; and more verbal complaints are their successors, but inherit nothing but misery. Malone.
5 though what they do impart
Duch. If so, then be not tongue-ty’d: go with me, And in the breath of bitter words let’s smother My damned son, that thy two sweet sons smother'd. [Drum, within. I hear his drum,-be copious in exclaims.
Enter King Rich ARD, and his Train, marching. K. Rich. Who intercepts me in my expedition: Duch. O, she, that might have intercepted thee, By strangling thee in her accursed womb, From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done. Q. Eliz. Hid'st thou that forehead with a golden crown, Where should be branded, if that right were right, The slaughter of the prince that ow'd that crown," And the dire death of my poor sons, and brothers? Tell me, thou villain-slave, where are my children : Duch. Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence 2 And little Ned Plantagenet, his son : Q. Eliz. Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey’ Duch. Where is kind Hastings? K. Rich. A flourish, trumpets!—strike alarum, drums! Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women Rail on the Lord’s anointed: Strike, I say.— - [Fourish. .Alarums. Either be patient, and entreat me fair, Or with the clamorous report of war Thus will I drown your exclamations. Duch. Art thou my son : K. Rich. Ay; I thank God, my father, and yourself. Duch. Then patiently hear my impatience. K. Rich. Madam, I have a touch of your condition,7
6—that ow'd that crown, i. e. that possessed it. So, in King
“Which owe the crown that thou o'ermasterest.” Steevens,
7 — a touch of your condition,] A spice or particle of your temper or disposition. johnson. So, in Chapman's translation of the 24th Iliad: 4t his cold blood embrac'd a fiery touch “Of anger,” &c. | Again, in the thirteenth Iliad: “ — if any touch appear “Of glory in thee: —” Steevens.
That cannot brook the accent of reproof.
* That ever grac'd me — To grace seems here to mean the same as to bless, to make happy. So, gracious is kind, and graces are favours. johnson. We find the same expression in Macbeth : “Please it your highness “To grace us with your royal company.” Steevens.
1 Humphrey Hour, This may probably be an allusion to some affair of gallantry of which the Duchess had been suspected. I cannot find the name in Holinshed. Surely the poet’s fondness for a quibble has not induced him at once to personify and christen that hour of the day which summon'd his mother to breakfast. So, in The Wit of a Woman, 1604: “Gentlemen, time makes us brief: our old mistress, Houre, is at hand.” Shakspeare might indeed by this strange phrase (Humphrey Hour) have designed to mark the hour at which the good Duchess was as hungry as the followers of Duke Humphrey. The common cant phrase of dining with Duke Humphrey, I have never yet heard satisfactorily explained. It appears, however, from a satyrical pamphlet called The Guls Hornbook, 1609, written by T. Deckar, that in the ancient church of St. Paul, one of aisles was called Duke Humphrey's Walk; in which those who had no means of procuring a dinner, affected to loiter. Deckar