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To Oxford, or where'er these traitors are:
Enter Exton, and a Servant. Exton. Didst thou not mark the king, what
words he spake?
SERV. Those were his very words.
Serv. He did.
Exton. And, speaking it, he wiftly look'd on me; As who should say,I would, thou wert the man That would divorce this terror from my heart; Meaning, the king at Pomfret. Come, let's go; I am the king's friend, and will rid his foe.
:7 coufin too, adieu :] Too, which is not in the old copy, was added by Mr. Theobald, for the sake of the metre.
Enter King RICHARD. I
- K. Rich. I have been studying how I may compare This prison, where I live, unto the world: And, for because the world is populous, And here is not a creature but myself, I cannot do it ;-Yet I'll hammer it out. My brain I'll prove the female to my soul; My soul, the father: and these two beget A generation of still-breeding thoughts, And these same thoughts people this little world ;'S In humours, like the people of this world, For no thought is contented. The better fort, As thoughts of things divine,-are intermix'd With fcruples, and do set the word itself Against the word : 6 As thus, Come,-little ones; and then again, It is as hard to come, as for a camel To thread the postern of a needle's eye. Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
s people this little world;] i. e. his own frame;" the state of man;" which in our author's Julius Cæfar is faid to be “ like to a little kingdom.” So also, in his Lover's Complaint:
" Storming my world with sorrow's wind and rain.” Again, in King Lear:
« Strives in this little world of man to out-scorn
“ The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.” MALONE. 6- the word itself
Against the word :) By the word, I suppose, is meant the bely word. The folio reads :
- the faith itself
Against the faith. Steevens.
Unlikely wonders : how these vain weak nails
7 Thus play I; in one person,] Alluding, perhaps, to the ne. cessities of our early theatres. The title-pages of some of our Moralities show, that three or four characters were frequently represented by one person. STEEVENS.
Thus the first quarto, 1597. All the fubsequent old copies have-- prison. MALONE.
8 To check -] Thus the first quarto, 1597. The folio reads To hear. Of this play the first quarto copy is much more valuable than that of the folio. Malone.
But, for the concord of my state and time,
9 For now hath time made me his numb’ring clock: · My thoughts are minutes; and, with highs, they jar'
Their watches on to mine eyes, the outward watch, &c.] I think this passage must be corrupt, but I know not well how to make it better. The first quarto reads:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar,
Their watches on unto mine eyes the outward watch. The quarto 1615:
My thoughts are minutes, and with fighs they jar,
There watches on unto mine eyes the outward watch.' The first folio agrees with the second quarto.
Perhaps out of these two readings the right may be made. Watch seems to be used in a double sense, for a quantity of time, and for the instrument that measures time. I read, but with no great confidence, thus :
My thoughts are minutes, and with fighs they jar
Whereto, &c. JOHNSON. I am unable to throw any certain light on this passage. A few hints, however, which inay tend to its illustration, are left for the service of future commentators.
The outward watch, as I am informed, was the moveable figure of a man habited like a watchman, with a pole and lantern in his hand. The figure had the word watch written on its forehead; and was placed above the dial-plate. This information was derived from an artist after the operation of a second cup: therefore neither Mr. Tollet, who communicated it, or myself, can vouch for its authenticity, or with any degree of confidence apply it to the passage before us. Such a figure, however, appears to have been alluded to in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Hus mour: “ — he looks like one of these motions in a great antique clock,” &c. A motion anciently signified a puppet. Again, in his Sejanus :
“ Observe him, as his watch observes his clock.” Again, in Churchyard's Charitie, 1595:
“ The clocke will strike in haste, I heare the watch
Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,
The same thought also occurs in Greene's Perimedes, 1588:
“ Disquiet thoughts the minuts of her watch." To jar is, I believe, to make that noise which is called ticking. So, in The Winter's Tale:
“ - I love thee not a jar o'the clock behind," &c. Again, in The Spanish Tragedy: “ - the minutes jarring, the clock striking.”
STEVENS, There appears to be no reason for supposing with Dr. Johnson, that this passage is corrupt. It should be recollected, that there are three ways in which a clock notices the progress of time; viz. by the libration of the pendulum, the index on the dial, and the striking of the hour. To these, the king, in his comparison, severally alludes; his fighs corresponding to the jarring of the pendulum, which, at the same time that it watches or numbers the feconds, marks also their progress in minutes on the dial or outward watch, to which the king compares his eyes; and their want of figures is fupplied by a succession of tears, or (to use an expression of Milton) minute drops: his finger, by as regularly wiping these away, performs the office of the dial's point:-his clamorous groans are the sounds that tell the hour. In K. Henry IV. Part II. Tears are used in a similar manner:
“ But Harry lives, that shall convert those tears,
“ By number, into hours of happiness.” Henley, 2 Now, fir, &c.] Should we not read thus:
Now, fir, the sounds that tell what hour it is,
Are clamorous groans,” &c. Ritson. 3 his Jack ó' the clock.] That is, I strike for him. One of these automatons is alluded to in K. Richard 111. Act IV. sc. iii;
“ Because that, like a Jack, thou keep'st the stroke,