Page images
PDF
EPUB

Upon his Irish expedition ;
From whence he, intercepted, did return
To be depos'd, and, shortly, murdered.
Wor. And for whose death, we in the world's

wide mouth Live scandaliz’d, and foully spoken of. Hot. But, soft, I pray you; Did king Richard

then Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer Heir to the crown? 7

? Heir to the crown?] Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, was the undoubted heir to the crown after the death of Richard, as appears from the following table; in which the three younger children of King Edward III. are not included, as being immaterial to the subject before us :

[blocks in formation]

Sandford in his Genealogical History says, that the last mentioned Edmund, earl of March, (the Mortimer of this play,) was married to Anne Stafford, daughter of Edmund, earl of Stafford, Vol. VIII.

Dd

NORTH.

He did; myself did hear it. Hor. Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king, That wish'd him on the barren mountains starv'd. But shall it be, that you,—that set the crown Upon the head of this forgetful man; And, for his sake, wear the detested blot Of murd'rous subornation,-shall it be, That you a world of curses undergo; Being the agents, or Luie second means, The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather?-O, pardon me, that I descend so low, To show the line, and the predicament, Wherein you range under this subtle king.– Shall it, for shame, be spoken in these days, Or fill up chronicles in time to come, That men of your nobility and power, Did ’gage them both in an unjust behalf,As both of you, God pardon it! have done,- To put

down Richard, that sweet lovely rose,

a

Thomas Walsingham afferts that he married a daughter of Owen Glendower; and the subsequent historians copied him; but this is a very doubtful point, for the Welsh writers make no mention of it. Sandford says that this earl of March was confined by the jealous Henry in the castle of Trim in Ireland, and that he died there, after an imprisonment of twenty years, on the 19th of January, 1424. But this is a mistake. There is no proof that he was confined a ftate-prisoner by King Henry the Fourth, and he was employed in many military services by his fon Henry the Fifth. He, died in his own castle at Trim in Ireland, at the time mentioned by Sandford, but not in a state of imprisonment. See note on King Henry VI. P. II. Ac II. sc. ii. Vol. x.

Since the original note was written, I have learned that Owen Glendower's daughter was married to his antagonist Lord Gray of Ruthven. Holinfried led Shakspeare into the error of supposing her the wife of Edmund Mortimer, earl of March. This nobleman, who is the Mortimer of the present play, was born in November, 1392, and consequently at the time when this play commences, was little more than ten years old. The Prince of Wales was not fifteen. MALONE.

a

And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke?
And shall it, in more shame, be further spoken,
That you are fool'd, discarded, and shook off
By him, for whom these shames ye underwent ?
No; yet time serves, wherein you may redeem
Your banish'd honours, and restore yourselves
Into the good thoughts of the world again:
Revenge the jeering, and disdain'd' contempt,
Of this proud king ; who studies, day and night,
To answer all the debt he owes to you,
Even with the bloody payment

of
your

deaths.
Therefore, I say,
WoR.

Peace, cousin, say no more: And now I will unclasp a secret book, And to your quick-conceiving discontents I'll read you matter deep and dangerous ; As full of peril, and advent’rous fpirit, As to o'er-walk a current, roaring loud, On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.” Hor. If he fall in, good night :-or fink or

swim : 3Send danger from the east unto the west, So honour cross it from the north to south,

a

a

9

SON

8 this canker, Bolingbroke?] The canker-rose is the dogrose, the flower of the Cynosbaton. So, in Much ado about Nothing : I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his grace." STEEVENS.

9 -disdain'd-] For disdainful. Johnson. ? On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.] That is, of a spear laid across. WARBURTON.

fink or swim :) This is a very ancient proverbial expreffion. So, in The Knight's Tale of Chaucer, Mr. Tyrwhite's edit. V. 2399:

" Ne recceth never, whether I sink or flete.Again, in The longer thou livest the more Fool thou art, 1570: - He careth not who doth fink or swimme.Steevens,

3

And let them grapple ;-O! the blood more ftirs,
To rouse a lion, than to start a hare.3

North. Imagination of some great exploit
Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.

Hor. By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac’d moon;*

3

[ocr errors]

the blood more flirs,
To rouse a lion, than to ftart a hare.] This passage will remind
the classical reader of young Afcanius's heroic feelings in the
fourth Æneid :

-pecora inter inertia votis
Optat aprum, aut fulvum defcendere monte leonem. STEEVENS.
4 By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap,

To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac'd moon;] Though I am
very far from condemning this speech with Gildon and Theobald,
as absolute madness, yet I cannot find in it that profundity of re-
flection, and beauty of allegory which Dr. Warburton has endea-
voured to display. This sally of Hotspur, may be, I think, soberly
and rationally vindicated as the violent eruption of a mind inflated
with ambition and fired with resentment; as the boafted clamour
of a man able to do much, and eager to do more; as the hafty
motion of turbulent desire; as the dark expression of indetermined
thoughts. The passage from Euripides is furely not allegorical,
yet it is produced, and properly, as parallel. Johnson.

Euripides has put the very fame sentiment into the mouth of Eteocles: “I will not, madam, disguise my thoughts; I would scale heaven, I would descend to the very entrails of the earth, if fo be that by that price I could obtain a kingdom.

WARBURTON. This is probably a passage from some bombast play, and afterwards used as a common burlesque phrase for attempting impossibilities. At least, that it was the last, might be concluded from its use in Cartwright's poem On Mr. Stokes bis Book on the Art of Vaulting, edit. 1651, p. 212:

" Then go thy ways, brave Will, for one;

By Jove 'tis thou must leap, or none,

To pull bright honour from the moon."
Unless Cartwright intended to ridicule this passage in Shakspeare,
which I partly fufpect. Stokes's book, a noble object for the wits,
was printed at London, in the year 1641. T. WARTON.

A passage fomewhat resembling this, occurs in Archbishop Parker's
Address to the Reader, prefixed to his Tract entitled. A Brief Ex-

[ocr errors]

Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks;
So he, that doth redeem her thence, might wear,
Without corrival, all her dignities :
But out upon this half-fac'd fellowship!6

amination for the Tyme, &c.—" But trueth is to hye fet, for you to pluck her out of heaven, to manifestlye knowen to be by your papers obscured, and surely stablished, to drowne her in the myrie lakes of your sophisticall writinges."

In The Knight of the burning Peflle, Beaumont and Fletcher have put the foregoing rant of Hotspur into the mouth of Ralph the apprentice, who, like Bottom, appears to have been fond of acting parts to tear a cat in. I suppose a ridicule on Shakspeare was defigned. Steevens.

s Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,] So, in The Tempeft: “ I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded.”

STEEVENS. 6 But out upon this half-fac'd fellowship!] A coat is said to be faced, when part of it, as the sleeves or bosom, is covered with something finer or more splendid than the main substance. The mantua-makers still use the word. Half-fac'd fellowship is then

partnership but half-adorned, partnership which yet wants half the show of dignities and honours.” Johnson.

So, in The Portraiture of Hypocrisie, &c. bl. 1. 1589: “ A gentleman should have a gowne for the night, two for the daie, &c. one all furred, another half-faced,"

Mr. M. Mason, however, observes, that the allusion may be to the half-faces on medals, where two persons are represented." The coins of Philip and Mary (fays he) rendered this image fufficiently familiar to Shakspeare." STEVENS.

' I doubt whether the allusion was to dress. Half-fac'd seems to have meant paltry. The expression, which appears to have been a contemptuous one, I believe, had its rise from the meaner denominations of coin, on which, formerly, only a profile of the reigning prince was exhibited; whereas on the more valuable pieces a full face was represented. So, in King John:

“ With that half-face would he have all my land,
" A half-fac'd groat, five hundred pound a year !"

« PreviousContinue »