Imágenes de páginas

Gloucester's Deformity.
(8) Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe
To shrink mine arm up like a wither'd shrub;
To make an envious mountain on my back;
Where sits deformity to mock my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal lize ;
To disproportion ine in every part :
Like to a chaos, or unlick'd bear-whelp,
That carries no impreslion like the dam.
And am I then a man to be belor'd ?


Gloucester's Diffimulation.
Why, I can smile, and murder while I finile;
And cry content to that which grieves my
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears ;
And frame my face to all occasions :
I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk ;
I'll play the orator, as well as Neftor;
Deceive more flily than Ulylles could ;
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy:
I can add colours even to the camelion ;
Change shapes with Proteus, for advantages;
(9) And set th' aspiring Catiline to school,
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?


(8) Wby, &c.] See the beginning of Richard the Third.

(9) And fet, &c.} I am of Mr. Warburton's opinion, this reading which is of the old quarto, is greatly preferable to that commonly received; not only because we thereby avoid au anachronism, but because Richard, perhaps, may be more aptly compared to Catiline, and because he instances, all through the speech, from the ancients. The other reading is,

And set the murd'rous Machiavel to school,
Vol. III.



Henry VI.

On his own Lenity.
I have not stopt mine ears to their demands,
Nor posted off their suits with flow delays ;
My pity hath been balm to heal their wounds;
My mildness hath allay'd their swelling griefs ;
My mercy dry'd their water-flowing tears.
I have not been desirous of their wealth,
Nor much opprest them with great subsidies,
Nor forward of revenge, tho' they much erid.

[blocks in formation]

The Earl of Warwick's dying Speech. Ah, who is nigh? Come to me, friend, or foe, And tell me who is victor, York or Warwick ? Why aik I that? My mangled body shews My blood, my want of strength, my fick heart shews, That I must yield my body to the earth, And, by my fall, the conquest to my foe. (10) Thus yields the cedar to the axe's edge,


(10) Thus yields, &c.] For this grand and noble fimile, ShakeSpear is plainly indebted there, where for the first time through this work, I am obliged, and gladly, to acknowledge him outdone. 'Tis from the 31st chapter of the prophet Ezekiel, ver. 3. 30. Behold the Asyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing throud, and of an high ftature, and his top was among the thick boughs. 4. The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field. 5. Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long, because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth. 6. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations. 7. Thus was he fair in his greatness, ja


Whofe arms gave shelter to the princely eagle;
Under whose shade the ramping lion slept;
Whose top-branch over-peerd Jove's spreading tree;
And kept low shrubs from winter's pow'rful wind.

that now are dim'd with death's black veil,
Have been as piercing as the mid-day fun,
To search the secret treasons of the world.
The wrinkles in my brow, now fill'd with blood,
Were lik’ned oft to kingly fepulchres :
For who liv'd king, but I could dig his grave?

? And who durst smile when Warwick bent his brow Lo! now my glory linear'd in dust and blood, (11) My parks, my walks, my manors that I had,


the length of his branches : for his root was by great waters. 8. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him : the fir-trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut-trees were not like his branches; not any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty, &c. 12. And strangers, the terrible of the nations have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains, and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land, and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him. 13. Upon his ruin thall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches, &c. See the chapter.

The scriptures, and more especially the prophets, abound with many similar passages, sublime and exalted as this, which it would be endless to produce here.

(11) My parks, &c.].“ I won't venture to affirm, says” Mr. Theobald, our author is imitating Horace here : but surely this passage is very much of a cast with that which I am about to qyote.”

Linquenda tellus, & domus, & placens
Uxor: neque harum quas colis, artorum
Te præter invisas cipreffos,

Ulla brevem dominum fequetur.
Thy spacious fields, thy splendid house,
Thý pleasing wife must thou forego,
Nor of those trees, thy hands have rais’d,

B, 2. ode 14h

E 2


Ev'n now forfake ine ; and of all my lands
Is nothing left me but my body's length.

Queen Margaret's Speech before the - Battle of

Tewksbury. Lords, Knights, and Gentlemen, what I shou'd say, My tears gainsay; for every word 2 speak, Yé fee, I drink the water of my eye; Therefore no more but this : Henry, your sovereign Is prisoner to the foe, his state usurp’d, His realm a flaughter-house, his subjects slain, His statutes cancell'd, and his treasure spent; And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil; You fight in justice ; then, in God's name, Lords, Be valiant, and give signal to the battle. Scene VII. Omens on the Birth of Richard III.

(12) The owl shriek’d at thy birth, an evil fign; The night-crow cry'd, a boding luckless tune; Dogs howl'd, and hideous tempests shook down trees; The raven croak'd hoarse on the chimney's top, And chattering pyes in dismal discords fung: Thy mother felt more than a mother's pain, And yet brought forth less than a mother's hope, To wit, an indigested, deform'd lump, Not like the fruit of such a goodly tree.


Lxcept the baleful cypress boughs,

Shall one attend their fhort-liv'd lord below.
Dryden has beautifully copied the last line in his Antony and
Ckopatra, where he makes the desponding hero, throwing him-
self on the ground, thus lament,

Lie there, the shadow of an emperor,
The place thou pressest on thy mother earth

Is all thy empire now. (12) The owl, &c.] See an account of the prodigies on the birib of Gandover, p. 7. n. 6.


Teeth hadst thou in thy mouth when thou wast born,
To signify, thou cain'st to bite the world :
And, if the rest be true which I have heard,
Thou can't into the world with thy legs forward.

General Obfervations.

THE scene of this play opens (says Mrs. Lenox) just after the battle of St. Albans, wherein the York faction was victorious, and closes with the murder of King Henry the Sixth and the birth of Prince Edward, afterwards King Edward the Fifth; so that this history takes in the space of sixteen years. The facts are all extracted from Holingshed, and most of the incidents very closely copied. The struggle between the two houses of York and Lancaster for the crown being the subject pursued in this drama, every scene almost presents us with a new battle, a flying army, or the carnage of a bloody field; where the inhuman conquerors, unsated with the naughters of the fight, facrifice their defenceless enemies to the fury of their revenge, and exult over them, when dying, with a cruelly truly diabolical.

For many of the murders which the followers of each party commit on those of the other in this play, Shakespiar had no foundation in the history ; but that of the young Earl of Ruíland by Clifford, is copied with all its circumstances from Holingfbed. The character of King Henry the Sixth, whose unforturate reign makes the subject of these three plays, is drawn hy Shakespiar exactly conformable to that given him hy the historians. As to the manner of his death, several different opinions prevailed; but the poet, by making the Duke of Gloucester murder him in the Tower, has followed that which was most probable and most generally believed.

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »