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15Q8, omitted in the first general collection of the poet's works; and, not enough attending to their agreement with the common text, put them into their place. Whereas, in truth, the five lines were omitted by Shakspeare himself, as not agreeing to the rest of the context; which, on revise, he thought fit to alter. On this account I have put them into hooks, not as spurious, but as rejected on the author's revise; and, indeed, with great judgment; for,
To wake our peace, which in our country's cradle
Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep, as pretty as it is in the image, is absurd in the sense: for peace awake is still peace, as well as when asleep. The difference is, that peace asleep gives one the notion of a happy people sunk in sloth and luxury, which is not the idea the speaker would raise, and from which state the sooner it was awaked the better.
To this note, written with such an appearance of taste and judgment, I am afraid every reader will not subscribe. It is true, that peace awake is still peace, as well as when asleep; but peace awakened by the tumults of these jarring nobles, and peace indulging in profound tranquillity, convey images sufficiently opposed to each other for the poet's purpose. To wake peace is to introduce discord. Peace asleep, is peace exerting its natural influence, from which it would be frighted by the clamours of war. Steevens.
11 —compassionate—] Compassionate is here plain" tree, endeavouring to move compassion.
"Norfolk, so far—] I have addressed myself to thee as to mine enemy, I now utter my last words with kindness and tenderness, Confess thy treasons.
13 —journeyman to grief?] I am afraid our author in this place designed a very poor quibble, as journey signifies both tra8el and a day's work. However, he is not to be censured for what he himself rejected.
The quarto, in which these lines are found, is said in its title-page to have been corrected by the author; and the play is indeed more accurately printed than most of the other single copies. There is now however no method of knowing by whom the alteration was made. Steevens.
14 —yet a true-born Englishman^] Here the first act ought to end, that between the first and second acts there may be time for John of Gaunt to accompany his son, return, and fall sick. Then the first scene of the second act begins with a natural conversation, interrupted by a message from John of Gaunt, by which the king is called to visit him, which visit is paid in the following scene. As the play is now divided, more time passes bet ween the two last scenes of the first act than between the first act and the secoud. Johnson.
1b Report of fashions in proud Italy ;] Our author, who gives to all nations the customs of England, and to all ages the manners of his own, has charged the times of Richard with a folly not perhaps known then. but very frequent in Shakspeare's time, and much lamented by the wisest and best of our ancestors.
16 Thy state of law is bondslave to the law;] State of law, i.e. legal sovereignty. But the Oxford editor alters it to state o'er law, i. e. absolute sovereignty. A doctrine, which, if our poet ever learnt at all, he learnt not in the reign when this play was written, queen Elizabeth's, but in the reign after it, king James's. By bondslave to the law, the poet means his being enslaved to his/arounVe subjects.
This sentiment, whatever it be, is obscurely expressed. I understand it differently from the learned commentator, being perhaps not quite so zealous for Shakspeare's political reputation. The reasoning of Gaunt, I think, is this: By setting thy royalties to farm thou hast reduced thyself to a state below sovereignty, thou art now no longer king but landlord of England, subject to the same restraint and limitations as other landlords; by making thy condition a state of law, a condition upon -which the. common rules of law can operate, thou art become a bondslave to the law; thou hast made thyself amenable to laws from which thou U'ert originally exempt.
Whether this interpretation be true or no, it is plain that Dr. Warburton's explanation of bondslave to the law is not true. Johnson*.
17 And thy unkindnes* be like crooked age,"] Shakspeare, I believe, took this idea from tlie figure of Time, who is armed with a scythe, which (from it* form) was anciently called a crook. Crooked may mean armed with a crook. s T K Evens.
is —where no venom else,'} This alludes to the tradition that St. Patrick freed the kingdom of Ireland from venomous reptiles of every kind.
19 Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke,
About his marriage, Sfc.] When the duke of Hereford, after his banishment, went into France, he was honourably entertained at that court, and would have obtained in marriage the only daughter of the duke of Berry, uncle to the French king, had not Richard prevented the match.
80 Imp out ] As this expression frequently occurs in our author, it may not be amiss to explain the original meaning of it. When the wing-feathers of a hawk were dropped, or forced out by any accident, it was usual to supply as many as were deficient. This operation was called, to imp a hawk.
So in The Devil's Charter, lOoj:
*' Like perspectives, which, rightly gaz'd upon, Shew nothing but confusion; ey'd awry, Distinguish form:] This is a fine similitude, and the thing meant is this: amongst mathematical recreations, there is one in opties, in which a figure is drawn, wherein all the rules of perspective are inverted i so that, if held in the same position with those pictures which are drawn according to the rules of persiiective, it can present nothing but confusion: and to be seen in form, and under a regular appearance, it must be looked upon from a contrary station; or, as Shakspeare says, ey'dowry. Warbubton.
88 —might have retir'd his power,] Might have draum it bach. French retirer, to drain bach.
83 Getthee to Flashy,] The lordship of Flashy was a town of the duchess of Gloster's in Essex. See Hall's Chronicle, p. 13.
84 Come, sister,—cousin, / would soy:] This is'one of Shakspeare's touches of nature. York is talking to the queen his cousin, but the recent death of his sister is uppermost in his mind. Steevens.
85 Scene IV.] Here is a scene sounartfully and irregularly thrust into an improper place, that I cannot but suspect it accidentally transposed; which, when the scenes were written on single pages, might easily happen in the wildness of Shakspeare's drama. This dialogue was, in the author's draught, probably the second scene in the ensuing act, and there I would advise the reader to insert it, though I have not ventured on so bold a change. My conjecture is not so presumptuous as may be thought. The play was not, in Shakspeare's time, broken into acts; the two editions published before his death exhibit only a sequence of scenes from the beginning to the end, without any hint of a pause of action. In a drama so desultory and erratic, left in such a state, transposition* might easily be made. Johnson.