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OW is the winter of our discontent,
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;"
And all the clouds, that lowr'd upon our
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths ;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
The Life and Death of King Richard III.] This tragedy, though it is called the Life and Death of this prince, comprizes, at mofte but the last eight years of his time ; for it opens with George duke of Clarence being clapped up in the Tower, which happened in the beginning of the year 1477; and clofes with the death of Richard ar Bosworth-field, which battle was fought on the 22d of Aagutt, in the year 1485; THEOBALD.
bis fun of York;] Alluding to the cognizance of Edward IV. which was a fun, in memory of the three funs, which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancaftrians at Mortimer's Cross. STEEVENS.
Our ftern alarums chang'd to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front ;
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds, 4
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He çapers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not fhap'd for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass,--
1, that am rudely stamp'd and want love's majesty,
To ftrut before a wanton ambling nymph;
1, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
• Cheated of feature by diffembling nature,
Deo. 3-merry mettings.] It is not improbable that Shakespeare was indebted on this occafion to the following lines in The tragical Life and Death of King Richard the Third, which is one of the metrical monologues in a collection entitled, The Mirrour of MagiAtratis, the preface to which is dated 1586.
ibe battles fought in fields before
Were turn'd to meetings of sweet amitie;
The war.god's thundring cannons dreadful rore,
drum-founds warlike harmonie
To froiet-Lun'à noise of pleafing minfirelfze.
God Mars laid by his launce, and tooke his lates
Aud turn'd bis rugged frownes to smiling lookes ;
Instead of crimson fields, war's fatal fruit,
He bath'd his limbes in Cypris warbling books,
set bis thoughts upor her twanton lookes. Steevens.
-barbed feeds) are steeds adorned with military trappings. I. Haywarde, in his Life and Raignie of Henry IV. 1599, says, -The duke of Hereford came to the barriers, mounted upon a white courfer, barbed with blew and green velvet, &c.
It is observed in the Turkish Spy, chat the German coiraffiers, though armed and barbed, man and horse, were 'not able to stand against the French cavalıy. Barbed ftud , in Haywarde's history, means only steeds covered with trappings on those parts which were cafed with armour in more dangerous service. ŠTEEVENS.
5 He capers War capers. This is poetical, though a little harsh; if it be York that capers, the antecedent is at fach a di. Itance, that it is almost forgotten. JOHNSON.
• Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,] By difsembling is not
Deform'd, unfinish'd, fent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that fo lamely and unfashionably,
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them :-
Why I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time;
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
And defcant on mine own deformity.
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,?
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, 'inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophesies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence, and the king,
In deadly hate, the one againft the other :
And, if king'Edward be as true and just,
As I am fubtle, false, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up ;
About a prophesy, which says, that G
Of Edward's heirs the murtherer shall be.
meant bypocritical nature, that pretends one thing and does ano-
ther : But nature that puts together things of a diffimilar kind,
as a brave foul and a deformed body, WARBURTON.
Disembling is here put very licentiously for fraudful, deceitful.
7 And therefore, fince I cannot prove a lover,] Shakespeare very :
ligently inculcates, that the wickedness of Richard proceeded
from his deformity, from the envy that rose at the comparison of
his own person with others, and which incited him to disturb the
pleasures that he could not partake. JOHNSON.
3 And hate the idle pleasures-] Perhaps we might read,
And bate the idle pleasures
JOHNSON • inductions dangerous, ) Preparations for mischief. The indu&ion is preparatory to the action of the play. Johnson.
'—Edward be as tree and juft,] i.e. as open hearted and free from deceit. WARBURTON. The meaning is only this; if Edward keeps his word. Johns.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! here Clarence.
Enter Clarence guarded, and Brakenbury.
Brother, good day, what means this armed guard,
That waits upon your grace ?
Clar. His majesty,
Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower,
Glo. Upon what cause?
Cla. Because my name is George,
Glo. Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours :
He should for that commit your godfathers.
O, belike, his majesty hath some intent,
That you should be new christened in the Tower.
But what's the matter, Clarence ? may I know?
Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know; for, I protest,
As yet I do not : But, as I can learn,
He kearkens after prophesies and dreams;
And from the cross row plucks the letter G,
And says, a wizard told him, that by G
His iffue difinherited should be :
And, for my name of George begins with G,
It follows in his thought, that I am he.
These, as I learn, and such like toys as these,
Have mov'd his highness to commit me now.
Glo. Why, this it is, when men are ruld by women.
'Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower ;
My lady Gray, his wife, Clarence, 'ris she,
That tempts him to this harsh extremity.
Was it, not she, and that good man of worship,
Anthony Woodeville, her brother, there,
That made him send lord Hastings to the Tower,
From whence this present day he is deliver'd ?
We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe.
? ?nys-] Fancies, freaks of imagination. Johnson.
Clar. By heaven, I think, there is no man secure,
Buc che queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds,
That trudge between the king and mistress Shore,
Heard you not, what an humble suppliant
Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
Gl. Humbly complaining to her deity,
Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
I'll tell you what ;--I think it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the king,
To be her men, and wear her livery :
+ The jealous o’erworn widow, and herself,
Since that our brother dubb'd them gentlewomen,
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.
Brak. I beleech your graces both to pardon me;
His majesty hath straitly given in charge,
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever, with his brother,
to ? an please your worship, Brakenbury, You may partake of any thing we say : We speak no treason, man ; -We say, the king Is wile and virtuous, and his noble
queen Well strook in years ; fair, and not jealous :We say, that Shore's wife hath a pretty foot, A cherry lip, a bonny eye; a palling pleasing tongue; That the queen's kindred are made gentle folks : How say you, fir ? can you deny all this?
Brak With this, my lord, myself have nought to do.
Glo. Naught to do with mistress Shore ? I tell thee,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best to do it fecretly, alone.
Brak. What one, my
3 Humbly complaining, &c.) I think these two lines might be better given to Clarence. Jou NSON,
* Tbe jealous o'er worn widow and herself:] That is, the queen and Shore. JOHNSON.