William Shakespeare.

The dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) online

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OXFORD, and Soldiers.

* Q. Mar. Great lords, wise men ne er sit and wail

their loss, 1

*But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.
4 What though the mast be now blown overboard,
The cable broke, the holding anchor lost,
4 And half our sailors swallowed in the flood ?
4 Yet lives our pilot still. Is t meet, that he
1 Should leave the helm, and, like a fearful lad,
*With tearful eyes add water to the sea,
4 And give more strength to that which hath too much ;

* Whiles, in his moan, the ship splits on the rock,

* Which industry and courage might have saved ?

* Ah, what a shame ! ah, what a fault were this !
4 Say, Warwick was our anchor ; what of that ?

4 And Montague our top-mast ; what of him ?

4 Our slaughtered friends the tackles ; what of these ?

4 Why, is not Oxford here another anchor ?

4 And Somerset another goodly mast ?

4 The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings ?

4 And, though unskilful, why not Ned and I

4 For once allowed the skilful pilot s charge ?

4 We will not from the helm, to sit and weep ;

*But keep our course, though the rough wind say no,

* From shelves and rocks that threaten us with wreck.

* As good to chide the waves, as speak them fair.

* And what is Edward, but a ruthless sea ?
*What Clarence, but a quicksand of deceit?

* And Richard, but a ragged, fatal rock ?

* All these the enemies to our poor bark.

* Say, you can swim ; alas, tis but a while :

1 This speech, in the original play, is expressed in eleven lines. Malone
thinks its extraordinary expansion into thirty-seven lines a decisive proof
that the old play was the production of some writer who preceded Shak-


* Tread on the sand ; why, there you quickly sink :

* Bestride the rock; the tide will wash you off,

* Or else you famish ; that s a threefold death.

* This speak I, lords, to let you understand,

* In case some one of you would fly from us,

* That there s no hoped-for mercy with the brothers,

* More than with ruthless waves, with sands, and rocks.

* Why, courage, then ! what cannot be avoided,
Twere childish weakness to lament, or fear.

* Prince. Methinks a woman of this valiant spirit,

* Should, if a coward heard her speak these words,

* Infuse his breast with magnanimity,

* And make him, naked, foil a man at arms.
I speak not this as doubting any here.

t For, did I but suspect a fearful man,

4 He should have leave to go away betimes ;

4 Lest, in our need, lie might infect another,

4 And make him of like spirit to himself.

i If any such be here, as God forbid !

4 Let him depart, before we need his help.

Oxf. Women and children of so high a courage !
And warriors faint ! why, twere perpetual shame.
O, brave young prince ! thy famous grandfather
Doth live again in thee. Long mayst thou live,
To bear his image, and renew his glories !

Som. And he, that will not light for such a hope,
i Go home to bed, and like the owl by day,
If he arise, be mocked and wondered at.

* Q. Mar. Thanks, gentle Somerset ; sweet Ox

ford, thanks.

* Prince. And take his thanks, that yet hath noth

ing else.

Enter a Messenger.

4 Mess. Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand,
Ready to fight ; therefore be resolute.

6 Oxf. I thought no less ; it is his policy,
To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.

Som. But he s deceived ; we are in readiness.


Q. Mar. This cheers my heart, to see your forward
Oxf. Here pitch our battle ; hence we will not budge.

March. Enter, at a distance, KING EDWARD, CLAR
ENCE, GLOSTER, and Forces.

K. Edw. Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny

* Which, by the Heavens assistance, and your strength,
6 Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night.

* I need not add more fuel to your fire,

* For well I wot ye blaze to burn them out.

* Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords.

Q. Mar. Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I

should say,

My tears gainsay ; for every word I speak,
Ye see, I drink the water of mine eyes.
4 Therefore, no more but this : Henry, your sovereign,
4 Is prisoner to the foe ; his state usurped,
4 His realm a slaughter-house, his subjects slain,
4 His statutes cancelled, and his treasure spent ;
And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil.
1 You fight injustice; then, in God s name, lords,
6 Be valiant, and give signal to the fight.

[Exeunt both Armies.

SCENE V. Another part of the same.

Alarums : Excursions : and afterwards a retreat.
and Forces; with QUEEN MARGARET, OXFORD, and
SOMERSET, prisoners.

6 K. Edw. Now, here a period of tumultuous broils.
Away with Oxford to Hammes castle 1 straight :
For Somerset, off with his guilty head.
4 Go, bear them hence ; I will not hear them speak.

1 A castle in Picardy, where Oxford was confined for many years.
VOL. iv. 67


Oxf. For my part, I ll not trouble thee with words.
4 Som. Nor I, but stoop with patience to my fortune.
[Exeunt OXF. and SOM., guarded.

* Q. Mar. So part we sadly in this troublous world,

* To meet with joy in sweet Jerusalem.

* K. Edw. Is proclamation made, that who finds


* Shall have a high reward, and he his life ?

* Glo. It is ; and lo, where youthful Edward comes.

Enter Soldiers, with PRINCE EDWARD.

* K. Edw. Bring forth the gallant ; let us hear him


* What ! can so young a thorn begin to prick ?
4 Edward, what satisfaction canst thou make,

4 For bearing arms, for stirring up my subjects,

* And all the trouble thou hast turned me to ?

Prince. Speak like a subject, proud, ambitious York !
Suppose that I am now my father s mouth ;
Resign thy chair, and, where I stand, kneel thou,
Whilst I propose the self-same words to thee,
Which, traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to.

Q. Mar. Ah, that thy father had been so resolved !

Glo. That you might still have worn the petticoat,
And ne er have stolen the breech from Lancaster.

Prince. Let .ZEsop ] fable in the winter s night ;
His currish riddles sort not with this place.

Glo. By Heaven, brat, I ll plague you for that word.

Q. Mar. Ay, thou wast born to be a plague to men.

Glo. For God s sake, take away this captive scold.

Prince. Nay, take away this scolding crook-back

c K. Edw. Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your


Clar. Untutored lad, thou art too malapert.
Prince. I know my duty ; you are all undutiful.

1 The prince calls Richard ^Esop for his crookedness ; and the Poet,
following nature, makes Richard highly incensed at the reproach.


Lascivious Edward, and thou perjured George,
And thou misshapen Dick, I tell ye all,
I am your better, traitors as ye are ;

* And thou usurp st my father s right and mine.

K. Edw. Take that, the likeness of this railer here. 1

[Stabs him.

* Glo. Sprawl st thou ? take that, to end thy agony.

[GLO. stabs him.

* Cla. And there s for twitting me with perjury.

[CLA. stabs him.
Q. Mar. O, kill me too !

Glo. Marry, and shall. [Offers to kill her.

6 K. Edw. Hold, Richard, hold, for we have done

too much.
Glo. Why should she live, to fill the world with

words ?
K. Edw. What ! doth she swoon ? use means for

her recovery.

Glo. Clarence, excuse me to the king my brother.
4 I ll hence to London on a serious matter ;
4 Ere ye come there, be sure to hear some news.
Clar. What? what?

1 Glo. The Tower, the Tower ! [Exit.

4 Q. Mar. O, Ned, sweet Ned ! speak to thy mother,

boy !

4 Canst thou not speak ? O traitors ! murderers !
They that stabbed Caesar, shed no blood at all,
Did not offend, nor were not worthy blame,

* If this foul deed were by, to equal it.

4 He was a man ; this, in respect, a child ;
And men ne er spend their fury on a child.
4 What s worse than murderer, that I may name it ?

* No, no ; my heart will burst, an if I speak ;

* And I will speak, that so my heart may burst.

* Butchers and villains, bloody cannibals !

* How sweet a plant have you untimely cropped !

1 That is, " thou who art the likeness," &c. The old copies describe
Edward as striking the first blow, and Gloster the next ; and this is ac
cording to history, which informs us that Edward smote the prince with
his gauntlet, on which the rest despatched him.


c You have no children, butchers ! if you had,

The thought of them would have stirred up remorse ;

4 But if you ever chance to have a child,

Look in his youth to have him so cut off,

4 As, deathsmen ! you have rid 1 this sweet young

prince !

K. Edw. Away with her ; go, bear her hence per
Q. Mar. Nay, never bear me hence ; despatch me

here ;

Here sheath thy sword ; I ll pardon thee my death.
What ! w r ilt thou not ? Then, Clarence, do it thou.
Clar. By Heaven, I will not do thee so much ease.
Q. Mar. Good Clarence, do ; sweet Clarence, do

thou do it.
Clar. Didst thou not hear me swear I would not

do it ?

Q. Mar. Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself;
Twas sin before, but now tis charity.
4 What ! wilt thou not ? Where is that devil s butcher,
Hard-favored Richard ? Richard, where art thou ?
Thou art not here. Murder is thy alms-deed ;
Petitioners for blood thou ne er put st back.

K. Edw. Away, I say; I charge ye, bear her


Q. Mar. So come to you, and yours, as to this prince !

[Exit, led out forcibly.
K. Edw. Where s Richard gone ?
Clar. To London, all in post ; and, as I guess,
To make a bloody supper in the Tower.

K. Edw. He s sudden, if a thing comes in his


4 Now march we hence ; discharge the common sort
i With pay and thanks, and let s away to London,
4 And see our gentle queen how well she fares ;
4 By this, I hope, she hath a son for me. [Exeunt,

1 To rid is to cut off, to destroy.


SCENE VI. London. A Room in the Tower.

KING HENRY is discovered sitting with a book in his
hand, the Lieutenant attending. Enter GLOSTER.

Glo. Good day, my lord. What, at your book so

hard ?
K. Hen. Ay, my good lord. My lord, I should say


5 Tis sin to flatter ; good was little better :
Good Gloster, and good devil, were alike,

* And both preposterous ; therefore, not good lord.

* Glo. Sirrah, leave us to ourselves ; we must confer.

[Exit Lieutenant.

* K. Hen. So flies the reckless shepherd from the

wolf :

* So first the harmless sheep doth yield his fleece,

* And next his throat unto the butcher s knife.
What scene of death hath Roscius now to act ?

Glo. Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind ;
The thief doth fear each bush an officer.

4 K. Hen. The bird, that hath been limed in a bush,
< With trembling wings misdoubteth 1 every bush ;
And I, the hapless male to one sweet bird,
Have now the fatal object in my eye,
Where my poor young was limed, was caught, and

Glo. Why, what a peevish fool was that of Crete,

< That taught his son the office of a fowl ?

And yet, for all his wings, the fool was drowned.

4 K. Hen. I, Daedalus ; my poor boy, Icarus ;
Thy father, Minos, that denied our course ;
4 The sun, that seared the wings of my sweet boy,

< Thy brother Edward ; and thyself, the sea,
Whose envious gulf did swallow up his life.

* Ah, kill me with thy weapon, not with words !
My breast can better brook thy dagger s point,

1 To misdoubt is to suspect danger, to fear.


Than can my ears that tragic history.

*But wherefore dost thou come ? is t for my life ?

i Glo. Think st thou I am an executioner ?

K. Hen. A persecutor, I am sure, thou art ;
If murdering innocents be executing,

* Why, then thou art an executioner.

Glo. Thy son I killed for his presumption.

K. Hen. Hadst thou been killed, when first thou

didst presume,

Thou hadst not lived to kill a son of mine.
And thus I prophesy, that many a thousand,
4 Which now mistrust no parcel 1 of my fear;
4 And many an old man s sigh, and many a widow s,
i And many an orphan s water-standing eye,
6 Men for their sons, wives for their husbands fate,
1 And orphans for their parents timeless death,

* Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born.
The owl shrieked at thy birth, an evil sign ;

The night-crow cried, aboding luckless time ;

Dogs howled, and hideous tempests shook down trees ;

The raven rooked 2 her on the chimney s top,

And chattering pies in dismal discords sung.

Thy mother felt more than a mother s pain,

And yet brought forth less than a mother s hope ;

1 To wit, an indigest, deformed lump,

Not like the fruit of such a goodly tree.

Teeth hadst thou in thy head, when thou wast born,

To signify, thou cam st to bite the world ;

And, if the rest be true which I have heard,

c Thou cam st

Glo. I ll hear no more : Die, prophet, in thy speech.

[Stabs him.
For this, amongst the rest, was I ordained.

K. Hen. Ay, and for much more slaughter after

O God ! forgive my sins, and pardon thee ! [Dies.

1 Who suspect no part of what my fears presage.

2 To roo&, or ruck, is to cower down like a bird at roost or on its nest.
The word is of very ancient use in our language.


Glo. What, will the aspiring blood of Lancaster
Sink in the ground ? I thought it would have mounted.
See, how my sword weeps for the poor king s death!
4 O, may such purple tears be always shed
1 From those that wish the downfall of our house !
If any spark of life be yet remaining,
Down, down to hell: and say I sent thee thither.

[Stabs him again.

I, that have neither pity, love, nor fear.
Indeed, tis true, that Henry told me of;
For I have often heard my mother say,
I came into the world with my legs forward :
Had I not reason, think ye, to make haste,
4 And seek their ruin that usurped our right ?
The midwife wondered ; and the women cried,
O, Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth ;
4 And so I was ; which plainly signified
That I should snarl, and bite, and play the dog.
< Then, since the Heavens have shaped my body so,
Let hell make crook d my mind to answer it.
I have no brother, I am like no brother :
c And this word, love, which greybeards call divine,
Be resident in men like one another,
And not in me ; I am myself alone.
Clarence, beware ; thou keep st me from the light ;
But I will sort 1 a pitchy day for thee :
For I will buzz abroad such prophecies,
6 That Edward shall be fearful of his life ;
And then, to purge his fear, I ll be thy death.
King Henry, and the prince his son, are gone :
Clarence, thy turn is next, and then the rest ;
Counting myself but bad, till I be best.
4 I ll throw thy body in another room,
And triumph, Henry, in thy day of doom. [Exit.

1 Select, choose out.


SCENE VII. The same. A Room in the Palace.

KING EDWARD is discovered sitting on his throne ,
QUEEN ELIZABETH with the infant Prince, CLARENCE,
GLOSTER, HASTINGS, and others, near him.

K. Ediv. Once more we sit in England s royal


Repurchased with the blood of enemies.
What valiant foemen, like to autumn s corn,
Have we mowed down, in tops of all their pride !
Three dukes of Somerset, threefold renowned
For hardy and undoubted champions :
Two Cliffords, as the father and the son,
And two Northumberlands ; two braver men
Ne er spurred their coursers at the trumpet s sound :
With them, the two brave bears, Warwick and Mon

That in their chains fettered the kingly lion,
And made the forest tremble when they roared.
Thus have we swept suspicion from our seat,
And made our footstool of security.
Come hither, Bess, and let me kiss my boy.
Young Ned, for thee, thine uncles, and myself,
Have in our armors watched the winter s night ;
4 Went all afoot in summer s scalding heat,
That thou might st repossess the crown in peace ;
And of our labors thou shalt reap the gain.

Glo. I ll blast his harvest, if your head were laid ;
For yet I am not looked on in the world.
This shoulder was ordained so thick, to heave ;
And heave it shall some weight, or break my back.
Work thou the way, and thou shalt execute. 1


K. Edw. Clarence, and Gloster, love my lovely

queen ;
And kiss your princely nephew, brothers both.

1 Gloucester may be supposed to touch his head and look significantly at
his hand.


Clar. The duty that I owe unto jour majesty,
I seal upon the lips of this sweet babe.

K. Edw. Thanks, noble Clarence ; worthy brother,

thanks. 1
4 Glo. And, that I love the tree from whence thou

sprang st,

k Witness the loving kiss I give the fruit.
To say the truth, so Judas kissed his Master ; }
< And cried All hail ! when as he meant \ Aside.

All harm. )

K. Edw. Now am I seated as my soul delights,
Having my country s peace, and brothers loves.

Clar. What will your grace have done with Mar
garet ?

Reignier, her father, to the king of France
Hath pawned the Sicils and Jerusalem,
And hither have they sent it for her ransom.

K. Edw. Away with her, and waft her hence to


And now what rests, but that we spend the time
With stately triumphs, mirthful comic shows,
Such as befit the pleasures of the court ?
Sound, drums and trumpets ! farewell, sour annoy !
For here, I hope, begins our lasting joy. [Exeunt.

l The old quarto play appropriates this line to the queen. The first and
second folio, by mistake, have given it to Clarence. In Steevens s copy
of the second folio, which had belonged to king Charles the First, his
majesty had erased Cla. and written King in its stead. Shakspeare,
therefore, in the catalogue of his restorers, may boast a royal name.
VOL. iv. 68


THE three parts of King Henry VI. are suspected, by Mr. Theobald,
of being supposititious, and are declared by Dr. Warburton to be certainly
not Shakspeare s. Mr. Theobald s suspicion arises from some obsolete
words ; but the phraseology is like the rest of the author s style ; and
single words, of which, however, I do not observe more than two, can con
clude little.

Dr. Warburton gives no reason ; but I suppose him to judge upon
deeper principles and more comprehensive views, and to draw his opinion
from the general effect and spirit of the composition, which he thinks in
ferior to the other historical plays.

From mere inferiority nothing can be inferred ; in the productions of wit
there will be inequality. Sometimes judgment will err, and sometimes the
matter itself will defeat the artist. Of every author s works, one Avill be
the best, and one will be the Avorst. The colors are not equally pleasing,
nor the attitudes equally graceful, in all the pictures of Titian or Reynolds.

Dissimilitude of style, and heterogeneousness of sentiment, may suffi
ciently show that a work does not really belong to the reputed author.
But in these plays no such marks of spuriousness are found. The diction,
the versification, and the figures, are Shakspeare s. These plays, con
sidered, without regard to characters and incidents, merely as narratives
in verse, are more happily conceived, and more accurately finished, than
those of King John, King Richard II., or the tragic scenes of King Henry
IV. and V. If we take these plays from Shakspeare, to whom shall they
be given ? What author of that age had the same easiness of expression
and fluency of numbers ? *

Of these three plays I think the second is the best. The truth is,
that they have not sufficient variety of action, for the incidents are too
often of the same kind ; yet many of the characters are well discriminated.
King Henry, and his queen, king Edward, the duke of Gloster, and the
earl of Warwick, are very strongly and distinctly painted.

The old copies of the two latter parts of King Henry VI. and of King
Henry V. are so apparently mutilated and imperfect, that there is no rea
son for supposing them the first draughts of Shakspeare. I am inclined
to believe them copies taken by some auditor, who wrote down during the
representation what the time would permit; then, perhaps, filled up some
of his omissions at a second or third hearing, and, when he had by this
method formed something like a play, sent it to the printer.


* This note by Dr. Johnson has been preserved, notwithstanding the answer to his argu
ment which is given in the abstract of Malone s dissertation prefixed to these plays, which
discriminates between what is and what is not from the hand of our great Poet. " IVo
fraudulent copyist (says Malone) or short-hand writer would have invented circumstances
totally different from those which appear in Shakspeare s new-modelled draughts, as ex
hibited in the folio, or insert whole speeches of which scarcely a trace is to be found in
that edition."




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Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) → online text (page 38 of 38)